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Garmin MARQ Adventurer vs Athlete (2023): Which Luxury Watch Should You Get?

Garmin recently launched the second generation of its popular MARQ series of luxury smartwatches. The Garmin MARQ Gen 2 collection consists of five watches that cater to different interests and activities, including the Adventurer, Athlete, Golfer, Captain, and Aviator.

Each watch boasts a host of features specifically designed to meet the demands of its respective target audiences. From the athlete who wants advanced training metrics to the explorer who requires orienteering and navigational guides, there is a MARQ Gen 2 watch for every type of user.

This article looks at the two least expensive Garmin MARQ Gen 2 watches: the Garmin MARQ Adventurer and the Garmin MARQ Athlete. Below, we explore their features, design, and performance to help you decide which is the best fit for your needs.

Garmin MARQ Adventurer vs Athlete Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin MARQ Adventurer (Gen 2)Garmin MARQ Athlete (Gen 2)
 
Price
Size46 x 15 mm46 x 15 mm
Weight92 g85 g
BuildSapphire crystal lens, titanium lens, and titanium caseSapphire crystal lens, titanium lens, and titanium case
StrapLeather and FKM rubberSilicone
Display1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen
Water Rating10 ATM10 ATM
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Respiration RateYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Pulse Ox MonitoringYesYes
Jet Lag AdvisorYesYes
OrienteeringYesNo
Activity TrackingYesYes
Music StorageYesYes
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Garmin PayYesYes
Battery LifeSmartwatch: Up to 16 days
Battery Saver: Up to 21 days
Expedition GPS: Up to 14 days
Smartwatch: Up to 16 days
Battery Saver: Up to 21 days
Expedition GPS: Up to 14 days

Design and Build

The Garmin MARQ Adventurer sports a classic watch tool design, while the Garmin MARQ Athlete boasts a sportier aesthetic.

Garmin MARQ Adventurer vs Athlete Design
Here’s a look at the MARQ Adventurer (left) and MARQ Athlete (right)

The Garmin MARQ Adventurer and Garmin MARQ Athlete have distinct design features tailored to their target audiences.

The MARQ Adventurer, for instance, is rugged and durable, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts — hikers, campers, and more. It boasts a titanium bezel with etched cardinal bearings reminiscent of field watches. It’s also fitted with an elegant leather strap. The strap’s inner surface is made of rubber to resist sweat and prevent damage. As such, the MARQ Adventurer lends itself well to both active and casual settings.

In contrast, the MARQ Athlete has a sleek and sporty design that should appeal to fitness enthusiasts. Garmin includes a soft silicone strap as its default to emphasize the aesthetic. The band is also lightweight and vented for a secure and breathable fit. Among the five MARQ watches, the Athlete resembles the style of today’s smartwatches the closest.

Size, Display & Buttons

Garmin’s MARQ Collection only comes in one size, 46mm. Nonetheless, these watches are larger than Apple and Samsung’s largest models but smaller than the Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin’s fenix 7X. The Adventurer and Athlete also feature a 1.2” AMOLED display protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal lens.

Although the MARQ watches feature a touchscreen display, physical buttons are still available. While this option sounds counterintuitive in a touchscreen-obsessed market, they come in handy for navigating through features when your hands are sweaty, or you’re wearing a glove. Upon closer inspection, there are differences between the two devices here. The Adventurer’s physical buttons have a textured finish for grip, while the Athlete opts for a smoother surface.

Garmin’s MARQ watches, including the Adventurer and Athlete, are water-resistant up to a depth of 10 ATM. However, they only come in one color finish — silver for the Adventurer and black for the Athlete.

Fitness and Activity Tracking

While marketed for different users, the MARQ Adventurer and MARQ Athlete share the same features except for the former’s orienteering.

Garmin MARQ Adventurer vs Athlete Fitness and Activity Tracking
A look at some of the activity profiles available on the MARQ Adventurer (left) and the MARQ Athlete (right)

The Garmin MARQ Adventurer and MARQ Athlete come packed with activity tracking and fitness features. Users can check standard metrics like calories burned, steps taken, floors climbed, and distance traveled. Several gym activity profiles are also available, including pilates, yoga, and HIIT.

Although the MARQ Athlete is for fitness enthusiasts, its training tools are also available on the MARQ Athlete. Both watches include features from Garmin’s latest sports watches, including real-time stamina and training load. They also have the same running profiles and advanced running tools like grade-adjusted pace.

In contrast, the MARQ Adventurer is an outdoor enthusiast’s watch. Nonetheless, what one expects to be exclusive features of the model are available to the MARQ Athlete. For instance, both devices employ the same navigation systems — GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO. They also come preloaded with maps.

If there is any difference, it’s that the MARQ Adventurer offers orienteering. Here, you get a classic compass overlaid on a map. Users can navigate the map in tandem with the compass bezel of the Adventurer.

Health Tracking Features

Garmin’s MARQ Adventurer and Athlete have the same health monitoring tools.

Garmin MARQ Adventurer vs Athlete Health Features
Sleep tracking on the MARQ Adventurer (left) and health snapshot on the MARQ Athlete (right)

Although they aren’t health smartwatches, the Garmin MARQ Adventurer and Athlete have ample health monitoring tools. Both devices are equipped with heart rate trackers that can detect abnormal heart rates. The 24/7 tool also measures daily resting heart rate. As expected, the watches also come with sleep tracking, stress monitoring, and SpO2 tracking, a feature Garmin calls PulseOx.

Garmin’s PulseOx serves two purposes. First, it can take measurements during sleep to check for any sleep-related issues. Second, users can configure the feature in high-altitude environments.

However, you don’t need to sleep or climb a mountain to reap PulseOx benefits. PulseOx is also available for spot-checks, particularly through Health Snapshot. With this feature, you get stats after a two-minute session. Heart rate, HRV, respiration, PulseOx, and stress are all included in the generated report.

Other features exclusive to Garmin are also available, like Fitness Age and Body Battery. Fitness Age is available through Garmin’s app. The tool takes into account VO2 Max, resting heart rate, activity intensity, and BMI. Meanwhile, the Body Battery calculates energy levels. For users, the feedback offered by Body Battery can help them decide whether to rest and recover or commit to a workout for the day.

Smart Features and Battery Life

The Garmin MARQ Adventurer and MARQ Athlete have ample smart features and exceptional battery life.

Garmin MARQ Adventurer vs Athlete Smart Features
Message notifications on the Adventurer (left) and contactless payments on the Athlete (right)

While designed for fitness and activity tracking, the Garmin MARQ Adventurer and MARQ Athlete enjoy several smart features. However, don’t expect these to rival the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch. Instead, you get enough smart features to keep you connected without turning the watches into secondary phones that distract you from your activities.

As expected, both watches support call, text, and app notifications. You can’t take calls with the MARQ Adventurer and Athlete, but if you’re using an Android phone, you can reject an incoming call with a text. Watch faces are also changeable. You can download designs from Connect IQ.

The watches also have built-in calendar and weather apps, staples in any smartwatch today. For contactless payments, Garmin Pay is present. You can also control smartphone music with these devices. If you prefer to play music offline, local music storage is possible.

Battery life is where the MARQ Series truly excels. In smartwatch mode, the Adventurer and Athlete last up to 16 days. That’s well beyond the one or two-day battery life of other wearables. Even in always-on mode, the MARQ watches still muster up to six days of use.

If you want to extend the battery life, the battery-saver mode pushes the watches to 21 days of battery life. When in Expedition mode, the GPS only activates once every hour, and most sensors are disabled to extend the battery life. This feature enables you to prioritize extended battery life over precise GPS tracking when embarking on an expedition that lasts multiple days.

Verdict

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, opt for the Garmin MARQ Adventurer. On the other hand, get the Garmin MARQ Athlete if you want a sportier smartwatch.

The Garmin MARQ Adventurer and Garmin MARQ Athlete are two outstanding timepieces that offer impressive features to their users. While both watches share similar features like GPS, advanced fitness and health monitoring, and preloaded maps, the MARQ Adventurer offers more outdoor-specific features, such as an etched compass on the bezel and orienteering.

On the other hand, the MARQ Athlete caters to athletes, with its sporty design and silicone strap. Ultimately, the choice between these two watches will depend on the user’s specific needs and preferences. Regardless, the Garmin MARQ Adventurer and Garmin MARQ Athlete offer impressive performance, durability, and style, making them excellent choices for high-end smartwatches with advanced features.

FAQs

📌 How many songs can you store on a Garmin MARQ watch?

Garmin MARQ watches can hold up to 2,000 songs.

📌 Does the Garmin MARQ Athlete have a barometric altimeter?

Yes. Garmin’s MARQ Athlete includes a barometric altimeter as one of its sensors.

📌 Do Garmin MARQ watches support wireless charging?

No. Garmin MARQ watches use the brand’s proprietary clip charger.

📌 What are Garmin smartwatches known for?

Garmin smartwatches are known for their advanced features, including GPS, heart rate monitoring, activity tracking, and smart notifications. They are durable and reliable, making them popular among athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Garmin smartwatches also offer a range of sports-specific features, such as advanced running dynamics and VO2 max, making them a valuable tool for tracking fitness and improving performance. Additionally, Garmin smartwatches are often praised for their stylish designs, making them popular for sports and everyday wear.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.