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Garmin Fenix vs. Apple Watch: Which Should You Buy?

It’s tough to pick the right fitness watch for you nowadays, as hundreds of companies now sell them. Two popular options, Garmin and Apple, have a range of watches that you can use to monitor your health and fitness. But between the Apple Watch Series 8 and Garmin Fenix 7, which should you be choosing?

Let’s compare these two watches to see which suits you best.

1. Price

Both the Garmin Fenix 7 and Apple Watch Series 8 are fairly pricey. While the cheapest version of the Apple Series Watch 8 comes in at just under $420, the cheapest version of the Garmin Fenix is much more expensive, at just under $650.

Additional costs will be added if you want to add certain luxuries to your Apple Watch Series 8, such as a stainless steel frame, GPS, a larger display, or a leather wristband.

If you want to add all the luxuries you can, you’ll be paying around $1,470 for your Series 8, and even more if you want to also add Apple Care. Apple Care provides you with support and servicing for your Apple tech and can be paid for as a monthly subscription or as one flat fee.

The Garmin Fenix 7 also comes in various forms. The standard edition costs $649.99, while the Pro Sapphire Solar edition costs $999.99.

There are other versions with prices that range between these two points. Like Apple, Garmin offers leather, fabric, and metal bands, though these will come at an extra cost.

2. Features

Let’s look at how the Garmin Fenix and Apple Watch differ in terms of features.

Apple Watch

We’ll be comparing the Apple Watch Series 8 to the standard and Pro Sapphire Solar versions of the Garmin Fenix 7 to give you the best idea of what each manufacturer offers.

The Apple Watch Series 8 monitors the following biological metrics:

  • Steps.
  • Calories burned.
  • Heart rate.
  • Variable heart rate.
  • Blood oxygen levels.
  • Temperature.
  • Sleep duration.
  • Sleep quality.

This can give you a pretty solid overview of your day-to-day physical wellbeing.

But the Series 8 isn’t just a fitness watch. You can also make phone calls, send texts, make contactless payments, listen to music, and control your iPhone apps through your Apple Watch.

Additionally, the Series 8 can track menstrual cycles, detect car crashes, track your cardio routes and the time they took, and also offers Fitness+.

Fitness+ is a paid service that allows you to enjoy audio-guided walks, different workout modes, as well as meditative audio sessions.

Garmin Fenix

The Garmin Fenix 7 range measures the following metrics:

  • Heart rate.
  • Stress levels.
  • Respiration rate.
  • Calories burned.
  • Distance traveled.
  • Locations visited.
  • Sleep duration.
  • Sleep quality.

But there are plenty of other features that the Garmin Fenix 7 offers, too. You can receive email and text message alerts, listen to your favorite music, and even make contactless payments. The Fenix 7 also offers fantastic GPS capabilities with a high accuracy rate.

The Fenix 7 provides a lot of useful features for those who love the outdoors and exercise, including…

  • Grade-adjusted pacing.
  • Performance metrics.
  • Training status.
  • Suggested workouts.
  • Racing strategy.
  • Recovery time monitoring.
  • Fitness impact.
  • Golf course maps.
  • Golf performance monitoring.

However, unlike the Apple Watch, you cannot make phone calls directly from your Garmin Fenix, as it does not have a microphone. It also has a pretty low-contrast display, whereas the Apple Watch Series 8 has a vibrant AMOLED display.

But it’s also worth noting that the Garmin Fenix 7 has a lot more fitness options than the Apple Watch Series 8, such as more workout and environment modes (as listed above).

3. Battery Life

digital graphic of battery decrease process
Image Credit: Maman Suryaman/Vecteezy

The standard Garmin Fenix has a single-charge battery life of up to 18 days, while the Pro Sapphire Solar edition can last up to 37 days on one charge. You can charge your Pro Sapphire Solar using solar power, meaning you don’t need to be near a power output to keep it going. This is done via the watch’s Power Sapphire™ glass.

On battery saver mode, the standard Garmin Fenix 7 can last up to 57 days. The Pro Sapphire Solar Edition can last up to 90 days on a single charge, but this can be extended to a whole year if you use the solar charging feature.

However, the Apple Watch Series 8 can only last up to 18 hours in regular mode. This is fine if you can charge your smartwatch every night, but it isn’t great for camping or hiking trips that span over multiple days. In battery-saving mode, the Apple Watch Series 8 can last up to 36 hours, which may be more suitable for longer trips, but there are certain features you cannot use when in this mode.

4. Design

The Apple Watch Series 8 comes with either an aluminum or stainless steel bezel, and you can choose between a rubber, polyester-nylon, leather, or stainless steel wristband.

screenshot of apple watch 8 customization page

There’s also a choice between a 41- and 45-millimeter display size.

The standard version of the Fenix 7 has a stainless steel bezel and a 47-millimeter display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass. Both watch types come with an adjustable silicone wristband as standard, but you can opt for a different kind of band if you’d prefer. Choose from silicone, fabric, leather, or metal.

On the other hand, the Pro Sapphire Solar edition has a titanium bezel and a Power Sapphire™ glass display.

screenshot of garmin sapphire solar purchase page

You can choose between three display sizes with this model: 42, 47, and 52 millimeters.

5. Durability

The standard and Pro Sapphire Solar editions of the Garmin Fenix 7 have two different screen types. While the former is made with Corning Gorilla Glass, the latter is made with Power Sapphire. Power Sapphire glass is more scratch-resistant than Corning® Gorilla® Glass, which is better for those who spend a lot of time outdoors.

Both the standard and Pro Sapphire Solar editions of the Fenix 7 are water-resistant to up to 10 atmospheres of pressure (or 100 meters in depth).

The case is the same for the Apple Watch Series 8 in terms of water resistance. The screen is somewhat similar to Gorilla Glass in its scratch resistance, meaning it’s not quite as tough as Power Sapphire glass.

While the Apple Watch Series 8 has an IP67 dust and water resistance rating, the Garmin Fenix does not yet have an IP code rating.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Garmin Fenix 7: The Verdict

Both the Garmin Fenix 7 and Apple Watch Series 8 can be hugely beneficial, but this generally depends on your lifestyle.

If you want a highly versatile smartwatch that can also track day-to-day exercise, such as walking, cycling, and running, then the Apple Watch Series 8 will work well for you. You’ll likely also prefer the Series 8 if you like colorful and detailed displays.

However, this watch isn’t completely focused on health and fitness, so it doesn’t provide the same detailed tracking and exercise data as the Fenix 7. Apple watches are more of a one-stop shop for a wide variety of functions that you can also carry out on your smartphone, so you won’t be getting an incredibly robust fitness experience with this device.

If you want very in-depth exercise analysis and also delve into less common activities like climbing and skiing, you’ll likely prefer the Garmin Fenix 7. This watch is entirely geared for health and fitness and is a great option for athletes and regular outdoor-goers who want to keep track of their activity.

It’s Worth Knowing What Suits You Best

Before making any hefty purchases, it’s crucial that you know what kind of fitness watch is best for you and your day-to-day lifestyle. Consider the factors above before making a decision to ensure that you’re getting the perfect wearable device for you.

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