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Apple Watch 8 vs Garmin fēnix 7 vs epix (Gen 2) — Which GPS Watch Should You Buy?

You'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger bang than what Garmin made with its fitness and multisport GPS watches this year. And the fēnix 7 series and epix (Gen 2) are among the most impressive touchscreen watches they introduced.

The Apple Watch Series 8, released in September 2022, showed up with some new features that are certainly worth talking about. And in the smartwatch category, any Apple Watch is pretty hard to beat. If you're an iPhone user.

Garmin watches, which are created for both iOS and Android platforms, are in a category of their own as well. They definitely cater to atheltes and folks with active lifestyles—especially outdoor types.

So, which of these watches is best-suited to ride your wrist night and day? In this article we're comparing the Apple Watch 8 to the Garmin epix 2 and fēnix 7, so you can make a more informed decision before you buy.


Apple Watch 8 vs Garmin fēnix 7 vs epix 2 | Table of Contents

Garmin fēnix 7 vs epix 2 vs Apple Watch Series 8 Price Comparison

For many, the price of a smartwatch is an important factor. While the Apple Watch 8 starts at $400, the Garmin fēnix 7 starts at $700 and the epix 2 at $900. These are pretty huge differences, so you'll want to understand what sets these Garmin watches apart and if these Garmin-only features are right for you and worth the investment. Read on to find out!

Apple Watch 8 Price

  • GPS: $399.00
  • Cellular: $499.00

Garmin fēnix 7/7S/7X Price

fēnix 7 & 7S

  • Standard: $699.00
  • Solar: $799.00
  • Sapphire Solar: $899.00

fēnix 7X

  • Solar: $899.00
  • Sapphire Solar: $999.00

Garmin epix (Gen 2) Price

  • Standard: $899.00
  • Sapphire: $999.00

Apple Watch 8 vs Garmin epix 2 vs fēnix 7 Quick Specs

 

As the most rugged outdoor watch of the bunch, the Garmin's fēnix 7 lineup is the heaviest of all these GPS watches, but also offers the most variety size- and model-wise. While the epix (Gen 2) has a bigger display, it weighs about the same as the 45 mm Apple Watch 8.

The smallest Garmin fēnix—the 7S—is still slightly larger than the 41 mm Apple Watch. This is because these Garmin watches are built to show you a lot of data fields at once.

Garmin fēnix 7 Series

  • Garmin fēnix 7S standard/Solar/Sapphire Solar
    Display: 1.2" touchscreen; Case Size : (H x W x D) 42 x 42 x 14.1 mm; Weight: 42–47g (case only)
  • Garmin fēnix 7 standard/Solar/Sapphire Solar
    Display:
    1.3" touchscreen; Case Size : (H x W x D) 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm; Weight: 50–56g (case only)
  • Garmin fēnix 7X Solar/Sapphire Solar
    Display:
    1.4" touchscreen; Case Size : (H x W x D) 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm; Weight: 61–68g (case only)

Garmin epix 2

  • Display: 1.3" touchscreen; Case Size : (H x W x D) 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm; Weight: 47–53g (case only)

Apple Watch Series 8 Size

  • Display: touchscreen; Case Size : (H x W x D) 41 x 35 x 10.7 mm; Weight: 32–42.3g (case only)
  • Display: touchscreen; Case Size : (H x W x D) 45 x 38 x 10.7 mm; Weight: 38.8g–51.5g (case only)

fēnix 7 vs epix 2 vs Apple Watch 8 Display and Design

The fēnix 7 series multisport GPS watch perfectly blends rugged durability with all-day style. Of the three watches in this article, ultra runners, trail running, and outdoor sport enthusiasts should be all over this Garmin watch.

The standard fēnix 7/7S/7X models have a Gorilla® Glass lens, stainless steel bezel, and metal rear cover. If you opt for a solar model you get the same durable materials with a Power Glass™ upgrade. When you buy a sapphire solar model, you get a scratch-resistant Power Sapphire™ lens and a titanium bezel and rear case cover—for a tougher, lighter fit on your wrist.

The fēnix 7 family of premium multisport watches is fully customizeable. They feature a convenient, highly responsive touchscreen and traditional 5-button operation to access your widgets and training tools.

The Garmin epix 2 standard model also features a Gorilla® Glass lens, stainless steel bezel, and metal rear cover. The Sapphire Solar model puts a screatch-resistant Power Sapphire lens as well as a titanium bezel and rear case cover on your wrist.

Not only does this watch feature both touchscreen and 5-button operation, so you can fully operate your sport watch the way you want, it also feature a stunning, vibrant AMOLED display.

The GPS + Cellular models of the Apple Watch 8 offer both aluminum and stainless steel cases, while GPS-only models offer aluminum cases. This smartwatch features a large, always-on retina display and a strong crack-resistant front crystal.  

The Apple Watch 8 design is identical to the Apple Watch 7—the same curved rear with a bright screen that curves delicately into the case, and a smooth-scrolling digital crown on the right-hand side of the display. It is mostly navigated by touchscreen.


Garmin epix 2 vs fēnix 7 vs Apple Watch 8 Battery Life

The Apple Watch simply cannot compete with any Garmin watch battery life.

Apple Watch Series 8 Battery Life

Up to 18 hours of all-day battery life.
Up to 36 hours with new low power mode.

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 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


Fitness Tracking, Sport Apps, and Training Training

With all fēnix 7 series GPS multisport watches 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, Training Load, Training Effect, finish time, a virtual partner, course guidance, Garmin and Strava live segments, and activity history on watch.

Additionally, the Garmin fēnix 7/7S/7X feature endurance and real-time stamina tracking, advanced performance metrics, and 30+ built-in sports apps.

Like the fēnix 7, the epix 2 premium 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, Training Load, Training Effect. Garmin Coach and 30+ built-in sports apps mean the epix 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.

The Apple Watch 8 is powered by watchOS 9, which includes new advanced running metrics to measure performance, like Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation, and Running Power—plus some new workout views. Users can also improve their training with advanced workout experiences, including Heart Rate Zones, Custom Workouts, and Pacer. For triathlons or activities with any sequence of swimming, biking, or running, the new multisport workout uses autodetection to easily switch between workouts and records transition times.


Apple Watch vs Garmin Watch Smartwatch Features

The Garmin fēnix 7 and epix (Gen 2) are adequate when it comes to smartwatch features. You can check your smartphone notifications, use an excellent weather widget, integrate it with your phone's calendar, store loads of music on watch, customize watch faces, and use Garmin Pay.

The list of smartwatch features for the Apple Watch 8 is endless because it's basically like having an iPhone strapped to your wrist. With full cellular support and a speaker and microphone it's just simply able to offer more smarts than a Garmin watch.


Which GPS Smartwatch Is Right for You?

Even with some of the cool new upgrades to the Apple Watch Series 8, like crash detection, customizable compass watch face, temperature sensor, and more running metrics with the watchOS 9 upgrade ... serious athletes need not apply.

The Apple smartwatch experience is for dedicated Apple folks who love that ecosystem and don't mind charging thier watch every day.

But if you are a serious endurance athlete who wants a durable multisport watch that can help you train for and make it through marathons, ultramarathons, through-hiking, mountain climbing, or tirathlons ... in our opinion, the obvious choice is the Garmin fēnix 7 or the epix (gen 2).

And even though the Garmin epix (Gen 2) doesn't get the battery life of a fēnix, it still beats the pants off the Apple Watch. Pound for pound, it's got way more training tools and analysis, as does the fēnix 7.