The Garmin Epix 2 is an excellent adventure watch, with plenty of high-tech tracking features and a bright AMOLED screen. Despite the screen the watch still has an excellent battery life.
- Gorgeous design
- Bright display
- Long battery life
- Lots of tracking features
- Not many smartwatch features
- Only comes in one size
The Garmin Epix Pro has all of the fitness and health tracking of the Epix, with the addition of a built-in flashlight, and a new heart rate sensor. Plus, it comes in three different sizes.
- Comes in three different sizes
- More sports modes
- 31-day battery life
- Not many smartwatch features
- Still no skin temperature sensor
So you’re looking to buy a new adventure watch, and you have your eye on the Garmin Epix 2 and the newly released Garmin Epix Pro. Both watches have a bright, beautiful AMOLED screen, as well as most of the high-end features we’ve come to expect from Garmin. Both watches top our list of the best Garmin watches, but if you’re struggling to decide between the two, we’ve gone through the similarities and differences between the two watches here.
It’s worth noting that if you’re thinking about upgrading your running watch, the Garmin Epix 2 and the Garmin Epix Pro are both top-of-the-line watches. If you’re looking for something more affordable, check out the Garmin Forerunner 265 and the Garmin Forerunner 965, both of which have the same AMOLED screen and high-tech running features.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Epix Pro: Price and availability
The Garmin Epix 2 is the older of the two watches, released in January 2022. At the time, it was positioned as a high-end adventure watch, with a beautiful display. When it was released, the least expensive Garmin Epix cost $899/£749. A model with a sapphire crystal lens, titanium case, and 32GB of storage (available in white or black) would set you back $999/£999. It is likely you’ll be able to find the Garmin Epix 2 for a cheaper price now, as it’s been around for over a year, and the Epix Pro has been released.
The Garmin Epix Pro was released in May 2023. The series of watches come in different specs and sizes, with the cheapest Epix Pro watch starting at $899/£829. The highest-end model, with a sapphire-crystal lens and titanium case, will cost $1,099/£1099. The sapphire glass is much harder wearing, and therefore a more premium watch. Compared to the original Epix, the Epix Pro comes in three different screen sizes — 42mm, 47mm and 51mm, meaning there are more watches in the range to choose from.
Confused? Here’s a price comparison table to help simplify your decision.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Epix Pro 42mm
|Epix Pro 47mm
|Epix Pro 51mm
Winner: Garmin Epix 2 — if you’re on a budget, the older watch is the more affordable option, as it's likely to be on sale now.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Epix Pro: Design and display
The Garmin Epix 2 and Garmin Epix Pro are similar in design — both have a bright, AMOLED touchscreen display that makes navigating around the watch a dream. The touchscreen display is automatically disabled in workout modes, and you can still use the five buttons — three on the left and two on the right to start, stop, pause, and lap your workout.
The main difference between the two watches from a design perspective is that the Epix Pro comes in three different sizes — 42mm/1.6 inches, 47mm/1.8 inches, and 51mm/2 inches. The Epix 2 only came in one 47mm size. So there is now a smaller option, for adventurers with petite wrists, and a larger option for those who prefer a chunkier watch. All watches in the range come in a standard and a sapphire version.
All of the watches in the Epix Pro line also have a built-in flashlight — a feature we saw with the launch of the Garmin Fenix 7X last January. The flashlight can be used in situations where you might use your phone’s flashlight, but can also be used in certain sports modes, as the flashlight can blink or pulse on a bike ride. There is also a running-specific cadence visibility flashlight, where the watch will flash white as your wrist goes forward, and red as your arm moves back, in order to help keep you safe and seen.
Winner: Garmin Epix Pro — We appreciate the option to buy the watch in different sizes. The Epix 2 has always been a bulkier watch, so if you have smaller wrists, the Epix Pro probably offers a more comfortable fit.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Epix Pro: Battery life
Of course, the battery life changes slightly depending on the size of the watch you buy. Here are all the key facts:
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Epix Pro 42mm
|Epix Pro 49mm
|Epix Pro 51mm
As you can see, the battery life jumps massively with the larger version of the Epix Pro, so if heading off for a long weekend adventure without a charger is a must, this is the one to buy. Neither the Garmin Epix 2 nor the Garmin Epix Pro have solar charging.
Winner: Garmin Epix Pro 51mm — it’s a hefty watch, with a huge price tag and a battery life to match.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Epix Pro: Fitness tracking and features
There’s not all that much difference between the fitness tracking capabilities of the Epix 2 and the Epix Pro — you’ll still be able to train for a marathon or outdoor adventure with both strapped to your wrist.
At launch, there were two new running features — hill score, which shows you how easy it is to run uphill, without the need to look at your phone or a map. Garmin does this by measuring your running strength on steep elevations, and endurance on long ascents, as well as progress over time, based on your VO2 max, and training history.
There’s also a new endurance score, which is a measure of how easy it is for you to sustain prolonged efforts (using data like VO2 max), and your short and long-term training loads. That said, these new training features will also be available on the Garmin Epix 2 in a later firmware update.
That said, one update worth mentioning is the newer heart rate monitor in the Epix Pro. Underneath the screen, the one key difference between the Epix 2 and the Epix Pro is the heart rate sensor. The Epix 2 has Garmin’s Elevate V4 sensor, whereas the Epix Pro has the newest sensor (we’re not sure if this is the Elevate V5), which has twice as many LEDs as that of the Epix 2 spread over a wider area. According to Garmin, the "more spatially diverse" sensors and updated algorithms result in more accurate data.
Winner: Garmin Epix Pro — This one is hard to call, as both watches have the same sports tracking capabilities, however, the newer heart rate monitor means the Epix Pro edges ahead slightly.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Epix Pro: Smartwatch capabilities
One area where Garmin falls short compared to the likes of the Apple Watch Ultra is from a smartwatch perspective. Whereas the Ultra is like wearing an iPhone on your wrist, the Garmin Epix 2 and the Garmin Epix Pro still feels a lot like a sports watch, albeit a beautiful sports watch. There’s no voice assistant, and you can’t make calls from the watch. There is the option to mirror your phone’s notifications, but you can’t reply to messages from your wrist. Although I’d argue you don’t buy a Garmin adventure watch to check your Instagram notifications on the move.
Both watches have Garmin Pay, allowing you to use your watch to make contactless payments on the move. They also both have the ability to download and play music from Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music. There’s also an on-watch app store, which means you can install Connect IQ apps from the watch, rather than having to sync from your phone.
Winner: It’s a tie! This one is impossible to call, as both watches are the same from a smartwatch perspective.
Garmin Epix 2 vs Garmin Epix Pro: Verdict
If I already owned a Garmin Epix 2, would I upgrade to the Epix Pro? Absolutely not. The two watches are very similar, and I don’t think a new heart rate sensor and a flashlight warrant an upgrade. That said, if I was upgrading from an older sports watch would I buy the Epix Pro over the Epix 2? Yes — I like the option to buy the watch in a smaller 42mm size, and as a female who spends a lot of time running alone, the flashlight is something I’ll use a lot. Would I buy the Epix Pro over the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro, potentially? The bright screen really is beautiful.
If you’re on a budget, the Garmin Epix line isn’t the watch for you. I’d argue that if you’re not whitewater rafting or rock climbing on your weekends and holidays in Yosemite national park, you’re unlikely to even use 90% of the features on the Epix, so save your money and buy the Forerunner 265, or something less expensive on our list of the best GPS watches.
Either way, whether you choose the Garmin Epix 2 or the Garmin Epix Pro, you’re getting a beautiful high-spec outdoor watch with just about everything you could ever need on your wrist.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.