Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Epix 2 Pro

Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro smartwatches are newer variants released by Garmin. Forerunner 965 was released in March 2023 and Epix 2 Pro was unveiled in the last week of May 2023. In a space of 2 months, we have had substantial new releases from Garmin.

We look at the Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro series smartwatches below. For this comparison, we have picked an Epix 2 Pro Standard edition smartwatch. Epix 2 Pro smartwatches come in 51 mm, 47 mm, and 42 mm sizes. We have used a 47 mm Epix 2 Pro smartwatch in this comparison.

Main differences

The main differences between Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro smartwatches are shared below:

  • Forerunner 965 comes for a list price of $599.99 and Epix 2 Pro smartwatch costs $899.99. So, the standard edition 47 mm variant of the Epix 2 Pro smartwatch is costlier than Forerunner 965 by $300.
  • Garmin Forerunner 965 uses a better display lens than Epix 2 Pro.
  • Forerunner 965 is thinner and wider than Epix 2 Pro smartwatch, resulting in a slightly better display resolution.
  • Forerunner 965 is designed to last longer. It offers better battery backup than Epix 2 Pro smartwatch.
  • Epix 2 Pro supports the Garmin ECG app. The support for the Garmin ECG app was added in October 2023.
  • Epix 2 Pro has a much more exhaustive list of activities and profiles in outdoor recreation, cycling, and Golfing.
  • Epix 2 Pro has better water resistance than Forerunner 965.
  • Epix 2 Pro comes with a LED Flashlight.
  • Hill score and Endurance score have been added to the Epix 2 Pro smartwatch.
  • Forerunner 965 offers the safety feature of spectator messaging. Epix 2 Pro does not have spectator messaging.

The target audience for a Forerunner 965 is runners. Epix 2 Pro is a complete smartwatch that appeals to runners and others.

Garmin Forerunner 965 Smartwatch

Display specifications

Epix 2 Pro and Forerunner 965 use AMOLED display. Both watches can support Always-on-display mode.

Forerunner 965 uses a DX-coated third-generation Corning Gorilla Glass. The DX coating on Corning Gorilla glass is an anti-reflective coating that helps in improving screen brightness and display readability.

For an outdoor experience, DX-coated Corning Gorilla Glass improves the user experience to a large extent.

We look at the display specifications of both smartwatches below.

Display specificationsForerunner 965Epix 2 Pro
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DX coatingCorning Gorilla Glass
Display size1.4″ or 33 mm1.3″ or 30 mm
Always on displayYesYes
Display resolution454 x 454 pixels416 x 416 pixels
Color displayYesYes
LED FlashlightNoYes
Ambient light sensorYesYes

Forerunnner 965 uses DX coated third generation Corning Gorilla Glass. This is better than the Corning Gorilla Glass used in Epix 2 Pro.

Epix 2 Pro has an LED Flashlight.

Physical specifications

Forerunner 965 differs from Epix 2 Pro in hardware specifications. Forerunner 965’s specifications are designed to make it suitable for athletes.

Forerunner 965 has 5 ATM water resistance while the Epix 2 Pro has 10 ATM water resistance.

We look at the physical specifications of Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro watches in a side-by-side comparison below.

SpecificationsForerunner 965Epix 2 Pro
Watch size47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm47 x 47 x 14.6 mm
Thickness13.2 mm14.6 mm
Watch weight53 g55 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer with steel rear cover
BezelTitaniumStainless steel
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Band size22 mm22 mm
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm125-208 mm
Alternate Band material optionsMetal, Fabric and Leather
Device storage32 GB32 GB
Water resistance5 ATM (50 Meters)10 ATM (100 Meters)
Swimming profilePool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/RunningPool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running
Wireless connectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FIANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FI
NFC PaymentsGarmin PayGarmin Pay
Garmin Elevate Heart SensorYesYes
Pulse Ox SpO2 SensorYesYes
Barometric AltimeterYesYes
iOS compatibleYes, iOS 15 and higherYes, iOS 15 and higher
Android compatibleYes, Android 7 and higherYes, Android 7 and higher
ChargerGarmin wire chargerGarmin wire charger

The major difference between Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro has to be the water resistance rating of 10 ATM in Epix 2 Pro. Forerunner 965 has a water rating of 5 ATM.

The bezel material of Epix 2 Pro gives a premium look to the smartwatch.


Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro have similar GPS functionality and configuration.

Both smartwatches support the GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo networks.

Both smartwatches have a multi-frequency positioning sensor.

The multi-frequency positioning sensor allows Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro to offer multi-band GPS or dual-frequency GPS.

With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time. The feature is handy when the quality of GPS signals is poor.

The multi-band GPS feature can be a lifesaver when you are in remote areas or in hilly terrain with poor GPS connectivity.

The downside to using multi-band GPS is the massive battery drain on the mode. So, Garmin has added the SatIQ technology sensor.

SatIQ automatically toggles on or off the multi-band GPS mode. If the GPS connectivity is poor, SatIQ will turn on the multi-band GPS mode. When the GPS connectivity becomes strong, SatIQ will turn off the multi-band GPS mode.

Epix 2 Pro smartwatch


Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro have complete music functionality. This effectively means that both smartwatches allow the following features:

  1. You can store audio content on the device storage for offline listening.
  2. The smartwatch can be directly used to manage music on the device storage.
  3. You can manage, control and play music from the paired smartphone.
  4. Deezer and Spotify apps can be used for music streaming. These apps can be downloaded from the Connect IQ store. You will need a premium subscription to Spotify and Deezer to use them on the smartwatch.

Health features

Epix 2 Pro has introduced a Jetlag advisor. Other health-tracking parameters are the same for both watches. A brief comparison of health-tracking features for both smartwatches is listed below.

Health featuresForerunner 965Epix 2 Pro
Heart rate monitoringYesYes
Sleep monitoringYesYes
Stress monitoringYesYes
Body Battery scoresYesYes
Abnormal Heart rate alertsYesYes
Blood oxygen saturation monitoringYesYes
Respiration rate trackingYesYes
Women’s HealthYesYes
Health snapshotYesYes


Forerunner 965 has extended battery backup. In comparison with Epix 2 Pro, Forerunner 965 offers higher battery backup in the smartwatch mode.

On the various GPS modes, both watches offer almost identical battery backups.

The battery backup in different watch modes for Forerunner 965 and Epix 2 Pro is compared below.

Watch modesForerunner 965Epix 2 Pro
Smartwatch modeUp to 23 daysUp to 16 days
GPS modeUp to 31 hoursUp to 42 hours
GPS-Only GNSS mode with musicUp to 10.5 hoursUp to 10 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-BandUp to 19 hoursUp to 20 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with musicUp to 8.5 hoursUp to 8.5 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS modeUp to 31 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode with musicUp to 9.5 hours

Hill score

Hill score is a dynamic score that tracks your ability to go uphill. The number is calculated based on volumetric oxygen VO2 max and your training history.

The Hill Score number is between 0-100. Based on the hill score, you are given a category. On the lowest score range, you are classified as a recreational runner. With the highest score range, you are classified as an elite runner or climber.

Hill score is a useful indicator for using the performance data in finding your ability to run uphill.

Endurance score

Similar to the Hill score, the Endurance score is a dynamic number that is calculated based on aerobic fitness, training data and other performance data.

The endurance score is a useful indicator to gauge the ability for sustained performance.

The endurance score is also very useful in sharing data about endurance for specific activities. So, a swimmer may have an endurance score that reflects his or her performance data for swimming. At the same time, a swimmer may not have the endurance for a marathon.

Additional profiles

Epix 2 Pro has additional profiles in outdoor recreation and cycling.

  • Additional outdoor recreation profiles in Epix 2 Pro – Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Water Skiing, Surfing, Wakeboarding, Wakesurfing, Tubing, Hunting, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Motorcycling, Overlanding, Motocrossing, ATVing, Ice Skating, Boating, Sailing, Sail Racing, Jumpmaster, Badminton, Squash, Table Tennis, Archery, Whitewater, Tactical, Sailing Expedition, Obstacle Course
  • Epix 2 Pro has additional profiles for Triathlon and BMX in the cycling profile.

ECG app

Epix 2 Pro smartwatches support the Garmin ECG app. The support for the Garmin ECG app was added to the Epix 2 Pro series in October 2023. At the time of launch, Epix 2 Pro did not support the Garmin ECG app.

The ECG app helps in taking electrocardiogram readings. This helps in uncovering heart rhythm issues. In other words, the ECG app is useful in detecting Atrial Fibrillation conditions.

The next-generation optical heart rate sensor on the Epix 2 Pro has allowed Garmin the ability to add the Garmin ECG app support after the smartwatch launch.

It may be pertinent to mention that Garmin did get FDA approval for its ECG app on 12th January 2023. Subsequently, Garmin introduced the ECG app in the Venu 2 Plus smartwatch.

ECG function or feature is not available in Forerunner 965.

Final verdict

Forerunner 965 is the best smartwatch available for athletes and runners. It comes with preloaded top maps, and road and trail maps.

Epix 2 Pro introduces additional features in the watch.

I will get an Epix 2 Pro for an additional spend of $300 over the Forerunner 965 for the following reasons:

  • More size options in Epix 2 Pro. The watch is available in 51 mm, 47 mm, and 42 mm sizes.
  • Epix 2 Pro also supports the Garmin ECG app.
  • Epix 2 Pro has an LED Flashlight.
  • Epix 2 Pro has additional metrics of Hill Score and Endurance Score.
  • Epix 2 Pro has a higher water resistance of 100 meters.
  • Epix 2 Pro has a more premium look and feel compared to the Forerunner 965.

Suggested reading

You may like reading the following smartwatch comparison studies:

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