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


For a lot of yrs I have been utilizing Garmin wearables to monitor my jogging, biking, climbing, and other outside routines, but I have by no means experimented with out one particular of the Instinct models. That improved a couple of months ago when Garmin sent out the new Garmin Instinct Solar, with beta software, for evaluation.

Even though my major variety of work out is jogging, I also trip my bike, hike, get on the elliptical, and participate in other athletics. In addition, I get pleasure from fly fishing on the rivers of Washington State. In the past, my Garmin solution use integrated Forerunner, Fenix, and Edge gadgets, so I was curious about the Instinct as it took a bit of a distinctive tactic in regards to the check out style and focus.

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Right after extra than a 7 days with the Instinct Solar, I truthfully may perhaps be a transform to the Instinct line for many good reasons. These include things like:

  • Very long battery daily life: Right after yrs of utilizing wearables, I have realized that extensive battery daily life makes certain a machine stays mounted on my wrist for the extensive expression. Just one or two-working day battery daily life on a wearable is now unacceptable for my requirements. The Instinct Solar features battery daily life in GPS tracking manner goes up to extra than fifty days, even supplying unlimited in Battery Saver manner with solar publicity.
  • Rugged style: one hundred-meter h2o resistance and MIL-STD-810G shock ratings ensure the Instinct is developed to consider on anything at all. It has a fiber-reinforced polymer case and a scratch-resistant display that is set down from the entrance encounter.
  • Special outside routines: In addition to a myriad of typical routines like jogging, biking, climbing, kayaking, yoga, and a lot of extra the Garmin Instinct supports fishing, tactical, boating, searching, place calculation, and extra outside-centered adventures. The expedition manner supports a multi-working day action with lowered have to have to cost with monitor points recorded the moment an hour by default.
  • Practical display style: A big motive the Garmin Instinct has a wonderful battery daily life is the monochrome display. I have occur to like the best proper circle, two-window style, that supplies important data at a look. For instance, while fishing it confirmed my fish rely, in coronary heart price manner, it exhibits your latest coronary heart price, and in compass manner, it exhibits the course in angles.
  • Acceptable price: The Garmin Instinct Solar begins at $399.99. Contemplating all that this GPS athletics check out has to provide, that is a honest price.

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Technical specs

  • Display screen: 23mm diameter 128 x 128 pixels resolution monochrome, daylight-obvious
  • Enjoy resources: Fiber-reinforced polymer with silicone band
  • H2o resistance: ten 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, 3-axis compass, accelerometer, thermometer
  • Battery: Rated for thirty hrs in GPS instruction manner or 38 hrs when utilizing solar charging. 24 days in smartwatch manner, and fifty four days with ample solar publicity. In Battery Saver manner with ample solar publicity, Garmin states the Instinct can accomplish unlimited battery daily life.
  • Dimensions: forty five x forty five x fifteen.3 mm and 53 grams


The Garmin Instinct Solar is not a slender and smooth GPS athletics check out, as it is centered on delivering a rugged machine that excels in many environmental ailments for days and months. I’m individually a supporter of huge watches and locate that the Instinct Solar is effective properly on my wrist.

To be honest, I barely discovered that the Garmin Instinct Solar will not have a coloration display. I have by no means observed coloration shows to be an important element of a GPS athletics check out. I just have to have a display that is quick to read through exterior with a backlight readily available when necessary and the Instinct Solar supplies particularly that.

The element of the display that has swayed me toward favoring the Garmin Instinct Solar is the little circle “second” display. I locate this highlighted place to be beneficial for delivering essential data and building it obvious what a solitary push of the GPS button will provide.

There are 5 buttons on the Instinct Solar, just like most Garmin GPS athletics watches. The best-left button toggles the backlight with a push and hold launching the controls display. The middle left button moves up while the base left moves down. A push and hold of the middle left button normally takes you into the many configurations. You can also customize the hotkeys in the configurations to make the machine optimized for your use.

The best proper button, GPS, will consider you to your favourite activites with one more push launching that action. Even though scrolling by means of widgets you can also push this button to pick that widget and see extra in depth information. The base proper button, Set, serves primarily as the back button. All over again, this can also be customized with the scorching keys location.

A Garmin Elevate coronary heart price monitor is centered on the back. The regular four-pin Garmin connector is also observed on the back for charging the check out.

A silicone check out band, matching the coloration of the check out, is furnished. Two loops are existing on the bitter end of the band to preserve it securely on your wrist. Like the Garmin Instinct, Garmin’s 22mm Quickfit bands are also supported with this check out.

There are four variants of the Instinct Solar, with many coloration alternatives. These include things like:

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

Enjoy software

To navigate the machine, you push the 5 buttons. Moving up and down from the check out encounter will scroll you by means of many widgets readily available (solar intensity, coronary heart price, My Working day, notifications, weather, strain, ABC, final run, Overall body Battery, and extra). The widgets are selected in the configurations proper on the check out.

You can use the Garmin Instinct Solar check out to monitor jogging, biking, elliptical, open h2o or pool swimming, fishing, searching, MTB, snowboarding, snowboarding, yoga, rowing, and a lot of extra centered workout routines. The one particular activity missing that I would have preferred to have found is golfing.

There are a big variety of configurations and customization alternatives readily available for each and every form of action. For instance, in the jogging app, you can customize up to four information screens in a structure from one particular to four fields with timer, distance, rate, velocity, coronary heart price, cadence, temperature, elevation, compass, navigation, and other fields. I propose you devote some high quality time customizing almost everything particularly how you want it and then be completely ready to tweak issues as you perform your action and locate you want to perspective your information in a different way.

In addition to tailor made information fields for each and every action, you can handle alerts, car-pause, laps, car-scroll, and a lot extra. The expertise can be quick and simple utilizing the defaults or as distinct as you need with a bit of time expended customizing the check out information fields and configurations.

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To get started off on a run, raise up your arm, push the higher proper button, pick Run, and then push the button all over again after GPS is connected. Push the button all over again to pause. If you want to go on, push the button all over again.

There are many one of a kind routines you can monitor with the Garmin Instinct Solar, and I experienced a wonderful time utilizing the Fish selection. Right after launching this action, you pick to commence fishing and the check out will monitor your GPS site. You can manually mark locations, set fishing timers, navigate to locations, and extra. Because I was fly fishing on a little river while wading into the river, I started off the working day, and then as I caught each and every fish I pressed the GPS button twice to log the catch. Right after the working day was done, I was able to see particularly in which each and every fish was caught on a map. That specific working day I landed 19 rainbow trout so thoroughly savored utilizing the Garmin Instinct Solar to monitor the working day. I cannot wait to go fly fishing all over again and create a heritage of my catches to program long run trips.

Several other routines are supported, which includes navigation, and I program to devote a lot of extra hrs getting all of the capabilities of the check out.

Smartphone software and site

Amassing the information is crucial, but utilizing that information for tracking trends, improving upon functionality, complicated close friends, and figuring out difficulty places is also extremely crucial. Garmin gives the Garmin Connect app for iOS and Android.

When you initially start the smartphone app, you will see the My Working day monitor that exhibits your most current workout, coronary heart price, strain stage, system battery, hydration, steps, flooring, rest, calories in/out, weight, yesterday’s stats, stats for final seven days, and extra. Selections are readily available to decide on what is shown and in what purchase.

Other tabs include things like challenges, calendar, information feed, and notifications. Tapping on the machine by itself offers you alternatives for music, Garmin Pay, textual content responses (Android only), routines, overall look, sounds & alerts, action tracking, and a lot extra.

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On an Android smartphone, you can also wonderful-tune your wise notifications by deciding upon the distinct applications that will be authorized to ship notifications to your Garmin Instinct Solar. On iOS, you get regardless of what notifications you have enabled in the iOS configurations so I individually desire the Android smartphone expertise.

The Garmin Connect site expertise is extremely related to what you see in the smartphone software, with even extra capacity to generate reviews, import or export information, set up connections to other programs (these as Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and extra. Equivalent to the snapshots interface on the cellphone, you have a dashboard on Garmin Connect that you can customize.

I developed dashboard tabs for everyday action, jogging, biking, and climbing since people are my major routines. Now with the Instinct, I am also doing the job on a fishing dashboard to target my long run fly fishing outings. You can then customize the perspective that seems in your dashboard or decide on to bounce to a complete webpage perspective of the selected information.

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Daily use encounters

When compared to the other Garmin wearables I have examined above the past couple of yrs, the Garmin Instinct Solar does not assistance onboard music, Garmin Pay, or Connect IQ applications, check out faces, or information fields. For my use, this will not really subject, as I use my cellphone for music and Garmin Pay continue to will not assistance my financial institution. Nevertheless, these may perhaps be restrictions for some others so be aware of what is missing on the Instinct Solar.

The new Garmin Instinct Solar supports some of the hottest Garmin attributes that I locate important to knowing my wellbeing and properly-becoming. These attributes include things like Overall body Battery, strain tracking, rest monitoring with REM particulars, smartphone notifications with textual content response from an Android cellphone, and extra.

A wearable I rarely have to believe of charging that captures all of my everyday action, which includes rest, and centered GPS occasions is refreshing and essential to remaining on my wrist. When that wearable also supports my market routines, these as fly fishing, it truly is challenging to conquer. The Garmin Instinct Solar also can continue to be topped off with the sun, building this one particular of the most effective wearables for adventurists and athletes centered on outside routines.