Overall the Epix is for the most part a Fenix 7 with an AMOLED screen. The Fenix 7 stands out with its amazing battery life and the usual options of case sizes compared to the Epix which comes only in one case size. The Fenix 7 is better in pretty much every way excluding the display.
I won’t be wasting your time with all the things that are the same just focus on the differences and highlight the ones that have an impact in daily use.
Reason #1 Price
Fenix 7 is priced at 699 up to 999 USD
Epix is priced at 899 up to 999 USD
So the standard model of the Fenix 7 is available for 200 USD less than the Epix.
Reason #2 Amazing Battery Life
The battery life on all of the Fenix 7 models has improved from the previous generation and for example, the Fenix 7X has now up to 28 days in smartwatch mode.
On the Epix, you get only up to 6 days of smartwatch mode in always-on mode. In gesture mode, the Epix can do up to 16 days in smartwatch mode which gets close to the 18 days of the medium-sized Fenix 7. So the Fenix 7 can go three times as long on one charge and this can be even further extended if you get a solar edition of the Fenix 7.
In my opinion, the gesture mode is quite annoying and my guess is most people will prefer using the Epix in always-on mode.
Reason 3# Case size options
The Fenix 7 comes in three case sizes:
- Fenix 7S has a 42mm case
- Fenix 7 has a 47mm case
- Fenix 7X has a 51mm case
Epix comes only in the medium-sized 47mm case. So if you have a smaller or larger wrist you might prefer the smaller or larger case size which isn’t available on the Epix.
Reason 4# Solar Charging
With the Fenix 7, you have the option of choosing a solar edition which costs an extra 100 USD, and adds solar charging which increases your battery life. On the Epix, there is no solar charging option.
With the medium-sized Fenix 7, you get an extra 4 days of battery in smartwatch mode if you use the watch 3 hours per day in 50.000 lux conditions.
You also increase your GPS time for the Fenix 7; it’s 73 hours when used in 50.000 lux conditions instead of 57 hours.
Just to make a point let’s compare the Fenix 7X’s up to 28 days in smartwatch mode or 37* days with solar charging to the Epix which has only 6 days of battery in always-on mode.
(*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions)
Solar charging is mostly a convenience since you don’t need to charge your watch as often or for a multi-day hike you might manage without a power bank for longer.
Reason 5# No Risk of display burn-in
The Fenix 7 has an always-on transflective memory-in-pixel display which has a long track record and there is no display burn-in risk. With the EPIX you have an AMOLED display which might have an AMOLED burn-in risk.
On the Garmin Venu AMOLED display, there were some issues but based on my understanding the risk of burn-in has now been mitigated by Garmin with methods like pixel-shifting. So I wouldn’t be too worried about it.
Reason 6# LED Flashlight
The Fenix 7X has a LED Flashlight on it (the Fenix 7 and 7S do not). On the Epix, you also have the screen flashlight which is also helpful but it’s not on the same level as a LED flashlight.
In absolute darkness, I have found that the Garmin screen flashlight is sufficient for moving around my home without stumbling into things. However, the LED flashlight on the Fenix 7X is comparable to a smartphone LED flashlight and it is very useful when you are trying to work on something at night or outdoors for illuminating a trail.
Garmin also implemented a running mode for the flashlight which shines the white light forwards and the red backward lighting the trail and also helping you be seen from the front and rear.
Compromises you will need to make if you choose the Fenix 7
If you are coming from a Fenix 6 and considering the Fenix 7 there are no compromises since the Fenix 7 is better in every way. However, compared to the Epix you do compromise on display colors and resolution.
The only compromise is the display. On the Fenix 7, you have an always-on transflective memory-in-pixel display with 64-colors and a 260 x 260 pixels resolution.
The Epix has an AMOLED display with 65 000 colors and a resolution of 416 x 416 pixels.
The AMOLED display has super vibrant colors and it does make it easier to read for example maps and the increased resolution allows you to see more detail.
Final thoughts and who the Fenix 7 is meant for
The Fenix 7 is still the go-to option for people looking for a rugged multi-sport smartwatch for outdoor sports and adventures. This is something you want to have with you when you go out for a long hike or any other long-lasting outdoor activity.
I think it’s a good thing the Fenix with an AMOLED display didn’t become just another SKU in the Fenix line-up but instead was called the EPIX. This is because the far lower battery life and lack of solar charging give the Epix a totally different feel.
Wearing the Epix and Fenix 7X side by side for a few weeks I have personally come to favor the Fenix 7X. I just prefer the way the Fenix 7X makes me feel knowing all the things it can do.