The Garmin Instinct proved to be a huge hit for Garmin. The Casio G-Shock design combined with a feature set similar to the Fenix at a more affordable price was very appealing.
It is, therefore, no surprise Garmin were eager to continue this new line, and they have now expanded it to include a smaller Instinct 2S.
What's Changed – It really is like a rugged Fenix-lite
The original Instinct drew comparisons to the Fenix, it missed quite a lot of features but it was close enough considering the price.
The Instinct 2 has now upped its feature set to be more like a Fenix than ever. It basically just lacks maps, music and a colour display.
- There is now two sizes and each size comes in Solar or not
- Increased resolution from 126×126 to 176×176
- Battery life increases. 16% improvement for smartwatch mode on the standard sized model with the potential for unlimited battery via solar
- New Garmin Elevate Gen 4 optical heart rate monitor included PulseOx/HRV etc
- Configure the watch via your phone
- Garmin Pay
- Connect IQ watch faces, apps, widgets, and data pages
- Smart Trainer Support
- power meter support
- Bluetooth Smart sensor support (of all supported types)
- Daily Suggested Workouts
- Multisport/Triathlon/Custom/SwimRun Profiles
- Sleep Score & Sleep Insights
- Fitness Age
- Health snapshot
- Historical Data for Predicted Race finish times widgets
- Support for HRM-RUN/TRI/PRO & RD-POD Running Dynamics data support
- broadcasting of heart rate via Bluetooth Smart
- VO2Max tracking
- Heat & Altitude Acclimation
- Training Load/Status/Effect
- Recovery Time
- Virtual Run sport profile (for broadcasting to Zwift with Pace/cadence/HR data)
- Garmin Running Power Connect IQ App Support
Unlimited Battery Life!?
The Instinct 2 has followed the Fenix trend and significantly improved the battery life. The Garmin Instinct was already amazing with its insanely long 24 day battery life. This is now increased to 4-week! A 16% improvement. Furthermore, if you have the solar model the battery life can be extended further. It was 54 days with the original model now it is potentially unlimited. Probably not unlimited in the north of England, though.
Interestingly, the GPS battery life hasn't improved much/any. You get the same 30 hours, which is still amazing. Thought with the improved solar performance, you can theoretically get 48 hours GPS, a 26% improvement.
How does it compare to the Fenix 7?
The main advantages the Fenix has are:
- Colour higher resolution display
- Additional sports/heatlth features iincluding: Stamina metric, Training Load Focus, Up Ahead, Live Segments, Pace Pro, more sports profiles, golf features and improved swimming functionality.
That is obviously quite a lot of advantages for the Fenix, but it is twice the price.
|Garmin Instinct 2 / 2S||Garmin Instinct||Fenix 7|
|Lens material||Chemically-strengthened glass|
|Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX
|Bezel material||Fibre-reinforced polymer||Fibre-reinforced polymer||Stainless steel|
|Case material||Fibre-reinforced polymer||Fibre-reinforced polymer||Fibre-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover|
|Dimensions||45 x 45 x 14.5 mm|
40 x 40 x 13.3 mm
|45 x 45 x 15.3 mm||47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
42 x 42 x 14.1 mm
|Display size||Custom, two-window design; 0.9” x 0.9” (23 x 23 mm)|
Custom, two-window design; 0.79” x 0.79” (20.12 x 20.12 mm)
|Custom, two-window design; 0.9” x 0.9” (23 x 23 mm)||42 x 42 x 14.1 mm|
|Display resolution||176 x 176 pixels|
156 x 156 pixels
|128 x 128 pixels||240 x 240 pixels|
|Display type||Monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)||Monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)||Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)|
|52 grams||63 g|
|Sensors||Optical heart rate, SpO2, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer||Optical heart rate, SpO2 (only Solar edition), barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer||Optical heart rate, SpO2, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer|
|Water-resistance||10 ATM||10 ATM||10 ATM|
|Memory/history||32 MB||16 MB||16 GB|
|Battery Smartwatch||28/unlimited with solar|
21/51 days with solar
|24 days/54 days with solar||11 days/14 days with solar
18 days/22 days with solar
|GPS Battery||30 hours/48 hours with solar|
22 hours/28 hours with solar
|30 hours/38 hours with solar||All satellites:
26 hours/30 hours with solar
40 hours/48 hours with solar
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, ANT+||Bluetooth, ANT+|
|Editions||Standard, Camo, Tactical Surf, Dezl, Esports||Standard, Camo, Tactical, Surf, Esports||Standard/Solar/Sopphire Solar|
|RRP||£299 - £429||Standard no solar £219|
Standard with Solar RRP £319.99 currently £249.99
|Standard = £599.99
Solar = £689.99
Instinct 2 Launch Price and Availability – Has the price changed?
The original Instinct Solar launched at £349.99 while the standard model was £270, and at the time of writing, the current RRP is £220/320, but the Instinct Solar is on sale for £249.99
The none solar Instinct 2 has launched for £300 while the solar model is £390, that's an 11.11% and 11.5% price increase from the previous generation.
The Instinct was a big success, and I think the Instinct 2 is guaranteed to be popular.
The overall aesthetic of the Instinct was appealing for many users, and now you have significantly improved features. They have improved it enough that it is well worth considering upgrading from the original model, and I didn't feel the same about the Fenix 6 vs Fenix 7.
The moderate 11% price increase seems reasonable considering there has been a huge bump in the specification. In comparison, the Fenix 7 had a 13% price increase for a much smaller improvement in features.