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Here’s the situation: You’re looking for a new smartwatch. Specifically, you’re looking for a new smartwatch that’ll help get you in shape for summer, with oodles of fitness- and health-tracking features. You’ve narrowed your shopping list to Apple and Garmin. So, basically, you’ve done everything but decide: Should you get the latest Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 7? Or, should you buy one of the new Garmin smartwatches, such as the Fēnix 7 Series? This is where we come in. We’re here to help you find which model’s right for you.
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Why the Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch for you
If you’re an Apple iOS-friendly household, then the Apple Watch Series 7 is a no-brainer. You’re already set up to integrate your smartwatch with your Apple devices. This should make tracking your fitness goals via your iPhone, for instance, a breeze. The Apple Watch Series 7 comes in two sizes: the 41mm and the 45mm.
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm)
The Apple Watch Series 7 with a 41mm case features 20% more display-screen area than the Apple Watch Series 6. It works as an activity tracker, and can monitor your sleep. Download apps to check your blood oxygen, and to administer a heart-beat-measuring electrocardiogram. Tap into its yoga, meditation and other workout programs via Apple Fitness+. (Apple Fitness+ is a subscription service. It costs $9.99 a month; Apple Watch buyers get the first month free.)
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm)
The 45mm version of the Apple Watch Series 7 basically does everything the 41mm version does, except it does it bigger: It’s the biggest Apple Watch to date. Both the 41mm and 45mm versions are compatible with a number of sold-separately, cool-looking. (Click here for our guide to .)
Why a Garmin smartwatch is the best smartwatch for you
If you want a hardcore exercise partner that’s easy to work with, then a Garmin smartwatch may be the wearable for you. Unlike the Apple Watch, which can only be paired with an Apple iPhone, a Garmin smartwatch can work with either an iOS or Android device via the Garmin Connect app. (There are compatibility requirements for the app; you can find them on the Garmin site.)
Garmin Instinct 2 Series
The Garmin Instinct 2 Series was introduced in February. It’s built not just to be worn, but to be actively worn. It’s an outdoorsy, thermal- and shock-resistant GPS smartwatch that boasts damage- and scratch-resistant glass. It measures your heart rate, stress level, sleep metrics, blood oxygen, your fitness age and more. It delivers daily workout prompts, comes with built-in workout and sport apps and even tracks your mountain-biking stats, if any. Download apps from Garmin’s Garmin Connect IQ store to up the watch’s game even more, and track everything from hydration to menstrual cycles. The battery will last up to 30 hours in GPS mode — and up to 28 days in smartwatch mode. Or get the solar version for what Garmin says will be unlimited battery life.
The Instinct 2 Series comes in two case sizes: 40mm and 45mm. It also comes in a range of editions, from standard to surf and more. Pictured above is the 40mm, solar, standard-edition Instinct 2 in mist gray. This version of the watch lists for $450.
In general, the Garmin Instinct 2 Series lists for $350 and up.
The premium Garmin Epix, launched in January, is not just another outdoor-ready Garmin smartwatch — it’s an outdoor-ready Garmin smartwatch with a luxe look. Billed as a “premium multisport watch,” the Epix features an AMOLED display, and, in a nice touch, comes with preloaded maps to thousands of golf courses and ski resorts worldwide. It boasts a number of health- and fitness-monitoring powers, and includes features that’ll help you on the next ski run, or surfing wave. The battery runs for 16 days in smartwatch mode, and 42 hours in GPS mode. The Garmin Epix lists at $900 and up. The Sapphire-White Titanium model (pictured) goes for $1,000.
Garmin Fēnix 7 Series
The latest iteration of Garmin’s Fēnix line of multisport smartwatches, the Garmin Fēnix 7 Series, released in January, features a touchscreen, a hands-free, multi-LED flashlight, and offers what Garmin says is upgraded “daily smartwatch interaction and map navigation.” It comes with multiple Garmin-esque perks, including built-in workouts, performance metrics, health and wellness sensors, ski-course maps, golf-course maps and mountain-biking-trek tracking.
Like the Garmin Instinct 2 Series, the Garmin Fēnix 7 Series comes in a solar-powered model – a model that can deliver up to five weeks‘ worth of battery life in smartwatch mode (and up to five days in GPS mode).
The Garmin Fēnix 7 Series comes in three case sizes: 42mm; 47mm; and, 51mm. And you have your choice of three editions: standard; solar; or the top-line sapphire solar version. The watch lists for $700 and up. The 42mm, solar-powered Fēnix 7S in rose gold is pictured. It goes for $800.
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