When I first heard Garmin was launching the Enduro 2, I was equal measures excited and confused. My excitement came from being able to test and review a new Garmin watch – always my favourite thing to do – and my confusion rose from the fact that I couldn't understand who would buy something like the Garmin Enduro 2, a rugged endurance watch aimed at ultramarathon runners. Surely, people would rather buy a Fenix than an Enduro?
Despite the niche target market and the very high asking price, Garmin is clearly keen on keeping the Enduro franchise alive, even though the Enduro 2 is almost the spitting image of the Garmin Fenix 7X, one of the best Garmin watches ever and certainly my fave from all the releases this year. I like the Garmin Epix Gen 2 and the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, but I always had a soft spot for the Fenix.
At least, that was the case until I spent a month with the Garmin Enduro 2, which convinced me that the Enduro 2 is now, simply put, a better premium outdoor watch than the Fenix 7X. They look the same, but where there is a difference in performance, the Enduro 2 wins in all categories (apart from the price). The Enduro 2 isn't just the best Garmin premium outdoor watch; it's the best outdoor watch overall. Easy as that. (If you need a refresher on what the previous one looked like, check out my Garmin Enduro review.)
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Price and availability
The Garmin Enduro 2 was announced on 9 August 2022 and is available to buy now directly from Garmin US, Garmin UK and Garmin AU for a recommended retail price of $1,100/£929.99/AU$1,749. For the best prices, check out the price widget at the top and bottom of this review.
In comparison, the more expensive carbon version of the OG Enduro retails for a measly $899.99/£619.99/AU$1,399, so the new model is significantly more expensive than its predecessor. You can even buy the Enduro via third-party retailers such as SportsShoes.com for even cheaper.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – What's new?
The Garmin Enduro 2 might as well be a completely different watch than the original Enduro. Well, they look similar, but the new Enduro 2 takes after the latest Fenix watches more than its predecessor. I won't go through all the differences, only highlight the big ticket changes, of which the first one is the improved battery life. In standard GPS mode, the Enduro 2 is said to last 40% longer on a full charge than the Garmin Enduro.
This is due to optimisations, but also the new and improved Power Glass that harvests light energy more efficiently. Plus, the new version fuses a durable, scratch-resistant sapphire glass lens with solar-harvesting material, so you get the best of both worlds. Absolutely stunning stuff.
Another huge change is the inclusion of topographic maps, which were weirdly excluded originally. Now, you can enjoy point-to-point navigation, routes, maps etc. Navigating is even easier thanks to the also new touchscreen. Finally, the Enduro 2 also features the physical flashlight everyone loved in the Fenix 7X, but it's even brighter than that.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Build quality
The Garmin Enduro 2 is a super-premium smartwatch, that also happens to be a rugged outdoor watch. The Power Sapphire glass lens isn't only pretty, but it's also scratch-resistant, which can come in handy when you're exploring the wilderness. The bezel is made of titanium – light yet tough – and the watch case is fibre-reinforced polymer with titanium rear cover. The case is has a water rating of 10 ATM.
Despite all the weight savings left-right-centre, the enduro 2 still weighs 70 grams (case only: 64 grams); not the lightest smartwatch on the market. It's lighter than the Fenix 7X, but only if you take the interchangeable strap into account, as the nylon strap used by the Enduro is much lighter than the Fenix's silicone band.
The 'sunlight-visible' memory-in-pixel display is 1.4″ (35.56 mm) in diameter and has a resolution of 280 x 280 pixels. It's very similar to other large Garmin watch screens – not necessarily a bad thing – but due to its large size, there is plenty of space for your fingers to operate the watch. You can also control the watch using the five physical buttons located around the edge of the case, laid out in the usual Garmin fashion.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Battery life and GPS performance
The Enduro 2 has insane battery life. Back in the day, when I first reviewed the original Enduro, I couldn't get over the fact of how long the battery lasted on the watch; now, it lasts even longer in GPS mode, thanks to the improvements to the Power Glass and battery optimisation features such as SatIQ.
SatIQ is a GPS technology that determines the optimal GPS mode based on your environment. SatIQ switches between battery modes depending on your surroundings to ensure you always get a good signal without having to use the Max Accuracy GPS mode (as that drains the battery the most).
How long is the battery life, then?! The Garmin Enduro 2 can function up to 46 days in smartwatch mode and up to 150 hours in GPS mode – compare this to the Fenix 7X (37 days/122 hours with solar) and the Enduro (65 days/80 hours with solar). As you can see, the battery life in smartwatch mode actually decreased, probably because of the addition of health features, but the GPS battery life is absolutely out of this world. And yes, the Enduro 2 uses Garmin's latest multi-band GNSS system for better accuracy and faster signal recovery.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Activity tracking and sports modes
As mentioned above, a big change is that the Enduro 2 now has preloaded TopoActive maps. Maps were not included on the OG Enduro, which was super strange, considering that the watch was aimed at trail people. However, the Enduro 2 doctors this issue, and you can finally use your sausage fingers to operate the maps thanks to the touchscreen display! So much fun.
There are two exciting trail-running-specific new features: NextFork and Grade-adjusted Pace. You can read more about them in an article I wrote about the new features here: What are Garmin's NextFork and Grade-adjusted Pace features?
When activated, NextFork embeds the trail names and remaining distance on the map screen, so you’ll be aware of upcoming ‘forks’ on your route. This is very cool, as the watch can now predict your path and forecast intersections, which was only available in pre-loaded routes previously.
Grade-adjusted pace uses different types of mapping, which include elevation data, enabling the watch to ‘see’ what gradient you’re running up. This data is then interpreted by an algorithm that reverse-engineers it to show you what pace would be on a flat surface. Another impressive tool that helps people understand their efforts better, which can e especially beneficial for less experienced runners.
There are, of course, quadrillion sports modes on the watch, and it can also provide you with VO2 max, training status, training readiness and heart rate variability estimations to help you train and recover more efficiently. As expected from a high-end Garmin watch, these features work in perfect unison – there is also running power and the Morning Report coming to the Enduro 2 soon.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – GPS performance
The Garmin Enduro 2 has the best GPS battery life on the market – but is it accurate? I was a bit cautious about the new SatIQ algorithm when I first heard about it, and based on my empirical experience; it needs further refinement before I can commit to using it all the time.
Don't get me wrong; I love the concept of the watch making a decision for me about which GPS mode to use. Being a sucker for accurate GPS, I usually set my Garmin watches to Max Accuracy mode to ensure the watch can follow my position as closely as possible. Admittedly, this drains the battery, and I can also imagine it's useless to have it on when I'm out in a park or something.
This is SatIQ comes in. When activated, it checks how strong the GPS signal is and adjusts the mode accordingly. If you're out in the open, single-band GNSS will do; in an urban environment, it might switch back to multi-band. This is all dandy, but Garmin doesn't disclose any information about the feature, so it's hard to tell how often SatIQ scans and how well it does its job of switching modes. And as a result, GPS performance wasn't as good as I expected on some occasions.
I feel there is a fine balance to work out here: the watch shouldn't be scanning all the time as it depletes the battery, but it should check frequently enough so it detects a change in the environment quickly enough. Maybe some sort of machine learning algorithm would help that takes your location into account and checks more frequently when you're in a busy area.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Heart rate accuracy
The Garmin Enduro 2 uses the Elevate v4 heart rate sensor, Garmin's latest and most accurate optical heart rate sensor yet. It's the same sensor found in the Garmin Venu 2 and all subsequent Garmin watches. I was super impressed with its accuracy when it was launched, and since then, Garmin has rolled out many software and algo updates, so you can rest assured the Enrudo 2 will be able to track your heart rate accurately, no matter what sport you do.
That said, the watch is the most comfortable tracking runs, cycles, and other endurance-style workouts. Measuring heart rate on the wrist is extremely tricky, and watch companies use their refined algorithms to guess what your heart rate is at any given point. These algorithms work out heart rate when it's relatively steady but often average out quick spikes, thinking they are due to interference.
For tracking HIIT and strength workouts, you're better off using something like the Whoop 4.0 or the Polar Verity Sense. However, there isn't a better watch to track off-road running than the Garmin Enduro 2, especially if you like to go the distance.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Other features
The Garmin Enduro 2 has a physical flashlight similar to the Fenix 7X. As a matter of fact, it's Garmin's brightest flashlight to date! It's said to be twice as bright as Fenix 7X's flashlight, and it provides an optional strobe mode to match your cadence or a red safety light mode that 'allows users to see and be seen'.
Being a proper smartwatch, the Garmin Enduro 2 has a number of health, fitness and smart features, including sleep and stress monitoring, respiration rate tracking, weather notifications, sunset/sunrise times, a digital compass, step tracking, blood oxygen measurements, calorie consumption estimation and more. It also has internal memory to store offline music.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Verdict
Initially, I was confused why Garmin wanted to keep the Enduro alive, especially after launching the Epix Gen 2 in January. Why would you keep producing watches that look and perform almost the same? Why would you create competition for your own wearables?
After testing the Enduro 2 and spending more time with the Fenix 7X, I think I know the answer (kind of). The Enduro 2 is the ultimate outdoor watch – its battery life, and features make it more competent than the top-of-the-line Fenix, the Fenix 7X. However, the Enduro 2 isn't a casual smartwatch, unlike the Fenix line, which comes in a myriad of sizes and materials, making it a better option for people who like the aesthetics and features of outdoor watches, but don't roam the wilderness every weekend.
Right now, the Garmin Enduro 2 is the best choice for endurance athletes at any level to track their training. Granted, if you're a beginner runner wanting to track your local park run sessions, buying the Enduro 2 is absolute overkill. If you take training – especially off-road workouts – seriously and want a wearable that can keep up with you, your best option is the Garmin Enduro 2.
Garmin Enduro 2 review – Also consider
The Suunto Vertical has excellent mapping features, long battery life and excellent build quality. The CPU could be faster, and the screen brighter, but overall, the Suunto Vertical isn't the worst option for outdoor navigation. Read my full Suunto Verticval review.
The Coros Apex 2 Pro offers an updated heart rate sensor, dual-frequency GPS chip, trail running and outdoor sports modes galore, rugged titanium bezel and sapphire glass lens, an okay touchscreen display, and a lot of training support via the Coros app and the Coros EvoLab. It might not be as premium-looking as the Garmin Enduro 2, but that's far from being an issue for this price. Read my full Coros Apex 2 Pro review.
I was thinking long and hard about recommending the Apple Watch Ultra here, but I can't get around not mentioning it. In my humble option, the Apple Watch Ultra isn't on par with any of the watches mentioned in this Garmin Enduro 2 review due to its short battery life, but it has some cool features and is an excellent dive watch if that's what you're after. Read Mat's full Apple Watch Ultra review for more info.