Garmin Fenix AMOLED – soon???

FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commissionReading Time: 2 minutes

Garmin Fenix 7 AMOLED

There are 5 differently sourced rumours circulating right now of people claiming to ‘know someone who knows’ someone who is sure that there is a Fenix 7 AMOLED inbound within days. One of these is from a regularly good source of mine, although they are not normally a source for Garmin news.

Edit: A fifth leaker is now saying January! The details will be covered in a separate post

Circumstantial & Supporting Evidence

  • Garmin has been silent on new health and fitness tech for Q4. This is one of the key times of the year for generating profitable business at Christmas. However, the usual launch slots have passed and thoughts now start to turn to Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts rather than new products
  • Garmin’s latest CIQ announcements for 2022 bolster the existing AMOLED features and clearly show that the company is working on ways to reduce the battery consumption of AMOLED screens. For example, individual pixels can be controlled like on the Apple Watch 7 and this can significantly reduce power by a variety of means.
  • Any Q4 launch is likely to be of a major product like Vivoactive/Venu/Fenix.
  • Note well: Garmin D2 Air was released in 2020 (!) and is an AMOLED version of the aviation model (D2 Delta)

 

Many current Fenix owners simply laugh at AMOLED screens and say that they will never be suitable for a Fenix. Sadly they are wrong! I agree that an AMOLED screen isn’t going to give the Pro users 50 days of battery life but most of the hundreds of thousands of Fenix buyers are absolutely not PRO adventure users…even I’ve got a Fenix 6 Pro and it’ll be lucky to go on a 12-hour adventure!

I’ve been saying for over a year that AMOLED screens will come to Fenix. However, my view was that there would first be a regular Fenix 7 release that introduces running power, LTE and perhaps solar/maps on all models and that later there would be a weekend-warrior Fenix 7 version released with an AMOLED screen.

My doubt about the current rumours is that Fenix 7 will be launched with an AMOLED screen. In some ways (to the PRO users) that devalues the core values of Garmin’s Fenix sub-brand.

If I heard the rumour that there was a Fenix 6 Lite (aka AMOLED) being released as the last hurrah for the Fenix 6 line before the 7 next year then I wouldn’t have been surprised.

Must Read: Garmin Fenix 7 – likely features

 

Garmin AMOLED Announced (again): Will Garmin Fenix get it too?

Garmin CIQ System 5 Inbound for 2022 – What is it !

Reader-Powered Content

This content is not sponsored. It's mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site, meaning it's entirely reader-powered content ❤️ I'd really appreciate it if you'd follow, subscribe or Buy Me A Coffee ❤️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners (which costs you no extra) and, for that, I receive a small commission. Thank you! FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

54 thoughts on “Garmin Fenix AMOLED – soon???

  1. I think that little experiment with Enduro, which lets effectively usual Fenix bits run for 2-3 times longer on a special sauce hardware, was a dead giveaway. Extend standby battery life to 25-35 days and you have enough juice to drop it back to usual 12-14 days but with an added benefit of AMOLED screen and LTE. As per multiday adventurers who demand MIPS screens, I’m sure Garmin will be all too happy to oblige everyone. Fenix Advenurer… MIPS screen, 35 days. Fenix Office Warrior, with AMOLED and LTE for texting.

    1. They took out a bunch of hardware (less to power) and software (less to calculate) to get better battery life. None of that would really be useful in a AMOLED device and would be added back in.

      I’m not saying it won’t come but probably not in the initial release of the coming generation if the new stuff comes soon. It is the future so they do want to prepare for it but the venu and Vivoactive will go first.

      Device type watches have always on displays that keep all the data down up dates all the time

      1. The only software they took off was maps (not used most of the time) and music (same). The rest is one for one Fenix. If there’s something else they removed that would affect standby and smartwatch operations, I’d really like to know. I had Enduro for months, can’t think of other difference functionally.

        And on the hardware side, I’m not sure what was dropped? Perhaps extra memory required to store maps? I don’t remember if Enduro had audio prompt via BLE. Probably not. So, a different ANT/BLE radio. Anything else?

        1. Those are big things. There are extra calculations (yes, even when not viewing the map) and hardware differences needed for both. Both need more memory and memory is a battery drain. Wifi hardware? Audio isn’t over blue it’s on its own Bluetooth stack. These are watches with tiny batteries where small changes in power draw have a big effect. There wasn’t some fancy new CPU that made the Enduro better for the battery. Maybe a slight improvement but not the majority of the improvement.

    2. Yeah. This clicks with my thoughts. New battery / power management tech, meaning enough juice to run AMOLED for around the same time as a precious gen Fenix. Add better solar and this seems even more likely. Hopefully soon – I’ve just restarted training properly again and my AW5, which I got after selling my last Suunto, Is really not doing it.

      1. Even the Fenix 2 had 16 hours of gps time. The tech hasn’t improved enough to get that. At least if you plan to look at the screen during the activity. (Powering the screen to look at is what takes most of the power)

        1. If we look at what the garmin watches do then I believe they have really hit a point where more processing power doesn’t give them anything. Now we don’t know what micron process the older fenix use and what a new fenix would use. But a new micron process allowing them to drop the power usage of the apu and decrease the size of it could allow then to also add in a bigger battery. If they are using a new arm core and gpu design they could just use the gain from that over increasing clock speeds for performance. They can then put that power savings and bigger battery towards an amoled.

          Amoled itself saves a lot of battery while displaying black. So perhaps they will make it so the display kick the screen into mostly a black and grey image to maximize battery there.

          But who knows. I’m waiting for a 255 with lte lol

  2. Off-topic… Two actually.

    Did you see Oura’s new announcement? Particularly them going Fitbit and WHOOP and effectively switching to a membership model?

    Speaking of WHOOP… People started getting their 4.0, and the feedback is atrocious (Reddit is full of horror stories about battery drain, new contactless charging not working, puck dying after a few cycles, broken sync, etc. I had 1-2 weeks until delivery and cancelled my upgrade for now. Also first accuracy tests aren’t too good either.

    1. I saw the announcement, I didn’t see the memberhisp thing tho. Can’t say I’m surprised.

      Yes I saw the reddit thinkg too. Someone I know (and trust) has one right now and is doing some testing. I’ll wait for them to give me some stats I trust unless mine arrives. Forums tend to only have the unhappy people!

      1. I agree on unhappy minority part, but three things seem to be pretty prevalent on Reddit with regards to 4.0 upgrade: strap lasting no more than 2-3 days on a single charge, charging is exceedingly long, and the new power pack failing and/or not holding charge. Too many people complaining about exact same issues makes them hard to disregard.

        Personally, I can’t care about whether the puck is waterproof. I do care a lot about having at least 5 days or more of battery life and a strap charging real fast. So, waiting until this all is sorted out and there’re valid accuracy comparison published to see if 4.0 brings any improvement over 3.0.

        PS Oura is offering $50 discount to existing owners, along with “lifetime membership”. I think I heard this somewhere before. Oh yeah… WHOOP. Back in May 2019 when 3.0 was introduced 🙂

  3. I would not be surprised if Garmin offered a Fenix 7 “Adventure” (no AMOLED, same Chroma display) and an “Athlete” (AMOLED with exact same functions as adventure) with Pro and non pro sub options (pro has solar, sapphire glass, titanium build). Functions would be identical though. Music, maps, wifi all standard.

    The biggest difference besides the screen, would be the aesthetics, with the Adventure having that rugged build as an outdoorsy watch, and the Athlete having a much sleeker build for the person that works out daily and trains for competitions, but also wants something that looks modern. There’s also the potential battery life hit, but that’s left for the actual results not fully to speculation.

    Either way, I’m looking forward to whatever Garmin might be bringing to market. I’ve had my fill of Coros and while the Polar grit x is interesting, there’s just so much lacking in their ecosystem to ever bring me back there.

    1. I posted on the Garmin forum I expect the fenix to be amoled as the fenix as a brand is too good and target market is not the original user base, whereas the ultra folks will move over to the enduro which will be the current fenix. It will be one of the fenix variants like the descent and tactix. I expect all to share the same code base but have the added extra venu screen dev code

        1. The Marq wasn’t for the adventures; it was for the wealthy that wanted to feel like they were athletic, without actually being it.

  4. Apologies for asking, but what’s the use of AMOLED here? I never had a “proper” smartwatch, only Fenixes, so I don’t understand what the high-powered graphics are used for. Especially in Garmin, where I won’t read email on the watch.

    Or is this simply, “looks as shiny as the competition”? That’s good enough reason, but I don’t know if that’s all.

    1. people like shiney. not everyone. but most people do (eg Apple Watch is best selling tech watch ever). you don’t NEED it for adventure or sport, though the higher-res maps do look nicer as do the pretty graphs

    2. Yes I like the fact that AMOLED is 10 times brighter than transflective – For my eyes that’s is a huge pro, plus overall clarity and visibility of the display in almost every condition makes a difference. Then if you add mapping and on top of it a touchscreen to control the map you’ve got a lot better experience, to me.

    3. About 2/3 of my runs are in the dark. Garmin has improved the backlight in some of their transreflective watches to where it’s pretty decent now, less washed out. But AMOLED and LCD look pretty great in the dark. Maybe it’s just me, but when i’m pushing it on a run I really like to see the colors on the HR Zone gauge. Having used a Venu and Inspire a few times, those screens were pretty great for that at night.

      Full sun outside, I’d still prefer the old style screen. All other cases, think I’d prefer AMOLED.

    4. In addition to maps and brighter punchier colors, may I humbly suggest more complex visualizations in general? Like more sophisticated watch faces, charts as data screens that don’t look like pixel art from the early 80s, better looking widgets that pack more information on each page? The current 1.4” MIPS screen on Fenix is 280×280. The same sized screen on Suunto 7 that’s AMOLED has almost twice the amount of pixels. On Android, Garmin can also leverage such screens to present full messages, perhaps even photos. Sure, iOS is locked as far as smartwatch of choice is concerned, but Garmin can still make a play on Android side of things.

  5. What if you want real maps and a battery life that won’t leave you stranded using the maps? You give up lots of functionality with Enduro and you give up way too much battery life with changing screens and switching to a screen you have to wait to turn on each time you want to look at it.

    If the fancy screen is your priority get the venu

    1. If you want more features than the venu (full mapping) you’ll lose battery life.

      Sure a touch screen for a sports watch has issues in that buttons are much faster and more precise. But if you care about the slower way to interact with the device will you really be ok with having to wait for the screen to come to full brightness and full update speed?

    2. Not to start a flame war but 😉 Suunto 7 has AMOLED screen, real offline maps, and can chug along nicely for upward of 6-8 hours with GPS and OHR, more if you don’t require a second-by-second precision. Granted, this may be way less than you’d want in a watch, but about 5 hours more than required for most people.

  6. Ehh! I like the current screen of the Fenix 6. Sure people will like the AMOLED display and they will buy it, but not for me. I like the Fenix 6 as it is. Don’t even care if the battery is the same. With AMOLED display it’s like having another phone on your wrist. With the current display, the Fenix 6 bridges the gap nicely between a regular watch and a smartwatch. The current display is super legible in the sun. Saying all that, I’m curious in how it will sell compared to the current lineup.

  7. Looking at all discussion I think it would actually sell a lot, and change some of the demographics of Garmin. If you look at the devices on the market today there is not a single true sports tracking, training load following, recovery time watch that connects to a chest strap. Not one. The Apple Watch counts to a degree but you have to install and utilize multiple third-party apps to get a more holistic picture of your fitness, wellness, and training development. Coros doesn’t have any pretty screens, polar only has the Ignite which is a debilitated LED screen, and soon till has the Suunto seven, which has one of the worst heart rate sensors on the planet and is the only watching this into a family that cannot connect to a chest strap. Samsung is pretty much useless all around in my opinion, they have a really nice screen but don’t natively connect to a chess drop and have no sports or training development prowess to them. Huawei, Xiaomi, amaze fit, me band – all offer a great screen watches, and even some have training development analytics to them, but none connect to a chest strap other than the Stratos 3 which is an old transfer elective version and some white old OS

    So enter Garmin. The Venu2 is probably the most complete sports-ish watches because it had an effectively well designed screen and effective software underneath it with effective longer battery life and could connect to chest straps or armbands for heart rate accuracy – BUT IT LACKS ALL OF THE TRAINING ANALYTICS! So is not worthwhile IMO unless you’re doing just basic fitness tracking.

    So again, if Garmin puts out an AMOLED watch with full training analytics, that connects to both Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors, and has reasonable battery life (3-4 days) you would have the most complete well-rounded true sports device on the market – at all – period.

    1. Crud hit send by accident – typos:
      – Suunto has Suunto 7
      – only watch in family
      – Samsung can’t natively connect to chest strap
      – Stratos 3 old transflective

  8. A good question to ask is would Garmin make the Fenix line completely amoled? As in design the UI around that type of display so putting some other display on it will not really work without spending lots of time redesigning the interface? I would say no.

    Look at the Fenix line now. Sure, lots of versions of the watch but all the differences are really just adding some new feature and not a very different watch

    1. Personally, I would have thought yes. They will keep the buttons but add touchscreen for maps and apps that need to use it, otherwise the 5 buttons would be same navigation as always, with enduro becoming the current fenix line.

      For Garmin it would make more sense that all their watches share the same core code base (not sure it’s currently the case) regardless of type the lifestyle (vivo/venu) fitness (forerunner) and outdoor (fenix/enduro/descent/tactix), but the software development departments to focused on Core OS, health metric, fitness metric and activities/apps with options turned on/off based on hardware capabilities

  9. i think not a Fenix 7 at first, before there have to come a new MARQ series, then a Forerunner and then a Fenix7, when you look on the past releases when i remember correctly

    1st MARQ (all variants)
    2nd Forerunner 945
    3rd Fenix 6

    or?

  10. … But due to the corona regulations, the supply chain problems have also worsened enormously and are getting much worse, so that no one can estimate when Garmin will be able to present a Fenix ​​7 or Forerunner 955 or Marq 2. If it will be soon, perhaps CES 2022, I am not sure.

    For the most athletes including me it is more important that the new Garmin Fenix 7 has a very long battery life and dual frequency GNSS (like the Coros Vertix 2) and hopefully Running Power than a amoled display.

  11. Maybe I’m not typical but the main reason I use a Garmin rather than the many other smartwatches I’ve tried is because of the low key and always on display. I don’t care that it’s not hi-res with lots of nits and luscious colours. I’m reading the time, I want it legible in sunlight and when I glance at my watch at any angle. I don’t want cheap looking emissive screen visible to everyone else and I particularly don’t want to have to move my wrist to wake it up. I’d be perfectly happy with monochrome like the old LCD watches if they could increase the contrast. I have been dismayed that AMOLED is creeping into the range e.g. with the Venu but let’s hope they still offer choice e.g. Venu or Vivoactive.

  12. To the battery life. I think that Garmin can easily analyze from Garmin connect how long is typical activity of their users and how many peple really use/need GPS activity for example more than for 5 hours straight. At the end they will see that with amoled in Fenix 7 and worse battery life will be probbably disappointed 5% procent of users but in the same time they can target much bigger market. Because honestly fancy display/widgets/devices is what most off the people/market want and in my neighborhood I´ve heard many times, that Garmin is good for sport, but because of look (display) they prefer other devices. Most of people really don´t need 15day of battery life and it doesn´t make sence to concentrate on this “small” group when you can aim on much biggert part of populationa and sell/earn much more. I agree with opinions above that they Garmin can come with F7 with amoled and then with F7 Enduro withut amoled and long battery life.

    1. The battery life issue probably has a few different aspects to it. If they believe it pulls in more customers from AW then they will continue to leverage battery life as a selling point regardless of whether anyone actually uses it.

      Another aspect of battery life is the intended long-term suitability of the device. Software updates typically invoke a higher processing burden & reduce the expected charge-to-charge time. Less so than prior battery technologies, but it is still the case that using the battery causes eventual degradation of the charge-to-charge performance. In a world where everyone tosses their once-cherished devices in favor of the latest thing this aspect doesn’t matter so much. It is probably better to move towards a world where buying something means you can keep it with full satisfaction for several years without a refurb. The old song about the next version of everything being just around the corner & truly lust-worthy is starting to wear thin.

      Obviously the masses are really enthusiastic about an AMOLED Fenix. It is getting difficult not to find a Fenix Stalker on any vaguely relevant website. Personally I won’t be very upset if Venu stays the glossiest for a while longer. I would just prefer the next generation of anything is an honest and reliable improvement over the last. If the only effective change in the F7 is the screen then I’ll go with the F6XPS with the right sale price.

      1. …just to be clear, rumors and discussion of futures at enthusiasts sites is entirely great and to be expected. Having manufactures accelerating obsolescence is something else.

  13. I’m on team battery life and definitely wouldn’t want a touchscreen. DCRainmaker seems to think that the market is headed towards all-AMOLED and seems to feel that Fenix 7 will be next.
    Personally I predict that Forerunner and Enduro will stay LCD and Fenix will go AMOLED.
    I doubt they would delay a big release of Fenix 7 just to get the Marq in…. but I’m a fan of simplicity and think they have far too many watches anyway.

  14. I think it’s a logical step from Garmin to release Fenix 7 first, because the competition has already taken this step this year (Coros Vertix 2, Polar Grit X Pro, Suunto 9 Baro). From the competition it is more like a cosmetic enhancement, rather software with minor hardware enhancements. Something revolutionary is expected from Garmin Fenix 7, so we’ll see … That’s also why I think Garmin is releasing new firmware for newer devices (FR245, 745, 945), because with the new series (FR255, 955) it will not be released until next year.

  15. I am so much happy with my Fenix 6x Pro, that I think it will be very difficult for Garmin to give me a Kick to change to a fenix 7… Regardless which Features it might offer.
    AT least I want more battery runtime… But i will not spend 700€ or more for fenix 7.
    I do NOT need:
    AMOLED… This Will (in any (!) way) kill 80% of battery life with always on… A watch Not always on is senseless for me…. And I prefer Button Navigation too (better in Winter with gloves)
    I do Not need LTE… You cannot phone silently with a watch (Lack of proper speakers or You need to make yourself a fool in public by putting your watch to the ear for listening and then to mouth for speaking… LOL.
    But: I would like to see New Sensors (ECG, blood pressure).
    But again…. I am not willing to spend so much money for Sensors only.
    So there is a good Chance that I stay with my FENIX 6x pro for a longer time.

    1. The LTE on any Fenix model won’t be usable for phone calls. It’ll be for race messages and tracking, and emergency – just like the 945 LTE.

  16. The real news would be an AMOLED watch that isn’t just a shift to a different trade-off between established technology but a full screen solar. LCD in all their variations are all subtractive and the transflective type even requires the best background in terms of diffuse reflection they can get. But LED is an additive emitter, in theory it could be fully transparent, allowing all incoming light to pass through to a background collector (and its own scatter waste)

    So in theory, with the right tech, an AMOLED Garmin could have its entire screen area photovoltaic and not just some miniscule stripe at the bezel. This could enable AMOLED versions that out-endure their transflective brethren by a large margin in use cases with generous sun exposure. We might see a generation of devices that only keeps transflective for a line of devices aimed at snowy endeavors (where the screen either loses sight of the sun or the HR sensor sight of the skin, due to clothing)

  17. I think this requires a change in laws of physics. In the solar version of the watch the entire screen is a solar panel but only for non visible light. Solar panel behind the screen? How? The light generation isn’t some one way light source that somehow the incoming light would go through to be collected. (There is a reflector behind it)
    Not to mention even if this was possible you wouldn’t see it on Garmin first, Garmin isn’t the company making screen tech. Samsung, Apple, maybe. But something that caused a massive change in tradeoffs between the screen types would probably be public knowledge way before they started making them for products.

    1. An LCD is a filter, it only reduces the light passing through and has to reduce it quite a bit to achieve black or colors. And it has to filter as much of the cross section as possible or else you get washed out black (weak contrast).

      But an emitting (the E in AMOLED) pixel can be translucent (there’s not a single part in an LED needs to be opaque) or very very small (lack of eye resolution easily fills the gaps) or even both. LED screens don’t have a reflector, they need to avoid reflectivity as much as possible in order to achieve black.

      Yes, Garmin isn’t a screen manufacturer, but their solar watches are the outcome of a company acquisition that’s all about R&D (they partner with Helmholz Zentrum). Their currently published tech is aimed at the spectral compromise required for LCD that you describe, but you don’t buy a research focused company just to use what they already have.

  18. https://phys.org/news/2012-01-cambridge-team-solar-cells-oled.html

    Only around 36 percent of the light produced by an OLED display is projected forwards; the rest escapes around the edges, in the form of scatter and bleeding from the edges. Solar cells have an efficiency of under 30 percent and most being far under 20%. So let’s say they massively increased the efficiency of oled displays to 50% and used highly efficient solar cells of 25% only 12.5% of the incoming light would be converted to power and only 6.25% of the incoming light would be outgoing. Useful, sure, but anywhere close to fully powering the screen, no. This is also an ideal situation as it will be much less in that the solar cell can convert to power, the OLED screen in front of the solar panel will block a good amount of the incoming light, OLED isn’t that efficient yet

    1. If, say, the OLED is 50% efficient, wastes 60% of the photons emitted as backscatter and the solar backdrop could pick up 20% of the energy in that backscatter then yes, it would pick up 0.5*0.6*0.2=0.06. Only 6% of the electricity put into the OLED would be recycled. “Only 6%” or “6% less energy consumption, yay!”

      But that’s just the recycling from otherwise wasted emittance, the energy you’d harvest running the device [I]in perfect darkness[/I].

      The sun doesn’t even appear in the formula at all if you start with OLED efficiency/backscatter. What the sun adds to the balance is completely separate from that, the only percentages appearing in that formula would be translucency of the display and efficiency of the panel. Peak incoming energy for a watch-sized collector would be about 1W (think cloudless equatorial noon), that would be plenty of energy for a device of that class even if you assume just 10% harvested due to translucency * collector efficiency.

  19. Where do you get 1 watt? Anker’s 21 watt solar charger outputs 3 amps at 5 volts and has a surface area of ~1000 cm^2 and the surface area of a Garmin watch is ~12cm^2 so would be giving 0.036 amps. (The battery in the watch is ~300mAh so an hour of direct sun is about a tenth the battery capacity) Anker’s solar panel is fully exposed to the sun. Your solar panel behind the OLED screen has to have the light go through the screen and your not going to hold your wrist assumed at the sun so would be significantly less then 0.036 amps.
    Plus OLED does depend on reflectors. How do you think a light source that emits in all directions would somehow get to 50% efficiency in getting the light to go out towards the user? Those reflectors would also reflect incoming solar energy away from the solar panel

    1. Not to mention apple sells over 5 times as many watches as Garmin. Why would they not have this super OLED display?

  20. That “1 Watt” is a rough estimation of what 100% conversion could achieve, in theory. It’s why it appears on the input side of estimations, before factoring in losses. A full screen solar watch would certainly not harvest anything close to 1W.

    And no, OLED screens don’t contain reflectors. Because if they did, those reflectors would also reflect ambient light and this would ruin all the deep blacks that make OLED screens desirable ion the first place. Which is why that phys.org paper you linked is proposing to jump through so many hoops to get at least a tiny bit of the energy back that goes is emitted in wrong directions.

    Might Apple do it instead? Sure, perhaps, not likely though because outdoor endurance simply isn’t a quality metric they use for selling watches. Very much unlike Garmin. Do I consider it *likely* that Garmin does it? Certainly not, most likely nobody. But of all wearable companies, Garmin is the odd one that already does products with some solar endurance extension. If not them, who else?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *