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Comparing Garmin’s Fenix Series: fenix 6, 6S, 6X vs 7, 7S, 7X

Garmin is one of the top brands – maybe the top brand – in the GPS watch industry. There’s no denying that they have some amazing products, and if you look for long enough, you’ll find something to suit every type of person and budget.

One of their most feature-laden models is the fenix. It doesn’t get quite the publicity in running circles that the Forerunner products get, and that is a shame.

Fenix watches are durable, attractive, and can track a tremendous number of activities. The fenix has been through a good few updates, upgrades, and revamps – currently on the market are the fenix 6 and fenix 7 lines.

With multiple versions of the watches available at the same time and for different prices, it’s worth taking a look at the features and performance and how they match up.

Ultimately, the question is: how much are you willing to pay for the latest bells and whistles? We think that some are worth it, while others are niche features you should consider carefully before paying for.

If you’re in the market for a new multisport/adventuring watch and you’ve got your heart set on a Garmin, you won’t be disappointed! They’re not this well-known for nothing.

But it can be difficult to figure out which one to buy. That’s why we’re here – so let’s hop right into the meaty stuff.

Old vs New

The Garmin fenix 7 is the latest, greatest offering from the smartwatch giant. The fenix just keeps getting better and better!

The 6 has been their top fenix model now for around 3 years. It’s still an excellent watch and well worth wearing (or buying, if you’re in the market). But the 7 has some new features that will catch the eye of those who like fancy tech.

Earlier, this year, the fenix 6 received a firmware update that made the interface more user-friendly and added extra sporting profiles. But it’s still somewhat different from the 7, so let’s check out everything you need to know to choose the right one.

Garmin fenix 6 vs Garmin fenix 7

The fenix 6 comes in 3 main versions:

  • Standard: 1.3-inch screen, 47 mm case, 22 mm watch band
  • S model: 1.2-inch screen, 42 mm case, 20 mm band (smallest)
  • X model: 1.4-inch screen, 51 mm case, 26mm band (biggest)

Within those models, it includes the following options:

  • Standard/Base: Gorilla Glass lens, 64MB storage, no wi-fi, no maps, no music (not available on the 6X)
  • Pro: Gorilla Glass lens, 32GB storage, built-in maps, wi-fi, and music
  • Pro Sapphire: Pro features plus an extra strong Sapphire Crystal lens
  • Pro Solar: Pro features with Power Glass lens for solar charging

Fenix 7

The fenix 7 is practically the same in terms of size:

  • Standard: 1.3-inch screen, 47 mm case, 22 mm watch band
  • S model: 1.2-inch screen, 42 mm case, 20 mm band (smallest)
  • X model: 1.4-inch screen, 51 mm case, 26mm band (biggest), and comes with built-in LED flashlight

Within those models, it includes the following options:

  • Standard/Base: Gorilla Glass lens, touchscreen, 16GB storage, downloadable maps, music, Garmin Pay
  • Solar Edition: Base features plus Power Glass lens for solar charging
  • Sapphire Solar: Base & solar features, plus 32 GB storage, durable Sapphire Glass lens, titanium bezel, and multi-band GPS

It’s worth noting that the S models have a smaller battery and, therefore a lower battery life, even with solar charging. X models have the best battery life as their battery is the largest.

Main Differences

Aside from the range of different versions, the biggest difference between the fenix 6 and the fenix 7 is that the 7 now has a touchscreen and Multiband GNSS support, which the 6 didn’t have.

Where the crowns on the fenix 6 are made of resin, they’re made of metal on the fenix 7, making it quite a bit more durable.

The 7’s battery life also seems to be improved, although time will tell if this is something that lasts. You’ll also find some new activity profiles on the 7 that aren’t present on the 6.

Size, Weight, and Display

Standard/Base Model

The standard size of both comes in at 47 mm for the case, with a 33 mm screen. The thickness of the fenix 6 is 14.7 mm, while the 7 is slightly thinner at 14.5 mm.

Both watches are light and comfortable on the wrist. The 6 weighs 80 grams—2.8 ounces—with the standard silicone strap. Here, the 7 comes out on top, but not by much at all—it weighs just a few grams less than the 6.

Both watches have a display of 260 x 260 pixels. This is quite a standard resolution found on smartwatches.

S Model

The S models are smaller in size, with both the 6S and the 7S coming in at 42 x 42 mm. In thickness, the 6S is thinner, at 13.8 mm, while the 7S is only slightly thicker, 14.1 mm.

The 6S weighs around 61 grams—2.1 ounces—with a silicone strap. Only a touch heavier, the 7S weighs 63 grams—2.2 ounces—with the strap.

Both watches have a display of 240 x 240 pixels. This is a little below the standard resolution, but it’s part of having a smaller battery.

X Model

The X models are the largest. Both the 6X and 7X are the same in size and width—51 x 51 x 14.9 mm.

In terms of weight, the 6X is lighter, weighing 82 grams—2.9 ounces—with a titanium bezel and silicone band. The 7X is slightly heavier, 96 grams—3.3 ounces.

The X models have the best display resolution, at 280 x 280 pixels, which can be sustained thanks to the larger battery.


Standard/Base Model

The standard fenix 6 has good battery life. In smartwatch mode, you can expect up to 2 weeks of battery before needing to recharge.

In GPS mode, you’ll get up to 36 hours, and if you listen to your music at the same time, you should get 10 hours in total.

The 7 has a significantly better battery life than the 6, despite holding the same size battery. In smartwatch mode, the fenix 7 has a 4-day longer battery life than the 6, expected to last 18 days before charging.

GPS mode only can give you around 57 hours of use. All Satellite Systems will give you 40 hours before needing to recharge. All Satellite Systems and music will leave you with around 10 hours of use, the same as the 6’s GPS and music setting.

With Solar Charging

The fenix 6 Pro Solar adds a couple of hours to your regular battery life. Solar charging allows you to get 16 days of smartwatch mode and 40 hours in GPS mode.

Choosing the solar edition of the 7 will give you 22 days of smartwatch battery and 73 hours of GPS usage.

S Models

The 6S models have a battery life of 9 days in normal smartwatch mode. With your GPS on, you can have 25 hours of use, which drops to 6 hours when you’re listening to music at the same time.

The 7S battery life isn’t much more, maxing out at 11 days in smartwatch mode. You can get up to 37 hours out of the battery in regular GPS mode, or 26 hours in All Satellite Systems mode. With music, that drops to 7 hours.

With Solar Charging

Because the battery is small, solar charging doesn’t add a lot to the S models’ battery life. However, it could be just what you need depending on what you’ll be using it for.

The 6S’s smartwatch mode can be extended to 10.5 days and GPS to 28 hours.

The 7S’s smartwatch mode can be extended to 14 days and GPS to 40 hours.

X Model

The X models have the best battery life thanks to their larger battery. On the 6X, you can expect up to 21 days out of it in smartwatch mode. In GPS mode, you can get up to 60 hours of use.

The 7X watches will give you up to 28 days of battery before needing a recharge. GPS only will give you around 89 hours, All Satellite Systems up to 63 hours, and All Satellite Systems with music, about 16 hours.

With Solar Charging

If you have a solar 6X model, you can get an extra 3 days, upping it to 24 days in smartwatch mode. It can also add 6 hours to your GPS battery total.

All of the 7X models are solar. Solar charging can extend your regular battery life to 37 days and your GPS battery to 122 hours.


Heart Rate Monitor & Pulse Oximeter

The Garmin fenix 6 has a v3 Garmin ELEVATE optical HR sensor. The fenix 7 sports the latest Garmin ELEVATE GEN 4 optical HR sensor, covered with glass instead of coated plastic.

Both are fairly accurate, although, as you can imagine, the fenix 7’s sensor is the most accurate.

They also monitor your heart rate 24/7, and both include a pulse oximeter light for keeping track of your blood oxygen levels.


Ultimately, the two watches have multiple overlapping sensors that perform the same function on each watch. These include:

  • GPS/GLONASS/ Galileo
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Compass
  • Gyroscope
  • Accelerometer
  • Thermometer

The fenix 7 also includes something new called Garmin SatIQ technology, which selects your optimal GPS mode for you based on your surrounding environment.


Maps and Navigation

Garmin fenix 6

The fenix 6 features preloaded national maps and GPS, although you will need to connect your watch to a computer in order to install others.

The fenix 6 series was the first to have Map Theme, which allows you to choose different styles to view your maps. For example, night style or even a marine style.

It also has something called “popularity routing”, which basically shows a heat map-type colored line along the most popular route in any given place.

You’ll be able to activate turn-by-turn navigation if you want to be guided like a regular GPS. It also has breadcrumb navigation and UpAhead.

Garmin fenix 7

The fenix 7 has an updated Map Manager, which allows you to download free maps for regions other than your own directly from the watch. This is very convenient and negates the need for connecting up to a computer.

Only the Sapphire units are preloaded with global maps, though. On the rest, you’ll have to download them yourself.

This watch also has the ability to provide turn-by-turn navigation as you’re busy, as well as breadcrumb navigation and Garmin’s UpAhead feature.



Both the 6 and the 7 feature a number of different running profiles so you can select which one best suits you based on where you’re running.

You can get advanced data such as vertical oscillation, ground contact time, lactate threshold, and stride length with compatible accessories. A power meter can also measure running power on the fenix 7.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of PacePro Pacing Strategies, various built-in running workouts, and a Race Predictor.


The fenix 7 also features some new profiles here. The watches share the following activity profiles:

  • Biking
  • Mountain Biking
  • eBiking
  • Indoor Biking
  • Triathlon

Fenix 7 Only

  • Road Biking
  • Gravel Biking
  • Bike Commuting
  • Bike Touring
  • eMountain Biking
  • Cyclocross

The 7 also features new functions like a power guide, power curve and % FTP workouts, and is compatible with Vector and Rally power meters.


This is the only tri-specific activity where the profiles remain exactly the same across the two watches.

  • Pool Swimming
  • Open Water Swimming
  • Swimming/Running

You can calculate swim metrics in both open water and pool swims, do drill logging and get pacing alerts in pool swims, choose a pool swim workout, calculate your critical swim speed, and use an external HRM if you’d like—although both HR sensors should work underwater.


Golf: Both watches offer 42,000 preloaded courses worldwide. You’ll also get stat tracking, auto distance measuring, a digital scorecard, a virtual caddie, and a variety of other features. You can even do auto club detection with a compatible accessory.

Outdoor Activites: The fenix 7 features some new activity profiles that aren’t found on the 6. These are the profiles that both watches have:

  • Hiking
  • Indoor Climbing
  • Bouldering
  • Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • XC Classic Skiing
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Rowing
  • Kayaking
  • Surfing
  • Fishing
  • Jumpmaster
  • Tactical

Fenix 7 Only

  • Kiteboarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Hunting
  • Snowshoeing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Tennis
  • Pickleball

You’ll find a bunch of features available for sports, such as ClimbPro, storm warnings, sun, moon, and tide information, a hunting/fishing calendar, and preloaded ski resort maps if you love to ski.

Gym: Both watches offer on-screen workout animations and the following profiles:

  • Strength
  • HIIT
  • Cardio and Elliptical Training
  • Stair Stepping
  • Floor Climbing
  • Indoor Rowing
  • Breathwork
  • Pilates
  • Yoga

The fenix 7 includes built-in HIIT and cardio workouts, but apart from that, everything remains the same across the board.

Training Aids

The fenix 6 is quite full-featured in terms of training aids. But the 7 has a few specific things that don’t feature on the 6. Here’s what’s common to both watches:

  • HR Zones
  • HR Alerts
  • Recovery Time
  • HRV Status
  • Interval Training
  • Advanced Workouts
  • Downloadable Training Plans
  • Customizable Battery Settings
  • VO2 Max Run
  • Training Status
  • Training Load
  • Training Effect
  • Roundtrip Course Creator (running/cycling)
  • Trendline Popularity Routing
  • Physio TrueUp

Fenix 7 Only

  • Training Readiness
  • VO2 Max Trail Run
  • Improved Daily Workouts

Health Monitoring

The Heath Monitoring features are the same across both watches, with the exception of Health Snapshot, which features on the 7 and not the 6.

  • Second-by-second HR monitoring
  • Abnormal HR alerts
  • Respiration rate
  • Body Battery
  • Stress monitor
  • Fitness Age
  • Relaxation Breathing timer
  • Sleep tracking
  • Sleep score & insights
  • Hydration monitoring
  • Women’s health


Both the fenix 6 and the fenix 7 have the capacity to store up to 2,000 songs on the watch. You can also play music directly from the watch and control your smartphone music from the watch.

Safety Features

Both watches have the classic Garmin safety features built into them, including:

  • Livetrack
  • Group Livetrack
  • Live Event Sharing
  • Incident Detection for certain activities
  • Incident Detection alert on your phone
  • Assistance

Other Features

Both the fenix 6 and 7 have everyday features, such as:

  • Find My Phone
  • Find My Watch
  • Garmin Pay
  • Garmin Connect

Fenix 7 Only


Garmin fenix 6

Depending on which model you choose, you can expect to pay between $549.99 and $949.99 for a Garmin fenix 6.

It’s worth noting that, as the Garmin 6 is now the previous model, many retailers are now selling it for a discounted price. Shop around if you’re on a budget!

Garmin fenix 7

Depending on which model you choose, you can expect to pay between $699.99 and $999.99 for a Garmin fenix 7.

You get to put your watch together piece by piece when you buy a fenix 7. Start with the model, then choose your bezel, then select your strap, where you can choose from silicone, suede, and leather.

The base model is a bit more expensive than the fenix 6, so we advise thinking carefully about what you need from a watch before buying.


Garmin watches are designed to be full-featured and user-friendly, and neither of these watches disappoint. However, there are definitely some noticeable differences that could be the mind-changers.

We recommend the fenix 6 if you’re on a bit of a budget, don’t really need more fancy features, and you don’t want—or you’re happy to sacrifice—a touchscreen.

You can also find some excellent deals on the fenix 6, now that the newer 7 has come out.

We would recommend the fenix 7 if you want the top-of-the-range watch money can buy, and you don’t mind spending a bit more so you can have all the bells and whistles.

It’s also excellent for those who want more battery life than the 6 can offer.

fenix 6


fenix 6s


fenix 6x

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner