Garmin’s Instinct 2 boosts solar power for “unlimited” battery life
Garmin is back with another line of multisport smartwatches. The Instinct 2 series is billed to “rugged individualists”, but this time there’s an interesting twist. The company claims that solar-powered models of the smartwatch can get unlimited battery life thanks to improvements in their solar technology.
Garmin has been tinkering with solar charging for a while. It introduced the feature with the Fenix 6 series and later expanded it to other watches, including the original Instinct. During the launch of the flagship Fenix 7 series last month, Garmin noted that it had significantly improved solar charging technology. Now it’s bringing those advancements to its mid-range Instinct 2 series.
That said, the unlimited battery life is a bold claim, especially for a watch that’s aimed at highly active outdoor enthusiasts. And, of course, there’s some fine print involved.
Unlimited battery life is only available on the larger 45mm Instinct 2 Solar models when in smartwatch mode, which allows for health monitoring and notifications, but not tracking. activities such as running. Furthermore, Garmin based this “unlimited” claim on three hours a day outdoors in conditions of 50,000 lux. For context, direct sunlight can range from 32,000 to well over 100,000 lux. Indirect sunlight is between 10,000 and 25,000 lux. Basically, that means you don’t necessarily have to point your wrist directly at the sun, but you probably have to be outdoors for several hours each day to make that unlimited claim.
Still, the entire Instinct 2 series offers impressive battery life. According to Garmin, the smartwatches benefit from continuous use for up to four weeks in smartwatch mode.
Nor would it be Garmin if it weren’t for unending versions of the Instinct 2. The watch comes in two sizes: the standard 45mm and the 40mm Instinct 2S for people with smaller wrists. Garmin also offers Surf, Tactical and Camo editions of the watches. The Surf edition is aimed at water sports enthusiasts and adds activity profiles for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. It also informs users about tides and ocean conditions. The Tactical Edition is “popular with military personnel” and has features like stealth mode and night vision goggle compatibility. The Camo edition…has camo patterns. We won’t go into every color combination because frankly it would take too long. Garmin says the watch will be compatible with its Your Watch, Your Way program so you can customize the bezel and straps for a total of 240 design combinations.
All watches feature scratch resistant glass and are built to military standards for heat and shock resistance. They are also water resistant to 100 meters. But aside from specs, the Instinct 2 series also gets a few health upgrades. Now you can track your period and pregnancy, as well as monitor your sleep and stress. Garmin also adds metrics such as VO2 max and fitness age, along with other pre-installed training activities. It will also include information about your training load and recovery. For your peace of mind, Garmin also adds the incident detection feature that can send your name and location to emergency contacts. The Instinct 2 will also now support Garmin Pay. That’s a lot of watch for the price.
All versions of the Instinct 2 are available now starting at $349.99, but if you want to customize your colors, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Garmin didn’t say exactly when the Instinct 2 series would arrive on its Your Watch, Your Way site, but said it would be “available shortly.”