The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) takes the best features of the newly released Fenix 7 and adds a bright AMOLED touchscreen display. It feels like a final coat of polish for what was already a superb sport watch, providing crisp graphs and vivid maps that are easy to read in any lighting conditions.
This stunning screen comes at a price though – not just monetarily (this is the most expensive Garmin watch to date), but in terms of battery life as well. The Fenix 7 kept running for two weeks between charges during our tests, but the Epix (Gen 2) lasted just six days.
That’s not at all shabby for an AMOLED watch (if you opt for an Apple Watch instead then you’ll need to charge it every night), but if you enjoy off-grid adventures then it’s definitely something to bear in mind. In fact, Garmin itself says that the Epix is best suited to people who enjoy training in the gym with the occasional outdoor workout sprinkled in, rather than those who exercise exclusively outdoors.
If you’re confused about the name, the original Garmin Epix launched in 2018, and although it was widely praised for its impressive range of features (including a touchscreen for navigating maps), it was also chunky and cumbersome to wear. The company decided that the technology wasn’t quite ready yet, and put the touchscreen smartwatch on the back burner until 2022 when its engineers were able to fit the necessary hardware into a 45mm diameter case.
Price and release date
The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) was released on January 18, 2022 (the same day as the Garmin Fenix 7). It’s one of the company’s most expensive watches to date, costing $899.99 / £799.99 / AU$1,399 for a model with a stainless steel bezel and Corning Gorilla Glass covering the face, or $999.99 / £899.99 / AU$1,499 for a sapphire crystal lens and a titanium bezel.
If you’re in the UK or Australia, there’s also a model with sapphire crystal and a titanium bezel, plus a chestnut leather strap rather than the standard silicone, priced at £999.99 / AU$1,549.
For comparison the Fenix 7 starts at $699.99 / £599.99 / AU$1,049 for the standard version, rising to $999.99 / £859.99 / AU$1,499 for the top-tier Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar.
The Garmin Epix looks much like the Fenix 7 at first glance, with the same rugged design. Visible screws on the lugs give it an industrial look, as does the brushed metal finish. The body is made from fiber-reinforced polymer, with either stainless steel or titanium covering the front and back. This ‘sandwich’ structure helps keep weight down while ensuring the watch can withstand its share of knocks.
Unlike watches in the Fenix line, the Epix (Gen 2) comes in only one size. Its case measures 47mm in diameter, which is the same as most standard sports watches, though, at 14.5mm thick, it’s chunkier than average. Nevertheless, it doesn’t feel overwhelming on a smaller wrist, and at 76g including the strap (70g for the sapphire/titanium editions), it’s not excessively heavy.
If you fancy a different look, the Epix (Gen 2) accepts 22mm Garmin QuickFit bands, which come in a wide array of materials and colors, and are easy to remove and swap – just push down the plastic tabs on the underside of the band to release it.
The case has Garmin’s usual five-button design, with the start button at the top right picked out in red, and protected by a little bump on either side to prevent accidental presses or damage when you’re on the move (a smart touch since this is the only way to pause an activity in progress).
The real star here, however, is the stunning AMOLED display. Our main criticism of the Fenix 7 was that its color memory-in-pixel display lacked contrast, and was muddied by its blue backlight. There’s no such issue with the Epix (Gen 2), which is every bit as striking as 2021’s Garmin Venu 2.
Garmin’s official figures state that the Epix (Gen 2) can keep running for up to 16 days in smartwatch mode (or six days in always-on mode), up to 42 hours with GPS enabled (or 30 hours in always-on mode), or up to 75 hours in max battery GPS mode, which tracks your position periodically rather than continuously.
In our tests, with always-on disabled and tracking an average of one activity per day, we found that the Epix’s battery lasted around six days before the low power alert kicked in. That’s a big difference from the Fenix 7 we tested recently, which kept trucking for around two weeks in the same circumstances.
Read More: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/garmin-epix-gen-2