Garmin’s newest smartwatches are even more adventure-ready

The new epix Pro and fēnix 7 Pro high-performance GPS adventure watches offer more advanced features for serious endurance athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
Garmin fēnix 7 Pro on a wrist with the flashlight illuminated
Garmin

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Garmin is well known for its expansive list of rugged fitness watches, with multiple lines specifically tailored to different activity types. And now, the options for adventurers and serious endurance athletes are even more extensive with the announcement of updated Pro versions of the epix and fēnix 7 watches. 

Most of the updates to these premium next-gen. multisport watches are incremental software changes, such as more activity types and new fitness measurement tools. But there are also a few notable hardware and build upgrades, including a new size option and AMOLED display for the epix Pro and an LED flashlight in all three sizes of both the epix Pro and fēnix 7 Pro. Both watches will also benefit from trickle-down features from the new Forerunners.

Garmin epix Pro details

Garmin just debuted its epix 2 line of watches last year. Despite how new the series is, the company is rolling out some worthwhile updates to make it even better in a new Pro version. With vibrant metrics-rich watch faces and extensive sensors/navigation features in a sleek body, the epix Pro remains a great choice for boardroom-to-backcountry adventures and weekend warriors, from climbers and mountaineers to ultra-marathon trail runners. 

Garmin epix Pro

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epix Pro and build changes

The epix came in two sizes—42mm and 47mm—while the Pro version adds a 52mm option for those who really want a statement piece on their wrist. The larger size offers more than just a dramatic look, however. Garmin packed extra battery into the 52mm version, which promises up to 31 days of battery life in smartwatch mode. The 42mm and 47mm both should provide 10 and 16 days of battery life, respectively. 

Like the epix Gen. 2, the Garmin epix Pro will be available in Standard Edition, which features Corning Gorilla Glass and stainless steel case, or the Sapphire Edition, which uses a more durable Sapphire lens and titanium case. And all three sizes get an even brighter upgraded AMOLED display for a colorful, detail-packed watch face. 

All three sizes will offer an LED flashlight, which can vary in intensity and features a strobe mode. We were glad to see the flashlight included even on the smallest watch since it is a potentially game-changing feature. It can illuminate your path while trail running or hiking in the dark and help others see you, which is invaluable if exercising near a road. 

The epix Pro also gets an updated and optimized heart rate sensor. Garmin didn’t provide any information on what exactly that means, but it says these changes will provide “enhanced multisport performance tracking.”

Fitness tracking features

Garmin watches are already robust in their fitness tracking abilities, but the company is not one to just let things be. The epix Pro will offer new activities, which include team sports such as soccer, basketball, and racquet sports, as well as horseback riding and more.

Beyond new tracking modes, Garmin also created new training features. Hill Score gives you a better idea of how your training impacts your ability to run uphill. Uphill segments are automatically detected and analyzed, and that information is combined with other physiological metrics to provide a score from one to 100. It even breaks the score down into Hill Endurance and Hill Strength, which reflect short, fast efforts versus long, sustained climbs. And it offers feedback to improve your training over time. 

The second new feature—Endurance score—looks beyond your VO2 Max, giving a more personalized look at your fitness. It analyzes both short-term and long-term endurance training and takes into account all types of activity, not just running or cycling. And, like Hill Score, it provides training feedback to help you understand your score.

Three new display types on the Garmin epix Pro smartwatch
The epix Pro will offer new terrain maps, a Red Shift Mode for night use, and weather overlays. Garmin

Additional new features

The Garmin epix Pro will provide a unique Red Shift Mode, which changes the display to shares of red. This lessens the impact on your vision when looking at your watch in the dark and reduces any sleep cycle disturbance you might get from the standard display. You can manually turn on this display mode or schedule it to automatically turn on and off based on sunset and sunrise time. And you can even select certain activities that automatically use Red Shift Mode.

Up Ahead mode will allow you to view running points of interest, such as checkpoints and aid stations, right on the map. This allows you to better understand what’s in front of you and plan accordingly on your race or activity. 

The last feature those navigating the backcountry will especially appreciate is the new weather map overlays and relief shading on topographic maps. The weather overlays can display temperature, precipitation, and cloud cover, to help you make more informed decisions on the go. And relief shading will assist in navigation. You can also opt into Outdoor Maps+ for even more map content, including satellite imagery and more detailed maps.  

Garmin epix Pro pricing & availability

The epix Pro is available for purchase as of today, starting at $899.99.

Garmin fēnix 7 Pro

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Garmin fēnix 7 Pro details

Like the epix Pro, most changes to the fēnix 7 Pro are smaller software additions. The fēnix 7 Pro still comes in 42mm, 47mm, or 51mm sizes, though you no longer have the option of a version without solar charging. You can, however, choose between Standard Solar or Sapphire Solar, depending on how robust you want your watch face. 

Like many of Garmin’s new watches lately, including the Instinct 2X, the fēnix 7 Pro will feature an LED flashlight in all sizes. It offers a broad pattern, variable intensities, red safety light, and strobe mode. 

New training features

The fēnix 7 Pro also gets a new heart rate sensor. Garmin says this next-gen sensor utilizes “more spatially diverse optical sensors and sport-specific algorithms.” It should provide even better performance tracking for more activities, giving you even more accurate insight into your training. 

Like the epix Pro, the fēnix 7 Pro will also get the new Endurance Score and Hill Score for better endurance training insight. It also gets its share of new activities, including white water rafting, motocross, overlanding, and dozens more. And the watch will provide access to the weather map overlays, new relief shading, and Up Ahead mode.

Garmin fēnix 7 Pro pricing and availability

All versions of the fēnix 7 Pro are available for purchase at a starting price of $799.99.

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Abby Ferguson

PopPhoto Associate Editor of Gear & Reviews

Abby Ferguson is the Associate Editor for Gear and Reviews at PopPhoto, joining the team in 2022. She has been involved with the photography industry in various capacities since her undergraduate training at the University of Kentucky, with work ranging from client photography to program development and management of the photo department at Evolve, a vacation rental company. Education within the photography sphere has always been a big focus for Abby. She strives to help new and experienced photographers alike better understand the technology and techniques necessary to succeed within the medium.