If you're a fan of the best Garmin watches, you must be having the best time of your life in 2022. In January, Garmin launched four new watches, including the sexy epix (Gen 2) and the latest Fenix 7, and now it's back with another big hitter, the Instinct 2 and 2S, to delight fans of the best outdoor watches even more.
I love the Fenix 7, but the Instinct series has a special place in my heart, too. I was a massive fan of the Garmin Instinct Solar, and based on my experience with that multisport watch, I can't wait to try the updated models. There is a lot to love about the new Instinct 2/2S but below are the three features that I like the most (so far anyway).
Garmin Instinct 2/2S: Price and release date
The Garmin Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S was released on 9 Feb 2022 and is available to buy now at Garmin (opens in new tab). Prices start from $329.99/£299.99.
AU price TBC.
The Instinct 2 Series comes in a number of eye-catching colours such as Electric Lime, Poppy and Neo-Tropic. Also available are the Instinct 2 Solar, standard (non-solar), Surf, Tactical and Camo editions.
You can also personalise your new Instinct 2 using Garmin’s Your Watch, Your Way program (opens in new tab). Through various bezel and band choices, there are more than 240 different design combinations available. See the different combinations and find your Instinct here (opens in new tab).
1. Smartwatch with unlimited battery life
The previous iteration of the Solar Instinct has a sort-of unlimited battery life (you had to activate the battery saver mode, which beats the purpose of a smartwatch, in my opinion anyway), but thanks to the advancements in solar harvesting technology, the new Instinct 2 Solar offer unlimited battery life in smartwatch mode.
Sure, you'll need adequate solar exposure to achieve this, but even so, this is a big step in the right direction. Even the non-solar Instinct 2 provides up to four weeks of continuous use while in smartwatch mode, which is not too shabby either. Considering the retail price, I can imagine the Instinct Solar 2/2S becoming even more popular than its predecessor, and that is still a trendy watch.
Please note: not all Instinct models provide unlimited battery life; please visit Garmin for more info.
2. It is cheaper than the Fenix but still super capable
The main appeal of the Instinct has always been that it was a Fenix-like rugged watch that sells for much less than Garmin's flagship adventure watch. This is still the case; the base Instinct model costs half as much as the most basic Fenix watch (which is still pretty advanced if you ask me).
For the (comparatively) low price, the Instinct 2 Series offers a slimmer profile, as well as two sizes: a "traditional" 45mm bezel and a smaller 40mm bezel (Instinct 2S) which is said to provide a more comfortable fit for individuals with smaller wrists and women. The Instinct 2 is built to military standard 810 for thermal and shock resistance and water-rated to 100 metres.
Solar models are admittedly more expensive, but if you're happy not to live on the cutting edge of technological advancements, you can wait a year or so and find plenty of Instinct Solar 2/2S offers at third party retailers. Check out the best Garmin watch deals available in the meantime.
3. Looks like a G-SHOCK but without the excess bulk
Do you like G-SHOCK? I do. I wish there were a G-SHOCK watch that's also a competent sports companion. Oh, wait! The Garmin Instinct 2 is just that. It comes in funky colours, has accurate sensors (probably) and looks less boring than your average running watch.
At this point, I reviewed not one but two G-SHOCK watches (Casio G-SQUAD PRO GSW-H1000 review and Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000 review), and in both cases, I wished they tracked heart rate more accurately. I sure won't have this issue with the Instinct 2; I never had problems with heart rate sensor accuracy on Garmin watches.
Of course, the Instinct 2/2S may have terrible sensor accuracy, but chances are slim. What's more likely is that I can finally experience that smart G-SHOCK feeling I always yearned for by wearing a Garmin watch. Yes!