Garmin Instinct Solar first look review: Rugged outdoor GPS sports watch powered by the sun


For numerous years I have been applying Garmin wearables to monitor my jogging, biking, climbing, and other out of doors routines, but I have under no circumstances attempted out one particular of the Instinct designs. That adjusted a few of weeks back when Garmin despatched out the new Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic, with beta software, for analysis.

Though my primary form of exercising is jogging, I also trip my bike, hike, get on the elliptical, and perform other athletics. In addition, I get pleasure from fly fishing on the rivers of Washington Condition. In the earlier, my Garmin item use included Forerunner, Fenix, and Edge devices, so I was curious about the Instinct as it took a little bit of a diverse solution in regards to the view design and target.

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Following extra than a week with the Instinct Photo voltaic, I truthfully may possibly be a convert to the Instinct line for a number of good reasons. These include things like:

  • Lengthy battery life: Following years of applying wearables, I have recognized that very long battery life assures a machine stays mounted on my wrist for the very long time period. One or two-working day battery life on a wearable is now unacceptable for my desires. The Instinct Photo voltaic boasts battery life in GPS tracking method goes up to extra than fifty days, even offering unrestricted in Battery Saver method with solar publicity.
  • Rugged design: one hundred-meter water resistance and MIL-STD-810G shock scores ensure the Instinct is created to take on nearly anything. It has a fiber-bolstered polymer situation and a scratch-resistant display that is set down from the entrance deal with.
  • Exclusive out of doors routines: In addition to a plethora of usual routines like jogging, biking, climbing, kayaking, yoga, and numerous extra the Garmin Instinct supports fishing, tactical, boating, looking, place calculation, and extra out of doors-targeted adventures. The expedition method supports a multi-working day action with reduced require to cost with monitor details recorded the moment an hour by default.
  • Sensible display design: A key reason the Garmin Instinct has a good battery life is the monochrome display. I have occur to appreciate the leading right circle, two-window design, that offers necessary data at a look. For case in point, though fishing it confirmed my fish count, in coronary heart rate method, it demonstrates your existing coronary heart rate, and in compass method, it demonstrates the route in angles.
  • Sensible price: The Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic commences at $399.ninety nine. Looking at all that this GPS athletics view has to offer, that is a reasonable price.

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  • Screen: 23mm diameter 128 x 128 pixels resolution monochrome, sunlight-visible
  • Look at materials: Fiber-bolstered polymer with silicone band
  • Water resistance: 10 ATM (one hundred meters)
  • Bands: Supports Quickfit 22mm bands.
  • Connectivity and sensors: Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO, Garmin Elevate optical HR, pulse Ox, barometric altimeter, a few-axis compass, accelerometer, thermometer
  • Battery: Rated for 30 several hours in GPS coaching method or 38 several hours when applying solar charging. 24 days in smartwatch method, and fifty four days with ample solar publicity. In Battery Saver method with ample solar publicity, Garmin states the Instinct can reach unrestricted battery life.
  • Proportions: 45 x 45 x fifteen.3 mm and 53 grams


The Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic is not a slim and modern GPS athletics view, as it is targeted on furnishing a rugged machine that excels in a variety of environmental problems for days and weeks. I am personally a enthusiast of big watches and come across that the Instinct Photo voltaic performs well on my wrist.

To be genuine, I scarcely noticed that the Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic doesn’t have a color display. I have under no circumstances located color displays to be an necessary element of a GPS athletics view. I just require a display that is simple to examine outdoors with a backlight obtainable when essential and the Instinct Photo voltaic offers exactly that.

The section of the display that has swayed me towards favoring the Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic is the compact circle “next” display. I come across this highlighted place to be valuable for furnishing vital data and earning it clear what a one push of the GPS button will supply.

There are five buttons on the Instinct Photo voltaic, just like most Garmin GPS athletics watches. The leading-still left button toggles the backlight with a push and hold launching the controls display. The middle still left button moves up though the base still left moves down. A push and hold of the middle still left button takes you into the a variety of options. You can also personalize the hotkeys in the options to make the machine optimized for your use.

The leading right button, GPS, will take you to your favorite activites with an additional push launching that action. Though scrolling by way of widgets you can also push this button to pick that widget and see extra in depth info. The base right button, Set, serves generally as the again button. All over again, this can also be personalized with the sizzling keys setting.

A Garmin Elevate coronary heart rate monitor is centered on the again. The standard four-pin Garmin connector is also located on the again for charging the view.

A silicone view band, matching the color of the view, is offered. Two loops are existing on the bitter conclusion of the band to retain it securely on your wrist. Like the Garmin Instinct, Garmin’s 22mm Quickfit bands are also supported with this view.

There are four variations of the Instinct Photo voltaic, with a variety of color solutions. These include things like:

  • Instinct Photo voltaic: Graphite, Tidal Blue, Orchid, Sunburst, Flame Crimson
  • Instinct Photo voltaic – Camo: Graphite Camo and Lichen Camo
  • Instinct Photo voltaic – Tactical Edition: Black and Moss
  • Instinct Photo voltaic – Surf Edition: Pipeline and Cloudbreak

Look at software

To navigate the machine, you push the five buttons. Relocating up and down from the view deal with will scroll you by way of a variety of widgets obtainable (solar depth, coronary heart rate, My Working day, notifications, temperature, pressure, ABC, last operate, Physique Battery, and extra). The widgets are chosen in the options right on the view.

You can use the Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic view to monitor jogging, biking, elliptical, open water or pool swimming, fishing, looking, MTB, snowboarding, snowboarding, yoga, rowing, and numerous extra targeted routines. The one particular sport lacking that I would have favored to have noticed is golfing.

There are a huge range of options and customization solutions obtainable for each and every sort of action. For case in point, in the jogging app, you can personalize up to four info screens in a structure from one particular to four fields with timer, length, pace, pace, coronary heart rate, cadence, temperature, elevation, compass, navigation, and other fields. I propose you devote some good quality time customizing everything exactly how you want it and then be prepared to tweak factors as you accomplish your action and come across you want to view your info in different ways.

In addition to tailor made info fields for each and every action, you can control alerts, auto-pause, laps, auto-scroll, and a great deal extra. The practical experience can be speedy and easy applying the defaults or as specific as you desire with a little bit of time spent customizing the view info fields and options.

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To get begun on a operate, carry up your arm, push the higher right button, pick Operate, and then push the button yet again immediately after GPS is connected. Push the button yet again to pause. If you want to go on, push the button yet again.

There are a number of one of a kind routines you can monitor with the Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic, and I had a good time applying the Fish solution. Following launching this action, you pick to start off fishing and the view will monitor your GPS locale. You can manually mark places, set fishing timers, navigate to places, and extra. Due to the fact I was fly fishing on a compact river though wading into the river, I begun the working day, and then as I caught each and every fish I pressed the GPS button 2 times to log the capture. Following the working day was accomplished, I was ready to see exactly the place each and every fish was caught on a map. That unique working day I landed 19 rainbow trout so totally enjoyed applying the Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic to monitor the working day. I can not hold out to go fly fishing yet again and establish a historical past of my catches to approach future journeys.

Several other routines are supported, which includes navigation, and I approach to devote numerous extra several hours finding all of the capabilities of the view.

Smartphone software and site

Collecting the info is essential, but applying that info for tracking developments, increasing performance, challenging buddies, and figuring out dilemma parts is also extremely essential. Garmin provides the Garmin Join app for iOS and Android.

When you initially launch the smartphone app, you will see the My Working day display that demonstrates your most new exercise session, coronary heart rate, pressure stage, human body battery, hydration, ways, floors, sleep, energy in/out, excess weight, yesterday’s stats, stats for last 7 days, and extra. Possibilities are obtainable to decide on what is shown and in what order.

Other tabs include things like worries, calendar, news feed, and notifications. Tapping on the machine alone presents you solutions for audio, Garmin Pay back, textual content responses (Android only), routines, appearance, sounds & alerts, action tracking, and a great deal extra.

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On an Android smartphone, you can also good-tune your clever notifications by deciding upon the specific apps that will be allowed to mail notifications to your Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic. On iOS, you get whichever notifications you have enabled in the iOS options so I personally favor the Android smartphone practical experience.

The Garmin Join site practical experience is extremely identical to what you see in the smartphone software, with even extra capability to make reviews, import or export info, set up connections to other programs (such as Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and extra. Very similar to the snapshots interface on the mobile phone, you have a dashboard on Garmin Join that you can personalize.

I produced dashboard tabs for day by day action, jogging, biking, and climbing given that these are my primary routines. Now with the Instinct, I am also working on a fishing dashboard to target my future fly fishing outings. You can then personalize the view that appears in your dashboard or decide on to jump to a complete page view of the chosen info.

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Each day use ordeals

In contrast to the other Garmin wearables I have analyzed about the earlier few of years, the Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic does not aid onboard audio, Garmin Pay back, or Join IQ apps, view faces, or info fields. For my use, this doesn’t truly issue, as I use my mobile phone for audio and Garmin Pay back continue to doesn’t aid my lender. Having said that, these may possibly be limitations for other people so be aware of what is lacking on the Instinct Photo voltaic.

The new Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic supports some of the most recent Garmin options that I come across valuable to comprehending my well being and well-staying. These options include things like Physique Battery, pressure tracking, sleep monitoring with REM details, smartphone notifications with textual content response from an Android mobile phone, and extra.

A wearable I hardly ever have to think of charging that captures all of my day by day action, which includes sleep, and targeted GPS situations is refreshing and vital to remaining on my wrist. When that wearable also supports my specialized niche routines, such as fly fishing, it’s tough to defeat. The Garmin Instinct Photo voltaic also can continue to be topped off with the sunlight, earning this one particular of the finest wearables for adventurists and athletes targeted on out of doors routines.