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Garmin Fenix 8 wishlist: All the features I want to see

The Garmin Fenix 7 series is fantastic, but it could get even better.
By
December 25, 2023
Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar on wrist
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Fenix 7 series is one of the best Garmin smartwatches on the market, but it isn’t without its weak points. Even though a true successor is likely quite a ways off, there are a few things I’m hoping to see next year. With that in mind, here is my Garmin Fenix 8 wishlist.

Currently has a low-contrast display, it could use an AMOLED

Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar display watch face
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Fenix 7 had a great display with good indoor visibility and at least average outdoor visibility as well. It also was the first Fenix watch to offer a touchscreen experience. Still, its contrast wasn’t the best and many feel it would have been even better with an AMOLED display. I agree.

Honestly, the Fenix series isn’t cheap, and so paying for a transflective memory-in-pixel display just seems wrong. Garmin is also no stranger to AMOLED, as illustrated by devices like the Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2). Adding it to the Fenix 8 wouldn’t be a big deal, though it could make the price tag balloon up a bit further. It would also make it a much better watch.

A built-in mic would be nice

Garmin Fenix 7 review Sapphire Solar side profile 1
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus first introduced a microphone that allowed you to make and receive calls without taking your phone out of your pocket. Even better, the mic makes it easy to talk to Google Assistant.

I’m strongly hoping the Garmin Fenix 8 follows suit and introduces a built-in microphone. I’ve used a few watches with these kinds of features and once you get used to them, they really do make it more convenient to quickly answer calls when you’re not able to reach your phone as quickly. Honestly, I think this should be standard in modern smartwatches, as there are times when it’s just easier to be hands-free.

Flashlight mode needs to come to more variants next time

The Garmin Fenix 7X has a built-in flashlight mode. It uses a built-in LED light above the display, between the bezel and the band. Unfortunately, this isn’t something standard for all members of the Fenix 7 family. The Fenix 8 series should bring this feature to all models as it is one of Garmin’s most interesting standout features that isn’t about fitness or health.

Yes, the LED would take a little more space and add some bulk to each model, but its usefulness makes it worth it.

Even better battery life would be awesome

Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar side buttons
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Fenix 7 has pretty solid battery life and can easily last over a week, depending on the sensors used and if you have a solar model. This is certainly better than most mainstream smartwatches, especially the Apple Watch and most Wear OS devices.

So why do I want even better battery life? Fenix isn’t a mainstream watch and is much better suited for exercise, especially in the great outdoors. That includes multi-day sports like hikes, kayaking with camping stops, and other similar activities. So more battery life is a good thing! I’d love to see it get closer to to a month, though that would require a special battery saver mode and would reduce the usefulness of the watch’s sensors.

The heart rate sensor needs major improvements

Garmin Fenix 7 review Sapphire Solar Garmin Elevate generation 4 heart rate sensor
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Fenix 7 is a great watch, but its heart rate sensor was a weak point in our Fenix 7 review, as we noted the Elevate Gen 4 sensor was a bit inconsistent at times. This needs to change with the Fenix 8. The good news is that it’s almost guaranteed things will be better next time around, thanks to the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro. This newer variant uses the Elevate Gen 5 sensor which we found to be much more accurate.

Garmin Fenix 8 wishlist: Which feature do you most want to see?

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Will there be a Garmin Fenix 8?

Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar touchscreen on
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Garmin Fenix 7 — January 18, 2022
  • Garmin Fenix 6 — August 29, 2019
  • Garmin Fenix 5 — January 4, 2017

The first Garmin Fenix launched back in 2012 and has seen multiple iterations since, including a number of Pro models. Unless Garmin dramatically changes its lineup, a Garmin Fenix 8 is inevitable. What’s less clear is when we’ll see it.

Historically, the Garmin Fenix line has had at least two to three years between generations, with a Plus/Pro model sometimes slotted in between this timeframe. With this in mind, the Fenix 8 could come anytime in 2024, as the company has no real consistency as far as the launch month is concerned. It’s also possible the company could wait even longer between generations. It’s just really too early to say.

Should you wait for the Garmin Fenix 8?

A Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar displays a user's visual race predictor for a half marathon.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Fenix 8 could be as little as a few months away, but there’s no guarantee it’s coming in 2024 at all. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t wait. If you have your heart set on a Garmin, we recommend the Fenix 7 or the newer Fenix 7 Pro series (on the product’s website) if you don’t mind shelling out even more. If you want something a bit newer without paying a fortune, The Garmin Forerunner 265 ($449.99 at Garmin) is priced similarly to the Fenix 7 ($699.99 at Amazon) and yet offers many newer features and improvements.

For those who are more interested in a generalist smartwatch over a fitness-focused experience, you could also venture outside of Garmin’s walls. For iPhone users, the Apple Watch Series 9 ($392.67 at Amazon) is a logical choice. Android users would be wise to consider the Pixel Watch 2 ($349.99 at Amazon) or Galaxy Watch 6 ($299.99 at Samsung) if they are looking for a Garmin alternative.

Looking for even more options? Check out our guides to the best fitness trackers and best smartwatches.

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