Garmin Instinct 2 and 2S: Smartwatches with infinite solar power

garmin instinct 2 hero
© Garmin, Arcansel/Shutterstock, Collage: NextPit

Assuming sunny conditions, the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar and 2S Solar will run without a power outlet - and for as long as you want. In addition, the second generation smartwatch puts aside its extreme outdoor focus and thus becomes interesting for a mass market appeal.


  • Garmin Instinct 2 available in two sizes: 45mm (Instinct 2) and 40mm (Instinct 2S).
  • Both watches get significantly enhanced tracking features compared to its predecessor.
  • Prices start at 349.99 USD for the standard version and 499.99 dollars for the solar version.

At Garmin, the Instinct has so far been the watch for absolute outdoor freaks - from its rugged exterior to its focus on trekking/outdoor features. While the Instinct 2 retains the rustic design of its predecessor, it will also get a little sister called Instinct 2S in a 40mm format in 2022 (Instinct 2: 45mm).

Both models are available as standard and solar versions. The surcharge for invisibly integrated photovoltaic modules in the display is $100 across all sizes and special editions. You can see all prices at a glance in the table at the end of the article.

Compared to its predecessor, the Instinct 2 has added many basic tracking functions. These include, for example, the various multisport and triathlon modes, sleep tracking, SpO2 and VO2Max measurement, various workout programs, hands-free function as well as cycle and pregnancy tracking. The solar models also support Garmin Pay.

garmin instinct 2 surf edition
The Garmin Instinct 2 is also available as a Surf Edition, among others. In the various special editions, not only the case differs, but also the software installed on the watch. / © Garmin

The highlight of the Instinct, however, is the battery life. Of course, the models without the solar function have to be plugged in regularly. However, according to the manufacturer, the Instinct 2 lasts a respectable 28 days in normal smartwatch mode (2S: 21 days). The Instinct 2 Solar, on the other hand, lasts indefinitely in pure smartwatch mode - the Instinct 2S Solar lasts 51 days.

In energy-saving mode, both the Instinct 2 and the Instinct 2S can go without a power outlet for as long as you want, according to Garmin. In GPS mode, the Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S manage a respectable 30 and 22 hours, respectively (solar models: 48 and 28 hours, respectively). These values are based on a daily three-hour outdoor stay in 50,000 lux lighting - i.e. in the blazing sun.

The table below shows the prices for the Garmin Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S. As is typical with Garmin, the smartwatch duo is available in stores now.

Instinct 2 and 2S: Prices and model overview

Instinct 2 (45mm) Standard Edition Camo Edition Tactical Edition Surf Edition dēzl Edition
Standard $349.99 $399.99 - $399.99 $399.99
Solar $449.99 - $499.99 $499.99 -
Instinct 2S (40mm) Standard Edition Camo Edition Tactical Edition Surf Edition dēzl Edition
Standard $349.99 $399,99 - $399.99 -
Solar $449.99 - $499.99 $499.99 -

Garmin also offers certain special editions for the Instinct 2. The Instinct 2 Surf Edition, for example, targets water sports enthusiasts and comes with windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing apps, tide information and a Surfline widget. In contrast, the Instinct 2 Tactical Edition is aimed at "those who like to travel under the radar". For example, there is a kill switch to clear the user memory, a stealth mode for deactivated GPS, and a special night vision mode that allows the display to still be readable via night vision device.

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Stefan Möllenhoff

Stefan Möllenhoff

Stefan gathered his first tech journalism experiences in 2004 – and works in this field full-time since 2008. His enthusiasm for everything digital started already in the 80s with a Sharp MZ700. The smartphone enlightenment came 2002 with a Symbian IRC client for his Nokia 7650. Currently, Stefan is sometimes behind the camera, sometimes writing but mainly taking care of organisational aspects at NextPit. Leisure time consists of cooking, fitness, bouldering, running and everything that has to do with AI and the concept of a Singularity.

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