Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar smartwatches

Garmin 7X Sapphire Solar has been released by Garmin on 18th January 2022. This is the top end of the solar watch in the Fenix 7 series. We compare Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar with the Fenix 6X Pro Solar smartwatch model. In terms of the cost difference, the Fenix 6X Pro Solar costs $949.99 and the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar costs $999.99. So, there is a difference of $50 between the two models of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar and the Fenix 6X Pro Solar series smartwatches. In our opinion, the difference of $50 can get you quite a few additional features and software updates on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar smartwatch.

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Smartwatches

Power Sapphire vs Power Glass – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar smartwatch uses a Power Sapphire glass on the watch screen. Fenix 6X Pro Solar uses Power Glass. The difference between the two watch screens lies in the Sapphire glass coating on the Power Glass of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar series watches. Sapphire crystal is the third hardest naturally available mineral. It has a hardness between 8-9 Mohs. Sapphire is considered unscratchable because of its hardness.

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar uses a combination of Power Glass and Sapphire glass for better hardness and the scratch resistant watch screen. Fenix 6X Pro Solar uses Power Glass. Power Glass is less hard than Sapphire glass. It is a special type of glass created by Corning Gorilla to help in the solar charging of the watch. It falls in the category of a mineral glass that has a hardness between 5-6 Mohs.

Effectively, the bottom line is that for an incremental expense of $50, Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar offers Sapphire and Power glass on the watch screen. Your Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar would be, almost, unscratchable.


Bezel – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a titanium bezel. Fenix 6X Pro Solar, however, has a DLC coated titanium bezel. DLC coated titanium bezel on the watch is definitely a better proposition than the plain titanium bezel. In any case, the titanium bezel looks much better than a steel or aluminium bezel.

The Diamond like Carbon coating (DLC) provides scratch protection on the watch. DLC coated titanium bezel has an additional layer of coating to protect against scuffs or scratches on the watch surface. It remains a surprise though. Why did Garmin decide to forgo DLC coating on the titanium bezel of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar?


Touchscreen – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Touchscreen functionality arrives on the scene on a Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar watch for the first time. In fact, all the Fenix 7 series watches have touchscreen functionality. You could choose to use the touchscreen or the tactile buttons on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar smartwatches. Fenix 6X Pro Solar does not have touchscreen functionality. So, you have to rely on the tactile buttons to use the Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch.

This may not be a big deal for the Fenix 6 watch lovers. The watch works well with the buttons as well. Most sports and fitness enthusiasts are happy with the button based operations on the Fenix 6X Pro Solar smartwatch.

Aside from the touchscreen functionality, Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar also has an LED flashlight that can be activated by tapping the watch twice. The flashlight feature can prove very useful when you are outdoors.


Size and weight – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Both, Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar and Fenix 6X Pro Solar are of identical physical size. The watch dial is of 51 mm on both the smartwatch models. Both watches come in options of silicon band, fabric band, leather band and metal band. Both are recommended for identical wrist sizes.

In terms of physical dimensions, the only thing that differs is the weight of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. It is 89 g with case and the Fenix 6X Pro Solar weighs close to 82 g. The watch body of Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is 61 g and it is slightly heavier than the watch body of the Fenix 6X Pro Solar at 54 g.

Noticeably, there are no tangible or major differences in the size or weight of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar and Fenix 6X Pro Solar.


Battery backup – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

There seem to be significant differences in the rated battery backup times offered by Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar over the Fenix 6X Pro Solar smartwatches. We review the battery backup times of the two watches below:

  • Smartwatch mode – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a backup of 28-37 days; Fenix 6X Pro Solar has a backup between 21-24 days.
  • Battery Saver watch mode – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a rated backup between 90 days to 1 year; Fenix 6X Pro Solar has battery backup between 80-120 days.
  • GPS Only mode – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a rated backup between 89-122 hours; Fenix 6X Pro Solar has a rated battery backup of 60-66 hours.
  • All Satellite Systems – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a rated backup between 63-77 hours and a backup between 36-41 hours on All Satellite system – multiband.
  • Max Battery GPS mode – On an optimized GPS mode, Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar offers backup between 213-578 hours; Fenix 6X Pro Solar works between 120-148 hours of Max Battery GPS mode.
  • Expedition GPS Mode – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar offers backup time between 62-139 days; Fenix 6X Pro Solar offers backup time between 46-56 days.

The range of battery backup times offered by both the watch models is based on the backup derived from normal wired charging and a combination of solar charging. To effectively charge your Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar or the Fenix 6X Pro Solar, you need to be in 50,000 lux luminosity condition for at least 3 hours in a day. This implies that solar charging will be effective only if you are in the direct sunlight for a minimum of 3 hours every day. A normal sunny day has luminosity between 32,000-130,000 lux. The lux varies based on the time of the day and intensity of the sunlight.


Multiband Frequency Positioning for GPS – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has multiband GNSS or Global Navigation Satellite System. For a single object, you can receive positional frequency from multiple satellites. This provides military grade precision in terms of GPS coordinates of an object or place. Multi-frequency positioning on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar boosts gps accuracy of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. Multi-frequency positioning is a feature that is unavailable on the Fenix 6X Pro Solar smartwatch.


Fenix 6X Pro Solar Smartwatches

ConnectIQ and Wifi – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar comes with in-built WIFI support. Watch’s WIFI can be used to directly download connect apps from the Connect IQ on to the device storage of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar.  WIFI on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar will allow you to connect to the Connect app store and download the ConnectIQ maps directly on the watch. We save the hassle of using the paired smartphone to download ConnectIQ apps and synchronize with the Fenix 6 smartwatch. The Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch also has WIFI. But, direct access over WIFI to the Connect IQ store is unavailable.


Health Monitoring – Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Health tracking has received an uptick and improved attention on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. In comparison to the Fenix 6X Pro Solar, the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has the additional health features that include:

  • Health snapshot gives you a broad overview of your health parameters in a single consolidated dashboard.
  • Blood oxygenation sensor allows you to take real readings of the oxygen saturation in blood.

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has an in-built blood oxygenation monitor sensor to track SpO2 levels in your blood on a real-time basis. The readings are pretty accurate as well. Fenix 6X Pro Solar has an oxygen tracking feature, which works on a spot check basis or on an acclimation basis. Perpetual SpO2 level tracking on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is a useful feature for health tracking.

Fourth-generation Elevate Sensor becomes a part of Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. This optical heart sensor was being tested by Garmin to produce quality data about atrial fibrillation through continuous monitoring of the heart. It had already been added on Venu 2 and Forerunner 945 LTE. Elevate 4 sensor is designed to produce reliable heart readings. True benefits of the Elevate 4 sensor would accrue when ECG functionality gets added on the Fenix series watches. Together with the Elevate 4 sensor, the ECG software could give useful data around your heart health. The fact that the Elevate 4 Sensor is a part of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar makes me believe that the ECG software may be getting tested. Eventually, we will see an ECG app on the Garmin phones soon.


Fitness, Training, and Running features – Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Fenix 6X Pro Solar

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar integrates new features for fitness, training and running activities. The additional set of features that are a part of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar are mentioned below:

  • Real-time Stamina – Real time stamina calculations are a part of the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solarsmartwatch. Stamina allows you to plan your fitness and outdoor activities in granular detail.
  • Golf Mode – You can pair your Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar with the Garmin Golf app. Your Golf data is maintained through the Garmin Golf app, and provides a centralized report of your Golf games. Tournament legal is available as a feature on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar.
  • Addition of HIIT on the gym profile. Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar can work with the HIIT workouts. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training involves alternating periods of intense activities and rest. You could track your HIIT workouts on a Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar.
  • VO2 Max for your trail runs will allow you to find the amount of oxygen expended or use at the time of intense exercise or activity. VO2 max is a very good criteria of judging your physical strength and ability to perform hard and strenous activities. VO2 Max is available on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar.
  • Tracking running and Ultra running modes have been added on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar smartwatch. Other running modes from Fenix 6 get inherited automatically on the Fenix 7 smartwatch.
  • Additional outdoor recreation profiles have been added on the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar smartwatch. These include recreation sports profiles for Kiteboarding, Hunting, Windsurfing, Tennis, Picklebell and Snowshoeing. These recreation profiles put Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar in the right hands of sports enthusiasts.
  • Up Ahead feature gets integrated on the Fenix 7 smartwatch. Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar does have the newly introduced Up ahead feature. Up ahead uses existing data available to Garmin and shares information about what lies ahead on a specific route or road you are travelling. Data such as upcoming restaurants, rest rooms, or fuel pumps is shared on the watch for the route you are on. This could be very useful on cross country trips.
  • Smart trainer control feature also gets added on Fenix 7 watches. Your watch can connect to smart trainer programs with compatibility to protocols of Tacx, ANT+ FE-C. Smart trainer helps you conduct your training sessions and plan it based on intensity and resistance data.

Summary

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar would score higher than a Fenix 6X Pro Solar on account of the following features and improvements:

  • better battery backup times.
  • better GPS accuracy due to multi point frequency positioning.
  • blood oxygenation sensor and Elevate 4 Sensor for heart tracking.
  • has Sapphire Power glass.
  • touchscreen functionality.
  • better number of running, training and outdoor recreation profiles.

For a difference as low as $50, the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is a logical and valuable proposition over the Fenix 6X Pro Solar smartwatch model.

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