Garmin epix Pro (Gen 2), 51 mm, Glass, Slate Grey, Black

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Garmin epix Pro (Gen 2), 51 mm, Glass, Slate Grey, Black

Garmin epix Pro (Gen 2), 51 mm, Glass, Slate Grey, Black

RRP: £929.99
Price: £464.995
£464.995 FREE Shipping

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Crucially, whichever variant you choose, you can now also access Garmin’s topographic maps from all over the world at no extra cost, where you previously had to pay for additional regions. And, as with the Fenix 7, one major perk is that the Epix has a touchscreen, so you can interact far more easily with those maps. If you prefer to use buttons, the touch function can be disabled from the watch’s main menu. With the Epix using exactly the same hardware as the Fenix 7, it came as no surprise that it performs very well as far as GNSS and heart-rate accuracy are concerned. In my early tests with multi-band GNSS enabled, the Epix produced notably more accurate traces of my path than the Fenix 6 Pro that I used as a control in built-up areas of London. Where previously you’d have to go through a rigmarole of different button presses to jump between pan directions and the zoom function, you can now simply swipe to move around the map and tap the on-screen buttons to zoom in and out. In terms of usability, it’s night-and-day and, in my experience, means you’re more likely to use the watch’s powerful navigation tools in the first place.

The main other shortcomings of the Epix are ones that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve owned any high-end Garmin smartwatch in recent years – namely, that Garmin Pay isn’t widely supported, and that the Garmin IQ app store will leave you distinctly underwhelmed if you’re expecting anything akin to the app choice you get with an Apple Watch. Importantly, you won’t find the same feature set and performance in another AMOLED smartwatch, either. Samsung and Apple’s latest-gen smartwatches offer an impressive array of third-party apps, but don’t come close to the Epix when it comes to native sports and fitness features or battery life. What if it’s pouring with rain or you’re wearing gloves, you might ask? That’s not a problem since you can disable touch controls altogether and simply use the Epix as you would have done had it not had a touchscreen. There really is no compromise in that respect.There are a host of new fitness-related features, too. In addition to using Garmin’s new Elevate gen 4 sensor, there’s now a RealTime Stamina feature that estimates how much energy you have in reserve based on previous workouts, so you know how hard you can push it during a run or ride without bonking. Even without multi-band GNSS enabled, the Epix always measured total distances within 1% or less of those recorded by a speed sensor that I paired with an Edge 830 computer during rural bike rides. Heart rate accuracy was similarly impressive, although you’ll get the best results when walking and running rather than cycling, because vibrations through the handlebars can wreak havoc with optical sensors.

If money is no object, however, then the Epix is a truly astounding bit of kit that I’d have no hesitation in recommending. If you want the best sports watch that money can buy, this is most definitely it. There’s no LED flashlight as you get with the Fenix 7X (although you can use the display as a flashlight by double pressing the light button) and there’s also no solar functionality, as you get with Sapphire Solar versions of the Fenix 7. That means you can’t extend the watch’s battery life beyond enabling its battery-saving features (which work by disabling the screen and/or other features). The 1.3in 416 x 416 pixel AMOLED display is undoubtedly the standout feature of the Epix and the reason to buy it over a Fenix 7. It’s bright, colourful, sharp and lovely to look at. However, those strengths are not without trade-offs and the main one is that battery life takes a sizable hit. Last but not least, the Epix is an accomplished golf watch and comes pre-loaded with 42,000 golf courses, so that it can give you insights into distances to the green and obstacles on the course.

Built for adventure

If you’re happy to have the display only spring to life when you lift your wrist, Garmin claims the Epix can last a very respectable 16 days. If, however, you decide to set it to always-on that figure drops to 6 days. Use GPS extensively and it’ll likely need plugging in for a charge after 5 days or fewer. By comparison, Garmin claims the Fenix 7 can last 17 days between charges. For more serious athletes, Epix’s feature set is just as impressive. The watch supports detailed training plans, offers insights into your training load and VO2 max, and advises you on how long to recover before embarking on another workout. The Epix is wonderful, but it’s just too expensive to earn a Best Buy award. Indeed, whether the extra outlay over the Fenix 7 is necessary is open to debate. From a practical standpoint, it’s very difficult to find fault with the Fenix 7’s MIP display, and otherwise it’s every bit as capable.

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