The Garmin Enduro™ multisport GPS smartwatch
Written By: SportsShoes
Go the distance with the new Garmin Enduro™ ultra-performance multisport GPS smartwatch. With customisable power management modes and a Power Glass™ solar charging lens harvesting the power of the sun to extend battery life - get Garmin’s longest lasting GPS battery life to date. Prepare for even the longest races with advanced training features, including trail run VO2 max, ultrarun rest timer and the ClimbPro feature, which provides real-time information on your current and upcoming climbs, descents and flats. Stay in top form with an enhanced recovery timer and workout recommendations based on your sleep and wellness data. And navigate the most challenging environments with multi-GNSS support and a barometric altimeter and compass.
To find out more about the new Garmin Enduro™, we asked our Sportsshoes.com Trail Running Ambassador, Ben Mounsey, to put this new smartwatch to the test and to find out exactly how it differs from the Garmin Fenix™6 range.
WHAT ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE NEW GARMIN ENDURO™ AND THE GARMIN FENIX™ 6 RANGE?
The Enduro™ carries a separate identity to the Fenix™ 6 and is specifically aimed at passionate ultra-distance and endurance athletes who are looking for the longest battery life possible and who consider super lightweight design as a major factor in a GPS device. It is for those who want a rugged, purpose-built smartwatch with advanced training features, specific to trail and ultra-distance activities.
UNRIVALLED BATTERY LIFE
Undoubtedly, the stand-out feature of this new smartwatch is its exceptional battery life. The Enduro™ is far superior in this respect to all models in the Garmin range, or indeed any other comparable smartwatch on the market.
It has a higher battery capacity at 506 mAh and the low power Enduro™ processor platform allows for better power efficiency. The screen is made of Power Glass™, a solar charging lens technology, with improved solar charging performance. It has 50% extra solar gain compared to the Fenix™ 6X, up to 78h of battery in GPS and 200 days with solar power (in battery saver mode).
After testing the device for several weeks, I can concur that the battery life is far superior to any smartwatch that I’ve ever used before. The Power Manager setting gives me full awareness and control of the battery life, which currently indicates that I have 49 days left before I need to charge my device. Obviously, this figure will reduce the more I use it to record physical activity, however, solar charging from the wrist will also help to prolong the battery life, thereby reducing the frequency of having to recharge. Personally, it is quite rare that I ever require a smartwatch to perform for hours and hours at a time, as I don’t class myself as an ultra-runner. However, at the end of 2020, I did run the entire length of the 124km Dales Way, self-supported, taking almost 24 hours to complete. During this lengthy challenge, I had to charge my smartwatch by using a powerbank, something that I remember was extremely annoying at the time. It was 3am, my hands were cold, I had to carry the extra weight of the powerbank and then remove the smartwatch from my wrist to carry it in my pocket whilst it recharged. Solid proof indeed that having extended and superior battery life is arguably the most important factor in a smartwatch for an ultra-distance athlete. As ultra-distance races and FKT/record breaking challenges become increasingly more popular in the world of trail running, a device like the Garmin Enduro™ is quite simply worth its weight in gold.
The Garmin Enduro™ is built for performance and durability. It has a tough reinforced polymer housing, strengthened Corning Gorilla Glass and a protective metal bezel and rear cover for best integrity. It also has a water rating of 10 ATM and is Mil-Std-810 tested.
However, I should point out that these are all shared features of models in the Fenix™ 6 range.
So, what’s new?
A major difference between the Enduro™ and its Garmin predecessors is ultra-lightweight performance. The new band design allows for a much lighter, improved every day fit. Made from nylon flex, the new QuickFit bands are easy to use, adjust and extremely comfortable to wear. At just 72g for Steel or 58g for Titanium models, the new Enduro™ is up to 25% lighter than the Fenix™ 6.
This new rugged, ultra-lightweight design is by far one of my favourite features of the Enduro™. Cursed with super-thin and very bony wrists, I’ve never enjoyed wearing watches for extended periods of time. Usually, I struggle to find models that feel comfortable to wear and traditional straps don’t always allow for an exact or fully personalised fit. For this very reason, I’ve never slept in a smartwatch and therefore never felt the full benefits of owning a smartwatch to track important elements like sleep and resting heart rate. But the Enduro™ is different. Its ultra-lightweight design and adjustable nylon wrist band provides the most comfortable fit of any smartwatch I’ve previously worn. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that I forget I’m wearing it most of the time! I wear it all day and every day, not only to monitor exercise and performance, but for my complete lifestyle. And those in any doubt that a nylon strap might not be as secure or robust as a traditional rubber strap, need not be concerned at all. The Garmin Enduro™ is tough, durable and completely fit for purpose.
UNIQUE TRAIL RUNNING TRAINING FEATURES
It’s fair to say that both the Enduro™ and Fenix™ 6 models share many similarities and features; not everything about this latest Garmin model is revolutionary in design. Both use the same satellites for GPS performance, both provide navigation experience with waypoint projection, track, and route navigation, both have a built in HR wrist sensor and both share the same smart, safety, multi-sport activity and training planning features.
So, what is different?
In short, the Enduro™ has many new trail and ultra-running focused features. The new Trail VO2 max, has been specifically developed to provide accurate VO2 max readings for trail running activities. The new Ultra Run App, with new rest timer, is designed to track time at aid stations and during rest stops. The new ClimbPro Trail is a trail running optimized version of the ClimbPro (a feature of Fenix™ 6 models). This provides more detailed information about climb gradient, distance and elevation gain on ascents and descents for pre-planned courses, plus splits for ascent, flat and descent sections of a run to better track performance. The Enduro™ also has an Enhanced Recovery Time, which is a more holistic approach with wellness information, to take into account before, after and during sleep and continually auto-adjusts. Finally, the new Recommended Workout, provides guidance on what kind of training you should do next, based on your fitness level, training status, training load and recovery advisor.
Personally, what I have found most useful from these additional trail running features is the ClimbPro Trail. When using a planned route stored on my smartwatch, I’m able to view the terrain profile in real time and analyse my position as a whole, or for individual climbs. This is particularly useful because you can see your overall route progress, but also view each and every ascent in much more detail e.g. your current position on the climb, vertical speed and elevation gain in sections and overall. Having this information so easily accessible and readily available during exercise, allows you to better judge and control your pace when climbing, particularly over ultra-distances, as you can plan your efforts on individual climbs and for the entire route.
Another observation I’ve made is the quality of the Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor (HRM). I am obsessed with monitoring my heart rate, both resting and during performance, and have always found that HRM chest straps offer the most accurate readings. Whilst I still believe this to be true, I have found that the in-built Enduro™ HRM is very accurate and I can confidently use and trust the data that it provides. So much so, that I don’t always feel the need to wear my Garmin chest strap during training.
Something I love about Garmin GPS devices, as a whole, is the clarity of information on the screen during exercise. The ability to view things like the distance you have covered, your heart rate and current pace at a super-quick glance is particularly useful when travelling at speed.
I also find Garmin software and the Garmin Connect™ app very easy to use - planning and uploading workouts and training sessions has never been easier. I rarely read instruction manuals, so the fact I can do this without any guidance is testament to the simplicity and design of the Garmin Connect™ interface.
DOES THE ENDURO™ LIVE UP TO THE HYPE AND IS IT WORTH THE EXTRA MONEY?
To conclude, the Garmin Enduro™ is not a smartwatch for everyone. If you are a beginner to the sport, or have little, or no interest in ultra-distance activities, then this is probably not the model for you. As I’ve previously mentioned, most models within the Garmin range share many of the same features and it’s a case of finding the right smartwatch for you in terms of your training and performance needs.
However, if superior battery life, ultra-lightweight design and access to the most detailed and specific training data for ultra-distance off-road activities are all things at the very top of your list of priorities for a smartwatch, then as Garmin’s top end trail running model, it is most certainly, in my opinion, the best ultra-performance multisport GPS smartwatch on the market. Designed to go the distance, the Garmin Enduro™ is a serious device for the serious athlete.
The Garmin Enduro™ is now available in two models; The Enduro™ Silver (72g) and the Enduro™ Black DLC Titanium (58g).