Garmin Instinct Solar Review: Unlimited Endurance with Solar Power

Are you looking to improve your outdoor fitness experience? Garmin Instinct solar is a powerful smartwatch that brings solar charging capabilities to keep you on the tracks. This article provides a breakdown of this adventure focused sports watch.

Garmin has been making impeccable efforts in the smartwatch industry, improving the fitness tracking experience. We can say that their instinct solar sports watch is a success, considering its capabilities geared towards outdoor adventures.

Garmin Instinct Solar overview

Our Verdict

Considering that various smartwatches flooded the recent market, Garmin Instinct solar does not adopt the sleek and minimalistic aesthetics; rather, it appears rugged in its design. Most importantly, this sports watch can recharge from the sun, a feature worth convincing, especially to outdoor fitness enthusiasts.

Further, Garmin is an upgrade of the prior version but comes in a cheaper package, long battery, and much of the outdoor features found in the Fenix 6. That said, Garmin instinct solar is seemingly more practical as unveiled in the fitness and health features integrated into the watch. It makes a great companion for hiking, cycling, and running due to the training and navigation features that are well packed.

Why we like it:

  • Excellent battery life
  • Support a great range of activities
  • Well-designed interface

Why we hate it:

  • Does not support a color display
  • The case appears cheap

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Top Specifications of Garmin Instinct Solar

  • Water-resistance and dustproof
  • Resolution: 128 x 128px
  • Damage resistant glass
  • Weight: 53g
  • Sapphire glass display
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • Barometer
  • Blood oxygenation monitor
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Compatible with Android, IOS, and MAC OS X
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support
  • Solar power battery
  • Wireless charging

Compared to the previous instinct sports watch, here are the features Garmin added to this solar instinct watch:

  • Exceptional power management
  • Integrated expedition mode to manage weeklong activities
  • Heart rate manager in water levels up to 100m
  • Pulse Ox feature to determine oxygen saturation in the blood

Garmin Instinct Solar Features

Garmin Instinct Solar sports watch comes with a couple of features that seem appealing to fitness enthusiasts. While some features are upgrades from prior to Garmin’s sports watch, many innovations are available, bringing the fitness experience to a higher level. Before getting your hands on the Garmin Instinct Solar, check out the following features that can make your outdoor fitness experience a success.

Design and Build

Garmin ensured a practical design for the instinct solar sports watch right from the body to the bands. The fiber-reinforced polymer material is used along with a silicone strap to achieve an uncompromising design favorable for outdoor activities.

Garmin Instinct Solar Design and Build

The watch is lightweight and comfortable for your wrist. The 53 grams and 45mm diameter are not excessive for the hand, except for the 15.3 mm thickness that appears chunky. Nevertheless, the design is perfected to match the usability of the sports watch.

Garmin was intelligent to use a tough glass that is pretty robust and resistant to scratches. The display does not support color. However, the monochrome display can still be customized in the backlight settings to achieve convenient brightness for your eyes and easy to read in the direct sunlight.

Setting up the Garmin Instinct Solar Watch

An initial charge is required to set up the Garmin instinct solar. You can use a supplied USB cable and plug it into the rear of the watch to charge.

Once the watch is charged, install a companion app called Garmin connect that is available for Android and IOS. If you already have a Garmin account, you should log in; otherwise, you need to create one to access important functionalities.

While creating an account might take a while, you will be required to feed your physiological data, including weight, age, height, and activity levels. The fitness information you enter will display on the dashboard, but you will be required to log into the desktop website to access advanced tools for further customization.

You can also find your instinct solar smartwatch from the smartphone app to connect then log in. to ensure you enjoy the usability of the sports watch maximally; you will be required to invest time studying the manual. Here you will learn how to access features and the functions of the buttons on the watch.

Once you are done setting up the sports watch, you can customize various features depending on your workouts.

The following are the key features of Garming Instinct Solar sports watch.

Solar Charging & Battery Life

Garmin has designed the Instinct solar sports watch to utilize solar energy, making it a perfect fit for outdoor fitness activities. The solar charging lens is integrated between the watch’s display and the glass. A special glass with antireflection properties is used. DX-treated Corning Gorilla glass is commonly used in Instinct Solar.

Compared with the prior Garmin instinct sports watch, the battery of instinct solar is a powerful upgrade, as seen in the table below.

Instinct Battery Life Specs

  • 24 days / 54 days with solar on smartphone mode
  • Up to 56 days of battery life on battery saver mode
  • Up to 30 hours / 38 hours with solar when GPS is turned on
  • Up to 28 days / 68 days with solar on Expedition GPS activity

Instinct Solar Battery Specs

  • Up to 14 days on smartphone mode
  • Up to 16 hours on GPS mode
  • Up to 40 hours on UltraTrac mode

Based on the comparison with the prior sports watch, instinct solar sports watch comes with a powerful battery runtime. The new energy-saving technology integrated with the watch plays a significant role in ensuring sustainable energy consumption. The instinct solar battery charges strongly under ideal conditions.

Power Management

Garmin has designed the instinct solar sports watch to accommodate various power managers to utilize energy. The power manager options include battery saver, max battery, and jacket modes.

In battery saver mode, a few functionalities will pause or turn off. For instance, your smartphone will disconnect while the heart rate monitor and the display illumination turns off. However, the significant functionalities such as barometer, altimeter, fitness tracker solar widget, and compass can remain active. Battery saver can run the watch for up to 56 days.

When Max. Battery mode is activated, the GPS receiver will work unreliably as the GPS positioning will be determined less frequently. Besides, the map page will disable, heart rate mode goes off, and the smartphone will disconnect.

Jacket mode deactivates the heart rate sensor only.

Performance Activity Tracking

When it comes to performance and tracking, instinct solar tends to deliver excellently. For instance, the watch provides accurate heart rate monitoring. On the other hand, you can rely on GPS data, not forgetting the fantastic battery life.

Performance is top-notch with the instinct solar sports watch. Most of the functionalities are geared towards improving fitness progress and ensuring health well-being. The SpO2 plays a significant role in estimating and indicating conditions related to your blood oxygen saturation.

Garmin Instinct Solar Activity Tracking

Garmin grants you the freedom to customize battery management as well as the features you need to use when necessary. Besides, you can watch the solar intensity via a graph displayed on the watch's main face. The battery volume is indicated in days, which is a remarkable feature to keep you alert rather than a percentage.

The vast activity tracking options on the instinct solar brings confidence into your fitness progress. You can quickly determine and upgrade your consistency in your workouts to achieve specific goals. Similarly, all-day heart rate tracking provides accurate results.

The button on the instinct solar watch can be used to pause and resume various activities. You can also end or sync your activities by pressing the button several times. This reduces the chances of stopping activities accidentally before you are done with your workouts, as experienced in some fitness trackers, especially those with a touchscreen. You can also lock your buttons in situations that are likely to cause accidental knock.

The navigation features on the instinct solar sports watch offer ensure you have covered the anticipated area during your workout adventures. Apart from the GPS, there is also a compass, thermometer, and altimeter that can explore new regions a convenient experience.

Heart Rate Sensor

Garmin instinct solar is capable of tracking the heart rate continuously during workouts. The heart rate sensor unveils identical performance to the Fenix 6 series smartwatch and other Garmin watches.

The heart rate sensor integrated into this Instinct Solar Sports watch works based on numerous factors, including the environment (temperature), wearing position, and your phycology.


You should buy the Garmin Instinct Solar sports watch if you love outdoor adventures. Otherwise, you can consider other options from the Garmin that match your workouts. This watch comes with superb capabilities such as location tracking and tough build, making it ideal for climbing, running, hiking, or mountain biking.

You can also go for the Garmin instinct solar watch if you find the regular charging impractical. Even without enough exposure to sunlight, instinct solar can keep you going as far as you want without worrying about draining the battery so fast.

Fitness enthusiasts who want a stylish design for their fitness trackers can find Garmin Instinct solar inappropriate. The watch comes in a rugged design, and practical features hence can’t outstand stylish brands.

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