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

For several yrs I have been using Garmin wearables to monitor my jogging, cycling, hiking, and other outside actions, but I’ve never tried out just one of the Instinct versions. That transformed a couple of months in the past when Garmin despatched out the new Garmin Instinct Solar, with beta […]


For several yrs I have been using Garmin wearables to monitor my jogging, cycling, hiking, and other outside actions, but I’ve never tried out just one of the Instinct versions. That transformed a couple of months in the past when Garmin despatched out the new Garmin Instinct Solar, with beta software, for analysis.

Although my primary variety of workout is jogging, I also journey my bicycle, hike, get on the elliptical, and perform other sports. In addition, I enjoy fly fishing on the rivers of Washington State. In the past, my Garmin product use provided Forerunner, Fenix, and Edge products, so I was curious about the Instinct as it took a bit of a diverse solution in regards to the view structure and concentrate.

Also: Garmin Forerunner 945 review: Songs, mapping, payments, pulse, and incident detection

Soon after a lot more than a week with the Instinct Solar, I honestly may be a convert to the Instinct line for various explanations. These contain:

  • Long battery everyday living: Soon after yrs of using wearables, I’ve understood that extensive battery everyday living guarantees a gadget stays mounted on my wrist for the extensive phrase. Just one or two-working day battery everyday living on a wearable is now unacceptable for my requirements. The Instinct Solar features battery everyday living in GPS tracking mode goes up to a lot more than fifty days, even giving endless in Battery Saver mode with solar exposure.
  • Rugged structure: a hundred-meter drinking water resistance and MIL-STD-810G shock ratings be certain the Instinct is created to consider on something. It has a fiber-strengthened polymer scenario and a scratch-resistant exhibit that is established down from the front facial area.
  • Exclusive outside actions: In addition to a myriad of common actions like jogging, cycling, hiking, kayaking, yoga, and several a lot more the Garmin Instinct supports fishing, tactical, boating, hunting, place calculation, and a lot more outside-concentrated adventures. The expedition mode supports a multi-working day activity with diminished require to cost with monitor factors recorded the moment an hour by default.
  • Realistic exhibit structure: A significant cause the Garmin Instinct has a great battery everyday living is the monochrome exhibit. I’ve come to love the top rated right circle, two-window structure, that presents necessary facts at a glance. For illustration, although fishing it confirmed my fish count, in heart level mode, it displays your present heart level, and in compass mode, it displays the course in angles.
  • Affordable cost: The Garmin Instinct Solar begins at $399.99. Considering all that this GPS sports view has to supply, that is a fair cost.

See also: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review: Touchscreen, superior health and fitness-tracking, golfing, songs, and a lot more


  • Display screen: 23mm diameter 128 x 128 pixels resolution monochrome, daylight-noticeable
  • View products: Fiber-strengthened polymer with silicone band
  • Drinking water resistance: 10 ATM (a 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 thirty several hours in GPS schooling mode or 38 several hours when using solar charging. 24 days in smartwatch mode, and fifty four days with ample solar exposure. In Battery Saver mode with ample solar exposure, Garmin states the Instinct can accomplish endless battery everyday living.
  • Proportions: 45 x 45 x fifteen.3 mm and fifty three grams


The Garmin Instinct Solar is not a trim and smooth GPS sports view, as it is concentrated on delivering a rugged gadget that excels in several environmental problems for days and months. I am individually a lover of big watches and discover that the Instinct Solar functions nicely on my wrist.

To be trustworthy, I barely noticed that the Garmin Instinct Solar does not have a coloration exhibit. I’ve never uncovered coloration displays to be an necessary component of a GPS sports view. I just require a exhibit that is uncomplicated to browse outdoors with a backlight offered when essential and the Instinct Solar presents specifically that.

The portion of the exhibit that has swayed me in direction of favoring the Garmin Instinct Solar is the little circle “2nd” exhibit. I discover this highlighted place to be helpful for delivering key facts and making it crystal clear what a solitary push of the GPS button will present.

There are five buttons on the Instinct Solar, just like most Garmin GPS sports watches. The top rated-still left button toggles the backlight with a push and hold launching the controls exhibit. The middle still left button moves up although the base still left moves down. A push and hold of the middle still left button takes you into the several configurations. You can also customise the hotkeys in the configurations to make the gadget optimized for your utilization.

The top rated right button, GPS, will consider you to your most loved activites with a further push launching that activity. Although scrolling as a result of widgets you can also push this button to pick that widget and see a lot more specific data. The base right button, Established, serves largely as the again button. Once again, this can also be custom made with the hot keys location.

A Garmin Elevate heart level check is centered on the again. The regular four-pin Garmin connector is also uncovered on the again for charging the view.

A silicone view band, matching the coloration of the view, is delivered. Two loops are present on the bitter close of the band to keep it securely on your wrist. Like the Garmin Instinct, Garmin’s 22mm Quickfit bands are also supported with this view.

There are four variants of the Instinct Solar, with several coloration selections. These contain:

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

View software

To navigate the gadget, you push the five buttons. Shifting up and down from the view facial area will scroll you as a result of several widgets offered (solar intensity, heart level, My Working day, notifications, weather, worry, ABC, final run, Human body Battery, and a lot more). The widgets are picked in the configurations right on the view.

You can use the Garmin Instinct Solar view to monitor jogging, biking, elliptical, open up drinking water or pool swimming, fishing, hunting, MTB, skiing, snowboarding, yoga, rowing, and several a lot more concentrated exercise routines. The just one sport missing that I would have appreciated to have observed is golfing.

There are a large selection of configurations and customization selections offered for every single form of activity. For illustration, in the jogging application, you can customise up to four data screens in a format from just one to four fields with timer, distance, pace, speed, heart level, cadence, temperature, elevation, compass, navigation, and other fields. I suggest you shell out some high quality time customizing almost everything specifically how you want it and then be all set to tweak things as you execute your activity and discover you want to view your data in another way.

In addition to custom data fields for every single activity, you can regulate alerts, auto-pause, laps, auto-scroll, and considerably a lot more. The expertise can be rapid and very simple using the defaults or as unique as you need with a bit of time invested customizing the view data fields and configurations.

Also: Garmin Forerunner 945 review: Songs, mapping, payments, pulse, and incident detection

To get commenced on a run, carry up your arm, push the upper right button, pick Operate, and then push the button yet again soon after GPS is linked. Push the button yet again to pause. If you want to continue on, push the button yet again.

There are various exclusive actions you can monitor with the Garmin Instinct Solar, and I had a great time using the Fish alternative. Soon after launching this activity, you pick to begin fishing and the view will monitor your GPS locale. You can manually mark places, established fishing timers, navigate to places, and a lot more. Since I was fly fishing on a little river although wading into the river, I commenced the working day, and then as I caught every single fish I pressed the GPS button twice to log the catch. Soon after the working day was performed, I was in a position to see specifically wherever every single fish was caught on a map. That particular working day I landed 19 rainbow trout so completely liked using the Garmin Instinct Solar to monitor the working day. I are not able to wait to go fly fishing yet again and create a historical past of my catches to plan long run journeys.

Numerous other actions are supported, which includes navigation, and I plan to shell out several a lot more several hours discovering all of the abilities of the view.

Smartphone software and web-site

Amassing the data is essential, but using that data for tracking traits, improving effectiveness, complicated pals, and identifying trouble parts is also quite essential. Garmin provides the Garmin Hook up application for iOS and Android.

When you first start the smartphone application, you will see the My Working day display screen that displays your most recent exercise session, heart level, worry degree, body battery, hydration, ways, floors, sleep, calories in/out, bodyweight, yesterday’s stats, stats for final 7 days, and a lot more. Solutions are offered to pick what is shown and in what order.

Other tabs contain worries, calendar, information feed, and notifications. Tapping on the gadget alone offers you selections for songs, Garmin Spend, text responses (Android only), actions, visual appeal, appears & alerts, activity tracking, and considerably a lot more.

Also: Garmin Edge 530 and Varia RTL510 review: Preserving your bicycle commute safe and improving your outside entertaining

On an Android smartphone, you can also high-quality-tune your clever notifications by deciding upon the unique applications that will be authorized to deliver notifications to your Garmin Instinct Solar. On iOS, you get whichever notifications you have enabled in the iOS configurations so I individually like the Android smartphone expertise.

The Garmin Hook up web-site expertise is quite very similar to what you see in the smartphone application, with even a lot more capacity to produce reviews, import or export data, established up connections to other apps (these types of as Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and a lot more. Very similar to the snapshots interface on the cellular phone, you have a dashboard on Garmin Hook up that you can customise.

I designed dashboard tabs for everyday activity, jogging, cycling, and hiking considering the fact that those are my primary actions. Now with the Instinct, I am also doing work on a fishing dashboard to goal my long run fly fishing outings. You can then customise the view that seems in your dashboard or pick to leap to a complete web page view of the picked data.

Also: Garmin Venu review: Lively AMOLED exhibit will make this just one of the finest GPS sports watches for the masses

Daily utilization experiences

As opposed to the other Garmin wearables I’ve examined about the past couple of yrs, the Garmin Instinct Solar does not assistance onboard songs, Garmin Spend, or Hook up IQ applications, view faces, or data fields. For my utilization, this does not genuinely matter, as I use my cellular phone for songs and Garmin Spend continue to does not assistance my financial institution. Having said that, these may be limitations for other people so be informed of what is missing on the Instinct Solar.

The new Garmin Instinct Solar supports some of the newest Garmin features that I discover useful to being familiar with my health and fitness and nicely-becoming. These features contain Human body Battery, worry tracking, sleep monitoring with REM particulars, smartphone notifications with text reaction from an Android cellular phone, and a lot more.

A wearable I hardly ever have to assume of charging that captures all of my everyday activity, which includes sleep, and concentrated GPS gatherings is refreshing and key to remaining on my wrist. When that wearable also supports my area of interest actions, these types of as fly fishing, it really is tough to defeat. The Garmin Instinct Solar also can remain topped off with the sun, making this just one of the finest wearables for adventurists and athletes concentrated on outside actions.

Rosa G. Rose

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