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Hands-on with the Garmin Epix GPS mapping & multisport watch


Today Garmin introduced a full color mapping GPS wrist watch that doubles as a multisport watch – making for the first time they’ve merged the multisport world with their historically separate handheld mapping units.  This new unit – the Garmin Epix – employs a touch screen (as well as regular buttons) to allow you to navigate on full color downloadable maps as well as Connect IQ apps.  But more importantly to this segment here, it’s a fully functional GPS sport watch containing every single feature of the FR920XT and just announced Fenix3 watches.  It’s effectively the ultimate single Garmin GPS device containing everything minus the kitchen sink.

I’ve had some very brief hands-on time with a prototype Epix unit to get the run through on the key features.  Expect a much deeper review in a few months once it releases.

(Note: Garmin has also announced other products today including the Garmin Fenix3 GPS watch, the Garmin Vivoactive GPS smartwatch, and the Vivofit2 activity tracker.)

Main Features:


The first thing to understand is that it has every single software function of the Fenix3 (which in turn, has every software function of the Forerunner 920XT).  There are some hardware differences though, mostly positive, but one negative (no WiFi).  On the positives, first is that the Epix has the larger 1.4” full color touch screen.  The main point of this enlarged screen being to display maps like above.


These maps can be purchased as part of an Epix bundle, or downloaded separately from either Garmin.com (paid) or free 3rd party sources (just like the Garmin Edge series).  So you definitely aren’t limited to Garmin’s semi-costly maps, which is great news.  That moves right into the next piece, which is storage.  The unit contains 8GB of storage for maps, which should be plenty for just about any expedition out there.  You can’t extend the storage, which is likely due to the increased 50m waterproofing and difficulty they’d have otherwise properly waterproofing a micro-SD card port.


Because the Epix carries with it the expanded navigation feature set of the Fenix3, it has a much higher focus on hiking and related activities.  This includes features not found in the base FR920XT, like the Sight ‘N Go capability as well as the TracBack functions.  Further, unlike the FR920XT you can control the zoom levels and change it as required on the fly.

For the triathletes in the house though, you weren’t left behind.  As noted above, it carries with it all of the triathlon-focused functionality found in the new Fenix3 and the FR920XT (for those who haven’t read the Fenix3 post yet, all you really need to know is that there’s nothing new tri-specific software-wise that’s not in the FR920XT already).

The included multisport functionality means that you can take the watch out into openwater and track swims just as easily as navigating in the offseason in the mountains with Topo maps.


The same goes for activity settings, sensors and profiles – all of that is retained from the FR920XT.  While the watch is no doubt bigger (in every way) than the slim and sleek FR920XT, it doesn’t feel much different than the older FR910XT from a size standpoint.  So if the FR910XT didn’t bother you, I doubt the Epix will either.



Now, there is one hardware feature that strangely isn’t found in the Epix watch – which is WiFi.  Despite being available in all other recent high-end Garmin units, it didn’t make the cut for the Epix.  Fear not though, you’ve still got USB as well as Bluetooth Smart.  So you can still transfer routes and what-not via your phone, just like with the Fenix series.

And finally, just like every other new Garmin device over about $200 these days, it supports Garmin Connect IQ.  This means you can download Garmin Connect IQ apps, watch faces, widgets and data fields to the Epix.  There’s already a number of companies (big and small) working on apps, which I’ll dive into in a post later this week.

Product Comparison Tool:

Now, it’s probably getting a bit confusing with some of these recent models as to how the FR920XT, Fenix3, and Epix all differ.  In many ways, they’re basically the same base functionality with the material aspects of the watch and navigation capabilities being the major differences.  Here’s a nifty little somewhat over-simplified overview of the differences that I whipped up:


But, for those of you who are more spec oriented, here’s the full rundown of specs.  Note that my charts don’t fully cover materials yet (like the glass front, bezel, and band types), so this is more from a technical feature set level.  Also note that for the Epix series there are two models.  The first is at $549US without detailed maps, and the second is at $599US with the TOPO US 100K maps.  Keep in mind though you can easily download free maps from the interwebs, so I wouldn’t let that bother you too much.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 29th, 2021 @ 4:56 am New Window
Product Announcement DateOct 1st, 2014January 5th, 2015January 5th, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateEarly Oct 2014February 2015May 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 100mYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)UP TO 40HRS IN GPSUp to 50hrs in GPSUp to 50hrs in GPS
Recording Interval1s or Smart1S OR SMART1S OR SMART
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Can control phone musicNoYesYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for cyclingYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYEs
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYEs
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)With HRM-TRI or HRM-RUNWith HRM-TRI or HRM-RUNWith HRM-TRI or HRM-RUN (Gen1 only, no Gen2 Running Dynamics)
VO2Max EstimationYesYesYes
Race PredictorYesYesYes
Recovery AdvisorYesYesYEs
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for swimmingYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYEsYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesYesYes
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNoNo
Change pool sizeYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths17M/18Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsYesYesYes
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Designed for triathlonYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYEs
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYEs
On-unit interval FeatureYesYEsYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoOnly with Garmin Bluechart g2 maps (extra)
Weather Display (live data)YesYesWith Connect IQ
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYEsYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoYes
Back to startYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYEs
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYEs
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)No
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesComing in updateNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Fenix3Garmin Epix
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

If you’d like to compare in other models – like the now older Fenix2, you can do that within the product comparison tool/calculator over here.

Here’s a handful more photos I have of the device.  Keep in mind that at the time I shot these (early January), features and functionality was fairly limited as it was/is still early in the beta cycle.  Down the road once I have a final production device I’ll include more photos and videos.

Also note that because it’s beta, things typically change a little bit.

A few initial thoughts:


The strategy that Garmin has started to roll out with is to effectively establish a common base watch (the FR920XT) and then add higher end differentiating levels beyond that (the Fenix3 and Epix).  Each higher level encompasses all features of the lower level units.  This is somewhat different than the past where separate Garmin divisions would create different offerings that resulted in frustrated consumers having to pick between a fitness watch and an outdoor handheld unit.  Now, you can effectively get a single device that contains it all.

Of course, to get it all…you’ll certainly be paying for it.  With a starting price at $549US, the Epix certainly isn’t cheap.  But it is cheaper than having to buy a FR920XT at $449 and then another navigation device for yet another $300-$400.  So I suppose viewed in that lens it’s….a bargain?  Now with all these devices the piece I’m actually most excited about is the app component with Connect IQ.  Having seen some of the initial apps including a ski resort app (lift/slope/run information), a personal safety app, and a weather app – these 3rd party companies are definitely going in the right direction.  And that’s before we get into some of the cooler sensor gathering apps like Moxy and what I suspect we’ll see for other unique sensor types over the next few months.

As noted earlier, the Epix will be available in Q1 2015, though expect that to be as close to the bounds of Q1 as possible (i.e. March).  And of course, because my time with the Epix was far more limited than normal – I have no idea if it’ll have any hardware teething issues.  With a touch screen display, that’s always a concern – especially since this particular model hasn’t been recycled from any other Garmin product lines yet.

As always – feel free to drop any questions below and I’d be happy to track down the answers.  Thanks for reading!


Note: You can pre-order the Epix through Clever Training today, as well as various accessory bands.  The units will ship as soon as Garmin starts shipping, which is currently slated for Q1 2015.

Welcome to CES 2015! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as my continual updates throughout the day on Twitter.  It’s gonna be a crazy busy week!

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  1. Naomi

    Hi folks,

    Garmin Epix Review

    link to youtube.com

    Herzlichst! Naomi

  2. Andrej

    Great, I watched his unboxing yesterday, but it was in Dutch, so I didn’t understand a word he was saying. Glad he switched to English :).

  3. I’ll just leave these two here:

    Epix Unboxing Video: link to youtu.be

    First Run GPS Comparison (Half Dense City, Half Trails): link to mygpsfiles.com
    (Update: I’ve placed all my comparisons here in this nifty table: link to dcrainmaker.com)

    Note: Both the F3 and Epix were new out of box from retail stores, then updated with latest public firmware. I set both to 1s recording and both to GLONASS on. I did not change any default altimeter settings on either however (I normally do, just didn’t think to). On the V800, no additional calibration done (for better or worse).

    • Paul S

      Hmm, there seems to be corner cutting in some places like people complain that the F3 is doing. It’s annoying that mygpsfiles doesn’t allow good close ups of the track, but I see the Epix track is on Strava. Were you on pavement the whole time or are there paths that don’t show on Strava’s (Google’s) map there.

    • Once I entered the forest I was mostly trying to avoid pavement. A few seconds where I ran on it, and then would dip onto trails that crossed it, or trails that were a few meters alongside the pavement. Many (most?) don’t show up on Google Maps unfortunately.

    • Maxim

      mygpsfiles does allow close ups. Just switch Google Maps into Satellite mode and you can get really close up.
      Ray, seems like V800 produces much smoother track with superior precision. Epix is not too bad (just look at first switchback at the car park), Fenix3 is poor.

    • Nikolai

      Just tick the “terrain” option on the map off and you’ve got the full range of zoom.

  4. Raul


    I see the differences between V800 and the other Garmins (F3 and Epix) in the DISTANCE.

    Have you test and compare the new gamins with the 910 IN distance?

    I have a 910 and I’m very worried about the assurance in the distance of the Fenix3.

    Anyone else?


  5. Naomi

    Hi folks,

    Garmin Epix In Depth – Navigating Maps Functions

    link to youtube.com

    `n Lachen und`n Knuff!

    • Richard Kaufmann

      That video is not a compelling sales pitch. The way the reviewer was fumbling with the buttons, and couldn’t get it to reliably do what he wanted was pretty damning. It’s funny how in some categories “good enough” is actually good enough. I haven’t seen anything compelling enough to warrant the replacement cost of my trusty FR620.

  6. naomi

    Hi Folks,
    my first impression of my “Girl Friday”(I hope it will become one :-) )

    it needed more time to understand it ,comparing with Fenix 2, FR620,FR 920xt or Polar RS 800(of course) )
    the touch is ok, but not as good as FR620 one( if you are a lucky man having got FR 620 with good one)
    Readability in sunlight and at night Epix is much much better than FR620 is, but not as good as FR 920xt(especially the numerals are bigger, broader, wider on 920 than on Epix)
    Watchstrap of Epix is real horror ! IMVHO! I like the watchstrap of Fr 620 and also of FR 920xt but I hate the one of Epix. It seems to be a different material, something like pure gum or rubber and it feels not good on my skin.While running that feeling becomes even wores ,My skin sweats a lot under the watchstrap and the material feels even more disgusting than if it´s dry.
    Not for daily use if your are a woman with small wrist or if you don´t like wearing a rock on your wrist all day long ;-)

    Seid herzlich gegrüßt!

  7. Kyle

    So I’ve had my Epix for 1 week now. Ive used it for running, mountain biking and hiking. I purchased it because of the map capabilities when out in the woods.Needless to say I’m not impressed. The watch constantly under-performs. I dont know if its because of the processor, the amount of RAM or the software.

    Here is video of the amount of lag I see on the watch. You can see the maps take forever to catch up. Also at times the watch just freezes and buttons or touches don’t work until it catches up. When it catches up you see that instead of going “back” it uses the lap function because its lagging behind.
    link to youtube.com…ature=youtu.be

    That video was taken during my overnight hiking trip. You can also see that for the 4 data screen page the elevation is halfway into the 1st data screen too. Easy fix by Garmin but should have not been missed in testing. You can also see that if you have the elevation field in the left 2 boxes it will be cut off as seen here. link to drive.google.com…ew?usp=sharing
    It should read “3759” but instead reads 759 because the 3 is cut off.

    Also of note, maybe its just user error but when I got into my campsite i pressed stop and “resume later” Just to make sure i put it on my external charger for a couple min just to get it back to full. Well when I did that it apparently restarts because in the morning i went to resume the activity and i couldn’t. It was saved and I had to restart another one. Wasnt happy. Im not sure why you cant resume any activity you have saved anyway?

    The bottom line is I just dont think I can justify the $550 on a device that has these performance issues. I just dont think the Epix is ready for prime time. My 2 year old Suunto Ambit 2 does most of what the Epix does except for Maps. But if the Epix Map capabilities are not really usable then it defeats the purpose. So I think unfortunately I am going to return my Epix and keep using my Suunto because the Epix doesn’t performance like I thought/hoped it was going to.

    • Kyle

      Opps, must of messed up something. Anyway heres the link to the video and picture of the comment.

      link to youtube.com

      link to drive.google.com

    • Paul S

      What maps do you have on it?

    • Kyle

      I have Northeast 24k. Its not bad when sitting here at my desk but during an activity with GPS and whatever else it lags like you see on the video.

    • Alan

      There are basically two users posting videos on youtube right now of their Epix, you and a guy in Belgium and both units are showing the most excruciating lag that goes on for minutes so it’s not a once off. I do think it can be fixed with software because the maps are fluid zooming in and out so the processor seems up to the job but needs optimisation with the panning feature. I agree with you though that this is not ready for release at this stage.

      See here:
      link to youtube.com

  8. Naomi

    Hi folks,
    I did not yet tested map function , but he did one week now. he has used it for running, mountain biking and hiking and did a video:
    Garmin Epix Map Lag
    link to youtube.com

    text here:
    link to forums.garmin.com


  9. Paul S

    The whole map set or just a part?

    • Kyle

      Its the northeast, its a region map. I didnt have option to install just a state or two. Regardless it comes in at 3gb and the watch holds 8gb of data so it shouldnt be a problem. I also still have 4gb left of space on my watch since I dont have any other maps installed.

    • Paul S

      MapInstall will give you that option, but BaseCamp doesn’t. (You’re newtonfb on the Garmin forums?) I have the 24k US Northeast TOPO maps, and when my Epix arrives from Clever Training next month I had planned to put them on, but only a few states worth. I’m wondering if the map set is too complex for the Epix to handle the entire thing, because the 100k’s that are packaged with the Epix have less detail and aren’t routable, even though they cover a much wider area. I get a free month of beta testing from the people who took advantage of the REI exclusive before I have to try, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can about it in the meantime. If the 24k TOPO’s don’t work reliably, even just a portion, I’ll try openmtbmap.

      I never assume a new Garmin device will work properly and reliably for at least a few months after it’s released, and I won’t actually need my Epix until November at the earliest. It’s my cross country skiing watch, and typically I don’t get to ski until December.

    • Kyle

      Yea thats me. I guess I should just change my name on here to match.
      Yea the 24k do have a lot of detail so the watch might notbhave enough juice to use them. As I stated before the maps are pretty fluid just using during non activity but when you’re in activity when GPS is on is when I experience the lag.
      I haven’t tried the osm. I just can’t justify $600 if the main feature doesn’t work like expected for me.

    • Paul S

      I’m SCHINDER on the forums (last name).

      One thing that Garmin topo maps do on Garmin devices, including the Epix I believe, is relief shading to bring out the topography. That might be processor intensive enough to make a difference, although my Edge 800 seems to handle it OK (OTOH, the shading is not very pronounced there). So there’s a possibility that OSM maps might work better.

    • Lampropeltis

      There is no terrain shading on the Epix. At least not currently and I would be suprised if Garmin added it.

  10. David

    The map lag noted in the YouTube video above is not what I’ve experienced. That lag was ridiculously long. Map lag for me is no more than 1-2 seconds max. I have my issues with the Epix, for sure, but map lag is not one of them.

    • Alan

      Good to hear but which maps and how much have you loaded on it? Also, curious what are the other issues you allude to?

  11. rabbit

    Maybe the 24k usa topo makes problems on the epix? The map scrolling on the topo germany v7 winter map (routable, about 2,7 gb, 1:25000) is fast, 1-2 seconds, too. Nothing to be worried about for me.

  12. Volker_I

    Did some more test with route calculation. I set a wp 30 km away from my home.

    With the routable topo germany v7:

    Hike mode: 24 seconds
    Bike mode: 1 min 20 seconds
    Car mode: 1 min 37 seconds

    for the route calculation.

    With cn nt germany map:

    Hike mode: 12 seconds
    Bike mode: 31 seconds
    Car mode: 20 seconds

    for the route calculation.

    With openmtbmap germany:

    Hike mode: 17seconds
    Bike mode: 1 minute 29 seconds
    Car mode: 1 minute 23 seconds

    for the route calculation. Did every calculation 3 times and took the average of time.

    The route calculation depends also on the enabled avoidances, so it is not easy to compare the times from different users.
    Not bad, I think. For bike it could be a little faster…

  13. Naomi

    Dear Ray,

    would you please so kind and cancel my posts #578 , #579 and this one.
    I wanted that matter discussing, not seen that was already posted.
    I beg your pardon!


    • Alan

      Ray, I don’t suppose you could consider adding page numbers to this site because scrolling to the bottom of the comments on my tablet is like a gym workout right now.

    • Kyle

      Switch to mobile view and new comments will be at the top of comments instead of bottom

    • Naomi

      Dear Kyle,
      please can you explain how you switch “mobile view” ?
      my laptop runs on Windows 8.1

      thanks a lot!
      Herzlichst Naomi

    • matt

      You can just select the scroll bar on the right and drag it to the bottom in a second.

      I would really prefer not having pages. I like being able to read all the comments on one page.

    • Alan

      I found a workaround as I also use Windows 8.1 with a tablet and it was bookmarking a comment eg.

      link to dcrainmaker.com

  14. BL

    I just spoke with REI and am having a return label sent – I went on an 80 mile ride this week and the maps were taking as long as 20 seconds to load when I had a course loaded into the watch. The watch turned off the very first time I loaded the course and it also shut off once during my ride at about 60 miles in.

    Now to decide between the Fenix 3 and the 920xt – I loved my 310xt but I do not understand what benefits that the Fenix 3 provides that the 920 doesn’t :)

  15. Shane

    Hi BL

    I had a 920 and sold it for a fenix3. if you want a sports watch for running etc get the 920xt if you want a everyday,hiking,sports watch get the fenix3.
    For running I liked my 920xt I just found it easer to read but as an EDW it looked a little strange. I have a epix on pre order but after reading what its like I found myself seeing what deal I can get on a 920 and use it just for running and the fenix for all other.
    Do you need to know temp?

    • BL

      Thanks for replying :)

      I had the 310xt and to be honest, I really didn’t need to update at all but I liked the Open Water function that the 920XT can provide and then my 310XT started acting up so I was about to buy the 920 back in Feb when I saw that the Epix was announced. I don’t need to know the temp, I don’t hike at all, and I have a Fitbit Charge that I wear as my everyday watch.

      I purely need this for Swimming, Riding, Running. I liked the Epix because of the mapping, but after loading the 24k and having it lag very poorly, then removing the 24k and only using the 100k, it was alright except for when I loaded a course – it has been very slow loading maps. There were multiple points where the map was completely blank because it had not loaded yet. There were multiple times during my ride where I tried to switch data pages and it wouldn’t respond at all, then it would flip through three pages really quickly because that is how many times I hit the button – but sometimes it would wait 20 seconds (literally) before doing any of that. When the lap notification would come up, the any time over an hour was skewed and looked like gibberish (like the numbers were laid over each other because there wasn’t enough room to fit an hour indicator). At one point during my ride, I paused the workout during a break, when I started it back up, it started a completely different activity when I hit the “Resume” option. Also, on two different occasions when I loaded the course, it restarted the watch and I had to load the course again.

      Way to many glitches for comfort. I have been waiting and waiting with excitement for this watch to release but am starting to think the 920XT should have been my option from the get go.

  16. Hi All-

    For those interested in Epix GPS data comparisons, I’ve consolidated all of my data to date (albeit just since Saturday) into a single semi-temporary comparison page & table: link to dcrainmaker.com

    It includes the distances of all devices I was wearing for each activity, plus a link to MyGPSFiles with all of the activities available for your zooming around and such.

    I’ll be updating it every few days with new activities, though keep in mind that many of my activities are indoors (i.e. swims and trainer rides) – which won’t have GPS accuracy aspects.


  17. volker_I

    For your feature/function comparison :

    Tides: yes ( with optional bluechart map)
    Paperless geocaching : no (at the moment?)



  18. Andrew HUSSEY

    Just in case anyone’s interested my Epix arrived to my French home from an Italian supplier this morning.

  19. dam

    see Electronic Shop (placed in Maglie (Lecce), South of Italy) where I’m from.

  20. Bob

    Ray on your review, please show a video of transferring the data to a phone (android or iphone) with otg, without an internet connection. I’d like to see this as I won’t have internet for a while. How many tracks can you store? Does it use the same storage as maps? Thank you

  21. Patrik

    Now I have been out of the store and bought my Epix.
    So now they exist in Sweden :)

  22. John Hedberg

    So far I love my Epix. Extremely light despite its bulk. Battery life is terrific (no exact stats yet, but it appears it can go for weeks with Bluetooth always on and mild use of GPS), and it recharges incredibly fast (in 20 minutes it recharged from 55% to 100%). It lasts longer than my Pebble! The recharge cable is well designed and secure so you can recharge while wearing the watch. No problems with maps so far (City Navigator, Arizona Topo from GPSFileDepot). Screen packs a lot more information than Fenix 3, even though Fenix 3 has a higher resolution. The vibration is really strong and you can set multiple alarms. My only complaint so far is it sometimes briefly loses it’s bluetooth connection, even when just a few feet from my phone.


    Got my hands on one at last. Ordered from Italy early hours Friday arrived this morning. Very unimpressed with Garmin UK and Cotswold, pre order cancelled. Wonder how long it will take them to refund me.

    Anyone managed to get free maps working on theirs?

  24. J1

    Yes CW been saying that for 4 weeks. Garmin generally fail to deliver on its estimates, esp for UK so nothing new here. Cotswold can only pass the information on that they are given, but they have always maintained that May 2015 was only an estimate and that it could change. I hope to have mine end of July but no rush. It’s not life or death – whenever its good and ready.

  25. Lampropeltis

    I’ve had my Epix for several weeks now. My intended use was for hiking, running, and hunting. I really miss the EPE and Satellite Status screen. I’m also experiencing plenty of crashes and other hiccups in the firmware. So much so that I’m contemplating returning the watch.

  26. Ron Daalhuizen

    Below some problems I encountered in my first days of use. Some may be solved easily albeit I checked the manual already and could not find it. If anyone knows what to do, your input is highly appreciated. Other items seem to be real bugs in the software. Note that I only listed problems. Further it is simply a great machine.

    1. Epix Return/Lap button: The return button is also the lap button. If during a running activity you by accident push the back button twice (which can easily happen if you are getting tired), a lap will be recorded which you did not want. If you had auto lap on 1 kilometer, it will not report anymore the 1 kilometer laps on your total run. Example: if you push lap by accident at 6.4 kilometers, next autolap is not at 7 kilometers and 8 etc but at 7.4, 8.4 etc. This is not desired
    2. Epix Tracklog color: The tracklog of a running activity has a light blue / cyan color. It cannot be adjusted. Would be nice if that can be adjusted manually. The cyan color is hardly visible on the map, especially when running near water.
    3. Epix Navigating a (gpx) track fails (re-starts): When uploading a (gpx) track and selecting this under navigation to follow it, this only rarely succeeds. Most of the times the Epix re-starts. Sometimes it does start navigating a track and I start running but then the Epix re-starts during the activity which is even worse!
    4. Epix Widgets Connect IQ look like being from the 1970’s: Would be good if Garmin team would check all Connect IQ items to see if it really works on the Epix and (may be even more important) if it really looks nice on the Epix. I tried a few clock and battery widgets but these look terrible, as if they were made in the 1970’s.
    5. Epix Bluetooth sync error: Epix most of the times gives a sync error when it should sync an activity via Bluetooth through the Connect App on my iphone. Only possibility then is to sync through USB
    6. Epix Pause/Resume not start where it was paused: If during a running activity you need to pause, most logical is to push the start/stop button. If you want to continue push the start/stop button again and it will indeed continue where it was paused. However, if the pause is somewhat longer, did not measure how long, the information from the activity will not be visible anymore but the Epix returns to the clock-screen. If you then want to resume, you should push the start/stop button again and select ‘resume’, but it then starts a new activity so starts at zero, albeit in the background it keeps track of the total workout but without showing all details on the screen. When syncing with Garmin Connect the activity is not one activity but a multi sport activity broken down in several parts. That is not what I would want. If I pause and thereafter resume, it should resume where paused. During the pause it should not return to the clock-screen.
    7. Epix Open source maps very slow: Maps from opensource OpenCycleMap can be put on the Epix but these are very very slow. The refresh rate of the Epix is so slow it can hardly be used to navigate. Not sure what causes this and what can be done about it.
    8. Epix No warnings if not on course anymore: Noticed that when the navigation in running mode did work and I follow a (gpx) track, it is not consequent in telling me if I’m still on the course. Sometimes it warns me with sound and vibration and showing it on the watch, but sometime I left the course (for quite some meters) on purpose and did not get any reaction from the Epix.
    9. Epix Go to option hard to activate: Navigating with the “go to” option (point a place on the map to navigate to): often when pushing the screen it does not show the ‘go to’ option but instead tell you what kind of road it is. What to do in that case?

    • David

      Just wanted to second everything that Ron has stated in his review above. I’ve had exactly the same problems. As things stand now, the degree of usefulness of this watch is very low. I’m sending mine back to REI this weekend.

  27. I received my watch about 2 weeks ago. So far I used it for taper weekend workouts as well as a Half Ironman. Here are my thoughts:

    Battery Drain: The first few days the battery drain was AWFUL. I literally could look at it and “watch” the number going down. I believe that the SW update fixed this because I have not had this issue since updating. I am currently running SWV 2.20. I charged it prior to my half ironman on Saturday night, used it to race, and have used it for one cycle workout since then as well as daily use as a watch. My battery is now at 37% (today is Thursday and the HIM was on Sunday). I am pleased with that. I will be doing an Ironman at the end of June so I will report back on how the battery survives (Expected finish 13-14 hours at IM CDA).

    Screen: So, I confirmed yesterday it is not just my mind playing tricks on me. My screen is hard to read when the backlight isn’t on. The 920 XT was much easier to view quickly. The backlight is adjustable. I am going to set it on “Stays On” and see how it drains my battery. I will update this after testing it.

    Bluetooth: Under the packaged SW the bluetooth was HORRIBLE. I believe that was part of the ridiculous battery drain…constantly connecting, disconnecting, and reconnecting to my phone. Since the update to software version 2.20 it has been better. I feel that it loses connection about as frequently as the 920XT. This isn’t desirable but not horrible either. I have had to Pair it with my Mobile Phone numerous times. Again, I saw this problem with the 920XT as well so it isn’t new just annoying the issue hasn’t been fixed.

    Accuracy: I have been too lazy to test the Epix with my 920 (which I had a series of issues with and intend on returning to REI) as far as GPS accuracy…especially since Ray is busy working on that. No reason to reinvent the wheel. I will say that my HIM measured 70.14 instead of 70.3. Experience says that usually if a race measures short then it is short. So my assumption is that the bike and run WERE short. However, I haven’t really compared to anyone else to see if theirs were also short. Please note that if the distance using the tanget method was 70.3 then the Epix should have measured considerably longer because I was hot, tired, and too lazy to focus on cutting the tangets.

    Ease of Use: The first few days it was tricky to get used to using. Muscle memory meant I pressed the wrong buttons a lot. I was nervous I would totally screw up triathlon mode during the HIM (getting triathlon mode with transitions correct should earn some sort of an award) using the new watch just out of button habits. However, I did several practice runs and actually did not mess it up once (yeah me!). I prefer the start/stop and lap buttons on the face like the 920. To me these are easier to press during a swim drill or when you want to enter/exit transition. They don’t require me to flip my wrist or move my hand. BUT, I have figured it out and believe that the side is probably fine.

    Notifications: Part of the reason I got the 920 and Epix was for the notifications. I am a mother and work at a hospital so in the past when riding/running and my phone would ring I would HAVE to stop what I was doing to make sure it wasn’t my daughter, patient, or a physician I work for. Having notifications pop up so that I know when I can “ride on” or when I need to stop is awesome. The notifications on the Epix are improved in that you can read the whole text message. I like that. Before I would sometimes get curious based on the one line teaser on the watch and interrupt my workout unnecessarily.

    Music Control: Okay, this is totally not necessary…but I think it is cool. I am a nerd. I know. But if I am using a standard earphone in my one ear (for safety) and I want to skip a song I can easily do it from my watch while running without having to do it from my phone. Just cool. I like it.

    Calendar: So, for some reason I like this too but it is very much not necessary. But, well, why not.

    Weather: Not necessary but kinda cool. I can just look at my watch to see the hourly or daily weather. I am sure it is just as accurate as every other weather prediction tool (insert eyeroll here).

    Temperature: I like this. Mostly I like that it tracks temperature and puts it into TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect. This is helpful to consider my HR, Pace, and any impact Temperature might have had. I feel this helps me to evaluate my progress. What is interesting (and this might be a TP thing) is that for my triathlon on Sunday in TP I can see the temperature during my swim (average of 79…not wetsuit legal) and bike (max of 90 degrees…it is just too early for that nonsense) but not my run (average temperature of 93.8). Very weird. In hindsight this is possibly a setting I have wrong in my TP because it DOES show this information in Garmin Connect.

    Recovery Advisor: If I start an activity, do it for 2 minutes testing it, and stop it then it has been known to tell me I need an hour to recover… I don’t really pay attention to the results given for this anyway but it did make me laugh.

    Compass: I love the main compass. For an incredibly directionally challanged girl this is awesome.

    Touchscreen: Happy to report this does lock during activity. The touchscreen is cool for certain things.

    Power Meter search during run: Is it really searching? Why does it show it at the top as if it is looking for something that is never going to be there.

    While writing this, playing with my watch, turning bluetooth on, and turning on backlight my battery has decreased from 37% to 31%. We will see how it works out as I leave it alone and return to work.


    • Kyle

      Angela, good small review. But you didnt touch on the biggest feature….Maps. It was the main reason why I returned mine. I had the 24k installed and the Lag was real real bad. It seems like others are having the same problem for detailed maps. 100k dont see that big of a deal.

      I had a Fenix 3 for few weeks. The gps stopped working..literally stopped working and the Altimeter was horrible. People said I didnt know how to use the altimeter but I knew something was wrong with it. I sent it back.
      I then got an Epix. GPS seemed good. Altimeter didnt play with much. The maps were laggy as hell. Real bad. Also there were a bunch of bugs with the watch to font size to just random reboots during overnight hiking trips i couldnt justify spending $550. I just dont feel like the unit is ready for production. It could of used a smaller bezel for bigger screen area, much better processor and built in WIFI. Also the software is filled with tons of bugs. I had the unit for 2 weeks and the amount of bugs I found were amazing. How does Garmin not test these units before they are shipped out.
      I took a look on Craigslist and found an Ambit3 peak about 2 hours away for $250!. I took a drive and ended up picking it up from the guy for $200. The thing looked brand new. I was stoked and still am about the steal i found. Needless to say after a few weeks with the Ambit 3 it just blows away the garmin. Sure the color screen would be nice, or connecting to a tempe but the watch just works. I took it on an overnight hiking trip and it was spot on, from the altimeter,gps and battry life. Now with the latest update giving battery life a big boost (200hr in ultra mode). I dont even miss the 1 or 2 apps i downloaded from the disgrace Connect IQ store. I really tried to like Garmin but just too many issues for $500+ devices.

    • Kyle,
      You are right…nice catch. I haven’t had extensive use of it yet. Truth be told I got my watch the taper weekend prior to my HIM and have so far have only done those basic workouts and my HIM with it. I haven’t had to use navigation yet…really…kinda sorta.

      So, the saturday after I got it I did a trail run. I thought I would be brave and save my starting location, go run, and then when I got close to being done select the saved location and hit “go to”. So, well, I did that. I was supposed to run 6 miles that day and in the end I ran 8 because I didn’t pull off the “go to” option very well. I thought it was working great as I followed the arrow telling me I was less than 1/2 of a mile away. The arrow was following my trail and the distance was decreasing. I was feeling BADASS. THEN, the distance started increasing. The reason is it wanted me to run across a lake to get back to my campsite. I am a triathlete however I am pretty sure my Samsung phone wouldn’t have appreciated the direct route.

      Since that day I have played with the settings a bit to tell it to stay on roads, etc. but I am guessing this won’t be too helpful on trails but it may help me avoid large bodies of water. I haven’t had a chance to test out the maps (I have the Garmin with the 100K loaded) for a run or bike ride since then. I will test it out this weekend and see how delayed it is. I will also test out the courses option and see if it works like the Garmin 800 (which I am hoping to sell since I use the Pioneer Power Meter and would prefer to use that head unit instead of my Garmin 800).

      I will post a navigation update and other thoughts after this weekend. I see on Garmin Connect that there is a new SW update and so I will update it tonight and see how it goes.

      As for a follow-up to the screen viewing and backlight “Always On” – as expected that depleted my battery rather swifty yesterday. I charged the watch last night (which, it does charge super fast) and started this AM at 100% at 3:30 am. I turned on the backlight as “Always On”. I did a 45 minute pool swim and a few minor tweaks with it to test the Music option with Audible based on Jill’s post. Right now it is 1:51 pm and my battery is at 68%. So…clearly leaving the backlight ON is not an option. SO….does everyone feel their watch seems dimmed or is it just mine? Is there some setting to make it less dim without turning on the backlight?


    • So I feel a little like a moron Kyle ;) because your post had me thinking more about the maps function. I just realized that when my battery was depleted at record speed when I first received the watch (prior to updating the SW) I turned off as many functions as I wasn’t using at the moment to try to pinpoint the drain. So…I had the general maps, altimeter, and barometer off. Genius….not. So, thanks to your observation I have turned it on and will do some playing around this weekend.

  28. Ron Daalhuizen

    Solution to this one mentioned above:

    6. Epix Pause/Resume not start where it was paused: If during a running activity you need to pause, most logical is to push the start/stop button. If you want to continue push the start/stop button again and it will indeed continue where it was paused. However, if the pause is somewhat longer, did not measure how long, the information from the activity will not be visible anymore but the Epix returns to the clock-screen. If you then want to resume, you should push the start/stop button again and select ‘resume’, but it then starts a new activity so starts at zero, albeit in the background it keeps track of the total workout but without showing all details on the screen. When syncing with Garmin Connect the activity is not one activity but a multi sport activity broken down in several parts. That is not what I would want. If I pause and thereafter resume, it should resume where paused. During the pause it should not return to the clock-screen.

    Hi, by trial and error found out a solution for this stupid thing that made me feel like the watch is useless for my long workouts in which for sure I would need some breaks. This is what I did:

    – When you pause, after a while the clock will appear
    – When you want to start again after a break, press the start button
    – When you would go through with what would appear logical (select running if you were running and selecting resume), don’t do that but instead press the lap button and thereafter press the lap button again.
    – Your workout will appear where you stopped it for a break. Press start to continue that workout.



  29. Jill McKinley

    I am going to take my new watch out for a test while camping/hiking/biking/kayaking this weekend. I have noticed the Garmin 24k maps do well as long as other maps are turned off. I have not tried to do much with the maps yet but will but it seems to respond reasonably. Bluetooth fails for me if other Bluetooth devices are nearby. When I am away from other devices like my car and house, it works. That probably isn’t much of a comfort.

    The fitness aspects have been working well for me. I have done biking with cadence and running with a RUN strap. If I do not use the resume function but instead use the recommendation mentioned above it continues nicely.

    I am not much of a heavy GPS user but overall my experience has been very good with the watch.

    There are two things I think do not work very well. The Music control app only works with music and not podcasts or Audible books. Hopefully a new app will be developed that will just play and pause any app on IOS. The Step counts are not right. I use a Fitbit One and do not get extra steps because of arm swings because it is located elsewhere. Still the steps count is down about 25%. The sleep metric isn’t very useful. I will continue with my Fitbit because of these issues and the fact it does steps too.

    Connect IQ is goofy and doesn’t always work right away. It does the trick eventually.

    In the end I am happy with Epix as an upgrade to Fenix 1. I hope the weekend in the outdoors helps define it better.

    • Jill,
      I noticed while playing around yesterday that on Garmin Connect on my mobile phone there is a spot under “settings” which lists a “Default Music Player”. If you click on that you can select what you want it to start. Granted…it won’t allow you to change it from your watch (i.e. Audible to music, etc.) if you use one the majority of the time you can set it up there. So, for instance, if you know during a workout you will be using Audible you can select that on Garmin Connect on your phone and then sync your watch to it. It will change what it opens upon using it. I don’t have a lot of books downloaded yet on my phone and so I haven’t tested to see how well it works on Audible. Other options on MY Andriod phone include Kindle, Amazon Music, Car Mode, Cloud, Flipboard, Google Play Music, Google Play Newsstand, Multimedia UI Service Layer, S Voice, Slacker Radio, Video clip studio, Video Player, and Voice Recorder. Let us know how it works for you.


    • Maxim

      Jill, it’s actually FitBit over-reporting step count. Same thing if I compare Garmin Vivosmart and FitBit Charge HR, or any other pedometer. FitBit tends to report 10-15% more steps than I actually to. Sometimes it counts 100-200 steps while I drive a car or ride a motorcycle.

  30. Jill McKinley

    Thank you! I suspect this might be an Android only feature. I don’t see the setting in IOS but that is good to know it was not left out of their planning.

    • Jill,
      I will see if I can test it on my daughter’s iPhone…but it was hard for me to even remember where I found it before. It isn’t under settings for the device. On my Android I do the following:
      Click the top left 3 lines –> Select “Settings” –> Select “Default Music Player”. So…this means that as Garmin updates devices (I heard Fenix 3 just got this music option in a SW update and so my guess is the 920 did/will too) then you will only be able to select ONE Default Music Player for ALL devices. Until they figure out people may desire more customization than that. If you get a chance to try it let us know if it works on iPhone too.

  31. Matt Bell

    Here is a link to a video of my Connect IQ Data Field failure: link to youtu.be

  32. Petr

    Here are my issues with Epix.. Some of them wrer already mentioned here.. Need to say that it’ll be great watches when these issues were fixed.. especially often rebooting..

    High priority issues:

    – lots of random reboots – mostly during playing with TOPO map or while saving/cancelling activity

    – the map screen sometimes freezes or switch to blank (especially when zooming out), I have to restart device to solve it

    – when I leave my BT connected phone (iPhone 6) in other room for the night (I don’t want to have a phone in the bedroom), Epix repeatedly vibrate with notification “Phone connected” and “Phone disconnected. It should take account of my sleep period defined in Garmin Connect and turn these notifications off for this period. Alternatively, make it configurable in the settings. It’s really very very very annoying and turning BT off each night is uncomfortable.

    – several days old activities are shown as today activity in the history

    – interrupted activities (switched back to watch face before continuing) are saved as multisport activities

    – finished activity is mostly synchronized over BT after up to several attempts – it shows device connection error in GCM

    – sometimes is unable to start an activity – watches are only vibrating when I press start button and other buttons are not responsive.. I have to reboot them via some strange combination of buttons

    Low priority issues:

    – course track line is always purple even if I change it globally or for the activity type

    – data field values are overlapping into another field or outside of the screen – it happens with bigger values and the activity screen layout 2×2 or 1+2, for example activity total time or elevation

    – the map screen (with TOPO Pro 1:10 000) during an activity can noticeably drain battery

    Connect IQ issues:

    – update() method is called 14 times per 7 seconds when I switch to the watchface from another screen or widget – it results in higher battery drain on Epix for some more complex watchfaces

    – the font FONT_NUMBER_THAI_HOT is noticeably larger than this font in the simulator

  33. Additional Comments:

    Watch size/Band: I am 5′ 5″ and 133 lbs. I have a small wrist. The watch face covers my whole wrist. It definitely feels bigger/bulkier than the 920 but not terrible. One annoyance I have is the buckle seems to hit on a nerve in my wrist while running. I never had this issue with the 910 or 920. If I turn the watch so that the face is on the bottom side of my wrist the nerve pinch goes away. Another complaint I have is…Garmin…please figure out that WOMEN wear your watches too. I wasn’t a fan of the 920 color options. I got the red/white however in 6 months the red/white looks a tad dingy. The black/blue one just doesn’t feel very feminine to me. How about some other color options like…pink for the band. I mean, it is the new black.

    Notifications: The notifications are much less dependable than on the 920. This REALLY annoys me. I have a teen daughter and have a job that I might need to stop working out if a patient calls. So the fact that the watch connects/disconnects from the phone entirely too much…and the fact that it will say it is connected and yet notifications don’t come through really annoys me. How difficult can this be Garmin?

    Locks/Freezes: This watch locks/freezes quite a bit. Especially if trying to use maps (which DO load entirely too slowly).

    RideWithGPS doesn’t Export to it: This watch doesn’t have a “new files” folder. It has a .gpx folder but when I drag and drop to there it isn’t showing on my courses. So far the only courses I have successfully loaded are ones from previous rides on Garmin Connect. Now I am trying to find a good Mac version of a .tcx/.gpx to .fit converter. I have tried uploading some routes via the manual import into Garmin Connect and then sending to my device but have not yet had success doing it. I am sure someone here can post a solution to this for me…and I would be very grateful….

    • GPS File Transfer: Okay, I figured out I could download “RideWithGps.com” files and then import them into BaseCamp and then export them to the Epix. I totally forgot this was possible. I will test out a route tomorrow and see how it goes.

    • Paul S

      If you still want a stand alone GPX to FIT converter, try JaVaWa’s RTWtool. Good luck with BaseCamp, though. It’s probably the easiest option if it works.

    • David

      To load a tcx or fit file directly to the Epix via USB, place the file into the ‘Activities’ folder. It will act just the same as the NEWFILES folder. Found this out through a little logic and a little luck. This doesn’t mean it won’t still be buggy and reboot sometimes. The software is enormously buggy. Virtually a joke. I do realize that the software will improve, and probably rather quickly, but, in my opinion, that still won’t make it worth the $600+ I paid. The watch will be going back to REI.

    • Thanks. It can’t hurt to have a second option to test.

    • Agreed so far about the likely possibility of a return. Too many frustrations right now for $600. Not to mention it doesn’t come with a HR strap…so now we are comparing $700 to $500 for the 920 combo.

      I will see how the maps work tomorrow. I had hoped to sell my 800 and solely use the Epix and my Pioneer headunit. But it really doesn’t seem that the Epix with have a decent map screen to mimic the 800. I am also hiking in Glacier after IMCDA and I am pretty sure this watch is not going to be as useful as I had hoped. The delay on the maps, constant freezing, and from what I can tell so far very limited functionality is frustrating.

      I may hang onto it to see what DC says in his review…surely I am missing something awrsome that would convince me this is worth 200 more than the 920. Surely…

    • I’m mostly ambivalent on it at the moment. The lack of Basecamp Mobile and other mobile planning options is in my mind a deal killer. Having done a recent hike where I wanted to route a different (unknown) way back home, I realized just how much better Komoot on my phone was…for basically a buck.

      The other UI things are sorta the icing on the cake on making it feel subpar.

    • Alan

      Agree Ray. They need some significant updates to the UI, and fast. It’s the biggest failing and totally baffling why they struggle so much with this – it should be the bread and butter of their devices.

    • Kyle

      I’m glad your seeing it for what it is. Put 24k maps on it and do an activity for an hour, it’ll be useless. Way too many bugs for $550. Good idea but its not ready for primetime.

    • Agreed. And my 920 was much better at consistent phone pairing. This may not be a deal breaker for others but it was part of what made the 920 and Epix great…a glance of my watch told me if I had to stop riding/biking to answer the phone…that was pretty priceless. The fact that the Epix stinks at this in addition to losing my HR monitor and Power meter at 50 miles with a dead battery before 80 means…I officially dislike it. I think Garmin needs a major competitor to the 920 to get them on their game. I am baffled why they wouldn’t send these units to some of us early adopters to test before they were available to the masses.

      Depressed triathlete going back to the 920

  34. Aben

    1. How do you change the amount of data fields on a screen, it’s not letting me do it. Is 3 the max? (if so that is quite low for such a large screen)
    2. Can you overlay data on the map (e.g. see speed or HR)

    Got my watch yesterday. so far so so experience. one lockup. can’t install garmin express on PC. Garmin connect android does not show that epix exists. so can’t sync BUT I am getting notifications. go figure….

    When setting up it ask me if to sync to gps for time. it did it in seconds even though I was indoor and the watch arrived from abroad. impressive

    • When you select to setup screens select the one you want (ie screen 1) then select it and use the up/down on the left to increase (max of 4 as squares or rectangles ) ot decrease the data fields.

  35. Shane

    if you are having issues with lag this might help. Go in to map settings and select only the map you want to use. I put on 1:50k uk O/S,150124-British-Isles Contours Routable OSM and some 1:25k maps. when I went in to select the map I wanted to use they were all selected? I am not sure if it makes any difference at all but its worth a try.

    For what its worth I like the watch still using my fenix 3 for EDW and I have used the epix for a couple of runs and it is all good.

  36. Loaded maps and routes last night. Turned off bluetooth. Charged it to 100%. Unplugged it and went to bed.

    Woke up and whatever games it was playing had it down to 69%. Went for a 80 mile bike ride and a 1 mile book using navigation and the route I loaded last night. The watch spent most of the first 50 miles connecting and disconnecting the phone. At the 50 mile spot we stopped to refuel and when I restarted it started off as a new workout which I assume it would merge…

    It also dropped my HR monitor and Power meter. It was unsuccessful in picking up my phone, HR monitor, and Power meter again. Then…it dies before the ride was even over. Insert a few choice words. Thankfully I had my 800 running and had an app on my android phone for my run. Who does a workout like that in the Georgia heat with failing devices.

    Oh so annoyed!

  37. Ron Daalhuizen

    Epix automatically deletes my activity after succesfull sync. I do not want that. I want to keep my files and back them up. Garmin Express used to have the option to choose “Erase data on this device after successfully syncing”. I found that they have removed this option. Anyone who knows how to prevent that my Epix erases my data after sync?

  38. Ron Daalhuizen

    Solution to this one mentioned above:

    6. Epix Pause/Resume not start where it was paused (but starts new multisport activity): Already found and mentioned a solution above, but found another solution: settings/apps/running/stand-by: change from normal (returns to clock-mode in 5 minutes), to extended (returns to clock-mode in 25 minutes).

  39. fameh

    I’m totally confused with the Epix after tons of reading. I pray for Ray solving this with his outstanding reviews.

    From my point of view, the Epix isn’t very worth for hiking or cycling (as there are other options with bigger screens / cheaper / more stable at the moment). When I hike, for example, as Ray said, isn’t a problem to take a look at your cellphone with some TOPO navigation app. Cheaper, bigger screen, faster…

    But…what for the trail runners like me? Cellphone is not an option if going through a new and unknow place (example if you want to reach a hill, or want to downhill to a specific village and there are several trails or paths).

    I see only logic using a 24k routable TOPO map on Epix…to take a look just to a map you have your cellphone, and if not really interested in map routing, just following a created track/GPX, probably a Fenix3/Ambit3 are more stable, cheaper and why not, prettier and usable as everyday watch.
    Reading GarminForums seems to be very different opinions based on the types of map. Or buggy units of Epix, don’t know. Some users are happy and others claim that routing is nearly useless. Also read that you should try to avoid maps with transparent layers.

    Hope Ray (or another owner who can test it and want to play with this a lot) can analyze well the routing with different types of 24k TOPO maps and how the Epix performs there, and if the calculated routes are really useful or simply a better option than a direct line “as the cows fly” but not very useful.

    • Volker_I.

      The routing also depends on the routing settings in the chosen app. You also have to pay attention at this, when you are compairing the routing. The epix supports active routing (if the map supports this) and there a lots of different settings possible (activity/calculation method/avoidances).

      User should only enable two maps at the same time (the world basemap- it has to do with the zooming, somebody told me) and the map you want to use. If you have installed different routable maps and all are enabled, the epix indeed only shows the map with the highest (?) draw priority, but the route calculation may fail/suck, because of all the enabled routable maps.

    • fameh

      Thank you so much, Volker. Read your review on naviboard.de with the help of google translate but couldn’t understand much, and also in GarminForums. I know you have tried with 24k TOPO maps and seems you were quite satisfied.

      I read also another user about only a 24k map activated recommendation, and that doing this there wasn’t / was few lag when navigating performing an activity.

      So would you say the calculated routes are quite usable with those specific tricks you mentioned? Thanks a lot!!!

  40. Volker_I.

    Hi fameh,

    I think when you are talking about 24k maps, you mean the usa topos, right? I am using the topo germany v7 (25k) and it works fine (scrolling/moving etc.) on my epix. Don`t know, if the epix has perhaps probs with the 24k usa maps – I read different post about that, some with probs, some without probs…

    I did a lot of testing with routing (with different settings) on my epix and I worked quiet good for me. Normally I plan my hikes before as a track on my pc and then follow the track on the watch, to be sure that there are no “surprises” during the hike, but for routing “on the fly” on the epix, it worked very satisfied for me.



    • fameh

      Hi Volker,
      first of all, thank you so much for your information.
      No, im in Spain, so will try some openmtbmaps and IGN maps as well of Spain.

      I also use to plan my trail runnings on PC before, but wish to sometimes be able to go out of the route or just explore…and do it running without having to check constantly the cellphone (running looking at it in the hand is really unconfortable).
      Regards and thanks again for your opinions and explanations :-)

  41. Just as a quick heads up/FYI to those awesome folks who supported the site via Clever Training, the Epix units have arrived this morning (both regular and bundles). All backorders will ship out today.

    Once that’s done, you’ll see a small amount of in-stock inventory available for immediate shipment for new orders.

    Thanks again all for your patience!

    • Stephane

      That’s awesome Ray!
      Do you know if it’s different for us in Canada? Can you tell me if both models will be fullfiled? I’ve ordered one without the TopoMaps…

      Thx again,

    • Eduardo

      I will confirm that CT has shipped preorders. Mine was waiting for me in the mailbox today. What a pleasant surprise, as I hadn’t received any update from them this week. We’ll see what happens when I start banging on it this week.

      Thanks, CT!

  42. John Hedberg

    I loved my Ambit3, but I have had the Epix for a few weeks now and think it is fantastic. It is wonderful to have a real map instead of a squiggly line on the screen. I have City Navigator, and an Arizona Topo map from GPSFileDepot. While I agree with many of the firmware fixable problems cited here and elsewhere, my only major complaint so far is that I occasionally lose bluetooth connectivity. Otherwise, this watch is an absolute joy to use. The screen and maps are highly readable, the battery life is unmatched by any other watch in the known universe, and the overall functionality is amazing. The fabric wrist strap accessory sold separately at Garmin is another item worth purchasing for this watch.

    • Kyle

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. Having an Ambit3 Peak,saying the battery life is better on the Epix is just wrong. Just look at the Ultra Trac numbers , Epix= 50hrs while Ambit3 = 200hrs. Day to day use is clearly better also on the Ambit. You can say you like the Epix better(i guess) but saying the battery is better compared to the Ambit3 just isn’t right.

    • Naomi

      Hi folks,
      GPS mode , map, and HR storeage every 1 second – battery runs almost exactly 6 hours on my Epix

      While useing map 100k often shows 50% or less white display for about 10 seconds to 2 minutes

      4 times the watch freezes while running no chance to push button just waiting till battery is empty. Good luck is that I´ve my 920xt with me at the same time while running.

      So IMVHO Epix is far away to be a sophisticated watch.Yet.

      Herzlichst! Naomi

    • volker_I

      Strange. Using my epix with topo germany v7 (25k) map moving/scrolling/drawing is ok, battery life with gps (only) every second, hr belt and tempe sensor about 14 hrs (no bt, no iq witgets/apps) running time. Sometime freezes, but not often. I am very satisfied.

      Only 6 hrs? Something must drain the battery or it is somehow defective. Perhaps other users can post their battery life.

  43. Ron Daalhuizen

    Batterylife with navigating a course on the color display all the time, no bluetooth on etc, gives me just below 7 hours. Good thing is that you can charge the Epix while running etc

    • Ron,
      How do you charge it while running….or are you teasing? I can’t imagine carrying one of those pocket backup USB chargers to charge it. Am I missing the joke or some cool trinket?


  44. volker_I

    6 or 7 hrs seems to be no good battery using time – garmin announced up to 24 hrs with gps (ok, this is an theoretical battery using time) but it should be more than 6 or 7 hrs. Ray, some quick first experiences about your tested battery life?

  45. MikeDozer

    I ran about 500 km with epix. Few 40K, many 30K and one 50K. Some on completely unfamiliar forest terrain. For now my only concern is lag on map after one hour of use and some minor software bugs (for example broken autolap screen after hour). Accuracy is very ok. Instant pace is weak as usual ;)
    I do not use route navigation as i do in Fenix2 but draw tracks in basecamp and only show them on map in Epix. Its enough not o be disoriented and lost in unfamiliar territory.
    I use bluetooth only when running long distances with livetracking (for safety).
    Only reset that i have was when IQconnect field has failed to work properly

  46. Naomi

    Hi folks,

    I ´ve given mine back today after 3 weeks testing.

    frozen display every other day, no reaction of pushing buttons, no tricks helps (e.g.connecting with PC) had to wait till battery is empty.
    batterylife with navigating a course,GPS only, every second ,hr belt, foot sensor max 6 hours
    lagging with 100k map (didn´t try 24k)
    no HRV
    terrible watchstrap ( I like the one of 920xt and 620 but hated this one)
    no possibility to handle my data on PC (like Polar did with software Polar Trainer V5) I HATE it to be forced to use Garmin cloud, no privacy, imagine they even know exactly where you live, if you start your training in front of your housedoor only one time.

    So short so bad!

    • Jose

      You should be able to handle your data offline on the PC with Garmin Basecamp software
      link to garmin.com

    • Volker

      Hi Naomi,

      sorry to hear that. But I think that your device was defective or had some other problems. I get about 14 hrs of battery life, Joachim gets up to 16 hrs battery life. Almost no freezes with my unit and if, no problem to restart the watch at once.

      best regards


    • kyle

      No offense Volker but you seem to me 1 of a handful of people not having problems with the Epix. I see you always on the Garmin forums defending it. I returned mine weeks ago because it was like Naomi said, freezing, restarts, lag, and various other problems. Im sure you saw my youtube lag i posted. Multiple people have reported the same. If you like the device, great, just dont tell people its not widely reported. I know from first hand experience and from reading on the forums and people commenting on my video they have the same issues. The device just isnt ready. Maybe by software updates or the Epix 2 it will be worth the $600 garmin charges for it.

    • Just to expand on the data offline piece – there’s no need to ever upload data to Garmin Connect if you don’t want to.

      The Epix unit creates .FIT files within an ‘Activities’ folder on the unit, which can be accessed via the USB drive when plugged into any computer. These files are widely compatible with any reputable 3rd party app. For example, Sport Tracks is one of the best desktop apps to use. Also, apps like Golden Cheetah are free.

      As Jose noted, if you’re looking at management of waypoints/etc, that’s via the Garmin Basecamp software, also desktop driven – and again, no need to connect to the cloud (except perhaps management of paid maps).

      In many ways, Garmin is better than Polar on that openness/privacy front, as all recent Polar devices do require you to upload to Polar Flow (there are some quirky workarounds with 3rd party apps these days, but they are indeed quirky at best).

      On HRV, can you expand? That data should be recorded I thought (I don’t tend to use the FirstBeat software, which is really the only major app that decodes it).

  47. Volker

    Yes, I like the epix and I have got realy no problems with my one (sorry, but what should I do?). Just using it for hiking/biking with hr belt, temp sensor, gps only, 1 second, multiple maps (only basemap and on other enabled at the same time), no sport/fitness stuff, no bt, no IQ stuff except the hr chart widget.

    I am very critical (with garmin), in the past I wrote, if there was something I don`t like (have had 4 times rma with my fenix (1)) my remarks about what I don´t like, the etrex 30 sucks years before etc.,

    But perhaps my epix is defective and so I don`t have the probs, a lot of people seems to have…

  48. Is it possible in the history after an activity to see maximum speed? I dont want to connect it to Garmin Connect to see it. (is a surfskipaddler and dont have my laptop with me all the time).
    Is it different history in different sportprofiles, running, biking etc.


  49. Naomi

    @..Ray..”On HRV, can you expand? That data should be recorded I thought ”

    Dear Ray,
    d áccord. FirstBeat file “enable HRV ” (it´s free) copie into Epix and you are able to see HRV in SportTracks after training. But what I meant was this: I want to see my HRV right away on display while I´m running,moreover RMSSD witch sets HR and HRV in relation to each other. If I had the choice, getting seen only one data : HR or HRV , I would decide: give me HRV! Because it gives me so much more information about, what´s going on while I am running. So this training whatch EPIX which is the most expensive on market,(700 Euro with HR strap) is not able to show HRV on display immediately while running ,is simply rediculous ! ;-) Please correct me if I´m wrong Ray!

    Herzliche Grüsse!

    • Gotchya.

      For some reason I thought someone had made a Garmin Connect IQ app to show HRV. In meetings right now so can’t lookup whether I was just imagining, or if it’s Epix compatible. Might be worth a look…

    • Naomi

      Dear Ray, dear Volker,

      The app HRV Version 1.1.3, doesn´t make HRV visible while running. It´a pity, because I can run it on my 920xt too.

      “The design currently only saves to 1 location per day. This means that any saved test will overwrite any previous test of that same day. The timestamp is taken when the test starts, so autostart will take the timestamp at the scheduled time. The averages are a 30 day mean average.”

      Volker, I´m glad that you`ve got a nice watch being fully satisfied with it and a real Girl Friday ! And I believe your saying and thank you for your support to my questions in another forum! It seems to me that Epix devices are made from different quality. And my intention is not to make this watch bad. I tried to love it indeed, but if the weather is beautiful and I´m happy like a child eager to run and the new 700 Euro watch freezes at starting again and again then this is really frustrating to me. I wish I would had catched a “Girl Friday” like yours too. ;-))

      Weiterhin viel Vergnügen mit deinem kleinen großartigen Schatz! :-))

      Herzlichst! Naomi

    • Naomi

      … the app shows HRV while lieing in bed! ja prima!

    • Naomi

      correct myself:

      600 Euro “only” not 700! . I bought 2 HR straps and sensors, because living in 2 places, so I don´t have to carry my always wet HR straps with me all the time.

  50. Thomas

    I support Volker since I also have not seen any issues except the laptime issue in top right hand corner. I have been hiking 4 days using maps and birdseye without lag or issues. Tracking hike for 1½ day (6-7 hours effective walking) using 40% of battery. Comparing GPS accuracy with iphones and Ambit2 also indicates precise GPS accuracy

    • Volker

      Mine is working fine, I am very satisfied with it and I won`t comment post from other users with problems anymore here nor in the garmin.com forum. I can “waiste” my time with some nicer things.

    • Paul S

      I got mine from Clever Training last Friday, and so far, so good. I’ve only done two activities with it, an indoor ride on rollers (the weather around here has been lousy lately) and an outdoor 33 mile road ride. It worked well on both of them, and for different reasons, those are the tracks I have on Garmin Connect. I put US TOPO 24k maps on it when I got it, but only Pennsylvania and Ohio and some fringes around them, and they haven’t given me any problems. I like the screen for the most part. It’s a little hard to read only indoors, so I flipped from white on black to black on white for the watch face, which is a little easier for me to read. I might take it out on my ride this morning because I made some adjustments to the data fields, and I plan on using it for a couple of mountain bike rides when I get to do that without getting covered in mud. After that, it’ll become a timepiece aside from an occasional hike until winter. I’ve avoided Connect IQ completely for now, but I do miss the little graphs (altitude, heart rate, etc.) that are available on the Fenix, so I might look around there eventually. GPS has been acceptable, although there are a few places on my one track where it’s not that good (mostly tree covered places).

  51. John Hedberg

    Agree with Volker, my Epix is working great, except for the occasional bluetooth hiccup as cited earlier. While both Suunto and Garmin seem to be giving us early adopters beta software at the outset (my Android Movescount software for my Ambit3 is still in beta after almost 1 year!), my overall impression of the Epix remains excellent and I would recommend it now to anyone who likes to hit the trails with more than a squiggly line on their watch screen.

  52. Well, after much frustration with the Epix I returned to the 920. I was reminded about how many issues I have had with the 920 as well. Last week I rode a century and it dropped my HR and Power sensor during the second loop of it. It dropped GPS a bit later. I was grateful that my Garmin 800 kept everything the entire time. My buddy and I laughed about non stop “phone connected” and “phone disconnected” from both of our 920s. Are they having issues with power meters? Is that why they can’t hold a bluetooth? My friend is now on his 3rd 920. Garmin is telling him it is an Apple issue with the bluetooth drops. However, I have a Droid. So perhaps it is an Apple AND a Droid issue. Certainly not a Garmin one. At least not until they find a SW glitch to fix it in an update.

    I will say I am feeling a little of the “grass is greener” sentiment. I thought my 920 was better than my Epix until I pulled the 920 back out. Now I am having issues with it not counting my swim laps, dropping phone connection nonstop, and dropping power/hr connections. So…do I send both the 920 and the EPIX back and get new models to test? I am pretty bummed that I sold my 910. However, with my limited home internet (I live in the country) the bluetooth upload is awesome. But it requires a connection which I just spent almost 10 minutes trying to trick my phone and droid into getting the right series to see eachother and actually connect.

    Is it wrong of me to think that for $600 these should work better? All of this said I am revisiting this thread to see if any redeeming qualities have popped out to encourage me to go back to the Epix. I do have an Ironman in less than 2 weeks. Which to roll the dice on…..


  53. Volker

    I think the epix will perhaps need some fw updates to be more stable for the using fields of some users. It is a brand new product and this needs almost some time ( as usual for new Garmin products ) and people should give Garmin some time for that. Otherwise some people will be disappointed about the performance of the epix in some fields of using.

    For hiking/biking my epix is ok for me, but I can’t speak for sports/fitness use.

  54. Jill McKinley

    So far most things have worked very well with my Epix. I have run, hiked, kayaked, and biked with it and everything is working well. The biggest problems I have had are related to the Bluetooth connection and syncing. It seems to me to be related to other Bluetooth devices nearby. But the heart rate and fitness function have been rock solid. The lag on the map went away when I kept one map active. Now I have the Garmin 24k Great Lakes and the All trails map going now and they work very well together. I really was worried about this watch but so far I am very pleased.

  55. Paul S

    OK, that was an unfun way to spend a half hour. I decided to use desktop BaseCamp to put a waypoint and a course on my Epix, Maybe I should have realized that something wasn’t quite right when the Epix showed up as a generic “GARMIN” mount point rather than being identified as an Epix with a unit ID, but I went ahead and dragged the waypoint and the course to “GARMIN”. This got rid of all other files on my Epix, immediately, for some reason. Fortunately, I’d made a backup of the entire filesystem on the Epix yesterday, so it was merely a matter of restoring the ~ 4.5 Gb backup onto the Epix. Everything seems back to normal.

    Another quirk I noticed yesterday is that Express deleted all but the latest activity. It didn’t seem to save the deleted files anywhere on the computer, either. This isn’t the way I want it to work with 3.5 Gb free; there’s plenty of room for activity files.

  56. Ron Daalhuizen

    Hi Paul, I have the same after synchronization all my activites are deleted. There used to be an option inGarmin Express that you could enable or not to say it should delete after sync or not, but Garmin decided in latest Express version to remove that option. No idea how I can now make my activity stay on the device after sync. Activity will be deleted if I autosync through bluetooth and Connect Mobile and also through USB / Garmin Express.

    Other very very shity thing is that Pauze is dangerous move: Epix will switch to powersave and show clock in two minutes (extend powersave to 25 minutes does not work). No way to continue activity were you left of. It wil either create a mulitysport and start counting at zero or freeze.

    • Paul S

      Hunting around yesterday to see if it had stored the files on my Mac Pro, I found the .plist in the Epix folder that says, among other things:


      But Express apparently ignores that now.

      Still, since the biggest problems I’ve had so far with the Epix is due to Garmin’s desktop OS X software, I consider that a big positive. Much better than having trouble with the device itself.

    • Justin

      I haven’t tried this again to verify, but after my maps disappeared I reset the unit from the menu. However this wasn’t able to restore them. What I then did was to copy onto to watch a folder of the backed up files. This again didn’t help but just put the watch into a continuous cycle of rebooting. Then using the hard reset key sequence it reset the watch and the maps were back on the watch.

  57. Jouni

    Just got mine. After upgrading to newest 2.20 firmware, Epix lost the preinstalled map. Is there anyway of getting them back?

  58. volker_I

    Seems to be a Mac/Garmin express problem. There are some reports about that in the garmin.com forum: link to forums.garmin.com

    • Paul S

      Yes, there’s something seriously wrong with Garmin Express Service, the background app that does the actual work. I’ve lost the files on my Epix several times on two different computers. I’d suggest stopping Express (use the triangle icon in the menu bar, and tell it you want to stop the background app when it asks) and not using it until Garmin fixes the problem. With Express Service stopped I can plug in my Epix without problems, and BaseCamp works normally with it.

    • Jouni

      Thanks for the information. Well done Garmin!.

    • Paul S

      I don’t like the look of this from the Service_2015.06.18.txt log on my MacBook Pro:

      2015-06-18 12.39.12 (GMT-04:00) | 61083 | I | Deleting Internal file [GARMIN/system.xml].
      2015-06-18 12.39.12 (GMT-04:00) | 61083 | I | Deleting Internal file [GARMIN].

      Why it suddenly started screwing up yesterday I don’t know. Express shouldn’t be deleting anything anyway unless I ask it to.

    • Jouni

      After many mails and one phone conversation with customer support there is still no way to get preinstalled maps back on the device. I think my Epix is going back to store sooner or later. Luckily there is OSM and other alternatives too.


    Silly question perhaps but how do I load a course?

  60. Tim Christoni

    Anyone notice anything amazing in version 2.3 yet?

    • volker_I

      No, just the mentioned things. Some weeks ago reported layout issues with some data fields are still there.

    • kyle

      If the layout issues are still there then thats embarrassing and inexcusable. That literally takes a developer 10 minutes to fix that. Unreal

  61. Alan

    Hi Ray, how’s the testing going so far and we are all eagerly awaiting your review?

  62. Julian

    Can anyone recommend a UK supplier that will take back the Epix if it is too buggy?

    I want to buy and try the Epix – I think the mapping functionality would be great for long trail runs, but am worried about various bugs reported included map responsiveness. Those in the US seem to be able to return used watches after a few weeks e.g. back to REI etc. in the UK is there someone I can order from you will accept the return of the used watch if it performs badly in the first couple of weeks?

    Many thanks

  63. My Ironman Race Watch Decision Tree:

    I have spent a few days going back and forth between the 920 and Epix to determine which watch will be my Ironman watch at Coeur d’Alene. Having them both at once has been nice to consider a few things:

    – Software bugs are the same…obviously but easy to forget. So when the software glitch came out erasing all data upon sync it erased all of my data and reset any ConnectIQ on both watches. This goes back to the grass is not always greener. I was annoyed with my EPIX for failing me and so I went back to the 920 but it was just as unreliable. On my ride with it the 920 decided to drop my power meter, HR monitor, and eventually GPS signal. I was grateful that I had my Garmin 800 to have full data…it was my last century prior to my next IM.

    – Garmin Connect overwriting my HR zones back to default. Hopefully I have this fixed (and at least I know now to check) but Garmin Connect was determined that my HR zones should be set to default. This impacts zone training (if you are like me and can’t remember raw numbers to save your life…hence why you pay for a watch to do it for you) and also the values given to you for Training Effect (showing a 4.3 on the 920 with low HR zones and a 3.4 on the Epix with tested HR zones) and I believe calories burned. I am still not certain of the formula the 920, EPIX, and 800 use to estimate calories but there are certainly differences. I rode on Thursday with all three. My calories were EPIX 1139 (using correct zones and weight), 920XT 1389 (using HR default zones that are significantly lower than my tested zones and correct weight), Garmin 800 1276 (weight 4 pounds less than actual and on others, correct zones). So…I don’t really care about calories but this is a remember to use one device consistently and not try to compare between them. And also to try to ensure your settings are correct. So based on this my 920XT will let me eat an extra Oreo after my ride. Score!

    – Temperature: Another significant difference was temperature between the Epix and the Garmin 800. They were side by side and yet the Epix had an average of 81.8 with a max of 93.2 while the Garmin 800 had an average of 76 with a max of 84.2. Hmmm. Now, I like the temperature on the Epix because when I go back later and analyze my training and look to predict future success/goals, etc. it would be nice to look at temperature. I would prefer for it to be accurate. A second reminder to compare device data to same device data.

    – Elevations between the three were similar at 2267 (800), 2142 (Epix), 2106 (920XT).

    – Power: I don’t have a powermeter on my Road bike and my tri bike is headed to CDA so I couldn’t compare power between the three. My guess is they would all be the same like they were with HR since they are just receiving a value from the meter. I was more interested to see if any of them dropped the meter during the ride. My 800 has never dropped my HR monitor or my Power meter or GPS for that matter but the other two haven’t been so reliable.

    – Battery: The battery seemed to last longer on the 920. I don’t have raw data because my 920 was set to the bar display and my Epix to the %. At the end of the 4 hour Brick my Epix said it had 73% battery remaining…which if it holds up like this for my ironman and the addition of the Power meter on the bike doesn’t kill it…it will last. I don’t believe that either of them were connected to my phone during this ride and so I didn’t have the constant “phone connected/disconnected” annoyance or battery drain. I did not have navigation running on any of the devices.

    – Swim – so I had a swim with the 920 last Monday and for some reason it dropped laps a lot. It was the most off I have ever seen it. I am not certain of the issue. I had to keep stopping it and enter a fast “drill” mode to get the yardage correct. I swam Friday with the Epix and swam 4300 straight. It only dropped two lengths showing me at 4250. It was easy to see in Garmin Connect the two lengths that looked doubly long. This is acceptable to me.

    – Maps – mine cleared too. I reinstalled the City Navigator. Now I am wondering if I should go to the trouble to install the 100K Topo map or not. I might wait until after Sunday’s Ironman and then test it out. Anyone have advice on this?

    – Size – Okay the EPIX is just huge. I am an average to perhaps slightly petite in the bones woman (5’5″, 130-134 lbs) with small wrists. I no longer have my 910 to compare it to but the EPIX is A LOT bigger/bulkier than the 920. I took pictures for some friends for FB and you can see the band is wider, the clasp (which pinches a nerve in my wrist) is considerable larger, and the watch face is a lot thicker. It is certainly not as comfortable as a daily watch. But, I reminded myself that I have a really nice daily watch that I was never wearing that could fit this bill.

    Ironman Decision: I am going with the EPIX. It is supposed to be a high of 103 at CDA on Sunday and so there is no chance this will be my A race. So I have decided to test out the battery and usability of the EPIX on the course. If it doesn’t survive the day then I may resort to something different at IM Choo in Sept. My 910 survived the time for my first Ironman and so the bar has been set high. I believe if I remember to turn off bluetooth and anything extra prior to the race I might be okay. Not certain but we shall see.


  64. Dan

    The comparison chart says that all of these watches allow real-time tracking on the site. Is that done through the mobile app using a cell phone signal or does the data make it to the site directly from the watch? I often go hiking several miles from the nearest cell signal and if my loved ones could track me and make sure I haven’t fallen off a cliff it would help me make the choice between the Fenix 3/Epix and the Suunto Ambit 3 Peak.

  65. Naomi

    Hi , dear Ray,

    such a long time people waiting for your expert In-depth-review.
    So, please let me guess why is that?
    Well, I guess you try hard with your first, second, third…damned Epix or till Clever Training has sold all it´s whole stock of damned Epix, before you let the cat out of the bag. Yeap! ;-) Please ,correct me if I´m wrong!

    Herzlichst! (whole-hearted)

    • Or I’m busy with my family in town this past week.

      I’ve continued to post all of my Epix workouts to the comparison page here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      I haven’t had a chance to post the last few days there yet, merely because I’ve been busy.

    • There are over 700 comments on this thread from users including Ray’s initial response that he isn’t impressed with the Epix device. From my following of Ray’s reviews (which cover a huge variety of products…not just the Garmin Epix) he isn’t rich from this, he is honest and unbiased, and he does this because he loves this. This is very similar to many of us (but on a much grander scale) who spend our free time giving advice because we care. So, rather than assuming that he is trying to trick you into buying something (which he has already said he isn’t impressed with) perhaps read through the 700 comments/reviews from users above as well as the data he has already loaded. Or buy one and give us your impression of the device. Those are all pretty awesome things to do.


    • Volker

      Normally Ray release the “in depth review” when garmin announced a new product (at least edge 20/25). For some unknown reasons garmin announced the epix in January and was not able to send him a test unit, before they start the selling. So there is no reason to hurry, and as we say in German ” good thing will take time”…

    • Indeed, it varies by product. Typically I do ‘First Look’ or ‘Hands-on’ posts when I haven’t had a product long, or, have only had it a short bit of time to poke with.

      An in-depth review is almost always done on final software and hardware, and usually for an extended period of time (i.e. 30+ days).

  66. Ingo

    Anybody tried to create (or upload) a route using bikeroutetoaster, then export it to Garmin Connect and follow it on the Epix? Here in Hong Kong we’re pretty short on downloadable mapping content so if this would work we’d have one option at least. Many thanks!

  67. Julian

    So for what it is worth, here are some thoughts after a couple of days with the Epix.

    Overall it’s an amazing watch but let down by two issues. The first is it is definitely buggy – I am sure Garmin can sort this in time but it’s hard to swallow when you have just forked out £400 on a top of the range watch. Secondly aesthetically it’s no supermodel. I’ve upgraded from the Fenix 3 which in my opinion is stunning; in comparison the Epix is very much an ugly stepsister.

    I spent most of the first day figuring out how the maps work. It’s not intuitive and the manual is as good as useless. Eventually I was able to get OpenCycleMaps for the whole of the UK on, just by copying the IMG file directly to the watch. However I was most keen on getting OS maps on the watch, and after a lot of googling realised the way to do this was to use Garmin Basecamp (for my Mac) and purchase some BirdsEye Select Great Britain credits.

    Once I had registered the watch the process worked smoothly and I loaded the OS tiles onto the watch. Running with the map and a preloaded course was brilliant – you can see the route clearly and the surrounding map helps you pinpoint the exact places to navigate, especially useful for when a path forks and it’s not clear just by breadcrumb trails alone which path to take.

    Nothing quite beats the smugness of seeing your location, the map and the course all on you wrist. The only slight problem is it’s quite slow to redraw the map if you move it around. The touch interface works nicely though.

    Would I recommend it? Yes – once the bugs are fixed, but knowing that the bugs are so obvious I can’t see Garmin not fixing them. It’s got all the same great features as the Fenix 3 plus all the mapping functionality, so it’s unlikely you’ll miss anything in terms of functionality. It’s just a shame Garmin couldn’t replicate the design of the Fenix 3 with the Epix.

    I’ll be interested to hear what Ray has to say!

    • Paul S

      What kind of bugs are you seeing? For me, I’ve had no trouble with my Epix so far. The problems I’ve had with it are all due to Garmin desktop software. I’ve only used it a few times, but the GPS tracks look OK (there are a few problems here and there), no ANT+ dropouts and no freezes at all. The one hardware problem is that the charging cable has a stuck pin, so I can no longer reliably use it. (Since I was going to do it anyway, I’ve ordered two more so I have some spares.)

      Unexpectedly, I now own an Apple Watch, given to me by my daughter on Father’s Day. So here’s a brief direct comparison:

      Looks: Watch is a thoroughbred, Epix is a Clydesdale.

      Software: Apple wins. All sorts of apps on my iPhone 5c had Watch components, and most of them are now on the watch. I haven’t even looked at the ConnectIQ store yet.

      Screen: Watch wins indoors and in the dark, Epix wins outdoors. You can’t see the Watch in direct sunlight, while the Epix is beautiful under those conditions. One perceptive review of the Watch I read when it first came out said something to the effect that “Watch is the device that actively discourages you from using it”. The screen is off unless you press the crown or do the arm raise and it works. (That’s one reason I found the idiotic commercial segment where a moron does a track stand in heavy traffic and then raises his arm completely stupid; the Watch probably wouldn’t come on anyway.) You can’t side glance to see the time like you can with the always on Epix screen.

      Fitness: Don’t be absurd. Watch is not a serious fitness device.

      Notifications: Just work on the Watch. With the Epix, it worked sometimes and didn’t other times. The Watch also has Siri, so you can reply to texts without getting your iPhone out.

      So, after a week of wearing my Epix as my daily watch, now it sits with all of my other special purpose devices, and the Watch stays on my wrist. Watch will never come with my cycling, while I still want to try out the Epix on a couple of mountain bike rides (if the rain will finally stop so the forest can dry out) and it’s my backup device if my Edge 800 ever fails until I (quickly, because I dislike wrist mounted devices for cycling) replace the 800.

  68. Volker

    GPS FW Update 2.90 (23.06.2015) (via webupdater)

    Changes made from version 2.80 to 2.90:
    Improve positioning performance and distance accrual in some circumstances.

    Just to reiterate a point mentioned in the changelog, after applying GPS software updates, for best results please allow the device to track GPS signals continuously for 10 to 15 minutes. With our extensive internal testing, this is absolutely necessary for best results.

  69. Mario


    I have a Fenix 3 and I am looking for a device to be used when mountain biking. I would like to have maps for off road tracks. I am not sure Garmin topo maps provide off road tracks as well.

    I was considering either the Edge 1000 or the Epix. Any suggestion? Does the Epic provides maps for of off road tracks? Does it work nice? Can you really keep following the map on such small screen?


    • Paul S

      Only for mountain biking? Definitely the 1000. I haven’t taken my Epix out on my MTB yet (possibly tomorrow), but I have on the road, and there’s just no way that it matches even my 800, let alone a 1000. Now if you’re planning on using it for something else, that’s a different story. I bought my Epix primarily for cross country skiing, where an Edge simply doesn’t work well.

      The Garmin TOPO maps, at least in my area, don’t have all of the trails in the area. OpenStreetMaps are best for that since they’re crowd sourced, so they will generally have the trails that people use. Often they’re routable, but that depends on the specific map.

    • lastoneleft

      Epix is still a half-baked product, so I would not recommend as of today.

      While it tracks and navigates a preloaded course OK on the road, when you go offroad into tree coverage, the map starts to lag and after a while goes totally blank and unusable, until you stop, and wait until the map catches up, and find itself. Totally distructing the main purpose of this watch. There has been a few firmware updates, but still Garmin was unable to tackle this problem.

    • Mario

      Thanks for the comment. I was planning to sell the Fenix 3 and get the Epix but looking the answers I’ll keep the Fenix 3 and just get an edge 1000 for the MTB.

    • Alan

      It’s buggy as hell. Anyone who says it isn’t hasn’t really used it in real scenarios other than playing with it in their house.

  70. Thomas

    I just dont agree, this must be related to very poor reception in a specific area. I have hiked several times in scandinavian area without any issues at all. And this is even without Glonas/WAAS/Egnos

  71. Otto

    How much MB’s space is there left to load topo maps on the epix? i’ve been told there are less mapping capabilities for the fenix 3 compared to the fenix 2 version. Is this true?

    • Volker

      I have got the European version with preloaded topo Europa (the map is about 2.5 gb).

      Explorer shows me:

      Memory: 7,23 GB
      Used memory: 2,77 GB
      Free memory: 4,45 GB

      I have deleted the not routable topo Europe to have left more memory for other maps.

    • Paul S

      Since I have my Epix plugged in at the moment, I can answer that. I bought the model that comes with the 100k TOPO maps for the entire US, which are about 3.2 Gb. I’ve added portions of the US TOPO 24k Northeast, which take up about 1 Gb. I’ve got at the moment 3.29 Gb free. So basically everything except the maps takes about 200 Mb.

      The Fenix 3 does not take maps at all. You can install (although not officially) maps on the Fenix and Fenix 2, but there’s only about 25 Mb of total space on them, so you can’t put much on.

  72. Julian

    I used the Epix this weekend on a 73km, 20000 ft ultra and can’t say my experience was positive; principally down to battery life.

    (1) In GPS mode, the battery life is max 10 hours, not the 24 hours advertised. That’s a huge discrepancy and I would argue dangerous to claim something so far from reality. I’d battery saving mode active, activity tracking off, bluetooth off etc and was shocked to see the battery down to 33% after under 7 hours.

    (2) On-the-go recharging doesn’t work/isn’t supported. I recharged the watch during a few times during the ultra and the watch rebooted every time, as soon as the battery had been disconnected.

    After positive 1st impressions, it’s now going back to the retailer. I feel very misled by Garmin.

    • Paul S

      1) I agree with you about the battery life. Based on the battery indicator and a couple of 2 hour rides, I’m estimating mine will last around 10 hours. I had GLONASS and WAAS/EGNOS on and Bluetooth on, with 1 s recording, so I don’t know by fooling around with settings whether I can make it last longer. Activity tracking is always off.

      2) There are two USB settings, “mass storage” and “Garmin”. If you set it to Garmin, it will ask you whether you want it to mount as a disk when you plug it in. If you say no, it will continue to operate normally, and when I disconnect mine, it continues on, without rebooting. I don’t have one of my USB batteries within reach, but plugging it into my computer did not cause it to reboot. So on-the-go recharging should work.

    • Julian

      Thank you, I wish I had known (2) before the event; as I pointed out above the manual is useless. You’d think this was quite an important detail for Garmin to tell it’s customers.

      As for the battery life, I was only using GPS, the other methods were off. Of course I took 24 hours with a pinch of salt, but given that I thought 20 hours would be perfectly achievable. Still v annoyed with Garmin!

    • Ron Daalhuizen

      Charge battery during activity works perfect with me. Clip it on a batterypack and not chose mass storage. It will then charge and you can use it while charging.

      On battery life: Without recharge I was out for 70km run in 7 hours with navigation on, bluetooth off and last hour light on. It went from 100% to 38%

  73. Julian

    Ray, any chance you can shed any light on the battery performance of the Epix vs the 24 hour quoted life. Do you find that most GPS units (any brand) are within say 80% of the quoted battery life, or is it common that brands will create completely artificial scenarios such that an actual performance of 40% or so is the norm. Thanks!

    • I haven’t tested the battery life yet. I’ve got another unit I’m going to plop up on the roof in the next few days and do some different long-battery life tests. That specific test has it’s limits, but it at least generally establishes a ceiling.

      When it comes to GPS battery life – it’s super tricky. There’s a lot of factors that influence it, such as GPS signal strength (i.e. wood areas hurt battery life as the GPS chipset has to work harder), as well as obvious ones like backlight, vibration alerts, Bluetooth usage, etc…

    • Volker

      Hi Ray,

      a “roof battery test” don`t show you/us, the real battery life during a hike/bike trip, because of the missing “moving map action” and pressing some buttons during the trip. But I think, you know this already (I just want to mention it).

      I have the IQ store widgets/apps/watch faces/data fields under suspicion to be responsible for a larger battery consumption/drain. A lot of this stuff isn`t working/working well on the epix yet (the developers (I think don`t have a epix to test) run it only in the simulator, there it works, but often not in real life).



    • Yeah, this would basically be just establishing a bit of an upper ceiling of battery life.

    • Julian

      Thanks Ray, appreciate you taking the time to answer. As an aside – do you or anyone know how to turn the off course vibration alerts off, I would have thought they use a lot of battery?

    • Jose

      This timelapse of the Epix in a static location gave 21 hours before turning off:
      link to youtube.com

    • Maxim

      I’ve got no ConnectIQ stuff on my Epix, yet it goes 100 -> 38% in approximately 6 hours (but I have BT always on, with 1-2 notifications per hour). I blame maps (TOPO AU & NZ, to be precise).

      Seems like map redraw sucks battery life quicker than anything else.

  74. James

    Can someone tell me, is that buy it on eBay cheaper than the retail price?

    Here is the link:

    (Link to unrelated FR225 zapped)


  75. José

    Hi ray,

    When are you planning to post the Epix in-deph review?

    • Soon, just a big backlogged with 4+ new product announcement posts this week.

    • Aben


      My understanding is that Epix is the same features as Fenix 3 but with mapping (and touch screen). The epix manual has nothing on Mapping…. I tend to use your reviews as the goto manual. in short a strong emphasis on mapping

      (BTW its fun to record flights with Epix, good boredom relief and then see the great circle route on a map later on)

    • Dave Lusty

      Long flights on jet planes follow the Jet-streams normally to save fuel and time I believe so probably aren’t actually great circle routes. I’m certainly now curious though, do you mind posting a link to a track?

    • Tisztul_A_Visztula

      No pressure meant, but soon when? Like almost today, or somewhen in July? Thx

    • Tisztul_A_Visztula


    • Tisztul_A_Visztula

      Soon? :-(

  76. Francois

    Got my Epix but the battery life on oy was only like 24h. Did I set something up wrong? Ive got the 920xt and leave the Bluetooth on with activity tracker and it lasts me a week at least, training twice a day.
    What do I do wrong?


  77. Etienne

    The Epix is supposed to launch in South Africa sometime in July with a version of the local South African Topo maps pre-loaded. Waiting in suspense for Ray’s review to drop. What I’ve seen in the comments section in the hands-on above hasn’t been very encouraging, a lot of returns etc (unable to compare it to the volume sold, so not sure if it means anything, for all I know there may be a lot of happy users out there). The latest FW update discussions on the Garmin forums (re FW 2.40) seems to be encouraging though.

    • Jason


      I have been a long time lurker both here and the Garmin Forums for the Epix. I too had a lot of reservations about purchasing the Epix based off of previous user experience. However, I can say without a doubt I have really enjoyed my Epix.

      Now full disclosure, I’m a runner and a hiker/backpacker. I don’t use the multi-sport functions, I don’t plan on using turn-by-turn directions (though I have played with that function). I don’t use the activity tracking or sleep tracking. However, I do have it linked to my android phone (LG G3) via bluetooth and use the watches weather app. I used notifications for a little bit but found it annoying and not something I felt I needed, so I shut them off. When I did use notifications, not all notifications on my phone would appear on my Epix, but for the most part it worked and I imagine will be sorted out with future FW updates.

      I have loaded up multiple maps and birdseye imagery and have been completely satisfied and many times incredibly impressed at what this watch can do.

      It does have it’s limitations which may or may not be fixed in future FW updates.

      For one, enabling multiple map layers at one time (depending on the size of the layer) can slow down the watch to a crawl and in some cases lock it up. However, even desktop GIS applications like ArcMap can suffer from this if you load up a lot of huge detailed layers. So really it’s a matter of scale…this watch is going to only do so much. That being said I have had topgraphic, planametric and birdseye imagery all enabled and the watch is still functional…though panning/zooming the map is noticeably slower.

      The other issue I have personally seen is zooming out too far using certain layers has caused the watch to flake out where the touchscreen will no longer function and I have to reboot the watch. Now, when I say zoom out…I’m talking like 20 miles out. I haven’t performed a lot of troubleshooting with this issue…it could be hardware limitation, it could be the layers I had enabled…I don’t really know.

      I have used this watch most recently for running. I have 65+ miles of runs on it so far and haven’t had a problem with it lagging, locking up, losing data or any of the other issues I have seen here or on the Garmin forums.
      I have done a couple of small hikes that were a couple of hours long and again had no problems. One hike was in the rain and I have not had any of the issues regarding the screen being activated by water that some other users have reported. In fact, I have taken the watch in the shower multiple times and have never had a problem with the water and screen activations.

      Battery life has been completely acceptable and blows away my old 405cx. As a test I charged my watch to 100% on a Sunday. Throughout the week I used the GPS for a total of about 6 hours on the one-second updates. It was connected to my phone via bluetooth all week. By the following Sunday my watch was down to about 25%.

      Lastly, I find the watch very comfortable to wear. I swore I wouldn’t wear it as an everyday watch and now find myself wearing it everyday…even as I type this post. Sure, it’s a big watch, but I equate it to wearing a wide bracelet or something…for me it’s simply an non-issue. And for some perspective, I’m not a big guy: 5’8″, 170lbs.

      I understand that I use the watch based on my needs and requirements and this is going to be different from everyone else. But for me so far the Epix has met and often exceeds my expectations.

      I hope my post helps,

  78. So I tested out the Epix at Ironman Hades (AKA Ironman Coeur d’Alene) on June 28th. I was pleased with its results. Due to the ridiculous heat I didn’t pay attention to my power or speed during the race and focused on my HR level (best indicator of body’s response to heat). The watch lasted until mile 24 of the run…so approx 14 hours and 20 mins. I am pleased with this because in most ironman races I don’t need this much time. It was clearly a slow race due to the heat. I am sure there were some settings I could have changed for longer battery life. I turned off bluetooth and maps but ran Power and HR monitor (and it was a LONG bike ride in really hot heat). It was great to see the temp readings during the bike which correlated to everyone’s slower 2nd loop of the bike.

    I also used it for a week while hiking in Glacier National Park (the real reason I wanted the Epix to begin with) and it worked great. My distance it calculated was much more accurate that my hiking partners using different GPS watches. I didn’t change the settings to anything fancy. The only map I used was the US City map since Garmin’s SW update cleaned off the TOPO map I bought preloaded.

    The watch is still too bulky on my tiny wrist to wear comfortably as a daily watch. I plan to return this one to REI to swap it for one with the Topo map still on it (it is true that Garmin said the preloaded maps can’t be put back on since their clearing of them in an update…correct?).


  79. Etienne

    Thanks Jason,

    The hardware seems solid and the tech support in SA is pretty good. They’re liberal with swop outs if anything serious is found (I’ve had three 910xt swop outs due to the barometer failing). I am a (slow) multi-sport athlete so things like battery life will play a role for me…probably the first part I’ll skip to when the review is put up. I have some GIS background (MapInfo) so I understand what you’re saying. Multiple large and detailed map sets on a device this size will put it under severe strain.

    All devices have their usability and functionality quirks. Will just have to figure out the ones that affect me and learn to work with them.

  80. Julian

    This watch is turning into the marmite watch for me. When it works, and also when you figure out it’s idiosyncrasies, it’s brilliant. When it doesn’t work, or just as importantly when it is not clear how it works, it’s a real disappointment.

    Now I’m getting more used to the watch, the mapping functionality is brilliant. e.g. long runs in new places, simple diversions, new trails etc on existing runs. I’ve worked out the problem I had with recharging on the go, and the watch is better than the Fenix 3 here – it is easy to plug in a lightweight recharger and at the same time still navigate etc off the watch.

    There are still occasional bugs – e.g. battery life seems to suddenly drop every now and again. I think with a couple of more software updates (assuming no new bugs) Garmin could really nail it. And I wish they would allow users to disable the Lap button, it’s so easy to confuse Lap and Back and screw up the lap counter.

    For me, Bluetooth alerts, syncing etc all seem to work fine and are all useful.

    Having previously said I would return it to the retailer, I am hanging on to it!

    • Etienne

      That makes the news I received today a bitter sweet. I was informed that there’s a problem with the supply chain of the local unit. Delivery has been shifted to somewhere in Q4 2015. On the plus side, it forces me to be patient for a few more months while Garmin also sorts out additional niggles.

  81. Jill McKinley

    I bought the 100k maps after the watch and was able to download it to the watch from the Garmin site. They also allowed me to use the 10% coupon they gave me for registering the watch for the map cost so it is cheaper or the same if you buy the maps after the fact. I think there is no advantage in returning the watch and getting the bundled map.

  82. Tim Christoni

    Software Version 2.50 just dropped. Ready, set, GO!

  83. Tom D

    Hi Ray,
    Great first look. When will the in-depth review be published?
    Thank you.

    • I’ve collected basically all the data (and opinions) I could ever need at this point. Just a case of having a few spare days to write up the review and capture all the final photos. Right now I’ve been slammed with both work travel, as well as friends and family having been visiting sequentially now for the last 4 weeks (like a rotating door).

  84. Tadhg

    Have been loving all the gps reviews. I’m currently trying to decide on what my first gps device will be. I’m torn between the fenix, epic and possibly a handheld gps. I think I’d like the Fenix but would love if it was possible to pair the fenix with app on my phone which show my location on detailed maps. I’m not sure if Garmin or a third party currently offer this but I think it would be a great addition.

    Apologies if this something that is obvious but I had done a fair bit of reaching into this and not found any. I would need topography and marine data primarily

  85. Tadhg

    Yes my phone can already do this but I am looking for something with very good intergation between watch, phone and web (to view past trips etc).

    I was proably not too clear in what I am actually looking for in the above but I will try to be clearer in below.

    * View maps offline (no cell or data usage)
    – do you recommend any particular provider or source
    – ideally id like to use one source so that all maps would be consistent / the same level of detail etc
    – mountain topography (marine maps not as important)

    * Pair the phone with external gps unit for better accuracy & to capture more data

    * View, store & share trips in much the same way as can be done in Basecamp & Strava

    It would be great if could use a gps watch to capture all the data and at the same time be able to look at my phone when I need to see where exactly I am

    Any advise or recmmendations really appreciated


    • Paul S

      So far as I know, no one offers something like this, especially the one thing you seem to want. But, as I said, that’s the one thing that your phone already does. The fact that it uses it’s own GPS instead of another device’s doesn’t change the answer, and doesn’t make it less accurate.

      My Epix can be synced with Garmin Connect via Bluetooth, does a bunch of smart watch functions, and I think it offers Live Tracking. But none of those will work without cell service, and Live Tracking shows other people where you are at the moment, and so far as I know doesn’t show you where you are on your phone. So it pairs with a phone, but not as tightly as you seem to want.

      So lets focus on the device itself. Since you seem to like the larger screen of your phone, then if I were you I’d look at handhelds. If you want maps on your wrist, the only choice is the Epix. (Yeah, OK, Fenix/Tactix/Fenix 2 support maps of a sort, but their internal storage is very small. Fenix 3 doesn’t support maps at all.) Handhelds give you more options, and I believe other manufactures besides Garmin make them. I own an old Garmin 60CSx. The advantages of handhelds are the larger screen, the larger antenna (not as likely to have GPS problems, but it’s not impossible), and many of them use standard replaceable batteries, so instead of worrying about recharging it you simply carry along spare batteries. The disadvantage is the size; you have to keep it somewhere. If your hands are free, then that’s not much of a problem, since pulling it out (I use a belt clip) is easy. If your hands aren’t free, then it becomes more of a problem. (When I go hiking these days I take my Epix, since the dog comes along with me and my hands aren’t free.) The advantage of a watch is that it’s easy to consult even if your hands are full. The disadvantages are the smaller screen, the internal rechargeable battery that can’t be swapped out in an instant, and the smaller GPS antenna. So far as I know, all modern Garmin handhelds pair with fitness sensors and of course all of these devices record tracks containing both position and the data from whatever fitness sensors are paired. So the tracks can be put on Garmin Connect/Strava/wherever.

    • Tadhg

      Thanks for the detailed reply Paul.
      Yes the crux of the problem seems to be that I cant download detailed maps on my phone on Garmin Connect / Strava apps and essentially use that as my handheld gps. I want to use Garmin Connect / Strava so I can store and share trips which although some apps do offer but they seem rather small scale and low budget.
      I would be using the gps for backcountry skiing, trail running and sailing so ideally id be able to view trip data on my watch and then pull out my phone on occasion so I can view my location on a map.
      It is just me or does it seem like this could be a nice area for someone like GC or Strava to expand into? I know mytracks (google owned) and a few other small players offer something like this but they all seem low budget and are fairly limited in their options..
      Fair enough garmin are trying to protect their handheld gps market but someone like strava/mytracks should be all over this. Why should I shell out extra money on hardware(handheld gps) that my phone can already handle it (fair enough battery life, robustness etc but good enough for causal users)
      Sorry rant over!
      I have been looking at some handheld gps units like the 62sc and the etrex 30 but then I do lose the convenience of been able to glance at my wrist. How do you find the Epix when using maps?
      I suppose I could have my watch and just run an app independently on my phone, upload my watch data to GC/Strava. Its not the full circle I was hoping for but if its not out there then that may be the best option. Would just mean that if im trying to get to specific waypoints I would have to enter all the waypoints on both phone and watch.
      Nothing is easy!

    • Paul S

      Yes, it’s hard to find a single device that can do everything well. When I bought the 60CSx back in 2006, I had hoped that it could do everything, but for a variety of reasons over the years I’ve accumulated more specialized devices. I now use an Edge 800 for road and mountain biking, a Nuvi for driving (just this week bought a new one), and the Epix replaces the Fenix I used for 3 winters for cross country skiing and the occasional hike. (My Apple Watch and iPhone 5c are never used for outdoors activities; I usually leave the Watch at home when I’m out doing something.)

      The Epix screen is very good in sunlight, either direct or indirect. (Not so good indoors; the exact opposite of my Apple Watch, which is illegible to hard to see outdoors.) Map details are excellent for such a small screen. The track is acceptable (I just got back from a short hike and the track is here), but not terrific. I’ve used both Garmin’s US 24k TOPO maps and OpenStreetMap based maps from openmtbmap.org and they both work fine. (I haven’t tried panning the map during an activity though, and I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the slow refresh when doing that.) Unlike the two previous Garmin devices I’ve bought upon their release, the Edge 705 and the VIRB Elite, I’ve had no real problems with the Epix, certainly no freezes or crashes leading to loss of data. But at this time of year I’m not really using it; I’ve taken it out on a few road and mountain bike rides and done a couple of hikes, but I’m not really going to start using it for what it’s meant for until this winter (I hope; snowfall around here isn’t guaranteed).

  86. Volker

    Perhaps you need a watch, which can be used as a”display” of your phone, on which an app is running? For example the pebble time link to getpebble.com

    • Tadhg

      Over the weekend I used the Topo Maps+ app on my phone which allowed me to track my trail run on a downloaded map which was reasonably detailed. When I got home I was able to export this into google maps and google earth both of which were pretty cool and interesting to view. I was then able to save the route in google maps and earth and share them with friends. The runs ‘performance data’ time, avg speed, etc was not available to view in google but was available in Topo Maps+ both mid run and afterwards.
      As Volker suggested maybe I could use a watch like peddle to view the data midrun by displaying Topo Maps+ info, this could be possible but Topo Maps+ was far from polished and seems quite basic in this area.
      Also as a sailor id like to had a compass and gps on my watch, getting the bearing to a particular mark/waypoint is particularly important, but using pebble could be an option for just my runs.

      Thanks for all your input Paul. I think I am going play around with Topo Maps+ and look into another app called Gaia which costs €20 so I want to find out what benefits I would get for this. Maybe these will suffice for my mapping purposes but I will definitely be looking at a navigation watch of some description. Cheers