14.9.2022 | 8 MIN
It's been quite a few weeks since the most anticipated watch of 2022 was released. A smartwatch, which gained massive popularity and retained it for the whole time of it being on the market. The Garmin Fenix 7 has the whole market under its thumb (or buttons?).
The watch is simply showstopping. It will show you the true meaning of the words equipment, accuracy, and elegance. This watch has undergone many workouts with me, races, many other adventures, and we've run over a thousand kilometres (620 miles). Here's what I think about it.
Just to make it clear. This is not a review, only sharing my long-term experience with this watch. If you'd like to read the review, check out this article:
I do have to say that when I used to wear the Forerunner 945 model, I was sure that I would never bring a large watch home. Well.. everybody makes mistakes. Despite having a slim wrist, the Fenix 7X (diameter of 51 mm / 2") model is great for every-day wearing. I bought a nylon strap for it, which hugs your hand better and lowers the weight. It's like killing two birds with one stone. If you want numbers, the weight is 67 grams.
And for anyone who thinks that the big size of the watch makes it not wearable, I have a message for you. It's not true. The watch doesn't bother you on your arm and it fits under a suit jacket that I have to bring into the light of the day once a year.
More formal events call for a leather strap of a metal bracelet.
Both are very different from the previous models, but is it really such an amazing improvement? Yes and no. GPS is great and has no equal on the market in accuracy. Let's put the overly-talked-about satellite setting aside because as you probably know, there are multiple – GPS only, all satellite systems, all satellites + multi-band and UltraTrac.
I was fascinated by the new feature, which appeared in the watch after the last update – SatIQ. The SatI(Q)-sfaction is great, and I'm looking forward to its upcoming updates. The idea of automatically switching satellites based on the current strength of them is amazing. All it needs now is for Garmin to erase any bugs, and then it will be perfect. For now, I'm keeping my settings in the "all satellites" mode.
There are some SatIQ mistakes here and there... for example at the train station.
If you're wondering what the battery life is with this technology, it is somewhere between "all satellites" and "all satellites + multi-band". So that's a pretty long battery life.:-)
Although we were all thrilled with the new heart rate sensor at the beginning, this excitement quickly went away. Or at least mine did. I can't argue that technology is upgrading with every new generation of sensors, but it is still not so good that I could say "Throw your chest straps away, measure from your wrist only!" Yes, measuring on your wrist using the Fenix 7X is pretty good, but for all my quick training or in the summer (when it's getting more sweaty), I always opt for my chest strap.
I remember this day as if it was yesterday, the day when I found out that this Fenix was going to have a touch display. Well, I actually don't, but I remember feeling all the disappointment. I was afraid that the watch would not be as functional, the time of response would be too long, and everything... I was asking myself why they put a touch display into an outdoor watch.
However, after these few months, I do have to say that the idea was actually not that bad, and I even sometimes touch it. I usually put my palm on it. What is super cool stuff is the touch gestures, from which I mostly use palm to display. It gets you back to the home screen. Oh, you got a notification, take a peek, palm to display, voilà it's the home screen again. Oh, you need to do something in the settings, you're done, boom, voilà it's home screen!
The touch display is also very handy when your pin is needed, you simply put it in with your fingers, no need to use the buttons. I naturally also have to mention using maps with touch. Using maps with touch feels better, and since I am not the biggest user of maps, I can only tell you it's great. And it is. I even set a shortcut for turning on the touch display on maps even though it is turned off during the "trail run" activity.
A disadvantage of a touch display is that if you keep it turned on during every activity and you pause it, you have to avoid grazing your clothes because if it happens (it happened twice in a row to me), it saves your training.
A question that is surely on your mind: what about the gigantic battery capacity? To answer it, I am very happy with it. If you want a chart with the data, check out the review because I have to admit I don't know the numbers off the top of my head. But I do know that the battery life is hella long – more than 25 days with casual wear (even if you exercise), the battery goes down by 1.7 % per hour in activity mode. We can clearly see the progress with the watch. In May during my 55-kilometre / 34-mile race, it was 2.36 % an hour, and it keeps getting lower and lower.:-)
Of course, having the solar version helps as solar charging works wonders in the summer.
I tested everything with GPS set to all satellites + multiple frequencies.
I have to say, even a cold winter didn't make the battery go down too quickly.
With this watch, the solar version truly works so well that I dare to say it is worth buying if you live in a country in the temperate climate zone. Well, the 7X model without solar charging doesn't exist anyway, so you really don't have a choice. I would appreciate the features from the Edge cycling computer in this watch so that you could see how solar charging positively affected the battery life.
Taking into consideration the text above, it means that if you are as lazy as me and want to have basically endless battery life, this watch is the right match for you. What can happen then is that you want to start training (after maybe over 20 days without charging), and you find out the watch is running on little percent of battery. Do not worry, if your exercise won't last longer than 10 hours, the watch is going to be fine with it.
We've waited for a long time for features and updates of the Garmin Forerunner 955. The alpha software for testing came first, and I had to install it myself. To put my cards on the table, it was in English only, it had bugs, and was slowing the system down. Then the 9.24 version came. Again, in English, with bugs, and slow. Third time's the charm, a correcting update for the correct language for me, Czech.
Unfortunately, I've noticed that the watch needs time to catch up. Every time I wake up in the morning and want to look at my sleep data, I go through the widgets, and the watch freezes for a few seconds before continuing as if nothing happened. Well, I feel the same in the morning, but I do have the feeling that even Suunto could be faster.
I like to believe that I am a demanding customer, so I can actually say that Garmin's running and fitness features are on a high level. Maybe even the highest. Here are the most important, in my opinion:
If you want to learn something about watts, I recommend checking out this article:
Honestly? I usually care about the distance, heart rate, time, ... all the basics. The watch is never going to run or exercise instead of you, but it's a great helper to have on hand, and I can't imagine my training and life without it. But it's nothing magical, either.
I like looking at metres climbed, and when I turn on some path (navigation), I can't go without the ClimbPro feature that shows me how much of a hill I climbed and how far I still have to go up.
For me as an ultrarunner, the watch is useful thanks to the long battery life and the option of better GPS setting – so all satellites + multiband, or just all satellites. The watch will show you exactly your height above sea level, your speed, and hopefully GAP, which will be added from the Enduro 2. Or at least I believe so:-)
To talk about the fitness features, I mostly use the nightly heart-rate variability, which has probably become the most favourite feature. A rule of the thumb is that the closer you are to a hundred in one night, the better it is. And if you've passed a hundred, you're basically in heaven. I usually reach somewhere around 70 ms, and I also know that this value works for me perfectly to start a productive day with training.
I also got used to checking my sleep data and heart rate frequency. I live by a simple rule, if my HR is under 40, it's good. If it's under 43, I can train, and if it is above 45, I either had something to drink or I'm sick.
Yes, the price of the Seven, variant X, starts somewhere around 900 EUR... that is, let's be honest here, a lot. Your loved ones will not be thrilled when they learn the price, but know that every penny is worth it. I do have to say that the Fenix 7X is, for now, the most accurate and the best machine I've ever held in hand (or had on hand). Whether we're talking heart rate measuring from your wrist or GPS.
My overall feelings about the watch :-)
It's no use talking about the battery again. When you say Fenix, I immediately think – an amazing watch with amazing battery life. I don't need to worry for the first time ever if my battery is at 20 % and I want to go on a 3-hour-long run, which is really awesome.
Overall, I am really glad that I can wear this watch and use all of its amazing features. Whether you're ultra-crazy like me, or you just like being in the mountains for longer periods of time, this watch is the right one for you.
And what do you think about the Fenix 7X now that some time has passed?
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