I have tried dozens of sports watches but none of them has seemed “fun” enough to carry me seamlessly from runs to parties. I guess I needed to wait for the Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2), the multi-sport watch that comes with an AMOLED display. It looks sturdy (with a titanium bezel and sapphire crystal lens in the Sapphire Edition) but also sophisticated. While the 47mm dial is big, it does not look too chunky on the wrist. For people who prefer something daintier or even chunkier, Garmin has a 42mm and a 51mm watch as well. All the watches come in black or white colour variants. The Standard Edition features a stainless steel bezel and Corning Gorilla Glass as the lens material.
The Epix Pro (Gen 2) uses the Garmin Elevate V5 optical heart rate sensor. The brand claims that the placement of the new LEDs on the back ensures better data collection and will, therefore, help give a more accurate reading during modes like CrossFit, weightlifting, and tennis. Speaking of which, it now has many more activities to track, including bouldering, obstacle racing, ultimate (previously known as ultimate frisbee) and rugby.
Yet, with all this packed into the watch, it is being branded more as a lifestyle choice than a pure fitness watch, with the focus seemingly on upgrading the lifestyle offerings rather than specific sports upgrades. Let’s see why.
The first feature I loved is the flashlight. Imagine running on a trail or hiking (or, you know, needing the bathroom in the middle of the night)—a flashlight on your wrist is just what you need. The light is built in and can be dimmed or brightened. It has a red flash, which can come in handy if you are riding or running before sunrise and want to alert any vehicles around you. You can also use its strobe and distress patterns (where the same flashlight blinks, pulses or acts as a beacon).
While the heart rate sensor update is more about health than a sports feature, there are some new metrics for those who love data crunching (I take screenshots and send them to friends who explain it to me). The Epix Pro (Gen 2) has introduced the Hill Score and Endurance Score. While the former looks at your ability to run up (stairs or hills), the latter uses your VO2 max and training load to give you an idea of your endurance levels. There are additional data points about a runner’s ability to sustain longer ascents or power up steeper inclines. Both of these require a few weeks of continuous training for the watch to spew out numbers, so I do not know if mine is accurate (going by how much I pant at the slightest gradient, I would think the score should always be negative for me).
As a lifestyle watch, though, it does have some shortcomings: You cannot run without a phone and expect to receive and make calls from the watch. Nor can you respond to texts though you can read them.
It makes up for this with the battery life. It has been 11 days since the watch has been charged and it still has enough juice left to go for a couple of days (this, in spite of using the GPS function for long rides and runs, and using it in the gym and in the swimming pool to track activity). Think of it like this: If you have a two-week vacation planned, you just need to slip it on and leave, no need to double-check if you have your charger.
Another upgrade is the red shift mode for better night-time visibility. Then there is the jet lag adviser—just add your planned trips to the Garmin Connect app and it will give you tips and advice to alleviate jet lag symptoms. The body battery, oximeter, training readiness and Garmin coach features are the same as those in most other Garmin watches released over the last three years. Garmin also plans to bring the ECG feature to India with this watch by next year.
If I need to list the negatives, the only one for me would be the weight (the edition I reviewed, with a silicone wristband, weighs 70g; the steel band adds 5g to it). It is too heavy to try fast runs with. It’s not an issue for slow runs, rides or swims.
The final verdict? The Epix Pro (Gen 2) is packed with features. As a lifestyle watch, the features are much better than what Garmin has had so far, even in their other premium offerings. But given its price point, it makes sense if you engage at least in a few activities and plan to use it regularly (and not just save it for a run here or a trip there).
The Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) series is available online on Garmin.co.in and partner websites, starting ₹1,11,990.
Sohini Sen is a Delhi-based fitness enthusiast and writer.