There are lots of guides online about the best GPS watches for women, and the best Garmin watches for women specifically. They almost always focus on the smallest, more fashion-focused devices like the Vivomove and Vivoactive series, the Venu Sq line, and the Lily (which Garmin itself has specifically designed with women in mind).
Are they really the best Garmins for women, though? If you're serious about adventuring, I'd say absolutely not. Go big, or go home.
Personally, I own a Garmin Fenix 7S, and although it's an excellent watch that I love using, ever since using the enormous Garmin Enduro 2, I can't help regretting my choice. It's a compact watch that serves my purposes OK for the most part, but when you're exploring the great outdoors, bigger really is better.
The most obvious factor is screen size, and it was highlighted for me recently when a friend and I followed the same course using our Garmin devices. His larger Enduro meant he had more warning of upcoming turns, had more detailed maps, and generally found things easier. By the time we were done, I had serious watch envy. Sure the Fenix 7S slips under a cuff more easily, but the bigger screen is just so much more useful.
Next, there's battery life. It should come as no surprise that the bigger the watch, the larger the lithium cell within. For example, the Fenix 7S has a battery life of 11 days in smartwatch mode, or 37 hours in GPS mode, whereas the standard size Fenix 7 lasts up to 18 days in smartwatch mode, or 57 hours in GPS mode. Opting for a daintier, more 'ladylike' case means sacrificing a whole week of battery life. Is that really a tradeoff you're willing to make?
If you're willing to go even bigger, the king-sized (or should that be queen-sized?) Fenix 7X lasts up to 28 days in smartwatch mode, or 89 hours in GPS mode without solar charging. Speaking of which, bigger watches also have more photovoltaic material on the face, which allows them to harvest more energy. Another win for plus-sized devices.
Opting for a petite watch also means you're missing out on one of the coolest new features in Garmin's 2022 watches: the built-in flashlight. At the time of writing, this is something you'll only find in the Fenix 7X and the Enduro 2, and it's just so useful (as I discovered during a run through a dark, mile-long tunnel). Honestly, it's hard to overstate the convenience.
I'm planning to keep my current watch for as long as I possible can, but once it finally bites the dust, I'll definitely weigh up the XXL options. When you're exploring, bigger really is better.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).