Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar

Garmin Forerunner 965 was released in March 2023 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar was released in the year 2022.

We look at both these smartwatches. There is a significant price difference between the Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. So, it is interesting to see the incremental features of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar smartwatch.

Main differences

  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar comes at a list price of $999.99 and Forerunner 965 has a list price of $599.99. There is a $400 difference of cost between the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar and Forerunner 965 smartwatches.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is a solar watch that uses sunlight to build the charge of the battery. This is in addition to the regular charging that can be done using a plug charger.
  • Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display while the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar uses the MIP or memory in pixel screen
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a much better battery life than the Forerunner 965.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is broader than the Forerunner 965.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a better water rating.

We look at these features in a detailed discussion below.

Display

Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar differ in display specifications to a large extent.

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar uses a Power Sapphire glass. It is a special type of sapphire glass that is lined up with a layer of power glass. The power glass contains photovoltaic cells. These cells help in converting sunlight into battery charge.

Forerunner 965 uses a DX coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The DX coating is a special anti-reflective coating. It has two distinct advantages:

  1. It improves display readability by almost 75%
  2. It improved the contrast ratio of the display screen

You will find that the display of Forerunner 965 is much brighter than that of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar.

Apart from this, Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display. AMOLED display helps in giving a much better display experience and display resolution on the watch.

  • Forerunner 965 has a display resolution of 454 x 454 pixels while the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a display resolution of 280 x 280 pixels.
  • Forerunner 965 also supports the Always-on-display feature on the display screen. You can turn on or turn off the Always-on-display feature.

You will find the display of Forerunner 965 brighter and better than that of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar

All the display specifications of the Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar are shared below for a ready reference.

Display specificationsForerunner 965Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar
Display size1.4″1.4″
Display LensCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DXPower Sapphire
Display typeAMOLEDMIP (Memory in pixel)
Display resolution454 x 454 pixels280 x 280 pixels
Pixel density459 ppi283 ppi
Color screenYesYes
TouchscreenYesYes

The improved display performance of the Forerunner 965 can be seen from the display resolution and pixel density of both watches.

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar watch

Physical specifications

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is broader and has a thicker bezel than the Forerunner 965. Some important hardware specifications of the Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar are shared below.

SpecificationsForerunner 965Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar
Watch size47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm51 x 51 x 14.9 mm
Watch body materialFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer with titanium rear cover
Watch thickness13.2 mm14.9 mm
BezelTitaniumTitanium
Band size22 mm26 mm
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Water rating5 ATM10 ATM
Device storage32 GB32 GB
LED FlashlightNoYes
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm127-210 mm
Weight53 g61 g

The titanium bezel of Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is thicker than that of the Forerunner 965. Also, Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has an LED flashlight.

Forerunner 965 has a 5 ATM water rating. This indicates that the Forerunner 965 can handle depth pressure upto 50 meters underneath water.

Fenix 7X Sapphire Soluar has a 10 ATM water rating. It can handle a depth pressure at 100 meters level below water.

Both watches are suitable for swimming.

GPS

The GPS performance of the Forerunner 965 is as good as that of the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. The improvement in GPS performance for both watches is on account of the multi-frequency positioning sensor.

The sensor offers multi-band GPS capabilities to the Forerunner 965 and the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time. The feature is very useful when the GPS signal is weak.

Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar also use the SatIQ technology to automatically toggle on or off the multi-band GPS. If the GPS signal is weak, SatIQ will use the multi-band GPS mode to fetch GPS data.

If the GPS signal is good, the SatIQ technology on Forerunner 965 will use the simple GPS mode to fetch the GPS signals.

Multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology make Forerunner 965 and Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar reliable GPS smartwatches.

Battery

The battery life of Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is higher than that offered by the Forerunner 965. Especially, the battery backup on the various GPS modes is significantly higher on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar watch than the Forerunner 965.

The difference in battery capacities of the Garmin Forerunner 965 and the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar are shared below.

Watch modeForerunner 965 backupFenix 7X Sapphire Solar backup
Smartwatch modeup to 23 daysup to 28 days; up to 37 days with solar charging
GPS mode without musicup to 31 hoursup to 89 hours; up to 122 hours with solar charging
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band: Up to 19 hoursup to 19 hoursup to 36 hours; 41 hours with solar charging
GPS mode with musicup to 10.5 hoursup to 16 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode up to 22 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode with musicup to 9.5 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with musicup to 8.5 hours
Ultratrac mode up to 34 hours

The backup offered by Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is higher than the backup offered by the Forerunner 965.

Solar charging

Solar charging is an incremental or secondary source of battery charging for the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar watches. Forerunner 965 does not support solar charging.

There are a couple of caveats for solar charging to be effective:

  1. You need to expose the watch’s display screen to direct sunlight for at least 3 hours a day
  2. Sunlight should be of at least 50000 lux

If you can expose the watch to bright sunlight, solar charging can be a good incremental source for battery charging.

The primary charging method for the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is the wire-based charger provided by Garmin.

Safety features

Forerunner 965 is designed for runners. Therefore, it does offer the safety feature of spectator messaging.

With spectator messaging, your LiveTrack followers can send you text or audio messages. Spectator messaging uses network connectivity provided by the paired smartphone.

Spectator messaging could be a useful feature in remote or inaccessible areas.

Miscellaneous features

There are a few other differences in miscellaneous features.

  • Forerunner 965 has an ambient light sensor.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has a led flashlight.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has an additional cycling profile for triathlon.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar has additional outdoor recreation profiles for Fishing, Horseback Riding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Wakesurfing, Tubing, and Sailing Expedition.
  • Fenix 7X Sapphire also has a jet lag advisor feature. This is a health feature that helps in uncovering instances of jet lag.

Sapphire glass

Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar glass has a Power Sapphire glass. The Sapphire glasses are very hard and almost scratch resistant. Sapphire glass is made of the second hardest natural mineral available in the world.

Sapphire glasses are not easily prone to damage with impacts. Sapphire watches are considered premium watches because of the long-term durability of such watches.

This is one of the reasons that the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is categorized as a premium watch in the Fenix 7 series.

Final verdict

From the perspective of functionality, Forerunner 965 offers a comprehensive set of features. For runners, there could be no better watch than the Forerunner 965.

The AMOLED display of the Forerunner 965 is a unique selling proposition for the Forerunner 965 watches.

For someone looking to get a premium Sapphire glass solar watch, Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is loaded with features and quality specifications. The reasons we consider Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar a premium watch are:

  1. Thicker bezel made of titanium
  2. Sapphire glass that renders a premium look
  3. Almost scratch-proof display screen
  4. Multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology for GPS performance
  5. Thicker band of 26 mm size
  6. Higher battery backup

If budget is not a constraint, Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar is the watch to go for. Otherwise, the Forerunner 965 watches are a great option for runners, swimmers, cyclists, and triathletes.

Suggested Reading

You may like to read more smartwatch comparison studies below:

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