Garmin’s joining the Pro bandwagon. On Wednesday, it’s launching the Epix 2 Pro and Fenix 7 Pro, which both come with a boatload of new mapping and training features, hands-free flashlights, and sensors. The Fenix 7 Pro series starts at $799.99, while the Epix 2 Pro will start at $899.99.
There’s good news if you wanted an Epix 2 last year but were bummed that it only came in one size. Garmin doesn’t believe that less is more, so you can also now pick between three sizes of Epix 2 models: 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm. Both Pro lineups also offer a more durable Sapphire Edition.
The vast majority of what’s new will be shared across both the Epix 2 Pro and Fenix 7 Pro lineups. For example, all models will now feature a built-in hands-free LED flashlight. The flashlight was introduced last year but was limited to the 51mm Fenix 7X. The flashlight has variable intensities, a red safety light, and a strobe mode for nighttime training.
Both lineups will also get a new heart rate sensor. Garmin says the new sensor will offer improved tracking for a wider variety of activities. Regarding training features, all the Epix 2 Pro and Fenix 7 Pro models will get a new Endurance Score and Hill Score. The former tells you how easily you can maintain sustained efforts using Vo2 Max and your long / short-term training loads across multiple training activities. The latter also uses your training history and Vo2 Max to gauge your running strength on steep climbs and long ascents.
For mapping, the Pro lineups also get weather map overlays, the Up Ahead feature, and relief shading for topographical maps. The weather map overlays will make it easier for outdoor enthusiasts to view upcoming conditions, while the relief shading is meant to make maps more readable at a glance. Meanwhile, the Up Ahead feature highlights certain points of interest — aid stations, for example — right from the wrist.
Users also have the option to shell out for Garmin’s Outdoor Maps Plus subscription to get satellite imagery, public land maps, and enhanced topographical maps on the wrist. The subscription costs an additional $49.99 yearly and has been around for a while on Garmin’s other navigational devices and a handful of other smartwatches. Garmin still, however, does not gatekeep any health or training data behind a paywall.
As with the non-Pro versions of the Epix 2 and Fenix 7, the main difference between these watches lies in the display. The Epix 2 Pro has an OLED display, while the Fenix 7 Pro has a memory-in-pixel (MIP) display that supports solar charging. The Epix 2 also has a new red shift mode that changes the display colors to red for easier nighttime viewing — which sounds familiar to what Apple did with one of the Ultra’s watchfaces. That said, the Fenix 7 Pro models will have a spiffier MIP display than the “regular” Fenix 7 lineup. According to Garmin, the pixels, backlight, and solar panel have been redesigned to improve brightness and power efficiency in a number of lighting conditions.
Battery life is also slightly different. The Epix 2 Pro is rated up to 31 days, while the Fenix 7 Pro can get up to 38 days. You should take those estimates with a pinch of salt, however. Battery life is heavily dependent on the size of the watch, your GPS settings, whether you use the always-on display for the Epix 2 Pro, and what mode you’re in. For example, if you didn’t care about using the Fenix 7 Pro as a smartwatch, Garmin says you could theoretically eke out 139 days out of the 51mm 7X Pro. We’ll be putting both through their paces to see what you can actually expect with more real-world testing conditions.