Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) Review: Better Than Apple

There is a sad truth every outdoors person must face, which is that eventually, you have to move on from your #vanlife and get a real job. Even sponsored athletes get creaky or tear a rotator cuff eventually. You have to pay for your kids’ ski lessons somehow.

Are you, like me, similarly convinced that you are just as extreme as you ever were, and also able to afford a $1,000 sports watch? Then, my friend, Garmin’s latest Epix Pro (Gen 2) is for you. It’s the best multi-sport watch for a person who has a lot of different outdoor hobbies and a bit of disposable income. This year, it has better battery life and a wider size range to accommodate smaller wrists. Unlike the similarly-priced new Fenix 7 Pro ($900), it still has a beautiful OLED screen you can use to view many maps.

Those maps—Garmin’s gorgeous, detailed, and easy-to-use proprietary offline maps!—and the better battery life are the two reasons why I’d still recommend a Garmin over the Apple Watch Ultra (especially if you don’t have an iPhone). I found last year’s Epix to be a little bit annoying, but this year’s model is one of my favorite sports watches I’ve tested.

Variations on a Theme

Like most of Garmin’s sports watches, the Epix Pro comes in several iterations—a 42-mm, 47-mm, and 51-mm case size, plus the standard and sapphire lens crystal edition. I tried the Epix Pro Sapphire in the 47-mm case size with the silicone band, which fits my 150-mm wrist. I did get the white band surprisingly dirty, which I never noticed on the black watches.

The bezel is titanium, which I was surprised to note because I did bang it up while rock climbing and there are visible scratches. The sapphire crystal, however, has held up and is still unmarked—something to keep in mind if one of your hobbies is also scraping your hands in and around rock cracks full of spiders. You can also turn off the touchscreen in the settings. I have a Fenix 7 Pro on hand here and can report that the Epix’s AMOLED screen is noticeably brighter and easier to see, both outside and inside.

Garmin claims the battery life can last 16 days in smartwatch mode; with multiple tracked activities per day, like walking, running, climbing, and ebiking, I more commonly get around 14 days. That’s totally fine! Unlike the latest Vivomove Trend, however, you still have to use Garmin’s proprietary plug-in charger. It also doesn’t have a solar charging edition, like the Fenix.

Photograph: Garmin

As always, the number and breadth of Garmin’s features is extensive, and a little overwhelming. The newest ones on the Epix include a one-button LED flashlight at the top of the case. You can pick the intensity and whether you want it to be white or red. Its positioning makes it a much more convenient and capable little light than the ones on other screened watches. I love not having to twist my arm around or scramble for my phone or headlight while rummaging around a dark tent.

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