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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The 5 greatest Garmin watches to purchase in 2023

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Few manufacturers are as synonymous with outside sports activities as Garmin. You’ll discover these health trackers and smartwatches on dozens of wrists at any 5K, marathon, or Ironman. You’ll additionally discover Garmin devotees amongst divers, thru-hikers, golfers, kiteboarders — you title it. However these units aren’t simply for athletes. The corporate’s made important strides in its life-style choices, so no matter your health degree, there’s a Garmin for everybody.

In case you’re coming from a extra conventional smartwatch, Garmin’s core strengths lie in health, GPS, adventuring, and sturdiness. These are hardy units that are supposed to face up to the weather and final weeks on a single cost. A number of fashions include offline maps, superior navigational options, and extra coaching metrics than another platform. And though many wearable corporations have begun rolling out subscriptions, Garmin has publicly said it has no intention of charging its customers additional. That’s factor since Garmin units are usually on the pricier aspect.

Garmins aren’t too shabby on smarts, both. Whereas extra fitness-focused than something from Apple, Google, or Samsung, there’s sufficient to get you the fundamentals like notifications after which some. For instance, most Garmins have fall detection and security options, and several of the latest Garmins not too long ago received an FDA-cleared EKG feature. (You’ll want a telephone available, nonetheless, as just one Garmin mannequin has mobile connectivity.) Many Garmin units additionally assist offline music playback and include a small third-party app ecosystem.

There are a lot of Garmin watches to select from. No, significantly, there are six main lineups, and every has a large number of fashions. However no worries — I take a look at a number of Garmins yearly and might help level you in the precise path.

One of the best Garmin for runners


Garmin’s midrange Forerunner watch provides a brand new OLED show, every week’s price of battery life, and dual-frequency GPS for higher accuracy.

Sizes: 42mm w/ 18mm straps; 46mm w/ 22mm straps / Weight: 39g (42mm); 47g (46mm) / Battery life: As much as 15 days (42mm); 13 days (46mm) in smartwatch mode / Show kind: OLED touchscreen / GPS: All-systems GNSS and dual-frequency GPS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 8GB

Garmin has many working watches, and a number of them are nice. However the Forerunner 265 or 265S (when you’ve got petite wrists) strikes a wonderful steadiness between worth, characteristic set, battery life, and a vibrant OLED show.

That mentioned, the Forerunner 265 / 265S is a little bit of an odd duck. It comes a mere 9 months after its predecessor, the Forerunner 255, and is, in some ways, just about the identical watch. The primary distinction is the 265 has an OLED show in comparison with the 255’s memory-in-pixel display screen. Normally, which means worse battery life, however on this case, we received a couple of week on a single cost with the always-on show enabled. With out it, you possibly can rise up to fifteen days. On condition that OLED is less complicated to learn and simply, effectively, appears nicer, that offers the 265 lineup an edge over the 255.

The 265 additionally has dual-frequency GPS (often known as multi-band). The gist is you get rather more correct maps in difficult environments like cities and dense forests as a result of you possibly can entry each the L1 and L5 satellite tv for pc frequencies. And even with dual-frequency GPS enabled, you continue to don’t lose a complete lot of battery life. I wore it throughout a half marathon with that and the AOD enabled, and I nonetheless had over 80 p.c battery by the point I received dwelling. That is additionally a wonderful worth, as the vast majority of multi-band GPS watches value effectively over $600.

The 42mm Forerunner 265S matches on my petite wrists effectively. Plus, it’s light-weight, so it gained’t distract you whereas working.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

It doesn’t have all of Garmin’s coaching options, however it’s received what you’ll must run something from a 5K to a full marathon. That features a Race Predictor, which supplies you an estimate of what your greatest time could be primarily based in your precise coaching. You may also use PacePro to determine your pacing technique for a race. You additionally get Garmin’s Coaching Readiness characteristic to assist gauge load and restoration, Garmin Coach plans, and a bunch of working type metrics. It additionally helps offline music and security options like fall detection.

The one factor the Forerunner 265 / 265S “lacks” is superior mapping. (It nonetheless has trackback, point-to-point navigation, and real-time breadcrumb path assist, nonetheless.) In case you steadily hike or run trails, it’s possible you’ll need to contemplate the subsequent step up with the Forerunner 965. The 255 can also be an possibility in the event you’d like to save lots of an additional $100 and don’t thoughts a much less fancy display screen.

And whereas the Forerunner 265 / 265 is geared towards runners, it’s a succesful coaching look ahead to triathletes, cyclists, hikers — actually anybody who desires a feature-rich, light-weight, and sturdy multisport watch with out paying top-of-the-line costs.

Read my full review of the Garmin Forerunner 265S.

One of the best Garmin for endurance sports activities

The 42mm Garmin Epix 2 Pro on top of a lavender bag with enamel pins.


The Garmin Epix Professional is available in three sizes, features a useful flashlight, and has multiband GPS. Plus, it nonetheless lasts over every week on a single cost. Read our review.

Sizes: 42mm w/ 20mm straps; 47mm w/ 22mm straps; 51mm w/ 26mm straps / Weight: 42mm: 63g stainless-steel, 58g titanium; 47mm: 78g stainless-steel, 70g titanium; 51mm: 98g stainless-steel, 88g titanium / Battery life: 42mm: as much as 10 days (4 with AOD); 47mm: as much as 16 days (6 with AOD); 51mm: as much as 31 days (11 with AOD) / Show kind: OLED / GPS: All-systems GNSS and dual-frequency GPS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 10ATM / Music storage: As much as 32GB

The Epix Pro will get you each health characteristic that Garmin has to supply. And I imply every thing. It might frankly be simpler to let you know what the Epix Professional doesn’t have: EKGs and a few issues which might be restricted to LTE smartwatches, like the flexibility to make calls. (Although the Professional provides a brand new sensor array that makes EKGs a risk down the road.) In any other case, you’ve received topographical maps, turn-by-turn navigation, and extra coaching metrics than even a seasoned triathlete would know what to do with.

The Professional is extra size-inclusive than the standard second-gen Epix, which solely is available in 47mm. You will get the Professional in that dimension, too, however it additionally is available in 42mm and 51mm. This was a significant grievance I had with the second-gen Epix final 12 months, and also you like to see corporations truly take this kind of factor significantly. One of the best half is the Professional fashions begin on the similar worth because the common Epix did. You’ll should pay $100 additional for supplies like titanium and sapphire crystal, however that’s additionally true of the usual Epix.

The hands-free flashlight and OLED show is a successful mixture.
Picture by Victoria Track / The Verge

That mentioned, it muddies the waters in the event you’re making an attempt to choose between the Epix Professional, Fenix 7, or the Fenix 7 Pro. The primary distinction is the Epix watches have OLED shows. One cause I choose OLED is that they’re a lot simpler to learn indoors — the place most of us spend the vast majority of our time. The Fenix 7 sequence’ memory-in-pixel shows (plus photo voltaic charging in the event you go for it) permit for weeks and weeks of cost, however the smallest Epix Professional can get round 10 days with regular utilization. The 47mm and 51mm Professional fashions can go longer between costs on account of larger batteries, however I felt that the 42mm has sufficient juice to fulfill most use {cases}. Garmin additionally has so many battery-saving modes and choices that I extremely doubt this may ever be a difficulty.

However actually the successful characteristic is the hands-free flashlight. It’s so helpful in my day-to-day life, and all it’s important to do is double-press a button. It’s as vibrant as your smartphone, comes with a pink gentle possibility if you’d like one thing simpler on the eyes, and might act as a strobe in an emergency state of affairs. The Fenix 7 Professional watches even have a flashlight, however the combo with the OLED show offers the Epix the sting — and it’s why I presently suggest it over the Fenix lineup.

Person wearing a floral jacket and bright green backpack with a Garmin Fenix 7S Pro on their wrist

Just like the Garmin Epix Professional, the Fenix 7 Professional line has an up to date optical coronary heart price sensor for improved accuracy. It additionally has glorious battery life, a barely brighter MIP show, photo voltaic charging, and the choice of upgrading to sapphire crystal.

However in the event you’re set on the Fenix’s additional battery life, I like to recommend the 7 Professional over the usual 7 for a couple of causes. Its MIP show is barely brighter, all sizes have the flashlight, and, just like the Epix Professional, it has an up to date sensor array. These are spendy watches, nonetheless. In case you’ve received a while and financial savings are your high precedence, then I like to recommend retaining a watch out for gross sales. We’re heading into peak smartwatch launch season — which implies older fashions like the usual Fenix 7 line will probably be discounted as retailers attempt to scale back stock.

Read my full Epix Pro review.

One of the best Garmin on a funds


Garmin’s entry-level hybrid smartwatch appears like a Swatch at first look. Nevertheless, it sports activities a hidden OLED show that delivers notifications with out sacrificing health monitoring.

Sizes: 40mm w/ 20mm straps / Weight: 19g / Battery life: As much as 5 days / Show kind: “Hidden” OLED touchscreen / GPS: Tethered GPS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: N/A

What I really like most in regards to the Vivomove Sport is it doesn’t appear like what most individuals anticipate from a Garmin. It’s a hybrid smartwatch, which implies it appears like an everyday watch however can observe health and ship notifications. Garmin’s hybrids are additionally distinctive in that all of them use an OLED show that stays hidden till you want it.

That is greatest suited to a casually energetic one who desires fashion and worth in a light-weight package deal. Suppose wellness, extra so than health. It will get you steady coronary heart price monitoring and blood oxygen degree monitoring and might even present irregular coronary heart price alerts. You additionally get entry to extra in-depth metrics like respiration price, health age, stress, and Physique Battery, which is Garmin’s device for visualizing how well-rested you might be. For sensible options, you get all of the fundamentals, like notifications, alarms, and timers.

You’ll be able to’t simply learn a complete textual content on this hidden OLED show, however you’ll know who despatched it and make an informed selection about whether or not you need to attain on your telephone.
Picture by Victoria Track / The Verge

The Sport isn’t fairly as full-featured as another Garmins you’ll discover on this checklist. For example, you’re giving up built-in GPS in favor of tethered GPS by means of your telephone. There are not any contactless funds, neither is there a microphone or speaker for taking calls on the wrist. However this is a funds decide, and also you get quite a bit, contemplating that is an entry-level gadget that might cross for a Swatch at a look.

I don’t love that the battery life is brief for a hybrid, at round three to 4 days. Even so, that’s nonetheless significantly better than what you’ll get on an Apple Watch or Put on OS 3 watch. In case you’re prepared to spend about $100 extra, the $269.99 Vivomove Trend has extra stylish supplies, will get you extra display screen actual property, and wi-fi Qi charging. In any other case, it is a nice life-style wearable that may function a classier different to your typical health band.

Read my full review of the Garmin Vivomove Sport.

One of the best Garmin to exchange a Fitbit

Close up of the Venu Sq 2’s display


The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is a superb substitute for a Fitbit smartwatch. Not solely do they give the impression of being related, however the Venu Sq 2 has far more health options, lengthy battery life, and no subscription.

Sizes: 40mm w/ 20mm straps / Weight: 38g / Battery life: As much as 11 days / Show kind: OLED touchscreen / GPS: All-systems GNSS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 4GB (for Music Version)

In case you had been disillusioned by the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4, the Venu Sq 2 is the subsequent smartest thing (and, in some methods, higher).

At a look, the Venu Sq 2 may simply be mistaken for an Apple Watch. On the wrist, you’ll discover it’s fabricated from plastic, however it nonetheless appears fairly stylish and very light-weight. The display screen is vibrant, straightforward to learn, and appears higher than any Versa or Sense ever did.

The characteristic set can also be nice for the value, with built-in GPS, a ton of watch faces, emergency security options, and contactless funds. In case you pay $50 extra for the Music Version, you’ll additionally get about 500 songs price of storage, however we wouldn’t suggest it. This doesn’t have mobile connectivity and, due to this fact, isn’t actually standalone. You’ll most certainly be carrying your telephone with you anyway.

The show is nicer than something Fitbit ever made — and with smaller bezels, too.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

As for well being options, the Venu Sq 2 principally has every thing you’d get on a Versa or Sense smartwatch however with Garmin’s treasure trove of metrics as effectively. That features coronary heart price monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, depth minutes (how a lot average train you get in every week), stress monitoring, hydration monitoring, respiratory price, interval monitoring, and Garmin’s restoration characteristic, Physique Battery. So far as health goes, you additionally get entry to Garmin Coach, which gives free 5K, 10K, and half marathon coaching plans. You like to see it.

One other massive leg-up Garmin has over Fitbit? None of those options or metrics are locked behind a paywall.

Read my full review of the Garmin Venu Sq 2.

One of the best Garmin smartwatch

Person looking at Garmin Venu 3 on their wrist showing calendar widget.


The Garmin Venu 3S provides a brand new coronary heart price sensor, a wheelchair mode, and much-improved sleep monitoring and nap detection.

Sizes: 41mm w/ 18mm straps; 45mm w/ 22mm straps / Weight: 40g for the 3S; 47g for the three / Battery life: As much as 10 days for 3S; 14 days for 3 / Show kind: OLED touchscreen / GPS: GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 8GB

Garmin has shored up the smarts in its watches over the previous few years, and the Venu 3 sequence is the neatest of the bunch.

The Venu 3 sequence is available in two sizes: 41mm and 45mm. Just like the Venu 2 Plus, it has a microphone and speaker. You’ll be able to take calls straight from the wrist in addition to problem instructions to your telephone’s digital assistant by way of Bluetooth. It’s not the identical as having Siri, Bixby, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant constructed straight into the watch, however it’s a intelligent workaround that works effectively for hands-free management. It additionally helps security options like fall detection and dwell monitoring in addition to contactless funds.

The Venu 3S has Garmin’s newest coronary heart price sensor, provides a wheelchair mode, and nap detection.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Like different OLED Garmins, the show is each vibrant and straightforward to learn. As for well being and health, you get a pleasant mixture of primary and extra superior options and metrics. It has Garmin’s newest coronary heart price sensor, which permits FDA-cleared EKG and AFib detection options. Total, it leans a bit extra on the wellness and well being aspect of issues, with depth minutes, blood oxygen monitoring, sleep monitoring, interval monitoring, irregular coronary heart price alerts, and stress monitoring. As for coaching, you continue to get built-in GPS, VO2 Max, coronary heart price zones, respiration price, and downloadable coaching plans by way of Garmin Coach.

New to the three and 3S is a sleep coach that elements in metrics like coronary heart price variability and up to date exercise to find out your sleep wants. It additionally lastly provides nap detection, a characteristic that’s been lengthy overdue for the Garmin platform. The Venu 3 sequence additionally provides audio-guided meditation classes, and you’ll view how these classes straight influence your metrics. From an accessibility standpoint, this additionally provides a brand new wheelchair mode.

That is the Garmin for you if you’d like the platform’s in-depth coaching with out sacrificing the productiveness of a smartwatch. The primary issues it’s missing are mobile choices and a sturdy third-party app ecosystem. That mentioned, it’s received Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer for offline listening. It’s additionally possibility in the event you’re fed up with MIP shows and desire a smarter Garmin fairly than a full-on smartwatch.

Read my full review of the Garmin Venu 3S.

Replace December seventh, 11:20AM ET: Swapped Garmin Venu 3 sequence for Garmin Venu 2 Plus in the most effective Garmin smartwatch class.

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