Marathon runners have typical requirements when it comes to smart watches. Accurate distance recording, stride length measurement and an extended battery life of the smart watch are primary needs of a marathon or long distance runner. Apple and Garmin Fenix 6 watches are considered standard smart watches for the marathon or long distance runners. We strive to look at factors that make for a compelling choice between a Garmin Fenix 6 or Apple watch for the marathon or long distance runners.
Battery Life of Apple watch 7 Vs Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
The advertised battery backup time for an Apple watch 7 is 18 hours. It comes with a faster recharge speed though. But, the battery life goes down as you make use of GPS. In practical running situations, you may actually get half of the advertised battery backup time on an Apple watch 7 when you are using GPS on the watch. The bottom line is that you will need to charge your Apple watch 7 every day. In comparison, the Fenix 6X Pro comes with a prolonged battery life. Unless you use on device music or GPS at all times, the battery backup time on a Fenix 6 watch on the battery saver mode is a whooping 48 days. With always ON GPS, a Garmin 6X Pro offers a battery backup time of 3 days. With always ON GPS and music, the battery backup time on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is 10 hours.
In terms of battery charge, a Fenix 6X Pro would outscore an Apple watch 7 or an Apple watch 6 any day of the year.
GPS on Apple watch 7 Vs Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
Both, Apple watch 7 and the Fenix 6X Pro have a consistent GPS performance. An Apple watch 7 is quicker in catching GPS signals. You get GPS connectivity in less than 5 seconds with an Apple watch 7. A Garmin Fenix 6X Pro may take a touch longer to establish GPS connectivity. In some cases, you may have to alter the GPS settings on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro watch to include GPS + GLONASS satellites connectivity. With a GPS + GLONASS satellite systems’ connectivity, the connection strength and reliability improves manifold. This is especially true when you are in the middle of a dense city or in thick forests with huge trees.
Both, Apple watch 7 and Garmin Fenix 6X Pro support GPS, GLONASS and Galileo GPS satellite systems. Apple watch 7, additionally supports BeiDou and QZSS satellite systems from China and Japan respectively. The chipset on Apple watch 7 definitely beats a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro in offering better GPS user experience. And, this can be testified for cloudy days as well. An Apple watch 7 has had no issues in connecting with GPS satellites on cloudy days. With a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro, your GPS experience may not be as sound as an Apple watch 7. If that is the case, hit the Garmin customer support team and also update the Fenix 6X Pro to the latest firmware version. Do remember, that Garmin watches come with a very robust operating system. The software on Garmin watches is being updated at all times, with a view to improve user experience.
Initial connection establishment on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro may take up to 5 minutes when you head out for a run. GPS connections are refreshed between your Garmin Fenix 6X Pro and the remote satellite systems. An Apple watch 7 is quicker to establish GPS connection.
There is nothing on record to state, though, that Garmin fenix 6X Pro lacks GPS quality or reliability. Garmin Fenix 6X Pro GPS connectivity and reliability is as good as you would expect of a long distance running watch.
Elevation data for Apple watch 7 Vs Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is a multi sport fitness watch. The elevation data shared by a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is reliable and accurate to the hilt. An Apple watch 7 won’t come close to the quality of elevation data recorded by a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro. Barometric altitude sensors on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro seem to help plot more accurate elevation data. You also get an opportunity to plot future elevation data on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro. On a similar note, you could create an elevation profile on your Fenix 6X Pro.
Apple watch 7 comes with an always-on altimeter to offer elevation data. But, elevation as a feature is definitely not in the same class as the elevation data offered by the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro. A Fenix 6X Pro has to be the choice if elevation data is a must for your cause.
Tactile buttons on Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
The presence of tactile buttons on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro make it a preferred watch for marathon and long distance runners. Tactile buttons improve the user experience manifold on a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro watch. You could initiate a run or end an run using the tactile button on the watch. Tactile buttons come in handy in extreme cold weather conditions. In comparison, the touchscreen of Apple watch 7 is ultra sensitive. While running, if you make a close contact with anything, your run data may be interrupted on an Apple watch 7. If you are running in extreme hot weather, the sweat may also play a spoil sport on an Apple watch 7, and interrupt the running data from being tracked.
For an all terrain and all weather tracking of running data, a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is a tested sport watch. Tactile buttons of Garmin Fenix 6X Pro are more useful than a touch based activity recording of running data.
Heart rate monitoring
Heart rate monitoring on an Apple watch 7 or a Fenix 6X Pro is wrist based. A wrist based heart tracker will always have periods of hits and misses when it comes to accurate heart rate recording. For long distance runners and marathon runners, a chest based heart rate monitor should be preferred at all times. Not only is the heart rate data more accurate, you also get a consistent output from a chest based heart rate monitor. There is, practically, nothing to choose between an Apple watch 7 and a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro for heart rate monitoring. Both watches offer heart data that can be used for benchmarking heart rate and variability in heart rates.
You would be able to gauge the trends of your heart’s health on both watches. Up to the minute accurate heart rate monitoring would have to be handled through a chest based heart rate monitor.
Build and life of Apple watch 7 Vs Garmin Fenix 6X Pro
In terms of build quality, and overall longevity, a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro should be treated ahead of the Apple watch 7. Fenix 6 series watches are more strong, robust and offer a long period of hassle free ownership. New features are being developed, and implemented through a continuous improvement of Garmin software. Fenix 6 watches have a presence of their own, especially the 47 mm and 51 mm dial sized Fenix 6X Pro watches. Apple watch 7 are good too, but the ‘premium and robust’ feel of a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is altogether different. And, there is an incremental cost of $250 of the Fenix 6X Pro over the Apple watch 7.
An Apple watch 7 is a smart watch that does a little bit of everything. This includes decent recording of running and marathon data. A Garmin 6X Pro is a multi sport fitness watch, that is more robust and comes with an extended battery life. A Fenix 6X Pro, for the incremental cost, offers a more qualified choice for the marathon runners. An Apple watch 7 makes for a good first smart watch for a marathon runner, given the fact that you will nearly save $250-300 between an Apple watch 7 and a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro smart watch.
You may like to read the following related content about smart watches like Fenix or Apple smart watches:
- Major firmware update 20 for Fenix 6 devices
- Garmin Fenix 6 watch for 2022
- Garmin Fenix Watch 6 Vs Apple Watch 7
- Garmin Vivoactive 4S – water proof and music features
- Does Fenix 5X have music?
- Does Fenix 6 have body battery?
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Helen Kurt is a geeky nerd who loves to cover the wearables space. She has over 5 years of experience in the smartwatch domain. You can reach her on email at [email protected].