The Garmin Fenix 7 is an ultra-premium product, brimming with high-end technology and useful tracking capabilities. We rate it as one of the best fitness trackers currently on the market. At the same time, it comes with a hefty price tag that tends to revolve around the $700 mark. So is it worth splashing out on the Fenix 7 model, or should you go for something more budget-friendly?
Garmin products are designed for those who will not compromise on quality. Built with highly resistant materials and equipped with cutting edge functionality, these smart watches can do much more than your average fitness tracker. Fenix models, and the best Garmin watches in general, do tend to get significant price-drops from time to time, with the Black Friday sales being one of the best opportunities to get a discount. Right now the Garmin Fenix 7 has hit its lowest ever price, currently $599.99 at Amazon.
There’s a sound argument to be made that a Fenix 7 is a fitness tracker overkill for a lot of people. However, that’s less of an issue if you find it below its original price. We’re going to take a look at exactly what constitutes a Fenix 7 “deal” in 2022 and beyond, and what this watch offers over some of the cheaper Garmins, and other rivals.
Should you buy the Garmin Fenix 7?
The kind of person who should consider a Garmin Fenix 7 is a serious runner, anyone who has a stacked workout routine that needs to be balanced carefully, or a hiker who wants to navigate using a watch rather than their phone or a paper map.
The Fenix 7 is one of Garmin’s more expensive watches. It has a luxury-level price, particularly in its higher-end variants, but this is still almost entirely a watch of features and practicality.
For example, the pricier versions add solar charging, a harder Sapphire screen, lighter Titanium casing and increase the casing size for longer battery life. None of the extra expense has to do with bragging rights or style.
It’s one reason we like this watch so much. It’s packed with stuff and almost none of it is fluff.
Garmin Fenix 7: Features
A few key features set the Fenix 7 apart from lower-end models in the Garmin line-up. First, the front and back of the casing are metal rather than plastic/polymer. These are either stainless steel or titanium depending on the model you pick.
You get 16GB or 32GB of storage. This can be used for music or, the real draw, to hold continents’ worth of map data. Most cheaper Garmin watches only let you navigate by GPS coordinates, or a “breadcrumb trail” of the route you’ve already taken. Here you can see full map topography, and generate routes on the fly. Powerful stuff.
This watch also has Garmin’s more hardcore stats, like Training Load, suggested recovery times and Training Status. These are super-useful if your workout routine is fairly intense, the kind that may risk overtraining.
If you don’t care about the high-end shell materials, you can get similar features for less money in the Forerunner 955. And if you won’t use the downloadable maps feature, check out the Forerunner 255.
While we love the idea of being a “Fenix 7 grade” athlete, when you actually have to open your wallet the more modest Forerunner 255 starts to make a lot of sense. We also find these less initially impressive-looking plastic watches more comfortable than the Fenix 7. They’re a lot lighter.
All these watches share a few features that make them more appealing than, say, an Apple Watch Series 7 for many folks.
They use memory-in-pixel transflective screens that get clearer in bright sunlight. This is the polar opposite of the OLED screens of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, which have to ramp up their intensity to compete with sunlight. It’s why Apple made the Watch Ultra to reach 2000 nits of brightness, around nine times brighter than some laptop screens.
That naturally uses a lot of battery, but the Fenix 7 doesn’t need to use additional battery power outdoors unless you are also tracking your movements with GPS.
A Fenix 7 lasts between 11 days and 37 days of general use, not the one day you get from an Apple Watch Series 7. It makes wearing this thing a blissful breeze, rarely demanding a charge — and there’s no stamina tax just from tracking an hour-long run outdoors.
This is also the primary reason to get a Fenix 7 over a Garmin Epix 2, which is also an excellent fitness tracker. That watch’s OLED screen lets it last around six days in its “always on” mode. The Fenix 7’s screen displays the watch face all day by default.
Garmin Fenix 7: Price
Here’s the thorny part.The most affordable Fenix 7 costs $699/£599, as per the launch price. This gets you the 42mm Fenix 7S or the 47mm Fenix 7. The two watches are very similar, the Fenix 7S is simply made to suit smaller wrists.
You’ll pay $799 for the Solar Fenix 7/7S, which has a solar charging element in and around the display, and $899 for Sapphire Solar models. These have harder display glass and, just as important, Titanium casing plates. Titanium reduces the watch’s weight, making it more comfortable to wear all day long.
Typical online discounts might see you save up to 10% off the original price. However, we may be able to enter the golden era of Fenix 7 discounts.
We just have to look back to the Fenix 6 to understand why. Back in 2020, a little under a year after the Fenix 6 series launched, we saw discounts of up to 33% off the series. These were for different models, as you tend to get a higher percentage discount off the more expensive watches.
However, if we were to hope for a similar reduction for the Garmin Fenix 7 during this year’s sale events, it would mean a standard series Fenix 7 for around $468/£401.
If you see the Fenix 7 series watches anything close to that price, you know you’ve found a hot deal. Right now, the lowest price we’ve seen is for $599 at Walmart, but there’s still time for it to drop further.
Garmin Fenix 7: Release date
The Garmin Fenix 7 family was announced in January 2022. And unlike some other areas of tech, and other wearable series, this one does not get updated every year.
Garmin’s Fenix 6 arrived roughly 29 months earlier, in 2019. The Fenix 5 came around 31 months before that, in 2017. By this pattern, we are only due the Fenix 8 in August 2024.
This should be reassuring. While the Fenix 7 has been out for a little while now, it is a long way from being out of date. And we expect it to still feel perfectly good to use years after the Fenix 8 arrives.
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.
Andrew Williams is a freelance journalist based near London. He has written about tech for over a decade, contributing to sites such as WIRED, TechRadar, TrustedReviews, Wareable, Stuff, T3, Pocket-lint and many others. When he's not covering fitness tech, he writes about mobile phones and computing, as well as cameras.