I’m the kind of smartwatch user that just needs my sleep, daily activities, and workouts tracked. Does a rugged, outdoor smartwatch like the Garmin Instinct Solar work for a more casual user like me? It certainly can.
Here are some reasons why the Garmin Instinct Solar should be on your radar, too
It can charge with the help of the sun!
The Instinct Solar isn’t the first Garmin watch to offer solar charging. (The more premium fenix 6 Pro Solar line has it.) But it’s uncommon enough that it warrants attention.
With its Power Glass lens, you can just leave the Instinct Solar out in the sun to top it up. It’s more supplementary than anything, though.
To achieve the 54 days before charging—which Garmin estimates you can get with the Instinct Solar as your daily smartwatch—it needs to be outside for three hours in 50,000 lux conditions daily. That metric is equivalent to a very sunny day.
Since I haven’t really left the city because of the pandemic, I couldn’t test this feature out to its full extent. I try to leave it out under the sun, but the most I got out of it is a 1% increase from being left outside for around two to three hours.
If you do spend a lot of time outdoors, solar charging would be quite useful for you.
Keeps going like the Energizer Bunny
Even without solar charging, this rugged smartwatch can last for so long. By the time I finished this review, I was at 13 days since my last charge. Granted, I was already at 5% by this point. But that’s still longer than any other wearable I’ve used.
I wasn’t prudent with its battery, either. I’ve left most of its smartwatch and tracking features activated. The only one I didn’t enable was the Pulse Ox sensor while I was asleep. Garmin cautions about this sensor using a lot of this smartwatch’s power.
Tracks everything and then some
With the Garmin Instinct Solar, I feel like the more appropriate question is: What can’t it do? Its strength is when you take it to the great outdoors for a hike or a camping trip. But it offers more than that, too.
This watch tracks so much that I don’t want to bore you with the details. If you want a full spec rundown, let me redirect you to Garmin Instinct Solar’s specs page.
This watch can monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen level, steps, sleep, stress level, elevation, and more with its different sensors.
I like the Body Battery metric Garmin tracks with this watch. It keeps track of your energy level throughout the day by taking note of data like your activity, stress levels, sleep amount and quality, and heart rate variability. It’s information I found useful to help me improve my habits.
The activities it can track range from indoor and outdoor runs, climbs, mountain biking trips, fishing, cycling, swimming, strength training, cardio, yoga, and many more. It even works as a trainer with Garmin’s Virtual Partner available for some of the activities/workouts.
You’ll get to see the nitty-gritty information through the compatible Garmin Connect app.
On top of all of that, the Instinct Solar adds a bunch of smartwatch features, too. You can get notification alerts, view your calendar, control your music, find your phone, etc. Android users can even respond to texts and reject phone calls.
Say goodbye to getting lost
With GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, the Instinct Solar makes sure you don’t get lost when you go out for your runs, while camping, or doing other fun outdoor activities.
It even supports Garmin’s LiveTrack feature, so if you’re out in the wild, this watch can let your loved ones know where you are.
The chunky watch aesthetic
For big watch lovers, the Garmin Instinct Solar’s aesthetic might work for you. With its 45mm case, it reminds me a bit of old-school G-Shock watches. It fits my wrist fine, but those with daintier wrists might find it too large.
At 53g, I never felt it was too taxing to have on my wrist. I slept fine with it on, also.
You can get it in different color options, including Graphite (black), Tidal Blue, Orchid (purple/lilac), and Sunburst (yellow). According to Garmin’s Philippine site, it looks like the only options available here are the Graphite and Flame Red variants. You can swap out the bands, though. The Instinct Solar is QuickFit-compatible for the 22mm size.
While there might be different strap options, there’s no colored display here. It has a monochrome screen, which serves the battery well.
There are limited watch faces available, too. But these are also a bit more functional than stylish. But they are customizable, allowing you to get crucial information at a glance.
There are no touchscreens here. To navigate its interface, you’ll use the five-button system Garmin is known for. If you’re new to Garmin watches, there is a learning curve. But after a day or two, I got used to it, and the interface felt quite intuitive.
Anything else you need to know?
There was one issue I ran into during my two-week test with the Garmin Instinct Solar. One morning my test unit’s screen froze suddenly. And it seems to be a problem some Garmin users have encountered. I followed the advice on some Garmin forum posts and got it to work after about an hour.
I just wanted to disclose that because it might be a problem you might encounter. That issue only happened once, though.
There is a lot to look forward to with the Garmin Instinct Solar. That initial intimidation and slight hiccup aside, I never felt the need to swap this smartwatch out for my tried-and-tested wearable. It provided me with everything I needed. So, if you want the watch that goes the extra mile, consider the Instinct Solar. You can get it for PHP 24,995.
*If you buy something from these links, LiTT may earn a commission.
What Garmin Instinct Solar feature are you intrigued by the most? We’d love to hear from you on our social accounts!