Garmin has unveiled the Instinct 2 Series, the next generation of its more affordable (from £299.99/$329.99) GPS watches aimed at the outdoors.
Built with ruggedness in mind to withstand any element, in Garmin’s words, the new Instinct 2 Series has a claimed unlimited battery life in selected Solar models, as well as two sizes, new colours, and Garmin’s full suite of health and wellness features including VO2 Max and Sleep Score.
Last month Garmin launched updated versions of its premium Fenix 7 and the Epix; the new Instinct 2 Series is the latest in a major overhaul of the US brand's GPS smartwatches.
“Instinct 2 Series is built to be bold, stand out from the crowd, and help you make the most of every day,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of global consumer sales. “But there is more than meets the eye with the Instinct 2 Series. It combines adventurous colours with Garmin’s industry-leading wrist-based technology to become more than just a smartwatch – Instinct 2 becomes a trusted tool to help you live life on your terms.”
The new Instinct 2 Series watch has a slimmer profile - good news since the original Instinct, launched in 2018, was 15.3mm thick - as well as coming in two sizes: a more traditional 45mm bezel and a smaller 40mm bezel for the Instinct 2S, which aims to provide a more comfortable fit for those with smaller wrists and women.
There’s also a new high-resolution display protected by chemically strengthened, scratch-resistant glass.
According to Garmin, like the original Instinct, the Instinct 2 is built to a military standard for thermal and shock resistance and is water rated to 100 metres.
Unlimited battery life?
As for that pretty incredible battery life claim, it's the 45mm Instinct 2 Solar model that offers “unlimited battery life” in smartwatch mode, with Garmin hailing this as a new battery life standard. The figure assumes three hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions.
Meanwhile the non-solar-powered Instinct 2 provides a claimed four weeks of continuous use in smartwatch mode.
The Instinct 2 Series watches come preloaded with sports apps and activities including a new Multisport activity that allows users to transition between activities and continue to view total time and distance.
The new watch has Garmin’s full suite of wellness features including Sleep Score and Advanced Sleep Monitoring, plus a new Health Monitoring activity which allows users to record key health metrics, such as Garmin’s Body Battery, stress, and heart rate in a single view. There’s also VO2 Max, Fitness Age, Training Status/Load/Effect, Recovery Time, HIIT Workouts, and Daily Suggested Workout - borrowed from Garmin’s premium watches such as the new Fenix 7 and the Epix 2.
The Instinct 2 series comes in a range of fairly unorthodox and eye-catching colours including Electric Lime, Poppy and Neo-Tropic, and also comes in the Instinct 2 Solar, standard (non-solar), Surf, Tactical and Camo editions.
Garmin Instinct 2 special editions
Surf Editions: Dedicated water sports activities such as surf, windsurfing and kitesurfing, 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, according to Garmin, 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.
Additionally, using Garmin’s Your Watch, Your Way program users can customise their Instinct 2 or 2S Solar watches via a variety of bezel and band choices with more than 240 different design combinations.
Instinct 2 Solar models include Garmin Pay with compatible payment systems.
The Instinct 2 Series is compatible with the Garmin Connect IQ store for free downloads of apps, widgets, watch faces, data fields, and more. Health and wellness features like Hydration Tracking, and Connect Leaderboard, and Menstrual Cycle and Pregnancy Tracking are also available to Instinct 2 Series owners through CIQ.
The Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S are available immediately with a RRP of £299.99/$329.99. To find out more, go to garmin.com (opens in new tab).
Don't miss our guide to the best smartwatches for cycling (opens in new tab).
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism.
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Mercian Classic fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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