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Garmin Instinct Review
The 3-minute Garmin Instinct Review
Smartwatches and other wearables are the rages today. From a feature’s viewpoint, the Garmin Instinct is essentially a blend between a Vivoactive 3, a bundle of Fenix features, and the looks of a 1980’s Casio.
l Battery life – smartwatch mode (up to 14 days), GPS mode (up to 16 hours), UltraTrac mode (up to 40 hours)
l Memory – 16MB
l Strap material – silicone
l Physical size – 45 x 45 x 15.3 mm
l Weight – 52g
l Water rating – 10 ATM
l Display size – 23 x 23 mm
l Display resolution – 128 x 128 pixel
The following attributes define the Garmin Instinct’s bragging rights:
l Course navigation: can navigate downloaded courses (breadcrumb trail)
l Compass mode: can enable a compass
l ABC functions: can access Altimeter/Barometer/Compass features/pages
l Elevation Profiles: can see upcoming elevation on courses
l Storm Alert: utilizes barometric altimeter to provide incoming storm alerts
l UltraTrac: provides up to 40 hours of GPS-battery life at reduced recording rates
l AutoClimb: a trail running/hiking option to auto-enabled ascent pages
l Saved Waypoints: save specific spots you can navigate to later
l TrackBack: follow course in reverse (different than Back to Start)
l Garmin inReach support: connects to Garmin inReach devices
l Garmin Xero support: connects to Garmin Xero device
l 3D Distance/3D Speed: Slightly more accurate in steep climbs/descents
l Openwater swimming: For swimming outdoors in oceans/lakes/etc.
l Virtual Partner: So you can compete against a specific pace/time goal
Sadly, Garmin has not used the Instinct to fix its software problems. LiveTrack, activity management, and GPS bugs are commonly reported by users. Garmin is also not giving the option to install Connect IQ apps, likely due to design decisions on the hardware.
Is it for you?
The Garmin Instinct is strictly for those excited by the outdoors. This design and array of outdoor activities in its activity tracking modes make this clear.
At this price point, no other smartwatch offers a similar combo of features, performance, and ruggedness. You might well give it a try.
What we like
The G-shock-type look of the Garmin Instinct is robust and well-built, with several colors (graphite, tundra, flame red, sunburst, lakeside blue, seafoam are some) for everyone. It is quite comfortable.
We also like the fact that it has no touchscreen, which makes it easier to use with a glove on. This is simpler than swiping and tapping once you try a few times.
What we don’t like
Garmin is also not giving the option to install Connect IQ apps. Also, compared to other products in its range and family, the Garmin Instinct lacks:
l VO2Max metrics
l Connect IQ support: No data fields, apps, or widgets
l Garmin Pay support: No contactless payment support
l Onboard music support: No local music storage like Vivoactive 3 Music
l Golf mode
l WiFi: Vivoactive 3 Music uses WiFi to access music
Should you buy it?
Besides a few minor flaws, the Garmin Instinct is an excellent expedition companion for a great price. Compare the Garmin Fenix range which has no match regarding features and performance. The superb Fenix 5 Plus, for instance, will set you back anywhere.
The newer Instinct smartwatch is a little different. It has many of the features you’d normally associate with Garmin’s Fenix range such as GPS tracking, navigation tools, and 14-day battery life. More importantly, at $320, it’s relatively affordable.
People also viewed
- The Garmin Instinct is manufactured by Garmin and was added in March 2019 in the GPS Watches & Heart Rate Monitors section
- This product has a rating of 4.5 out of 5
- The best price of the Garmin Instinct in Canada is $299.99 at Staples.ca
- In Canada this product is available in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau
- You can find this product at Best Buy, Staples.ca, Amazon Canada, The Source, Walmart.ca, Altitude-Sports.com, Bass Pro Shops, Garmin