Garmin Fenix 7 review

King of the outdoors

₹ 82,990

There are smartwatches that look like futuristic versions of traditional timepieces, and then there are smartwatches that you’d want to wear through a zombie apocalypse. The Garmin Fenix 7, currently on our wrists, falls in the latter category. But with a design that screams Spartathlon more than a black-tie event, and prices starting from ₹82,990, is it worth your consideration? Read on. 

Design and Display: Built like a tank

If the Apple Watch 7 is a swanky sports car on your wrist, then the Fenix 7 reminds you of a tank. It has that military-like utilitarian design vibe similar to chunky G-Shock watches. It’s even built like a tank with generous use of fibre-reinforced polymer and metal. 
This functional design is also carried over to the display, which is a 1.3in transflective colour LCD screen. It may not be drool-worthy like an OLED display, but it is sharp and easy-to-read outdoors even on the harshest of summer days. At night, a backlight comes on with a press of a button to help see in the dark.

Unlike previous-gen models, there’s touch support which works just as you’d expect from a modern smartwatch. It is easy to move through screens and menus using touch but the input is not very reliable during workouts and that’s where the five physical buttons come into play. 
The two buttons on the right are used to start/stop activities, and to mark laps or back a screen. On the left are three buttons, the top-most to activate the backlight, and the bottom two for scrolling up and down. This mix of physical buttons and touch input are genuinely a great way to use a smartwatch.

Fitness tracking: Personal coach 24x7

To say that the Fenix 7 is capable of tracking practically every activity under the sun is not an understatement. There are over 60 activities preloaded on the watch, and many more are available on the Connect IQ app. 
One can track everything from walking, running, hiking, swimming, surfing, rowing, gymming, and dedicated modes for HIIT where it is easy to set the number of rounds and intervals. There’s also support for a variety of sports, for instance, golfers can download different courses onto their watch, for tracking and in-depth analysis. 
Garmin has a history of making some great watches for runners, and this one’s no different. In addition to calculating the usual stuff like speed, calories burnt and distance, there’s now a new metric – stamina. 
It essentially tells you how much juice you have in your body, and lets you alter your pace accordingly. It takes into account your training history, and metrics like heart rate, VO2 Max and more to give you a dynamic read while you’re running. The energy bar goes down as you keep running, and while it doesn’t mean that you’re going to shut down as soon as the bar hits zero, it is a great indication of how much energy you have left in you.
In our testing, we found the data collected by the smartwatch to be quite accurate, and in line with other premium fitness trackers.

Software: Data overload

Speaking of data, the watch connects to your phone via the Garmin Connect app, and the process is quite straightforward. The data analysis and the way it is presented to users is among the most detailed we’ve seen so far. You get a fair idea of what your body has gone through during your last workout, and everything is presented in a way that will put your local gym trainer to shame. 
Garmin also encourages you to download the Connect IQ app, which is like a store of sorts to download watch faces, apps, and more.

Battery: Solar power FTW

Another ace up the Fenix 7’s sleeves is the battery life, which is calculated in weeks and not hours. In the past couple of weeks since getting our hands on the watch, we’ve only charged it once.

Enabling all features and notifications, and also working out a couple of hours a day doesn’t seem to have much effect on the overall battery life. Even when pushing it to the max, the battery life will last over a week. 
The ongoing heatwave in Mumbai isn’t good for us humans to be outdoors, but it’s a paradise for the Fenix 7. With support for solar charging, you can actually extend the watch’s battery life by a few hours by being under direct sunlight.

Verdict: Should you buy it?

There’s no straightforward way to answer this question. For one the ₹82,990+ price tag puts it out of reach for many. There are also more affordable smartwatches out there that are more ‘smartwatch’ than the Fenix 7.
But if you’re serious about being and getting fit, a professional athlete or simply consider physical activities as being an integral part of your lifestyle, then the Garmin Fenix 7 is absolutely the watch for you as very few come close to being as good as it is.

Stuff Says

The Bear Grylls of smartwatches that can go anywhere and track anything, with weeks worth of battery life.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Outstanding battery life with solar charging

  1. Built like a tank

  1. Tracks every activity under the sun

  1. Transflective display not for everyone

  1. Not as smart as a smartwatch

  1. Expensive

Display: 1.3in (260 x 260 pixels) colour transflective MIP
Battery life: Up to 18 days / Up to 22 days (solar)
Memory: 16GB
Sensors: Optical heart rate, Pulse Ox, altimeter, barometer, compass
Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Water rating: 10 ATM
Weight: 79 grams