One of the country's largest urban forests is called Forest Park, and it spans across the west side of Portland, Oregon, like a blanket of trees. The trails are accessible by car, bike, or foot, but once you are inside, they feel quiet and remote. It is an urban legend that people live in the park undetected for a long time.
It's the perfect place to test fitness watches that have aGPS. On a recent Sunday afternoon, I parked at the trailhead and started recording a trail run. I have tried other low-end watches, but the new Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar connected toGPS instantly, even under dense tree cover, was the best.
I compared the mileage recorded by the Fenix 7S to the trail markers. I compared the maps of the Fenix to the posted maps on the trails. It was dead on. The sun came out about two miles in, and I pulled my sleeve up to let the watch charge in the sun. The Fenix 7S can give you peace of mind if you spend a lot of time in the woods and are worried about finding your way back home.
A wide array.
I've spent the last few months testing six new updates to the product line from Garmin. The entry-level Vivomove Sport, an update to my favorite watch, the Instinct 2 Solar, and two new high-end adventure watches are included.
The Fenix is the best watch for anyone looking for a top-of-the-line watch. The case size is small for people with little wrists, and we have been fans of watches from this series over the years. The screen is the most noticeable difference between the two. The Epix has a 47-mm case size, which is larger than the Fenix's MIP display. The Epix's screen is gorgeous, but it has some drawbacks.
The Epix barely lasted three days in my testing, despite the claims of 16 days of battery life. It is hard for me to recommend aGPS watch for a camping trip. If you can't use the features most of the time, what's the point of a full-featured watch? For someone with a smaller wrist, the Epix makes it harder to use. I tried to record my runs on a recent snowboarding trip, but every time I sat down, adjusted my jacket sleeves, or took off a glove, the watch slid, the buttons hit the back of my hand, and the recordings toggled on or off randomly. I stopped using it because it was so annoying.
The biggest difference between this iteration of the Fenix and the 6S Pro is that the 6S Pro has a touchscreen display. The solar charging function has improved greatly. My dark bronze model looks good enough to be a fashion accessory, even though it was always a sports watch. I never accidentally triggered the Epix while running in the rain or pulling my sleeves up.