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Garmin Fenix 6 vs Fenix 7: Which Suits Your Fitness Goals?

Garmin Fenix 6 vs Fenix 7: Which Suits Your Fitness Goals?

For athletes from across many different disciplines, Garmin has become the must-have multisport watch. And with the recent release of the Garmin Fenix 7, this doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.

More specialized than your average smartwatch, Garmin's Fenix multisport GPS smartwatches allow wearers to easily keep track of their wrist-based heart rate, stay on top of a training load, measure and maintain blood oxygen levels, track the amount of sleep they are receiving, and, of course, work to improve overall health.

No matter whether you're a professional sports player, an outdoor enthusiast, or just an average punter going for a quick jog over the weekend, the Fenix series is a must-have training accessory.

But is it worth the upgrade to the new Garmin Fenix 7?

Let’s find out.

Product Spec Comparison

The Fenix series has a ton of awesome features. So many, in fact, that it can make it rather hard to choose between the different models and their many versions.

For your convenience, here they all are in a set of easy to look-through comparison tables.

General

Device Name Garmin Fenix 6 Garmin Fenix 7
Device Type Fitness/sport smartwatch Fitness/sport smartwatch
Product Release Date September 2019 January 2022
Predecessor Garmin Fenix 5 Garmin Fenix 6
Successor Garmin Fenix 7 Unkown
Models Garmin Fenix 6, Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire, Garmin Fenix 6S, Garmin Fenix 6S Pro, Garmin Fenix 6S Sapphire, Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar, Garmin Fenix 6X, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro, Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar, Garmin Fenix 6 Plus, Garmin Fenix 6 Plus Sapphire Garmin Fenix 7, Garmin Fenix 7S, Garmin Fenix 7X Solar, Garmin Fenix 7S Solar, Garmin Fenix 7 Solar, Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire, Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar, Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar
Dimensions 47x47x14.7mm 47x47x14.5 mm
Weight 72-83grams 58-96grams
Water resistance rating/depth 10ATM/100m/328ft 10ATM/100m/328ft
Case Material Fiber-reinforced polymer Base models: Fiber-reinforced polymer casing with metal rear cover
Solar models: Fiber-reinforced polymer casing with steel rear cover
Sapphire Solar models: Fiber-reinforced polymer casing with titanium rear cover
Bezel Material Stainless steel or titanium Base and Solar models: Stainless steel
Sapphire Solar model: Titanium
Strap Material Silicone, leather, titanium, or nylon Silicone, leather, fabric, metal
Strap Size Silicone band: 125-208mm
Leather band: 132-210mm
Nylon band: 132-210mm
Titanium band: 132-215mm
Silicone band: 125-208mm
Leather band: 132-210mm
Fabric band: 132-210mm
Metal band: 132-215mm
Screen Material Corning Gorilla Glass DX or sapphire crystal Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX, Power Glass™, or Power Sapphire™

Display

Screen size 1.3inches or 33.02mm diameter 1.3inches or 33.02mm diameter
Display type LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display resolution 260x260pixel 260x260pixel

Connectivity

WIFI
Bluetooth
Bluetooth calling
GPS Galileo, GLONASS, GPS Galileo, GLONASS, GPS
NFC
SMS alert
Call alert
Event reminder
Third-party app alert

Media

Memory 16-32GB 16-32GB
Audio speaker
Microphone
Camera
Radio

Sensors

Accelerometer
Altimeter
Barometer
Compass
Gyroscope
Heart Rate Sensor
Pulse Oximeter (measures blood oxygen levels)
Thermometer

Activity Tracking

Blood Oxygen
Blood Pressure
Calories
Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Sleep Tracking
Steps
Stress Levels
Menstrual Cycle
VO2 Max
On-Screen Workout

Sports Specific Tracking

Swim-tracking
Incidental Fall Detection
Golf Course Tracking Yes, 41,000 courses worldwide Yes, 41,000 courses worldwide
Automatic Red Counting
Run Workouts
Tides ✓ (through Connect IQ) ✓ (through Connect IQ)
Cycling Alerts

Battery

Battery Type Lithium-polymer (non-removable) Lithium-polymer (non-removable)
Battery Life GPS and music: up to 10 hours
GPS/HR: up to 36 hours
Max battery GPS mode: up to 72 hours
Smartwatch: Up to 14 days
Expedition GPS activity: up to 28 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: up to 48 days
Smartwatch: Up to 18 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 57 days
GPS Only: Up to 57 hours
All Satellite Systems: Up to 40 hours
All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS: Up to 136 hours
Expedition GPS: Up to 40 days
Charging Type Charging dock Charging dock
Charging Time 1-2 hours 1-2 hours
Solar Charging Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Garmin Fenix 7X Solar, Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar, Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar, Garmin Fenix 7S Solar, and Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar

App/Compatibility

Companion Application Garmin Connect Garmin Connect
Compatibility iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™
Payment System Garmin Pay Garmin Pay

The Garmin Fenix 6 Series

The Garmin Fenix 6 Series

The release of the Garmin Fenix 6 series has set a new standard for any future multisport watches, fitness watches, or smartwatches. It’s arguably the best GPS outdoor multisport watch currently gracing the market.

The Fenix 6 pulls all Garmin’s past innovations and combines them to add yet another exceptional addition to the Fenix series.

Just about every feature has been improved from previous models.

Battery life has been extended by not just hours but by days. The GPS is more accurate and user-friendly than ever before, the heart rate monitor is usable in real-time while submerged underwater, there are more preloaded ski resort maps than ever before. Not only that, but the watch’s training load focus is also more sport-specific and accurate, making it great for professional or amateur athletes alike.

The Garmin Fenix 6 Plus' Best Features

The Garmin Fenix 6 possesses all the great features of the Garmin Fenix 5, Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, and even the Garmin Forerunner 945 with the addition of a heap of new and super handy features. Here’s what you have to look forward to if you purchase a Garmin Fenix 6:

  • Larger-sized display - Although the watch is smaller than previous models the screen is actually bigger. To be exact, a 36% increase on the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus’ screen.
  • Better display resolution - As well as being larger, the display is also presented with enhanced resolution. A 20 pixel increase, 240x240 to 260x260, in the Garmin Fenix 6 and a 40 pixel increase, 240x240 to 280x280, in the Garmin Fenix 6X.
  • Solar charging - Probably one of the biggest step-ups from previous models is the Garmin Fenix 6X Solar’s ability to be charged via the sun’s energy.
  • Longer battery life - Another big step up is the notable increase in battery life. The new Power Manager gives users more flexibility and control over different Power Modes.
  • Increased internal storage - A doubling in the amount of internal storage, from 16GB to 32GB.
  • Preloaded skiing/snowboarding maps - An additional 200 maps from world-renowned skiing areas, ski maps now totaling over 2,000.
  • Heat and altitude acclimation automation - The heat and altitude will automatically adjust to provide accurate VO2 max readings.
  • PacePro - A runner’s best friend. This function provides Dynamic Pace guidance, recommending optimal pace suggestions while you run. Awesome for the long-distance athletes amongst us.
  • Underwater heart rate sensor - Keep track of your heart rate even while underwater.
  • Upgraded user interface - An even smoother and easy to navigate user interface view.
  • Added customization to maps display themes - Maps can now be customized by high contrast, dark, marine, and outdoor themes.
  • Added MARQ expedition ultra-long mode - This is a much-needed addition for multi-week expeditions or hiking/camping activities. This addition basically shuts down all other features, leaving only a light version for essential GPS tracking.
  • Added ultra-low battery mode - Get up to 80 days of use with super basic but possible life-saving functionality.
  • Upgraded GPS chipset - The GPS has been upgraded from MediaTek’s to Sony’s GPS chipset for added accuracy.
  • New and improved Garmin Elevate optical heart rate sensor - The version 3 Garmin Elevate sensor, bringing the Fenix 6 up to the same specs of the Garmin Forerunner 945.
  • Added altitude acclimation - For workouts or expeditions above 850m or 2,788ft.
  • Fenix 5 Plus’ incident detection - Falls and crashes notify someone of your accident.
  • Fenix 5 Plus’ safety/assistance feature - A simple press of a button will send help alerts to friends or family in case of an emergency.
  • VO2 upgrade - VO2 max now compensates for body and outside heat to give more accurate readings.

Breakdown of Feature Differences

As you have probably already realized, there are a lot of different options when it comes to choosing a Garmin Fenix watch. So much so, it can become a little confusing when deciding on the right one for your sporting and outdoor endeavors.

Don’t worry, though, in this section we are going to break down the biggest difference between them all.

Overall Size

When it comes to the overall design differences of the Garmin Fenix range, there are quite a lot of similarities. Nonetheless, there are some definite differences that could affect your final purchasing decision.

The Fenix 6 and 7 base models S models, and X versions all come in different shapes and sizes.

For example, the S version is tailored towards female athletes. This model has a slightly smaller wristband and finer display, 218x218 pixels, without sacrificing any of the multi-sport features that are essentials for tracking your fitness activities.

On the other hand, the X versions possess slightly longer battery life through many of its different fitness models. That being said, these models aren’t as small as the S version and are better suited for larger wrist sizes.

Case Material

All of the Garmin Fenix versions are either made from a super durable stainless steel or titanium metal, depending on which version you decide is best for you.

It is important to note that whether you opt for the stainless steel or titanium, this will ultimately affect the overall weight of the watch quite a bit, up to a 58 to 93-gram difference. And, although the titanium casing is stronger and appears to be more scratch-resistant than the stainless steel casing, it will add an additional amount of weight.

Screen Size

Over time, Garmin has been slowly increasing the screen size of most of its smartwatches while striving to keep the overall build size the same. This is great as watch wearers have the added bonus of a bigger screen without sacrificing little to no wrist real estate.

For instance, the Garmin Fenix 6 range has seen an increase in screen display size, from 1.2inches on the 5 plus to 1.3inches or 1.4inches depending on which Fenix 6 version you opt for.

Water Resistance

The entire Fenix range possesses excellent water resistant abilities. The only real difference is the base Fenix 5 versions, which have a 5ATM/50m/164ft rating, while the Fenix 6 and Fenix 7 Plus versions have a 10ATM/100/328ft rating.

Battery Life

The Fenix 6 possesses very respectful battery life. It’s smartwatch mode will last 14 days, its battery saving mode will ultimately extend this up to 48 days, and its widely used expedition GPS activity mode will grant users up to 28 days of usage.

The Fenix 6 also has more battery hungry modes like the Max Battery GPS Mode and GPS mode that last 72 hours and 36 hours, respectively.

Sensors and Activity Tracking

Of course, one of the best features of Garmin’s Fenix range is its large array of sensors and real-time sports-specific tracking.

And the Fenix 6 has seen some fairly substantial upgrades over most of the past Fenix 5 range.

The Fenix 6 has experienced improvements to its Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, fixing some of the slight inaccuracy issues some of the Fenix 5 versions were known for.

One of the Fenix 5X Plus and Fenix 6 versions of new features is the PulseOx sensor. The Pulse Ox sensor keeps track of wearers’ blood oxygen levels, which is particularly handy for professional athletes.

Internal Storage and Music Playback

The entire Fenix 6 range has the ability to store and playback music. The Fenix 6 versions all possess double that of the high-end Fenix 5 models with 32GB of internal storage, allowing users to store up to 2,000 songs.

The Garmin Fenix 7 Series

The Garmin Fenix 7 Series

The Garmin Fenix 7 is the newest model of the Garmin Fenix series and, as you’d expect, it’s packed with features that set it apart from other models in the series. Aside from standard multi-sport watch features like built-in GPS and altimeter, the Garmin 7 also has been outfitted with a bunch of new features that can't be found in previous models like the Garmin Fenix 6.

The Garmin Fenix 7 also comes fitted with a heart rate monitor, barometer and an accelerometer to give you an accurate account of your daily activity levels. The Fenix 7 can be used for running or cycling activities thanks to its integrated HRM (heart rate monitoring) sensor, while there are plenty of apps available to help you get fit and healthy. It even includes a sleep tracker. That way, you'll know exactly when you should hit the hay.

The Fenix 7 is waterproof up to 100 meters with an IP rating of 10 ATM, making this model perfect if you’re planning on taking part in water based adventures such as swimming, diving or snorkeling. You also have access to over 30 pre-installed sports modes that will allow you to track many different workouts including walking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, rowing, kayaking, climbing, cycling, trail running, yoga, and a heap more.

The Garmin Fenix 7 Best Features

The Garmin Fenix 7 possesses all the great features of the Garmin Fenix 6 with the addition of a heap of new features and functionalities. Here’s what you have to look forward to if you purchase a Garmin Fenix 7:

  • Solar charging - Probably one of the biggest step-ups from previous models is the Garmin Fenix 7 solar capabilities. The Fenix 7 Solar battery life has been increased by 33% and the 7X by a massive 68%. The solar surface is also larger, by 54% to be exact.
  • Longer battery life - Another big step up is the notable increase in battery life. In some cases there is an increase by multiple days.
  • TopoActive Maps - All Fenix 7 watches come with free worldwide downloadable TopoActive maps
  • Brand new touchscreen display - As a first for the Fenix range, the Garmin Fenix 7 has been fitted with a touchscreen display. For those that enjoy button selection, the Fenix 7 can still be operated by its buttons.
  • GPS only mode added - A reworked GPS only mode which grants the Fenix 7 with even more battery life than previous models.
  • New optical HR sensor - An ELEVATE GEN 4 optical HR sensor has been added for even more accurate measurement and metric tracking.
  • New flashlight - A flashlight has been fitted to the 7X model. This is fitted with an SOS mode, strobe mode, and a running mode.
  • Added various data field capabilities - Due to popular demand, the Fenix 7 has the ability to configure activity profiles and data fields from a user’s phone.
  • New sports modes - The addition of a Kiteboard Sport mode and Windsurf Sport mode will keep waterboard sporting junkies happy.
  • New sleek design - The new Garmin case is slightly lighter and thinner design across all models.
  • Race Predictor - A race predictor capability has been added to track your overall fitness progress.
  • Overhauled user interface - A new UI has been programmed into the Fenix 7 for a fresh new look and easier navigation.
  • Map manager - A brand new map manager has been added to allow the management and download of maps to your devices super easy and accessible.
  • Cross-country skiing maps - To keep the backcountry skiers happy, Garmin has added a ton of cross-country skiing maps.
  • A whole heap more - There are too many to list here but Garmin has seriously revamped the Fenix 7, making it the most feature packed models yet!

Breakdown of Feature Differences

As you have probably already realized, there are a lot of different options when it comes to choosing a Garmin Fenix watch. So much so, it can become a little confusing when deciding on the right one for your sporting and outdoor endeavors.

Don’t worry, though, in this section we are going to break down the biggest difference between them all.

Overall Size

The Fenix 6 and 7 base models S models, and X versions all come in different shapes and sizes.

For example, the S version is tailored towards female athletes. This model has a slightly smaller wristband and finer display without sacrificing any of the multi-sport features that are essentials for tracking your fitness activities.

On the other hand, the X versions possess slightly longer battery life through many of its different fitness models. That being said, these models aren’t as small as the S version and are better suited for larger wrist sizes.

Case Material

All of the Garmin Fenix versions are either made from a super durable stainless steel or titanium metal, depending on which version you decide is best for you.

It is important to note that whether you opt for the stainless steel or titanium, this will ultimately affect the overall weight of the watch quite a bit. And, although the titanium casing is stronger and appears to be more scratch-resistant than the stainless steel casing, it will add an additional amount of weight.

Screen Size

Over time, Garmin has been slowly increasing the screen size of most of its smartwatches while striving to keep the overall build size the same. This is great as watch wearers have the added bonus of a bigger screen without sacrificing little to no wrist real estate.

This time around, though, the Garmin 6 and 7 displays have remained the same size - a respectable 1.3”.

Water Resistance

The entire Fenix range possesses excellent water resistant abilities. The only real difference is the base Fenix 5 versions, which have a 5ATM/50m/164ft rating, while the Fenix 6 and Fenix 7 Plus versions have a 10ATM/100/328ft rating.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, there are slight differences that may affect your final decision between the Fenix 6 and Fenix 7. While the Fenix 6 has great battery capacity, the new Fenix 7 has taken battery life and solar efficiency to a new level.

Fenix 7’s Smartwatch Mode now boasts a battery life of 18 days, compared to the Fenix 6’s 14 days. It’s Battery Saver Watch Mode lasts 57 days compared to the 6’s 48 days. And it’s Expedition GPS Mode lasts 40 days in contrast to the Fenix 6’s 28 days.

The efficiency of the solar fitted to the solar models has also increased, with a very impressive 33-68% boost - depending on the model.

Internal Storage and Music Playback

Both the Fenix 6 and 7 range have the ability to store and playback music. All Fenix 6 and 7 models possess between 16-32GB of internal storage, allowing users to store up to 1,000-2,000 songs.

The Garmin Fenix 7's Best Features

The Garmin Fenix 7 has a ton of great features and just about every smartwatch mode that athletes could ever wish for, including:

  • Stainless steel or titanium case - Coming in a variety of different colors, the Garmin Fenix 7 is housed in a beautifully designed and durable stainless steel or titanium casing that’s both lighter or the same weight as all Fenix 6 models.
  • Connect IQ – The Garmin Fenix 7 gives you the ability to download and customize your watch. Find anything from apps, widgets, or even different background themes.
  • Advanced training functions - Monitor training status, training effect, training stress, recommended recovery time, and VO2max, all at a touch of a button.
  • WiFi connectivity - The Garmin Fenix 7 will connect to any available WiFi network.
  • Built-in topographical map - Make use of the preloaded topographical maps found on the Garmin Fenix 7.
  • Golf activity profile - Set up and record your golfing efforts. Plus download golf courses from a database of over 42,000 golf courses throughout the world.
  • Triathlon, swim, and run activity profiles - Set up a profile and easily keep on track. Watch as those running, cycling, and swimming milestones are quickly ticked off with the triathlon, swim, and run trackers.
  • Gyroscope - Garmin’s latest gyroscope feature better improves the precision of all GPS in modes such as UltraTrac.

A Comparison of the Most Popular Models

Here’s a quick comparison of the most popular Fenix models.

Model Fenix 6 Fenix 6 Pro Fenix 6 Sapphire Fenix 7 Fenix 7 Solar Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar
Screen size 1.3inches or 33.02mm 1.3inches or 33.02mm 1.3inches or 33.02mm 1.3inches or 33.02mm 1.3inches or 33.02mm 1.3inches or 33.02mm
Watch size Base versions: 47x47 x14.7mm
6X: 51x51x14.9mm
6S: 42x42x13.8mm
47x47 x14.7mm 47x47 x14.7mm 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
Display type LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) LCD sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display resolution 260x260 pixels 260x260 pixels 260x260 pixels 260x260 pixels 260x260 pixels 260x260 pixels
Internal memory size 16-32GB 16-32GB 16-32GB 16-32GB 16-32GB 16-32GB
Song storage Store up to 1,000-2,000 songs Store up to 1,000-2,000 songs Store up to 1,000-2,000 songs Store up to 1,000-2,000 songs Store up to 1,000-2,000 songs Store up to 1,000-2,000 songs
Music apps
Control music on your phone
Battery life Up to 14 days Up to 14 days Up to 14 days Up to 18 days Up to 18 days Up to 18 days
GPS Battery life Up to 36 hours Up to 36 hours Up to 36 hours Up to 57 hours Up to 57 hours Up to 57 hours
Music + GPS activity battery life Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens Power Glass™ Power Sapphire™
Scratch-resistant sapphire lens
Pulse Ox acclimation sensor
Contactless Garmin Pay
Power management mode
Heat and altitude adjusted VO2 max
Body battery energy monitor
Preloaded topographical maps
Preloaded ski maps
Preloaded golf courses
Downloadable from Garmin Connect only
ClimbPro feature
Downloadable from Garmin Connect only
Trendline popularity routing
PacePro feature
Downloadable from Garmin Connect only

FAQ

FAQ

What is the difference between the Garmin Fenix 6 and 7?

The most noteworthy differences between the Garmin Fenix 6 and 7 is the battery life, touchscreen, and lens material. The addition of the Power Glass™ and Power Sapphire™ glass on the Fenix 7 Solar and Sapphire models, a big increase in battery life and solar efficiency. Touchscreen is a brand new feature of the Fenix series, only the Fenix 7 possessing touchscreen features.

What is the difference between Fenix 6X and 7X?

The Fenix 6X and 7X are Garmin’s top models of the Fenix series. They both boast solar charging and rugged, durable designs. Where the differences begin to show is the Fenix 7X has a 14.9mm display over the 6X’s 14.7mm display. The 7X’s bezel material is titanium by default while the bezel material of the 6X varies, depending on the purchaser’s choice.

Is it still worth buying the Garmin Fenix 6?

Yes, the Garmin Fenix 6 should definitely be considered when hunting for a quality multisport smartwatch. Even if it's not the latest and greatest from Garmin, the Garmin 6’s sleek and thin design, sport-specific tracking, relatively long battery life, GPS tracking, and much more, make it a solid option for any outdoor enthusiast.

Final Thoughts

When hunting for just the right multisports smart watch to suit your needs, the Garmin Fenix 6 or Fenix 7 are both extremely good options.

For most wearers, the feature differences between the two models and their various versions won’t be hugely noticeable and a decision will likely come down to one or two specific features that warrant spending that little extra money.

If you are perfectly happy with the features the Fenix 6 has to offer, its multiple sports tracking modes, GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, 50-100m water resistance, 14-day battery life, then why not grab yourself this watch and save yourself a few bucks.

On the other hand, extended battery, super efficient solar charging, and sports specific features like additional kiteboarding or windsurfing appeal to your fitness and training needs, the Garmin Fenix 7 is well worth considering.

Either way, both the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Fenix 7 are excellent choices and will not only keep your training on track but will also help to improve your overall health.

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