Much as we love the Garmin Fenix and its do-it-all talents, we have to admit, it packs plenty of features most people probably don’t get to use. Not everyone’s a dedicated athlete and a hardcore outdoorsman, after all. That’s why when the Garmin Instinct came out two years ago, we weren’t surprised with its success – it got all the basics covered while coming in a few hundred dollars cheaper. The Garmin Instinct Solar takes that same popular model and reinforces it with solar charging.
That’s right, Garmin’s low-priced GPS sports watch now comes with integrated solar charging, so juice can trickle into the battery while you go about your regular day. Whether you’re having it track your triathlon training performance, using the ABC sensors to make decisions while exploring backcountry trails, or just using it as a regular timekeeper while you spend the day at work, this thing is continually charging just like all the Casio Tough Solar watches you’ve owned over the years.
The Garmin Instinct Solar is a GPS multi-sport watch that does all the activity tracking basics, recording everything from steps taken and floors climbed to calories burned and travel distance. It has a heart rate monitor for even more detailed tracking of athletic performance, complete with built-in profiles for running, cycling, swimming, gym workouts (individual profiles for resistance, cardio, yoga, and more), and various outdoor pursuits (hiking, climbing, skiing, rowing, and more), so you can get a complete log of how much energy you’re expending through all the activities you engage in. Suffice to say, you can get a complete picture far beyond how many calories you burn all through the day.
It supports multiple navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) to ensure it can track your positioning and location even in the most remote areas, along with accurate ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, compass) for reliable readings when adventuring in the wild. It has many of Garmin’s outdoor recreation features onboard, including point-to-point navigation, bread crumb trails, and TrackBack. Do note, there are no map features onboard, as those are reserved for their more expensive sports watch models.
The Garmin Instinct Solar has a round monochrome MIP screen that’s designed to be perfectly readable under sunlight, with 128 x 128 pixel resolution, a custom two-window design, and a Power Glass lens. That screen sits in the middle of a 45mm fiber-reinforced polymer case that’s rugged enough to clear MIL-810 standards for thermal, shock, and water, while being attached to a 22mm silicone strap for slapping on your wrist.
According to the product page, the watch can run for up to 38 hours with the GPS turned on. That means, the solar capability has added an extra eight hours to the rating, since the non-solar models can do 30 hours of continuous GPS use. Other features include a Pulse Ox sensor (for altitude acclimation and sleep monitoring), stress tracking using the heart rate sensor, and an energy monitor that keeps track of various bodily readings to suggest when you may need to get rest.
The Garmin Instinct Solar is available now.