Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Which watch should you buy?

In May 2023, Garmin launched two new high-end adventure watches — the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro, and the Garmin Epix Pro. Both watches have Garmin’s new heart rate sensor, with double the amount of LED sensors as the Elevate V4 sensor used in the Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Epix 2. Both also have built-in flashlights, which make it easier to be seen during winter runs, and Garmin’s new hill score and endurance score. 

So which should you buy? I’ve been running with both watches for the past few weeks, comparing the features, battery life, and usability to help you work out which is best for you. Read on to find out more. If you’d rather find out more about either watch, check out our Garmin Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro face-off, as well as our Garmin Epix 2 vs Epix Pro comparison, as well as all of the best Garmin watches here. 

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Price and availability 

Both the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro and the Garmin Epix Pro were released on May 31, 2023. For the Fenix 7 Pro, There are also three different-sized watches in the range — the Fenix 7S Pro (42mm), the Fenix 7 Pro (47mm), and the Fenix 7X Pro (51mm). All of the Pro watches have solar charging. The cheapest watch in the Fenix 7 Pro line starts at $799/£749. 

The Garmin Epix Pro is also available 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 table explaining all the different models, and how much they cost:  

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro pricing
Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Fenix 7S ProGarmin Fenix 7 ProGarmin Fenix 7X Pro
Solar glass$799/£749$799/£749$899/£829
Sapphire Solar glass$899/£829$899/£829$999/£929
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Garmin Epix Pro pricing
Header Cell - Column 0 Epix Pro 42mmEpix Pro 47mmEpix Pro 51mm
Glass screen$899/£829$899/£829$999/£929
Sapphire screen$999/£929$999/£929$1099/£999

Winner: Garmin Fenix 7 Pro — There’s not all that much in it, but the cheapest Fenix 7 Pro is $100/£80 cheaper than the most affordable Garmin Epix Pro. 

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Design and display 

When the two watches are switched off, they are pretty much identical. Both have built-in flashlights — 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.

a photo of the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

They also both have Garmin’s new heart rate sensor. While the older versions of both watches had 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.

When you turn the screen on, however, it’s a different story. The Epix Pro has bright, AMOLED display with a resolution of 390 x 390 pixels (42mm), 416 x 416 pixels (47mm), and 454 x 454 pixels (51mm). The color touchscreen display is excellent and makes navigating around the watch a dream. The touchscreen 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.  

a photo of the Garmin Epix Pro on the wrist

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

The Fenix 7 Pro, on the other hand, has an updated Memory-in-Pixel (MIP) touchscreen display, which Garmin says to be more readable in bright lighting conditions. It’s not anywhere near as bright as the Epix Pro’s AMOLED display, but it does give the Fenix 7 Pro one advance — solar charging, extending the battery life of the watch. The Fenix 7 Pro also has a touchscreen, which again, is automatically disabled in sports modes. 

Due to its AMOLED screen, the Epix Pro has another new feature — Red Shift Mode. This changes the display colors to shades of red to help you “better acclimate to darker conditions" and reduce sleep cycle disturbance. There’s a similar feature on the Apple Watch Ultra, and it’s handy when checking the time on your watch in the middle of the night. 

Winner: Garmin Epix Pro — this is a tricky one, but the AMOLED screen really does elevate the experience on the Epix Pro, whether you’re using the watch as a smartwatch, or viewing a map. That said, if battery life is imperative to you, it’s still worth picking the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro. 

a photo of the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro heart rate zones

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Battery life

As mentioned above, the battery life of the Fenix 7 Pro exceeds that of the Epix Pro due to the Fenix 7 Po line having solar charging capabilities. The Fenix 7 Pro, for example, lasts 22 days in smartwatch mode, and 73 hours in GPS mode. The standard 47mm Epix Pro lasts 16 days in smartwatch mode (this drops to 6 days if the always-on display is turned on), and 42 hours in GPS mode (30 hours always-on). 

Here’s a table looking at all of the battery life stats: 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Epix Pro Battery life
Header Cell - Column 0 Fenix 7S ProFenix 7 ProFenix 7X ProEpix Pro 42mmEpix Pro 49mmEpix Pro 51mm
Max battery (smartwatch)14 days22 days 37 days 10 days16 days31 days
Max battery (GPS)46 hours 73 hours 122 hours28 hours42 hours 81 hours

Winner: Garmin Fenix 7 Pro — neither watch has a bad battery life, and you’d easily be able to go away for a weekend marathon without worrying about packing a charger, but due to its solar charging capabilities, the Fenix 7 Pro has a longer battery life. 

a photo of the Garmin Epix Pro on the wrist

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Fitness tracking and features 

From a fitness tracking point of view, the Fenix 7 Pro and the Epix Pro are identical — they both track endless sports, as well as heart rate, sleep, and more. They are both jam-packed with Garmin’s advanced training metrics and at launch, both have Garmin’s two new running features — hill score, which shows you from your wrist how easy it is to run uphill. 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. 

a photo of the Garmin Epix Pro on the wrist

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

There’s also a new endurance score, which is a measure of how easy it is for you to sustain prolonged efforts, looking at data like VO2 max, and your short and long-term training loads. Garmin has also added some new activity profiles, including whitewater rafting, motocross, and overlanding. Both also have new mapping features, including overlays on maps showing precipitation, temperature, wind, and clouds. 

Winner: It’s a tie — most people buy a Garmin watch to track various sports, and from a fitness tracking perspective, these two watches are identical. 

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Smartwatch features 

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 Fenix 7 Pro and the Garmin Epix Pro still feel a lot like sports watches. 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. 

a photo of the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

I’d argue the Epix Pro does feel slightly more like a smartwatch than the Fenix 7 Pro thanks to its bright, AMOLED display, however, both have exactly the same smartwatch features. 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 — the Epix Pro has a slight advantage thanks to its AMOLED screen, but features-wise, the two watches are the same. 

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Epix Pro: Verdict 

So, which watch should you buy? The answer really depends on your budget, and how important battery life is to you. If budget isn’t an option, and you’re not worried about charging your watch once a week or so, the Epix Pro is the best option, as the AMOLED screen does make it feel more premium, both on and off the run, and for $100/£80 more, you’re getting a much brighter watch. 

If you’re planning on running an ultramarathon or heading out on a multi-day adventure, however, the Fenix 7 Pro is the best choice. The solar charging capabilities dramatically extend the battery life of this excellent watch, and the MIP display is still clear and easy to see, even in direct sunlight.

If you’re on a budget, neither of these watches are 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 Pro or Fenix 7 Pro, so save your money and buy the Forerunner 265, or something less expensive on our list of the best GPS watches.

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

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.