Garmin Descent G1 Solar drops a dive computer into a smartwatch body

An Instinct-inspired look with solar charging powers to last for months
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Garmin has once again swelled its smartwatch ranks with the arrival of the Descent G1 Solar, which plants a dive computer into a smartwatch.

Joining its pricier Descent Mk2 and Mk2S dive watches, the G1 Solar looks to be based on the design of Garmin's Instinct series watches, offering dive modes for single and multiple gas dives with features like a digital compass and vibration depth alerts also included as key diving features.

Essential reading: Best outdoor and hiking watches to buy right now

Other stats on offer include being able to view depth, dive time, temperature, NDL/TTS, ascent/descent rates, gas mix, PO2, N2 loading, decompression/safety stop information, and time-of-day information. For freedivers, there's customisable dive and surface screens and metrics like ascent and descent rates.

Garmin uses multi-GNSS satellite support to automatically mark surface entry and exit points with data stored in Garmin's Dive app where you can review your dives as well as tinker with settings on the watch.

Garmin Descent G1 Solar drops a dive computer into a smartwatch body

Design-wise, the G1 Solar features the same circular display tucked up in the top right hand of the screen as you'll find on the Instinct. It also features a 45mm case, QuickFt bands and hosts a a 0.9-inch, 176 x 176 resolution transflective display.

It carries the same 10 ATM water rating as the Instinct and other Descent watches, making it safe to be submerged in water up to 100 metres depth. There's leakproof inductive buttons and a Power Sapphire lens, which does mean the Descent G1 does have solar charging powers.

Battery life is up to 25 hours in dive mode, 3 weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 4 months in smartwatch mode when you factor in solar charging. The pricier Descent Mk2 in comparison offers up to 80 hours in dive mode, so there's a drop on that front.

Outside of dive time, there's support for Garmin Pay, the ability to receive notifications and full Connect IQ store access. The onboard GPS can be used to track outdoor activities like swims, runs, surfing time and rounds of golf with training insights including VO2 Max, Fitness Age,Training Status, Recovery Time and Daily Suggested Workouts all supported.

Garmin says it will also play nice with its InReach Mini 2 satellite communicator and InReach Mini dive case for safer and more secure diving time.

The Descent G1 is available now in solar and non-solar models, with the G1 Solar priced at $549.99£479.99 and the solar edition priced at $649.99/£569.99. Other watches in Garmin's Descent series sit around the $1,000/£1,000 mark, so the G1 definitely makes grabbing a dive computer in watch form a more affordable option.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

Related stories