Garmin’s wearables aren’t usually aimed at the typical new buyer thinking of trying out a wearable. They are aimed at hardcore users who know exactly what they want. The Garmin Fenix 7X Solar follows that trend towards a T. For starters, it costs Rs 98,990, which means it’s definitely not aimed at your typical buyers. So, who is the? Garmin Fenix 7X Solar Power‘s ideal user, and is the huge asking price worth it? Let’s figure it out!
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar: Build and Design
Let’s get to it, the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar is huge and heavy. If the Apple Watch Series 7 is a sleek and sleek sports car, the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar is a bulldozer. It’s big, bulky and butch. But this doesn’t mean it’s ugly. It has its own charm and the liberal use of brushed metal exudes machismo. In many ways it reminds me of the CAT S60 (review) I had reviewed many years ago. Its beauty lies in its functionality.
The case in the wearable is made of fiber-reinforced polymer with a metal back panel. The ring itself is made of titanium and DLC (Diamond-like Carbon Coated in Titanium). The strap is made of silicone. It should be noted that the belt has the classic buckle style for fastening.
On the right you will find two buttons, one for starting/stopping activities, while the other is used to mark laps or go back in the menu. On the left are three buttons. The bottom one is used to scroll down, while the middle one is used to scroll up and access the menu itself. The top one turns on the backlight and can also be used to turn on the flashlight.
The flashlight offers multiple brightness levels and also provides red light. This light can be adjusted to strobe, pulse or blitz. It can also be used to signal for help and will light up to signal SOS Morse code† In strobe mode, the light can be set to sync with cadence. So when the arm is in the forward stroke, it will light up, and on the recoil, it will light up red. This can be very useful for people who go running at night.
With a build like that, you’d expect the wearable to be rugged and the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar feels like it can handle the elements. In a non-COVID world, I would have loved to take him for a walk. But unfortunately, I have not been able to test the device to the limit. So I had to make do with submerging the device in a bucket of water. Needless to say it was over. It should also be noted that while most wearables have a water resistance rating of 5 ATM, the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar has a rating of 10 ATM.
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar: Display and User Interface
The Garmin Fenix 7X Solar has a 1.4-inch trans-reflective memory-in-panel display. It’s very similar to the one we see in some Huami watches and offers pretty good readability in bright outdoor conditions. While the screen is fine, I really wish I could have had something like an OLED screen, especially considering the screen isn’t that bright indoors, even with the backlight on.
Of course, the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar lives up to its name by offering solar charging. Just around the outer ring one can see the solar charger. I’ll go into details about the solar-powered wearable’s charging capabilities in the ‘Battery’ section of the review.
As for the user interface, Garmin has adopted its traditional user interface and integrated touch controls. This makes it much easier to use and makes scrolling through menus much easier. But the fact that it’s still button-operated means users can still access all of the wearable’s features, even when wearing gloves. A neat touch.
The downside is that the UI is a bit stuck in the middle. Using the physical buttons isn’t nearly as intuitive as Samsung’s rotating bezel or Apple’s digital crown. Fortunately, users have almost complete control over menus. So they can choose to show their most used apps and features. This helps to eliminate the problem of long and cumbersome scrolling.
As far as smart features are concerned, the Garmin is not a full-fledged smartwatch, but you do get some basic features. This includes notifications, caller ID, and the ability to send some limited responses to messages.
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar: Fitness
The Fenix 7X is a multi-fitness device and Garmin takes that claim very seriously. The watch can track everything from walking to running, to cycling, to workouts and more. It can even track the different types of cycling, bouldering, skiing, surfing, rowing, racket sports and more. In fact, you can also download the different golf courses. The app can search for nearby golf courses and allows you to download them. But we are leading the way.
I tried my 7 minute workouts with the watch and it gives you all the basic information you need like workout duration, calories burned and average heart rate. But you can always dig into the app to get very detailed information such as the main benefit of your training, training load, intensity and more. You can also access charts that track your heart rate. As far as heart rate tracking goes, the device seemed pretty accurate, and I saw a spike toward the cardio-heavy portion of the workout.
As for GPS tracking, I went for a walk through my society and it tracked my walk quite closely. It even followed the moment when I cut a corner. The only issue I noticed was that the GPS doesn’t seem to work very well indoors.
In terms of sleep tracking, the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar can track sleep quite well. The device can track sleep duration and mark stages such as deep sleep, light sleep, REM and wake time. It will also take SpO2 readings and measure breathing and movement during sleep. This is very helpful for people who may be suffering from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. The only problem is that the sheer size of the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar makes it very uncomfortable to sleep with. More often than not, I just took it off before going to sleep.
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar: App
The Fenix 7X Solar connects to the smartphone via the Garmin Connect app. Pairing with the app is pretty easy, just log into Garmin and the app will start looking for nearby devices. Then follow the on-screen instructions to pair.
The app is quite rich in information provided to the user. The main page provides information summarized in maps. Tapping on a card will give you detailed information about it. Talk about detailed information. While the sheer amount of information presented may seem overwhelming, Garmin has done a pretty good job explaining each stat and how it affects you. Just tap on any of the stats to find out.
The app also offers challenges that can help motivate users. Users can even create their own challenges and share them with the Garmin community. Speaking of community, the News Feed section is a kind of social platform for Garmin users where they can add friends and share their workouts. Finally, there is the calendar section where users can select each day and see all their activities for that day. Of course, as with anything, users can edit it if they wish by going to the drop-down menu,
However, the app has a lot more to offer! Go to the drop-down menu and you’ll see even more options to help you customize your experience. From here you can download a plethora of different workouts which you can then access through the wearable. This includes HIIT workouts, yoga, and more. If you like golf there is a separate option where you can download courses.
While the Garmin Connect app is very detailed, there are times when I feel overwhelmed by so much information. I hope Garmin can find a better way to present the information without removing any of the features.
There is another app called Garmin Connect IQ. This app provides users with customization options for their wearables. Users can install not only watch faces, but also apps such as Amazon Music, Spotify or Deezer. The app can also be used to create your own watch faces through the ‘Face It’ section.
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar: Battery
The Fenix 7X Solar should easily give you a week of battery life. At the time of writing this review, the wearable has not been charged in just over a week, and the battery life is still nine days, according to the device itself. But it should be noted that this is with continuous heart rate and SpO2 monitoring enabled. Somewhat more judicious use can be extended even further.
The battery life could be even longer if I was outside more. The solar panel on the outer ring of the watch helps extend battery life. And who’s going to say no to that? It should be noted, however, that the watch can’t run solely on solar power, it will have to be charged via the cable and this is where it falls a little underwhelming. The Fenix 7X Solar is charged via a patented cable that plugs into a slot on the bottom of the device. Ideally, I would have liked wireless charging or at least a magnet-based charger. It feels very archaic right now, especially considering the cost of the device.
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar: Verdict
The Garmin Fenix 7X is arguably the best multisport watch you can buy right now. It can do and track pretty much anything. In addition, it is very accurate and the Garmin Connect app provides very detailed information. It has a solid build, excellent accuracy and a large number of activity tracking options. Additional features like the solar panel and built-in flashlight can be really helpful. But for nearly a lakh, it’s not something most of us can afford. Anyway, if you want the best, with no money, and are okay with limited smart features, Garmin Fenix 7X Solar is the wearable for you.
If you want something affordable and only run or cycle, you might want to consider the Garmin Forerunner 55. It gives you excellent accuracy and all the juicy stats through the Garmin Connect app. But you don’t have to say goodbye to a number of features, including a touchscreen. If you’re looking for a multisport watch with a nice design, the Fitbit Sense might be for you. It is beautiful and also offers a nice color touchscreen.
If you still want something that can handle the great outdoors, but want better smart features, consider the Suunto 7 Black (review† And if you just want a smartwatch with decent activity tracking, an Apple Watch Series 7 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic might be for you.