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Tech & Wearables

Reviewed: The New Garmin Enduro 2 Smartwatch

Garmin’s ultra endurance line of smartwatches gets a touch screen, onboard mapping, and a (very) bright LED flashlight—but is it all worth $1,100?

Review Rating


Basics

The Enduro 2 has an insane amount of battery life (550 days of smartwatch with solar in battery save?!?), solar charging, a real flashlight, a touch screen, and now (finally) onboard maps and music.


Pros

More battery life than almost any other Garmin smartwatch

A big touch screen makes onboard mapping navigation easy

Lightweight footprint despite the hefty size

Crazy-bright LED flashlight doubles as a safety feature

Cons

Staggering price

Only a few new hardware upgrades separate this from other high-end Garmins


Weight

69g

Price

$1,100

Brand

Garmin


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A little over a year ago, Garmin launched the Enduro—a new line of smartwatches that targets ultra endurance athletes with a monster battery and solar power. It was a cool concept, but it was almost immediately eclipsed by the new line of Fenix 7 smartwatches that had almost everything the Enduro did, plus onboard mapping, music storage, and in the case of the Fenix 7X, a very cool LED flashlight that actually makes a ton of sense for triathletes who often find themselves navigating a very dark world (think: zero-dark-thirty in transition on race morning). The Enduro 1 was a good idea, but it was a lot of dough for just an ok show. Now, with the Fenix 7 line getting a lot of buzz, Garmin has released the Enduro 2—a watch that looks almost identical to the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Edition. In fact, outside of a few interesting software updates and about 20% more battery life, they’re basically the same watch.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Smartwatch for Triathletes

Garmin Enduro 2 Review: The Basics

The big things you need to know about the Enduro 2 are battery, battery, battery. Garmin says this watch will last 34 days in smartwatch mode (46 days with solar), 110 hours in GPS (150 hours with solar), and 111 days in battery saver smartwatch mode (a ridiculous 555 days with solar). While we can’t verify those numbers because we literally haven’t run down our review model in the couple of weeks we’ve had it, the only watches that Garmin makes that even comes close to those numbers are the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar (28 days smartwatch/37 days solar and 89 hours GPS/122 hours solar) and the Instinct 2—but the latter of the two has no touchscreen, mapping, onboard storage nor many of the other physiological/navigational features that the Fenix shares with the new Enduro.

Elsewhere, updates on the Enduro 2 include the brightest LED flashlight that Garmin’s made (only the Fenix 7X also has an LED flashlight right now),  software updates like an adventure racing app that hides GPS information, grade-adjusted pace (which is actually awesome), Nextfork map guide navigation, and SATIQ tech to help with GPS battery life. It’s a good guess that these features—with the exception of the flashlight, of course—will soon make it onto other upper-end Garmin watches like the new Forerunner 955 and Fenix line, but for now they’re unique to the Enduro 2.

Along with the aforementioned updates, the Enduro 2 is a strong choice for triathletes (pool and open-water swimming, cycling with advanced dynamics, all sorts of running functions, and of course multisport/swimrun/triathlon modes) and trail/ultra runners (built-in topo maps with a touchscreen, hydration tracking, automatic rest timer, ClimbPro and PacePro, and an ultrarun activity mode).

Garmin Enduro 2 Review: The Good

While we liked the first Enduro well enough, it seemed an awful lot like the stepping stone to a better Fenix line—and we were right. The Enduro 2 is much more complete with the addition of built-in onboard maps (and the necessary touchscreen) and music. Furthermore, the bigger battery is great, but the really bright flashlight is probably the best thing going for this watch, in terms of hardware.

The light on the Garmin Enduro 2 reviewed
Enduro 2 on left, Fenix 7X Solar on right.

The software updates are actually really fun too—like the Nextfork map guide for better real-world trail navigation, but of course this only makes sense if you run offroad in unfamiliar places often. Most notably, we really really like the live grade-adjusted pace, a feature that’s been in Strava for a while and now appears on many of Coros’ watches as well. For those who aren’t familiar, grade-adjusted pace lets you know something closer to realtime effort on hilly courses—taking into account grade when giving a minute-per-mile pace. This could be a game-changer for hilly race courses or for those who regularly do workouts in hilly areas.

Garmin Enduro 2 Review: The Ok

Let’s start with this: The Enduro 2 is no steal. Eleven-hundred dollars is a lot of money for a smartwatch that’s not substantially better than many levels of Garmin’s Fenix line or the Coros Vertix 2. For the extra $100 over the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar, you’re getting a little more battery and some software that’ll probably be baked into an upcoming update (though I could be wrong). Of course if battery is your number-one concern, and you don’t like the Coros ecosystem, then maybe the price is worth it to you.

Price aside, there’s not much to complain about, unless you don’t like watches with a big footprint. The Enduro 2 is exactly as large as the 51mm Fenix lines, though it is quite light at 69g—compared to our Fenix 7X Solar that weighed in at 94g.

Enduro 2 on left, Fenix 7X Solar on right.
Enduro 2 on left, Fenix 7X Solar on right.

Garmin Enduro 2 Review: Conclusions

If you’re looking at the real competitors on this watch, it’s the Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire, the Coros Vertix 2, and maybe the Suunto 9 Baro (but probably not). These are the big screen, big battery, touchscreen grandaddys that make up the top-end of the smartwatch feeding chain. I appreciate that Garmin stretched the battery life on the Fenix 7 line a few more days/hours, and I do honestly like the styling of the Enduro 2 face, but you’re not getting a whole lot that’s novel or new.

Do I love the Enduro 2? Yes, of course. It’s a kitchen sink watch that I can swim/bike/run/hike/race with for nearly a month without even thinking about a charge. And yes, the flashlight might seem like a novelty until you get used to having it or need it for safety reasons—something no other brand of smartwatch has, yet. (Triathletes and ultrarunners benefit from this little big feature more than anyone else.) That said, if I had a $1000 budget to spend on a new smartwatch, there’s a good chance I’d reach for the new Enduro 2, as Garmin has finally completely checked all boxes on a multisport wristwatch with absolutely no caveats, aside from price.

RELATED: The Best Triathlon Smartwatches of 2022, Reviewed