Garmin Fenix 6 vs. 7: What’s the Difference?

Many reviews of the Garmin Fenix smartwatches tell you what is good or bad about them. But how does the new Fenix compare to the old? For starters, the new Fenix 7 continues to build upon the reputation its predecessor left behind as one of the best smartwatch models for outdoor adventures.

The Fenix 7 is an upgrade in almost all departments. Better battery life combined with a touchscreen provide an improved user experience that its predecessor is simply incapable of matching. On the other hand, it does cost significantly more.

Here is a breakdown of the main differences between the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Garmin Fenix 7.

Garmin Fenix Pros and Cons

Garmin Fenix 6

FOR

  • Retails at a discounted price now that there is a newer model
  • Excellent battery life
  • Same sports modes as Fenix 7 post recent upgrade

AGAINST

  • No combined ‘Solar & Sapphire’ option
  • Buttons only, no touchscreen
  • Need Pro model for maps and music storage

Garmin Fenix 7

FOR

  • Touchscreen is an irreplaceable feature while using maps
  • Lighter
  • Better battery life
  • Improved heart-rate technology
  • Better GPS sensor

AGAINST

  • Pricier
  • Lack of Pro variant means you end up paying for Pro features even if you don’t need them

Fenix Watch Models

Garmin Fenix Size Options

The Fenix 6 and 7 models come in three case sizes, each with an accompanying difference in price.

Case Size
42mmFenix 7SFenix 6S
47mmFenix 7Fenix 6
51mmFenix 7XFenix 6X

Despite being the same in size, the Fenix 7 uses a titanium casing, allowing it to weigh only 73g instead of 83g for Fenix 6. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the Fenix 7 has nonetheless a far better battery life compared to the Fenix 6.

Compare Garmin Fenix Models

Both the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Garmin Fenix 7 have three editions each. But the Fenix 7 allows users to pair the solar power and sapphire lens on all available size options; this is a pleasant change that does not force you to choose between size, a stronger screen or solar power.

This table allows you to compare Garmin Fenix 6 and 7 models

EditionFenix 6Fenix 7
Standard
Has most of the base features provided by the Garmin Fenix brand.
YesYes
Solar
Allows the watch to charge itself when exposed to sunlight, which extends battery life.
YesYes
Sapphire
Built with far more durable materials, more scratch-resistant, etc.
Yes
Sapphire Solar
Combines both Solar and Sapphire functionality into a single edition.
Yes

The Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar also features Multi-Band GPS, and while it comes preloaded with TopoActive maps, you can download the same maps on the other editions.

Fenix Pro Variant

The base Fenix 6 smartwatch does not support maps and neither does it have music storage capabilities. You will have to purchase the Pro variant if you need either of these features.

But the same is not true for the Fenix 7 which does not have a Pro variant in the first place. All Fenix 7 models support maps and have music storage.

Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire
Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire is a fantastic sports watch, but unfortunately there’s no combined Sapphire & Solar models for Fenix 6

Not after a Fenix 7? Compare Garmin 945 and Fenix 6.

Fenix 7 vs. Fenix 6: Display, Design, and Build

There are distinct differences between Garmin Fenix 6 vs Fenix 7. No matter how you slice it, the Fenix 7 is still a sturdy watch, but it weighs less than its predecessor. Aesthetically, the Fenix 6 and the Fenix 7 are quite alike — both have large metal bezels and can accommodate Garmin’s suede, fabric, or Quickfit bands.

As mentioned, the Fenix 7 does have a lower weight, primarily due to the increased usage of titanium in the bezel material. Its predecessor used stainless steel in some models, while Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium in others.

There is a button guard around the start/stop button on the Fenix 7. This guard makes it difficult for you to accidentally press it, but it also gets in the way if you come from a model which does not feature it. But it is nice to have it once you become used to it.

Black Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar
Carbon Grey / Black Fenix 7 Solar Sapphire

Fenix 7 Touchscreen

One of the major upgrades that the Fenix 7 features over the Fenix 6 is its touchscreen. The touchscreen has improved the quality of life for users across the board. The Garmin touchscreen disables itself automatically when it may hinder user experience, for example during workouts. You can also turn it off manually if you wish.

Cycling Light on Fenix 7

The most expensive watch in the Garmin Fenix 7 line, the Fenix 7X, is the only one with an inbuilt flashlight. It has a three-LED flashlight on top; two LEDs are white while one is red. The lamp is an excellent tool for runners, and it is also valuable for other sports, as the light may blink or pulse on a bike ride. There is also a running-specific cadence visibility light and an SOS signal light mode.

Fenix Watch Water Resistance

Both the Fenix 7 and the Fenix 6 feature a water rating of 10 ATM, meaning that you can submerge them up to a depth of one hundred meters. Their rating of 10 ATM means that they are suitable for and will not suffer damage from:

  • Splashes
  • Rain or snow
  • Showering
  • Swimming
  • Diving into water and snorkeling (up to 100 meters depth)
  • High-speed water sports

But keep in mind that a 10 ATM rating only tells us how much pressure a device can safely withstand. There can be circumstances where a device can face water ingression and pressures exceeding 10 ATM despite not being deep underwater.

Garmin Fenix Battery Life

The battery life on the Fenix 7 has noticeably improved from the Fenix 6 models, putting it far above the capacity of other Garmin watches such as Forerunner 945 and Vivoactive 4.

Let us break down the GPS mode battery life for all three models of the Fenix 6 and 7.

Fenix 7 vs. Fenix 6 Battery Life

This is the battery life for the non-solar, non-sapphire editions. Note that Fenix 7X is only sold with solar or solar and Sapphire.

Fenix 6 StandardFenix 7 Standard
In smartwatch mode, with activity tracking9 days (6S)
14 days (6)
21 days (6X)
11 days (7S)
18 days (F7)
With GPS on25 hrs (6S)
36 hrs (6)
60 hrs (6X)
37 hrs (7S)
57 hrs (7)
With GPS and music6 hrs (6S)
10 hrs (6)
15 hrs (F6X)
7 hrs (7S)
10 hrs (7)
With GPS on (expedition mode)20 days (6S)
28 days (6)
46 days (6X)
26 days (7S)
40 days (7)

The Fenix 7 has more than enough battery for runners, cyclers, or other athletes. But the Garmin Fenix 6 is still very competitive when you put it against other fitness trackers in the market. Do not let the lower numbers turn you off from the Fenix 6, it is remarkable in its own right.

Fenix 6 Solar vs. Fenix 7 Solar Battery Life

Fenix 6S / 7SFenix 6 / 7Fenix 6X / 7X
In smartwatch mode, with activity tracking10.5 days (6S)
14 days (7S)
16 days (6)
22 days (7)
24 days (6X)
37 days (7X)
With GPS on28 hrs (6S)
46 hrs (7S)
40 hrs (6)
73 hrs (7)
66 hours (6X)
122 hrs (7X)
With GPS and music6 hrs (6S)
7 hrs (7S)
10 hrs (6 and 7)16 hours (6X and 7X)
With GPS on (expedition mode)26 days (6S)
43 days (7S)
36 days (6)
74 days (7)
56 days (6X)
139 days (7X)

All data is from Garmin’s official product specifications.

Another key difference regarding battery life is that the solar power option is only available on the Fenix 6X model. In comparison, Fenix 7 has a solar option for each size. Meaning users can push the new Garmin Fenix running watch further than its previous limitations.

The solar cells in the Fenix 7 are also larger in size than the Fenix 6. Let us compare the Fenix 6X Solar to the Fenix 7X Solar as an example.

Garmin Fenix 7 Solar Option
Garmin Fenix 7 Solar Intensity Displayed

Does it Really Matter?

If you are going to be traveling a lot, and far away from civilization, the difference in battery life due to the solar cell improvements might just be worth the extra buck. And on the off chance that you simply want to use it as a watch, the Battery Saver Watch Mode will let you forget about charging for more than a year with the Fenix 7X Solar.

For the non-Solar versions – The user experience does improve with better battery life but only minimally in our opinion. Charging your watch once a month or once every three weeks is not a big difference.


Fenix 7 Solar Deals on Amazon

Garmin GPS: Fenix 6 vs Fenix 7

Garmin’s Fenix lineup undoubtedly has some of the best GPS capabilities available on wearable tech gadgets. The Fenix 7 improves on the Fenix 6 in terms of the speed at which it figures out your current position.

While both watches can use multiple GNSS, only the Fenix 7 uses SatIQ™ technology to automatically figure out which GNSS band to use. The Fenix 7 also supports multi-GNSS, not to be confused with multiple GNSS.

What does SatIQ™ do?

There are multiple global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) in place around Earth. The United States has the GPS, Russia has GLONASS, and the European Union has Galileo. SatIQ™ simply speeds up the process of selecting between these systems.

Both the Fenix 6 and the Fenix 7 have sensors for all three GNSS, but only the Fenix 7 can quickly decide and figure out your location.

What does multi-GNSS do?

The positioning accuracy between the Fenix 6 and the Fenix 7 will be quite similar in places that have decent satellite coverage. But for remote areas, the Fenix 7 can combine positioning data from multiple navigational systems to improve accuracy. For example, it can combine positioning from GPS and Galileo to better locate you when neither of the two systems is working appropriately.

Related Articles:

Fenix 7 vs. Fenix 6: Workout, Fitness, and Health Features

Topo map on Garmin Fenix 6
Topo map on Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

The Fenix 7 has all the sensors that its predecessor had, but better. It features an improved heart rate sensor (Elevate v4) along with an improved software to go alongside it.

Garmin’s Fenix lineup is more than just a smartwatch, it is an incredibly lightweight gadget that can provide irreplaceable analytics to professional athletes and hobbyists alike. This makes it incredibly difficult to go into the specific changes between models. If we were to summarize this comparison in a single sentence, it would be: The Fenix 7 has all the features that the Fenix 6 has, and then some more.

Let us pick a few and discuss them.

Real-time Stamina

Pushing your limits is only possible if you know them in the first place. The Fenix 7 features real-time stamina measurements which monitor your physiological metrics and compare them with your current and past performance. It then analyses the data and provides you with two measurements.

  • Stamina – This metric simply measures your body’s remaining battery life.
  • Potential Stamina – This is a far broader measurement that considers the potential limits of your body. For example, pushing yourself despite fatigue and muscle damage.

Up Ahead Garmin Feature

By connecting your Fenix 7 to your Garmin Connect app, you can set up courses for yourself to navigate through. You can add important markers to various locations like important course points such as refreshment stops, upcoming turns which may be important, and elevation or distance metrics. All of which can be invaluable information during a course.

Training Readiness on Garmin

Thanks to Garmin’s improved heart rate sensor, the Fenix 7 can provide training readiness measurements. Training readiness depends on various factors including your sleep score, heartrate variance, stress history, and recovery time.

Training Readiness provides you with a single metric that acts as your body’s report card. Letting you know when you need to slow down and let your body recover before pushing its limits again.

Price Difference Fenix 7 vs. Fenix 6

The Fenix 6 is available at a lower price than the Fenix 7 ever since the successor’s release. But whether the price difference is worth the difference in features is an entirely subjective thing. This is because you might not actually need all the features offered by the newer model.

At the same time, there is no need to purchase an older product if there is next to no price difference between them.

For Fenix 7, buyers no longer need to pick between Sapphire or Solar editions. This is a positive point, so long as you wanted both Sapphire and Solar features in a single watch. If you simply wanted a sturdier Sapphire edition of the Fenix 7, you are out of luck and must lay out the extra cash for the Solar cells as well.

This is perhaps the core reason to purchase Fenix 6 right now, especially if solar charging is something you are not interested in at all. As the Sapphire 6X does cost significantly less than the Sapphire Solar 7X. But do remember that the Fenix 6 does not have a touchscreen!


Fenix 6 Pro Deals on Amazon


Fenix 7 Solar Deals on Amazon

Fenix 7 vs Fenix 6 Smart Features

Keep in mind that both these devices are at the peak of their industry’s capabilities. If you can think of a smartwatch having something, the Fenix watches probably have something comparable. Hence, both watches are almost equivalent in terms of the standard smart features.

Verdict

There is no doubt that both the Fenix 6 and the Fenix 7 are worthy gadgets. So why should you pick one over the other?

Well, if you cannot fathom a smartwatch without a touchscreen, and if you want extended battery life, Fenix 7 is the superior choice. And if you want the best of the best by having both a Sapphire lens and solar charging, the Fenix 7 wins as well, with its Sapphire Solar edition.

But if you don’t mind pressing buttons, having the older heart rate monitor technology and charging a little bit more often does not bother you, then the Fenix 6 is a very good option that will save you money.

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