Simply put, the Enduro 2 is Garmin’s premier watch for endurance activity in all conditions. The watch’s feature set represents a massive overhaul from the original Enduro watch, and even surpasses the newly released Fenix 7 series watches that were Garmin’s top-of-the-line adventure watches until, well, now.
The casing dimensions are nearly identical to the Fenix 7X, and the overall spec weight can be more or less depending on which of the two included bands are being used. Solar capacity of the Enduro 2 has been significantly updated, making its battery life best in its category by a substantial margin, approaching 150 hours with standard GPS mode and close to 100 hours using a new SatIQ feature that ensures optimal accuracy in any environment.
The Enduro 2 comes with a nearly complete feature set that includes almost every new update to the Garmin inventory, with one exception that will be added in the near future. It’s the most comprehensive and longest lasting GPS watch on the market, with a premium price tag of $1,100 to match.
New feature highlights
Normally, when we review a new product iteration, we compare it to the previous model to spotlight the updates and improvements. However, the Enduro 2 is such a dramatic advance from its first iteration, it’s like a completely different watch. The closest point of comparison is the newly released Fenix 7X watch we reviewed last spring, so we’ll use that product as a starting point to discuss this new watch which now exceeds the Fenix 7X in virtually every way.
With that in mind, here’s a partial rundown of updates and features of the Enduro 2 that weren’t initially included with the Fenix 7X:
- Two straps included: flexible nylon Velcro and traditional silicone clasp styles
- SatIQ to automatically determine and dynamically adjust the proper GPS setting for the surrounding environment
- Battery life of 150 hours in GPS-only mode or up to 81 hours in Multi-Band mode
- Directional arrows on map navigation
- Next Fork feature to alert and identify upcoming trail junctions
- Auto Rest Timer for tracking aid station time
- Grade Adjusted Pace (GAP) visible on watch
- Brighter flashlight
Additionally, the Enduro 2 also gets almost the full set of analytic features such as training readiness, HRV status and training status that debuted on the Forerunner 955 this summer, and have subsequently been added to the Fenix 7 series. The only Forerunner 955 feature that didn’t carry over to the Enduro 2 is the Morning Report, but this will be added in a future update. It’s also worth noting that many of the features itemized above will eventually show up on the Fenix 7 series watches.
Dual strap options
First, a brief disclaimer: we weren’t wild about the nylon strap on the original Enduro watch—to the point that we ended up spending an additional $50 to buy a traditional silicone strap during our test period. However, we recognize that a lot of people love the nylon strap. It rests very comfortably against the skin and allows for micro-adjustments that you simply can’t get with a traditional clasp mechanism so users can dial in the most precise fit for any circumstances. There is a bit of stretch capacity to it, which gives it some resilience with impacts and makes it a bit easier to take off the wrist without completely unstrapping it.
The downsides that we found with the nylon strap are that the reinforced ends of the band don’t sit completely flush against the strap, which causes them to get snagged on our shirt when wiping our face. On the original Enduro, the adhesive on those reinforced ends peeled off within a couple months, causing it to look a bit shabby, but so far that hasn’t happened with the Enduro 2 strap. Finally, this may be slightly OCD-ish, but we found that having an endless variety of positions actually makes us less confident of ever having the ideal fit, so we find ourselves constantly readjusting.
Perhaps recognizing that the strap style is a particular preference, Garmin included both options with the Enduro 2, so no one has to buy an extra strap. Aside from the stylistic preference, the band affects the spec weight of the watch, as the nylon version is significantly lighter than the silicone option. The Enduro 2 with the nylon strap weighs 70g, but with the silicone strap weighs 92g. For point of comparison, the Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire watch we reviewed weighs 96g. Regardless of which strap is being used, it’s impressive that the Enduro 2 comes in slightly lighter than the Fenix 7X, because its case is actually 1mm thicker, perhaps to allow greater battery capacity. Otherwise, the face dimensions of the Enduro 2 are identical to the Fenix 7X, and it only comes in one size.
It’s really impressive how much Garmin has advanced its solar technology and battery life of its top end watches just in the past year. When the original Enduro launched in spring 2021, it offered 70 hours of GPS life (with 1-second monitoring) but had to completely strip down its feature set to do so. This year, the Fenix 7X bumped that number up to 90 hours, with the full feature set of a premier adventure watch. Now the Enduro 2 offers 110 hours of GPS life and exceeds the Fenix 7X in features. Part of this is due to a slightly larger battery in the Enduro 2, but it’s also attributable to ongoing improvements in the solar technology that is becoming more common across Garmin’s product lines.
As with the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 955 Solar watches, solar energy is collected from two sources: a 4mm rim around the inside edge of the display that collects 100% solar exposure and a thin, transparent layer below the glass that collects approximately 10% of the sun’s rays. Presuming a light intensity of 50,000 lux—equivalent to a moderately sunny, intermittently overcast sky—your battery burn rate per hour drops to between 1% and 2% without compromising GPS accuracy (more on that below) or the number of simultaneous functions such as Bluetooth, navigation and HR monitoring you can conduct during an activity.
Following Garmin’s recent addition of multi-band GPS to its Fenix 7 and Forerunner 955 watches, this system has become the new gold standard for accuracy. The trouble is, multi-band GPS drains more battery life than standard GPS tracking, and up until now users had to pick one mode or another prior to starting an activity. SatIQ is the new feature that addresses this issue, as it smartly detects which GPS mode is required for the surroundings and automatically shifts to that mode during the activity. For example, if you’re running in a narrow canyon it activates multi-band GPS functionality, but when transitioning to open terrain, it shifts to standard GPS for battery efficiency. You still have the option to pick your GPS mode for specific activities, but the default setting is Auto Select which dynamically adjusts the mode as needed. Given that the GPS mode with the highest battery drain is multi-band with an estimated spec time of 68 hours (81 hours with solar exposure), and knowing that SatIQ will automatically shift into more efficient battery modes as needed, that means the shortest life span you can expect from GPS operation with the Enduro 2 is 68 hours. As we mentioned earlier, this is super impressive.
Directional arrows and Next Fork feature
As another illustration of what a quantum leap the Enduro 2 represents over its predecessor, it’s worth noting that the original Enduro didn’t even include maps. Now the Enduro 2 has full-color, continent-wide topo maps that can be zoomed and scrolled with touchscreen functionality and 32GB of storage at your disposal. It also adds a couple of cool features that aren’t even available (yet) on the Fenix 7 series watches.
The first is sort of a “What took so long?” upgrade, which is the labeling of your route tracks with directional arrows. This is particularly useful if you’re on a course with a central aid station hub and a number of loops or out-and-backs extending from it, as you can easily see at a glance which loops are done in which order. In the Garmin Connect app, you can further customize and label your route maps using the Up Ahead feature, adding water stops, rest rooms or scenic viewpoints, and the watch will display your mileage to each of these checkpoints when you’re on the course. Between the prevalence of GPX files online and the ability to prepare maps in advance, there are very few scenarios when you would need to take on adventure runs or race courses being unfamiliar with what’s ahead of you at any given point. This is not simply a novelty or convenience, but significantly increases the safety aspect of big outings.
On a similar note, the Next Fork feature also provides an increased element of safety and should decrease your chances of getting lost by running down the wrong trail. Basically, without even having a route loaded into the navigation screen, the watch knows precisely where you are in the world by matching your GPS location to the collection of topo maps that come pre-loaded on the watch. At any point during your activity, you can pull up the map of your location and see the distance to the next trail junction coming up. If the trail is named, the name will display on the screen, and even a lot of unnamed, unofficial “common use” trails show up. We’ve had multiple instances when this would be helpful, such as when a trail junction is either missing a sign or difficult to locate because of overgrowth or minimal use.
Auto rest timer
This is a relatively small, but quite useful revision to a feature first introduced on the original Enduro. The rest timer function allows you to track how much time is spent in aid stations, bathroom stops or other breaks in your activity without pausing the primary activity that you’re tracking. On the original Enduro, using this feature required you to press a button to start and stop the rest timer, but on the Enduro 2 you have the option for the rest timer to activate automatically once it senses a prolonged period of minimal movement based either on your real time GPS/gyroscope/accelerometer data, or on a customizable pre-set threshold speed. If you want to use this feature by pressing a button, that’s still an option. For dedicated ultrarunners, it can be highly enlightening to realize exactly how much cumulative time is spent at aid stations during a race.
Grade Adjusted Pace
Grade Adjusted Pace (GAP) is a method of assessing and quantifying your effort on hilly terrain in a comparable manner to running mileage on flat ground. For example, if you’re running up a 10% grade at 8 min/mile pace, your GAP might be closer to 7 min/mile. This concept certainly isn’t new, as third-party training apps like Strava have been using it for years. The innovation here is that you can now see this information in real time on your watch display rather than waiting for your activity to get uploaded to see how you did. We find this primarily a piece of personal interest rather than a training tool because it’s generally much more effective to set your pace based on heart rate or perceived effort rather than flat-mile equivalents. Nevertheless, it does add another layer of metrics and analysis to your activities in real time as well as after your activity, as your GAP for the entire duration is captured in the Garmin Connect app.
First appearing on the Fenix 7X, the flashlight feature initially struck us as a bit gimmicky, but we quickly grew to find a lot of utility in it—if not during activity, certainly for everyday (or more so every night) needs such as lighting a path when you don’t have a proper lamp handy. It wasn’t nearly enough to function in place of a headlamp on trails, but it could reasonably serve as an emergency light if you’re out of other options.
The flashlight on the Enduro 2 is twice as bright as the one on the Fenix 7X, thanks to stronger LED bulbs and more prominent exposure on the top of the casing. It’s still not strong enough to maintain your pace if your headlamp dies on you, but it now provides enough illumination—in a comparable manner to many cellphone flashlights—so that you don’t have to completely slow to a walk if you’re on irregular ground. The customizable brightness levels, flashing mode and red mode are all continued on the updated flashlight as well.
Restating our original overview statement, the Enduro 2 is Garmin’s premier option for high-demand outdoor endurance activities, with a massive battery life and more feature-rich profile than anything in their current lineup. What’s less clear is how this model will distinguish itself from the Fenix line moving forward.
As impressive as the Enduro 2 is, there’s not much of a compelling reason to ditch a Fenix 7 model to get this one. If you already own a Fenix 7 model, you will soon have almost all of the features found on the Enduro 2, with the possible exception of a flashlight which is only on the Fenix 7X, and the number of situations where you legitimately need 110 hours of GPS life instead of 90 is probably pretty minimal. If the nylon band is calling you, you can just buy one as an accessory. Furthermore, if you have a smaller wrist and prefer the slightly scaled-down dimensions of the Fenix 7 or 7S, the Enduro 2 doesn’t give you that option.
On the other hand, if you’ve been using an older generation Fenix watch, or have otherwise been waiting for an opportune time to go all-in on a robust, do-everything watch, the Enduro 2 is the most functionally comprehensive and dependably durable watch we have tested—and we have tested a lot of them. And even though we’re in a “space race” era of watch innovation with rapid advances in battery life and feature sets, purchasing an Enduro 2 now appears to be a safe investment that should continue to meet all your needs for years to come, even when it’s not the newest and shiniest toy in the shop.