Apple Watch Ultra vs. Garmin Fenix 7x

Apple Watch Ultra vs. Garmin Fenix 7x: Which is better?

The world of smartwatches has evolved rapidly in recent years, offering a plethora of choices for consumers seeking a blend of fitness tracking, smart features, and style. Both promise impressive capabilities, but which one emerges as the best all-around watch? Is the Garmin Fenix 7x capable of challenging the Apple Watch Ultra‘s dominance in the Android world?

After 30 days of wearing both of these watches, I’m ready to guide you through a comprehensive comparison to determine the superior all-around watch. We’ll evaluate their fitness capabilities, smartwatch integration, and even their basic timekeeping functions.

Apple Watch Ultra: The Pinnacle of Smartwatches

The Apple Watch Ultra, widely regarded as one of the best smartwatches on the market, boasts a bright AMOLED screen and an extensive array of features that redefine the wearable experience. With a focus on seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem, it offers users a highly intuitive and versatile device.

Garmin Fenix 7x: The Fitness Enthusiast’s Dream

On the other hand, the Garmin Fenix 7x Sapphire Solar is renowned for being one of the world’s best fitness watches. It is often hailed as the closest thing to an Apple Watch Ultra for Android users. Garmin’s approach to smartwatches is distinct, featuring a memory-in-pixel display and a multitude of buttons for navigation. Moreover, its solar-powered capabilities contribute to impressive battery life.

Display and Navigation:

One of the first noticeable differences between these two watches is the display technology. While the Apple Watch Ultra boasts a bright and vibrant AMOLED screen, the Garmin Fenix 7x adopts a memory-in-pixel display. The choice between the two comes down to personal preference: AMOLED provides stunning visuals, while memory-in-pixel offers exceptional outdoor visibility and efficiency.

The Garmin Fenix 7x stands out for its unique navigation system, relying on physical buttons rather than a touchscreen. It features buttons for menu navigation, starting and stopping activities, and even a dedicated button for activating a flashlight. This design caters to users who engage in activities where touchscreen controls are cumbersome, such as running.

Battery Life: A Clear Winner:

One area where the Garmin Fenix 7x unequivocally outshines the Apple Watch Ultra is battery life. Thanks to its solar charging capability, the Fenix 7x can last up to a month on a single charge, making it ideal for extended outdoor adventures. In contrast, the Apple Watch Ultra requires daily or every-other-day charging. This stark contrast in battery life may sway the decision for users who value extended usage without the hassle of frequent charging.

Customization and Watch Faces:

The Apple Watch Ultra offers an extensive selection of customizable watch faces, accessible through the Apple Watch app on an iPhone. Users can effortlessly switch between watch faces and personalize them to suit their preferences. This flexibility allows for quick and easy adaptation to various situations and styles.

In contrast, customizing watch faces on the Garmin Fenix 7x requires the use of the Garmin Connect app. While it offers a range of available watch faces, the process is more convoluted compared to the seamless experience on the Apple Watch. Users must download watch faces, and customization options are somewhat limited, necessitating adjustments on the watch itself.

Fitness Tracking and Workout Features:

The Garmin Fenix 7x excels as a fitness watch, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes. It offers advanced workout tracking, including the ability to count repetitions during weightlifting sessions. Users can modify the number of reps and weights, and the watch even attempts to identify specific exercises based on wrist movements. However, it may struggle to accurately recognize lower body exercises like squats.

The Apple Watch Ultra, while a strong fitness companion, may not match the Fenix 7x in terms of detailed workout tracking. However, it compensates with features like GymKit, which enables seamless interaction with compatible gym equipment, and precise integration with Apple’s ecosystem.

Sleep Tracking:

Both watches provide sleep tracking capabilities, but user experiences may vary. The Garmin Fenix 7x offers comfortable sleep tracking, with the added benefit of not needing additional subscriptions or third-party apps. Users can access sleep data directly on the watch without hassle.

Conversely, the Apple Watch Ultra’s sleep tracking may require third-party apps like Sleep Cycle for more detailed insights. While it offers a comfortable sleeping experience, it necessitates additional steps and possibly subscriptions for a comprehensive sleep tracking experience.

Accuracy and GPS Performance:

The accuracy of fitness tracking, including heart rate monitoring and distance measurements, is a critical aspect of any smartwatch. The Apple Watch Ultra is known for its accuracy, backed by extensive research and development by Apple. However, accuracy can still vary depending on factors such as wrist fit, skin color, and tattoos.

The Garmin Fenix 7x also delivers reliable accuracy in fitness tracking, aided by dual-band GPS for outdoor activities. It’s essential to acknowledge that both watches offer good enough data for the average user. However, for professional athletes or those seeking pinpoint accuracy, dedicated devices like chest straps may still be the best choice.

Smart Features and Ecosystem Integration:

This is where the Apple Watch Ultra truly shines. It seamlessly integrates with the Apple ecosystem, offering features like Express Transit for easy contactless payments and intuitive navigation with Apple Maps. Users can also access their calendar, control smart home devices, and respond to notifications effortlessly.

The Garmin Fenix 7x, while capable of basic smart features like notifications, falls behind the Apple Watch in terms of integration and convenience. Tasks like muting notifications require users to reach for their phones, which can be cumbersome. The absence of a voice assistant further limits its smart capabilities.

Music and Payments:

When it comes to music, the Apple Watch Ultra’s integration with Apple Music and its streamlined process for adding music to the watch is a notable advantage. Users can easily sync playlists for offline listening, making it a top choice for music enthusiasts.

In contrast, the Garmin Fenix 7x’s music capabilities, particularly with Spotify, involve a complex process with numerous steps. Additionally, Garmin Pay, the watch’s payment feature, lacks support for several banks and cards, potentially causing frustration for users looking for a seamless payment experience.

Conclusion: Making the Choice:

In the quest for the perfect smartwatch, both the Apple Watch Ultra and the Garmin Fenix 7x Sapphire Solar offer compelling features. The choice ultimately hinges on individual preferences and priorities.

The Apple Watch Ultra is the pinnacle of smartwatches, excelling in seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, unmatched app support, and a vibrant display. It caters to users who value a balanced blend of smart features and fitness-tracking capabilities.

Conversely, the Garmin Fenix 7x Sapphire Solar shines as a fitness-focused smartwatch with outstanding battery life and accurate tracking. It caters to outdoor enthusiasts and athletes seeking robust fitness features and extended usage without frequent charging.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your lifestyle, priorities, and ecosystem preference. For many, the Apple Watch Ultra remains the go-to option for its versatility and integration, while the Garmin Fenix 7x serves as a dedicated fitness companion for those with active, outdoor lifestyles. The quest for the perfect smartwatch continues, with each device offering its unique set of advantages and trade-offs.


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Simon is a technology writer and researcher. He's also an avid sports fan, especially when it comes to the FCB. When not working, you can usually find him tweaking his Android devices or reading political news.