Fitness Gear

The New Garmin Instinct 2 – A Watch Packed with Features and Unlimited Battery Life

Written by Charlie

The new Garmin Instinct 2 is here and is packed full of features as well as the holy grail of a smartwatch – an option that offers unlimited battery life!

Garmin has been on a roll so far this year. At the first of January, they launched the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, a lifestyle fitness watch that targets the Apple Watch group of users. I have used that and will have a user review coming soon. Following that was the high-end Fenix and Epix watches (the Garmin Epix is now my daily driver and I will have a user review on that soon as well) and then an aviation themed watch (post on that soon!) and finally culminated in the release of the highly sought after Garmin Instinct 2.

The New Garmin Instinct 2

Link: Garmin Instinct 2 Lineup

The Garmin Instinct 2 is a very upgraded edition to the original Instinct. This watch is popular with many people who love the form factor of the Casio G Shock watches as well as those that just want a rugged watch without dishing out the amount of money that the Fenix models demand.

Not only did Garmin shove a ton of features into the Instinct 2 (DC Rainmaker says in his review that this is the first device that has added this much to the next iteration of a model) but they also brought some insane – even unlimited – battery life to this watch.

The new features that Garmin brought to the Garmin Instinct 2 are all features that have been on other Garmin devices now but Garmin has turned this rugged adventure-styled watch into an even more multi-sport watch while bringing onboard even more features that may appeal to someone who wants a Fenix experience at a much lower price.

But you have to realize that Garmin has different models of this watch available so if you want the unlimited battery life, you are going to need to get a Solar equipped model. There are other versions of it as well that cater to different extremes:

  • Surf Editions: Dedicated watersports activities such as surf, windsurfing and kiteboarding, as well as a tides widget, keep users up to date on ocean conditions. Users can keep track of their activities and review them later through Surfline Sessions™ compatibility. Named after famous surf breaks, Surf editions are available in Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S with or without solar
  • Tactical Editions: Popular with military personnel, the Instinct 2 Solar – Tactical Edition adds dedicated tactical features such as a Kill Switch, Stealth Mode, Night Vision Goggle Compatibility, Dual Format Position Coordinates, and Jumpmaster Activity mode. Available in Coyote Tan or Black.
  • Camo Editions: Graphite and Mist Camo patterns let individuals blend in or stand out depending on their location, be it the concrete jungle or actual jungle.

In particular, the Tactical editions offer some features that are only on the much-higher priced Tactix Delta models like the Kill Switch (it will erase everything in 10 seconds) that appeal to military users.

The Garmin Instinct 2 starts at $349 and comes in either 40mm or 45mm sizes. It also is offered in both size options for the various editions (Surf, Tactical, Camo, and dēzl – a trucker edition) with a $50 boost to the price, so $399. If you want to get that better battery life, you need to jump up to the Solar models which add $100 to the base model price (so $449 for the standard editions and $499 for each of the speciality models).

But, if you are someone who cares about battery life, you are going to want the Solar model! The 45mm Solar model is the one that will give you unlimited battery life if you have it in smartwatch mode with just 3 hours of exposure each day in 50,000 lux conditions (which is partially sunny days). If you want the GPS time you get, having the solar model will give you 48 hours of battery life.

Even without the Solar model, you can still get 22 hours of GPS use on the 40mm or 30 hours on the 45mm. In smartwatch mode, you get 21 days/28 days without Solar.

The Garmin Instinct 2 checks a ton of boxes for the outdoor enthusiast/fitness seeker. It gives a rugged look to a watch that is really a multi-sport device and offers what more expensive watches in the Garmin lineup have but in a more plastic body. To help you in your decision making, make sure you read the review by DC Rainmaker.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.