Garmin Instinct 2 review

The Garmin Instinct 2 is a near-perfect GPS smartwatch for outdoor sports enthusiasts. It borrows some features from higher-end Garmin devices and promises "unlimited" solar-powered battery life, and we love the new size option.

The Instinct 2, Garmin’s newest tough solar-powered smartwatch, claims an endless battery life. Simply remain in the sunlight. The Garmin feels built to take a beating with its monochrome screen, physical buttons, and solid casing, looking more like a rugged digital watch like Casio’s iconic G-Shock than an Apple or Samsung smartwatch. It is available in a variety of models, including one for professional truck drivers and one for surfing, starting at £299.99 ($349.99/A$549). But the models with solar charging, which cost £389.99, claim to never require an electrical outlet.

The market-leading sport, health, and location-tracking capabilities of Garmin’s smartwatch technology are hidden beneath the tough casing. It connects to smartphones through Bluetooth for notifications, alarms, and data syncing using the Connect app on an Android or iPhone. Although it resembles many other Garmin watches, the Instinct 2 stands out for its guarantee of a long battery life even when the sun is not shining.

The regular 45mm device, which lacks solar power, can function as a wristwatch for up to 28 days, which is 10 days longer than the already amazing Fenix 7 and around 14 times longer than an Apple Watch. As long as you spend at least three hours in direct sunshine, the solar version, which charges utilizing panels around the display’s edge and a clear “power glass” covering the screen, claims to keep the battery filled up for virtually endless battery life (50,000 lux of light).

Garmin Instinct 2 review: Design and Display

Garmin is focusing on the youth market with the Instinct 2, and even if you choose the traditional 45mm resin case rather than the smaller 40mm, the watch still looks thinner overall than its predecessor. Both the old and new watches weigh 52g, thus there is no weight difference, however the second-generation Instinct is thinner at 14.5mm compared to the first generation’s 15.3mm.

Although it’s a small adjustment, it makes the new watch feel much more lightweight when combined with a somewhat simplified bezel design. The 40mm Instinct 2 S we examined is still slimmer at 13.3mm, and it weighed 43g on the scales with the silicone band attached. Although Garmin claims that their gadgets weigh 42g, there is always some variation between models. The 41mm Apple Watch 7 weights 37g of titanium, 42.3g of stainless steel, and 32g of aluminum, respectively.

The 45mm equivalent weighs 41.5g of titanium, 51.5g of stainless steel, and 38.8g of aluminum. While the second-generation Instinct is available in a variety of much brighter colors than the first, including poppy red and electric lime, there are also some dual-color options if you choose the Surf edition. You can also switch the band for a different style by using the quick release pins on the back.

The Instinct 2 has a monochrome memory-in-pixel display, similar to the first Instinct, with a small circular cut-out that displays contextual information while you navigate menus and can display information like the date, your step count, or calories burned while using the device in smartwatch mode. The display on the Instinct 2 has a resolution of 176 × 176 pixels as opposed to the original’s 128 x 128 pixels. Because of this, Garmin has been able to fit more data onto the display at once without compromising legibility, resulting in sharper text and iconography.

Garmin Instinct 2 review: Comfort

The sleek rubber strap is quite cozy and makes it possible to dial in the ideal fit. Unlike some rival products, there is no different strap for different wrist sizes. The bezel has five buttons, and we found using them to browse menus to be simple. The body-tracking function is located here if you turn the watch over. This is where the Elevate Gen 4 optical heart rate sensor from Garmin, which is also on the Fenix and Epix range, is located. Numerous metrics, such as heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and breathing rate, are provided by this sensor.

In addition to measurements, the Instinct 2 Solar connects to your phone to send notifications directly to your wrist. A number of apps expand its functionality even further, with headline features like Garmin Pay for wrist-based bank card payments and the ability to control music on your smartphone. The face may be customized to display exactly what you want with a variety of configurable watch faces available through the Garmin IQ store, which is helpful for helping to personalize the device to your typical use cases.

Garmin Instinct 2 review: Fitness & sports tracking

The watch is marketed more as a watch for outdoor treks than as a running watch, however it can be used to track any kind of exercise, including running. I found the built-in GPS tracking to be incredibly accurate while using it to record numerous runs, easily logging pace and cadence. These are areas where Garmin is recognized for its dependability.

In the UK and on vacation, we used it to track my walking routes. It has a useful breadcrumb trail feature that puts waypoints along the way so you can follow it back in case you lose phone service or are unable to access any maps. In addition to GPS, the watch can pick up GLONASS and Galileo location systems for further security, ensuring that you always know where you are. I had a lot of nerdy fun standing outside and fast logging my global coordinates with the watch, which you can log. It’s a little challenging to read because of the monochromatic display, but it works and it’s great to know it’s there in case you get lost. You just need to remember to turn it on since it isn’t automated.

Garmin Instinct 2 review: Performance

A cable designed for Garmin that inserts into the watch’s back is used to charge the watch. The watch can be fully charged from empty in less than two hours thanks to the incredibly quick charge times. For the most precise activity tracking, the Instinct 2 can pick up GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO signals. Recording intervals can be set to smart recording or every second for better accuracy.

The five buttons on the watch’s side are used to navigate the menus. The select/GPS and back buttons are on the right, and the watch menu, widget menu, and menu scrolling buttons are on the left. Widgets are used to control the watch’s functionality, and their order and navigation can be changed via the buttons. The Instinct can communicate with other devices through Bluetooth or ANT+ if you desire to do so. Whether it was power meters, a smartphone, or utilizing the watch to broadcast heart rate data to a GPS head unit, we had no issues connecting the watch to other devices.

Garmin Instinct 2 review: Battery life

Battery life is typically one of the later specifications I’d cover, but it’s a definite selling point for the Instinct 2 and a factor in whether someone chooses an Apple Watch or a Garmin. The Instinct 2, which the Apple Watch could never equal, is in fact Garmin’s first wristwatch to advertise “unlimited” battery life. The only device that can live up to Garmin’s claim is the Instinct 2 Solar, and even then, it only offers standard’smartwatch mode’ capabilities like notifications, step counting, and heart rate readings. Here is how Garmin divides battery estimations for each size’s solar and non-solar variants. 2. instinct Estimates for solar charging call for three hours per day at 50,000 lux. In contrast to conventional GPS use, max battery GPS disables all power-management features and pings your location as infrequently as possible while still providing accurate location data.

Garmin Instinct 2 review: Price and availability

Launched on February 9, the $450 Garmin Instinct 2 Solar may be purchased from a number of well-known merchants, including Amazon, Best Buy, REI, and Garmin itself. There is also the Garmin Instinct 2S Solar, which costs the same but has a shockingly reduced battery life and a smaller casing size (45mm vs. 40mm) (48 hours vs. 28 hours of GPS tracking). It guarantees that persons with smaller wrists can benefit from toughness without having to deal with a large design. The Garmin Instinct 2 without a Solar Panel costs only $350 and has battery life that is comparable to that of the 2S Solar, but it does not support Garmin Pay, in case that is a deal-breaker.


The Garmin Instinct 2 maintains the qualities that made the first model an appealing outdoor watch while also being a marginally better sports watch and smartwatch than its predecessor. Owners of the original Instinct or those looking for an outdoor watch but without the funds for a Fenix may do worse than to take into account the Instinct 2. Owners of the Instinct Solar might not see many reasons to upgrade, but delve a little more into what Garmin adds here.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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The Garmin Instinct 2 retains the qualities that made the first model an attractive outdoor watch, while being a slightly better sports watch and smartwatch than its predecessor. Owners of the original Instinct or those looking for an outdoor watch but don't have the money for a Fenix should consider the Instinct 2.Garmin Instinct 2 review