Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7, Which One is Best?

Apple Watch Ultra was released last year as the company’s most powerful smartwatch packed with a slew of new features and upgrades from the Apple Watch Series 8. The Fenix 7 from Garmin is also a robust and top-of-the-line rugged watch from the brand.

If you are looking to go for a premium rugged watch that can offer the best battery life and activity tracking, Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7 are the best options you’ll find on the internet. But choosing one of these two can be tough. In this comparison article, we look at all the parameters that will help you find the best fit for your needs.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7

Before we start comparing the watches, it should be noted that the Apple Watch Ultra only works with an iPhone, while the Garmin Fenix 7 is compatible with iPhone and Android as well. So, if you have an Android phone, the comparison won’t matter.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7: Pricing

Apple Watch Ultra was released in September. It comes in a singular model and costs $799. Unlike the Apple Watch Series 8, there is no GPS-only version of the Apple Watch Ultra. For $799, you get all the connectivity options.

How does the pricing of Apple’s costliest smartwatch match with Garmin Fenix 7? Well, not much. The Fenix 7 is also a high-end model from Garmin which starts at $699 for the standard model and $799 for the Fenix 7 Solar. So, there’s no big gap in the pricing of the Apple Watch Ultra and Fenix 7.

Let’s now look have a close at what these rugged smartwatches have to offer in terms of display, features, performance, and other parameters.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7: Display

The screen of your smartwatch matters as you’ll look at it dozens of times every single day. And if you can’t see clearly what’s on the screen, it won’t be worth your spending.

Whether we talk about iPhones or Apple watches, they really stand out in terms of display technologies. The Apple Watch Ultra uses a high-quality OLED screen, which isn’t comparable to the Fenix 7’s display as it uses a different screen.

Though the Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7 have a touchscreen, more of Fenix 7’s functions are operated by the physical buttons. More specifically, you will have to use the physical buttons for starting and stopping nearly all sports modes.

Garmin Fenix 7 Solar
Garmin Fenix 7 Solar


One thing that you’ll quickly notice after taking the Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7 is the high brightness that Apple Watch offers. It goes a maximum of up to 2000nits. You won’t get the same level of brightness on Fenix 7 as it uses MIP transflective display. Using this type of display, the Fenix 7 can extract more battery life. But if we talk about the display experience, the clear screen, and high brightness makes Apple Watch Ultra a clear winner here.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7: Design

The two watches do not similar at all. While the Apple Watch Ultra keeps the squarish design of the Series 8. However, the bezels are slightly taller and the digital crown looks oversized for easier accessibility. The Garmin Fenix 7, on the other hand, adopts a rounded design with five action buttons.

The digital crown on the Apple Watch Ultra has deeper groves and melds with the side button on a raised ledge on the right side. On the left side of the Apple Watch, there’s an additional button, which can be programmed to do a specific task.

Apple Watch Ultra
Apple Watch Ultra

The top-of-the-line Fenix 7 smartwatch follows a similar design we’ve seen in many Garmin watches. It has two buttons on the right side and three on the left for easy navigation.

The Apple Watch Ultra has a sizeable 49mm bezel, but you get three options to choose from for the Garmin Fenix 7 – 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm. Since both are rugged smartwatches, you should not be too concerned about the build quality. Both smartwatches can survive tough conditions.

It’s pretty hard to name the winner as the design preferences differ from person to person. But, if you are more of a physical buttons-friendly person, choosing the Fenix 7 would make more sense.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7: Activity Tracking and Other Features
Both smartwatches have all the sensors you would look for in a sports watch. The Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7 have a compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, heart-rate monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, barometric altimeter, and GPS antennas. On top of these, the Apple Watch Ultra helps you track your menstrual cycle.

Apple says the Watch Ultra has L1 and L5 band GPS. This, according to the company, is the most accurate GPS on any Apple watch. The  Fenix 7 from Garmin uses multi-band GPS. Although the watches differ in GPS technologies, you get pretty much the same location data on both watches.

If we talk about activity tracking, the Garmin Fenix 7 does have more options to offer, than the traditional workout modes on the Apple Watch Ultra. If you follow a training plan, you can easily create your own running sessions on both watches. Using the Garmin Connect app, you can get advanced running metrics like Stamina and Up Ahead, which you can’t see on the Apple Watch Ultra.

However, the Apple Watch Ultra has several smarts you won’t find on Fenix 7. It includes the Apple Watch Ultra’s ability to make and receive calls using the watch. You can even use it to send messages using your voice.

The Garmin Fenix 7 also lacks a good app store as the on-watch app store has only basic apps. The Apple watches have the best app store you’ll find on any watch.

There’s one area Apple really needs to fix is the ability to store offline maps. The Apple Watch Ultra does not let you store maps for offline usage without using a third-party app. But it can be done easily on the Fenix 7 series using the new map manager. While the Apple Watch Ultra has 32GB of storage, the non-sapphire editions of Garmin Fenix 7 have 16GB storage, and sapphire editions have 32GB.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7: Battery Life

Battery life is one of the key things to look at when going for a premium watch. The powerful Apple Watch Ultra doubles the battery life of the Apple Watch Series 8, but not good enough to beat Garmin Fenix 7.

The Apple Watch Ultra can offer 36 hours of battery life on normal usage. With Apple watchOS 9.1, the company introduced a new low-power setting that can extract 60 hours of battery life with several sacrifices. The heart rate reading frequency reduces to one every minute and the GPS is only used while navigating. In the standard mode with GPS enabled, you’ll get 12 hours of battery life on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Well, how do these number compares with Fenix 7? Let’s look at them.

The Garmin Fenix 7 can last for up to 57 hours in GPS mode. If you have a Fenix 7 with solar capabilities, you can get up to 73 hours of battery life by wearing it outside for several hours every day. The smartwatch can last for 18 days in the standard mode or 57 days in its battery-saving mode.

You may be thinking that the Apple Watch Ultra does not sit alongside when the battery life is concerned. But no, there’s one battery aspect it beats the Fenix 7. When playing music and using the GPS, the Fenix 7 lasts for around 10 hours, but the Apple Watch Ultra lasts for 20 hours.

Garmin Fenix 7 is the clear winner here as it offers really nicest battery life.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Garmin Fenix 7: Which One Should You Go For?

The Apple Watch Ultra does not outperform Garmin Fenix 7 in all areas. There are some advantages and disadvantages of the Apple Watch Ultra, and the same is true for the Fenix 7. So, choosing the one really boils down to your preference. If you want a bright good quality screen, go for Apple Watch Ultra, but you’ll sacrifice the best battery life. And if you go for Fenix 7, you’ll miss out on a good app store, calling, and messaging features. So, make a list of things you want in your next watch, compare it with Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7, and go for the one that suits you best.

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