Garmin might have just launched its last watches of 2023: a trio of eye-wateringly expensive devices decked out in 130 layers of carbon fiber. So what's coming next?
It's certainly been a busy year for Garmin, starting with the launch of the Vivomove Trend on 1 February, followed by the Forerunner 265 and 965, Instinct 2X Solar, Epix 2 Pro, Fenix 7 Pro, Venu 3, Vivoactive 5, and finally the Marq Carbon Collection.
I'm expecting that to continue in 2024 with the release of plenty more new devices – and potentially some new flagships. These ideas are only speculation at the moment, but I've been reporting on Garmin watches for many years (starting at Advnture's sister site TechRadar), so they're informed predictions.
1. Fewer early leaks
In previous years, we've often been able to get an idea about upcoming Garmin watches when they receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC publishes a list of all wireless communication devices that have been tested and greenlit for sale in the US, but the last couple of Garmin launches have come as a surprise because the company has asked the FCC to delay posting anything until the official launch date.
However, retailers still slip up sometimes. In March this year the first pictures of the unreleased Garmin Instinct 2X appeared online via German tech site WinFuture, whose writers got their hands one early marketing renders, and in August a US store accidentally put Venu 3 boxes on its shelves before launch day.
2. Garmin Fenix 8
In January 2024, the Fenix 7 will celebrate its second birthday. Garmin's usual release cadence was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but prior to that, it has typically launched a new Fenix every other year, so it's now due.
We only got out hands on the Fenix 7 Pro a few scant months ago, but I don't think that's going to affect things. After all, the company launched the Forerunner 265 and 965 less than a year after the 255 and 955. The real question is, what can Garmin bring to the next generation? The Fenix 7 Pro has a flashlight and new heart rate sensor, and a new watch will a significant new selling point to stand out.
The answer might be Garmin inReach. With the Apple Watch Ultra (and now the Ultra 2), Garmin is now facing some stiff competition in the outdoor sector, and one thing those two devices have that Garmin doesn't currently offer is the ability to make calls or send an SOS without a phone. A Garmin watch with satellite communication that would allow you to send an interactive SOS to the InReach control center could be a game-changer, putting you in touch with emergency services anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, Garmin might revisit LTE. The company has only released two watches with data plans to date, the Forerunner 945 LTE and the Bounce, neither of which is capable of actually making calls. It would certainly be big change for the Fenix series, and one that would justify a whole new model.
3. Garmin Epix (Gen 3)
Again, we've only just had our mitts on the Epix (Gen 2) Pro, but why let that stop progress? More watches!
It's been several years since Garmin began registering patents for technology that would allow it to integrate photovoltaic cells into an AMOLED display. The Epix seems like the ideal device for this technology to make its debut. The Gen 2's screen is bright and high-res, making it great for maps, but its battery life doesn't quite match that of watches with similarly sized memory-in-pixel (MiP) screens. If that battery could get a little boost from sunlight, it would be a much more tempting prospect.
Whether it has solar charging or not, the next Epix is likely to get the same upgrades under the hood as the Fenix 8.
4. Garmin Vivomove 4
There are heaps of different iterations of the Vivomove 3, but it's a long time since the device has had a major upgrade. The latest addition, the Vivomove Trend, was the first Garmin watch to feature wireless charging, but brought little else to the party.
The Vivomove 4 could be a huge step up, with Garmin's new heart rate sensor (as featured in the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro), and the ability to take calls from your phone via Bluetooth like the Venu 2 Plus and Venu 3.
The biggest upgrade, however, would be to give the Vivomove its own GPS chip. When I tested the Trend, I found it incredibly frustrating waiting for the watch to establish a satellite lock via my phone, and even after it did, the results were pretty poor.
5. Garmin Lily 2
This is a bit of a wildcard, but the Lily was a likeable little watch, and it'll be three years old in January, so a revamp would be welcome. It was more a fitness tracker than a fully fledged smartwatch, but it filled that particular niche very nicely (and its connected GPS was far better than that of the Vivomove Trend, surprisingly).
The most obvious upgrade for this little watch would be Garmin's new heart rate monitor and sleep coaching tools. This is a lifestyle device rather than a sports watch, so it makes sense for it to get more general health tracking tools rather than its own GPS chip and advanced workout features.
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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.