Garmin Enduro review: Garmin's newest smartwatch is currently also the most advanced
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Case and Equipment – No touchscreen
Initially, the Enduro stands out with its size: with a diameter of 1.4 inches, the color transflective Memory-in-Pixel display (MIP) is just as large as that of the Fenix 6X, which is the largest Fenix model. Garmin reserves the data storage for music and storage cards to the Pro models of the Fenix series. Just like the other Fenix sport computers, the Enduro also has to manage with 64 MB and is only able to control the music playing on the smartphone.
The rest of the equipment is very similar. In addition to GPS, a barometric altitude sensor, 3-axis compass, gyroscope, acceleration sensor, thermometer, heart rate sensor, and blood oxygen saturation sensor, the Enduro also supports contactless payment via Garmin Pay.
The Enduro does not have a brightness sensor. While the display can be optionally illuminated, you can also partly or completely deactivate the background illumination. Thanks to the technology of the color transflective MIP, the display can almost always be easily read in bright as well as dark surroundings. Garmin has covered this with a "Power Glass," which contains a solar charging lens.
The case with its neon-yellow accented crown and bezel is optionally available in stainless steel or titanium. Aside from the visual appearance, the latter brings 15 g (~0.5 oz) less weight to the scale and costs an additional premium of 100 Euros (~$120). Both models come with an UltraFit nylon watchband that can be replaced if needed. We did not appreciate the handling necessary to open and close the two velcro fasteners during the test. On the other hand, the elastic band left a positive impression during the training. While the silicone bands of the author are often wet after a training, just like the skin underneath, the double layered band, which is made from an antimicrobial nylon fabric, as well as the wrist remained almost dry.
Setup and Operation – Apps can be expanded
The Garmin Enduro can also be used without a smartphone. Using the included data cable, a computer will still connect it with your Garmin account and also install updates.
If you connect it with the smartphone, you need the Garmin Connect app for Android or iOS, and optionally also the Garmin ConnectIQ app to install additional apps such as Komoot, Wikiloc Trains, or Find my Car.
Since the Enduro does not have a touchscreen, you can control the recording of the training, select apps or menus, or flip between data pages and widgets using five keys on the sides.
In contrast to the way we are used to from wearables with a touchscreen, widgets don't take up the whole screen with Garmin. Instead, they form a vertical list, each with an informational overview of the corresponding app, as you can see in the image below on the left.
A keypress on the Enduro also opens the QuickPanel for important or often used options that you usually access with a vertical gesture on other common smartwatches. In addition, you can individually assign a total of seven functions that you can trigger by either a long press or pressing two keys simultaneously.
Phone Calls and Notifications
The Enduro signals an incoming phone call including the caller ID. If the watch is connected to an Android smartphone, alternatively to accepting or rejecting the call, you can also send the caller an SMS. If you accept the call, you then have to take it on your smartphone.
Notifications will display Emojis and are easily readable on the large display. If necessary, longer notifications are spread out over several screens that you can flip through using the keys.
Health and Fitness – Weekly review on the watch
The fitness tracker measures health parameters such as the heart and breathing rate around the clock and then displays them together with the daily movement data, the sleep protocol, as well as the analyzed fitness data in a daily protocol:
The Enduro counts steps, translates any climbed elevations into floors climbed, and compares both with the daily goals you set. Garmin counts high intensity activities double for the account of the intensity minute goal.
The wearable measures your heart and breathing rate and optionally also blood oxygen saturation around the clock. It analyzes the stress load and determines the maximum oxygen consumption, VO2max, as an indicator for the cardio-respiratory fitness and aerobic performance capabilities. From the health data, nightly rest, and intensity of the latest training, as well as the time passed since then, the Enduro determines the power reserves of the body, which Garmin calls the Body Battery.
At night, the Enduro records the oxygen saturation as well as the heart and breathing rate and also captures the movements and sleep phases. The smartwatch shows the sleep duration and single sleep phases and evaluates the sleep quality. You can combine parameters into pairs in the diagrams on the app.
Recording of the Training
Numerous types of sports are preinstalled on the Enduro, and you can also download additional types using the Garmin ConnectIQ app. The Garmin Connect app can optionally connect your user account with Komoot, Strava, Runtastic, and MyFitnessPal, as well as Office 365 to import the planned workouts into the Outlook calendar. On the iPhone, Garmin connects with Apple Health.
Using the map of the golf course, golfers can determine the distance to the green, measure the distance of the stroke, and also use some specific additional functions. However, the focus of the Enduro lies in outdoor activities such as running, trail running, biking and mountain biking, and its particular support in competitions. A new function that also distinguishes the top models of the Fenix 6 series is the capture and evaluation of pauses at rest stations.
Another new feature that is particularly interesting for trail runners is that Garmin now figures the condition of the terrain into the VO2max calculation. While this has been calculated from the speed, heart rate, heat, and actual elevation difference, Garmin now also determines the trail condition from the analysis of the movement sensors and integrates this into the computation. In most cases, this should result in a higher VO2max calculation than without considering the terrain.
In some sports where speed is important, you can compete against a virtual partner with some Garmin wearables. In order to motivate yourself and improve, you grant a slightly higher speed to your virtual partner. During the trainings, the Enduro will then display not only your own speed, but also that of your virtual partner and your advantage or disadvantage.
Garmin's PacePro strategy expands on this concept even further. The strategy combines your desired speed with route planning and can alternatively orient on a time goal for the selected route. Based on the geo data, the Garmin adapts the speed to the elevation profile in sections. In the default setting, the speed change occurs according the distance, so every few kilometers. Those who know their endurance capabilities can optionally increase their speed in the first or last kilometers. Particularly interesting for trail runners should be the option to completely connect the speed to the elevation profile.
Since the Enduro lacks the necessary map data – in contrast to the capabilities of the Fenix 6 Pro – these computations don't happen on the watch but on the smartphone. From there, you can transfer them to selected Garmin sport watches such as the Enduro or Forerunner 745. The screenshot below of a real trail route demonstrates the PacePro strategy. The following screens show the preparation on the smartphone and the displays on the Enduro.
Battery Life – Prepared for long competitions
With the support of solar power, the Enduro will last for up to 65 days in smartwatch mode and up to 80 hours in standard GPS mode according to the manufacturer. In our practical test, the battery used up almost exactly 50% of its capacity (which is not specified by Garmin).
We were not gentle on the battery in our usage scenario. The automatic movement recognition and blood oxygen saturation measurement (SpO2) were activated all day long. In addition, there were three half-hour-long outdoor activities with GPS during our test period. Frequent scrolling through the widgets, reading of notifications, and viewing of various protocols on the watch repeatedly activated the display illumination. Only the activation of illumination via gesture (raising the arm to read the time) was deactivated, since in most cases you can easily see the time also without illumination.
The Enduro is a highly advanced sports computer for GPS supported types of sports and competitions. The Enduro was initially recognized as Fenix Enduro in the ConnectIQ companion app. In terms of its functions and price, it is at the same level, with some advantages compared to the simple Fenix 6 and some disadvantages compared to the Fenix 6 Pro. Besides the additional uses that Garmin gets from the movement sensors in the Enduro, the main advantage compared to the Fenix models is the battery life: at 70 hours (without solar charging), it accompanies ultra disciplines almost twice as long as the Fenix 6 and Fenix 6 Pro (36 hours).
The Enduro is one of the most advanced sports computers that are currently offered by Garmin as one of the leading manufacturers in this segment.
On the other hand, one advantage of the Fenix 6 Pro remains the storage for offline music and maps. This results in additional functions such as the automatic calculation of the roundtrip with a given distance (roundtrip routing). In order to prepare this, the Enduro needs the smartphone app. The titan case of our test unit leaves a high-quality impression on our wrist. While the UltraFit nylon wrist band might not look like giving justice to a watch that costs 800 or 900 Euros respectively (~$958 and $1078), it proves its usefulness during the training.
Price and Availability
The Enduro sport watch has not been on the market for that long, so the price did not change yet until the end of our test. At this point, it is available from Garmin directly in stainless steel for 799 USD, while the Titan model costs 899 USD.