This post is part of the 2023 LITPro GPS Device Shootout series. To learn more about the details of this shootout, including format, devices we tested, and how we determine a winner, go here: 2023 GPS Shootout Intro.
Matchup #4 - Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Garmin epix Pro (Gen 2)-Sapphire Edition
Testing was conducted at Fox Raceway in Pala, CA. This is a Southern California track in a great location for GPS device testing. There isn’t a lot of tree cover, or mountainous landscape to obscure satellites on the horizon.
Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Garmin epix Pro (on the wrist)
|11:03AM - GPS Watches Mounted on Wrist|
|Lap||Reference GPS||Garmin Forerunner 965||Garmin EPIX Pro||965 vs. Reference||epix vs. Reference|
|Reference GPS on Fender||Garmin Forerunner 965 (green) vs. reference GPS on fender (red)||Garmin epix Pro (green) vs. reference GPS on fender (red)|
Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Garmin epix Pro (on the handlebars)
|9:35AM - GPS Watches Mounted on Handlebars|
|Lap||Reference GPS||Garmin Forerunner 965||Garmin epix Pro||965 vs. Reference||epix vs. Reference|
|Reference GPS on Handlebar||Garmin Forerunner 965 (green) vs. reference GPS on fender (red)||
Garmin epix Pro (green) vs. reference GPS on fender (red)
Head to Head Results:
On the wrist:
#1 Top-down visual ranking Garmin Forerunner 965 vs. Garmin epix Pro on the wrist (subjective):
The winner in this category by a small margin is the epix Pro. Both are exceptionally accurate GPS devices, but the 965 did struggle twice on the wrist. You'll see one track section with a .8 variation from the reference lap time. And there's a corner on the southwest side showing a lot more of an outside line than the reference or epix Pro (click on the route line thumbnail to see a larger version of the image). Those two errors probably even occurred on the same lap. All GPS systems are capable of some anomaly now and then. We didn't see it from the epix Pro and we didn't see it from the RaceBox Mini S in any of these sessions. Still, both worked very well overall.
#2 Timing accuracy Garmin Forerunner 965 vs. Garmin epix Pro on the wrist (non-subjective ):
The winner of lap time accuracy is also the epix Pro. It had the smallest peak delta from the reference lap time. All laps were within 0.15 seconds of the reference time, and this is the most critical for comparing to a friend’s lap time or appearing on a leaderboard. However, again, both watches performed exceptionally well except for one lap on the 965.
On the handlebars:
#1 Top-down visual ranking Garmin Forerunner 965 vs. Garmin epix Pro on the handlebars (subjective):
The error rate is even smaller on the handlebars. It's hard to determine whether one device is better than the other. You might even call it a tie, the ride looks nearly identical (click on the route line images to see full-sized versions for more details). These are two accurate GPS watches that you can trust.
#2 Timing accuracy Garmin Forerunner 965 vs. Garmin epix Pro on the handlebars (non-subjective ):
The winner of lap time accuracy is the Garmin Forerunner 965. With the most significant peak delta coming in at a tiny .05 difference according to our data, the Forerunner 965 did beat out the epix Pro but only by an insignificantly small margin. All laps were within 0.1 seconds of the reference lap time, which is pretty phenomenal, and for comparing to a friend’s lap time or appearing on a leaderboard, this is the most critical.
Wrap Up Summary:
The Forerunner 965 and epix Pro (Gen 2)-Sapphire Edition by Garmin performed so well that it's hard to determine a clear winner. The lap times for both devices generally were within a .05 to .1 range of difference from the reference, which is excellent. They both perform well from a GPS top-down perspective and lap timing perspective. That said, we must give the win to the Forerunner 965, despite the slight error during one of our trial laps. The epix Pro is about $400 more expensive than the 965, but we think they have the same chip set, so if we did more laps, say a hundred as opposed to the seven to nine here, the two devices would probably have the same error margin. We caught a lap on the 965 that had an error. And honestly, we wouldn't be too concerned with that one lap when GPS systems are capable of problems even when they perform well. If budget isn't a concern, then we'd give it to the epix, but at the lower price point, the 965 wins our matchup.