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This is the perfect smartwatch for anyone who loves the water

Garmin's latest Quatix 7 Pro may be the most attractive and stylish model that I've tested.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
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Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Garmin Quatix 7 Pro is available now for $999. It's a 47mm watch made with recycled ocean-bound plastics.
  • A lovely AMOLED display graces the front of the watch with a powerful LED flashlight, long battery life, and deep support for a host of marine activities.
  • Some drawbacks to note are the battery-draining always-on mode, the price tag, and the watch is only available in one size.

After testing the Garmin Quatix 7 Standard Edition last year, I ended up buying the Sapphire Edition instead for its brilliant AMOLED display.

Also: I found the most comprehensive GPS sports watch for fitness tracking, and it's not made by Garmin

And for the past few weeks, my primary Garmin watch has moved to the Quatix 7 Pro, which boosts features that combine the best of that trusted Sapphire Edition watch and one of my new favorites, the Epix Pro. Add on the fiber-reinforced casing, made completely with recycled ocean-bound plastics, and you've got one of the best wearables this year for users who live and travel by sea. Here's why.

View at Garmin

Carrying over to the Quatix 7 Pro, Garmin continues to integrate its fantastic LED flashlight into more of its watches. After discovering the flashlight on the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar watch early last year, it is now a feature that I require on all my daily watches. I use the LED flashlight almost every day; just this weekend, I used it to help me replace a car battery, water the Christmas tree, find a missing watch band, and locate a wrench deep in my toolbox.

Garmin Quatix 4 Pro LED flashlight
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Having an LED flashlight readily available on your wrist in the marine environment is important, too. Things are often dropped into the bilges or in tight spaces on a boat, where a flashlight is key to finding items, flipping switches, and checking out the condition of the vessel. The LED flashlight also has red light mode so that you can see things in dark conditions without ruining your night vision. Maintaining night vision on the bridge or helm is important to see navigation lights, buoys, and other objects on the water at night.

The Quatix 7 Pro looks similar to the Quatix, with the lovely titanium bezel around the sapphire glass display, red and blue sailing regatta timer color scheme around the bezel, black case, titanium back cover, and 22mm navy blue silicone watch band. 

Also: The Oura smart ring's brilliant new features outshine even its titanium finish

It measures 47mm in diameter and 70 grams in weight, so it is nicely balanced for a larger GPS sports watch. The top right button -- five are located around the case -- is protected from accidental activation with a red highlight line on the bezel. It is one of the most attractive and stylish Garmin watches I have ever seen.

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Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The AMOLED display is brilliantly vivid. But if you enable the always-on display mode, then be prepared to cut your estimated battery life from 16 days down to six. Another perfect feature for sailors is the red-shift mode that turns everything on the display into red font, once again, helping you maintain your night vision.

Also: This Garmin smartwatch convinced my daughter to switch over from Fitbit

I've previously detailed the host of boating features found in the Quatix 7. All of those same features can be found in the Quatix 7 Pro, including autopilot, Fusion audio system support, and viewing data from your chart plotter on your wrist. In addition, a new trolling motor remote app is available for owners of a Force trolling motor. 

Fish forecasts also help you track the movement of fish during the day. I used the Quatix 7 to help my friend monitor anchor drag during an outing on Lake Tahoe earlier this summer, there will be more where that came from as I go boating along with my stepfather during our upcoming fishing trips.

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A look at the Garmin app to enable various features.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

In addition to the enhanced feature set for mariners, the Garmin Quatix 7 Pro includes the latest ECG app, golf course maps, snow skiing maps, multi-GNSS support, and all of the stunning health and wellness features found in the Garmin ecosystem. The custom data fields available for activities on the water are unlike anything we see on any other GPS sports watch and Garmin truly stands alone when it comes to supporting sailors with the Quatix 7 Pro.

ZDNET's buying advice

If some of your outdoor activities include water sports, sailing, or boating, then the additional features provided in the Garmin Quatix 7 Pro are ideal for you. All of the great Garmin features found in other Garmin wearables are also included, so this marine-focused watch can handle much more than life on the water.

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