Proven and true: Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Review

Smart watches are all fascinating. But the outside crowd requires a watch that is consistent, accurate, and packed full of intentional features. Is Garmin’s brand new Instinct 2 Solar the best choice for an outdoor fighter?

We live in a technology driven world and smartwatches have become a big part of this. If you want to know how popular smartwatches have become, sit down at your favorite restaurant, mall or park and start watching people. You will be amazed at the number of people reading texts on the wrists, checking the weather, seeing the result of a baseball game and checking their daily number of steps.

I have become addicted to Garmin fenix 6 for running, hunting and daily life. I use it constantly, so I was excited to set up Garmin’s Instinct 2 Solar. Let’s take a look at what this watch has to offer.

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar adventurous smart watch

Initial impressions

Like many Garmin watches, the color options are numerous and the watch comes in frame sizes of 40 mm (43 grams) and 45 mm (53 grams). After wearing it for two weeks in a row and doing a variety of outdoor activities, I can say that it is just as comfortable as an hour as I held it. Instinct 2 is significantly lighter than my other smartwatches. My fenix watches (3 and 6) are heavy and heavy in comparison, and Instinct 2 significantly outperforms them in terms of comfort.


Setting up the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar is simple. I recommend reading the instructions, but there is nothing you can do about it – no button you can press – that will ruin any setting or damage the watch. The best way to learn is to play, as it is loaded with personalized features and settings.

Once you have set the clock by holding down the labeled CTRL key and selecting the desired language settings, download Garmin Connect and pair your smartphone with Instinct 2. The process is easy – you will get a code in Instinct 2, which you connect to the Garmin Connect app, and you are out and about. Once the watch is paired with your phone, you will be able to receive text messages, phone calls, Instagram notifications and the like directly on your watch page. If you do not want this feature, simply turn off notifications.

What can he do

Once you have configured it, you can start digging into personalized features: set personalized goals for counting daily steps, intensity minutes, glued floors, fluids consumed, etc. You can also change those goals quickly. Clock operation is basic once you have mastered the CTRL (Light), MENU (Up), ABC (Down), GPS and SET buttons and understand what each one does. You can change the clock page settings, set your time zone, height and personalization list goes on and on.

One of my favorite features of the watch is its durability. I did farming and livestock per hour for two weeks, fishing, swimming, running over 150 miles and doing many other physical activities. Not only could I track those activities, but the watch, like all my Garmin models, was held like a German tank. I experienced, and you will experience moments when you look at your watch page, and it is telling you that an update is available. This does not mean that something is wrong. Accept the update and continue. Occasionally, you will also need to synchronize the clock with the Connect app on your phone. Tap the dual arrows that fill a circle at the top right of your phone screen to perform this task.

Use the Garmin Instinct 2 to track a run
Once Instinct 2 is configured, you can start recording your activities and sharing it on your phone. Jace Bauserman

Most smartwatch users – in addition to wanting text messages, phone calls, voicemails, social media, etc. – to be sent to the wrist – buy a smartwatch to track physical activity. Instinct 2 is great for that. Press the GPS key once and then start pressing the ABC arrow (down) to select from a range of activities: Jogging, Jogging, Treadmill, Virtual Jogging, Indoor Track, Walking, Walking, Climbing, Bicycle, Bicycle inside, MTB, eBike, eMTB, Cyclocross, Swim Pool, and more. The watch also has options for activities like Hunt, Fish and Golf. This watch will track everything.

Not only can you view your statistics in your Connect app, the app will store and maintain all your runs, grades, bikes, walks, etc. You can set and achieve new goals and refer to months-long activities to monitor how your body is responding to your workout. The watch also offers safety features, such as 24/7 heart rate and health monitoring. The heart rate monitor on the back of the watch matched my chest monitor beats. Instinct 2 Solar will provide suggestions for daily workouts and suggestions for recovery time after each workout and will monitor VO2 max (maximum amount of oxygen you have the body can utilize during exercise) and sleep patterns. Its benefits are tremendous and it is one of the best adventure watches I have ever used.

Reasons like these are why I told my wife I could not function without my Garmin watches. You get used to having all this information at your fingertips and if you use it properly, you can make a positive life change in terms of placement and consistency in training.

How does Instinct 2 work out?

In the woods, the clock shone and I can’t wait to try it further this fall. I like that the clock has sunrise / sunset on the face and tracks the weather including wind direction, hourly forecast and the like. Instinct 2 lets you hit the height of your area, making the clock height more accurate. Testing proved to be accurate within a few feet, even when a significant height change was made. During the two-week testing period, I also discovered that the clock barometer is extremely set. Having detailed forecasts, sunrise / sunset times, accurate altitude and barometric pressure leads to good decision making in nature. I also turn my hat into the digital compass, a feature I often use in the woods.

Proven and true: Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Review
Purchasing the model capable of solar charging (reviewed here) makes Instinct 2 one of the best adventure smartwatches on the market. Jace Bauserman

Another great feature of the watch is that it can be purchased with solar charging capability, allowing you to charge through sunlight. The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar has several charging sensors and if you expose the watch to direct sunlight, the battery will charge. This means you can go on long adventures, use GPS mode for navigation and tracking (which pulls the battery hard enough) and the clock will keep going.

Speaking of GPS, I saw it to be super accurate. Satellites are captured quickly for quick position adjustments. And other than the very dense tree cover, I had no problems with its performance.

The battery life of the watch in standard smart watch mode is 28 days. I did not push that threshold, but I can tell you that using the GPS watch for the 60 to 90 minute workout, seven days a week, ensured 19 days of battery life. This is impressive.


Navigating the home screen is the only time zone that was not impressive. There is no default button to take you back to the home screen; you must press the back button repeatedly until you return home. This is annoying. I recommend pressing the Menu key, selecting Settings, scrolling down to System, and then selecting the Hot Keys option the moment you place this watch on your wrist. Here you can quickly set a key combination to take you back to the home screen.

Once you deal with this, there is really no problem with the watch. For the money, it’s the best adventure watch I’ve tested to date. I would have no problem wearing it for every adventure, anywhere in the world.

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