Garmin Enduro Test: Durable sports watch for long distance fans
RRP $ 799.00
“The Garmin Enduro sports watch provides long-lasting power for ultra-endurance athletes”
Stunning battery life
Outdoor focused sports tracking
Comfortable nylon strap
Spacious, easy to read display
No topographic maps
Fitness watches will keep you on track in the long run, but powering such a watch is a challenge. Long distance runners sometimes carry a charger cable and bulky portable batteries to charge their watch. Step inside the Garmin Enduro, Garmin’s latest sports watch that offers an incredible 70 hours of run time on a single charge. Is the enduro a game changer for the ultra-running crowd or just hype?
Solid design, susceptible to scratches
The Garmin Enduro is a hybrid watch that is heavily based on the brand’s outdoor-focused Fenix line and the Forerunner running watches. The Enduro has a sturdy stainless steel bezel and a metal-polymer case that can withstand the elements. I’ve used it for hiking, biking, and climbing, and I’ve still scratched the watch’s body.
I can’t say that about the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display. After about a month the watch will have a few light, superficial scratches. I probably got it from rough rock climbing or from sticking my hand through spokes, pedals, and chains while fixing my bike. The scratches do not affect the performance and are only visible at an angle.
The Enduro has a color display, but don’t expect to be blown away by a rich, colorful finish. Color is used wisely to either indicate critical statistics or convey information. The 1.4-inch display is easy to read in sunlight and is large enough to check your stats without slowing down.
Chunky but comfortable design
The Enduro competes with the Fenix series in terms of size, but surpasses them in terms of comfort. Instead of the standard elastomer sports strap, the Enduro is equipped with a very comfortable nylon strap. The strap wraps around your wrist and is fastened with Velcro. The band reduces sweat and doesn’t rub my wrist like other sports bands.
If you don’t like the nylon strap, you can simply swap it out for a different version. Like the Fenix, the Enduro is a bit bulky, especially for smaller wrists, but at 71 grams it is relatively light in the steel version.
Fitness tracking for outdoor people
The Garmin Enduro records a wide range of activities including hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. Like most Garmin watches, the Enduro quickly grabs a satellite signal and holds it securely even in thick forests. It’s chock-full of metrics like ClimbPro that let you know when you hit a steep climb and a Trail VO2 max calculation that takes altitude into account. The enduro is over the top for gym goers and yoga fans, but die-hard outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate these extras as they climb mountains and cover kilometers.
Limited smartwatch functions
The Garmin Enduro is packed with fitness and outdoor-oriented features, but its smartwatch features are limited. You can receive incoming calls and notifications, but you can only answer them if you have an Android phone. Even on Android, you can only reply to text messages.
Thanks to its widget-based user interface, you can view the weather, sunrise and sunset times and upcoming calendar events. The Enduro supports Garmin’s Connect IQ app repository, but most of the apps available are wellness or music oriented and don’t add to the watch’s already rugged multisport feature set.
Stunning battery life
I thought the Coros Vertix and Suunto 9 had great battery life, but the Enduro blew them both away. With normal use, the Enduro lasted more than a month between charging processes. Charging was an afterthought – something I only did when the watch reminded me it was going low. The worst part was finding my charging cable after not using it for more than 30 days.
The Enduro lets you explore for days and weeks without a power source
In contrast to the Apple Watch, I didn’t have to worry about battery life even with activated GPS and fitness tracking. I’ve used the Enduro while hiking on both day trips and overnight trips. A day’s hike in GPS mode hardly affected the battery life. It was so liberating not to have to worry about running out of juice before my hike was over. On a multi-day trip, I didn’t have to take a charging cable or power source with me. I turned off GPS tracking at the end of each day and still had enough battery after four days.
Solar provides a power boost
The battery life is further increased by an integrated solar cell that surrounds the bezel and is embedded under the glass display. Power Glass technology is designed to only provide extra power, so don’t rely on it to fully charge your watch. You have to be out in the sun for a while to see a difference. I hardly saw a difference on short trips in the woods, but on a day hike in the bright sun it did improve the battery life.
Missing maps and music
The Enduro’s overwhelming battery life has its price. Garmin had to trim battery-guzzling features like navigation and music found on the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945 models. You get breadcrumb tracking and uploadable routes on the Enduro, but you don’t get the highly detailed topographic maps you find on the Forerunner 945 or Fenix 6 Pro. There is also no music memory. Yes, you can control music playback on your phone with the Enduro, but you cannot use the watch as a standalone music player.
The battery life is the killer feature for the Garmin Enduro. If you hike, bike or run long distances, the Enduro is child’s play. The sports watch is comfortable to wear and the battery lasts forever. You don’t have to carry the extra weight of a battery pack or charging cable, or worry about running and charging at the same time. Its high cost of $ 800 may be a hard sell to some people, but it certainly covers everything an outdoor enthusiast craves.
Is there a better alternative?
The Garmin Enduro is a niche product for endurance runners, bikers and hikers. Unless you want longer battery life, a Fenix or Forerunner series watch should save you some money and add some features. The Fenix has mapping and more advanced navigation features that can be more appealing to an outdoor enthusiast than battery life. Likewise, the Forerunner 945 has advanced running metrics for those who run for hours rather than days.
How long it will take?
Garmin’s outdoor watches are known for their rugged build, and the Enduro is no exception. The stainless steel case resists scratches and the nylon strap can be closed securely. We got a few light scratches on the display from climbing rocks or repairing a bike, but you can put a screen protector on. Garmin has a one-year warranty that covers defects in manufacturing or workmanship.
Should you buy it?
If battery life is at the top of your list, then go for the Garmin Enduro. The Enduro will blow away the other watches from Garmin and even those from competitors like Suunto or Polar.