One of the nation’s largest city forests goes by the uninspiring identify Forest Park, and it stretches throughout the west facet of Portland, Oregon, like an incredible, tree-covered blanket. It’s accessible by automobile, bike, or foot, however when you’re inside, the paths really feel quiet and distant. It’s an city legend that individuals live in the park undetected for years, like in an M. Knight Shyamalan movie.
This mixture of being extraordinarily rugged, but accessible, makes it the right place to check GPS-enabled fitness watches. On a latest Sunday afternoon, I parked at a trailhead, acquired out, and began recording a path run. Unlike different low-end watches I’ve tried, Garmin’s new Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar related to GPS immediately, even beneath dense tree cowl.
At each path crossing, I in contrast the Fenix 7S’ recorded mileage to the path markers. I clicked down by means of the stats to match the Fenix’s maps to the maps posted alongside the paths. It was lifeless on. About two miles in, the solar got here out, and I pulled my sleeve as much as let the watch recharge within the solar. If you additionally spend a whole lot of time within the woods and are generally nervous about discovering your manner again residence, the costly Fenix 7S may give you peace of thoughts.
This yr, Garmin debuted a mind-blowing six new updates to its product line, which I’ve spent the previous few months testing. That consists of the entry-level Vivomove Sport; an replace to my favorite watch, the Instinct 2 Solar; and two new high-end journey watches, the Epix and the Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar.
Of the 2 new premium journey watches, I made a decision the Fenix is one of the best candidate for anybody on the lookout for a top-of-the-line Garmin. We’ve been followers of watches from this sequence through the years—multiple reviewers have loved them—and importantly for folks with little wrists, the case dimension comes as small as 42 mm. The most noticeable distinction between the Fenix and the Epix is the display screen. The Epix has a 47-mm case dimension with an enormous, brilliant AMOLED touchscreen versus the Fenix’s memory-in-pixel (MIP) show. Yes, the Epix’s display screen is attractive, nevertheless it has important downsides.
Garmin claims the watch has as much as 16 days of battery life, however in my testing, the Epix barely lasted three days. It’s arduous for me to advocate a GPS watch you may’t use on a fundamental weekend tenting journey. There is a Battery Saver mode, which helps you to strip the watch all the way down to its fundamental capabilities to avoid wasting energy, however uh, what’s the purpose of a full-featured watch should you can’t use the options more often than not? On outside excursions, the Epix’s dimension—for somebody with a smaller wrist—makes it tougher to make use of. I attempted to file my runs on a latest snowboarding journey, and each time I sat down, adjusted my jacket sleeves, or took off a glove, the watch slid, the buttons hit the again of my hand, and the recordings toggled on or off randomly. It was so annoying to make use of that I ended making an attempt.
Perhaps the most important distinction between this iteration of the Fenix and 2019’s 6S Pro is that it has new colorways and a touchscreen show. Plus, the photo voltaic charging perform has improved tremendously. It was at all times a classy-looking sports activities watch, however my darkish bronze mannequin seems ok to go as a vogue accent. The touchscreen additionally does not appear as delicate because the Epix’s—I by no means by chance triggered it whereas path working within the rain or when pulling my sleeves up and down.