Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire after 2 months

It’s been a bit over two months since I have the Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire and after wearing it daily, I feel like I have an idea abut what I like about it and what I’d still like to be improved. My first impressions are available here and those views still stand.

Disclaimer – This is not a review of the watch, you can find a lot of reviews on YouTube or other websites, I don’t think I would bring something completely new – below you’ll read about my personal views regarding the Fenix 7X SS, after wearing all Fenix variants since Fenix 3.

Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire – Large screen, easy to read (in full sunlight), visible solar ring

What I like about Fenix 7XSS:

  • very good battery life (31/32 days, you can extend that by wearing it in full sunlight – the solar charging seems to be more than just a gimmick now)
  • sturdy and well protected – having both Sapphire and Solar is great – I don’t mind the reflections but also I’m coming from Fenix 6X Sapphire ..
  • very good GNSS signal – I used it with all satellites and dual band – the signal acquisition is very fast and the tracks look very good, much better than the 6X ones
  • lightweight – only 67g with the UltraFit strap – that’s definitely better than 5X and 6X before it; my Vantage V2 is 51g, but it’s also a smaller watch
  • good sync with mobile Connect – usually fast and efficient (much better than Polar Flow sync)
  • support for all kind of sensors (but that’s not new and specific to Fenix 7 but Fenix series in general)
  • daily suggestions (at least for running) – they are variate enough and more specific than the FitSpark from Polar – for example you could have intervals and tempo runs and all not just some plain runs
  • surprisingly, even though I’ve seen it initially as only a gimmick, I like the flashlight F7X has, it’s useful and nice
  • strength exercise/repetition detection – it was a surprise and it might be that it won’t detect all exercises or the number of repetitions, but it was a pleasant surprise
Strength exercise and reps detection – nice surprise

What I’d like to see improved:

  • sleep analysis – I feel it’s worse than 6X in this respect, but that’s just a feeling. It’s weird to see that your sleep is extended with the periods you stay in bed reading, but it’s even harder to accept that your desk working time can be considered sleep, replacing the night recording, even though Garmin’s algorithm says “you were awake during your mid day 2-3 hours sleep”. I see efforts from Garmin to address this issue in the newer firmware, let’s hope that happens soon.
  • native running power – I use Stryd and it’s support is very good, but not excellent. At the moment, I’m trying to understand the distance measurement with Garmin and Stryd when using the calibration factor (you can read more here about that) – subject under investigation. The advantage is that it is consistent, even if not accurate (that’s something still to understand .. I don’t have yet a conclusion)
  • consistency when reporting HR values in Connect (both mobile and web). For example, if you had a workout and you used an external HR strap, Connect will still report the high value of the day from the oHR and not the absolute high HR value, even if that wasn’t detected by the oHR but the external HR – I only have a heart and one high value during the day, regardless of the sensor.

No watches are perfect, Fenix 7X isn’t as well but it is so close (at least to my needs and wishes). Some people ask if they *should* upgrade from Fenix 6 to 7 … and, in my view, there is little reason to do it unless you care so much about GNSS accuracy or solar charging/battery life. Those people who are happy with their Fenix 6X battery life and find the GPS accuracy acceptable for their needs could save their money for the next big iteration of watches. Or some may feel an urge for the EPIX 2 and the glorious OLED display – but that’s another story.

Enjoy running and be well!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

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