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Garmin Instinct 2: A super durable sports watch!


This Garmin Instinct 2 stands out among competing running smartwatches in its price bracket because of its sturdy build and utilitarian design. It’s well-made and straightforward, but it’s not as solemn as the original Garmin Instinct. The Instinct 2 is still hard as nails for serious outdoor use, with exceptional battery life (factors that helped the original Instinct become one of our all-time favorite running smartwatches), but it really is well-suited to sports events where it can take a hammering. If you’re searching for a skate and BMX watch, you’ve come to the right place. You’ve arrived at the right location.

A jazzier color palette, including colors like poppy red and electrifying lime, and the new option to download custom apps and faces to customize the watch reflect this joyful new orientation. It isn’t a discreet timepiece, but it is loud in a self-aware way.

Its Instinct 2 is among Garmin’s most cost-effective watches right now. If you’re younger and don’t want to spend over $500 on a smartwatch such as the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945, this is a nice option.

All versions of the watch have excellent battery life, and the models with Garmin’s photovoltaic Power Glass are hard to beat. Even if you don’t get enough sun to keep the watch operating permanently, it will easily last weeks rather than days between charges.

The monochrome memory-in-pixel (MIP) display on Instinct 2 is a good choice. It may be seen in any lighting condition and consumes little power, it does have one major flaw: navigation. While Instinct 2 can upload your custom courses via Garmin Connect and track your location and return you to the start, the maps on the screen are quite basic. GPS accuracy is superb, and Heart rate tracking is also fantastic.

Price and release date

On February 9, 2022, the Garmin Instinct 2 was released. The regular edition watch costs $349.99 / £299.99 / AU$549, while the solar tactical and surf editions cost $499.99 / £429.99 / AU$749, putting it squarely in the mid-range of running watches.

The original Instinct was $399 / £269.99 / AU$299.99 when it first went on sale in 2018. So if you’re in the US, the new watch is somewhat less expensive than the original. Given how much more the second-generation tablet has to offer, that’s a fairly good price.

Models of watches

Cases in 45mm and 40mm sizes are available

Garmin Instinct 2: A super durable sports watch!

Rather than being a single gadget, it Garmin Instinct 2 seems to be a collection of timepieces. To begin, there are 2 case sizes to take into account: the original 45mm diameter model and a modern 40mm diameter model. A 40micrometres Garmin Instinct 2S was the watch. While a 5mm reduction in case size may not appear to be significant. For smaller wrists, it makes the watch considerably more comfortable and practical.

There are also standard and solar variants to pick from. Garmin’s Power Glass is used in the latter to gather solar energy & extend battery life. Initially, you’ll have to charge the watch, but heavy use will gradually drain it. However, if your requirements are small and you get enough daylight on a regular basis (Garmin suggests working as a lifeguard). It’s possible that you’ll never ever have to power it again.

Tactical, Surf, Camo, and Dezl variants are also available

Garmin Instinct 2: A super durable sports watch!

Although the solar models are more expensive, the photovoltaic material has no effect on the aesthetic of the display. So spending the additional money to avoid regular charges is certainly worth it.

Like the previous Instinct, the Instinct 2 is available in Surf, Tactical, & Camo variants. Additional features in the Surf edition include tidal data and a specialized surf tracking mode. This keeps track of how many waves were surfed, how high they were, and how far they traveled. It also has Garmin’s Surfline app, which shows current conditions at your 5 closest surf spots.

The Tactical version includes a stealth mode that turns off all wireless communications, a screen mode for viewing with night vision, and a killswitch that destroys all data from the watch, even position data. The Garmin Jumpmaster jumping app is also installed.

The Camo edition contains a camouflage-patterned band and casing, but no additional functionality or apps.

For professional truck drivers, the Instinct 2 comes in a Dezl edition. That integrates with Garmin’s in-cab navigation systems and can display crucial health information and alarms on the larger screen. It works in conjunction with a new Dezl app, which can lead truckers through easy workout routines while they’re on the road.

Design and Display

Garmin Instinct 2: A super durable sports watch!

Instinct is slimmer than ever

With the Instinct 2, Garmin is focusing on the youth market, and the watch’s overall appearance is slimmer than its predecessor, even if you choose the conventional 45mm resin case over the tiny 40mm. The weight is the same (both the old and new watches are 52g), but the original Instinct was 15.3mm thick, while the second-gen watch is 14.5mm thick. That’s a minor distinction, but when combined with a somewhat simpler bezel design, the new watch feels substantially less bulky.

Relatively lightweight

The 40mm Instinct 2 S we examined is still leaner at 13.3mm, and it weighed 43g on the scales, including the silicone band. Garmin claims that the device weighs 42 grams, however, there is always some variation across models.

The Apple Watch 7 is 32 grams in aluminum, 42.3 grams in stainless steel, and 37 grams in titanium. The 45mm version weighs 38.8 grams in aluminum, 51.5 grams in stainless steel, and 41.5 grams in titanium.

Monochrome MIP display

The second-generation Instinct is available in a considerably brighter choice of colors including poppy red and electric lime. When you choose a Surf version, you can even get some dual-color alternatives – or you can exchange the band for something different using the fast-release pins on the back.

The Instinct 2 includes a monochrome memory-in-pixel display, similar to the original Instinct. With a small circular cut-out that reveals contextual information while navigating through menus, and can show data like the current date, step count, or calories burnt while in smartwatch mode.

The display on the Instinct 2 is substantially greater resolution than the original — 176 x 176 pixels versus 128 x 128 pixels on the original. Garmin has been able to put more data into the display at once without reducing legibility as a result of this, resulting in sharper text and icons.

When more and more smartwatches come with vibrant color screens, a monochrome face may seem unusual. However, it makes great sense in terms of Instinct 2. It consumes far less power than an AMOLED display (such as the Garmin Epix and Venu 2) and provides significantly greater contrast than a color MIP screen (which was one of the few issues we have with the Garmin Fenix 7).

Few disadvantages

However, there are a few disadvantages. It’s more difficult to distinguish between different numbers at a glance – for example, you can’t check your heart rate zone by merely looking at a color-coded indicator – and it’s not ideal for maps.

The lack of a touchscreen makes panning difficult on maps. But the five-button interface is useful for all other functions and works well with wet or gloved hands. All of the buttons are also well labeled.

Battery life

Indefinite for solar models of Garmin Instinct 2

The battery life of this watch will vary based on how you use it, as it always does. SpO2 monitoring and GPS use more power. But if you choose one of the solar models, your Instinct 2 will last much longer between charges.

The following are Garmin’s quoted stats for the Instinct 2 normal and solar editions. As well as the smaller Instinct 2S:

FeaturesGarmin Instinct 2Garmin Instinct 2 SolarGarmin Instinct 2SGarmin Instinct 2S Solar
Smartwatch28 dayEndless21 day51 day
Battery saver watch65 dayEndless50 dayEndless
GPS30 hour48 hour22 hour28 hour
Max battery GPS70 hour370 hour54 hour114 hour
Expedition32 dayEndless25 day105 day
Maximum Battery Life

Longer for 45mm watches than 40mm

Those are the most remarkable numbers we’ve seen for any running watch too far, and Garmin claims that the solar 45mm model will have unlimited battery life.

With no solar exposure and an average of one workout per week. The Instinct 2S Solar lasted about two weeks in our tests. Even with SpO2 monitoring and regular usage of GPS for activity tracking. The battery meter barely fell when exposed to sunshine. Although the power level is continuously falling and won’t last indefinitely, we haven’t been required to charge it again as of this writing.

The proprietary USB cord is used by both Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S. Whenever you need to power it, it fits securely into the back of the case, just like the rest of Garmin’s watches.

Features of a smartwatch of Garmin Instinct 2

24-hour health monitoring of Garmin Instinct 2

Although the original Garmin Instinct was a fantastic sport watch, its bulky, utilitarian form made it difficult to use as a normal wristwatch. The lower design, alternative 40mm case, and new colors of the watch Instinct 2 make it more enjoyable than strictly functional, making it more likely to be worn as an everyday smartwatch.

Health: Garmin Instinct 2

When you do, you’ll have access to a variety of everyday health monitoring features. Such as for Garmin’s Body Battery tool, which measures things like heart rate, sleep, and activity to determine how much energy you have left for the day ahead. It’s similar to the readiness scores provided by Fitbit and Oura. But unlike other measurements, your Body Battery score is updated throughout the day, allowing you to balance activity and rest on the move.

Receive calls controls

Because there is no microphone, you won’t be able to receive calls or use your phone’s voice assistant from your wrist like you can with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, but you can refuse if you do have an Android phone with a text message. The Garmin Connect app makes it simple to set up and configure, just like many of the watch’s more advanced functions.

The Instinct 2 allows you to download new faces and apps from Garmin Connect IQ, unlike the first Instinct. Because of the dual-screen design, the watch isn’t compatible with Garmin’s custom face creator, but the extra options enable you to prioritize the data and tools that are most important to you – or simply choose something that looks better than the default design.

Garmin Pay

Garmin Pay is also supported by Instinct 2 for contactless purchases and public transportation payments, and you can use it to manage your phone’s music without having to go through your pockets for your phone. The watch’s buttons are easy to operate when wearing gloves, which is very handy in cold weather.

Fitness tracking of Garmin Instinct 2

Sports: Garmin Instinct 2

Wide range of activities (plus multi-sports mode)

The Instinct 2 delivers incredibly accurate GPS, as do all Garmin watches; it was accurate to within 50 meters in our measured 5km test, which is one of the best results we’ve ever seen from a running watch. It’s also simple to set up a satellite lock, so you won’t have to wait in the cold before starting your run, walk, or cycle.

There are profiles for a wide range of activities, including a multi-sport mode for events like triathlons and duathlons, which eliminates the need to cease monitoring between each stage. You can choose from the complete list at any time, but when you set up the watch, you’ll be asked to select only a few that you use the most regularly. When you tap the activity button (top right), Instinct 2 chooses the activity in the middle of the list rather than the top to save you time scrolling – a little but smart feature that distinguishes the Instinct 2.

The watch will automatically detect specific activities, and unlike some prior Garmin watches, which had a habit of registering unfamiliar sessions as elliptical training, the Instinct 2 does a fantastic job of distinguishing between them.

Advanced training tools for running, cycling, swimming

Runners, bikers, and swimmers, as is customary, receive the most training equipment. Greater participation suggested run workouts (which are a great method to make sure you’re getting enough exercise). not getting trapped in a rut with your training), training load (to avoid under-or over-training), and training effect (to ensure you’re not getting stuck in a rut with your training) (so you can tell when your last exercise was mostly aerobic or mostly anaerobic).

All of these features have been seen in previous Garmin running watches, and They’re delighted to see that they’ve arrived at the Instinct. This isn’t a watch for serious athletes, but individuals at the beginning of their fitness journey will benefit much from this type of personalized instruction.

Even if you’re a frequent runner or biker, you might be surprised how long it takes to recover from an intense effort, and Instinct 2 will factor this in and extend your recovery period if you don’t get enough rest.

The watch is comfortable throughout, and it fits comfortably against our skin as the temperature rose, as the watch’s built-in thermometer noted.

The screen doesn’t work well for mapping

The Instinct 2 will also keep track of your breathing rate, which is essential during workouts and at night as a gauge of how well you’re sleeping.

The Instinct 2’s sole serious flaw is its mapping. Although you can design routes in Garmin Connect and transmit them to your watch (a quick and painless process). The lack of on-screen detail makes finding your way around surprisingly difficult.

The small sub-window on the screen provides a helpful directional indicator to help you keep your bearings. But the absence of information on-screen means you’ll have to pay close attention to make sure you’re traveling in the proper direction. If you wish to use the watch for something other than timekeeping, and travel to new regions frequently, the Garmin Fenix 7 is a far better choice.

Companion app of Garmin Instinct 2

Deep insights into historic data

The Garmin Connect app is compatible with Instinct 2. That is one of the most refined and well-developed of its kind. All of your daily facts are shown in a completely customized dashboard, which includes panels that display metrics like heart rate, Body Battery (current energy level), sleep score, stress, recent workouts, and much more. To suit your tastes, you can add, remove, and rearrange panels, and any changes will be kept for future use.

A more thorough view displays when you tap a panel, displaying statistics from the preceding day,  week, month, year, and farther back. There’s no extra charge for examining previous data or looking for patterns that can help understand your habits & their repercussions, unlike certain applications (we’re talking at you, Fitbit). Every metric is detailed, with an information page describing what it means for your health; unlike certain programs, Garmin Connect doesn’t really presume you know what you’ve been doing.

If you don’t have time to look over historical data, don’t worry: the app will provide you ‘insights’ based on your lifestyle and workouts regularly. For example, if you take fewer steps on Thursdays. The app will remind you to get outdoors and take a walk before the end of the day.

There’s also no cost to use the Garmin Connect training programs. This features bespoke cycling and running programs that can help you prepare for a new event or set a personal best.

Biometrics clearly presented and explained

Simply enter a few important data, such as the time you want to attain. How many times per week do you want to train, then choose a coach. The app will create a customized plan for you, which you can sync with your Instinct 2. The plan will adjust as needed based on your success throughout the training sessions. It will even rearrange routines if you need to miss a day.

You may plan routes and transmit them to a running watch using Garmin Connect. However, it’s a feature that’s best suited to smartwatches like the Fenix 7 and Epix (Gen 2). To make the most of the navigational tools available. A high-resolution color monitor capable of displaying streets, routes, and landmarks is required.

The app, on the other hand, can teach you a lot about yourself and drill through the many options in the Training, Health Status, and Performance Stats menus that may show you how your efforts are impacting your health and motivate you to alter your regular routines.


The Instinct 2 is a little lighter than its predecessor. But it’s still constructed like a tank and can take a beating. The Instinct 2 has a lengthy battery life, and the solar edition can run indefinitely if exposed to enough sunshine.

Because of its monochrome MIP display, the Garmin Instinct 2 struggles with maps. You may upload routes, although they may prove difficult to follow due to the little information presented on-screen.

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