Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro – which GPS adventure watch goes the distance?

If it's a tough-built, adventure-ready, GPS-equipped smartwatch you crave, you can't get much more rugged and feature-packed than the Garmin Epix Pro or Polar Grit X2 Pro. These two flagships from well-established brands are direct competitors with similar price tags. 

Each boasts impressive suites of fitness-tracking tech, along with analysis of everything from sleep quality to workout recovery, energy levels, stress and more. Long-lasting batteries and super-accurate GPS connectivity also come as standard. However, there are notable differences that set the two apart.

While the Polar is available in just one case size (~49mm), the Epix Pro comes in three (42mm, 47mm and 51mm), to accommodate a wider range of users. For this comparison, we're going to focus on the 51mm version of the Epix Pro because it's the closest match to the Grit X2 Pro.

With prices pushing upward of $750, I'd be remiss not to mention the Apple Watch Ultra 2 ($800) to anyone reading this comparison. While it can't touch the battery life of either of the above, it's plenty capable of tracking basic outdoor adventures and is just as tough-built. Despite better smart features, it can't nearly match the level of fitness insights provided by the Polar or the Garmin. 

So, which of these high-end GPS-equipped smartwatches goes the distance, the Garmin Epix Pro or the Polar Grit X2 Pro? Read on to find out.

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Price and availability

Polar Grit X2 Pro.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

The Polar Grit X2 Pro is the newer of the two devices, announced in March 2024. The Garmin Epix Pro, meanwhile, debuted in May 2023. 

The Polar comes in Night Black or Stone Grey and costs $749 for the standard edition. There's also a Grit X2 Pro Titan that swaps the stainless steel case and bezel for titanium. It's 2.26 ounces lighter and $110 pricier. 

The Epix Pro 42mm and 47mm models are both priced at $899 but are often on sale for less. The smaller one comes in silver with a whitestone band, the middle size is slate grey on a black band. Both models are also available in a sapphire edition, with a titanium case and sapphire crystal for $100 more.

The 51mm Epix Pro, which we'll be comparing to the Polar, comes in slate grey on a black band for $999. However, you can often snag one for closer to $799. The Sapphire edition of The Big Boy comes in at $1099. 

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Specs compared

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Epix Pro (51mm standard)Polar Grit X2 Pro
Launch price$999$749
Display size and type1.39-inch AMOLED1.39-inch AMOLED
TouchscreenYesYes
Multi-band GPSYesYes
Barometer YesYes
Heart Rate monitorYesYes
SpO2 monitor YesYes
ECG monitor YesYes
Skin temp sensorYesYes
Music storageYesNo
Mobile paymentYesNo
Phone notifications YesYes
Battery Life31 days, 81 hours with GPS10 days, 43 hours with GPS
Water resistance 100 meters100 meters

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Battery life and display

a photo of the morning report on the Garmin Epix Pro

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

With 31 days of battery life in standard smartwatch mode and up to 81 hours when using GPS to track activities, the Garmin Epix Pro is an absolute beast of longevity. 

The Polar Grit X2 Pro is no slouch, though. You get up to 10 days of juice in standard mode and 43 hours in Performance training mode with GPS. However, if you switch over to Eco training mode, you can push that number to 140 hours, albeit with some reduced tracking accuracy. 

Whichever watch you choose, you're getting a large, 1.39-inch AMOLED touch-sensitive screen. However, when it comes to screen durability, the Epix Pro uses Gorilla Glass while the Grit X2 Pro features a tougher sapphire crystal glass. 

Battery life winner: Garmin Epix Pro

Screen winner: Polar Grit X2 Pro

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Design and build quality

Polar Grit X2 Pro.

(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

The largest Garmin Epix Pro has a case size of 51mm compared to the Polar Grit X2 Pro's roughly 49mm case. For folks with smaller wrists, the Garmin also comes in 42mm and 47mm but with slightly less epic battery life than the top dog. Fans of Polar with daintier wrists are sadly stuck with just the one size. 

Including the strap, the Polar weighs in at 79g while the Garmin is a heftier 98g at 51mm. The Polar is also slightly thinner at 13.4mm compared to the Garmin's 15mm thickness.

While the Grit X2 Pro boasts an entirely stainless steel case, the Epix Pro sports a fiber-reinforced polymer (plastic case) with a steel back. Both use stainless steel for the bezel. Materials aside, both of these smartwatches are designed to take some abuse and come with a respectable 100 meters of water resistance. 

You get five physical buttons around the case on both models, which is a nice alternative to the touchscreen especially when you're working out and have sweaty hands. 

Design and build quality winner: Polar Grit X2 Pro

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Health and fitness tracking

a photo of the Garmin Epix Pro on the wrist

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

When it comes to tracking sports and other physical activities, both devices have you well covered with 100+ sports profiles each, including plenty geared toward outdoor adventures like climbing, hiking, cycling, kayaking, open-water swimming and much more. 

The Garmin and Polar are also well-equipped to handle activities with lots of elevation gain, like mountain climbing, providing users with metrics like vertical speed, distance to destination, etc. However, only the Polar offers '3D Speed,' a calculation that tells your true speed whether moving up or down an incline.

Because these are flagship models, you're also getting the crème de la crème of fitness and training insights from each brand, including top-notch sleep monitoring, workout recovery advice exercise tips. 

Additionally, both keep tabs on overall wellness by monitoring for serious medical conditions via heart rate, blood oxygen saturation and ECG. In addition to the above sensors, a skin temperature sensor helps inform things like stress levels, energy levels, menstrual health and more.

Ultimately, these two watches are as close to a match as you can get when it comes to fitness and health features. Also, whether you're training for a marathon, a triathlon, or simply conquering a weekend hike, either is going to provide you with a wealth of info and stats in a digestible package. 

Health-tracking winner: draw

Fitness-tracking winner: draw

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: GPS and maps

Polar Grit X2 Pro rugged smartwatch.

(Image credit: Polar)

Again, there are a lot of similarities between the Garmin Epix Pro and Polar Grit X2 Pro in terms of location tracking and features. Multiband GPS comes standard on each. Both also support downloading offline maps, topographic views, turn-by-turn directions and the ability to save points of interest. 

GPS winner: draw

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Smart and safety features

For safety, both the Grit X2 Pro and Epix Pro boast a breadcrumb feature similar to Apple's Backtrack, allowing users to retrace their steps. However, only the Garmin has an accident detection mode that alerts an emergency contact and/or responders. It also has a live track feature allowing folks back home to pinpoint your location in an emergency. 

Another feature that sets the Garmin apart from the Polar is its built-in LED flashlight. Sure, the Grit X2 Pro technically has a flashlight mode that turns the screen white and ups it to max brightness, but it's not nearly as useful as the Epix Pro's smartphone-style flashlight. 

Only Garmin offers support for mobile payment (Garmin Pay) and storage for offline music listening, allowing you to truly leave your smartphone at home. Both devices, meanwhile, offer on-wrist phone notifications, Bluetooth music control, but not a whole lot else in terms of smartwatch features.

Still, Garmin easily beats Polar when it comes to safety and smarts, but both fall short of the best smartwatches in 2024, like the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.

Smart and safety features winner: Garmin Epix Pro

Garmin Epix Pro vs. Polar Grit X2 Pro: Overall verdict

a photo of the Garmin Epix Pro on the wrist

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Epix ProPolar Grit X2 Pro
Battery life (15)1512
Display (10)1010
Design (10)89
Build quality (20)89
GPS (10)1010
Health monitoring (10)1010
Fitness tracking (15)1010
Safety features (5)52
Smart features (5)31
Overall 7973

The Garmin Epix Pro and Polar Grit X2 Pro are extremely similar top-shelf GPS-equipped action- and adventure-tracking smartwatch beasts. Regarding fitness and wellness tracking, health monitoring, training, recovery and GPS features, these two are largely an even match.

However, the Epix Pro has better smart features, like the ability to pay for things and store music, and more safety features. On the other hand, the Grit X2 Pro has a sleeker, lighter design with a higher-quality sapphire screen, for less money.

For me, personally, I'd be stoked to have either on my wrist while taking on my next outdoor adventure

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Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.