Garmin Fenix 6 vs Fenix 7: What’s the difference?

Unveiled three years after the Fenix 6, the new Garmin Fenix 7 has arrived just in time for those of us ready for an upgrade, and what an upgrade it is. Fitted with sapphire solar displays as standard, lightweight titanium bezels, new sports apps and even better battery life, these luxury smartwatches are undeniably some of the best on the market. In this feature, we’ll be giving you a run down of all the key differences between the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Garmin Fenix 7 as well as a full list of specifications for each model side by side so you can decide which one lands right on your wrist.

Sapphire Solar Displays

While the Garmin Fenix 6 series boasted a choice of either sapphire OR solar displays, the Garmin Fenix 7 collection provides both. The Fenix 6 Solar watches were protected by Corning Gorilla glass which although is not fragile does not boast the same scratch resistant properties as sapphire crystal glass. Beneath the sapphire crystal of each Garmin Fenix 7 watch is the brand’s innovative Power Lens technology which incorporates a very thin 1mm wide strip just on the inside of the bezel and another under the display face which absorbs energy from the sun and converts it into battery life.

Improved Battery Life

Speaking of battery life, the Garmin Fenix 7 watches offer an impressive boost in power reserve compared to its predecessor. For comparison, Garmin Fenix 6 Solar warranted a 14 day battery life in smartwatch mode and an additional 2 days with solar. The Garmin Fenix 7 on the other hand promises 18 days in smartwatch mode and an additional 4 days with solar while the larger Fenix 7X comes with a 28 day battery life in smartwatch mode and an additional 9 days with solar. For a full breakdown of battery life between the different Fenix 6 and Fenix 7 models, see the table below.

Touchscreen & Buttons

For the first time, Garmin have incorporated a touchscreen on its Fenix model with the Garmin Fenix 7. This opens up a whole new world of functionality for smartwatch wearers and allows for even easier wear, especially when it comes to using the integrated mapping. For wearers of the Fenix 6 and its button-only interface, the upgrade will take a bit of getting used to but for ease, the touchscreen can be disabled when an activity starts so you can avoid accidently cancelling or amending it.

Integrated Flashlight

Equipped solely on the Garmin Fenix 7X is one of Garmin’s latest technologies, a multi-LED flashlight. The flashlight is cleverly integrated into the case of the Garmin Fenix 7X behind a diffused transparent lens. To use it, you simply double tap the light button which will deliver a bright light onto the ground in front of you. The layout has also been carefully designed for hand-free, ambidextrous use so it doesn’t matter which wrist you choose to wear your Garmin Fenix 7 on. As you expect from Garmin, the flashlight comes with several modes and customisable options including an SOS mode where the light flashes to signal for help and a running mode so that when you swing your arm forward it glows white and when your arm swings back it shines red allowing you to run safely in the dark.

Multi Band Support

Just like the Fenix 6, the new Garmin Fenix 7 watches come with multi-GNSS support which includes GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems but for the first time, the models also introduce multi-band support which ultimately improves tracking accuracy using technology previously only available to the military. It provides access to multiple frequencies sent by navigation satellites for improved position accuracy in areas where GNSS signals are reflected, weak or typically don’t penetrate.

Increased Sensor Accuracy

Alongside improved tracking accuracy, you can also expect increased sensor accuracy on the Garmin Fenix 7. According to Garmin, they’ve improved algorithms for battery accuracy and data consistency on all deployed sensors including GPS, barometric altimetry and the wrist based heart rate monitor.

Up Ahead Feature

The Garmin Fenix 7 showcases a new feature called Up Ahead which provides information about upcoming map and course points of interest such as aid stations, food stations or rest stops. These features are presented in an easy-to-read glanceable way and ordered as they are coming up next along the course with associated distances in a rolling overview. This allows athletes to gain better situational awareness and to easily manage expectations and timing through a course.

Multi-Continent Maps

The Garmin Fenix 7 not only comes with several multi-continent TopoActive maps already on the watch, but you can now also download and update maps using the Wi-Fi connective rather than having to plug into a computer.

Enhanced Ski Mapping

There’s also better ski mapping on the Garmin Fenix 7 with added resort names, slope colour coordination and cross country ski trails for Nordic skiing and skating. This applies to more than 2,000 ski resorts worldwide.

Visual Race Predictor

Another new feature for athletes is the Visual Race Predictor which uses your running history and overall fitness level to give you an estimate of what your pace might be for the distance you want to run. This feature also works alongside the Race Predictor Trend feature which shows changes in your predicted race times over time and displays these changes so you can see your performance development over time in a graph.

HIIT Activity Profile

First unveiled on the Garmin Venu 2 released at the end of last year, the Garmin Fenix 7 watches also feature the new HIIT activity profile. This provides a selection of HIIT workouts like AMRAP, EMOM and Tabata as well as guidance throughout the workout and options to set the number of rounds, work/rest intervals and more.

Real Time Stamina

Last but not least, another huge improvement on the Garmin Fenix 7 is the addition of the Real Time Staima function. This feature tracks and helps users manage their physical exertion throughout a run by providing awareness on how fast they are burning through energy, enabling runners/cyclists to optimise their level off effort during training.

Garmin Fenix 6 StandardGarmin Fenix 6 SolarGarmin Fenix 7S SolarGarmin Fenix 7 SolarGarmin Fenix 7X Solar
Case Size & Material47mm, fibre-reinforced polymer, stainless steel or titanium 47mm, fibre-reinforced polymer, stainless steel or titanium 42mm, fibre-reinforced polymer and titanium47mm, fibre-reinforced polymer and titanium 51mm, fibre-reinforced polymer and titanium
StrapSiliconeSilicone or metalSilicone or nylonSilicone, leather or metalSilicone, leather or metal
RRP£599.99£729.99£779.99 £779.99 £859.99
Lens MaterialCorning Gorilla (non solar)Corning Gorilla with Power LensSapphire with Power LensSapphire with Power Lens Sapphire with Power Lens
TouchscreenNoNoYesYes Yes
Battery LifeUp to 14 daysUp to 14 days + 2 days with solarUp to 11 days + 3 days with solarUp to 18 days + 4 days with solarUp to 28 days + 9 days with solar
Water Resistance100 metres100 metres100 metres100 metres 100 metres
Screen resolution260 x 260 pixels 260 x 260 pixels 240 x 240 pixels 260 x 260 pixels 280 x 280 pixels
Wrist heart rate monitor✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Pulse Ox✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Women’s Health Tracking✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
GPS, GLONASS & Galileo✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Multi-Frequency Positioning ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Barometric Altimeter✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Battery Saver Mode✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Music Storage✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Garmin Pay✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Smart Notifications✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Flashlight Feature ✔️
HIIT Workout Profile ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Pace Pro Technology✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Golf Features✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Running Features✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Up Ahead ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Cycles Features✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Swimming Features✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Daily Workout Suggestions✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Visual Race Predictor ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
ClimbPro✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Real Time Stamina ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Recovery Time Advisor ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Multi-Contintent TopoActive Maps ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Power Manager✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Body Battery Energy Monitor✔️✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️