Garmin Epix Pro vs Garmin Epix: find your perfect sports watch

If you're looking to a high-end GPS watch, and you want one with a bright OLED display, the Garmin Epix (Gen 2) and Epix (Gen 2) Pro both deserve a place on your shortlist. But how do you know which is the right one for you?

If price is your main concern, then the Epix (Gen 2) is the less expensive of the pair. It's certainly not a cheap GPS watch, but Garmin knocked $200 off the price when it launched the Epix (Gen 2) Pro.

If you want a particularly large or small watch, the Epix (Gen 2) Pro is the one for you.  It comes in three sizes, and to make them even more appealing, all three have an LED flashlight built into the top of the case (something you don't get with its predecessor, lovely though it is).

The Epix (Gen 2) Pro also has an upgraded heart rate sensor, which should deliver more accurate results. It has some extra training tools too, such as a hill training feature, but those will be coming the the older watch with a future firmware update so they shouldn't be a deciding factor.

In case you're wondering why both these watches are named Gen 2, there's a simple explanation. The company launched the original Epix watch back in 2015 – a chunky beast with color maps and a square display. It was ahead of its time and received a lukewarm reception (mostly because it was so huge), so Garmin parked the idea until 2022, when it revealed the Epix (Gen 2).

If you've made up your mind, we've found the best deals on both watches for you above. Otherwise, keep reading for the full details of both watches to help you make an informed choice.

Meet the author

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is a qualified run leader and has been testing sports watches professionally for years – first for TechRadar and now at Advnture. She can usually be found wearing two, and has long stopped being self-conscious about it.

Garmin Epix Pro vs Garmin Epix: models

  • Garmin Epix (Gen 2) only available with 47mm case
  • Epix (Gen 2) Pro available in 42mm, 47mmm and 51mm
  • All watches available in standard and Sapphire editions

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) comes in just one size: 47mm. This is fairly large, but shouldn't be overbearing on most wrists. The standard edition has a stainless steel bezel and Gorilla Glass lens, while the Sapphire edition has a titanium case and sapphire crystal lens.

The Garmin Epix (Gen 3) comes in three sizes: 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm. All three are available in standard and Sapphire editions.

None of the Epix watches have solar charging. Garmin has patented a manufacturing process that will allow it to place photovoltaic cells in between the subpixels that make up an OLED display, but the tech seemingly isn't ready for production yet.

Map on a Garmin Epix watch

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) only comes in one size, which looked pretty big on my wrist, but wasn't unmanageable and having all that map detail right on your wrist is brilliant (Image credit: Future)

Garmin Epix Pro vs Garmin Epix: price

  • Garmin Epix (Gen 2) cheaper than Epix (Gen 2) Pro
  • Epix (Gen 2) sometimes available for a discount
  • Largest Pro model cost more than smaller ones

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) launched last year with a list price of $899.99 for the standard edition, and $999.99 for the Sapphire edition. It remained at full price for a long time after launch, but since the launch of the Epix (Gen 2) Pro, Garmin has reduced both prices by $200 to make them more tempting.

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro has a list price of $899.99 for the standard 42mm or 47mm editions, or $999.99 for the standard 51mm version. The Sapphire edition is $999.99 if you want the 42mm or 47mm case, or $1,099.99 if you want the king-sized 51mm version.

The Epix (Gen 2) Pro is still very new at the time of writing, so we've yet to see any discounts on it. It's possible that it may be included in this year's Amazon Prime Day Garmin deals, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Two people hiking at night with Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro watches

All versions of the Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro have a built-in LED flashlight. It's one of those things that's far more useful than you'd imagine once you've actually got it on your wrist (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Epix Pro vs Garmin Epix: fitness tracking

  • Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro has improved heart rate sensor
  • New training tools will be rolled out to Epix (Gen 2) soon

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro has an upgraded heart rate sensor and algorithm, which should deliver much more accurate readings than the Epix (Gen 2)

All sports watches use optical heart rate sensors that shine a green LED on your skin, and analyze the properties of the light that's reflected back. They can use changes in the light to detect your pulse and estimate your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). The Epix (Gen 2) Pro has twice as many LEDs as the Epix (Gen 2), spread over a larger area.

The Epix (Gen 2) Pro also has some extra training tools, but these will also be coming to the older watch with a firmware update in the next few months. These include a new hill score, which measures your strength running up steep hills, and your stamina on sustained ascents. You'll get a score based on your performance over time, which you can work to improve through targeted training.

You'll also get an endurance score, which tells you about your ability to sustain prolonged efforts. It factors in data from all activities, not just running.

There are new sports tracking modes as well, including some that you might have expected to exist already, such as basketball, cricket, baseball, and ice skating. 

Man hiking wearing Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro watch

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro has an upgraded heart rate sensor, which should deliver more accurate results (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Epix Pro vs Garmin Epix: flashlight

  • All Garmin Epix (Gen 2) Pro watches have an LED flashlight
  • Garmin Epix (Gen 2) only has an app that turns the screen white

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) doesn't have an LED flashlight, but all versions of the Epix (Gen 2) Pro do. The light is activated by double-pressing the backlight button at the top left of the case, and can be set to different modes, including a strobe mode that matches your cadence when you're running.

It's handy for making you more visible outdoors, and for everyday situations like finding your sleeping bag zipper at night or running down a dark mile-long tunnel.

The Epix (Gen 2) has a flashlight app that turns the screen white, providing a little light to see by. It's nowhere near as effective, though,

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.