Gear Review: New Garmin Releases

The Garmin Epix GPS running watch.

Train smarter, not harder with the new GPS running watch options from Garmin. This year, Garmin introduced three new watches to their lineup – the Epix Gen 2, the Venu 2 Plus and the fenix 7. While these are all upgrades to existing models, they provide unique and innovative features that previous versions didn’t have.

The latest Garmin releases were tested by Caroline on our review team during long runs, cross training and even race days. Here’s what you need to know.

Tech Specs

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Garmin fenix 7 Sapphire Solar

Garmin Epix Gen 2

Dimensions

43.6 x 12.6 mm

47 x 14.5 mm

47 x 14.5 mm

Weight

51 g

58 g

76 g

Water rating

5 ATM

10 ATM

10 ATM

Heart rate monitor

wrist-based

wrist-based

wrist-based

Battery life

9 days (smartwatch mode)

24 hours (GPS mode)

18-22 days (smartwatch mode)

57-73 hours (GPS mode)

16 days (smart watch mode)

42 hours (GPS mode)

Band size

20 mm

20 mm

22 mm

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus offers everything you need to monitor your training in a sleek, lightweight package.

Heart rate monitoring, pulse oximetry capability, sleep monitoring and more allow you to analyze your body’s response to training and make adjustments as needed. Plus, GPS monitoring and 25 preloaded sports apps make it easy to get and stay moving.

“I really liked how easy it was to navigate the Garmin Venu 2 Plus. Even though this watch has so many different features, everything was laid out in a very intuitive way,” Caroline says.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is operated with both a touch screen and buttons. Smartphone capability with a built-in microphone allows you to write text messages using voice to text and make and take phone calls.

You can take advantage of safety features, like location sharing, when your watch is connected to your phone. You can also store music to your watch, making it easier to leave your phone behind if you need a break.

“I wore this watch for a 10K race and really appreciated not having to lug my phone around with me. I usually have to wear my phone in my bra or in a belt so that I can have music for my races, but it was really nice to be able to run without it for once,” Caroline says.

If you’re chasing down a PR, use the Garmin Coach feature to prepare for your goal race. Garmin Coach provides you with an adaptable training plan that can be sent right to your watch. The plan will adjust based on your performance during runs and workouts.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus can also help with strength training. Animated, on-screen workouts will help guide you through some of the best routines to compliment your running.

Overall, Caroline appreciated this watch for its simplicity, style and reliability.

“This is the kind of watch that’s perfect for me because it’s not too complicated or technical, but it offers plenty of really cool features that I didn’t even know I needed. I think it would be a great choice for runners who want a do-it-all GPS running watch that helps them stay connected through talk and text,” Caroline says.

Garmin fenix 7 Sapphire Solar

The Garmin fenix Sapphire Solar offers nearly all of the features of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, and then some. The only downgrade is that you can’t make or answer phone calls, and there’s no voice to text option for sending messages. But the fenix 7 is the ultimate GPS running watch for off-road adventurers.

With preloaded maps, an extensive selection of sports apps and advanced topographical features, you can become one with the earth with the Garmin fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.

The Garmin fenix 7 comes with a built-in ABC sensor, featuring an altimeter, a barometer and an electronic compass. Advanced sports features include backcountry ski measurements and an interactive surf display depicting a 3D image of the waves you rode.

The Garmin fenix 7 sapphire solar edition.

“I couldn’t believe how many sports options there were on this GPS running watch. Skiing, surfing, golfing and rowing…this watch would work for so many types of athletes besides just runners,” Caroline says.

If you’re preparing for a workout or lining up for a race, use Garmin’s Pace Pro technology to stay on pace and make adjustments depending on the upcoming grade of the course. Plus, Wi-Fi connectivity ensures you’ll never lose your connection.

What makes the Garmin fenix 7 Sapphire Solar edition stand out is its solar charging lens that uses the sun to extend battery life. The Garmin fenix 7 Sapphire Solar can go for up to 22 days in smartwatch mode or 72 hours in GPS mode while using solar charging. This makes it the perfect GPS running watch for runners who like to tackle extreme distances, such as multi-day races and ultramarathons.

Caroline appreciated the peace of mind that came with built-in incident detection during activities like running, biking and hiking.

“The amount of features on this running watch was honestly a little bit overwhelming to someone like me, who strictly runs on the roads. But it was nice to know that I never really had to worry about battery life or losing signal with this watch,” Caroline says.

Garmin Epix Gen 2

The Garmin Epix Gen 2 offers the same advanced features as the fenix 7, plus an elevation acclimation tool and more advanced navigation system. However, it doesn’t offer solar charging.

A large, bright watch face gives the appearance of an analog watch while functioning as a high-powered digital smartwatch. The Garmin Epix Gen 2 features an “always on” display, meaning the watch face is always backlit. No more shaking your watch up and down to make it light up while running in the dark. You can put your watch in sleep mode to turn off the display.

The Garmin Epix Gen 2 offers the same advanced features as the fenix 7, including preloaded activities, animated workouts, Garmin coach, and an ABC sensor.

The Garmin Epix Gen 2

The Epix Gen 2 also features an elevation and acclimation tool, measuring your body’s adaptation to high elevation. An advanced navigation system offers round trip routing and turn by turn directions, so you never have to worry about getting lost. These extra features make the Epix Gen 2 is a great running watch for athletes who frequently travel and explore new destinations.

“This is a watch that really seems to do it all. The only downside is that it felt pretty heavy during my runs, so it’s not a watch I’d wear for running unless I really needed all the features,” Caroline says.

The Garmin Epix Gen 2 lasts for up to 16 days in smartwatch mode and 42 hours in GPS mode.

“The advanced navigation system and reliable battery life helped me run with peace of mind,” Caroline says.

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