The Fenix 7 Pro and Forerunner 965 are two of the most popular watches produced by the esteemed Garmin brand. Garmin is well-renowned for its fitness watches, which stand out from other fitness watch brands due to their renowned durability and extensive health and fitness tracking functionalities. The fitness watch market is saturated with watches of different brands, styles, features, and price points – and therefore, it is essential to conduct thorough research on the technical and stylistic differences between each watch before making your final purchase, and before determining the best Garmin smartwatch.
The two watches compared in the following article are both mentioned on TechRadar’s 2024 Garmin top-ranking list, indicating their mutual prowess in the sports watch market. Therefore, the decision on which to purchase will depend upon one’s affinity towards their distinctive characteristics and most-suited use cases. We shall explore their unique features, similarities, and differences within this article – delving into each watch’s design, battery life, specifications, performance, and features.
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Forerunner 965: Specs Comparison
Fenix 7 Pro – Overview
Garmin released the Fenix 7 Pro in September 2022. The watch boasts a rugged yet stylish design and represents the epitome of Garmin’s dedication to supporting the tracking of physical activity of all kinds. It boasts topographic maps, advanced navigation tools, and a wide range of sports tracking options. Its long battery life ensures that one can, without a doubt, embark on extensive activity without the concern of needing to recharge. Furthermore, features such as smartphone connectivity and health monitoring make the Fenix 7 Pro a versatile companion for everyday life.
Forerunner 965 – Overview
The Forerunner 965 is a newer addition to Garmin’s collection of fitness watches, released in January 2023. This watch is notably tailored to the needs of running enthusiasts – compared to the more all-rounded nature of the Fenix 7 Pro. The Forerunner 965 boasts enhanced cadence tracking abilities, accurate heart rate tracking, and a sleek, lightweight, and comfortable design. The wide array of tracking features is sure to enhance one’s running abilities by assisting a thorough understanding of personalised statistics.
The Forerunner 965 and the Fenix 7 Pro are similar in size – with the Fenix 7 Pro measuring 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm and the Forerunner 965 measuring 47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm. The Forerunner 965 is the more lightweight option of the two, weighing only 53 grams. The Fenix 7 Pro, on the other hand, weighs 73 grams.
Both watches are round in shape with a silicone strap. The body of the Fenix 7 Pro comprises a fiber-reinforced polymer with a titanium back cover. The Forerunner 965 has a body made of Carbon Gray DLC Titanium.
According to user reviews, the Fenix 7 Pro is described as the sturdier and more damage-resistant of the two watches. This is important to note when deciding on which watch to invest in, especially considering whether or not you plan to engage in contact or extreme sports or, rather, light to moderate non-contact physical activity. The Forerunner 965 would be suggested in the case of the latter.
Display and Resolution Comparison
One of the significant physical distinctions between the Forerunner 965 and the Fenix 7 Pro is the type of display used in each watch.
The Forerunner 965 has an integrated 1.4” AMOLED display – meaning Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode – with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels. Practically speaking, compared with a regular LCD, the resolution is higher quality, the colours on the screen are more vivid, and the screen has a quicker reaction to motion response.
On the other hand, the Fenix 7 Pro sports a 1.3” transflective display with a lower resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. Transflective displays excel in terms of readability in bright sunlight – making them a solid choice for outdoor activity. The transflective display is also always on (unless sleep mode is enabled) – making it easy to check stats, the time, and notifications. Transflective displays are also power-efficient, especially when compared to displays that rely on backlighting. These displays are also designed for durability. The screen of the Fenix 7 Pro can, therefore, withstand harsh environmental conditions like excessive dust, water, and extreme temperatures.
The Fenix 7 Pro’s display is better catered to those regularly active in extreme conditions and those who exercise outdoors more generally. This is because the AMOLED display of the Forerunner 965 is more difficult to view in direct sunlight, reducing overall readability during daytime outdoor activity. However, it is important to note that the Garmin Forerunner 965 performs exceptionally well indoors, with enhanced readability in low-light conditions due to the AMOLED display’s infinite contrast ratio.
In summary, one of the deciding factors when considering which watch to invest in should be whether one prefers outdoor or indoor physical activity.
Core Features and Additional Features Comparison
Both the Forerunner 965 and the Fenix 7 Pro feature multiple sensors. Both watches include heart rate, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, and SpO2 sensors. The Forerunner 965, however, also includes an Ambient Light sensor – which automatically adjusts the display brightness based on surrounding ambient light levels. The Fenix 7 Pro also boasts a new, more accurate optical heart rate sensor – ideal for performance tracking.
Both watches also feature Bluetooth, ANT+, and Wi-Fi connectivity features. The Forerunner 96 and Fenix 7 Pro both have NFC (near-field communication) technology – enabling contactless payments, wireless data exchange, and seamless pairing with compatible third-party sensors and devices.
The two watches are water resistant. However, the Fenix 7 Pro sports water resistance of up to 10 ATM, or 100 metres, whilst the Forerunner 965 is water resistant only up to 50 metres (5 ATM) below water. As such, the Fenix 7 Pro is more suited to water-based activities covered by the Garmin guarantee, such as swimming, diving, snorkelling, and water sports.
Both watches have sleep-tracking functionality. It must be noted that this is a secondary feature for Garmin watches of all variants – with reports stating that sleep tracking is usually approximately 80% accurate. However, user reviews acknowledge that this feature is easily linked to the Apple Health app with both watches, although Garmin Connect only syncs sleep duration with Apple Health.
In conjunction with the aforementioned core features of the watches, the Fenix 7 Pro also includes some interesting additional features. These features include a built-in flashlight feature – extremely useful to have in the case of emergencies or extreme low-light situations. Furthermore, the watch includes handy solar charging capabilities. Just three hours in direct sunlight provides the Fenix 7 Pro (in GPS mode) a whopping 73 hours of additional runtime.
The Fenix 7 Pro and Forerunner 965 both have a sizeable media storage capacity of 32 GB.
In summary, both watches are nearly identical regarding most of their core features. The primary distinguishing factors to keep in mind are the Fenix 7 Pro’s more extensive water resistance depth and flashlight feature, as well as the Forerunner 965’s Ambient Light sensor.
The Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7 Pro both have GPS functionality with almost 100% accuracy. Both have integrated GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO multi-frequency positioning features.
In addition, both watches have multi-GNSS positioning with SatIQ™ technology. As stated by Garmin, “SatIQ™ can automatically toggle between GPS modes in order to maximize battery life without compromising positional accuracy.”
In the Fenix 7 Pro series, all models, including the standard version, come with preloaded topo maps and multi-frequency positioning. Previously, these features were exclusive to the Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire models.
Forbes describes the Forerunner 965 as being “better for maps”. This is due to its aforementioned bright, higher contrast, and higher vibrancy display.
Battery Life Comparison
As noted by Business Insider in 2023, the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro is the Garmin watch variant with the ‘best battery life’. The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro also offers the feature of solar charging – giving the watch’s title of ‘best battery life’ an even greater boost. Solar charging was formerly only a feature of Fenix 7x Pro Solar but is now integrated into all Fenix 7 Pro models.
The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro harbours an impressive battery life of up to 37 days due to its solar charging feature. As such, the watch is well-suited to those who run marathons, go on extensive hiking trips, take long cycling tours, and backpackers. However, it is important to note that with the Always-On display enabled, the battery life lasts closer to 6 days without needing a recharge.
To put this into perspective, another popular Garmin watch variant – the Venu 3
On the other hand, the Forerunner 965 (on default display configuration) can last up to 23 days. When the watch display is on Always On Mode, the battery can last up to 7 days. Furthermore, with SatIQ™ Technology GNSS Mode (without music playing) – the battery can last up to 22 hours.
It takes the Fenix 7 Pro around 150 minutes to fully charge, whilst it takes the Forerunner up to 2 hours. The difference in their charge time is negligible.
The difference between the watches’ battery life, however, is notable. If one plans to venture out for longer excursions, the Fenix 7 Pro would be a more advisable investment. However, for those who do not plan on longer-term excursions, the battery life of the Forerunner 965 is more than satisfactory.
The Fenix 7 Pro retails from £749.99, whilst the Forerunner 965 retails from £599.99 on the official Garmin website.
As such, the Forerunner 965 is the obvious budget-friendly choice. However, depending on one’s particular needs and desired features, the Fenix 7 Pro may be worth the more significant investment.
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro vs Forerunner 965: Which Should You Buy?
Ultimately, the choice between the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro and the Forerunner 965 depends on one’s own preferences and needs.
The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro’s extensive battery life, solar charging, deep water resistance, durability, and flashlight feature set it apart. On the other hand, the Forerunner 965 is distinctive with its lightweight design, enhanced cadence tracking, high vibrancy AMOLED display, and lower price point.
Both are commendable options from the reputable Garmin brand. In conclusion, your decision should align with your individual fitness and lifestyle preferences.