Hands-on with the Garmin EPIX Gen 2

Hands-on with the Garmin EPIX Gen 2

The recent release of the Garmin Fenix 7 was exciting but expected; the Fenix 6 came two years before and the Fenix 5 two years before that. What was not anticipated, however, was the launch of the Garmin EPIX watch which landed the very same day as the Fenix 7. It’s a name we haven’t heard from Gamin since 2015 and was assigned to the brand’s first hands-free navigation device. The design was unusually square-shaped with a bright colour touchscreen and preloaded with plenty of mapping, navigation and smart functionality. For the Garmin EPIX Gen 2 watch, the smartwatch manufacturer have trumped themselves massively showcasing all these features and more, much more. Let’s take a look…

Case & Strap

While the Garmin EPIX Gen 2 watch is a rebirth, it holds few similarities in aesthetics to its predecessor and in fact features a much more sophisticated and durable architecture closely resembling the Fenix 7. The case is perfectly round and comes in at one size of 47mm with a height of 14.5mm. There’s the same five button layout as any other Garmin watch and a slim bezel engineered from a choice of titanium or steel.

As for the designs available on the new Garmin EPIX, there are four to choose from. The first is finished in black DLC coated titanium and features a red button at 2 o’clock and a black rubber strap. The second opts for uncoated titanium, a lime green button and a white rubber strap while the third is arguably the dressier of the lot offering a black titanium case and a chestnut brown leather strap. The final Garmin EPIX Gen 2 watch is the cheapest engineered from heavier stainless steel with an orange button and black rubber strap.

Display & Battery Life

The real showstopper of the Garmix EPIX Gen 2 watches is the AMOLED screen which sits front and centre at 1.3inches in size with a 416 x 416 pixel resolution. The display is also full-colour and touchscreen, ultimately mimicking that of the recently launched Venu 2. This is one of those screens you really have to see in person to fully appreciate how bright and colourful it is, it’s also super responsive, stays always-on during workout tracking and offers gesture support so the screen activates when you tilt your wrist towards yourself.

Protecting the three Garmin EPIX Titanium watches is sapphire crystal glass, a material renowned for its durability and scratch resistance. The steel model on the other hand opts for Corning Gorilla glass, which again explains the price difference. Despite the power-hungry personality of AMOLED displays, all four Garmin EPIX watches boast impressive battery lifes including up to 16 days in smartwatch mode, 21 days in battery saver watch mode, 42 hours with GPS only, 75 hours in max battery GPS and up to 14 days in expedition GPS mode.

Health Apps

Other than the flashlight feature debuted on the Garmin Fenix 7X, there’s very little difference in terms of apps and features on the Garmin EPIX compared to the Fenix 7 series. On the case back you’ll find the freshly upgraded wrist based heart rate monitor capable of monitoring your heart rate underwater as well as the Pulse Ox sensor which uses light beams to estimate how well your body is absorbing oxygen. There’s also respiration tracking, sleep tracking, hydration tracking, stress tracking and Garmin’s popular Body Battery Energy monitor which uses all this data to tell you when your body is ready for rest and when its most advantageous to exercise.

Fitness Features

As you’d expect from one of Garmin’s multisport watches, the Garmin EPIX Gen 2 watch comes preloaded with a huge range of sports apps including activity profiles for trail running, swimming, running, biking, hiking, rowing, skiing, golfing, surfing and indoor climbing as well as the new HIIT activity profile debuted on the Venu 2, Garmin Coach, daily workout suggestions and special dynamics for surfing, skiing and mountain biking. New to both the Garmin EPIX 2 and the Fenix 7 is a real-time stamina function which tracks your exertion to help you avoid overexerting at the start of your run or bike.

Also new is an app called 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. There’s also a Visual Race Trend app which displays how your training and performance has changed over time. Other fitness features on the Garmin EPIX include animated workouts, VO2 max, performance metrics, recovery time and the ever-clever PacePro function which keeps you on pace with adjusted guidance during a run.

Navigational Tools

Following in the footsteps of the first generation EPIX, the new Garmin EPIX 2 comes fully kitted out with navigation features aimed especially at outdoor adventurers. One of the most significant updates is the multi-GNSS support including GPS, GLONASS and Galileo which now also includes access to multiple navigation satellites for improved position accuracy in areas where GNSS signals are reflected, weak or typically don’t penetrate. There’s also new multi-continent TopoActive maps with some preloaded and others available to download over Wi-Fi.

Alongside these new features, you can expect all the familiar outdoor-ready tools on the Garmin EPIX 2 including ABC sensors for altimeter, barometer and compass, an acclimation widget, ski and golf maps, round trip routing and turn-by-turn navigation. The ClimbPro feature also returns which allows you to see real-time information on your current and upcoming climbs, including gradient, distance and elevation gains, descents and flats.

Smart Features

The Garmin EPIX Gen 2 also impresses with several features for day-to-day life including smart notifications, safety and tracking features, a Power Manager for making battery-extending changes on the fly and access to the Connect IQ store so you can customise your watch faces and download new apps and widgets. There’s also the handy Garmin Pay feature for making contactless payments and plenty of music storage and apps allowing you to download songs and playlists from your Spotify, Deezer or Amazon Music accounts.

Price & Availability

For the Garmin EPIX Steel, the RRP is £799 and for the titanium models with sapphire glass and rubber straps it’s £899. The EPIX Titanium on leather band retails at £999. The entire Garmin EPIX 2 watch collection is available to order now on the Jura Watches website here. For more information on the range and to enquire about the interest free finance and free next day delivery available, get in touch by emailing help@jurawatches.co.uk.

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