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Garmin Instinct 2 vs Fenix 7

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Fenix 7

Published May 2022
by Amirah Zakiyyah

If you're looking for a new smartwatch, we're sure the Garmin Instinct 2 and Garmin Fenix 7 are on your shortlist. Packed with great multi-sports features while balancing everyday functionality, it's no wonder they're worthy of reviewers' attention. But which is better, the Instinct 2 or the Fenix 7?

Read on to see how the Garmin Instinct 2 and Garmin Fenix 7 compare based on the following:

1. Watch Models

2. Fitness and Health Features

3. Smartwatch Features

4. Design and Display

5. Battery Life and Price

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1. Watch Models

Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7

Both the Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Instinct 2 are available in various models so there are a dizzying array of options to choose from.

The Garmin Fenix 7 comes in three sizes (42mm, 47mm and 51mm) and comes with either a standard glass, solar glass or the tougher and scratch-resistant sapphire solar crystal. Keep in mind that the 51mm Fenix 7X model only has Sapphire Solar or Solar variants.

Available in two case sizes (40mm and 45mm), the Garmin Instinct 2 lets you pick between the standard or solar models, with the latter made of photovoltaic materials which gather energy from the sun to extend battery life. The Instinct 2 comes in Surf, Tactical and Camo special editions.

2. Fitness and Health Features

Garmin Instinct 2

Garmin Instinct 2

Although the Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Instinct 2 come loaded with a variety of sports tracking profiles and multi-sports modes, the Fenix 7 has a lot more depth in terms of the features offered.

Garmin equipped the Fenix 7 with a host of training tools to monitor your fitness performance. Apart from viewing training effect and training load focus, you'll receive  insights into the results of your training load on whether you're improving, detraining, peaking or maintaining your current fitness level. Other than that, the real-time stamina monitor comes in handy and helps you judge whether you've enough energy to push through your workout or take it easy. 

Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7

The Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Instinct 2 present dramatic differences when mapping and navigation tools are considered. Unlike the Instinct 2 which doesn't offer maps, the Fenix 7 has not only downloadable maps and the ability to customise mapping options, but it can also provide both a breadcrumb and real-time map as it guides you throughout your route.

Whether you pick the Garmin Fenix 7 or the Garmin Instinct 2, both watches provide 24/7 heart monitoring with alerts to abnormally high or low heart rates, stress tracking and a 'Body Battery' which estimates your energy reserves throughout the day. The watch also analyses your sleep and reports a sleep score every morning with a rundown of your sleep cycle and improvements you can make to sleep better.

Garmin Instinct 2

Garmin Instinct 2

Push boundaries and endurance

Rugged smartwatch designed to keep up with you.

3. Smartwatch Features

Garmin Instinct 2

Garmin Instinct 2

While both the Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Instinct 2 offer incredible everyday tools such as showing you receive push notifications, checking the weather forecast and seeing your calendar, the Fenix 7 has an edge over the Instinct 2 because of Garmin Pay support and on-board music storage.

4. Design and Display

Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7

The Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Instinct 2 have a fibre-reinforced polymer case with the standard silicone strap attached. One thing to note is that the Fenix 7 uses Garmin's QuickFit bands which you have to push down a plastic clip to release it from the case. This makes for easier swapping but can't be used interchangeably with the older bands.

Both watches feature a memory-in-pixel display which isn't as bright as some might have liked but uses lesser power, conserving battery life.

 The touchscreen display is a selling point of the Garmin Fenix 7. If you're a runner or a cyclist, this makes panning across maps smoother and easier. Though its colour screen comes as a bonus, it does have a blue tint to the backlight, muddying the colours a little. 

Coming with a monochrome display, the Garmin Instinct 2 lets you fit more data at once without compromising legibility. Unfortunately, the lack of a touchscreen is a huge drawback if you prefer the ability to pan your maps. To make up for it, the Instinct 2 has a five, clearly-labelled button interface which works fantastically even with gloved or wet hands.

Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7

All the best features

Supports you with plenty of health, fitness and smart tools.

5. Battery Life and Price

Garmin Instinct 2

Garmin Instinct 2

Battery life varies depending on how you use it, however, the Garmin Fenix 7 has the advantage over the Garmin Instinct 2, especially with the solar versions. On a single charge, the Fenix 7 can go up to 42 days which far exceeds the Instinct 2's 14 days. In battery saver watch mode, the Fenix 7 is equipped with 173 days of battery life whereas you can expect the Instinct 2 to last 65 days.

Generally, watches in the Garmin Fenix 7 range are a lot more expensive than the Garmin Instinct 2, yet, this depends on your model of choice. To give you a better idea, the Instinct 2's prices start at S$499 whereas Fenix 7 watches start at S$1099.

Final Thoughts

Thoughtfully crafted with a no-nonsense appearance, the Garmin Instinct 2 and Garmin Fenix 7 have their strengths which may not necessarily cater to all wearers. 

Although not cheap, the Garmin Instinct 2 is an appealing choice if you're looking for a watch that's hard as nails and rugged enough for outdoor use. In addition to plenty of customisation, you're also getting exceptional battery life whichever version you pick.

If you're an adrenaline junkie and enjoy pushing yourself to try out different sports, the Garmin Fenix 7 is designed for you. The watch is a huge help in balancing work and recovery. It also gives you tools to uncover your fitness performance, supporting you in your long term fitness.

Before you check out our full Garmin collection, check out this blog post for a rundown of the best Garmin watches.

Find out how Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Epix 2 compares or whether you should upgrade your Garmin Fenix 6 to the Garmin Fenix 7

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