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Garmin Fenix & Epix Release History and Future Timelines

With all the sales of various sports tech products for the holiday period, there’s the inevitable question of whether or not new releases are around the corner. After all, companies offloading older inventory to make way for newer inventory is as much a part of Black Friday sales as trampling the doors of Kmart and Circuit City.

In particular, one product group seems to gather the most questions – so, I figured I’d quickly outline the history here, so people can make whatever informed purchasing decisions they want. As always, I’m not going to dive into future product plans and such, but rather just talk about what’s historically happened on both product releases and product sales. But still, I’ve got some fun questions to throw out there.

However, before that, there’s a single question that repeats itself over and over again in the comments section:

“When is Garmin going to release an AMOLED Fenix?”

Now, some of you are laughing right now, believing the answer to that is obvious. However, the fact that I and other major sports tech reviewers see this question posted numerous times *per day* illustrates the challenge that marketing Garmin currently has. The answer, in case you’re not a sports tech geek, is simple: They already have – it’s called the Garmin Epix. It’s been out for two years, and is on its second iteration already (Stop, I hear you already, don’t you be talking about the true Epix OG yet, that’s a later-section).

Yes, the Garmin Epix is simply an AMOLED Fenix. They share the same software, same features, same everything. They’re kept in sync. There are zero feature differences between the two except battery life, display type, and one or two display-specific items (like Redshift).

The next question that follows almost right behind that is some form of:

“It’s been almost two years since Garmin released the Fenix 7, I don’t want to buy a new watch that’s gonna be replaced in a few weeks, when is the Fenix 8 coming out?”

And while that’s a true statement, it omits the fact that the Fenix 7 Pro came out 7 months ago, and is *the successor* to the Fenix 7. So to explain that, and what it means, let’s dig into things a bit.

A Quick Historical Tidbit:

The first thing to keep in mind is that the origins of the original Garmin Fenix some 11 years ago were from the ‘Outdoor’ division. At the time, they focused almost entirely on hand-held devices. In fact, the original Fenix at launch was objectively not great as a fitness/sports watch, due to the menu system that came from the handheld devices (whereas Garmin’s Forerunner line came from their ‘Fitness’ division – which included cycling computers). One can read my old review on how I felt about that. It didn’t take long for that ship to turn though, but even today there are still slight remnants of that history.

Sidebar Distraction Time: I went back looking at some of my old e-mail threads with initial feedback to Garmin and responses to using the first Fenix. And wow, while I had remembered how difficult it was to use, I forgot about all the crazy steps for basic things that existed back then. Like starting/stopping/laps/etc, with no dedicated button for it. Here was the actual line-items in one of my older e-mail threads from a Garmin person on how to start an activity and lap:

Setup > System > Hold Keys > Hold Up > Start/Stop
Setup > System > Hold Keys > Hold Down > Lap (NOT implemented currently)

As you can see, those were the early days!

In any case, these two divisions (Outdoors & Fitness) still exist today and still have separate product teams and even separate Wall Street reporting columns on investor/financial statements. But nowadays, they operate much more closely in product planning than they used to.

In fact, over the last year, we’ve really seen Garmin take a ‘one-Garmin’ approach to new features – such as the quarterly update cycle (like last week). Of course, this doesn’t mean I (or you) always agree with which products get which features, or even why things can’t be released at the exact same second. But it does mean that things are generally within a few-week span, and someone at Garmin has at least talked to someone else about it. Stuff that simply didn’t happen a few years prior.

I think long-term I’d love to see Garmin finally consolidate into the Garmin equivalent of Apple’s WatchOS for their watches. Right now they’ve got a slate of different user interface (UI) styles/designs. Venu/Vivoactive has one, Forerunner another, Fenix UI, Epix UI, Instinct UI, and probably more I don’t even realize. Some of those make sense – like Instinct, which is designed to be ultra-low power from the ground up. But I struggle to see why Venu/Vivoactive/Forerunner are not identical UI’s, with individualized features per SKU. But again, a different thing for a different day.

Fenix Product Cycles:

The thing to understand about Garmin’s Fenix release cycles is that they have a tick-tock pattern to them. There’s a major release iteration, followed by a minor release iteration. The first few years, they were all major releases. But the jumps between each unit were less major than they are now. Note, that there was no Fenix 4. This is because the phonetic pronunciation combo of both ‘Fenix’ and ‘4’ together in Mandarin is basically translated as “fast rise to quick death” – not exactly the branding you want to aim for.

Here’s the full release table below*:

July 2012: Fenix
March 2014: Fenix 2
January 2015: Fenix 3 (didn’t ship till March 2015+)
February 2016: Fenix 3HR (the mid-point release, added optical HR, didn’t ship for months)
March 2017: Fenix 5
June 2018: Fenix 5 Plus (the mid-point release, added maps/music/payments to all units)
August 2019: Fenix 6 & Fenix 6 Pro
July 2020: Fenix 6 Solar (the mid-point release, all units got solar)
January 2022: Fenix 7 (plus Epix Gen 2)
May 31st, 2023: Fenix 7 Pro (the mid-point release, plus Epix Pro)

The key takeaway from this list, is that it’s linear. Each new line is considered the ‘successor’. The only real exception to that is the Fenix 6 Solar released in July 2020, which was focused on just adding solar to all sizes. Also, it was still peak-COVID days, so the ability to execute some plans were dorked up.

I’d imagine Garmin will try and maintain the roughly 14-18ish-month release cycle for Fenix. In fact, I’d imagine executives would love to pull it into a predictable 12-month release cycle if they could do it. Thus the earliest I’d expect to see a new Fenix 8 variant would be the late May/early June 2024 timeframe, with the other end of that being late-August 2024 (another popular release timeframe for the Outdoor product group).

Garmin would try hard to avoid sliding into September because that’s just a cluster of messiness for their own other products as well as competitors. They typically do things like the Venu/Vivoactive series then, and further try to compete for attention in the usual onslaught of Apple/Google/Fitbit releases, plus everyone else. This year that timeframe included new watches from COROS, Polar, Suunto, and then Samsung a bit earlier in August. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone else too.

Instead, the more interesting question here is what happens to Enduro. When original Enduro was first launched a few years ago in 2021, the watch originated as a cut-down Fenix 6X Pro Solar. They removed all the features people wanted, at the expense of battery life. As one might have expected – that didn’t end well. Sure, the battery was great, but the one feature ultra runners/hikers actually wanted (maps) was missing. Fast forward to the Enduro 2, and Garmin did the opposite. They took the base Fenix 7X and gave it a bigger battery. No feature removal – rather, extra features such as including an improved flashlight and new software updates at the time.

However, when the Fenix 7X Pro launched this past spring, it largely negated the need for the Enduro 2. The battery differences quickly evaporated the majority of the differences, with there being only a slight battery edge for the Enduro 2. Not to mention the Enduro 2 has the older ELEVATE V4 optical HR sensor package, so it lacks ECG & Skin/Wrist temperature features (or higher accuracy) of the new Fenix 7 Pro.

All of which is a long-winded ramp to the obvious question: Will Enduro stick around? It’s a brilliant brand name for the watch. And maybe the answer is simply: “Yup, Garmin will just take a Fenix 8X and stick another big-ass battery in there and call it Enduro 3. Case closed, brand confusion be damned.” Although admittedly, if there was a single scenario where there isn’t actually brand confusion – it’s the Enduro branding.

(*Note that back in the 2012-2017 range, Garmin was very much in the ‘announce now, release later’ camp. So the Fenix 3 announced January 2015, but didn’t start initially shipping till March 2015, and really didn’t hit true availability for many more months. Garmin no longer does that, and essentially aims to announce with full stock availability.)

Epix Product Cycles:

For this part of the conversation, we’re gonna throw away the original Garmin Epix. Yes, there was one from way-back 8 years ago before Garmin abandoned it. It was Garmin’s first wearable with mapping on it. I actually don’t think it was ahead of its time technologically, rather, it was ahead of Garmin’s ability to execute it properly from a marketing standpoint. The poor thing, it got left behind faster than a Forerunner 645.

However, these days the Epix is arguably Garmin’s rising star for how to execute an AMOLED watch that can still be just as endurance-focused as a Fenix unit. In fact, we saw Garmin double-down on that with some Epix Pro units offering near comparable battery life to some models of Fenix 7 Pro.

Garmin said at the time this is partially because a Fenix MIP-based display + solar + touch layers, actually takes up more room than an AMOLED display that has the touch layer built-in. So Garmin simply filled that extra space with a bigger battery. Suunto mirrored these comments when talking about the Suunto Race (AMOLED) & Suunto Vertical (MIP), citing the depth of the MIP display connector is one factor that increases overall space.

In any case, more tangents and distractions aside, Garmin has kept the Fenix & Epix product launches linked. That wasn’t always a given though. In fact, they had originally planned on separating the launch dates for Fenix 7 Pro & Epix Pro months apart, but then pulled them together to the May 31st, 2023 launch earlier this year. A wise move.

January 18th, 2022: Epix Gen 2
May 31st, 2023: Epix Pro (mid-point release, new HR sensor system, now three sizes, flashlight added)

Again, while we could rehash everything I talked about above in relation to Fenix timelines, I’d fully expect Garmin to keep Fenix & Epix timelines locked together. Especially as the company has really solidified the ‘this is one watch, simply pick your screen type’ mantra. Separating release schedules would only sow consumer confusion and doubt, and likely result in people holding back for fear the other unreleased sister product will be better somehow.

Thus, history would say a new release cycle would be no earlier than May 2024, and placed more during the summer timeframe. Unless Garmin manages to snap to an annual release cycle.

Which is a good time to point out that an annual release cycle, when done right, isn’t actually a bad thing. Apple’s done a very good job at managing that concept for their Apple Watch line. However, the absolutely critical part of that annual release cycle execution is that they push updates via the WatchOS platform to all watches from the last 4-5 years. That’s not what Garmin does today.

The goal of an annual release cycle is less about convincing people who bought last year’s version to upgrade. It’s more about offering an ‘always-new’ option to people who have 2-4-year-old devices. Give those people various hardware upgrades, and a few software features tied to said hardware upgrades, but otherwise, people all stay on roughly the same watch feature set. Of course, it can’t be left unsaid that Apple’s big advantage over Garmin here is that you *have* to have an iPhone with an Apple Watch. Thus, Apple effectively has you hooked on two concurrent purchasing/revenue cycles, let alone any added Apple services you buy from them.

But again, we’re getting distracted. Whether or not Garmin wants to end up with such a strategy is far more important than whether or not they could pull it off (technically or otherwise). The company has shown over the last year or so that they’re laying the software release cycle bricks for that, if they want to execute on it.

Oh – wait, one last thing. What will they call the next Epix? Technically the current names are: Epix (Gen 2), then  Epix Pro (Gen 2). So, is the next one gonna be Epix 2 (Gen 3)? Epx 2? Or Epix 3? Or Epix 2 Pro? I’m sure some smart marketing person has an answer for that.

Going Forward:

(Yes, I just stuck an Epix Gen 1, the OG, picture for this ‘Going Forward’ section. I had to use it somewhere, and lacked a good place. This spot will do just fine, thank you.)

The whole reason I started writing this post was folks asking whether or not the Garmin Fenix/Epix holiday deals are good or not. The simple answer to that is: Yes, they’re good deals – and no, there’s probably not some weeks-away imminent Fenix or Epix unit.

This is partially because Garmin has historically always done $150-$200-off deals for their Fenix units each November/December, and partially because release cycle history also indicates we’re probably at least 6 months away from a new watch (at best). Garmin has never had a shipping Fenix release cycle of less than 12 months, with again, the average floating in the 14-18 month range.

The bigger question though in my mind, outside of what to do with Enduro, is whether or not Garmin will continue supporting new features on the Fenix 7/7Pro once a Fenix 8 arrives. When the Fenix 7 Pro was released this past spring, Garmin has since kept the older Fenix 7 & newer Fenix 7 Pro in sync feature-wise, with identical features across the board (save for the handful of things requiring the new sensor hardware, like ECG).  At the time of launch, Garmin said they planned to keep those two in sync for a while, but stopped short of saying forever. And to be fair, forever is a long time.

However, while it’s everyone’s national pastime to give Garmin a hard time for dropping feature updates for older units, we are slowly seeing that tide shift. We saw it with the extraordinarily long time the Edge x30 series got feature updates, and we’re even seeing it now with the Forerunner 945 LTE still getting roughly feature parity with the FR955 and FR965 watches, despite being considerably older. Some of that may have to do with it being the only LTE offering, but I also wonder if Garmin is slowly trying to counter perceptions people have about the company and how it handles software updates. Of course, Garmin’s Venu 2/2 Plus updates are the opposite of that.

Only time will tell of course, and while I could go down a rabbit hole of comparing the feature upgrades Garmin does to their competitors, on the whole Garmin delivers far more features post-announcement than almost all of their competitors, even if some of their competitors (but not all) give updates for a longer period of time. I suppose one can argue the merits of both systems. But I refuse to have two rabbit hole posts in a single week.

So with that, thanks for reading!

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82 Comments

  1. Greg Franks

    Call me cheap. I look forward to new releases by Garmin because that means the older stuff is going on sale. Watches are getting like phones: good enough for all intents and purposes — get a new one when the battery in the old one starts to give up the ghost.

  2. Hon Cho

    Thank you for the explanation. Your commitment to providing written information instead of having to slog through a 15 minute video explanation is much appreciated.

  3. Mcowiec

    I propose a solution to all three problems: epix marketing, epix 3 name and keeping or not an enduro:

    No more epixes (this is plural?).

    Fenix gets AMOLED. No more clients confusion about it.

    Enduro 3 is Fenix with MIP display, in place of AMOLED.

    • You just changed Gala Apple to Granny Smith.

    • Thomas

      Honestly, I asked myself a relating question while reading through this post:

      Going forward, for how long will there be a Mips Fenix? What’s your expectation?
      I guess, on one hand, Garmin is convincing people that Amoled is the better choice (in general, but also for endurance focussed athletes). And just having to design one line of watches will be a benefit for Garmin.
      On the other hand, the now established Epix as the Amoled Fenix… and Fenix itself is a very strong brand. They obviously would need to dismiss one of them.
      Then again, Garmin was never shy of having to many different choices…

    • usr

      Or ditch the Fenix name, and make Enduro the “MIP Epix”. Fenix would soon hit the two-digit generation counter and those suck for branding (what’s the current iPhone? No idea, I used to know those things).

      Would also be an opportunity to have the same number on AMOLED and MIP (Epix 3 and Enduro 3) which could really help them spread the message that it’s the same device, pick whatever screen tech you prefer.

      Abandoning the Fenix brand would also give buyers who prefer AMOLED confidence that both are “true successors to the throne”.

    • Andreas

      In which world would calling the Epix Fenix and the Fenix Enduro lead to less confusion? That would make it even worse.

      Just kill the Enduro and let Epix and Fenix coexist.

  4. Pavel Vishniakov

    I’ve scrolled through the Fenix and Fenix 2 reviews and OMG, that UI was so horrible. I guess at that time it wasn’t as bad, but from today’s point of view the visual difference between Fenix 3HR and everything before and is mind-blowing.

    • Ryan M.

      I was most blown away on the Fenix 2 how much Garmin Connect’s website hasn’t changed much in almost 10 years

    • Benedikt

      I first had a FR 110 and than a Fenix 2.
      Did you ever wonder why the web address is connect.Garmin.com/MODERN/ ?
      Because it was back then when the Fenix 2 arrived when they did renew the Connect website. And now they are stuck because as the address says, its already the modern version. How can you now improve this? :-D

    • Heiko

      no, UX was always bad, even when these devices were launched. It took Garmin many, many years (until recently) to get to a point where the UX is acceptable.

    • niclas

      One of my main reasons for moving from Garmin is how bad their app and website is. There’s just so little useful data on there, and so much fluff. I much prefer on Coros and Suunto where you can see your distance and elevation gain each month for whatever sport you want.

    • Bosh Flimshaw

      You can pretty easily do this on the Garmin Connect website under “Reports.”

      For me it’s a niche issue but a big one for me – aside from the maps and training insights, no Garmin competitor has golf features (except perhaps Apple with third party apps).

  5. what hardware bump could Fenix 8 realistically get?

    LTE?
    microLED?
    next-gen NIRS (lactate, BP, etc)?

    I can’t see any of them happening with Garmin in 2024 yet a Fenix 8 must be a commercial necessity for Garmin to arrive no later than Q1.2025

    #dilemma

    • BartMan

      Microphone + decent speaker.

    • Paul S.

      For phone calls? Apple won’t let them with an iPhone.

    • Nathan Brown

      The Venu 2 Plus and Venu 3 both have this feature. It works fine with an iPhone as far as I’ve heard. The watch acts as a Bluetooth speaker. You can even use Siri with it. The only iPhone limitation that I know of is you can’t text from the watch, although you could probably work around that by using voice to tell Siri to text what you want.

    • Brian Reiter

      Without adding dramatic new sensor tech or LTE I can think of lots of room for improvement.

      1. Easily room for a larger display (1.5” on 51mm, 1.4” on 47mm, and just about room for 1.3” on 42mm)

      2. More advanced process node / generation ARM CPU and sensor hub processors. That yields lower energy budget and faster performance.

      3. Batteries with more milliamp-hr capacity in the same volume

      4. Better buttons such as the ones from the Descent mk3 or Marq range

      5. Premium materials improvements — such as a version of the milled aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber case like the Marq but with simplified curves and lower-end finish. (Given the Apple Watch Ultra is already milled titanium and sapphire at a lower price point.)

      6. New watch faces (that don’t suck) exclusive to new devices.

      7. Ever expanding range of quickfit band designs — although these are clearly backwards compatible.

  6. David Lusty

    You missed off the Fenix 2SE from the list in September 2014 😎

    • Haha…I totally forgot about that. But given it only had a red strip (versus normal), and they simply provided an inverted screen (text color inversion), I’m not sure it counts!

    • Dave Lusty

      It was definitely a different SKU. That screen wasn’t just inverted in software it was a different screen physically due to the large number of complaints that nobody could see their watch. If F6 Solar counts then I’m counting the SE 🤣

  7. bikeaddict

    I’ve owned Fenix 3, 5, 6 and now an Epix Gen 2. The pricing was more reasonable in the days of 3 and 5, but on recent releases, the pricing is so inflated that Garmin has lost me as a customer at product launch. I got the 6 on sale for $350 a couple years ago and the Epix for $450 last month, both a pretty good value. Buying a watch a year or two after launch with a big discount is the only way I will be staying with Garmin going forward.

    I’ve been expecting the Epix name to be discontinued and Fenix to go full AMOLED eventually. Maybe Instinct will inherit the Fenix screen. I still expect these changes to happen some day.

    • Dave Lusty

      Strongly disagree. I looked into it a while ago and adjusted for inflation the Fenix base model has consistently dropped in real terms price.
      Garmin have introduced more premium SKUs, but even there my Fenix 3 Sapphire was about £900 at release with metal band and Fenix 7 only slightly more, making it actually cheaper in real terms.

    • bikeaddict

      Fenix 3 was $500
      Fenix 5 was $600
      Fenix 6 was $600
      Fenix 7 and 7 Pro were $800

      They lost me when I can’t buy one for under $600 with a 10% discount from my LBS.

    • Yes the price has gone up dramatically, but so also has the value! I can rely on the fēnix 7 Pro to make a huge impact on any mountain adventure I go on. The fēnix 3 didn’t even have wrist based HR.

      You can find a Garmin watch today that is much more capable than the fēnix 3 for the same price or less than that was back in 2015, not even accounting for inflation.

      It just comes down to the features you want or need. I use a great deal of the features, especially when I’m up in the mountains, so paying $800-$1000 is worth it for me and my safety. But for someone perhaps staying out of the mountains and doing multisport stuff, something cheaper probably makes more sense.

    • Dave Lusty

      You don’t seem to have adjusted for inflation. 2023 dollars are not the same as 2014 dollars.
      US prices seem to have risen differently to uk prices though on the base models.

    • Nathan Brown

      $600 in 2017 dollars for a fenix 5 is the same as $760 in 2023 dollars. Using inflation adjusted numbers, $760 for a fenix 5 vs $800 for a fenix 7 doesn’t seem like as bad of an increase.

  8. This was a really fun post, to be able to reminisce all of that! I pre-ordered the fēnix 3 and have been getting every other-ish iteration ever since. And I am always excited to see what next, though I really hope fēnix never does end up with AMOLED, but that may also be nostalgia on my part.

    Also, the fēnix 3 review back in 2015 was the first time I ever saw anything from DC Rainmaker and I was astonished then at the detail, as I still am today! Of course, I re-read that review over and over again in eager anticipation because as Ray mentioned, even though I pre-ordered, it was very late.

  9. Ian H

    Ray – the link to the Original Garmin Epix links to the new generation pro FYI.. I always click on that when it comes up because i really wanted one!

  10. Thanks Ray! Great post and insight, as always!

  11. David Walker

    love this history post, Ray. and yes as David mentioned don’t forget the red-banded Fenix 2SE. It really is amazing the value of these watches when you consider all the tech that’s packed into them.

    looks like a typo 3rd from last para:

    “Garmin’s Venu 2/2 Plus updates are the oppsoite of that.”

    thanks!

  12. Nick Radov

    Do you have any insight into Descent product cycles? Garmin just released the Descent Mk3 series of dive computers which is based on the Fenix 7 and still uses the older ELEVATE GEN 4 optical HR sensor. Do you think they will release a Descent Mk3i “Pro” with the ELEVATE GEN 5 sensor and other improvements from the Fenix 7 Pro? Or since it is a low volume product will they just wait until the Fenix 8 is released and then build a Descent Mk4 on the same foundation?

    • Benedikt

      I wouldnt bet on a Descent Mk3i „Pro“ based on the F7 Pro with Gen 5 sensors. This would upset all buyers of the Mk3i. If you look how long it took from Mk2 to Mk3, i would expect a Mk4 not before F8 „Pro“ or F9.

      It is not only a low Volume niche product, but it is also harder to develop because it literally switches its internal running mode. As soon as you are diving, it only uses special hardened code to run as reliable as possible.

      I used the Mk2 for 2 weeks in the Red Sea 2 times a day and to be honest: As a recreational diver with a wife wich isnt into Gadgets (a basic dive computer is all she uses) i don’t see why i should „care“ about the Mk3.

      Garmin should think about implementing the inductive buttons from the Mk2/Mk3 in all Fenix watches, they are so much nicer.

    • Dave Stern

      How do you know it switches to hardened code? Would make sense, just curious on how you know this. I agree, with such a high cost, if they came out with a new version next year, everyone who bought the mk3 now would be super angry. And not to mention that they probably commit to making enough of the mk3 to spread the development costs. If they switch to a new model too soon, they’ll lose money because it’s a lower volume product and won’t have recovered their r&d costs. Those same people must be working on other models now.

  13. Steve Ingwersen

    Ray, as usual – an awesome review to the burning question. Now can you do the same for the Forerunner Series? When will the 965 get the new V5 HR sensor?

    • Eugene

      Fully agree, something like this history overview to predict the future for the Forerunner would be very welcome!
      Or better, Forerunner, Suunto and Polar running watches equivalent to Forerunner: an history overview to predict the future. Now that would be a serious feat. Few can do that…

  14. dan

    You can do this with all the companies
    we can start with hammerhead. original karoo 2018/2019
    karoo2 – 2020/2021
    karoo 3 – 2026/2027
    but hey they update it often…………

  15. Mcowiec

    Yup. Marketing problems are basicly confusing naming. Fenix is too strong brand to give it up. And with every Garmin watch getting AMOLED screen, event tactix IT is bot hard to imagine Fenix getting one. This will allow enduro to differenciate. And three is no place for epix.

  16. Jeff Sova

    Nice Work as always. Appreciate the effort for sure!

  17. Robin

    Thanks Ray – looking forward to diving into that old Fenix review.

    For what it’s worth (very, very little), my view is Garmin should drop the Epix brand, make Fenix amoled and make the Enduro 3 a MIP Fenix at the next release cycle.

    As others have said, the Fenix brand is to important to drop. Then each version Enduro and Fenix watches should keep feature parity.

  18. Benjamin

    Still sitting, waiting, wishing for more features on the fr745. But I think I’ll be waiting a while…. Don’t want to give up on it though, it’s just perfect.

  19. I have to say, until now I was and am firmly in the MIP camp. But your note about bigger battery, and the specs of the Epix Pro vs Fenix 7 Pro, are interesting. I’ll definitely look close when the F8 will be launched on the actual differences between the two.

    For example: An F7X has its battery life cut probably in half with SpO2 enabled at night. Since the display consumes more but it’s balanced by bigger battery in an Epix, it follows that SpO2 will take less tax overall, so maybe it’s not a bad idea. Who knows – will read the specs three times :)

    • Dave Lusty

      Battery life isn’t the only consideration here. I have the F7 and Epix and I prefer the Epix in use for every activity, and the battery life is absolutely fine.
      I always wear the Fenix 7 though. As a watch it’s just better, it’s less distracting and it’s properly always on to glance at. I find the Epix too bright as a watch, yet at the same time it’s often too dark as a watch because it automatically changes. I’ve tried to get used to it, but I definitely still prefer the Fenix for day to day wear.
      I also dislike the black and white themes of the Epix. Perhaps because I’ve had dark watches in the 2, 3, 5, 5+ I got bored of the dark ones, and the white plastic in the ti version – what were they thinking?!

    • Dave Lusty

      Oh yes, the post below reminded me – there aren’t any watch faces on the Epix that I like! The Fenix has a classy analogue watch face but the Epix can’t do that without some nonsense in the background “showing off the capability of the screen”. For some reason Garmin don’t make their watch faces available so it’s either the weird ones in the Epix or a third party one which I’m not so keen on for various reasons.

  20. Luke

    I wish that Garmin would make the watch faces downloadable from them, rather than 3rd parties. For instance someone may like an Epix Pro face on their Epix Gen 2.

  21. Mike S.

    I wonder if/when the Epix line is going to cannibalize the Fenix line entirely if they keep advancing as they are? Fenix is a well known brand name. Why didn’t Garmin simply add an OLED SKU to the Fenix line?

  22. Something’s wrong with your market strategy if influencers have to write an explainer for your branding!

  23. Thomas

    Something is odd with this sentence:
    “The battery differences quickly evaporated the majority of the differences, […]”

    Cheers!

  24. ArT

    I still use Epix Gen 1. It’s still great – map touch etc. Battery life is still one of a kind. The software doesn’t know much progress to update to gen 2.

    • Dave Lusty

      I promise that when you eventually upgrade your mind will be blown by the progress. Even jumping to the 5 there was a HUGE performance improvement in the interface. With Epix and Fenix 7 the mapping is finally usable to scroll and zoom without going insane :)

  25. Art

    I was about to ask this question during DC Open Day but something distracted me 😁 and this post is the perfect place: Was the original Epix so bad that you never completed the full In depth review?

    • Paul S.

      As the owner of both an original Fenix and an original Epix (still have both), I can comment on this. It depends on what you mean by “bad”. It was weird for Garmin in that it was rectangular (but Apple seems to make do). The screen is visible, the maps are good Garmin maps (place names, street names, topo lines, a full list of points of interest). It connected to ANT+ sensors and recorded activities. It fell down on navigation, though, and that was supposed to be a strong point. If you wanted to go to the nearest Starbucks, fine, it gave you full turn-by-turn instructions. If you wanted to navigate a preplanned route with turn-by-turn (and back then you had to know the difference between a “course” and a “route”), that was almost impossible. People on the Garmin forums claimed to be able to do it, but I never got it working. Instead, it treated routes as courses. You’d get your course line on the map, you’d get an arrow on the map showing you where to go at intersections, you’d be told if you left the course, but no turn-by-turn instructions. So it worked, but it wasn’t the “Edge on my wrist” that I was hoping for for hiking and cross country skiing.

      Ray had another URL where he was collecting stuff for his in-depth that he occasionally gave out when we pestered him about the in-depth review. I’m not sure if I still have it or whether it still exists.

      But Garmin lost interest maybe before Ray did. The last significant firmware update was about 6 months after release, and about a year later they did a final one with what were obviously little bug fixes they’d collected. After that, nothing.

      And incidentally, Epix wasn’t the first Garmin watch in this line that could display maps. The original Fenix, through what was probably just a programming error, was. You could actually put (very tiny) maps on the Fenix and it would display them. Someone actually went through the trouble of stripping down OSM maps for the Fenix; I had about one Pennsylvania county’s worth on mine. Garmin “fixed” that in the Fenix 2.

  26. Phil S

    Thanks Ray
    Do you think the next Fenix/Epix will get the LTE features? I was surprised they weren’t in the Fenix 7.

  27. Neil Jones

    I’m interested to see how things pan out for the other member of the family – the MARQ series. Although there’s only been two versions to date (not including the recent carbon editions), with 3 years between those and firmware upgrades tending to stay in step with whatever Fenix version was current at the time, it meant that the original MARQ was quite behind on features in the last year or so before the MARQ 2 appeared. I don’t expect to see a new MARQ version every 12 months (and my wallet doesn’t want to!), but if Garmin are going to stick with a 3 year cycle, I’d hope that they’d keep the current version as fresh as its hardware allows, even if that means it eventually gets ‘promoted’ to the Fenix 8 family firmware development program.

    • Brent

      I am interested as well on the MARQ Series plays out. I have been looking at it as an option but think I want to hold off until one of the later releases comes out.

  28. James

    Yesterday I managed to convince myself the battery in my three year old Fenix 6 Pro was depleted enough [*cough, cough*] to justify getting the new Epix Pro. With the $200 holiday discount it’s kinda sorta within budget. Glad to read there probably isn’t a brand new model coming out around the corner. Thanks for all the great videos and articles Ray!

    Now what to do with my Fenix 6 Pro?

    • Mike S.

      I’m quite happy with my Epix Gen 2. I would have definitely picked one up this year if I didn’t take the plunge last year. I now have a Fenix 5X and Fenix 6 Pro gathering dust. But I’ll keep at least one around for a backup.

    • bikeaddict

      My Fenix 6 recently sold for $200 on eBay. The 6 Pro is selling for $230-270 on most of the sold listings, with some as low as under $200 and some around $300.

  29. Greg

    I was using a 935 since 2018 then saw the recent deal for the Epix Gen2 sapphire for 50% off, in Australia that equated to just over $800 AUD, down from $1600!! Thanks Ray for highlighting the sales, absolutely stoked with the watch and the deal!!

  30. Michal Jodlowski

    Must say I was super surprised when HRV dripped down to F6, almost singlehandedly shutting down my plans to upgrade to F7. Hope that Garmin keeps that trend and when i finally get F8 i will be able to keep it for 2 iterations without FOMO too.

  31. Frank Velez

    Do you think the Garmin Descent series capability will ever be rolled into the Fenix or Epix line?

  32. Tyler

    Great info, as always.

    Feature request for Epix 3:

    * Longer battery life (inevitable, and Garmin is generally doing great).

    * Move the flashlight feature to the front face between the buttons, where it be more useful as a task flashlight (less useful as the passive white/red arm swing running light)

    * Allow the display/button assignments to be inverted (like Venu 2 and others did) to allow lefties to have better button usefulness (and also with the proposed flashlight location change)

    * Microphone and speaker features

  33. Joe

    did I read this right?.. Fenix and Epix are the same except the Amoled screen? is there any pitfall to the Amoled display? I just got myself a Fenix 7 Pro and thinking I might have got the wrong watch?

    • K S

      The pitfalls are battery life, eventual burn in, and worse visibility in concern conditions like outdoors

    • Correct, only difference is battery life/screen.

      Though, I’d disagree about worse visibility.

    • Mike

      Indeed. Battery life is plus for Fenix/(relative) minus for Epix – although whether it is a minus IRL is debatable. Conversely, screen and visibility are clear plus for Epix (although requires some management cause of light emitting nature of AMOLED)/minus for Fenix.

      Burn-in should not be an issue any longer.

  34. frnkr

    Thanks Ray! Reading this makes sense why Garmin acts such a siloed way they do.

    That said, di you have any inside idea why all the watches have only 2 CIQ slots when bike computers have 10? It’s the one feature I would go and upgrade my EpixPro immediately.

    Unbelievable frustrating that now when we have all the sensors and apps Garmin restrictions prevent us collecting all the fun data 🤓 outside biking. I really don’t get their point why the two (watch vs bike comp) are so far away in this one single feature. It cannot be processing power nor battery.

    Could you please please 🙏 make a story about how Garmin outdoor/sport divisions see the future of sensors in their watches. If there will be no more slots maybe native integrations (core temp, SmO2, glucose, etc) and slots for different apps. Thanks!

    Ps. If I support DCR will this annoying video popup disappear?🫠

    • I’ve never gotten a good answer on the 2-slot CIQ limit. Super annoying though, especially as more sensors use the Garmin Connect IQ platform.

      As for the pop-ups, yup! All DCR Supporters get ad-free DCR. Cheers!

  35. Robert S.

    Very informative. Been looking to upgrade my 245 which is now a bit old in the tooth. Fenix 7s is one of the options but I’m mostly a runner and the Fenix feels overkill, both in chunkiness and price.

    Hope there will be info on new Forerunners soon. I really dislike the 265s, it doesn’t click with me. I guess I just want Garmin to release a new 42mm Forerunner with a 1.2″ display again. Preferably not Amoled but I’m dreaming there. Sigh.

  36. Thanks for the heads up! The drop in price of the older Fenix series will be interesting. Hopefully it will be reflected in the stores soon after the Fenix 8 hits.

  37. Tyler

    Hey Ray –

    I’m likely sending this too long after your initial post, to see.
    Would you consider doing a similar timeline look at the Garmin Varia radar taillight?

    I’ve long been wanting to upgrade to a unit with longer battery life, for ultra races and tours, and they seemingly own this market.
    Besides the camera, it’s been a long time since they updated this product line (and much, much longer for their headlight).

    Thanks for any and all info, even if it’s that you’re unsure what to expect.

  38. Pieter

    Well written with good info thanks!

  39. Leonardo

    I would love to see a Fenix 8 with an updated MIP screen. (we people choose the Fenix series is because of the MIP display and not the funcy Amodel which for me is very nice but doesnt mutch to the watch like this, especially for the reason is proposed to be).

    If they eliminate the Fenix series and keep only the Epic, the i would like to see an Instinct 3X Pro with an MIP fenix has, and better CPU faster UI and maps. I dont care about the solid metal frame, im more interested to the better MIP display, faster CPU and nice frame like the Instinct 2X currently has.

    For sure if they do that then the Instinct should totally change the display and get the same one or even Better MIP from Fenix 7X Pro series, same size!

  40. Mark

    Hey Ray,

    Have you done/can you do a similar 9xx series (or even the wider multipart range) comparison on release cycles? Would be good to hear your opinion of what’s coming next in that line and when to expect it. Elevate 5, LTE, ECG, torch, built in sodoku, ;) etc. Thanks!

  41. Lolly

    Thank you

  42. Jamie Grippin

    I personally do not care when the Fenix 7 pro came out. Throwing rouge devices out into the universe is Garmin’s thing and they have many devices out there like junk satellites that are in orbit above us right now. I bought the Fenix 7 and will upgrade to the Fenix 8 when it hits the streets only who knows when that will actually be. Garmin does not adhere to any kind of schedule unlike Apple which I know each fall that the next gen Apple will come out, this not so with Garmin. Garmin also really needs to narrow their focus to a few watches and par down the pipeline. I very much dislike the unknowns from year to year with Garmin and ultimately will probably end up making the switch to Apple in the future simply because I know will what to expect from year to year.

  43. Shawn

    Do we think a new Epix is coming now that the Pros are on sale everywhere? I told my son he could have my Epix 2 when I replaced it, but I have to decide on a discounted Pro or wait for a new model…