Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Garmin Fenix 7: choose the right GPS watch for you

If you're choosing a new GPS watch, the Garmin Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro are both well worth considering – but which is the right one for you? The differences aren't all obvious, so I'm here to guide you through them all and help you pick the one that best suits your needs.

First of all, if price is your main consideration then you should know that the Fenix 7 is the cheaper of the pair, and can often be found at a discount if you buy through a third-party store like Amazon.

If you want the most advanced fitness tracking tools, then the Fenix 7 Pro is the one for you thanks to its new heart rate sensor. We were pleased to see that most of the new software features introduced with the Fenix 7 Pro (such as more detailed Body Battery scores and Sleep Coaching) were carried over to the Fenix 7 a few months after launch, but Garmin promises that the new hardware in the back of the Fenix 7 Pro delivers more accurate results.

If you've made up your mind you'll find today's best deals on both watches above. Otherwise, read on for the full low-down.

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 Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro: price

  • Garmin Fenix 7 Pro has higher list price
  • Garmin Fenix 7 often available at a discount
  • Premium materials cost extra

As mentioned above, the Garmin Fenix 7 is cheaper than the Fenix 7 Pro, and now that it's a year and a half old, there are often deals available.

The Fenix 7 has a list price starting at $699.99 / £559.99, but at the time of writing there's $200 off when you buy direct from Garmin

The list price for the Fenix 7 Pro starts at $799.99 / £749.99. At the time of writing it has only just launched, so there are no discounts available yet.

The 51mm version of each watch costs more than the 42mm and 47mm versions. You'll also pay extra for solar charging, and premium materials like sapphire crystal, titanium, and leather where they're available

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro: models

  • Both watches come in three sizes
  • Fenix 7 and Fenix 7S available with or without solar charging
  • All other models only available with solar charging

The Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro come in various different editions. There's so much choice you might feel a little overwhelmed at first, so we'll start by breaking it down.

The Fenix 7 comes in three sizes: 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm diameter. They are known as the Fenix 7S, Fenix 7, and Fenix 7X respectively.

We think slim watches often look neater, particularly on slim wrists, but have smaller batteries, which means they don't last as long between charges. They also have smaller screens, meaning they show a slightly smaller area when you're using maps. Opting for a smaller watch also means you get a little less internal storage for maps, apps, and music.

The two smaller versions of the Garmin Fenix 7 are available with three different lenses: standard, Solar, and Sapphire Solar. The standard version has ordinary chemically strengthened glass over the face, The Solar version has Garmin's proprietary Power Glass, which extends battery life with regular exposure to sunlight. The Sapphire Solar version does the same thing, but uses sapphire crystal rather than toughened glass, making it more resistant to scratches.

The Garmin Fenix 7X and the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro are only available in Solar and Sapphire Solar versions. There's no standard edition without solar charging.

In our personal experience, the standard lens is very tough, and has shrugged off scuffs and knocks for a year and a half. However, the solar charging does make a noticeable difference to battery life, so if you're likely to be away from home for multiple days at a time, or you're just a bit disorganized and sometimes forget to charge your gadgets, it might be the better choice.

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro watch in three sizes

The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro comes in three sizes, all of which have a built-in flashlight (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro: battery life

  • Garmin Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro have same battery life
  • Larger watches last longer between charges
  • Solar charging has a noticeable impact

Garmin's new heart rate sensor doesn't draw any more power than the old one, so you can expect the same battery life from the Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro. As mentioned above, the larger the watch, the bigger its battery and the longer it will last between charges. Occasional use of the flashlight has a minimal effect on battery life.

The table below gives the maximum battery life for all watches in smartwatch and GPS-only mode, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions for solar devices.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Garmin Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro battery life
WatchMax battery life (smartwatch)Max battery life (GPS)
Garmin Fenix 7S11 days37 hours
Garmin Fenix 718 days57 hours
Garmin Fenix 7S Solar / Sapphire Solar14 days46 hours
Garmin Fenix 7 Solar / Sapphire Solar22 days73 hours
Garmin Fenix 7X Solar / Sapphire Solar37 days122 hours
Garmin Fenix 7S Pro Solar / Sapphire Solar14 days46 hours
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Solar / Sapphire Solar22 days73 hours
Garmin Fenix 7X Pro Solar / Sapphire Solar37 days122 hours

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro: sensors

One of the biggest differences between the Garmin Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro is the upgraded heart rate monitor.

Optical heart rate monitors found in sports watches work by shining a green LED on your wrist, and monitoring the light reflected back from your skin. They can use this data to measure your pulse and estimate blood oxygen saturation. The Elevate 5 sensor found in the Fenix 7 Pro has twice as many LEDs as that of the Fenix 7, spread over a wider area. According to Garmin, the "more spatially diverse" sensors and updated algorithms result in more accurate data.

That data feeds into all the fitness and recovery stats calculated by your watch, so improved accuracy makes the whole device much more useful. However, for activities like HIIT, we recommend using a chest strap heart rate monitor, which measures electrical impulses straight from your heart and therefore has less latency than a watch.

Woman wearing Garmin Fenix 7 watch

The Garmin Fenix 7 doesn't have the company's latest heart rate sensor (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro: flashlight

  • Fenix 7S and 7 have no flashlight
  • Fenix 7X and all Fenix 7 Pro models have flashlight

Many of Garmin's recent watches have an LED flashlight built into the top of the case, which you can activate by double-pressing the backlight button. It's far more useful than you might expect, as I found when I tested it running along a mile-long dark tunnel.

All versions and sizes of the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro have a flashlight. The 51mm Garmin Fenix 7X has a flashlight, but the smaller Fenix 7 and Fenix 7S do not.

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Fenix 7 Pro: fitness tracking

  • Fenix 7 Pro has more accurate heart rate monitor
  • Fenix 7 Pro's new training features coming to Fenix 7 soon

The Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro are both top-tier fitness watches, with advanced health tracking features, At the time of writing, however, the Fenix 7 Pro has a few extra tools up its sleeve.

In addition to the upgraded heart rate monitor mentioned above, the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro has 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 various new sports tracking modes as well, including some that you might have expected to exist already, such as basketball, cricket, baseball, and ice skating. 

Hill score, endurance score, and the new activity tracking modes are all expected to come to the Fenix 7 and other top-end Garmin watches like the Forerunner 965 with the next major firmware update.

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.