The Massive 2023 Sportswatch Year in Review with DesFit

It’s December – and you know what that means: It’s time for the annual (and sprawling) – Sportswatch Year in Review video! This marks half a decade in a row of this annual video, where Des of DesFit, and I sit down and pick apart how the year went for sports watches.

This is now the 5th year in a row, and with it – by far the biggest and most epic year yet in terms of the number of watches that came out. With about 22 watches this year, it was a very strong year. But in some ways, the strength of the year is better measured by just how good so many of these releases were – and also, how big a shift it was this year for some of these companies in terms of technological shifts. And in some cases, also very big advancements technologically or platform-wise.

Here’s all the chapters in the video, diving into each of the watches or major announcements individually. You can click on any of these to be taken right to that section. There’s plenty of entertaining nuggets along the way, though one notable one is a discussion both of us ended up having within the Fenix 7 Pro & Epix Pro sections on what the future might look like naming-wise, as well as product-wise for Epix/Fenix/Enduro. Your head might hurt a bit (ours certainly does).

0:00 Trends of 2023
2:57 Garmin ECG on Venu 2 Plus 
5:21 Garmin vivomove Trend
7:43 Garmin Forerunner 265
13:03 Garmin Forerunner 965
18:22 Casio G-Shock Move GBD-H2000
23:19 Garmin Instinct 2X
26:56 Suunto Vertical
33:13 Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 5
38:24 Garmin Fenix 7 Pro
45:16 Garmin Epix Pro
50:37 Apple Watch WatchOS 10 New Features
52:35 Amazfit Cheetah
56:26 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
1:01:48 COROS Pace 3
1:04:07 Garmin Venu 3
1:08:02 Apple Watch Ultra 2 / Apple Watch Series 9
1:15:40 Garmin vivoactive 5
1:18:17 Fitbit Charge 6
1:22:21 Google Pixel Watch 2
1:25:42 Garmin Tactix 7 AMOLED
1:29:07 Suunto Race
1:33:01 Polar Vantage V3
1:38:18 Garmin Descent Mk3 / Garmin MARQ Carbon
1:39:12 Final Thoughts

And while a 1 hour 45 minute video might seem long, they’re specifically designed to be put on in the background – akin to a podcast. Thus, feel free to just listen in the background while pretending to do work. Thus far, the formula seems to be popular, with last year’s 2022 video having topped 400,000 views, 2021 at 481,000 views, 2020 at 443,000 views, and so on…

As usual, for each watch, we talk through what worked well, and what didn’t work. As well as how we think things might change going forward (both at the product level and industry level). And obviously, we included the bloopers at the end as well. Simply a requirement for this annual video series.

Give it a watch (or a listen), I think you’ll find it a bit addicting, especially if you’re a sports tech or watch geek.

Thanks for watching!


Hopefully, you found this post useful. The website is really a labor of love, so please consider becoming a DC RAINMAKER Supporter. This gets you an ad-free experience, and access to our (mostly) bi-monthly behind-the-scenes video series of “Shed Talkin’”.

Support DCRainMaker - Shop on Amazon

Otherwise, perhaps consider using the below link if shopping on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. It could simply be buying toilet paper, or this pizza oven we use and love.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. Lars

    You mention in the video that Polar communicated software update soon, is that for you to test only or an official one? ☺️

    • Both. I’ve already got the beta, but they’ve communicated they’re working for a public update soon.

      The particular beta I’ve got aims to fix the crashes, as well as some high battery burn pieces. The optical HR piece is specifically outside of the beta update I have, but they say they believe they can fix it – due to the fact it appeared to be working better in earlier firmware versions.

    • Truppen

      I hope as this new firmware fixes the sync problems I’ve with the Vantage V3 as for most runs I’ve to reboot the watch in order to sync my run on Polar Flow app on iOS. Polar have said they know about this, though.

    • Lars

      For me that is worrying that they haven’t included this now and use that words, belive they can fix it. It does not sound comforting. But maybe I’m too picky.

      Anyway. Thank you!

    • Truppen

      Firmware version 1.2.5 has just been released for Polar Vantage V3 but no mention of Bluetooth connection issues.


      There is a new firmware update available for Polar Vantage V3. This update fixes an issue that caused occasional crashes and resets for some users. Additionally, it resolves a problem where the ECG graph was not displaying correctly during ECG tests. Update your watch on your mobile via the Flow app or on your computer via FlowSync.

      Version number: 1.2.5

      Release date: December 11th, 2023

      Improvements/fixes in this release:

      Crash fixes and stability improvements
      ECG graph not displaying correctly during ECG tests, fixed
      Other minor updates and bug fixes

  2. Aleksander H

    Do you think there is any chance of Garmin releasing a band (based on elevate 5) that one can wear like a Whoop around ones arm to collect 24/7 data? I use Garmin for running, but would love to use other watches the rest of the time.

  3. Marco

    I haven’t used an Android watch in a while. Can’t or why can’t an android watch provide enough features through apps?

    • Marco

      I mean, why can’t they cover more features visa Garmin?

    • The problem is simply there’s no monetary incentive to do so.

      There are random apps that fill/plug gaps, but the big challenge that we’ve seen happen for both watch and even phone-based sports apps, is figuring out how to plug all those gaps in a single app. For example, how do you:

      – Deal with 24×7 tracking metrics cohesively
      – Have a full swim/bike/run/hike/60+ other sports profiles covered in a single app
      – Supported structured workouts
      – Support full maps (and have those maps be licensed/etc)
      – Support navigation (breadcrumb, routing, POI, etc…)
      – Support a dozen sensor types (some of them extremely complex), and then support recording of that data properly per all the applicable standards
      – Support training load & recovery metrics, tied to everything above
      – Support recommendations and some form of virtual-coach type thing (again, tied to everything above)
      …and on and on and on.

      And the real trick is that each of these simple line items, have probably 30-100 features within them each. It’s why it’s so incredibly difficult for anyone new to break into the sports/fitness market for either watches or even bike computers. The incumbent companies each have a decade’s of experience, with the lowest experience level being COROS, but even they are making up for it by moving insanely fast.

      Thanks for being a DCR Supporter!

  4. Chip Haring

    Ray, I’ve been watching your video reviews for several years and find them very helpful. I just joined your annual membership program to help support your channel. Would you recommend the Suunto Race.? I’m selling my Apple Watch Ultra as I want to get away from smart watch and go to fitness watch. Want to stay away from Garmin. Let me know what you think. Thx.

    • Thanks for joining to be a supporter, appreciate it!

      The Suunto Race is a good option for sure. I think in general you want to look at what you want out of the watch, features-wise. Suunto is somewhat still in their ‘growing-up’ phase when it comes to AMOLED display watches and some of the nuances there, that you might find a bit jarring coming from the Apple Watch Ultra. Inversely, you might enjoy how long your battery lasts.

      In general, I’d probably recommend you buy a new watch first, then sell your old one. Just in case things don’t work out. :)

    • Chip Haring

      Ray, thx for the insight. Looks like the epix is still on sale for $599 and the epix pro is $799. These seem like better options for me, so would appreciate any thoughts based on your extensive reviews you can share.

      Thx again.


    • Craig

      I thought you wanted to stay away from Garmin?

  5. Zoltan

    Thanks for the video. Just a tiny correction. A Fenix 6 plus never existed, but Fenix 6 Pro did and does. Around 43:00.

  6. Thmas

    Great video! Is the garmin fenix 7x pro solar the same as the enduro 2? They seem pretty much the same watch with the enduro having a better battery. Too many watches in the 7 line up.

  7. Erik

    Descent Mk3 is 100% out there – it’s on my wrist. AMOLED screen is wonderful and battery life is incredible. Might just be a dive community thing, but it’s jumped way ahead of the competition, IMHO.

    • Yeah, it wasn’t quite yet when we filmed. Looks cool though for sure, and some of the new multi-user air integration pieces are fascinating (which…are also not yet available).

  8. Al Pray

    Thanks for the review, this was great! FYI that unfortunately the Voice Assistant feature for the Garmin Venu 2+ and Garmin 3 is not really working any more. Lots of posts about it on the Garmin forums. When you try to summon the assistant it either flat out does not work or the spoken response is inaudible unless you have the watch up to your ear.