Garmin Fenix 8: what to expect from the next-gen sports watch

Man checking sports watch during workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Fenix 8 will be the next iteration of Garmin's flagship multi-sports watch, and fans are waiting for it with baited breath, but when is it actually likely to arrive and what features will it bring to the table? 

I've been testing sports watches for years (first as fitness editor for TechRadar and now here at Advnture), so I can make some educated guesses. We used to be able to glean some insights about future Garmin releases through documents registered with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other licensing bodies, but the company tightened things up last year and leaks are now much rarer, so we're unlikely to hear much until close to the official release date. In fact, the company has a history of accidentally leaking its own products via its international websites.

I'll continue to keep my ear to the ground and let you know as soon as I have more details, but for now, these are my top predictions for the Garmin Fenix 8.

Garmin Fenix 8: possible release date

So when can we expect the Fenix 8 to arrive? It's not possible to say for certain (Garmin is always tight-lipped about such things) but the cadence of past releases might give us a hint. The original Garmin Fenix made its debut in 2012, followed by the Fenix 3 in 2015. There was no Fenix 4 because the number sounds like 'death' in Chinese. The Fenix 5 launched in 2017, the Fenix 6 in 2019, and the Fenix 7 in 2022.

There save been various other releases in between, such as the Fenix 5 Plus and Fenix 7 Pro, but as you can see, we usually get a new launch every two or three years, which would take us to 2024 or 2025.

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro and Fenix 7S GPS watches

The Fenix 7 (right) and Fenix 7 Pro (left) launched in 2022 and 2023 respectively (Image credit: Future)

Much as I'd like to see the Fenix 8 sooner rather than later, I think 2025 is more likely due to the launch of the Fenix 7 Pro in summer 2023. It's not impossible to imagine that Garmin may launch a new Fenix just a few months later, but since the 7 Pro has a new heart rate monitor, LED flashlight for all sizes, and ECG sensor, it's hard to think what else the company could add right now.

I'd be happy to be proved wrong, but personally I think a release at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2024 may be most likely.

Garmin Fenix 8: possible new features

So, what will the Fenix 8 bring to our wrists? It'll almost certainly have everything that Garmin introduced with the Fenix 7 Pro, including the company's latest heart rate sensor (with receptors spread over a larger area for improved accuracy) and LED flashlights for all.

The screen type is the biggest difference between the Epix and Fenix series, so unless Garmin devices to merge the two lines, I don't see it switching to AMOLED for the Fenix 8. I would, however, like to see a higher resolution memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen for the new watch, with a brighter, less cool-toned backlight that doesn't muddy on-screen colors.

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro GPS watch with flashlight

The Fenix 8 will likely inherit the LED flashlight of the Fenix 7X and 7 Pro (Image credit: Future)

Hopefully the Fenix 8 will have more internal storage for music, maps and apps (perhaps even coming with more map packs preinstalled, such as the TopoActive maps that have previously needed to be installed through your watch's map manager.

I'd also like to see Garmin add a microphone, like that of the Venu 2 Plus and Venu 3, which would allow you to take calls and use your phone's voice assistant via Bluetooth without touching your handset. When I tested the two Venu watches I found it incredibly useful, and the microphone could also be put to good use for snore detection if Garmin chooses to continue exploring sleep tracking in more depth (it's something offered by some Fitbit devices).

Blood pressure sensing seems like another natural fit for the Garmin Fenix 8. There are various ways that Garmin could go about this. Some watches (like those from Samsung) employ the same optical sensor used for heart rate monitoring to estimate blood pressure, but so far Garmin has elected not to take this route, instead creating a standalone Index BPM blood pressure sensor that syncs with the Garmin Connect app on your phone.

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.