Garmin Fenix 8: news, rumors and predictions

Woman checking GPS sports watch
(Image credit: Getty)

The Garmin Fenix 8 hasn't been officially announced, but rumors have started to circulate after the FCC gave three mysterious Garmin watches the green light for sale in the US. Details are scarce so far, but early signs point to a possible new iteration of the company's flagship GPS watch.

But isn't it too soon for a new Fenix? After all, the Garmin Fenix 7 series (which also includes the 7S, 7X, and solar editions) launched in January 2022, two and a half years after the Fenix 6.

However, there was the small matter of the Covid-19 pandemic in between, which likely delayed things because Garmin doesn't usually wait that long between releases. The company launched the original Fenix in 2012, the Fenix 2 in 2014, the Fenix 3 in 2015, the Fenix 3 HR in 2016, and the Fenix 5 in 2017.

With that in mind, the arrival of a Fenix 8 later in 2023 sounds quite reasonable. Here I'll round up all the news and rumors so far, and add my predictions for what the new watch might bring to your wrist when it eventually arrives.

Garmin Fenix 7 watch on woman's wrist

The Garmin Fenix 7 was only released last year, but an update might be due sooner than you'd expect (Image credit: Future)

News and rumors

In March 2023, three new devices appeared on the website of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC tests and approves all devices capable of transmitting wireless signals before they're sold in the US to ensure that they're safe and don't cause interference with important radio frequencies used by emergency services or air traffic control.

The three new watches were listed under the IDs IPH-A04595, IPH-A04596, and IPH-A04597. 'IPH' is the FCC's shorthand for Garmin, and the other six characters were chosen by Garmin to identify the individual products. Very similar ID codes typically mean different versions of devices in the same series. 

The documentation was originally spotted by Flo of Fitness Tracker Test. He noted that the three devices are referred to as 'extremity worn digital transceivers', which strongly suggests sports watches.

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There aren't many specifics to be gleaned from the documents themselves, but it's interesting to note that all three devices have Bluetooth, ANT+, and Wi-Fi connectivity. We've recently heard rumors about an extra-large version of the Garmin Instinct 2, as well as an Instinct 2 specifically for emergency medical personnel, but neither of these is likely to have Wi-Fi.

Flo also noticed that the e-labels for the new devices (text that appears on-screen as proof that they were tested and approved by the FCC) very closely resemble those of the Garmin Fenix 7 series.

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We might get a little more information if and when the three appear on the website of the Singaporean Telecoms Licensing System (TLS), which is the equivalent of the FCC. The TLS also lists recently approved devices, and although it doesn't publish reports, it gives evidence that they have been approved for sale internationally.

I'm keeping my ear to the ground for more news, and will bring you further information as soon as it emerges.

Garmin Forerunner 965 watch side view

Following the successful launch of the Forerunner 965, could the Fenix 8 have an OLED display? (Image credit: Garmin)

What we want to see

So what might the Garmin Fenix 8 bring to the metaphorical table? Well, following the successful launch of the Garmin Forerunner 265 and 965 in March, the most obvious answer seems to be an OLED display.

Some Garmin fans have suggested that the Fenix 8 could launch alongside a new Epix watch, but it's possible that Garmin may choose to streamline its offering by giving the new Fenix a screen upgrade. After all. that's the only real difference between the Fenix 7 and the Epix (Gen 2).

This would likely make the Fenix 8 at least $100 more expensive than the Fenix 7, so it may not be popular with everyone. It would also mean shorter battery life, but a solar edition isn't out of the question. Garmin has registered various patents related to AMOLED displays with tiny photovoltaic cells in between the subpixels, allowing a watch to harvest energy from sunlight without the need to put the company's Power Glass on top (which might make an AMOLED display look muddy).

Another possibility is wireless charging. The recently released Garmin Vivomove Trend was the company's first watch to support Qi charging, allowing you to dispense with the usual USB cable. Slightly shorter battery life might be less of a problem for the Fenix 8 if you can simply place it on a charging mat for a little while.

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.