Garmin Epix 2 Review – The pinnacle of Multi-Sport & Adventure Watches
Epix 2 has the best and most vibrant screen ever on an advanced sports watch plus accuracy that beats every previous GPS sports watch. Those of you wanting a comprehensive sports adventure watch perhaps need to read no further. However, you should delve deeper. You will find many justifications to switch from competitors or upgrade from earlier Garmin watches…yes, even an upgrade from the mighty Fenix.
I’m normally sceptical about Garmin products. Not this time. Gone is a dreary screen. Gone is a laggy and sometimes unresponsive watch and ‘ going‘ is Garmin’s unwieldy user experience. Sadly also, GONE is a reasonable price tag…Epix 2 thinks of an unreasonable number of dollars and then adds a few more.
Hey, I still bought one though. I buy all Garmin products with my own money. There is absolutely ZERO influence from Garmin and I have no relationships with them. I don’t even get a press release. Read on if you want to hear how good the Garmin Epix 2 is in every respect and in great detail. Although let’s start with a summary as I know you are all busy. One final thing, please buy from one of the links here as it helps support the ongoing independence and months of real, in-depth testing to get to this point, thank you…you’re awesome!
Verdict: Best ever sports watch, best ever outdoors watch, half-decent smartwatch. Most accurate ever.
Build Quality & Design
Features, Including App
Openness & Compatability
The Epix 2 is a superb outdoor watch with all the new features of the latest Garmin Fenix 7 plus an awesomely detailed and vibrant screen. The improved features are so good that upgrading from a Fenix 6 makes sense and if you were holding off buying a Fenix 7 because of the dreary screen, that excuse has now gone as well. Epix 2 removes any need to compromise between features, looks and battery life. Epix 2 has them all.
Epix 2 is the real deal and an excellent investment for anyone who ventures off the beaten track for hours or days at a time – adventurous hikers, runners, cyclists and triathletes alike.
Garmin gives you a physical package that meets the demands of your environment be that MIL standard durability or WR10 water resistance. It has the full-monty of onboard sensors to detect everything from heart rate & speed to the ABCs of an Altimeter, a Barometer and a Magnetic Compass.
More importantly, it’s all delivered in an accessible package. Buttons are there when you need them and the touchscreen overcomes earlier Garmin weaknesses that required umpteen button presses for simple tasks. Much of what you see on the watch is now made beautiful by the great screen and Garmin really has worked hard in recent years to deliver countless improvements to the presentation of graphs, charts and simple numerics. The whole experience of using Epix 2 as you flow from screen to screen with buttons and swipes is not quite there yet but it’s a heck of a lot closer to ‘there’ than Garmin has ever been.
Existing Garmin owners will find many reasons to upgrade. The vast breadth and depth of sporting & adventure features are still there…plus a few new treats, and all supported by speedy, smooth, all-new tech inside.
If you like the rugged aesthetic and never plan to do an Ultra event then Epix 2 is as close to perfect as you can get.
- Tracks Everything and Anything sporty in supreme detail
- Best-ever GPS accuracy from the Sapphire Edition with Multi-Band
- A well-made and durable watch with a proven outdoor aesthetic
- The revamped user experience is Garmin’s best so far – menus and button/screen presses improved and many settings are offloaded to the smartphone app
- Many new internal components make for a smoother and quicker feel
- Detailed, free offline maps
- Awesome battery life even with a fantastic, high-resolution (AMOLED) screen
- Very Expensive
- Usability is significantly improved – more is needed
- The touchscreen is great but not perfect – bizarrely pinch zoom on maps is not supported.
- Limited smartwatches features compared to, say, Apple/Galaxy Watches
OK, so that’s the high-level introduction done with. There’s a LOT of detail below so please use the table of contents to navigate to what interests you the most as there is probably too much to take in otherwise. Enjoy! And if you like the work here please make sure to support the site by buying from one of our links to help keep the free content flowing for everyone. Thank you.
The Garmin Epix 2 is Garmin’s ultimate watch in almost every respect. It sits alongside the lesser-screened Fenix 7 but shares every single key feature. Yet whilst there is a smaller Fenix 7s and a larger Fenix 7x, the Epix 2 only comes in the ‘normal’ 1.3″ screen size although I expect a smaller Epix 2s later. The big choice you need to make with the Epix 2 is whether you get the more durable Sapphire screen as an option and I recommend you do as it will last longer in your adventures plus it’s only the Sapphire models that give you an accuracy boost from Multi-Band GPS.
A compromise you might have to make is that the Epix 2 has a price tag raised by £200 and a reduced battery life compared to the Fenix 7 but the so-called “reduced” battery life still gives up to 42 hours of continuous GPS recording and 16 days as a smartwatch. There’s also no Solar option available for the Epix but most of you will never need that.
Starting prices: the 47mm Epix 2 starts at £799/$899 whereas the 47mm Fenix 7 starts at £599/$699
Garmin Epix 2 – Evolution of a masterpiece
Garmin’s success and growth started with the Forerunner 305 which was the best running watch of its generation. Garmin went on to dominate the leading triathlon watches starting with the excellent Garmin 910XT.
Its biggest financial success, however, came with the Garmin Fenix Series and more specifically the Fenix 3 which sold in significant numbers. However, the early Fenix models did not have onboard maps and that omission was initially addressed with the Epix Gen 1, which didn’t sell well. It took the breakthrough Garmin Fenix 5X to finally offer a decent map option and from then on the provision of maps appeared first as premium models and finally now as a standard feature. But underlying all the development was a desire to maximise battery life which stopped battery-gobbling screens from being widely adopted.
Epix 2 marks the change. The point in time where Garmin can deliver everything and can deliver it with a very good battery life.
Q: Is Epix 2 Easy to use yet? My memory of Garmins was unfathomable and unfashionable
A: Yes, mostly. Garmin has made Epix 2 very much easier to use than what came before. Although improvements are still needed.
The latest Epix 2 and Fenix 7 look identical to each other, they look almost the same as the earlier Fenix 6 and very very similar to the Fenix 5plus of the distant past. For newcomers to Garmin’s high-end watches, the Epix 2 is best described as an acceptably chunky, outdoors watch…forget those huge Casio watches, though. It’s nothing like that and is aesthetically fine for most medium- to large-sized wrists.
Despite that certain chunkiness, the weight of the Epix is around 50g plus the weight of your strap which might be another 20g or so. That relative lightness comes from Garmin’s use of premium materials. All models have the base reinforced polymer and then the standard, stainless steel rear is trumped by an option for titanium. Similarly, the base model has a DLC titanium bezel with the option of pure titanium. The base lens is an excellent Gorilla Glass DX and, as mentioned earlier, the tougher Sapphire crystal is also offered for a premium.
The case size is very much standard for Garmin coming in at 47x47x14.5mm and fits 22mm QuickFit straps (included).
The standout feature is the display. Whilst it’s the standard Garmin 1.3″ size the Epix 2 introduces 416x416px, always-on AMOLED, optional-touchscreen glory to the Fenix/Epix range for the first time. That’s quite a mouthful of words to describe a display. A better, single word would be AWESOME. This is simply the best-ever display for a proper sports-adventure watch.
There are no complaints from me at all about the watch and how it feels in use. The comfy feel comes from Quickfit straps and even Garmin’s cheapest strap is fine. The Buttongate saga of 2019 is history as they now all ‘press’ correctly! and the optional touchscreen is just that…optional. Indeed the best use of the touchscreen is when NOT exercising, instead, it makes menu navigation a significantly quicker and more pleasant experience. There are numerous tweaks available for the display and interface but the reality is that you just won’t need them. It’s impressive in the out-of-the-box configuration.
Garmin recognised that the touchscreen isn’t the end solution to making the Epix faultless to use. Cleverly they have matched Wahoo and Polar to let you make changes to the watch from the comfort of the Garmin Connect smartphone app. I’ve grown pretty used to many tens of Garmin button presses over the years so my testing erred toward the old-fashioned method but it is much easier to use the app and you’ll do that as you’re probably more sensible than me! One final point on the overall looks & usability is that the higher resolution screen brings beauty and life to many of the charts and dials that spice up your data. The visual experience makes older Garmin watches look drab and dreary in comparison, you even get workout animations now.
Q: Will I miss the Uber battery Life and Solar charging of the Fenix 7?
A: You might if you have very specific athletic needs like Ultra Running. 99% of people won’t need those features and you’ll be happy with the eminently practical multi-day life that the Epix 2 gives you between charges.
Q: Are there any nice watchfaces on Epix 2?
A: Yes. A few. I agree that Garmin watch faces were historically ugly and mostly awful due to the low-resolution screen. The new screen changes that and it is now possible for 3rd party watchfaces to look good. I could only find one that I liked, below, but lots more will arrive in 2022
Garmin Epix 2 Limitations
Even the toughest of materials can scratch so don’t expect your expensive Garmin to last a lifetime unless you take care of it.
Neither will any rechargeable watch battery last a lifetime as they degrade slightly with each charging cycle, that said you can expect 4-5 years of use before you might need to get a new battery. In that same timeframe, I would also expect the Epix 2 to be able to handle every new feature that Garmin throws its way but there will come a point when it will appear to slow down and also will stop receiving the latest Garmin features – that will be in around 3-4 years time.
If Epix 2 will be your first-ever Garmin there is a steep learning curve to know the watch and all of its many capabilities. Garmin has definitely made massive leaps in usability over the last 3 years or so but there is still a way to go. Offloading some settings to the smartphone app and using the touchscreen helps you to get the most out of the new interface. If you are upgrading from an older Garmin the learning curve is shallow and you will be impressed with the improvements in usability and presentation.
This is a highly advanced sports watch, thus using and understanding some of the watch’s capabilities and metrics may at first be daunting. A curious mind will help you learn more about how your body works as well as how the watch works.
Garmin has many state-of-the-art sports physiology features. However, they take a few weeks to ‘get to know you’ and can be significantly skewed if either your basic data (optical heart rate & power) or your training zones are wrong. Garbage in…garbage out. You must get your heart rate training zones correct as a minimum.
If you are thinking of using Epix 2 as a state-of-the-art smartwatch, think again. Garmin does not offer calls over Bluetooth, music streaming over LTE or any kind of voice assistant. However, you can get offline Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music plus smartphone app notifications
Garmin Epix 2 – how to use the Watch and Connect App
Using a Garmin watch for the first time is not intuitive and some menu choices require multiple key presses, however, the new touchscreen improves interactions with Garmins many features when not exercising.
- LIGHT – Turns the Epix 2 on and the backlight on/off. A long press brings up the controls menu, for example, to lock the screen or make a payment
- UP-MENU – Scroll up through menus or a long press to start the menus
- DOWN – Scroll down through the menus
- START – Start or stop an activity or select an option in a menu.
- BACK-LAP – Crate a lap, rest or transition or return back to a higher level menu. A long press views the watch face.
More: Garmin Epix 2 Manual
The Garmin Connect app is needed to register the Epix. With WiFi hooked up, you need never look at the Connect App again but I recommend you do. The app is great to tweak settings on the watch and also good for adding breadth and depth to the watch’s workout summary stats. Many great features are created on the Connect App like Training Plans/Coach, Segments, PacePro Strategies and Challenges. Features that require an internet connection like Live Tracking & Incident Detection need the phone app to be close by.
More: After mastering the Connect App look at the Garmin Explore App‘s outdoor features, the ConnectIQ app store and perhaps also richer graphs and maps on the desktop Connect platform.
Garmin Epix 2 – New Features & Key Features
This section looks at the new features on Garmin Epix 2 and reviews the important longstanding ones before selectively diving deep into a few of the more interesting features.
There is a decent list of new sports features but most are peripheral and the biggest change from the Fenix 6 is the usability, prettiness and speed of a well put together sports watch which in techy terms is a faster processor, longer-lasting battery, new GNSS chip, more storage and of course the AMOLED, colour touchscreen.
In older Garmin parlance the Epix 2 would be a PRO model and that is now standard and boasts Contactless Payments, WiFi, Music (w/Spottify), oHR/SpO2 and Multi-Continent Topo maps.
It’s a market-leading piece of kit
Yet there is nothing else that really stands out. For completeness, here are five of the 20 or so other new peripheral features.
- Health Monitoring SnapShot – A simple, 2-minute wellness check.
- Real-Time Stamina is a new metric from Garmin. It’s discussed in great detail here and is perhaps best summarised as ‘how much oomph you have left in the tank‘
- Up Ahead map view of POIs
- Race Time Trend Predictor – see how your forecast 5k performance changes as you train
- Sleep Score – sometimes it’s easier to have one simple number! This is it.
Hardly an Earth-shattering list is it?
In fact, what you will most cherish will be Garmin’s longstanding feature set which continually evolves at the edges. This is another list but it’s a high-level containing a broad and deep number of smaller features that would make an even longer and less intelligible list.
- outdoor recreation – is what Epix is designed for and covers maps, routes, route guidance, navigation, ABC environmental sensors, climb intelligence, storm alerts, weather & tides. No other watch can match this.
- training planning – plans, workouts, adaptive plans, fully customisable screens with a vast array of metrics and charts. Intervals, laps, and alerts for single sports and multisports.
- wellness & health monitoring;
- sports physiology – includes a wealth of metrics and insights on how your body interacts with your training both during workouts and through extended training periods.
- classic activity tracking like steps & stairs;
- smart features that connect to sports sensors or interact with your smartphone ranging from FE-C trainer control to BLE earbuds
- safety features that cover accident alerts and 3rd party tracking
- gym – guided workout & fitness profiles for HIIT, pilates, strength & yoga
- running – from track, trail and ultra running to include workouts, plans, advanced pacing strategies, advanced running metrics and support for advanced running sensors;
- golf – maps, targets, scorecards, pin positions, club and score trackers.
- cycling – all cycling sport profiles are supported as is connectivity to just about every advanced sensor ever with all the advanced metrics you get from Core Body Temperature to Muscle Oxygen to dual-sided power meters.
- swimming – be it outdoors or in the pool, Epix can automatically detect your stroke or when you rest in the pool. Unusual Garmin swim features include drill logging and heart rate whilst swimming with connectivity to FORM Smart Goggles.
Deep Dive 1: Epix 2 Features – new Stamina Metric
Super Detail: What is Garmin’s New Stamina Metric?
To befuddle you I would say that Garmin’s stamina metric is like Anaerobic Work Capacity or W’ Bal. Let’s just say it means ‘how much Oomph you have left in the tank.
Garmin works on the assumption that your stamina steadily declines throughout a workout towards your personal endurance limit and more markedly so when you exert yourself above threshold levels. For example, I can easily cycle 100-miles yet you can see that the following chart has me down at 25% Stamina after a hard 20-minute effort. The yellow stamina line plummets the harder I try. Correctly so. Yet some amount of recovery from hard efforts is possible. The Stamina feature assumes correct nutrition and hydration over longer durations and is a useful new tool providing your training zones are correct.
Deep Dive 2: Epix 2 Features – CIQ Apps
Garmin’s app store has a wide range of 3rd party tools to add to your new Epix 2, there’s even a fledgling App Store on the watch itself. Bonus: They’re mostly free!
More: All Epix 2 apps are listed here
The big negative in 2022 is that a sizeable portion of apps is still to be updated to work on Epix 2. That said, there are lots already which range from the Stryd App which takes over the running of the watch to custom data fields to spice up any sports profiles. Widgets are a further and less common kind of app that sits in the menu of the Epix, a good example for UK-based 5K runners are those designed for parkrun.
You can get a widget to show your barcode when you finish or brag about your time afterwards. Like these…
Planning a new parkrun trip? It would be nice to know where the local ones are plus get an idea of the course wouldn’t it? Try these…
More Info: parkrun on your Epix 2
Oh of course there are many watch faces that you can personalise with your wellness data and sports data plus a colour of your choice. I’m still waiting for my all-time favourite Crystal to be updated for Epix.
Deep Dive 3: Epix 2 Physiology Features
In 2020, Garmin acquired Firstbeat and so now has a large in-house capability to produce leading, consumer-grade, sports physiology metrics.
VO2max is the feature that wows the public but Garmin goes far deeper to provide many more useful insights into your training and how effective it has been or might be in the future. LTHR (LT2) is detected automatically and creates your HR zones. HR zones can then be used to assess and classify your performances along with other physiological insights that can determine your readiness to train and your fitness progression over time.
Two of my favourites are shown above. Training Status lets me know how effective Garmin believes my training to be, whereas 4W Load Focus looks at how the different intensities of my training differ or match the ideal. These sorts of insights are useful as a sanity check if you are following a plan or to ensure you don’t sit for too long in unproductive training states.
More: Uber deep drive into Firstbeat Features
Deep Dive 4: Epix 2 Settings on the Connect App
The new ability to change watch settings on the Connect app is great news for usability. It’s also pretty boring to describe! Newcomers to Garmin will just shrug and go ‘Huh, obvious, surely?!‘. Well, it’s taken Garmin many years to get to this point and years of me bemoaning publically that the watch menus on Garmin watches have awful levels of usability. They still (kinda) do! but at least now you have the option to make the same settings easily on the app.
For starters, most watch settings can be made in the Connect app and I’ve shown a few screens here to indicate how a) sports profiles can be set b) a credit card can be added to Garmin PAY and c) how CIQ ‘apps’ can be installed and managed, albeit by being pushed to a separate Garmin app.
Deep Dive 5: Garmin Epix 2 Review – Expert Tips, Tricks and Hacks
Tip 1: Watch> System> Data Recording>Log HRV> On
Tip: Use a decent HR strap. Ideally, a Polar H10 connected over Bluetooth although a Garmin HRM-PRO over ANT+ will be fine.
Why: Bluetooth has less chance of data loss and Polar’s strap is better and doesn’t slip.
Tip 2: Press and hold the bottom right button
Tip: Press and hold the bottom right (lap) button DURING A WORKOUT then you bring up the widget glance menu. Press it again to return to your workout.
Why: Just because you can
Tip 3: Put your palm over the screen at night
Why: A quick way to turn off the glare
Find out more about secret Epix menus and several other gems of wisdom and irrelevance for the inquisitive mind here (Link).
Garmin Epix 2, the Problems and Gripes Section of the Review
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Garmin maps despite using them on such a small screen but that is more convenient than fumbling for a smartphone in a backpack. Plus, have you ever tried using a smartphone touchscreen in the depths of winter when it’s raining and wearing gloves?! There are pros and cons to having maps on your watch or smartphone but my biggest issue with the Epix 2 was that I was unable to use the touchscreen to pinch-zoom, which is surely the entire raison d’etre of a touchscreen?
Unique to Garmin is routing intelligence on Epix 2. What that means is that route planning/correction and turn directions can be performed exclusively on Epix 2 – like your car’s satnav. With the exception of the cheaper Coros Vertix 2, no other sports watch has that feature.
There are some music playback issues reported on forums but I was fine with both Spotify and my own MP3 tracks played back through Jabra Elite 85t earbuds. I seemed to get the incorrect album art displayed. Strange. That aside, the music experience with Garmin is passable, you’ll find a much slicker integration on a smartwatch like an Apple Watch 7. However, Garmin supports more providers, your own MP3s and its button-based control is great during sport, despite this mediocre usage experience, it’s better, more comprehensive and more open than that offered by all other sports watches.
Garmin PAY is the wannabe equivalent of Apple Pay but it’s WAY behind. I forgot that Garmin only has agreements with a select few banks but all was fine when I reverted back to my Starling card…which virtually none of you will have. If this is an important feature to you then check with Garmin that they support your bank (check here).
Garmin Epix 2 Comparisons
Generally speaking, Garmin Epix 2 compares well to all competitors as it has onboard maps and the largest number of features. Try these further nuances if you are baulking at paying the money for an Epix 2…
Garmin Epix 2 vs. Fenix 7 Comparison
Epix 2 and Fenix 7 have nearly identical features with the standout difference being the vastly superior screen of Epix 2 offset by the tradeoff of a 30% battery life reduction. Don’t forget the Fenix 7 has a solar option and many more size/case options.
Fenix 7 is the best choice for ultra-long battery life or a smaller case version. That’s the only time it’s better!
Garmin Epix 2 vs Fenix 6 Comparison (or any earlier Fenix)
Again the case choice of the Epix 2 is more limited but the biggest differences lie under the hood as the Epix 2/Fenix 7 are significantly superior pieces of hardware that will be much better placed to cope with new features that Garmin deliver in the coming years. Older Fenix models are less future-proofed, Epix 2 is state-of-the-art (sports).
Fenix 6 is the best choice if the Epix 2 has too high a price and you want the many features of the Garmin ecosystem..
Garmin Epix 2 vs Coros Vertix 2 Comparison
Vertix 2 doesn’t really compare well to Epix. A better, more similar comparison is between Epix 2 and Fenix 7. Whilst Coros Vertix 2 is a high-quality piece of hardware and certainly better value-for-money than an equivalent Garmin, Vertix 2 under-delivers on the range and depth of features and has a significantly less mature and less rich app.
Coros Vertix 2 is the best choice if the Epix 2 has too high a price.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Apple Watch 7 Comparison
We’re talking chalk and cheese here despite both watches having similarly awesome screens. You can grab lots of apps and some accessories to boost Apple Watch’s outdoor features and make the watch more resistant to environmental shock but the bottom line is that the Apple Watch 7 is focused as a clever smartwatch with significant and deep links with an iPhone. It does not have the battery life to compete against Epix 2 despite being perfectly fine for the occasional triathlon, a very long run or a weekend adventure. Apple Watch comes in a smaller size for thin wrists
The Apple Watch 7 is the best choice if you want a highly connected smartwatch for your iPhone and if you only ever undertake short outdoor adventures.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Suunto 9 Peak
Suunto 9 Peak lacks the screen of Epix 2 and requires you to perform your mapping and routing on the partner app, Suunto’s battery life is something like 500% better than Epix as a result. Suunto makes an excellent play for outdoor usage but can never match all of Garmin’s rich feature set. Suunto 9 Peak and the cheaper 5 Peak are both smaller format watches for thinner wrists and many would class their designs as more elegant than Garmin.
Suunto 9 Peak is the best choice for ultra-long battery life and buyers with smaller wrists seeking lower prices.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Polar Grit X Pro
Polar has an app and web platform that might tempt an outdoor runner in preference to Garmin. However, the Polar Grit X Pro Titanium just doesn’t compete when it comes to hiking, routes & navigation. Grit X Pro is a very well-made watch, perhaps more sorted for outdoor running sports than cycling or hiking-related activities.
Polar Grit X [Pro Titanium] is the best choice if you want to save some money and still need a great sports app & Ecosystem
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Forerunner 955, 935, 945, 745
The top-end Forerunners are nearly identical to the Fenix model released in the same year, except the Forerunners are lighter and slightly slimmer. They have EXACTLY the same sports features so it’s perfectly fine to use a Fenix or Epix in a triathlon. You won’t miss out on anything if you get Epix 2. Forerunner FR935/FR945/FR955 (2022) are the same size as the Epix 2 whereas the 745 (755?, 2023?) is smaller and no Forerunner will match the beautiful screen of the Epix 2. So the as-yet-unreleased 955/755 will be the ones that match the Epix 2 under the hood, sans screen.
A Garmin Forerunner triathlon watch is the best choice for competitive triathletes or those of you seeking a more sporty look.
Garmin Epix 2 Accuracy
After almost 4 months of testing, I’m happy to conclude that both Epix 2 and Fenix 7 deliver Garmin’s best-ever level of GPS accuracy. I will even go one step further and say that the Sapphire models have the best ever GPS accuracy for any running watch ever when Multi-Band reception is used.
More: Detailed Garmin Epix 2 Accuracy (Supporter only)
More: Detailed Garmin Fenix 7 Accuracy (Supporter only)
Sadly the relatively new Elevate 4 oHR sensor often gives me incorrect readings – the accuracy of wrist-based HR is highly dependent on your physiology and your sporty use cases. Comparing when I do get good results and looking at what other Garmin Epix 2 reviews say, then it’s likely Epix 2 has Garmin’s best-ever Elevate oHR sensor and it’s just me getting mediocre results. You might get lucky…or not. There are no guarantees other than a chest strap or armband.
Elevation accuracy is also very good providing you get a good initial calibration.
Tip: Find your current elevation at whatismyelevation.com, go outside and get a good GPS fix and then manually calibrate Epix 2 here Watch>Sensors & Accessories>Altimeter>Calibrate>Enter Manually>. Whenever you start a workout from your here the elevation will be automatically calibrated.
With All-Satellites & Multi-Band enabled, GNSS accuracy was good to excellent. Multi-band did not seem to offer much of an improvement in urban centres over plain All-Satellites nor did it eliminate the negative effects to signal quality when running close to lower buildings (which is what multi-band should do). Reception under trees and even with dense, low tree coverage seemed OK to me, everywhere else it was hard to beat.
For running, Epix 2 had instant pace that was better than other recent Garmins but still not as accurate as a footpod like Stryd.
For all kinds of cycling and well over 1000-miles, I found no issues with GPS accuracy.
Here are detailed test results comparing Epix 2 to every GPS sports watch ever made. Then the following, clickable map lets you investigate how Epix 2’s accuracy compares to the best ever GPS watch results of the V800 and AMBIT 3 over a demanding 10-mile running test.
I checked out the GPS accuracy test from the review of the Garmin Fenix 2 on the dcrainmaker site and his findings were similar to those here but with a different methodology.
Optical HR Accuracy
I tested the accuracy of the Epix 2’s optical HR against a Garmin HRM-PRO, Apple Watch 7 and 6, Polar Pace Pro, Polar Verity Sense, WHOOP and others.
These 3 examples show a) a good steady-state run b) an unacceptable interval run, and c) an acceptable bike ride albeit with many incorrect peaks and troughs. The only pattern I sensed in over 4 months of testing was that accuracy improved on warmer days.
The wrist is just an awful place to measure HR when performing rapid arm movements and sometimes when the exercise is strenuous. You can expect good accuracy at rest on the wrist for measuring HRV during sleep.
I use an SRTM database to get the correct elevation track for each of my tests. Surprisingly Garmin Epix 2 outperforms bike computers when cycling.
Elevation accuracy was always more than acceptable for me but interestingly the Apple Watch 6 is slightly more accurate.
Garmin Epix 2 Sustainability
Garmin is committed to corporate sustainability and has an extensive policy (Link: Garmin.com).
My understanding from the policy is that Epix 2 is not made from any recycled materials. That said, the watch is generally repairable and the battery is replaceable and should retain 80% of its capacity for (Garmin quote) “a few years”. This likely means 4 years, in line with industry standards.
Garmin offers trade-in schemes and complies with WEEE and other local electronics recycling laws.
Garmin Epix 2 Battery
A standard 4-pin Garmin USB cable is used to charge the Epix 2 via a port on the underside. This cable can be used to transfer workout data with Garmin Express but it’s unpredictable – charging is perfectly fine though.
Garmin’s detailed battery life claims are shown in the next section and I found no reason to dispute what it claims – 30 hours of Always-On AMOLED screen, GPS usage is entirely plausible. However, increasing screen brightness or enabling the maximal Always On state will significantly shorten battery life – easily by 30-50%. Expect the obvious in that if you leave the display permanently on with 100% brightness it’ll go dead quickly. One example is that Garmin once said I had 3 hours of battery left but the watch died after 2 hours – it was probably my fault in that instance for having something ‘on’ too much and I give that example to illustrate how the settings can affect real battery lives.
Perversely, having such a great battery life can mean you do not establish a charging routine. Thus I ran completely out of charge three times in 4 months. Garmin mitigates that in two ways. Firstly there are various power profiles which can be customised and enabled during a workout. Secondly, the charging time is quick, with a full charge in 2.5 hours and a 50% charge in an hour – which means that for most of us a quick 10-15 minute charge before a run should be sufficient in an emergency.
Don’t forget the degradation of battery capacity will be about 20% over 4 years depending on your usage.
Garmin Epix 2 Technical Specifications
Here are the key technical specifications of Epix 2 compared to Fenix 7.
|Technical Specifications||Garmin Epix (Gen 2)||Garmin Fenix 7 – Standard Edition|
|Lens Material||Corning Gorilla Glass||Corning Gorilla Glass|
|Sapphire Editions: sapphire crystal||Sapphire Editions: sapphire crystal|
|Bezel Material||passivated stainless steel||stainless steel|
|Sapphire Edition: carbon grey DLC titanium or pure titanium||Sapphire Edition: Titanium|
|Case material||fibre-reinforced polymer with steel rear cover||fibre-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover|
|Sapphire Editions: fibre-reinforced polymer with titanium rear cover||Sapphire: fibre-reinforced polymer with titanium rear cover|
|QuickFit watch band compatible||included (22 mm)||included (22 mm)|
|Physical size||47 x 47 x 14.5 mm||47 x 47 x 14.5 mm|
|Silicone band: 125-208 mm||Silicone band: 125-208 mm|
|Leather band: 132-210 mm||Leather Band: 132-210 mm|
|Fabric band: 132-210 mm||Fabric Band: 132-210 mm|
|Metal band: 132-215 mm||Metal Band: 132-215 mm|
|Display Size||1.3” (33.0 mm) diameter||1.3” (33.02 mm) diameter|
|Display Resolution||416 x 416 pixels||260 x 260 pixels|
|Display Type||AMOLED (always-on)||sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)|
|Weight||76 g (case only: 53 g)||79 g (case only: 56 g)|
|Sapphire Editions: 70 g (case only: 47 g)||Sapphire Editions: 73 g (case only: 50 g)|
|Battery life||Smartwatch: Up to 16 days (6 days always-on)||Smartwatch: Up to 18 days|
|Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 21 days||Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 57 days|
|GPS Only: Up to 42 hours (30 hours always-on )||GPS Only: Up to 57 hours|
|All Satellite Systems: Up to 32 hours (24 hours always-on)||All Satellite Systems: Up to 40 hours|
|Sapphire Editions: All Satellite Systems + Multi-band: Up to 20 hours (15 hours always-on)||Sapphire: All Satellite Systems + Multi-band: Up to 23 hours|
|All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hours (9 hours always-on)||All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hours|
|Max Battery GPS: Up to 75 hours||Max Battery GPS: Up to 136 hours|
|Expedition GPS: Up to 14 days||Expedition GPS: Up to 40 days|
|Water rating||10 ATM||10 ATM|
|Memory/History||16 GB||16 GB|
|Sapphire Editions: 32 GB||Sapphire Editions: 32 GB|
|Sensors||GNSS (GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou), barometer, altimeter, magnetic compass, thermometer, heart rate, pulse Ox
GNSS L1+L5 on sapphire models
Lacks ECG but the Start button looks ECG-compatible
|GNSS (GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou), barometer, altimeter, magnetic compass, thermometer, heart rate, pulse Ox
GNSS L1+L5 on sapphire models
Lacks ECG but the Start button looks ECG-compatible
|Connectivity||BLE/Bluetooth, ANT+, WiFi. No LTE option||BLE/Bluetooth, ANT+, WiFi. No LTE option|
Note: Fenix 7 Sapphire only exists with Solar. The table excludes the effect of solar charging.
Detailed Comparison: Garmin.com
Garmin Epix – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can Garmin Epix 2 answer calls?
A: No, the Epix 2 has no LTE capabilities, and no microphone because it is a sports adventure watch rather than a dedicated smartwatch
Q: Is the Garmin EPIX 2 touchscreen?
A: Yes, the Epix 2 touch screen can be selectively enabled or entirely disabled and it works well in most circumstances
Q: How big is the Garmin Epix?
A: Garmin Epix is a medium or standard-sized Garmin Watch meaning it has a 1.3-inch diameter screen and a 416x416px display, all sitting in a case that measures 47mm x 47mm x 14.5mm deep.
Q: Is Epix 2 waterproof?
A: Yes, Epix 2 is waterproof to 100m but is not sold as a dive watch, so the high rating covers waterproofing against high impacts on the water.
Q: How long does it take to charge the Epix 2
A: A full charge takes 2.5 hours and a 50% charge takes an hour
Q: Is Garmin Epix 2 worth it
A: If you can afford the best sports adventure ever made then I’d say it’s worth it but there are many, lesser compromises for less money
Q: Does Epix 2 have music
A: Yes, the Garmin Epix 2 has a good music offering allowing you to play your own MP3 tracks or sync with Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer and even podcast services.
Q: Does Epix 2 have wireless charging
A: No the Epix 2 needs a standard Garmin charging cable
Q: Is Epix 2 better than Fenix 7
A: On balance, I would say the Epix 2 is better than the Fenix 7 as it combines a superior screen with a market-leading battery life that is perfect for the vast majority of athletes and adventurers.
Take Out – Garmin Epix 2 Review
Garmin Epix 2 represents a watershed moment for the company and for the wider sports watch industry.
For the first time on a GPS sports watch, awesome battery life has been successfully combined with an awesome screen. Garmin beat all-comers competing to try to provide the most features many years ago but its Achilles Heel was always the dreary yet functional screen. Many people simply wouldn’t wear an old Fenix to the office or out in the evening. Now they can wear an Epix 2. I would speculate that 99% of Fenix/Epix 2 owners can enjoy their watch on even their longest and most challenging adventures with the battery life the Epix 2 offers. Few people need the Fenix 7.
Historically this would be the point where I would jump in and criticise Garmin’s lack of accuracy. Not so. Epix 2 is at least as accurate as any other sports watch…ever.
Then I would trash Garmin’s inability to produce a watch designed for real people to use. OK, they’ve not fully solved the issues of usability or flow around the watch and its ecosystem but Epix 2 has progressed to the point where I’m pleased.
Epix 2 is so good that I suspect within a few years it will have usurped the Fenix as Garmin’s biggest earner, although both will continue to exist.
As a customer I recommend you go forth and buy an Epix 2…you won’t regret it. Although definitely don’t tell your partner how much it costs as it’s very expensive.
Garmin Epix 2 Pricing
Adding Sapphire and Titanium bumps up the prices. You should seriously consider sapphire to protect the lens plus Sapphire is the ONLY way to get the dual-frequency, multi-constellation GNSS awesomeness.
- Garmin Epix 2 – prices from £800/$900/Eu900 to £1000/$1100/Eu1100
I recommend Garmin, Wiggle, BackCountry or REI where first-time customers are usually prompted to get a 15% joining discount/bonus. Nice, if you can get it. This single link automatically clicks to a choice of retail stores in your country eg Wiggle, PowerMeterCity, Amazon, REI, B&H, Walmart, Competitive Cyclist & Backcountry
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