Garmin Fenix 7 Review

Garmin Fenix, Garmin Fenix 7, Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire, Garmin Fenix 7 Solar, Garmin Fenix 7x, Garmin Fenx 7s, Multi Band GNSS Watch -

Garmin Fenix 7 Review

Garmin Fenix 7 Review

Below we take a look at some of the new Features found on the Fenix 7 watches that we have not seen before on the Fenix range of watches.

Fenix 7 continues with its rugged performance and core values that have made Fenix such an iconic brand and it’s great to see some real key differences in the new Fenix 7.

There are three core different models, the Garmin Fenix 7s (42 mm), Fenix 7 (47 mm) and Fenix 7x (51 mm) with a number of different screen types. With all the Sapphire screen versions now coming with Titanium bodies the premium materials have been rolled out to far more products within the range.

The Fenix 7 and 7x watches share a more rugged design with the exposed screws, while the Fenix 7s has a more streamline experience with the screws hidden on the front.

The key thing with the move more to solar is the change in the bezel design, with the bezel now sandblasted.

Garmin have put a new heart rate monitor on all the Fenix 7 watches (gen 4), which is the most accurate to date.

The Start stop button has been updated with a new forged metal button guard that physically stops it from accidentally being pressed.

Buttons and touch screen

Garmin Fenix 7 Touch Screen   Garmin Fenix 7 Push Buttons

In the past all Garmin Fenix Watches had button control only, the benefits of this being:

- They always work

- Glove friendly

- The screen is not obscured by your finger

- Offers you a no look operation as you can activate the buttons using touch alone

Buttons are here to stay in the Garmin world, but with the Fenix 7 you can have the best of both worlds with the addition of a touch screen. As Garmin realise the touch screen will not be for everybody’s taste they have made an easy way to lock/ unlock it. This you do by pressing the top right and bottom left buttons simultaneously.

One of the main advantages of touch is you can quickly navigate around the widgets and on any page, you can press and hold and link and it quickly jumps to more data on this. Then to go back you can just put your palm on the screen or press the back button and this quickly takes you back.

Touch also has great benefits for the map page, you can now quickly pan, zoom and select locations and this is so much faster.

Adding touch was a big change for Garmin and I really think by having both options does really help the navigational experience.

Power Sapphire

Garmin Fenix 7 Power Sapphire

The Fenix 7 Sapphire screen is a very durable tough scratch resistant screen, second only to the toughness of diamond.

With the Fenix 7 Garmin have put a solar panel bonded to the underside of the Sapphire Screen, this is the first time Garmin have incorporated a Solar panel with a Sapphire screen.

Compared to the Fenix 6 solar the Fenix 7 –

With these the impact of solar has really taken this to a new level.

– Increased solar surface area by 54% (specifically comparing 6X to 7X)

– Increased solar efficiency of the panel itself

– Increased power efficiency of the base unit compared to Fenix 6 Series, which in turn increases battery life

– Increased overall Fenix 7 Solar battery life by 33% (7S vs 6S) to upwards of 68% (7X vs 6X)

Premium Materials

Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar WhitestoneGarmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Black

All of the Sapphire screen versions of the Fenix 7 watches come with a Titanium Bezel which is lighter and tougher than a standard steel Bezel.

Added to all of the Fenix 7 watches is a forged metal button guard around the start stop button to stop accidental presses of the start stop button and also for added protection, there is also metal reinforced lugs for extra strength.

All of the Fenix 7 watches are tested to U.S. military standards for thermal, shock and water resistance.

All versions of the Fenix 7 watches have a 10ATM water rating, making them both safe to be submerged up to 100 metres depth with profiles for both open and pool swimming supported.

Multi Band

Garmin Fenix 7 Multi GNSS Multi Band

This is the first Garmin Fenix watch to have Multi-GNSS Multi Band which gives you improved signal in challenging satellite environments. (Multi-GNSS Multi Band function is only available on the Fenix7 Sapphire versions only) with all other versions of the Fenix 7 watches you do have Multi GNSS.

Multi-GNSS Multi band (Fenix 7 Sapphire Versions only) – This new feature allows the Fenix 7 Sapphire watches to lock on to not just two sets of GNSS but multiple satellites system together which can provide military grade precision, this is great when a higher accuracy is needed due to tree coverage, next to high buildings or in a ravine etc. being able to lock onto more satellite systems will improve accuracy.

None Sapphire Fenix 7 Watches have Multi-GNSS - This will combine GPS with GALILEO or GLONASS locking on to two sets of satellites e.g. GPS + Glonass or GPS + Galileo for increased accuracy and should offer great accuracy for most.

The Fenix 7 Sapphire watches are the most accurate Fenix watches to date.

Global Maps

Garmin Fenix 7 Maps with Contour lines Garmin Fenix 7 Topo Active European Maps

The recently updated TOPO ACTIVE maps now have contour lines and with the new map manager you are able to download (over WIFI) free downloadable TopoActive maps from around the world via a easy-to-use interface.

The Fenix 7 Sapphire models come with Garmin’s Topo Active Maps for all of Europe pre-loaded on them, but with all the other none-sapphire models these maps are not pre-installed, but they can still be downloaded and installed onto the watch using either directly to the watch using Wi-Fi or a computer connection with the supplied USB cable to the watch.

These are both recreational users and the ability to download the newly branded SkiView maps it gives you the flexibility we have all been looking for the ski enthusiast.

Up Ahead

Garmin Fenix 7 Up Ahead

This is a new feature that has not been available before on the Fenix Watches. It can let you know / display what’s up ahead on a course that you have sent to your unit by showing a rolling list of important upcoming course points.

This simple easy to follow display shows you the turns ahead and climbs etc.

You can simply add course points to a course that you are creating on the Garmin Connect App for your Fenix 7 watch, your watch will then sure you the next few upcoming turns etc with simple icons and distances displayed.

Real Time Stamina 

Garmin Fenix 7 Real Time Stamina  

This is a new feature on the Fenix 7 watches can help you to pace through a race or endurance event etc. with confidence, the watches use’s data recording to track and manage your exertion — and help avoid overexerting at the start of your run or bike ride etc.

Your Fenix 7 watch will display on your screen your current stamina levels and potential levels helping guide you.

To work out and give you guidance regarding your current Stamina the Fenix 7 watch looks at all the data from your watch as your activity is recording as well as looking at your data on the watch from past activity recordings.

The minimum information that the real-time stamina feature needs to work is your VO2 max. This requires running with a combination of speed and heart rate data or cycling with both heart rate and power data. Also by making sure that you set your personal maximum heart rate correctly on your device will help with the guidance.

Recording all your activities with your device is the final key to getting the best results from real-time stamina. Not only do stamina levels carry over from one activity to the next, but activity intensity profiles, durations, distances and training load accumulations also are used to enhance the personalization of your real-time stamina feedback beyond your basic fitness metrics. This data is used to model individual fatigue resistance and personal tolerances for aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Realtime Settings Sync

With a Fenix watch in the past if you wanted to change settings in your watch such as Databoxes, Databox layout with activities etc. this could only be done directly on the watch, but with the Fenix 7 range we now have a new feature called Realtime Sync, this lets you use the Garmin Connect App on your phone to make these changes and they are then synced to your watch via Bluetooth, being able to now do this on your phone simplifies the configuration process and make changes you want to make to your watch layout and settings much easier. You can still also make the changes directly on your watch which also sync back to the Garmin Connect App.

Built-in Flashlight

Garmin Fenix 7x Flashlight

Another new feature is a built-in flashlight, this feature is only available on the Fenix 7x models and not the Fenix 7 or 7s versions.

The built-in flashlight on the Fenix 7x will help guide your way in low-light conditions, the built-in multi-LED flashlight provides quick access to a bright, steady beam of illumination from a simple double tap of the light button. The position of the two white led’s on the housing are suitable for both left- and right-hand wearers of the Fenix 7x.

This feature also adds a light mode for improved passive safety when running in the dark, in strobe mode the led lights match a runner’s cadence, flashing a red light when the watch swing face backwards and a white light when facing forwards.

A fully configurable Led flashlight that also features and SOS mode a great new addition to the Fenix 7x watch.

Our conclusion

At GPS training we really love the new features that the new Fenix 7 range of watches come with, the improved battery life across all the Fenix 7 range of watches has been well received, we like the improved accuracy / performance from the new Elevate 4 heart rate / Vo2 sensors.

Having the option of using Touchscreen has been a great addition, giving us even quicker access and ease of moving around the screens and menus more quickly, we love the touch screen especially when moving around on the map screen and when wanting to zoon in and out, but all of the Fenix 7 watches still have complete functionality via the buttons, giving us all season use and for when wearing gloves.

The new fitness screens that give us Real-Time Stamina information, Visual Race Predictor and HIIT Workout options is a nice addition for when we are training.

Access to not just European Maps but also the ability to download mapping for other parts of the world for free and without the need for a computer to do this is also a great edition.

The Topo Active European Maps have seen some recent improvements showing contour lines and more detailed information than before. When using these maps to navigate with and follow a course it is nice to see the new feature of UP AHEADS added, letting us add key trail points coming up, points of interest etc. to be clearly displayed as we navigate our course.

With all these new features our favoured choice has to be the Fenix 7 Sapphire versions, not just because of the very tough sapphire screen and titanium bezel that these versions come with, but also because it is only the Sapphire versions come with the Multi GNSS – Multi Band option giving us the most accurate Fenix watch to date. The Fenix 7 sapphire versions also have the Topo Active European maps pre-loaded and with a larger memory the Sapphire version has the ability to download more mapping than on the none sapphire versions of the Fenix 7.

Not forgetting that the Fenix 7x version is the only model to also have the built-in flashlight which is a great safety edition.

Further Reading

1. Garmin Fenix 7s Solar Sapphire

2. Garmin Fenix 7 Solar Sapphire

3. Garmin Fenix 7x Solar Sapphire


1 comment

  • Keith Robertson

    Nice review Jon, thanks. Looking forward to my all black 7X arriving soon 😎.

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