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Garmin Epix Pro 2 review: Not for the faint-hearted

Before I begin, let me confess that I am not the ideal customer for the Garmin Epix Pro 2. This watch is meant for hardcore fitness buffs who like to challenge themselves with extreme sports, such as hiking, skiing, or bouldering. I am far from being an athlete, but that’s what made this watch so enjoyable to review. The operating system for instance, despite being so simplistically designed, is actually brimming with features–and I had a blast discovering something new every time I used the watch. Here’s what I think of it.

A rugged design tamed by a dash of white

I got to try the 47mm version of the watch, and though it’s a little large for my thin wrists, I love the way it looks. If you also feel it’s large for you, you can pick the 42mm variant. Or if it’s too small, there’s even the 51mm variant. You also get plenty of strap options to suit your style and mood.

Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) review 1 (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

The variant I received was white, which gave it a touch of elegance and contrasted nicely with its bulky appearance. The white strap also made the watch stand out–in a good way–no matter the outfit I was in. From a distance the watch can even be mistaken for a less flashy Casio G-Shock, but get a little closer and you realise this is an entirely different beast. And because it resembles a G-Shock it’s fit to be worn in all occasions, which isn’t something you can say for most sport watches.

Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) review 2 (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

Meanwhile, the 70g weight may sound rather hefty on paper but it doesn’t feel that way considering the watch’s huge size. The weight also gives it a solid feel and makes it seem even more durable. This is probably the first watch I could wear with complete confidence no matter what activity I was doing, knowing that the watch was built to withstand much worse.

Almost beginner-friendly

This watch is designed for serious athletes, so it would be unfair to compare it with most Wear OS devices or even the Apple Watch Ultra. If you are a casual gym goer, then know that you are not using the watch to its full potential. That doesn’t mean that the watch is not beginner-friendly though. For example, you get built-in training programs that show you animations on the screen to guide you. And if you are into strength training, you can even create your own training program with the workouts and reps you want to do.

Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) review 4 (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

For cycling, trekking, and running–especially in the woods–you can benefit from the Garmin Epix Pro 2’s built-in GPS feature, which does more than just logging your location. It can “track back”, which lets you navigate back along a previously chosen track or show you real-time trails on the map. You even get topological maps so that you can plan your own route.

Gets conventional smartwatch functionality right

If you’re an average smartwatch user, you’ll have to deal with a steep learning curve due to the overwhelming number of menus to navigate through on both watch and its Garmin Connect app. The watch also doesn’t scroll as smoothly you’d expect from something of its price even as its touch is extremely responsive. These snags aside, the device does a fairly good job of performing as a conventional smartwatch, and as mentioned above, even its design isn’t too outlandish, so you can wear it indoors as well without coming off as a sport nut.

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The Garmin Connect app is accompanied by the Connect IQ Store, which is like Google Play Store–but for Garmin watches. Aside from offering apps like Uber and SmartThings that can be installed on your watch, it also features scores of customisable watch faces.

The notifications are reliable and attractive, with large fonts and logos that make them easy to read at a glance. You can’t interact with all of them, but you can see the full messages. And if you ever find yourself in the dark, you can use the built-in flashlight that can blink, strobe, or show a red light. This is a lifesaver for me, as I often have to deal with power cuts that leave me searching for my phone in the middle of the night.

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Verdict

Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2) review 5 (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/The Indian Express)

For a regular user who’s only into light workouts or no workouts at all, the Garmin Epix Pro 2 is a hard sell considering its price and the learning curve involved. But then again, the watch was never built for those users. It’s designed for people who want to push the limits of their athleticism, and as someone who knows a few people like that personally, I know they would benefit greatly from the Garmin Epix Pro 2’s fitness features.

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