#1 Best Outdoor Watch? Garmin Instinct Solar Review
Gear Reviews, Outdoor Clothing & Apparel

#1 Best Outdoor Watch? Garmin Instinct Solar Review

The Garmin Instinct Solar is a rugged tactical watch with smart features, including health monitoring.

The Garmin Instinct Solar watch even has solar glass to help dramatically extend the battery life. Find out if the watch is the right choice for your wrist with this Garmin Instinct Solar review.

Garmin Instinct Solar Review Overview

The Garmin Instinct Solar is an updated version of the Garmin Instinct, which was released in 2018. The newer Instinct Solar comes equipped with several new features including a blood oxygen sensor, multiple power modes, and solar glass.

Garmin has also released multiple versions of the Instinct Solar, including the Tactical Edition (Moss) version. The Tactical Edition retails for $449 and is currently on sale for $389, increasing the value for your money.

As expected from an expensive sports watch, the Instinct Solar is built for rugged use. The case is made from durable fiber-reinforced polymer and has a silicone strap. It measures 45mm in diameter, which is comparable to other sports watches. However, it is 15.3mm thick, making it a little clunky.

Extended Battery Life with Power Glass

The screen measures 1.2 inches and has a monochrome display with no touchscreen. The display is topped with a type of photovoltaic material that Garmin calls “Power Glass.” While “Power Glass” may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, it is a real technology that allows the battery to recharge when exposed to sunlight.

The monochrome display with no touchscreen combined with Power Glass significantly increases the battery life of this watch. The Garmin Instinct Solar can offer between 24 and 54 days of use with standard operation. The watch offers unlimited battery life when using battery-saver mode and the solar display.

New Features for the Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical Edition

The Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical Edition includes tactical-specific features, including stealth mode and night vision.

The stealth mode turns off track logging and wireless communication to conserve battery life. Night vision mode reduces the intensity of the backlight to make the display easier to read when wearing night-vision goggles.

Garmin Instinct Solar Fitness Tracking

At the heart of the device is a multi-sport tactical watch with a timer, stopwatch, and clock display. However, it also includes a wide range of activity tracking features and smart features, such as:

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Pulse oximeter
  • Workout tracking
  • Indoor activity tracking
  • Outdoor activity tracking
  • GPS location data

Along with viewing your fitness stats on the watch, you can upload them to the Garmin Connect mobile app. The mobile app syncs the data with the watch to provide live fitness tracking from your smartphone or the Garmin Connect website.

Garmin Instinct Solar Smart Features

The Garmin Instinct Solar is a smart watch, which means that it pairs with smart devices to deliver additional functionality. However, the smart features are limited to Bluetooth notifications. You cannot make or receive calls or texts with the watch.

Receiving notifications does not require the use of the Garmin Connect app. You simply need to enable Bluetooth connectivity in the watch menu and pair it with your smartphone. Notifications from your smartphone are automatically sent to the watch.

Garmin Instinct Solar is a GPS smartwatch built to break convention

Garmin Instinct Solar Review: Pros

The Garmin Instinct Solar offers several distinct benefits that help set it apart from the competition, including:

  • Clear, crisp display
  • Superior battery life
  • Ease of operation
  • Wide range of activity tracking features
  • Durable design and components

Out of these benefits, the battery life is the top-selling point for the Garmin Instant Solar. Depending on how often you use the activity tracking features, you may only need to charge the watch once per month.

The watch also offers one of the widest selections of activity tracking features. You can choose from preloaded activities, such as biking or interval training, or create a custom activity. With a separate app called Garmin Explore, you can also plan hiking or biking routes and track your journey with the watch’s GPS.

Garmin Instinct Solar Review: Cons

The average Garmin Instinct Solar review contains nothing but praise. However, customers occasionally point out the following issues:

  • Monochrome display
  • Not the cheapest option
  • No touchscreen display

The main limitations include the lack of a touchscreen interface or color display. However, the monochrome display is crisp and easy to read in various lighting conditions while the buttons and mobile app allow you to quickly navigate the menu options.


The Garmin Instinct Solar is one of many smart watches available, but it stands out for several reasons. Based on the typical Garmin Instinct Solar review, customers seem to love the extended battery life and easy navigation. The solar glass helps keep the battery charged if you spend the day outdoors. The menu is also easy to navigate and the watch pairs easily with the Garmin Connect app.

In the end, the Garmin Instinct Solar is a reliable watch packed with activity tracking features and superior battery life. If you lead an active lifestyle or want to become more active, the Garmin Instinct Solar is likely to fit your needs.

Get your Garmin Instinct Solar Watch

To stop worrying about the battery life in your watch, order the Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical Edition (Moss) today.


About Zakk Plocica

Zakk Plocica is the owner and operator of Extreme Outfitters. He loves his family; he is an avid hunter and outdoorsman and a true patriot.

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