Garmin Instinct Solar Review: Top 5 Reasons to Buy in 2024 (Not Just Battery!)

The Garmin Instinct Solar is a rugged outdoor smartwatch designed to cater to the needs of adventure enthusiasts and fitness-conscious individuals. 

I use the Garmin Instinct Solar, which exceeded my expectations as a rugged outdoor smartwatch. Packed with various features, this timepiece is a perfect companion for outdoor enthusiasts and fitness fans.

This comprehensive review will delve into various aspects of this device, covering its design, durability, battery life, navigation capabilities, health monitoring features, sports apps, connectivity options, and overall value for money.

Garmin Instinct Solar Spec & Features

Screen Size1.27 Inches
Casing MaterialRugged construction, meets U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock, and water resistance (water-rated to 100 meters)
Charging and Battery
Charging TypeSolar Charging
Battery LifeVastly extended battery life through solar charging
Power ManagerYes
Health and Fitness Tracking
Heart Rate MonitorYes
Stress TrackingYes
Sleep MonitoringYes
Pulse OxYes (not a medical device)
Body Battery Energy MonitoringYes
Built-in CompassYes (3-axis compass)
Barometric AltimeterYes
Global Navigation Satellite SystemsGPS, Glonass, Galileo
Sports and Activities
Preloaded Activity ProfilesRunning, Biking, Swimming, Climbing, Skiing, Rowing, Weightlifting, Yoga
Sports AppsBuilt-in sports apps for various activities
Wireless ConnectivityBluetooth
Smart NotificationsYes (when paired with a compatible smartphone)
Compatible DevicesSmartphone
Other Compatible Garmin DevicesAlpha 100/200i, Astro 430/900, and more

Garmin Instinct Solar Pros and Cons

  • Solar Charging
  • Up to 32 days Impressive Battery Life
  • Durable and Lightweight Design
  • Variety of Outdoor Features
  • Durable and Lightweight Design
  • Black and white display
  • Solar Charging Limitations

Is the Garmin instinct Solar Worth It?

The Garmin Instinct Solar is a great choice if you love outdoor activities and need a durable, reliable device. Here are some reasons to consider buying it:

  1. Outdoor Adventures: The Instinct Solar is well-suited for outdoor enthusiasts, including trail running, mountain biking, hiking, and climbing. Its robust design can withstand tough conditions.
  2. Long Battery Life: If regular charging is impractical for you, the Instinct Solar’s solar charging capability sets it apart. While it may not run indefinitely on solar power alone, its extended battery life surpasses that of many other fitness trackers and smartwatches.

However, there are reasons you might want to avoid the Garmin Instinct Solar:

  1. Not Stylish for All Occasions: If you’re looking for a stylish smartwatch suitable for various occasions, the Instinct Solar’s chunky plastic case may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option. It prioritizes ruggedness and practicality over a sleek design.
  2. Limited Use: If you’re a light exerciser or don’t engage in intense outdoor activities, you may not fully utilize the features of the Instinct Solar. In such cases, you might consider a cheaper model like the Forerunner 55, which may better suit your needs without the additional features and durability of the Instinct Solar.

Ultimately, the decision to buy the Garmin Instinct Solar depends on your specific needs and preferences, particularly if you prioritize outdoor performance and long battery life over a more stylish design.

Here is our detailed review for a more in-depth exploration of the Garmin Instinct Solar’s features and performance.

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Garmin Instinct Solar Reriew

The Garmin Instinct Solar stands as a testament to innovation, targeting outdoor and fitness enthusiasts with its robust features and cutting-edge technology.

In this detailed review, we’ll delve into the design, display, solar charging capabilities, and the various outdoor and fitness features that make the Instinct Solar a notable contender in the smartwatch market

Design and Durability

The Instinct Solar boasts a visually appealing and rugged design that stands out among its competitors.

Garmin Instinct Solar Review
(Image credit amazon)

The Instinct Solar is constructed to meet U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock, and water resistance, providing users with a durable and reliable timepiece for outdoor activities.

With a water rating of 100 meters, it’s suitable for swimming and other water-based adventures.

The graphite color adds a touch of sophistication to the watch, making it ideal for outdoor adventures and everyday wear.

Battery Life and Solar Charging

A standout feature of Instinct Solar is its solar charging capabilities, which contribute to vastly extended battery life.

The Power Manager feature ensures efficient energy usage, allowing users to go longer between charges.

This game-changer is for those who spend extended periods outdoors and may need more frequent access to charging stations.

The watch’s ability to harness solar energy adds sustainability and convenience, making it a reliable companion for long outdoor expeditions.

Navigation and Tracking

Equipped with a built-in 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and support for multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, Glonass, and Galileo), the Instinct Solar provides accurate and reliable tracking in various environments.

Garmin Instinct Solar Review
(image credit Garmin)

Whether navigating through dense forests, climbing mountains, or urban landscapes, the watch delivers precise data for different activities.

Including multiple satellite systems enhances its tracking capabilities, ensuring a dependable navigation experience.

Health Monitoring Features

The Instinct Solar offers comprehensive health monitoring features, making it more than just a timekeeping device.

Users can benefit from continuous heart rate monitoring, stress tracking, and sleep estimates.

The Pulse Ox feature adds a layer of insight into the user’s well-being by measuring blood oxygen saturation levels.

While it’s important to note that the Instinct Solar is not a medical device, these features contribute to a better understanding of overall health.

They can aid in maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Read also – 5 Best Rugged Smartwatches for Every Adventurer Durability

Sports Apps and Activity Tracking

One of the strengths of Instinct Solar lies in its support for various sports apps. Users can track activities such as running, biking, swimming, and strength training.

The watch provides detailed data on performance metrics, helping users analyze their workouts and make informed decisions about their fitness routines.

The versatility of the sports apps makes the Instinct Solar suitable for individuals with diverse fitness interests.

Connectivity Options

The watch is compatible with smartphones, allowing for seamless connectivity. Users can receive notifications directly on the watch, keeping them informed without constantly checking their phones.

While the connectivity options are sufficient for essential functions, seeing more advanced smartwatch features, such as music controls and the ability to handle calls directly from the watch, would be beneficial.

These additions could enhance the overall user experience and make the Instinct Solar a more complete smartwatch.

Compatibility with Your Garmin Ecosystem

garmin connect en
(image credit Garmin)

The Instinct Solar seamlessly integrates with various Garmin devices, including Alpha 100/200i, Astro 430/900, GPSMAP 66i, inReach mini, Montana 700/700i/750i, Pro 550 plus, Virb 360/ultra 30, and Xero A1i.

This compatibility enhances your overall Garmin experience, allowing your devices to work together seamlessly.

Price and Value for Money

Considering the extensive features offered by Instinct Solar, the current $265.89 (discounted from the list price of $349.99) represents excellent value for money.

The watch’s durable build, extended battery life, advanced tracking capabilities, and health monitoring features make it a compelling choice in its price range.

The combination of affordability and functionality positions Instinct Solar as a competitive option for individuals seeking a reliable outdoor smartwatch without breaking the bank.

Garmin Instinct Solar vs Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Specs

FeatureGarmin Instinct SolarGarmin Instinct 2 Solar
Battery life (with solar)Unlimited in smartwatch mode; 28 days in GPS modeUnlimited in smartwatch mode; 51 days in GPS mode
Display128 x 128 pixels176 x 176 pixels
Water resistance10 ATM10 ATM
Heart rate monitorYesYes
Pulse OxNoYes
Music storageNoYes
Garmin PayNoYes
Activity trackingYesYes
Sleep trackingYesYes
Stress trackingYesYes
Advanced training featuresYesYes
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price


In conclusion, the Garmin 010-02293-10 Instinct Solar is a top-tier outdoor smartwatch that excels in various aspects. Its rugged design, military-grade durability, solar charging capabilities, and extended battery life make it a reliable companion for outdoor adventures.

The watch’s advanced tracking features, comprehensive health monitoring, and support for various sports apps cater to the needs of fitness enthusiasts. While the connectivity options could be more advanced, the overall value for money makes Instinct Solar a compelling choice in the competitive smartwatch market.

Whether you’re a hiker, runner, or fitness enthusiast, the Garmin Instinct Solar is a worthy investment that delivers style and substance.

519pESH lL. AC SL1000

Garmin Instinct Solar

Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Built-in Sports Apps and Health Monitoring
610sI+grqwL. AC SL1500

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

GPS Outdoor Watch, Solar Charging Capabilities, Multi-GNSS Support, Tracbak Routing
71Guu84WS9L. AC SL1500

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar – Tactical Edition

Rugged GPS Smartwatch, Built-in Flashlight, Ballistics Calculator, Solar Charging Capability,  Black

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Q. Does Garmin instinct solar track heart rate?

Yes, the Instinct Solar is equipped with a wrist-based heart rate monitor that allows it to track your heart rate throughout the day. This feature enables the device to provide real-time heart rate data during various activities, including workouts and outdoor adventures. The heart rate monitoring function is beneficial for assessing your fitness levels, optimizing training, and providing insights into your overall health. Keep in mind that while wrist-based heart rate monitors are generally convenient, for highly accurate readings, some users may prefer using a chest strap heart rate monitor, especially during high-intensity activities.

Q. How Long Does Garmin instinct solar battery last?

The battery life of the Instinct Solar can vary based on usage and conditions. The key feature of the Instinct Solar is its ability to harness solar power to extend its battery life. Garmin claims that with sufficient exposure to sunlight, the Instinct Solar can provide unlimited battery life for certain functions.
In smartwatch mode, without solar charging, the Instinct Solar is estimated to last up to 24 days on a single charge. If you use the device with solar charging enabled, the battery life can be extended significantly, provided it receives adequate sunlight exposure.
For GPS tracking activities, the battery life is reduced. In GPS mode, the Instinct Solar can last up to 30 hours, and with solar charging, it can extend the battery life further.
It’s important to note that individual usage patterns, settings, and the amount of sunlight the device receives will impact the actual battery life. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, the Garmin Instinct Solar offers a unique advantage with its solar charging capabilities.

Q. How to Charge Garmin instinct solar with sun?

To charge the Instinct Solar with sunlight, place the watch in a well-lit area with direct sunlight, ensuring the display faces up. Optionally, enable the Solar Intensity widget to monitor sunlight strength. Check the watch’s battery status and solar charging indicator to assess progress. Be patient, as solar charging is gradual. Adjust the watch’s position for optimal sunlight exposure. Keep in mind that while solar charging extends battery life, it may not fully charge a critically low battery, so traditional charging may be necessary initially.

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Sunil Bhatt
Sunil Bhatt

Sunil Bhatt: Accomplished IT professional, passionate blogger, and tech enthusiast. Expertise in exploring gadgets, empowering readers with insights and informed decisions. Dedicated to staying at the forefront of technology and inspiring innovation.

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