Garmin joins the Pro bandwagon. On Wednesday it will launch the Epix 2 Pro and Fenix 7 Pro, both of which come with a ton of new mapping and training features, hands-free flashlights and sensors. The Fenix 7 Pro series starts at $799.99, while the Epix 2 Pro starts at $899.99.
There’s good news if you wanted an Epix 2 last year but regretted it only came in one size. Garmin doesn’t believe less is more, so you can also now choose from three sizes of Epix 2 models: 42mm, 47mm and 51mm. Both Pro lineups also offer a more durable Sapphire edition.
The vast majority of what’s new will be shared across both the Epix 2 Pro and Fenix 7 Pro lineups. For example, all models now have a built-in hands-free LED flashlight. The flashlight was introduced last year but was limited to the 51mm Fenix 7X. The flashlight has variable intensities, a red safety light and a strobe mode for nighttime training.
Both lineups also get a new heart rate sensor. Garmin says the new sensor offers improved tracking for a wider variety of activities. In terms of training features, all Epix 2 Pro and Fenix 7 Pro models get a new Endurance Score and Hill Score. The first tells you how easily you can sustain sustained efforts with Vo2 Max and your long/short-term training load across multiple training activities. The latter also uses your training history and Vo2 Max to measure your running power on steep climbs and long climbs.
For mapping, the Pro lineups also get weather map overlays, the Up Ahead feature, and relief shading for topographic maps. The weather map overlays make it easier for outdoor enthusiasts to see upcoming conditions, while the embossed shading is meant to make maps more readable at a glance. Meanwhile, the Up Ahead feature highlights certain points of interest – aid stations, for example – right from the wrist.
Users also have the option to pay for Garmin Outdoor Maps Plus subscription to get satellite images, public maps and enhanced topographic maps on your wrist. The plan costs an additional $49.99 annually and has been around for a while other Garmin navigation devices and a handful of other smartwatches. However, Garmin still doesn’t keep health or exercise data behind a paywall.
As with the non-Pro versions of the Epix 2 and Fenix 7, the main difference between these watches lies in the display. The Epix 2 Pro has an OLED display, while the Fenix 7 Pro has a memory-in-pixel (MIP) display that supports solar charging. The Epix 2 also has a new redshift mode that changes the screen colors to red for easier viewing at night – which sounds familiar like what Apple did with one of the Ultra’s watchfaces. That said, the Fenix 7 Pro models will have a spiffier MIP screen than the “regular” Fenix 7 setup. According to Garmin, the pixels, backlight and solar panel have been redesigned to improve brightness and power efficiency in a number of lighting conditions.
Battery life is also slightly different. The Epix 2 Pro is rated up to 31 days, while the Fenix 7 Pro can get up to 38 days. However, you should take those estimates with a grain of salt. Battery life is highly dependent on the size of the watch, your GPS settings, whether you’re using the always-on display for the Epix 2 Pro, and what mode you’re in. Fenix 7 Pro as a smartwatch, Garmin says you could theoretically get 139 days out of the 51mm 7X Pro. We’ll put both to the test to see what you can actually expect with more real-world testing conditions.