The endurance beast is back

Early Verdict

We’ve only had a little time with the Garmin Enduro 2, but it’s already impressing us with its design and feel, and it looks set to be an amazing addition to Garmin’s stable of high performers. Time will tell if its smart features can live up to the initial promise.

Pros

  • +

    Epic battery life

  • +

    Topographical maps

  • +

    New route guidance functionality

  • +

    Bright flashlight

Cons

  • Big and bulky

  • Very expensive

One-minute review

Not content with revamping its massively successful Forerunner line, Garmin is also bringing out the Enduro 2, which is designed to usurp the original Enduro as one of the best Garmin watches, period, especially for ultrarunners and other high-performing endurance athletes. 

It’s a brute of a watch, with an upgrade to the original’s already-impressive battery life being the headline, along with the addition of a touchscreen, something noticeably lacking in the original Enduro. Topographical maps have also been added – an essential feature for a serious adventure watch – alongside a host of other features.

There’s even memory space for internal music, the lack of which was one of the original’s biggest drawbacks. In addition to having a stonking performance watch, you’ll no longer have to either bring your phone with you, or have to otherwise amuse yourself on long trips. 

Garmin Enduro 2: Price and availability

The Garmin Enduro 2 available now from Garmin.com (opens in new tab), priced at $1,099.99 in the US. We’ll update this hands-on with UK and Australia prices as we get them. 

Garmin Enduro 2: Design

  • Titanium casing and Power Sapphire lens
  • Extremely chunky and rugged
  • Familiar Garmin OS and Connect app structure

The Garmin Enduro 2 shares a lot of its design ethos with its older sibling, the original Enduro. The watch case and bezel are built of tough titanium, with a Power Sapphire glass lens offering battery-lengthening solar charging capabilities, just as the last one did. 

The classic five-button Garmin structure is here, with the start/stop, back/lap, up, down and light buttons joined by the addition of a touchscreen. Like the Forerunner 955 Solar, you have the option of using either the touchscreen or buttons to navigate around the watch. Initially, this feels a bit superfluous (as it did on the 955) but it’s nice to have options. 

The Enduro 2 comes with two options for straps: the velcro Ultrafit strap, designed specifically for endurance exercise, and the thicker silicone strap for everyday wear. They’re easy to swap over, but the huge 1.4-inch face and thick body of the watch, combined with the meaty silicone strap, looks borderline ludicrous in social environments. This is a utilitarian tool, and you won’t be able to move seamlessly from runs to restaurants without attracting a few odd looks. 

fitness

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

Fittingly, the Enduro 2 feels satisfyingly hefty in the hand, with its premium construction and engineering evident in handling. This is a tank, not a high-performance supercar of a watch: instead of Michael Keaton’s Batmobile, think of Christian Bale’s. Of course, this should suit its target audience absolutely fine: the people buying the Enduro 2, or at least getting the most use out of it, will be ultrarunners, distance cyclists and other high-performing endurance athletes. If you were interested in having an all-purpose watch for everyday use, you’d get something slimmer, sleeker and probably cheaper – like an Apple Watch.

The design of the watch’s OS and Garmin Connect app will be familiar to most existing Garmin users: if you’ve ever used one of the brand’s other performance watches, there’s been no reinventing the wheel here. Holding the ‘down’ button to access the widget menu from your watch face brings up the usual customizable menu, with quick access to everything from your previous activities to your Body Battery score to your built-in compass and barometer.

Strangely, there’s no option to add Training Readiness, one of the standout features of the new Forerunner and now Fenix range of watches, which tracks your body’s recovery after long runs. We can only assume it’s coming down the pipeline in a new firmware update; we’d be very disappointed if it never lands on the Enduro 2.

Garmin Enduro 2: Features

  • All new topographical maps
  • Health Snapshot feature bundles metrics into easy-to-read package
  • Multi-LED flashlight
  • Built-in music capacity

This is where it gets good. This monstrous watch is stuffed to the brim with almost everything a die-hard endurance race addict or adventurer could want. New to the Enduro range is topographical maps, courtesy of Garmin’s TopoActive community-based maps, which offer turn-by-turn directions. The new NextFork map guide shows the distance to the next trail intersection, and the Visual Race Predictor looks at your training history and estimates a pace you’ll be able to complete on the day, a feature we want rolled out to other top-end Garmins. 

Combined with Garmin’s already impressive elevation tools and TracBack features, you’ll never get lost again. Ski maps, too, form part of this, making Garmin’s toughest watch yet an ideal companion on the slopes as well as the trails. 

Garmin has also debuted a new Health Snapshot feature on the Enduro 2, which is likely to be rolled out to the newer Fenix and Forerunners. Garmin says “The new Health Snapshot feature will record and generate a report of key stats.” In essence, it’s a new way of packaging metrics it already collects, such as Body Battery, pulse ox, heart rate, and stress levels, and sending them to you in a single push notification, as the new Morning Report functionality did on the 955 and, now, the newer Fenixes. 

In terms of hardware, the Enduro 2 is well-equipped for late-finish adventures. As well as the detailed multi-band GPS guidance we’ve come to expect from Garmin, the Fenix 7X’s multi-LED flashlight is here, but twice as bright as on the older watch at its maximum setting. The flashlight is also dimmable, so you can find your campsite on a lower setting, or signal for help in the dark on its highest. Running in the dark? A red light safety mode allows the user to see, and be seen. Another safety feature is automatic incident detection, which can alert a designated contact with your live location.  

As for the usual smart functionalities, such as notifications, Garmin Pay and music controls, they’re all here as expected. But built-in music space is also present, so you can finally listen to your favorite tunes on the Enduro, with no need to cart your phone around as well. 

The Garmin Enduro 2 might be great on the slopes, on weekend hikes and for paying for your groceries with your wrist, but it looks set to really shine on race day. An automatic rest timer can detect how much time you spend at aid stations, while Garmin says “the [Adventure-Racing World Series]-approved adventure racing activity profile tracks heart rate, elevation, segment times and other metrics when the race is on and saves the data for post-race viewing in accordance with adventure race rules.”

Although it does everything and more now, this is a watch for those who’ve read Born To Run cover-to-cover more times than they can count. 

fitness

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

Garmin Enduro 2: Battery Life

  • 46 days in smartwatch mode
  • 150 hours in GPS mode

Admit it, this is what you’re here for. The Garmin Enduro had one of the best battery lives on the market, and the Enduro 2 has set out to beat it. With up to 46 days in smartwatch mode and a massive 150 hours in GPS mode, you could run for a whole weekend and never need to turn this thing off. 

The battery is supported by “enhanced” solar charging and SatIQ, a new piece of technology that will automatically detect what kind of GPS mode is best for conserving battery life without losing your navigation. In the middle of the wilderness, or up a hill? You’ll be in a different GPS mode to a short run in a busy city, and it’s all whirring away in the background. 

It’s going to be extremely difficult to test the battery to its limit over the next few weeks, unless the watch drastically and suddenly fails to live up to our expectations. We’ll charge it up to full, and In 21 days we’ll aim to keep you posted on how the GPS and torch drains the battery and impacts that reading. 

Garmin Enduro 2: Early verdict

We’ve only had the opportunity to have it in our wrist for a weekend, and it’s not yet shown up on Garmin Connect as an option to pair with our phone, so we’ve not really tested any of the Enduro 2’s features yet. 

As such, we’re not including any ‘Buy it if’ and ‘Don’t buy it if’ sections in this early hands-on. However, if it lives up to the specs, Garmin has another hit on its hands, albeit amongst a niche set of serious athletes, and it’ll likely earn its spot on our list of the best running watches.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews’ are a journalist’s first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it’s like to use, even if it’s only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar’s Reviews Guarantee.

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