Garmin Quatix 7 review: The best GPS sailing watch

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Like

  • Extensive options for mariners
  • Outstanding build quality and attractive design
  • Touchscreen and five-button navigation interface
  • Powerful Garmin ecosystem and capability
  • Solid battery life
  • Support for a vast number of sports and activities

Don’t Like

  • Limited color and size options
  • No phone call or voice assistant support

Growing up bounding through the evergreens in the foothills of Mt Rainier meant I only spent time on boats while fishing or exploring the Puget Sound on ferries. While at the US Coast Guard Academy, I was introduced to sailing and loved the ability to speed along the water in silence while taking in the refreshing salt air. Today, as a professional naval architect, I am involved in the design, construction, and delivery of ships, so I still get the opportunity to get underway on various watercraft.

Following the release of the Garmin Epix and Fenix 7 series, Garmin released the Quatix 7 series, which is focused on boaters, anglers, and sailors. I’ve spent a few weeks exploring the features of this watch in the form of the Quatix 7 Standard Edition.

Unlike the plethora of options for the Fenix 7, the Quatix 7 is available in three editions, with a single option for each edition. These include the Standard Edition, Sapphire Edition and Solar Edition, which are priced at $699.99, $999.99, and $1,199.99. There are equivalent Fenix 7 and Epix models that match these three, and to be honest; I wish I had purchased the Sapphire Edition, which provides the same AMOLED display as the Epix with more software features for activities on the water.

Specifications

Display 1.3-inch diameter 260×260-pixel resolution, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel with Power Glass lens
Materials Fiber-reinforced polymer case material with titanium rear cover. Silicone quick-release 22mm watch band
Storage 16GB internal storage for up to 2000 songs
Water resistance 10ATM
Connectivity and sensors Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, optical HR, barometer, compass, altimeter, Pulse Ox, thermometer
Battery Up to 18 days in smartwatch mode, up to 57 hours with GPS, up to 40 hours with all satellite systems, and up to 10 hours in GPS mode with music playing
Dimensions 47 x 47 x 14.5mm and 79 grams (with silicone band)

Hardware

  • Three models available
  • Touchscreen and five-button navigation
  • Design elements

The three Quatix 7 series models all have a similar appearance at first glance with a silver stainless steel bezel, red and blue highlighted areas around the watch face, touchscreen and five-button navigation options, silver buttons, black watch casing, and protected start/stop button. The Sapphire Edition has that gorgeous AMOLED display, while the Solar model has the Power Sapphire display that supports solar charging. Solar charging makes a lot of sense for a watch worn out on the water, where you are sure to have plenty of light sources to keep the battery topped off.

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Matthew Miller/ZDNet

I spent time with just one model, the Standard Edition, which is what this review focuses on. The software elements are the same between all three models, with enhanced functionality and features for mariners. The Standard Edition has a 1.3-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display made of Gorilla Glass that is perfect for outdoor visibility. The display is set in from the stainless steel bezel just a bit, so it is protected by the bezel too.

The top-left button turns the display backlight on and off, the center-left button moves up the display, and the bottom-left button moves down. Press and hold the center-left button to access the vast menu of settings and options on the watch.

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The attractive front display and design of the Quatix 7

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The top right button opens up your favorite activity list and then is used as a selection button. The bottom right is the lap/back button so that you can go back to one screen in your navigation.

Also: Best sports watch: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and more

One thing to note about the top right button on all three models is that Garmin designed the casing around the button to prevent accidentally pressing it while participating in your activity, so brushing up against a line, marine hardware, or another object on your boat shouldn’t activate this button. The button also has a red metallic ring around it to clearly identify the start/stop function.

Titanium material is found around the rear cover, while fiber-reinforced polymer material is present around the edges of the watch. The Garmin Elevate V4 heart rate sensor is centered on the back of the Quatix 7. A comfortable silicone quick-release 22mm watch band is included with the watch. It is a marine blue color that looks great with the stylish Quatix 7 and is fitting for the marine environment.

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The Quatix 7 and Epix offer similar functionality, but the boating features stand out for no extra cost

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Multi-GNSS options are present, so you can have multiple positioning systems enabled for improved location tracking in certain conditions as you boat around the world. The Sapphire and Solar models also support multi-band frequency for global positioning.

Watch software

  • Basic interface
  • Watch settings
  • Non-boating activities

The software on the watch is the same we have seen on recent Garmin watches, with the watch face always on when the watch is powered on. You can press, or scroll with your finger, to move up and down through the glances that you select for your watch. Pressing the start button, or tapping on the glance, will open up more details of that particular widget and then you can scroll through even more information. You can press the back, lower right button, or even swipe from left to right across the display to go back. Glances are very handy and useful for viewing and accessing the information that is most important to you.

Pressing the start button upper right takes you to your favorite workouts/activities, and then you can press it again to start the activity. You can customize specific workout settings, including data pages and many more functions, after selecting that activity and then pressing the up button.

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There are several additional activities only found on the Quatix 7

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The Garmin watch software supports up to seven hotkeys, consisting of press and hold or pressing of two buttons together, so you can quickly carry out functions such as screenshot, music controls, Garmin Pay, and more.

Press and hold on the center-left button to jump into all of the watch settings that include watch face selection and customization, clocks, history, notifications and alerts, appearance, sensors, map, music, connectivity, health & wellness, system, and much more. There is an exhaustive amount of customization available on the Garmin Epix once you jump into these settings.

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Explore all of the available data screens with marine features

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Something else that is new but fairly simple at this time is that Garmin Connect IQ can be added as a “sport” for installing and uninstalling apps directly from the watch. There are a huge number of sports and activities that can be installed and used on the Quatix 7. While the Quatix 7 is focused on the boater, there is an extensive number of other activities that are fully supported, including run, walk, bike, indoor row, golf, pickleball, tennis, horseback, trail run, MTB, gravel bike, road bike, ski, snowboard, backcountry ski, cross country classic ski, cross country skate ski, snowshoe, and many more

The Quatix 7 doesn’t yet have some of the new software features we just saw released on the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, but we should see a major firmware update that supports these new features. New features in the latest software include morning reports, training readiness, race widget, running power, and more.

Boating features

Frankly, I was surprised to see that the Quatix 7 supports all of the same activities and other software found on the Epix and Fenix 7 series, in addition to all of the boating features, at the same prices as the equivalent Epix and Fenix 7 devices. Granted, there are fewer options when it comes to sizes and colors, but if you ever plan to be out on the water, then the Quatix 7 should be considered over the Epix or Fenix 7.

Boating features included on a Quatix 7 series watch include:

  • Autopilot control: If you are elsewhere on your boat, you can still control the helm via your Quatix 7
  • Fusion-link audio system: You can control your Fusion Entertainment system from the watch
  • View boat data: With compatible marine equipment, you can view water depth, engine RPM, wind, and more right from your watch
  • Waypoint marking: Use your watch to place waypoints on your chart
  • Sailassist support: Create a virtual starting line, use tack assist to determine your condition, and more sailing support
  • Multi-function display (MFD) control: Quickly access common interactions, like chart zoom, backlight adjustment and layout shortcuts at the touch of a button
  • Anchor drag alarm: Get quick alerts to the watch when the anchor is dragging
  • Tide alerts: Remain mindful of the water’s ebbs and flows with integrated tide data and alerts – now viewable on the watch face
  • Multi-continent Topo Maps: Explore detailed contour mapping around the globe that is easily loaded and updated via built-in Wi-Fi

Just like with other activities on Garmin watches, you can fully customize the data fields that appear in your selected water activity. Data field options include nautical distance, nautical speed over ground, average speed over ground, lat/long, velocity made good, and much more. Make sure to fully explore the available data fields as they are different than you may be familiar with for running, biking, hiking, and more.

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Plenty of options for on-water activities

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Water-based activities that are supported on the Quatix 7 include boat, sail, sail race, tides, anchor, autopilot, boat data, fish, Fusion-Link, MFD remote, SUP, surf, windsurf, kiteboard, and kayak.

Also: Epix (2nd Gen) review: Garmin’s best modern GPS sports watch

Smartphone software and website

  • Seamless sync from phone to the watch
  • My Day screen
  • Other tabs

Something new for Garmin is the nearly complete interface synchronization of the watch settings in the Garmin Connect app and the real-time syncing function that takes place when you change a setting on your phone to have it synced to the watch. In the past, you would make a few settings changes in the Garmin Connect smartwatch app and then initiate a syncing session to have them synced over. Now when you make a change, it is synced over automatically.

There are also many more watch settings mirrored in the Garmin Connect smartphone app as Garmin works to streamline the Garmin software experience and create a richer experience for people. I find it easier to set up specific exercise details on my phone’s large display rather than on the watch so I really appreciate this functionality and wonder if companies like Coros have been helping motivate Garmin to take steps like this. Sensors and accessories remain a watch-only function, but that makes sense since it requires a direct Bluetooth or ANT+ connection from the watch to the accessory.

Collecting the data is important, but using that data for tracking trends, improving performance, challenging friends, and identifying problem areas is also very important. Garmin offers the Garmin Connect app for iOS and Android, and it is a powerful and capable application that closely matches the Connect website experience.

When you first launch the smartphone app, you will see My Day’s screen. This is a dashboard and completely customizable to your preferences. Simply scroll to the bottom and choose to Edit My Day. Here you can choose from the following cards: heart rate, steps, Body Battery, intensity minutes, floors, sleep, stress score, weight, calories, Pulse OX, and several more. There are also toggles to see yesterday’s stats and the last 7 days of stats. In addition, when you record an activity (run, bike ride, etc.) on that day, a box appears up top with that card. Tapping any card takes you into much more fine detail for that measurement.

Other tabs in the smartphone software include challenges, calendar, news feed, and notifications. One of these can be substituted for Garmin Coach once you select and set up a training plan. I have Garmin Coach in my app with news feed hidden from view. Tap on the tab icon to see more details for each of these. In challenges, you can earn badges for various challenges, set up a challenge with your connections, and more. It’s a great way to get motivated to get out and exercise. The calendar views show you bars for your various status levels and is interesting to view over a long period of time. The news feed presents summary information from your connections, while the notifications page shows notifications, such as likes, from your Garmin connections.

Tapping the upper-left three-bar icon (Android) or lower more option (iPhone) presents a list of other areas to visit in the app, including insights, activity stats, performance stats, health stats, training, gear, connections, groups, safety & tracking, Connect IQ store, Garmin devices, settings, and help. This menu and user interface matches what you see on the website as well. You can view data over different time frames, see your records, view the badges you earned, see totals and averages, and much more.

Also: Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar review: Long battery life, useful LED light, fantastic build quality

There are options to control phone notifications during your activity and at all other times when you are not recording data as part of the activity. If you are connected to an Android smartphone, you can go to Settings>Notifications in the Garmin phone app to customize exactly which apps provide notifications to the watch. You do not have this per-app control when connected to an iPhone.

With a paired Android phone, you can also select to reply to messages with the text you have already set up in advance on your phone. This includes customized text responses.

While there are a plethora of workout options on the watch, you can also download preset workouts from Garmin Connect. Even better, you can create your own customizable workouts with over 1,400 exercises to choose from. Seventy-five preset animated workouts are provided for cardio, yoga, strength, HIIT, and pilates so you really have no excuse not to be able to develop workouts that appeal to you and meet your health and wellness needs.

The Garmin Connect website experience is very similar to what you see in the smartphone application, with even more capability to generate reports, import or export data, set up connections to other applications (such as Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and more. Similar to the snapshots interface on the phone, you have a dashboard on Garmin Connect that you can customize.

Daily usage experiences and conclusions

  • Quatix 7 vs Epix and Fenix 7
  • More than marine

When I first received the press release for the Garmin Quatix 7, I was a bit disappointed that I had just purchased my own Garmin Epix because the Quatix 7 Sapphire Edition offers everything that the Epix has, including that lovely AMOLED screen, multiple frequency GNSS support for more accurate positioning, and sapphire glass instead of Gorilla Glass so it is more durable. 

While I rarely sail, I do go out on boats and also sometimes work on marine casualties where I need access to tide tables and other marine data. If you are a boater and considering the Epix or Fenix 7, I recommend you first take a look at the Quatix 7 and use the comparison tool on the Garmin website.

I did not get the chance to try all of the marine features of the Quatix 7 because you need a boat outfitted with all of the supported gear to experience everything that the Quatix 7 has to offer fully. That said, there is extensive support for boating built into the Quatix 7, and I have yet to see any other GPS sports watch with this amount of support for sailors, boaters, or anglers who spend time on the water.

In addition to boating activities, the Quatix 7 also supports a vast number of other activities. I used the Quatix 7 for running, walking, hiking, biking, indoor rowing, sleeping, commuting, swimming, and more. It also has full support for golf, which is another of my favorite sports, and with my Garmin CT-10 golf club trackers, the Quatix 7 is perfect for time spent out on courses. It also has preloaded SkiView maps so the Quatix 7 can join you on the slopes in winter, too.



Original Article

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