Garmin's Fenix franchise is by far its most popular wearable (if Reddit forum membership numbers are anything to go by). As such, there is a lot of hype around the next Fenix smartwatch, the Garmin Fenix 8. Garmin hasn't confirmed the launch date or specs of this new smartwatch yet, but we crunched the numbers and evaluated market trends to make an educated guess of where the Fenix line is headed.
The best Garmin watches include many Forerunners and Instincts, but the Fenix always had a special place in everyone's hearts, especially among fans of the best outdoor watches. The Garmin Fenix 8 will succeed the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro launched in May 2023, and as a new flagship model, it might introduce some never-before features.
Garmin has been dominating the performance wearable scene for years (decade?). In fact, the primary competition of the Garmin Fenix line is other rugged Garmin watches, including the Garmin Enduro 2 and the Garmin Epix Gen 2 (and Gen 2 Pro). This often confuses people, as although there are differences between the different watches, they look and perform similarly.
Nevertheless, the Fenix franchise has been going for the longest and, over the years, built a reputation as a stallion in Garmin's stable. As such, people expect the Garmin Fenix 8 to sweep them off their feet; here's what we know so far.
What is the Garmin Fenix 8?
The Garmin Fenix 8 is a rugged multisport watch geared towards outdoor enthusiasts. It has more sensors and features than any mere mortal can fully utilise. These include offline topographic maps, sleep and stress tracking, various training and recovery tools, and more.
The Fenix line is (in)famous for the many case sizes it comes in, as well as the different strap and case material combinations. The current Fenix 7 is available in no less than 34 different variations. We expect the Garmin Fenix 8 to follow suit in this regard.
One of the main USPs of Garmin watches, especially the Fenix line, is the long battery life. The Garmin Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Pro come in Solar and Solar Sapphire versions, both capable of extending battery life when exposed to enough sunshine (lux). The latter combines the solar-harvesting power glass with a Sapphire glass lens, creating the ultimate scratch-free outdoor wearable.
When will the Garmin Fenix 8 be released?
Garmin hasn't officially confirmed the launch date of the Garmin Fenix 8, but based on past Fenix releases, we expect it to launch in Q3 2024, around August/September. An August release is more likely, considering the onslaught of wearable releases in September from Apple and Google, which put a damper on things for Garmin.
The brand hasn't got an official annual event for releasing products, although Garmin occasionally times product announcements for big trade shows like CES. That said, the Kansas City-based wearable giant has a tendency to launch products as and when it wants to.
2023, in particular, was a bumper year of Garmin releases, which included the fab Garmin Forerunner 965, the Garmin Forerunner 265, the Fenix 7 Pro and the Epix Gen 2 Pro, among other models. We don't expect quite as many launches in 2024.
How much will the Garmin Fenix 8 cost?
The big question: how much will the Garmin Fenix 8 cost? As a flagship model, it's never been cheap to buy a Fenix watch, and it's unlikely Garmin will decide to half the price of the wearable for the next iteration.
The original suggested retail price for the Garmin Fenix 7 was £560/ $649/ AU$ 1,000 (base Fenix 7s model). The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro starts from £750/ $800/ AU$ 1,350.
Of course, the Fenix 7 Pro is a 'pro' watch, so we expect the price of the Garmin Fenix 8 to be slightly more than the Fenix 7, around £600/ $700/ AU$ 1,100. This is for the base model only.
As for the Garmin Fenix 8X Sapphire Solar Edition, flagship among flagships, we expect it to retail for around £900 / $950/ AU$ 1,750.
Design and features
There are hardly any rumours about the Garmin Fenix 8 at this point, and we know little about the feature set of the upcoming watch. Garmin introduced the latest Elevate Gen 5 optical heart rate sensor in the Fenix 7 Pro, and since the company doesn't change its sensing platform every year, we think will carry over into the Fenix 8.
It's very likely we won't see an AMOLED screen on the Garmin Fenix 8. That feature is reserved for the Epix line; if Garmin added the AMOLED screen, it might as well get rid of the Epix, which we don't think is likely.
GPS is an important feature in Garmin watches, but we don't expect the system to undergo significant changes for the next iteration. Antennae placement has been tweaked in the Fenix 7 line, and the company has been busy adjusting its SatIQ algorithm to ensure optimal battery life during workout tracking.
Battery life is likely to increase, if only slightly. Ultra-long battery life is reserved for another Garmin wearable (the Enduro), but the Fenix franchise isn't far behind. The current battery life of the Fenix 7X Solar is up to 28 days (37 days with solar), so we expect the Fenix 8X Solar to function for over 30 days (40 days with solar) on a single charge.
The Garmin Connect app was revamped in January 2024, and it would be excellent to change things up a bit on the watch's UI, too. The widget view is excellent, but a slight refresh wouldn't hurt.
Better onboarding would also help Garmin serve data the user actually needs. In a short questionnaire during watch setup, Garmin can find out what the primary goals of the user are and adjust the widget view accordingly. Hardcore runners and cyclists would see more training data, while more casual users could be presented with features such as Body Battery, Sleep Score, etc.