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

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

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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
Head of Content Production

I have been writing about technology since 2004 with a strong passion for smartphones, photography, and IoT, especially in the world of smart homes and AI ever since they debuted. I'm also an avid cook and bake pizza at least three times a week using my Ooni Koda 16. In order to compensate for all the consumed calories, I indulge in sporting activities on a daily basis while strapping on at least two fitness trackers. I am strongly convinced that you can DIY a lot of things if you put your mind to it - including a photovoltaic system and power station.

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  • 49
    storm Feb 10, 2022 Link to comment

    This is a great application for solar watch face

    Rubens Eishima