It's been an extremely busy year for Garmin. It all kicked off with the arrival of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus on 4 January (the company's first watch with a microphone), with the Fenix 7 and Epix arriving just a couple of days later. At the time I was working as fitness editor on Advnture's sister site TechRadar, and I soon found myself wishing I'd received a few extra arms for Christmas.
I didn't have time to hang around, though. In February the company launched the long-awaited Instinct 2 in standard, solar, surf. tactical, and camo flavors, and two sizes. In May, it also threw the Instinct Dezl into the mix as a watch built specifically for professional truckers.
The long-awaited Forerunner 255 and 955 landed in June, followed by the Enduro 2 in August. We knew the two Forerunners were on their way thanks to a drizzle of little leaks, but the new Enduro was a real surprise.
The new Garmin Marq II series debuted in October, comprising five luxury timepieces fine-tuned for different lifestyles. I've just received the Marq II Adventure for testing, and will bring you a full review in the new year.
In September we got the Garmin Venu Sq 2 and in November were finally treated to the Instinct Crossover – the chunky lovechild of a GPS sports tracker and an analog field watch. Finally, the company rounded off the year with the Garmin Bounce: a kid-friendly activity watch with LTE so little ones can safely exchange messages with parents without using a phone.
With so many options, you might think it'd be tough to choose a favorite, but for me, one watch clearly outshines the others, literally and metaphorically: the Garmin Enduro 2.
What makes the Enduro 2 so special?
First, about that shine. One of the Enduro 2's best features is its built-in flashlight, which shines out of the top of its housing whenever you double-press the backlight button. It can be used to find keyholes at night, illuminate under your fridge if you've dropped something in the kitchen, or light your way while you run (as I found when I tested it in a dark, mile-long tunnel). It can ever strobe in time with your swinging arm, helping make you extra visible to others at night.
The Fenix 7X has a flashlight as well, but it's not as bright as the Enduro 2's. It's something I really miss, having returned the device after testing.
Another feature I loved was the UltraFit band, in all its hook-and-loop glory. Garmin's usual QuickFit silicone bands are fine, but the Enduro's nylon and Velcro strap allows you to fine-tune the fit, and is breathable so there's no disgusting sweaty stripe around your wrist post-workout.
I've looked for something similar to fit my Fenix 7S, but so far not found anything that compares. It's just so comfy, and the lack of metal components makes it super light as well.
Then there's the screen. It might not have the AMOLED beauty of the Garmin Epix but the Enduro 2's memory-in-pixel display is great for navigating because it's absolutely huge.
Much as I enjoy using my Fenix 7S, its small display means it isn't really cut out for pathfinding. The tiny screen can only show a tiny sliver of map, and you won't see the next turn until you're almost there. The Enduro 2, on the other hand, gives you acres of space, allowing you to see corners well in advance and plan accordingly, making sure you don't take a wrong turn (or helping you see where you have).
When it comes to workout tracking, the Enduro 2 has a very similar feature set to the Fenix 7 range. However, it has them all beat with regards to battery life. That enormous screen is covered in a layer of Garmin's Power Glass, which allows it to harvest a little solar energy each time you go outdoors. Pair that with a huge battery, and you've got yourself a winner.
Making regular use of the fun flashlight will make a dent in the battery's longevity, but in my experience only a small one. Pick one of the preset power-saving modes, or create your own by tweaking the settings, and you can stretch it out even further.
With regular GPS-tracked runs and frequent flashlight use, the Enduro 2 kept on trucking for around three weeks on a single charge, which is excellent (and explains Garmin poking fun at the Apple Watch Ultra's 36-hour battery life).
All in all, it's my favorite Garmin watch released this year. It won't suit everyone (particularly those who don't want a dinner plate on their wrist), but it's just so useful, and I find its size an asset rather than a setback.
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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.