Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar and Fenix 7S Solar watches use sunlight to charge the battery of the smartwatch. Both watch models inherit the core functionality from the predecessor watch models of the Fenix 6 series. Solar charged smartwatches can be a suitable proposition for people working outdoors. Below, we look at some key differences between the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar and the Fenix 7S Solar watch models. This should help you decide on the more appropriate watch for your cause.
Cost difference – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 7S Solar
Fenix 7S Solar costs $799.99 and the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar costs $899.99. There is a $100 difference between the two watch models of the Fenix 7S Solar and the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar. However, the incremental cost of the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar can be justified in terms of the subtle and major differences between the two watch models. For someone looking to invest in a Fenix 7S Solar, it may be worthwhile spending some time to research the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar watch. It ticks almost all boxes for a good, robust and reliable solar watch. And, it looks decently beautiful on the wrist.
Size and Screen Resolution – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 7S Solar
Fenix 7S Solar is a smaller sized model of the Fenix 7 watch. It has a size of 42 mm, with a watch screen of 30 mm. The bezel is made of stainless steel. Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar is a full-sized smartwatch with a size of 47 mm. The watch screen or the display screen is 33 mm. Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar screen bezel is made of titanium.
Aside from being bigger, the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar has a display resolution of 260 x 260 pixels; Fenix 7S Solar has a display resolution of 240 x 240 pixels.
Fenix 7S Solar is recommended for wrist size starting at 108 mm and going up to 189 mm for the different types of straps that go with the watch. The watch allows you to pick a silicon, fabric, metal, or suede watch band. The lower range of the wrist size is 108 mm and the highest range is 189 mm for the fabric band. Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar is recommended for wrist size starting at 125 mm and going up to 218 mm size of the wrist.
Buying a Fenix based on the wrist size ensures that you do not buy an oversized or under-sized watch. For thin wrists, a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar may look bulky. On a similar basis, for a broad wrist, a Fenix 7S Solar may look like an uncannily small watch to wear. An out-of-size or misfit watch could be a perpetual regret for the watch owner, especially because both watch models do cost a premium price.
Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar is a good 10 gm heavier than the Fenix 7S Solar. Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar weighs 73 g and the Fenix 7S Solar weighs 63 g. The difference can be attributed on account of the titanium bezel on the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar. A Fenix 7S Solar has a stainless steel bezel.
On-device storage – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 7S Solar
For me, the incremental cost of the device gets fully justified in terms of the additional device storage on the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar watch model. Fenix 7S Solar has on-device storage of 16 GB. Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar has a double space of 32 GB internal storage. On-device storage of the smartwatch is such an important feature as it allows you to download music and play it offline, without the need to use any third-party app like the Deezer or Pandora.
Plus, you can use the incremental storage space to download topo maps or any other navigation maps on the watch. For a one-time expense of an additional $100, I get to own the extra 16 GB of internal storage for the life of the smartwatch.
Battery Backup – Fenix 7S Solar vs Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar
Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar offers a marginally higher backup of battery than a Fenix 7S Solar smartwatch. The difference may not make difference to athletes and runners who use the watch on the GPS mode. However, for somebody on a hiking tour or an expedition, the additional battery life may offer a meaningful difference.
- Smartwatch mode – Battery backup between 11-14 days on fenix 7S Solar; 18-22 days on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
- Battery Saver watch mode – Battery backup between 38-87 days on Fenix 7S Solar; 57-173 days on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
- GPS Mode – Battery backup between 37-46 hours on Fenix 7S Solar; 57-73 hours on a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
- GPS All Satellite Systems – Battery backup between 26-30 hours on Fenix 7S Solar; 40-48 hours on a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
- All Satellite Systems with Music – Up to 7 hours of battery run time on Fenix 7S Solar and up to 10 hours of run time on the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
- Max Battery GPS Mode – Battery run time of 90-162 hours on Fenix 7S Solar and 136-289 hours run time on a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
- Expedition Mode – Battery life of 26-43 days on Fenix 7S Solar and 40-73 days on a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
The battery run time range of the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar can be very useful if you have a specific usage scenario or if you intend to wear the watch on Max battery GPS or the Expedition mode. The more you stay in the sun, the better solar charging becomes. And, all this adds to the overall battery backup of the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
Battery backups include solar charging. To charge your Fenix 7S Solar or the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar watches in sunlight, you need to be out in the sun for at least 3 hours every day, with the sunlight luminosity over 50,000 lux.
Sapphire Solar vs PowerGlass – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 7S Solar
Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar uses a sapphire coated glass and the Fenix 7S Solar has Corning Gorilla’s PowerGlass. Both glass screens are designed to capture sunlight and boost the battery charge on the corresponding smartwatch models. However, there are certain specific advantages of sapphire glass that we would like to share with you.
Sapphire glass or the sapphire crystal is one of the hardest natural mineral substances that are available. The hardness of minerals is measured on a scale of 1-10 Mohs. Diamond is the hardest mineral that has a hardness of 10 Mohs. Sapphire crystals have a hardness between 8-9 Mohs. Mineral glass has a hardness between 5-6 Mohs. Sapphire glass is made of sapphire crystal and is very hard. It is scratch-resistant to an extent that it can be considered unscratchable. PowerGlass is made of mineral glass and has a lower level of hardness. Another thing is that a Sapphire glass will require a thinner anti-reflective coating than the mineral glass. This, in turn, should help to boost the rate and performance of solar charging on a watch with the Sapphire glass than the normal mineral glass.
The effectiveness of solar charging for Fenix 7S Solar and the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar also depends on exposure to direct sunlight. Garmin has suggested battery backup times of solar watches based on the premise that you will be out in the sun for at least 3 hours every day. And, your watch face should get exposed to direct sunlight. The watch face should get at least 50000 lux of sunlight. On a normal bright sunny day, the luminosity of sunlight could be anywhere between 32,000-130,000 lux. So, unless you are exposed to the ample luminosity of direct sunlight, a solar watch would not add much to the battery charging and battery backup times.
Besides this, both the Sapphire Solar and the PowerGlass should not be covered with a screen protector. Using a screen protector diminishes the rate of solar charging. It is, therefore, not recommended by Garmin for either the Fenix 7S Solar or the Fenix 7 Sapphire Glass.
Multi-frequency positioning using GNSS – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 7S Solar
Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar allows you to fetch multiple geo positional frequencies from different satellite systems because of the availability of a multi-band GNSS system on the Sapphire edition smartwatches. Multifrequency positioning improves the positional accuracy of the GNSS or GPS satellite data. An object’s coordinates will be more accurate for a device that is backed with a multi-frequency positioning system.
In normal terms, we can say that the GPS accuracy of the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar will be higher than the Fenix 7S Solar. The extent of improved accuracy will also depend upon the geographical area and the type of terrain you are on.
Topo and Trail Maps – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 7S Solar
Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar edition smartwatch comes with preloaded road and trail maps, and topo maps. Topo maps are downloadable resource maps that are offered by Garmin for additional costs. The costs could be anywhere near $99, depending on the type and area for which you need the topo maps. Alternatively, you may download the topo and trail maps from the ‘Open Street Map’ database that is shared freely by trail runners. Topo and trail maps come in-built on the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar watch edition.
For people on expedition, trail runs, and outdoor activities, the topo maps could be a useful add-on to make use of, especially as it does not cost any money on a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.
Between the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar and Fenix 7S Solar, the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar offers sapphire glass and in-built topo and trail maps. Aside from a bigger size, the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar also offers better backup time on the watch. Additional device storage should be also considered before deciding about a Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar over the Fenix 7S Solar.
You may also like to read the following content related to Garmin Fenix smartwatches:
- Fenix 7 vs Fenix 6 smart watches
- Garmin Fenix 6 Firmware 20.30 – update 13.01.22
- Garmin Fenix Watch 6 Vs Apple Watch 7
- Fenix 6 vs Apple Watch 6
- Fenix 6X Sapphire Vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar
- Fenix 7S vs Fenix 7S Solar smartwatch
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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].