Epix GPS Comparissons

This is a simple temporary page where I’ll be listing activities as I test the Garmin Epix, along with distances and comparative GPS data.  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.

Please note that the distance I’ve listed in the table is the ‘official’ distance as displayed on the watch and the company’s own website.  Many 3rd party applications will ‘recalculate’ the distance using the track file. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad.  To keep things neutral, I’m simply displaying whatever the manufacturer believes to be the distance recorded.

Ultimately, this will become part of my in-depth review, slated for mid to late June.

Feel free to drop GPS accuracy focused comments here.  But for non-GPS accuracy questions, the  ‘first look’ post linked posted above is a better place. Ultimately this page here will be locked/deleted upon publishing of the in-depth review.

Garmin Epix GPS Comparisons

Activity DescriptionDateEpix GPS Distance GPS Device #2 GPS Device #3 GPS Device #4Comparison Link
Saturday City and Trail RunMay 23rd10.99mi11.09mi (Polar V800)10.90 (Fenix3)10.82mi (Apple Watch w/GPS)Link
Sunday Brick BikeMay 24th33.03mi33.09mi (Polar V800)33.15 (Polar V650)33.15 (Edge 1000) - 33.16 (Edge 810) - 33.24 (Edge 510) - 33.38mi (Apple Watch w/GPS)Link
Sunday Brick RunMay 24th3.09mi3.12mi (Polar V800)3.51 (Apple Watch non-GPS)N/ALink
Poland Interval RunMay 26th8.00mi8.03mi (Polar V800)8.08mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak)8.37mi (Apple Watch non-GPS)Link
Côte d'Azur Intervals May 28th 8.49mi 8.48mi (Fenix3) 8.53mi (Polar V800) 8.55mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak)Link
Côte d'Azur Openwater Swim May 29th .95mi (Left wrist) .89mi (REFERENCE SWIM BUOY).97mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak - Right wrist) .98mi (Fenix3 - Right wrist)Link
Fanghetto Italy Mountain Hike May 30th 6.30mi 5.96mi (Fenix3) 5.79mi (Polar V800) 6.37mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak)Link
Alpe d'Huez Ride June 2nd34.87mi34.90mi (Fenix3)34.98mi (Edge 1000) 35.28mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak) - 34.30mi (Polar V650) - 34.23mi (Polar V800) - 34.30mi (Polar M450 BETA)Link
Charleston Bridge Run June 6th 11.03mi 11.19mi (Ambit3 Peak) 11.19 (Polar V800)N/ALink
Reston/WashDC Intervals June 9th 6.80mi 6.84mi (Ambit3 Peak)6.87mi (Polar V800)N/ALink
Paris Night Ride June 12th 17.57mi (Randomly Stopped Short?) 18.14mi (Ambit3 Peak)18.00mi (Edge 810) 17.94mi (Polar V650) - 18.21 (Edge 1000) - 18.06 (Edge 510)Link
Paris L'Equipe 10K Race June 14th 6.21mi 6.10mi (Apple Watch: Started Late due to being finicky)N/AN/ALink
BACKFILLLING DATA STILL - SORRY!
Versailles Sunset Ride July 9th 28.66mi 28.82mi (Edge 810) 28.55mi (Edge 1000)N/ALink
Paris Evening RideJuly 15th 20.22mi 20.32mi (Ambit Peak) 20.19mi (Edge 20) 20.19mi (Edge 1000) - 20.27mi (Edge 810)Link
Dubrovnik, Croatia Hike July 17th 7.23mi 6.85mi (FR920XT) 7.23mi (Ambit3 Peak) 6.75mi (Polar V800)Link
Tour de France Final Stage Ride July 26th 29.54mi 29.46xmi (Edge 1000) 29.61mi (Edge 810) 29.64mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak)Link
Evening Paris Bois Ride July 27th 16.90mi 16.91mi (Edge 1000) 16.85mi (Edge 810) 16.89mi (Edge 20)Link
Night Solo City/Forest Ride July 28th 24.94mi 24.89mi (Edge 1000) 24.84mi (Edge 810) 25.00mi (Suunto Ambit3 Peak) - 24.84mi (Edge 25)Link

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14 Comments

  1. Monika Berrendorf

    Hi,
    could you please do a comparision between Epix and Forerunner 620 respectively Forerunner 920XT?
    Thanks!
    Monika

  2. Oman

    In that Fanghetto mountain hike I would definetly say that the Fenix3 struggled more than the others. It is waaay out at around 7.8 km…..
    Also interresting that the V800 which people say is among the most accurate current devices measured the shortest distance of the bunch and differed from the Ambit by more than 0.5 miles… That’s almost 10%

    • Yeah, I found that interesting as well. The more I do with 4 concurrent different devices the more its clear that things really vary a lot. What people think is true…isn’t always true (well, perhaps except the Fenix3 shorting in the woods).

  3. Monika

    Hi,

    made a run with Forerunner 110 and Epix. Forerunner 110 came to 7.64mi whereas Epix came to 7.46mi.
    Epix: GPS, Glonass on, Was/Egnos on, every second.

    Best Regards, Monika

  4. Jiri Cermak

    Hi Ray, please update your epix (if not done that already) to the latest firmware 2.40, which was released 23.6. as it contains some changes regarding GPS tracking, which most probably will affect accuracy … somehow ;)

    Changes made from version 2.30 to 2.40:
    Improved GPS tracking performance (Requires GPS Software 2.90. Note: after applying GPS software updates, for best results please allow the device to track GPS signals continuously for 10 to 15 minutes. This one-time process will allow the device to re-accumulate satellite information lost in the update process)
    Improved GPS distance accumulation (requires GPS Software 2.90)
    Added support for Connect IQ SDK 1.1.3

    • Yup, already updated! :)

      Though, I’m running slightly behind on updating the tables above. Just been slammed getting out product posts the last few days. It’s on my list for late tonight.

  5. Colin

    This is helpful.
    Looks like the Epix consistently records a lower elevation. Hope it’s been fixed since then.
    In any case I just ordered mine from Clever Training, thanks for the heads up on the sale price.
    Are you still planning to do an in-depth of the Epix or did you decide not to do it after all?

    • Paul S

      Elevation still is not really fixed. Mine, for example, using the latest firmware, 3.1, still drifts up and settles around 100 ft above reality. Others have reported different offsets on the Garmin forums. There are still settings where the displayed altitude is different from the recorded altitude; for the tracks shown here, I’ll bet the Epix was showing Ray a different altitude than the one recorded, since earlier firmware had the problem for pretty much every setting. There hasn’t been a firmware update for 5 weeks now, and people are beginning to worry that Garmin has effectively abandoned the Epix. There are plenty of problems left to fix, including the altimeter and navigation problems. None of them are too awful, but they are annoying.

    • Colin

      Thanks for that Paul, appreciate it.
      That’s annoying then. Maybe Garmin is already working on an Epix2, since this one had so many problems and bugs (they updated the Fenix series pretty quickly, after all). That would also explain them authorizing Clever Training offering Epix at such a discounted price (which I don’t think they do too often). A decent GPS mapping watch that works doesn’t seem like too much to ask for in 2015…
      BTW you ever use the Leikr?

    • Paul S

      No, I’ve never used a Leikr. Looks interesting except for the battery life. I also notice that the last software update was in March, which isn’t too reassuring.

      A couple of weeks ago we spent a week at Disney World, and I used my Epix to record daily tracks to geotag photographs. It worked really well for that, and except for one day where I got a low battery warning at 10 1/2 hours, it easily handled 12-14 hours continuous GPS tracking (in and out of buildings at that) with no sensors attached (and no Bluetooth; I looked a little like Ray that week with an Epix and Disney Magic Band on one arm and an Apple Watch and Magic Band on the other).

      There’s a lot to like about the Epix. The fact that the things I’m concerned about are the altitude being off about 100 ft and navigation problems is different from my usual experience with new Garmin devices, where I’m worried whether it’s going to crash or freeze during the course of an activity. I’ve only had the Epix crash on me once, and that was pretty trivial (crashed before the start of an activity, so I restarted and it’s worked flawlessly since). So it’s not all bad, and the remaining problems are annoying rather than fundamental. Still, it’d be nice if Garmin could fix them.

      As for an Epix 2, since I’m not in the habit of buying every new Garmin device, it doesn’t really interest me. I think the Fenix 2 was a bit of a fluke, and they took several things away that the Fenix has (I have a Fenix) that I really liked.

  6. Mikael

    Today I met huge problems with Epix. None of my rides according to Epix where what they should’ve been. About 15 km ride was measured to 9 kms and quite the same ride in the evening back was only 3.7 kms. Usual ~9 kms ride from work to customers was only ~3 kms and so on. Device ‘played’ and ‘paused’ continuously in my wrist. This was the first time in the first week of usage it did this.

    • If it’s constantly pausing, it sounds like Auto Pause got enabled, and may have a wonky custom setting in there. Go ahead and try turning that off – or significantly increase the trigger level.

  7. Stephanie

    I have had my Epix for a little over a month and the GPS accuracy is horrible. I love every other feature of the watch, but the two most basic features -time elapsed and distance covered- are always off. I just went on a 18 mile/5 hour mountain run and the watch recorded 10 miles and 2.5 hours. Anytime I run in the mountains the distance and time are off significantly. As a watch promoted as a mountaineering watch I am so disappointed. 90% of my running is in the mountains. I do some road running and even this is off. I run the same route every time and the distances are off anywhere from .5-2.0 miles. Garmin support was absolutely horrible in offering any help. They even suggested I not run where there are a lot of trees!! Again–isn’t this watch supposed to be great for mountains?
    Has anyone else noticed the poor GPS and time tracking? Like I said I love the other features of the watch, especially the maps, but these basic and most important features are not good. I have done the updates and everything but nothing seems to help.

    • Paul S.

      There’s a difference between GPS accuracy being horrible and the speed and distance coming up short. Short distance/time is almost always due to auto pause being on. You can see how well the GPS is doing just by checking the track on a map and seeing how it looks. One quick way to check the distance is to upload the track to Strava and see what distance/time Strava tells you, since they recompute distance from the track and ignore what the device itself is saying.