Look, I’m skeptical about the Garmin Fenix 7 solar charging capabilities.
In my experience, I occasionally get 50,000 lux conditions with my Fenix 7S Pro Solar. But I don’t know that I’ve ever had those conditions persist for three full hours to give me 150,000 lux-hours of charging.
Now that it’s winter in New Jersey, I’m lucky to get a total of 10k. My average this week is 3.2k.
So, naturally, I turned to Reddit to ask if it was just me – or if anyone actually got the required sun exposure to realize the advertised benefits for Garmin 7 Fenix solar charging.
It Turns Out Some People Do Get 50,000 Lux Conditions
It turns out that some people do get 50,000 lux regularly – and it’s either a result of where they live or what their activities are like.
Where You Live Can Lead to Greater Lux
Responses from some Reddit users
In Spain, I pass that everyday from June to deep into October. I’m sure you’d get the 150k Lux hours 300 days of the year in Tenerife.
Alright, so maybe I should consider moving to the Mediterranean. There are worse places to live.
But I guess it makes sense that some locales are closer to the equator and get a higher angle to the sun. Or they have less cloudy, more sunny climates.
For 100 days a year in Texas, I can beat that. But in winter, no.
Sorry, I’m not moving to Texas. But I’ll point out that 100 days is less than a third of the year. So this still supports my contention that the solar charging capabilities of the Garmin Fenix 7 are oversold.
Yep, living in Australia and spending a bit of time outside will see you clock it up. Only on a Fenix 7 so can’t see past 50k but rest assured I’ve sat at 50k for significantly long stretches of the day.
Australia is on my list of places to visit, and I hope I get there someday soon. Maybe I’ll save enough money from solar charging my watch that it pays for the trip. Hmm …
What You Do Can Get You More Lux
Then again, it also matters what you do. I often run early in the morning, before the sun is high in the air. And during the afternoon I’m in the office at work.
So maybe my activity profile doesn’t lend itself to getting a lot of sun.
But not these people …
I did a 40 mile road ride in Southern California today. That was 4 hours ago, so I would guess I hit 150k today.
Its winter here right now – not much snow which is odd, but it’s colder. I’ve done about 4 hour bike rides which ended in around 138k lux on my Fenix 7 solar
Cyclists tend to stay outside for a lot longer than runners. My typical run is an hour or so, and my long runs are two hours and change.
Meanwhile, a cyclist will easily spend three to four hours outside – at least on a long day. They’re also more likely than me to be out once the sun is up.
So cyclists are probably more likely to realize the full benefit of solar charging than me.
Back in April and May, I was out doing some spring ski touring on glaciers and was getting over 400k lux!
I definitely did not consider skiing. Where I live, it’s more of a novelty that you might go do for a weekend. It’s not a regular activity.
But if you live in a place where you can regularly go cross country skiing on a glacier, I bet you’ll get a ton of sun exposure. Ice and snow do a great job of reflecting the sun, and you’ll definitely hit max capacity.
And then there’s this:
You probably need to spend some time outdoors relaxing where the watch can get some good face time with the sun. As opposed to only being active where the watch spends a lot time being perpendicular to the sky.
I see what I did wrong, now. I bought a sports watch and intended to use it on my runs.
Instead, I should spend four to six hours per day lounging at the beach. Then I’ll get the solar charging I was promised on my Fenix 7S Pro.
But Plenty Of Others Agree Solar Charging Its Pointless
Even some people who occasionally get 50,000 lux conditions on their Garmin Fenix 7 agree that the feature is oversold.
I put my watch on the window sill in the winter and got about 2-300k lux. Even in battery saver mode it only added 2 days to the charge which is less than 1 day in normal mode. This also doesn’t work in the summer since it overheats.
Pretty useless feature IMO and the most I’ve gotten normally wearing a watch was about 100k but that was in the sun the whole day and not realistic of my everyday activities
If you have to take your watch off and leave it to charge, getting a day of charge for a few hours is not worth it. I could plug it in and charge to 100% in an hour. Even if I’m out, I can easily bring a small battery pack to charge things up.
I’ve had it at 150k and above on some sunny summer days… but I share the same opinion. Right now I wouldn’t go with the solar option, I’d rather have a bit more screen. All the solar does is decrease the battery drain a tiny bit. On good days the percentage might stay the same while in watch mode, but that’s about it. Perhaps a day or two extra in the end. No serious charging at all.
If it’s not going to add a significant amount of battery life, it’s not worth the trade off. Sorry.
What about you? Do you regularly get 50,000 lux conditions on a Fenix? Leave a comment below, and share how you do it.