Image source: Garmin

Garmin users speak out: What they want from the Fenix 8 watch

Garmin watches have long held a reputation as the preferred choice for those serious about their athletic pursuits. Known for rugged designs and a vast array of features, the Fenix series is particularly popular. However, the world of wearable technology moves quickly, and Garmin must continually innovate to maintain its leading position. On many people’s minds is the Fenix 8.

So, what would make current Fenix users eagerly upgrade to the next iteration? What improvements are they hoping to see? To gather these insights, we delved into a dedicated Garmin user forum where the Garmin loyal crowd shared their ultimate wishlists.

The feedback was diverse and insightful, providing a fascinating look at where this iconic series could evolve. Based on the company’s typical release cycles, we might even see the Gamin Fenix 8 unveiled later this year, making this discussion ever more timely.

Let’s dive straight in.

Garmin Fenix 8: User Wishlist

Clear view: Improved display

An upgraded display was one of the top requests among Garmin enthusiasts. Users crave richer color depth, higher screen resolution, and larger overall display sizes. This would enhance readability in any lighting condition, making the watch more usable and visually appealing. And no, a shift from memory-in-pixel (MIP) to AMOLED isn’t desired – that’s the Epix territory.

A reduced bezel size, as we’ve seen on recent Garmin models, would also be a welcome visual upgrade. It would increase the screen real-estate and make the watch prettier to look at.

Power up: Battery life. Longer is always better, but how to achieve it?

Garmin watches are celebrated for their impressive battery life, and the Fenix series is a prime example – especially compared to rivals like the Apple Watch. Still, users dream of going even longer between charges.

More efficient solar panels are a top suggestion for achieving this. Currently, the tech provides a supplemental boost rather than a dramatic increase. Users want solar panels so efficient they could significantly extend time between charges, perhaps even indefinitely for basic watch functionality. This is a tall order: would it require an unacceptably large watch face? Or maybe advancements in energy-efficient processors are the key.

Wireless charging, while convenient, raises concerns too. Does fast wireless charging impact long-term battery health? Traditional charging with cables is robust and reliable – is added convenience worth the potential downsides?

Speak up: Voice prompts, microphone, and the world of possibilities

Voice features could transform the Fenix experience. Workout updates from the watch itself would let users ditch earphones entirely. A microphone paves the way for a fully-fledged virtual assistant – imagine asking your Garmin Fenix 8 “How much sleep did I get last night?” or “Start a 5-mile run”. Voice control for music playback, navigation, and quick settings also adds significant convenience.

Then, there’s the potential for phone calls. While some might balk at talking into their wrist, it’s incredibly useful when your phone isn’t easily accessible. And no one enjoys fumbling to decline a call during exercise. This, plus optional LTE connectivity for standalone functionality, would significantly change the Fenix’s relationship to the wearer’s phone. However, both would dramatically impact battery life.

Light the way: Flashlight feature. A bright idea, but with nuances

A flashlight across the entire Fenix range seems like a no-brainer. This addition would undoubtedly come in handy for those late-night runs or unexpected situations in the wilderness. To remind, for Fenix watches this is only available on 7X and the 7 Pro range.

But how powerful should it be? Is a basic illumination sufficient, or do users want a beam powerful enough to replace a headlamp in a pinch?

Store more: Increased storage space. For what, and how much is enough?

64GB on Garmin Fenix 8 sounds luxurious, but what would users fill it with? Extensive offline map libraries for those trekking truly off-grid make sense. Music lovers want ample space for offline playlists and podcasts to ditch the phone entirely. But there are cost considerations – storage isn’t cheap, and would this feature drive the Fenix’s price into an even more premium category?

Heart of the matter: Sensors galore, but with a focus on accuracy and actionability

Health tracking is a significant aspect of any smartwatch. Users suggested that the heart rate monitor could be improved by allowing them to set the monitoring frequency. This customization would make health tracking more flexible and user-friendly. To remind, Garmin has debuted the Elevate 4 sensor on the 7 Pro watch which offers some improvements over the predecessor generation. Since then we’ve seen the unveil of Elevate 5.

Additional sensors that are mentioned most often are for blood pressure tracking and glucose monitoring. We do see the first of these landing in the next year or two. But glucose monitoring might not happen for another 2-3 years. Another interesting suggestion is for a UV Level reading for solar models. Which certainly seems plausible.

However, Garmin needs to do more than just add sensors. It’s about the actionable insights derived from this data. Can the Fenix go beyond reporting and give proactive recommendations or alerts based on health trends?

Smart wake

Garmin has made impressive strides in sleep tracking recently, introducing features like nap tracking and a personalized Sleep Coach. This coach offers valuable insights into how much sleep your body needs for optimal recovery, considering your unique physiology and training load.

However, one key feature is still missing: Smart Wake. This functionality, found in some competitor devices, goes beyond a simple alarm. It analyzes your sleep cycles and gently wakes you within a set window when you’re in a lighter sleep stage. This can lead to easier mornings and a less jarring transition into your day.

Safety first: distress transmitter

Safety is always a concern, especially for those that like spending time a lot of time outdoors and out of the way areas. Some users suggested the addition of an SOS or distress transmitter that could send distress messages over a certain frequency band. This feature could potentially be a lifesaver in emergency situations.

Light as a feather

A few users expressed a desire for a lightweight version of the Fenix watch. But not at the expense of battery longevity. They suggested some trade-offs, such as ditching solar, touchscreen, wi-fi, and music, and reducing the battery size. This version would cater to more casual athletes and make the watch more comfortable for all-day wear.

But then again, isn’t this something already offered by the Forerunner range? You be the judge.

Additional notes 

Users also prioritized the continued refinement of GPS accuracy and even requested the addition of a scuba diving sensor – broadening the Fenix’s already impressive range of supported activities. Finally, there was a common desire to see Garmin fix any existing Fenix 7 bugs before the Fenix 8’s launch, including ensuring features that worked on the Fenix 6 continue to work flawlessly.

Will Garmin deliver?

Garmin users are dreaming big for the Garmin Fenix 8, demanding a watch that pushes boundaries in versatility, usability, and features designed for serious athletes.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

Now, the spotlight is on Garmin. Will they deliver on these exciting requests? We have no doubt, they are paying attention to the requests posted on their forum. While we can’t be certain which features will make the cut, the wishlist highlights the Fenix 8’s potential to be a true powerhouse.

So, what’s on your Fenix 8 wishlist? Let us know in the comments!

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

6 thoughts on “Garmin users speak out: What they want from the Fenix 8 watch

  • Garmin will fall behind within next year if they don’t release a cellular option on their fenix/epix range. I want a watch that can be your everything if you venture of the beaten track but your lifeline if it’s needed. If Apple improve their battery performance on ultra people will ditch their Garmin overnight! Get it together guys!! Running out of time!!!

  • what about a bigger screen (in same sized housing)? garmin could have an unique selling point by having the most biggest screen ever (on the X-size) – as well would separate the fenix series to the epix series better. the fenix7 has already a slimmer bazel. so why not eliminate this ugly looking solar circle and instead enlarging the screen?

  • I will keep my Fenix 6 PRO until a new Fenix model will allow to manage phone calls from the watch ( watch will be provided with microphone and loudspeaker)… or until battery will perform efficiently! 😅
    Michele from Italy

  • Don’t turn a Fenix into an AW and unrealistic can-do-everything watch. That’s not the target customer base for Fenix. Phone function will eat up battery. If you want PLB function, get a PLB or In Reach. I wouldn’t rely on a wrist watch for latter function. I would like better biosensors including more reliable sleep/recovery, ECG function and much more battery life w enhanced solar use. Flashlight has become a must for me. I use it all the time, day and night. If F8X turns into too much of a smart watch I’m hoping for an Enduro 3.

  • None of the things above would make me sell my current 7X Pro in order to be an 8 for 1100-1200$. Most of the above mention improvements are interesting but not sure they would create enough buzz. And don”t forget that they would want to get the Epix 3 out at the same time with enough improvements to make people spend a lot of money. I just don”t see the justification for that yet!

  • Voice activation -e.g. “garmin – start running”


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