Thursday, June 13, 2024

This Garmin does things the Apple Watch Ultra can’t


Yes, I've been wearing two smartwatches. The Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Edition (top) and the Apple Watch Ultra (bottom).

Sure, I have been sporting two smartwatches. The Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Photo voltaic Version (prime) and the Apple Watch Extremely (backside).

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Do you know there are smartwatches in the marketplace immediately that blow the Apple Watch Extremely out of the water? Take the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire Edition

I’ve owned an Apple Watch Ultra since its launch again in September 2022, and it has been on my wrist nearly frequently over the previous eight months, excluding when it is charging, the few instances its presence on my wrist has been annoying, and after I swing my kettlebells about a number of instances per week. (As a result of irrespective of how robust it’s, it is not going to take repeated kettlebell smashes to the watch face.)  

And it has been with me on many an journey. Strolling, mountain climbing, or on pictures or drone flying journeys, the Apple Watch Extremely has been a relentless companion. It has been out in rain, snow, ice, and warmth waves. I’ve worn it whereas sweating up steep hills, and whereas stress-free in a sizzling tub.

Additionally: The most effective smartwatches, in line with health consultants and marathon runners

Certain, I’ve not taken it up Everest, or on ultramarathons, however there have been instances when it has been my solely supply of sunshine, and even my solely hyperlink with the world at giant.

But it surely’s positive had fairly a tricky life to date, and it is given me a very good concept of the machine’s strengths and weaknesses.

I have been testing different out of doors smartwatches alongside the Apple Watch Extremely. (Sure, I have been sporting two watches, so what? All of the cool youngsters are sporting two smartwatches.) All that testing has given me an excellent understanding of what the competitors has to supply.

AdditionallyI examined this tiny satellite tv for pc communicator on an off-grid journey. Here is my verdict

OK, let’s begin with the Apple Watch Extremely. Over eight months of close-to-continual sporting (I put on it on my left wrist, crown down, as a result of this manner the crown does not get bumped when placing arms into pockets or gloves) and the Extremely’s situation stays a lot nearer to immaculate than I might count on it to be. 

The sapphire crystal is ideal, whereas the titanium shell has a number of very gentle scratches and abrasion marks.

There are some abrasion marks on the titanium case, but the sapphire display is still perfect.

There are some abrasion marks on the titanium case, however the sapphire show remains to be good.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It is one robust watch.

The battery life has additionally been good (for an Apple Watch). I can count on about three days of battery life out of it earlier than I begin getting apprehensive, however heavy use of maps or health options can scale back that to a few days.

Not unhealthy for an Apple Watch, however there are smartwatches in the marketplace that blow this efficiency out of the water.

Take the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire Edition that I have been sporting alongside the Apple Watch Extremely. This Garmin has been charged as soon as and has run for nearly two weeks with out cost, and it nonetheless says it has six days of standard use left (or 90 days if I put it into battery saver mode).

It is lasted for thus lengthy now that I am undecided the place I’ve put the charging cable. (Sure, the Fenix 7 line wants a proprietary charging cable.) The photo voltaic cell embedded into the face collects daylight, giving the battery just a little enhance whereas I am exploring the outside.

On the toughness entrance, the Fenix 7X is holding up properly. Nonetheless, I am already discovering that the black DLC (diamond-like coating) end is sporting off. A small beauty factor, however in the event you’re into small beauty issues, this might very properly hassle you.

The black DLC (diamond-like coating) finish on the Fenix 7X is already showing signs of wear.

The black DLC (diamond-like coating) end on the Fenix 7X is already exhibiting indicators of wear and tear.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The battery life and coating apart, there are a number of different methods the Garmin smartwatch beats Apple’s providing when open air. 

Additionally: The most effective Garmin watches: Fenix, Forerunner, Venu, and extra in contrast

First, the Apple Watch Extremely depends closely on that touchscreen show. That is nice for day-to-day use, however if you’re sporting gloves, or your arms are chilly, or the show will get moist, that touchscreen turns into an enormous ache to make use of. Get water on it, and the contact enter turns into tremendous unreliable.

The Apple Watch Ultra doesn't like getting its display wet.

The Apple Watch Extremely does not like getting its show moist.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Whereas the Fenix 7X has a touchscreen show, it additionally options buttons, and people buttons make working the watch when moist or when sporting gloves rather a lot simpler.  

The buttons on the Fenix 7X make a lot of sense.

The buttons on the Fenix 7X make quite a lot of sense.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I am additionally a giant fan of that huge show. These huge, chunky letters and numbers are simple on my getting older eyes. And Garmin has crammed quite a lot of info onto that 1.4-inch show.

It is very simple on the eyes it doesn’t matter what the situations.

Garmin has crammed a lot of information onto the 1.4-inch display of the Fenix 7X.

Garmin has crammed quite a lot of info onto the 1.4-inch show of the Fenix 7X.


The Fenix 7X has an precise LED flashlight constructed into the aspect of the watch that may be switched from white to crimson. This can be a nice contact as a result of it frees up the show to nonetheless be a show; the flashlight is ideal for small duties like map studying and lighting the way in which in an emergency.

Additionally: That is the last word use of your Apple Watch Extremely’s Motion button

Lastly, the Garmin comes with topographical maps loaded onto the smartwatch (and there are additionally third-party maps you should buy, comparable to these by the superb Talkytoaster), eradicating the necessity for a mobile connection when exploring. 

The Apple Watch Extremely has Apple Maps, and entry to these depends on having an web connection. I am not conscious of a third-party providing that fills the hole.  

This looks like an enormous oversight on a watch that is billed as being designed for explorers.

Additionally: The most effective blood strain watches, in line with medical analysis

The Apple Watch Extremely suffers from another weaknesses as properly. For instance, the coordinates on the primary entrance display can take ages to replace — minutes, tens of minutes, generally extra — making this function really feel extra like a gimmick than a useful gizmo. Equally, right here within the UK, our maps use a coordinate system known as British National Grid. Apple does not assist this (though there are apps that may convert the present place to the system), whereas the Garmin smartwatch has no downside with this.

All these little issues add up.

One factor I’m requested very often is how totally different smartwatches examine relating to the accuracy of distance walked, and step depend. All of the items I’ve tried alongside the Apple Watch Extremely have agreed to inside 5%. Which one is the extra correct? I can not say. 

Additionally: The most effective smartwatch offers accessible now: Save on fashions from Apple, Samsung, and extra

In the case of the app ecosystem, nonetheless, Apple’s acquired the competitors beat. Just about any app you’ll be able to consider already exists for the Apple Watch. By comparability, the choices for Garmin smartwatches are a bit restricted.

There isn’t any doubt that the Apple Watch Extremely is a superb smartwatch. However pitting it in opposition to a tool just like the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire highlights not just some Apple Watch weaknesses but in addition demonstrates the distinction between an organization that makes a mass-market machine versus one that actually understands what’s vital to individuals who spend quite a lot of time open air.

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