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Top Garmin Watches of 2022 | Instinct 2/2S vs fenix 7 vs epix (Gen 2)


Compare the NEW Garmin Instinct® 2/2S vs fēnix® 7 vs epix™ (Gen 2) Rugged Outdoor GPS Watches!

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Garmin Instinct 2/2S 
Garmin fēnix 7
Garmin epix (Gen 2)

So far in 2022, Garmin has released 3 new solid lineups of GPS sport smartwatches loaded with Garmin sport, health, and smart features and enhanced battery life while bringing an experience to your wrist that is as unique as you are!

For this article, we've rounded up and compared these top 4 Garmin GPS smartwatches so you can find the one that perfectly pairs with who you are and what you do! The contenders are:

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Garmin Instinct 2/2S vs fēnix 7 vs
epix 2 vs Forerunner 945


Garmin Instinct 2/2S — The Best Rugged GPS Watch

The Garmin Instinct 2/2S is this GPS giant's evolution of the original rugged Instinct watch series with upgrades in battery life, size options, and even a new edition—the Instinct 2 dezl, a GPS smartwactch created specifically for professional truck drivers. This not a surprising move, considering this lineup was created for specific sports, activities, and pursuits that are as at home in tough environments and unique as you are!

Garmin Instinct 2/2S watches are made of fiber-reinforced polymer and built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock, and water resistance (rated to 100 meters). And like you—they bring fresh, new, bold style to whatever they do!

Garmin Instinct 2 Series Size & Models

The Instinct 2/2S lineup has become more refined, no doubt, based on cusumer demand. What got edited out: the Esports gaming watch, Tactical Edition (non-solar), and Solar–Camo Edition. What's new? The Instinct dezl and a new size option for smaller wrists—the Instinct 2S! Here's the lineup:

  • Instinct 2/2S
  • Instinct 2/2S Solar
  • Instinct 2/2S Camo
  • Instinct 2/2S Surf
  • Instinct 2/2S Solar–Surf Edition
  • Instinct 2 Solar–Tactical Edition (not available in 2S)
  • Instinct 2 dezl (not available in 2S)

Instinct 2/2S Battery Life

Garmin Instinct 2S, Instinct 2S Camo, Instinct 2S Surf

Smartwatch: Up to 21 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 50 days
GPS: Up to 22hrs
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 54hrs
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 25 days

Garmin Instinct 2, Instinct 2 Camo, Instinct 2 Surf, Instinct 2 dezl

Smartwatch: Up to 28 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 65 days
GPS: Up to 30hrs
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 70hrs
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 32 days

Garmin Instinct 2S Solar, Instinct 2S Solar–Surf

Smartwatch: Up to 21 days/51 days with solar
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 50 days/Unlimited with solar
GPS: Up to 22hrs/28 hrs with solar
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 54hrs/114 hrs with solar
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 25 days/105 days with solar

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar, Instinct 2 Solar–Surf, Instinct 2 Solar–Tactical

Smartwatch: Up to 28 days/Unlimited with solar
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 65 days/Unlimited with solar
GPS: Up to 30hrs/48 hrs with solar
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 70hrs/370 hrs with solar
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 32 days/Unlimited with solar

Instinct 2/2S Maps & Navigation

All Instinct 2/2S rugged GPS watches offer multi-GNSS (multiple global navigation satellite systems—GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo). Next-level navigation with ABC sensors, including an altimeter for elevation data, barometer to monitor weather, and three-axis electronic compass. TracBack routing to navigate the same route back to your starting point. Plus make your way with point-to-point navigation, back to start, distance to destination, barometric trend indicator with Storm Alert, projected waypoint, Sight 'N Go, area calculation, and XERO™ Locations. Finally, dual-format GPS coordinates with latitude and longitude references offer unparalleled situational awareness.

For the Instinct 2 dezl Rugged GPS Watch

Pair with the dēzl™ app for access to loyalty programs from some of the nation’s leading travel plazas, including Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J Travel Centers. Save time and improve efficiency with PrePass® notifications of upcoming U.S. weigh stations and bypass decisions; requires active PrePass account and use of the dēzl app on your compatible smartphone.

Training & Performance Data

With all Instinct 2/2S watches you can train smarter with a lot more preloaded activity profiles for running, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, and more! All Instinct 2 watches have also gotten a major performance metrics powerup with new training features like VO2 Max, Training Status, Training Load, and Race Predictor—features previously found on Garmin's higher-end watches like fēnix 7 and Forerunner 945!

Instinct 2/2 Surf & Solar–Surf Edtions

Record the number of waves surfed, maximum speed, and distance by using the surf activity profile; tide data lets you stay up to date on ocean conditions. Windsurfing and kiteboarding activities let you measure your GPS position, speed, distance and heart rate; plus, see elevation for your kiteboarding jumps.

Instinct 2 Solar–Tactical Edition

Enable stealth mode to stop storing and sharing your GPS position and disable wireless connectivity and communication. Use jumpmaster mode to calculate high-altitude release points according to military guidelines and helps to navigate you to your objective once you’ve jumped. Easily switch between daytime view and nighttime view with a screen that can be read by night vision goggles.

Instinct 2 dezl

Pair with the dēzl™ app on your compatible smartphone for access to workout tutorials that fit within standard break times.

Instinct 2/2S Case Sizes

Garmin Instinct 2 — All Editions (Instinct, Solar, Camo, Surf, Solar–Surf, Solar–Tactical, dezl)
Case Size : (H x W x D) 45 x 45 x 14.5 mm; Weight: 52g

Garmin Instinct 2S — All Editions (Instinct, Solar, Camo, Surf, Solar–Surf)
Case Size :
(H x W x D) 40x 40 x 13.3 mm; Weight: 42g

Visit our Garmin Outdoor Watch Product Specs page for all the details on the Instinct 2 series.

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Garmin fēnix 7/7S/7X — The Best Outdoor GPS Watch!  

You asked for it, and now the fēnix 7—released on January 18, 2022—has even more battery life, added endurace and stamina-tracking, new multi-band frenquency (Sapphire only), TopoActive mapping access for every size and model—and the cherry on top? A touchscreen!

2022 fēnix 7 Touchscreen

Buttons on an outdoor fitness GPS watch are a must for some, while others prefer the convenience of a touchscreen. So, why shouldn't your high-end outdoor multisport watch have both? Now, the Garmin fēnix 7 lineup does. If you need your trusted 3-button operation that you can rely on through sweat, rain, and any outdoor condition, and don't even have to look at to use—the fēnix 7 still has your back. And when you want the convenience of a touchscreen, that's all yours too!

fēnix 7 Size & Models

Display sizes include:

  • 1.2" fēnix 7S (in standard, Solar, and Sapphire Solar models)
  • 1.3" fēnix 7 (in standard, Solar, and Sapphire Solar models)
  • 1.4" fēnix 7X (available in Solar & Sapphire Solar only)

For an indepth review of the models, check out our Garmin fēnix 7/7S/7X page.

Garmin fēnix 7S / Solar / Sapphire Solar Battery Life

Smartwatch: Up to 11 days/14 days with solar
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 38 days/87 days with solar
GPS Only: Up to 37 hrs/46 hrs with solar
All Satellte Systems: Up to 26 hrs/30 hrs with solar
All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 7 hrs
Max Battery GPS: Up to 90 hrs/162 hrs with solar
Expedition GPS: Up to 26 days/43 days with solar

Garmin fēnix 7 / Solar / Sapphire Solar Battery Life

Smartwatch: Up to 18 days/22 days with solar
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 57 days/173 days with solar
GPS Only: Up to 57 hrs/73 hrs with solar
All Satellte Systems: Up to 40 hrs/48 hrs with solar
All Satellite Systems + Multi-band: Up to 23 hrs/26hrs with solar
All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hrs
Max Battery GPS: Up to 136 hrs/289 hrs with solar
Expedition GPS: Up to 40 days/74 days with solar

Garmin fēnix 7X Solar / Sapphire Solar Battery Life

Smartwatch: Up to 28 days/37 days with solar
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 90 days/ 1+ year with solar
GPS Only: Up to 89 hrs/ 122 hrs with solar
All Satellte Systems: Up to 63 hrs/ 77 hrs with solar
All Satellite Systems + Multi-band: Up to 36 hrs/ 41hrs with solar
All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 16 hrs
Max Battery GPS: Up to 213 hrs/ 578 hrs with solar
Expedition GPS: Up to 62 days/ 139 days with solar

Garmin fēnix 7 Maps & Navigation

All the Garmin fēnix 7 multisport GPS watches—fēnix 7/7S/7X standard, Solar, Sapphire Solar—come preloaded with golf, ski, road & trail maps. The fēnix 7/7S/7X Sapphire Solar models are preloaded with topographic maps, while you can download TopoActive maps onto the standard and Solar models.

The fēnix 7 series has built-in sensors for the 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter; supports multi-GNSS satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo).

Additionally, the fēnix 7/7S/7X Sapphire Solar models offer navigation with a higher level of positioning accuracy, thanks to new multi-band frequency and GNSS network support (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo).

Training & Performance Data

With all fēnix 7 series GPS smartwatches you can level-up with training features, such as GPS speed and distance, interval training, advanced workouts and downloadable training plans, heat and altitude acclimation, VO2 Max (run), Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.), Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC), Training Effect (instantly measures the impact of training on aerobic and anaerobic fitness), finish time, a virtual partner, course guidance, Garmin and Strava live segments, and activity history on watch.

Additionally, the Garmin fēnix 7 series allows you to take your training to the next level with endurance and real-time stamina tracking, in addition to Training Status, advanced performance metrics and 30+ built-in sports apps. Plus, trusted button controls that work in any environment are matched with a highly responsive touchscreen interface for quick, convenient access to selections.

Visit our Garmin Smartwatches Product Specs page for all the details on the fēnix 7 series.

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Garmin epix (Gen 2) — Best Mulitsport Watch Display

It's here! A Garmin fenix GPS watch with an AMOLED touchscreen display! The new Garmin epix (Gen 2) premium multisport GPS watch is, in essence, a fēnix 7 or fēnix 6 Pro with an irresistable edge: improved readability with vibrant colors, sharper images, better viewing angles—and it allows for more information to be viewed on the watch face at once.

Garmin epix (Gen 2) Battery Life

  • Smartwatch Mode: Up to 16 days/6 days always-on
  • Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 21 days
  • GPS Only: Up to 42 hours/30 hours always-on
  • All Satellite Systems: Up to 32 hours/24 hours always-on
  • All Satellite Systems + Multi-Band: Up to 20 hours/15 hours always-on
  • All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hours/9 hours always-on

Garmin epix 2 Maps & Navigation

The epix 2 comes out of box with access to detailed maps for the region it was purchased in (US, Europe, etc.) and includes digital elevation data—download TopoActive mapping via Wi-Fi® connectivity for epix 2 standard, or get it preloaded on Sapphire editions. Move around the map with zoom, pan, and scroll functions. You can see the terrain around you, as well as navigate to points of interest or other places. Additionally, you can create Round-Trip Courses for both running and cycling that allow you to set a given distance and desired direction of travel, and it’ll give you three different courses using Trendline Popularity Routing data. No internet connection required. Finally, you can follow any downloaded courses as well, using Garmin’s smartphone course creator or any other downloaded GPS files. Following these routes, you’ll get instructions on when to turn, and when you’re off-route, allowing you to gain context of what's around you and know things like if you're going along a river or headed toward a mountain.

Training & Performance Data

Like the fēnix 7, the epix (Gen 2) outdoor multisport watch provides GPS speed and distance, interval training, advanced workouts and downloadable training plans, heat and altitude acclimation, VO2 Max (run), finish time, a virtual partner, course guidance, Garmin and Strava live segments, and activity history on watch.

Detailed perfromance metrics, like Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend), Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC), Training Effect (instantly measures the impact of training on aerobic and anaerobic fitness). Garmin Coach and 30+ built-in sports apps mean the epix (Gen 2) is ready to help you you attack your specific goals. And multi-band GNSS (Sapphire editions only) provides enhanced tracking accuracy, whether you're running a mountain trail, paddling through a canyon, or biking through skyscrapers.

epix (Gen 2) Size & Durability

Both the epix 2 standard and Sapphires sport an AMOLED display size of 1.3", a durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX lens, with physical dimensions of 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm. The standard has a steel bezel and weighs 76 grams, while the lighter yet even more durable Sapphire edition has a 70-gram titanium bezel with a sapphire crystal lens for your most rugged adventures. Moreover, all Garmin epix (Gen 2) models are tested to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance (10 ATM) and are Quickfit™ watch band compatible.

Visit our Garmin Smartwatches Product Specs page for all the details on the epix (Gen 2).

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Forerunner 945 Multisport GPS Running Watch  

You need functionality, precision, and options when chasing down your insane goals, and the Garmin Forerunner 945 has all this and more to help you analyze and optimize your performance.

Forerunner 945 Battery Life

  • Smartwatch mode: Up to 2 weeks:
  • GPS mode: Up to 36 hours
  • GPS with music: Up to 10 hours

FR 945 Performance Data & Sports Apps

This 100% multisport watch for runners is loaded with the best tracking and navigation tools, including Multi-GNSS offering GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS, for more advanced tracking in challenging enviroments—perfect for long runners and riders. You'll also get ABC sensors—an altimeter for elevation data, a barometer to monitor weather, and a 3-axis electronic compass. Plus cornucopia of preloaded maps and must-have there-and-back features.

Store up to 200 hours of activity data, allowing you to go back and analyze your past several workouts without needing an app. The Forerunner 945 offers wrist-based heart rate and 18 Firstbeat metrics, which are advanced performance analytics for stress, recovery, and exercise. Garmin Coach and built-in sports apps, running dynamics on your cadence, stride, contact time, balance, and more offer insight on your form so you can adjust and improve. For connectivity, you can count on Bluetooth®, ANT+®, and Wi-Fi® to pair with power meters, HRM-straps, bike computers, and your favorite training platforms.

Stay safe and connected with Assistance and Incident Detection features. Not only does it provide sport modes and training for running, biking, and swimming, but you can practice competing with Garmin and Strava Live segments.

Bonus: with this smart triathlon watch, you can stream your music and podcast to your bluetooth headphones and store up to 1,000 songs on watch for phone-free listening.

Forerunner 945 Case Size & Durability

  • Weight: 50 grams
  • Size: 47 x 47 x 13.7 mm
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm)
  • Lens: Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX
  • Water rating: 5 ATM (up to 50 meters)

Visit our Garmin Smartwatches Product Specs page for all the details on the Forerunner 945.

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