Garmin Instinct 2 Review

The Garmin Instinct 2 is the new upgraded version of the first generation Instinct and it now promises unlimited battery life with solar charging.

If you prefer watching you can check out my review video here:

Price and Comparison

On the launch date, the Instinct 2 standard edition was priced at 349.99 USD and the solar edition at 449.99USD. For current prices on Amazon check the below links.

Garmin Instinct 2 Standard Edition.

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar.

Compared to a Fenix 6 at 350€ or a Fenix 6 Pro at 430€ the price is quite close now that the Fenix 7 has been released so you might consider that as an alternative if you are looking for a rugged outdoor smartwatch. If you want one for even less you can have a look on eBay and find the Fenix 6 for even less. Also, the Forerunner series has some choices you might be interested in.

Key Features

The Instinct 2 is a rugged smartwatch with MIL-820 military standard shock and dust resistance and a water rating of 10 ATM. It kind of has the Casio G-SHOCK vibe to it.

The highlight of the watch is a long battery life: up to 28 days in smartwatch mode or 51 days with solar (Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions). It’s a bit less with the smaller S model. The unlimited battery life with solar is only in Battery saver watch mode.

The Instinct 2 comes now in two sizes with a 45mm case and the Instinct 2S with a 40mm case. At 52g it is very light on the wrist.

The display is still a 0.9″ monochrome transflective memory-in-pixel screen but the resolution is now 176×176 pixels instead of 128×128 pixels so this will allow seeing more things on the screen at once. It’s very low power and always on but if you are used to colors it’s quite dull to look at.

Instinct 2 has the newest wrist-based heart rate sensor which also includes the Blood Oxygen Saturation measurement.

On the software side what’s new is Connect IQ which allows you to download some apps and widgets and the Solar version includes Garmin Pay. A lot of new training profiles have been added and training analysis features like VO2 Max and multisport profiles. So this might make the watch a viable option for people who earlier have looked towards the Garmin Forerunner series.

The memory on the device has now been increased to 32MB instead of 16MB. The device includes all the sensors you are used to for example GPS, Accelerometer, Barometric altimeter, Compass, and Thermometer.

You also get smartwatch features like notifications to the watch.

The device comes in multiple different color options to choose from and the wristbands are also changeable.

Pros of the Product

The highlight of the watch definitely is the super-long battery life.

Rugged and very versatile one could call it a mini Fenix.

You get the Casio G-SHOCK feel but now with all the smartwatch capability.

Cons of the Product

Note that Instinct 2 does not have Maps even though you can upload pre-prepared routes to the device so you can then follow breadcrumb waypoints.

There is no storage for Music on the device and it doesn’t have a touch screen.

Not yet unlimited battery in smartwatch mode which I was hoping for.


The Instinct 2 is designed for the same people who love the Casio G-SHOCK look and feel. It’s for the all-adventure people who want a trusty tool with a super long battery life.

The release date for the Garmin Instinct 2 was 09.2.2022. The Garmin press release for the Instinct 2 can be found here.


Hi! I'm John and this is where I share my tech learnings. As a tech enthusiast and a smartwatch believer (I wear a Garmin smartwatch), I like to read about the newest trends and research new devices. On this blog, I share all the things I learn about smartwatches as I go.

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