Garmin has just rolled out a new beta software update that adds some long-awaited features to the Fenix 7, Epix (Gen 2) and Quatix watches, but if you choose to take the plunge and join the testing program, there are a few quirks you should be aware of.
The update to software version 9.28 adds some extremely handy features that were introduced with the Garmin Forerunner 955 back in June: heart rate variability (HRV) and training readiness. HRV gives you an idea of how your body is responding to the stresses and strains of daily life, while training readiness lets you know how well prepared you are for your next workout, and how you can expect to perform.
Both HRV and training readiness (which is calculated using HRV and other factors) are very personal, so rather than just giving you a figure based on general averages, your Garmin watch will track your heart for 19 nights to establish a baseline. Once that's done, you'll receive tailored reports that explain how your nightly HRV compares to your typical values and what that means, and how well you can expect to perform during your daily workout (with color-coding so you can check it at a glance).
They're both great training tools, and unlike Garmin's all-day stress tracking, they give you a general picture of your body's responses over time. However, if you own more than one Garmin device, you might find yourself disappointed, because even if they both support HRV and training readiness, data won't sync between them.
Be aware before downloading
I've tested the Garmin Forerunner 955 overnight for long enough to establish a baseline, and have enjoyed the insight into my body's responses. However, now that I've shipped that review device back to Garmin and returned to my own Garmin Fenix 7, there's a problem. Despite having downloaded the 9.28 beta and being able to see the HRV and training status widgets, I can no longer see my baseline data is no longer in either the Garmin Connect mobile app, or on the watch itself.
It looks like I'll have to keep wearing my watch every night for 19 days before I can get that detailed, personalized information back.
Of course, the whole point of a public beta program is to identify bugs that haven't been discovered earlier in testing, and it's possible that any pre-release software will have issues. However, this particular issue could be particularly frustrating and something that's worth being aware of if you use multiple watches.
I've reported the bug through Garmin's forums, and hopefully it'll be resolved before software version 9.28 rolls out to all Fenix 7, Quatix 7, and Epix (Gen 2) owners.
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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.