Garmin watches with multi band GPS

Multiband frequency is much sought after by runners and triathletes because of the precision and accuracy provided by it. Multiband frequency is primarily used for augmenting GPS accuracy through multiple frequency readings from the same satellite system. Garmin provides multiband frequency through a multi-frequency positioning sensor. This sensor is based on Mediatek’s Airoha chipset. We look at the Garmin watches that come with multiband frequency.

What is multi band frequency?

Multiband frequencies allow you to take frequency readings from more than one satellite within the complete satellite system. So, for example, the GPS satellite system of the United States has 31 satellites. When you run into degraded GPS signals, the multiband frequency feature allows you to take a frequency reading from another satellite from within the GPS satellite network. This feature allows to improve quality, precision and accuracy of GPS data shared by the watch. For runners, triathletes, trail runners and hikers, the multiband frequency capability is a very useful feature.

Duel frequency readings on Garmin watches happen on the L1 and L5 bands. Normally, only the L1 band on the watch receives GPS data. L5 band is available for frequency readings on those Garmin watches that have multi-frequency positioning sensor. The multi-frequency positioning sensor is the Airoha GPS chipset of MediaTek. Garmin makes use of the Airoha chipset for multiband frequencies.

Multiband frequency is different than the multi-constellation frequency readings. All Garmin watches have multi-constellation frequency features. This includes all those watches that also have the multi-frequency positioning sensor. With multi-constellation frequency feature, you can use GPS + GLONASS or GPS + Galileo for improved accuracy of GPS data. Multiband frequency is a feature that goes over and above the multi-constellation feature. It works across multiple satellite systems like GPS, Galileo and GLONASS. Beyond that, it helps in taking multiple frequency readings within the same GPS system.

Here is what Garmin states on its website in terms of benefits of multiband frequency:

The main benefit of using a handheld with multi-band frequency is in areas where GPS signals can be received but are severely degraded. In these cases, the receiver has to sort out what are reflections and what are direct line-of-sight signals. In positioning, reflected signals lead to inaccurate distances to the satellite. When these inaccurate distances are used, the position can jump, veer off course or just not make any sense because they don’t agree with each other. In these cases, L5 will provide more continuity and accuracy than a traditional L1 device. Of course, there are no silver bullets with GPS, and the signal won’t always work in any environment, but in general, this will be a welcome improvement

from Garmin website

Fenix 7 watches with multiband frequency

Fenix 7 has eight different variants on offer for sale. Out of these, the three Sapphire edition watches come with multi-frequency positioning sensor.

Thus, the multiband frequency is available on the following three variants of Fenix 7 smartwatches:

  • Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar edition
  • Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar edition
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar edition

These variants are available within a cost bracket of $899.99 – $999.99.

Epix 2 Sapphire Edition

Garmin’s second generation Epix watches (Sapphire edition) do have the multi-frequency positioning sensor to offer multiband frequency readings. This includes the Epix 2 Sapphire edition watches. The standard edition of Epix 2 does not have the multi-frequency positioning sensor.

One of the best things about Epix 2 smartwatch is the AMOLED display screen with Always-on-display feature. Epix 2 is available at a price of $999.99.

Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 955 Solar

Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 955 Solar do have the multi-frequency positioning sensor. Both these watch models, Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 955 Solar will support multiband frequency data. Forerunner series is the runner’s most preferred Garmin watch series. Extended battery life, light body weight and accurate GPS tracking data are some of the main benefits of getting a Forerunner 955 or Forerunner 955 Solar.

Forerunner 955 costs $499.99 and the Forerunner 955 Solar costs $599.99. The pricing of Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 955 Solar is very attractive. The watch will tick all the boxes for runners.

The Venu series, Vivoactive series and Instinct series watches from Garmin do not offer multiband frequencies. They work on the normal multi-constellation GPS system for GNSS.

How can I turn on the multiband frequency on Garmin watches?

Be default, multiband frequency is not enabled on your Garmin smartwatch. You will need to enable the multiband frequency or multi-frequency positioning sensor’s data collection through the following steps:

  • On your Garmin watch, hold down the MENU.
  • Select Activities & Apps
  • Select Satellites
  • Scroll down to the option that states ‘All + Multi band‘.
  • Select ‘All + Multi band‘ from the selection menu.

The option of ‘All + Multi band’ will be available only if your Garmin watch has a multi-frequency positioning sensor.

Summary

The following Garmin watches have multiband GPS or frequency:

  • Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar
  • Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar
  • Epix 2
  • Forerunner 955
  • Forerunner 955 Solar

All these devices have Mediatek’s Airoha chipset. Garmin calls it the multi-frequency positioning sensor.

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