Garmin’s Fenix smartwatches have always been premium wearables catering to the more fitness-oriented users. The Fenix 7 series is no exception and targeted at hardcore fitness enthusiasts, who not only want to monitor a lot of data, but also need some smart elements in their wearable.
But the Rs 98,990 price tag means this is not for everyone. I used the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar for over two weeks and here’s my review on what the device offers. More importantly, I try to answer who should consider this particular Garmin watch.
Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar: What’s good?
Design and build
The Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a large and bulky design typical of watches which are meant for outdoor use. This includes the large dial, rubber straps and five functional buttons. The watch manages to look good though and unless you have really slender wrists. There are plenty of holes here on the strap of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar, so the watch should also fit well on most hands.
Apart from this, there is also a flashlight on the top of the dial that can be quickly turned on or off by double pressing the top left functional button. This is really handy and I found myself using the flashlight on the watch more than the one on my phone.
The display is now touchscreen, which is an upgrade from older watches in the Fenix series. This makes navigating through the user interface (UI) a lot easier. It also lets users quickly go to certain functions like heart rate monitoring by long-pressing certain complications on the watchface itself.
The watch comes with a transflective display. This is a special kind of display panel that stays on at all times, and emits light by reflecting whatever light is thrown at the surface. This allows the watch to get very bright outdoors and even more under direct sunlight, contrary to how a regular AMOLED or LCD panel would work.
This is great because it allows you to use the watch worry-free outdoors as the display will always be visible no matter where you go. However, this also comes with some cons, ones that we will talk about in detail later in this review.
One of the best aspects of the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is its battery life that can last you from 10 to 14 days. This is a combination of the battery capacity as well as the solar ring that circles the circular dial. Under the right conditions outdoors, the Solar ring will allow the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar to power itself using sunlight and hence, ease off the inner battery, which further extends your overall battery life.
The longer battery levels per single charge also means you won’t be charging this watch 3-4 times a week, something you will be doing with many other premium smartwatches. This also means you can actually track things like sleep monitoring and blood oxygen levels for longer in a stretch.
The highlight of the Fenix watches has always been the plethora of fitness tracking and health monitoring features they offer. With the Fenix 7X, you get map support, various sports modes and multi-band GNSS support for GPS in addition to features like heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring and blood oxygen tracking.
The watch provides you with a lot of data and thanks to the lasting battery life, you can actually see long-term results now, and monitor aspects like how your sleep pattern has been over the past week. While the data for all your monitoring and tracking is available on the watch directly, you can view the same on the Garmin Connect app easily to keep track of progress.
While I couldn’t try out all the activities that the Fenix 7 offered to track for me, data shown for tasks like walking, running and even sleep tracking were very accurate, which isn’t surprising given the target audience for this product. Sleep tracking still wasn’t 100 per cent accurate for me personally, but the watch does a much better job at it compared to some others.
The watch is also resistant to water up to 10atm. So you can use it in the shower or under rain, and sweat won’t be a problem either.
Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar: What’s not good?
The transflective display on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is a double edged sword. As useful as it is outside, reading it indoors isn’t a great experience until you press the top left button to light up the screen. However, even then the contrasts to a conventional LCD or AMOLED panel are visible almost immediately, with the lack of vivid colours being the primary con here.
Another aspect is the straps. While the straps themselves are replaceable, Garmin doesn’t provide standard 20 or 22mm straps here, instead opting for their own fastening mechanism. This means you will need to buy new straps from Garmin alone, and they could be a little pricey.
Then again, you also miss out on a number of true smartwatch features that you’d expect would be present on a watch at this price. There’s no wireless charging, calling support, and in-depth messaging (although you do get preset replies).
Verdict: Should you buy the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar?
You’ve probably already guessed that the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar isn’t a smartwatch for everyone.For fitness enthusiasts, who spend a good chunk of time doing outdoor activities or playing sports, the Fenix 7X is a great monitoring device on your wrist, offering accurate tracking features, coupled with neat additions like the transflective screen and solar charging. Features like the flashlight and the optional paid subscriptions that the Garmin Connect app offers further sweeten the deal.
However, if you are going to be spending most of your days either at home or in office, the Fenix 7X would be an ill-fitting choice, and premium features that you may desire like replying to messages or wireless charging will still be missing. These users should look elsewhere for a smartwatch option.