Garmin Fenix 7 In-Depth Review: 17 Things to Know!
com and today your full in depth, review and 17 new things to know about the new garmin fenix 7 series now ive been using these watches the past month and a half out swim bike run hiking doing all the things both outdoors and Indoors, to figure out where these watches work well and where they still need a little bit of love. Now, im going to take you through all the new features, explain how they work and because this video isnt sponsored in any way shape or form im going to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly as well now, in addition to that, garment also released A new epic series watch, which is essentially a phoenix 7 series with an amoled display and ive, got a separate video on that up in the corner there, our full in depth review as well as a second video that compares the phoenix 7 series to the epics With all the nitty gritty details in terms of all those nuances that might not be so obvious unless youve used it for quite a while now before we get into all those new features, we first need to talk about all the models, because there is a lot To choose from, but the general concept remains the same as the phoenix 6 series you have the 7s, which is a smaller watch. You have the 7 in the middle and the 7x at the upper end from a size standpoint and then for each of those three watches theres, both a solar as well as a solar, sapphire edition and then sapphire not only indicates the actual glass.
On the surface of the watch, but also, more importantly, in my opinion, the fact that it has multi band gps as well as larger storage and well talk about what all that means a little bit later on in the review now to be clear. All of the models, whether they are the base models, the solar, the sapphire models, all have, storage, all have maps all have music and all have contactless payments. So pricing wise, heres, a quick chart showing you all those prices from 6.99 up to 11.99. As you can see, there are way too many models to try to read off so ill. Just let you do that by yourself by hitting the pause button thats about 100 increase over the past, with the phoenix 6 series likely because of the fact they all have storage on there, as well as maps and music. Okay. So with pricing out of the way lets talk about some of these new features, and the first feature is the new touchscreen, its still a color screen like in the past. But now it has touch on it and it still has buttons like in the past. But now you can use both buttons or touch. However, you see fit. Probably the most useful scenario for the touch screen is simply maps while youre out hiking like this, i can just simply swipe on the screen and move around to see where i am on the map, its relatively similar, in that context, to what coros has done with Our chorus, vertex, 2 or frankly, any other touch watch in the past couple of years.
You can, of course, also use the touch to swipe through the menus on the watch and move around all the things you would normally expect, but garm is built in a ton of different options if you want to turn off the touch so by default, for example, When you go out for a workout for the very first time, touch is actually disabled unless you explicitly enable it for that particular workout profile, and then itll save your settings that workout profile from there on out. Similarly, you can go ahead and disable touch while youre asleep, for example, so that you dont accidentally like touch your watch and do something weird to it. Theres a lot of ways you can customize this. So if youre not really a touch person, you dont have to use it in terms of touch screen, responsiveness, its pretty good, whether it be dry or wet. I havent had any real issues there. My overall preference, though, is just to use buttons mainly because, if im open water swimming or if im doing something in cold weather with gloves, i just know its easier to use the buttons and they work every single time. But ultimately now you have the choice to do whatever you want and hey a quick note if youre finding this video interesting, useful, informative or something like that, go ahead and consider subscribing down at the bottom there or hit the like button. Both of those really do help out this channel and the video quite a bit next up, we got probably the coolest geek feature if you will on the phoenix 7 series, which is the new flashlight.
I know this is something that sounds like vaguely silly at first, but its actually super useful in real world scenarios, so this is only on the fenix 7x, so the larger edition. Now the flashlight has three kind of core cases. The first one is simply just a flashlight to use day to day around the house, whatever you might need to do. Ive used it like changing a babys diaper at night, like that sort of like sounds silly walking around the house. You just double tap the button. There and it turns on the flashlight – there are two white leds on the front, as well as one red leds and in terms of brightness, its actually not much different than my phone, its pretty much the same ballpark there and i can use it in roughly the Same way, uh you can control the brightness and what the settings are in the menus. The second scenario used in the flashlight isnt sports and within that youve got a bunch of different blink and strobe modes that you can choose from. You also have one for running where actually will match your cadence and, in theory, itll go ahead and show the white light, while your wrist is forward and then the red light. While your wrist is back id say that, while the execution of that isnt quite exact, it gets the point across whether im running on trails or in the city or on the side of a bike path.
People at least know im there and its handy. If i dont have a separate light, while im running ive also used a flash shot on my bike, when i was a little bit later than i expected to, and my batteries were dead and my bike lights so thats, something that you can do as well and Then the third scenario is an sos signal that you can trigger in emergency cases, and i know some will say a flashlight unwearable is silly, but its no more silly than a flashlight on a phone, because now i can actually use my hands while im doing something And its certainly bright enough to light up the general area around what im doing for kind of impromptu stuff. The next new feature is the multiband gps or sometimes called dual frequency gps. Essentially, it is the holy grail of gps accuracy, at least thats. The theory anyways. The idea being that you can dramatically increase the number of gps satellites that you have access to to ensure and get a better position, but theres a catch here. In fact, probably a couple different catches, the first that its only available on the sapphire models, its assuming youve, got the sapphire edition. You can go ahead and enable it in the sport profile for a given sport or enable it watch wide and the way it works. You go down into the satellite settings and youll see an option there for all systems plus multi band.
That means its going to use everything its got and its going to burn through way more battery. Doing that, in fact, you can see on the screen here. Some very quick battery comparisons between multi band and non multi band uh in terms of what that burns. But what about accuracy? Now, overall, in my testing of multiband gps, including the coros vertex 2, as well as the epics and the phoenix 7 series im, like mostly shrug, i mean yeah its generally pretty good, but its also generally not like incredibly spectacular uh. There are certainly cases very few cases for like very short distances next to some cliffs or things like that, where it might be slightly better, i say might because theres other times where ive shown its not better its just the same as any other gps watch over The last couple years, in effect, if you want to dive into all my gps tracks over the past month and a half from swim to bike, to run cliffs open water, you name it thats, linked all down there in the bottom of the description. Next up theres the new up ahead feature. This allows you to go ahead and put pre defined icons along with waypoint names in your routes that you see on a glanceable page, while youre out hiking or doing whatever sport. It is that you want to do. Of course, waypoints are nothing new to gps, watches theyve been around for many many years.
What garmin has done here, though, is just made up a simple glanceable sheet that you can quickly get to and figure out how far it is to that next waypoint. So heres an example from a couple days ago, where i created a route first on commute, and then i imported it to garmin connect from there. I assigned a bunch of different waypoints, theyve got roughly 50 or so different types to choose from that are standardized and i can add whatever names i want to from a tech standpoint. So the icons are predefined, but you can add whatever the heck names that you want. You can do this on both garmin connect or as well as garmin connect mobile once youre out in the trail. You see the distance to the next waypoint as well as additional waypoints beyond that, and then once you pass a given waypoint itll make a little chirp, letting you know you passed it and then continue on to the next waypoint okay. So the next feature is the new map manager, and this is notable because all models now have maps for all places in the world. So the main difference, though, is that if you have a base model or a solar model without the sapphire, this is true of both the phoenix 7 or the epics. Then you have 16 gigs of storage versus the sapphire editions have 32 gigs of storage, and the reason that matters here is that garmin has not preloaded the maps on the 16 gig editions ill put a quick size estimate on the size of those maps.
Up on the screen right now, but you can basically see that you cant necessarily download all of north america and all of europe onto the same watch. At the same time, i wish that garment was split apart, north america and perhaps canada and the u.s. So you could do that still. The key thing here, though, is the fact that youre getting all the maps you want to in the world for free, theyre, the topo active maps, so they include the popularity routing and all the data that garmin has from their back end, about which trails people actually Use its worth, noting, however, that these downloads over wi fi, are incredibly slow, youre, looking at roughly one hour per two to two and a half gigs, so north america, europe is going to take you over four hours to download. So next up is the new stamina feature think of this as like body battery, but for just a given workout or race, the idea here being its tracking two core things: your long term, potential energy and your short term potential energy, for example, in an interval workout That short term stamina is going to fluctuate a lot as you go and you do a hard interval, and then you recover its going to recover that potential stamina. And then you do it again. Rinse repeat all the way to the end. But in the case of a longer term endurance race to workout youre, going to see that long term energy decline, almost the exact same rate as your potential short term energy and the way it does that it shows you how much time or intensity youve left at That exact moment for that current intensity now heres an example from an interval work out of mind back a little while ago, and you can see how, as i went through, that interval workout my overall long term continued decreased steadily.
But my short term went up and down as it went through the different intervals. Meanwhile, this ride from yesterday was an epic seven hour, long ride up top of that thing up there. In that case, you can see the decline is very, very steady, because the fact that my effort was very very steady and, ironically, i end up with zero percent. When all was said and done, like i literally emptied the tank now was that accurate? I dont know it was close. Like i would say i was absolutely beat after seven hours of riding in the sun. I would also say, though i probably could have gone – maybe another five to ten kilometers with the right motivation, but i think its relatively close to where it needs to be. Next up. We got a biggie. You can finally actually change your settings on a phone for the watch, its as simple as that you can now go ahead and configure almost all the settings on the watch from the phone itself. Stubby data pages data fields, the actual settings like gps settings, workout settings virtually everything – is changeable from your smartphone to the watch. You can go to configure different sport profiles. Almost everything is now available on a smartphone. There are like a handful of features youll find here and there that you cant do. For example, you cant use the map manager from the smartphone to configure the watch, so you got to do that from the watch itself, but almost everything like day to day usage can now be configured on the phone itself.
Now theres. Certainly some opportunity for garmin to improve a few things here over time. For example, this is like one user interface hell its basically just a gigantic whole pile of settings its like they looked at it when yeah thatll do donkey and i get it. Ive often said. Stop trying to boil the ocean with respect to this, stop trying to fix all the things just start somewhere and to be fair, theyve started somewhere. Next up is a relatively quick and easy one, which is the new garmin ski view. Now ski view is essentially just a rebranded version of their skiing stuff in the past, except with some notable changes. Number one is that youve now got resort names shown as well as all the run names are shown and number two cross country. Ski trails are now added into the maps, whereas previously those didnt exist at all, also notable here is that the ski maps are actually pre loaded on all watches, so bass, solar, sapphire, doesnt, really matter mostly because its just small enough its about 250 megs. For those details so its something that fits easily across all the skus without much impact okay, next up, we got the new gen, 4 optical heart rate sensor has been added to the phoenix 7 series. This is something garmin introduced a little under a year ago with the venue, 2 series and then added to the 945 lte last summer, its essentially just their latest version of their optical heart rate sensor.
That sensor is responsible for your 24×7 heart rate, as well as your workout heart rate, also breathing rate and pulse ox or your blood oxygen level. All comes from that sensor. In terms of accuracy, i find in general its pretty good. My results here were pretty much consistent with what i saw on the venue 2 and the 945, which is say that it works across a wide variety of sports. It even does well, in my case in interval workouts both running as well as cycling, but where it tends to struggle a little bit. Is things where your wrists are very very tight, for example, downhill descending on a bike, in that case its not quite as optimal, but you can still always connect an amp plus or bluetooth. Smart heart rate sensor uh, if the accuracy isnt good enough for you ive. Also got all those heart rate accuracy details in the in depth, review that i mentioned earlier on, which then dives right into the next one, which is the new health snapshot feature. This is something that was also introduced on the venue 2 last year, and it basically is a two minute test where you sit down and you do nothing which is like my kind of test. I like this sort of thing in this test, its going to measure five core things: your resting heart rate, your breathing rate, your stress levels, your pulse ox or blood oxygenation level, as well as your hrv and after the end of the two minutes.
It creates a little report both on the watch as well as on garmin connect. You can even export out that as a pdf, if you want to, and while thats handy the one downside, theres no way to trend the hrv values and ostensibly the reason for doing a health snapshot is that you can control the exact time its done. So you can say every day, five minutes after i wake up, for example, to do a health snapshot so its consistent. But in this case you cant easily see. Are those values consistent over time, so thats something id like to see as a way to trend. Just my health snapshot metrics over time to see if those things are changing in a more consistent way. Next, up a couple, quick activity, profile changes, garmin has added a new activity profile or sport profile for kite boarding, as well as kite surfing theyve. Also added a new feature called speed pro and on top of that, theyve rolled in the high intensity interval, training, workout or structured workouts that theyve introduced on the venue 2 series. Additionally, garmin has added new chart afterwards and running modes that will automatically plot your run. Walk and standing portions speaking of tracking garmin has also added new historical trends for the race predictor feature. So if you were to go dive into the menus and into the vo2 max menu, youll see your vo2 max change over time. But one of the things that drives behind the scenes is the race prediction features for your 5k, 10k half marathon and marathon times, but theres no way to see if those race predictions were actually changing over time.
Now you can, when you look at those widgets to see a little graph to see if theyre, trending or changing. But the key thing to remember is that those race predictions are driven largely in part by the vo2 max estimate, and the vo2 max estimate is in turn, most accurate when youre doing high intensity workouts. So things that really push your body and allow the watch to figure out are you actually at the edge of what youre capable of which is to say that its most accurate? If you go off and do a hard tempo run or a really hard interval, workout versus just doing a lot of steady state workouts. Okay for this next one regarding solar ive got to pull up. My handy dandy notes because theres a lot of numbers about to fly your way, but essentially garmin has increased the battery life via solar in three core ways. Number one is theyve increased the size, the solar panel itself by 54 compared to the previous generation, for example, the 7x to the 6x number two theyve increased, the efficiency of the solar panel, so in other words, how much energy does it get from the sun? In number, three theyve increased the efficiency of the underlying hardware and os itself, so that means changes to the chipsets and whats used internally. The unit itself, as well as changes the firmware and the software that runs on it to be more battery efficient, all of which results in this gigantic chart of changes to battery levels across the different models.
It also means that the solar ring is more visible than it would have been on the six series, because it is actually quite a bit bigger in terms of the actual surface area on the watch itself. Now in terms of garmins numbers there, they reference three hours. A day at 50, 000 lux conditions uh for context right now, this exact moment the 7s is showing me full sun at roughly 60 000 lux hours. Now. This is the middle of winter here in january, but im also in a place thats, clearly very, very sunny. So for some people that may not use a gps side of the watch a lot you probably could get forever power if youre spending a fair bit of time outdoors through work or just simply joining the outdoors, but for other people that are spending a lot of Time with gps, either indoors or in the winter, or places that arent that sunny youre, probably still gon na, have to charge it just about the same as used to next up. There are a slew of graphical changes in the user interface and these come in a bunch of different places: im just gon na rattle through them, uh. First off, when you finish a workout youll see that the way it shows that summary data is now a little bit different in the past, a little more clear, especially on the training focus areas. It makes that kind of more obvious.
The next area is youll, see new charts that are available as data fields, so heres an example of a chart during a hike showing my heart rate as well as my elevation, but you can customize your charts. However, you want simply as new data fields that actually have charts within them, so its kind of cool, oh and the one other benefit of the touch screen is that on the watch face now, if you were to go ahead and long hold on any of those Given data points there, for example, your steps itll bring you right to the steps widget for a deeper dive into that data. Another new feature added is the garmin connect iq store on the watch itself. Now this allows you to go ahead and browse some top app recommendations. It doesnt allow you to browse the entire app store, so consider like a very basic first gen version of this, but this is the first time weve seen it on the watch itself. Garmin teased. This last fall as part of their connect, iq developer summit and now its here on the watch and, last but not least, yeah its kinda least its a couple of hardware, things uh. First off its a tiny bit, thinner, uh and the number two theyve got. Ta. Add button guards so around that top right hand button the stop and start button. There youve now got this little bit of kind of like protective area that keeps your jacket from pressing that stop and start button uh, while youre out doing workouts or whatever the case may be, and then two theyve added like a layer to the top holes there.
For better protection and styling uh, as i said, its, not super exciting, but you know for some people its like their jam. Okay, so with all those new features covered. Where do we stand on things well, overall, its very, very good, both in terms of like day to day usage as well, sport tracking its largely spot? The challenge, though ive got, is that ive also been using the epics as well side by side like epics on one wrist phoenix 7 on the other wrist and as good as the phoenix 7 is. The epics display is just so much better and the battery life. There is pretty solid im getting six days consistently on that watch across the board, with workouts and stuff like that, including always on mode. So for me, and my daily usage, where i dont need to go out and do like a 70 hour workout or something like that, i am perfectly fine with epics and the things like the solar and the flashlight as great as they may be. I really prefer that nicer end display now, of course, addition to this video. I also have a user interface video on the phoenix 7. So if you want to go through like a really long form, i think its like 30 or 40 minutes long, a video of just walking through all these features, step by step a little more slowly. A bit more casual then check out that video up in the corner there, or always just simply hit the subscribe button for plenty more sports technology, goodness because january is packed.
This week is packed with new things, and you dont want to miss any of it.