Garmin Instinct 2 lands with infinite battery life and more fitness features

Instinct 2 is a serious all-rounder sports watch
Garmin Instinct2-Solar_HR_6002.16.jpg
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Update: We've now published our Garmin Instinct Solar 2 review – head there for our full and in-depth testing.

Garmin has unveiled the Instinct 2 and has brought infinite battery life to its sports watch line-up for the first time.

The Instinct 2 comes in a range of flavors and sizes, with a new unisex 40mm Instinct 2S joining the range. There’s also the Instinct 2 Solar, which is the only model that offers infinite battery life.

> Go big or go home: Garmin Instinct 2X review

And there are Surf, Camp and Tactical editions too, which add specialist features.

Visually, the Instinct 2 hasn’t changed a great deal from the Garmin Instinct and Instinct Solar (2020). It comes in 45mm and 40mm sizes – with a lightweight body that only tips the scales at 52g on the heaviest version.

It's thinner and less chunky than the previous Instinct, which will make it more comfortable for sports like HIIT, functional fitness and cycling. It still offers 810 military standard toughness and 100m water resistance.

There's also a more fun array of colors than most Garmin sports watches. Colorways include 'Electric Lime', 'Poppy' and 'Neo-Tropic' – and there's loads more customization to be had.

Garmin Instinct 2 family prices:

  • Instinct 2 $349/£299
  • Instinct 2S $349/£299
  • Instinct 2S Solar $449/£389
  • Instinct 2 Solar $449/£389
  • Instinct 2 Surf Solar - $499/£429
  • Instinct 2 Tactical Solar - $499/£429

Unlimited battery life

Garmin Instinct 2 lands with infinite battery life and more fitness features

There’s been plenty of new additions to the Instinct 2, which throws off its outdoors watch shackles to become a fantastic, versatile, all-round fitness watch. But none will attract as much attention as the promise of infinite battery life.

Garmin has been pushing the limits of battery life over the past few years, and 2021’s Garmin Enduro offered staggering longevity, and could conceivably only be charged a handful of times per year.

But the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar can now achieve unlimited battery life in smartwatch mode, as long as it receives three hours of 50,000 lux brightness, which Garmin says is a normal, overcast day.

Smartwatch mode essentially means normal use, so 24/7 heart rate, sleep tracking, smartwatch notifications, Body Battery, VO2 Max and Firstbeat insights – all day, every day, no need to charge. If you start doing full nightly pulse ox tracking then will need extra charges – but Garmin says you can go about your daily business and never have to charge the Instinct 2 Solar.

And there’s more. If you spend more than 3 hours out of the house, or in brighter than 50,000 lux conditions, users can expect to also track some GPS workouts, and still never have to hook the sports watch up to the charger.

You won’t get those levels unless you opt for the Instinct 2 Solar 45mm, and the 40mm versos can only manage it in battery saver mode, which is much less appealing.

The non-solar Instinct 2 offers 28 days of battery, and the Instinct 2S Standard has 21 days.

And to up its smartwatch credentials further, the Instinct 2 joins other mid-range Garmin devices by offering Connect IQ apps for the first time.

More fitness metrics

Garmin Instinct 2 lands with infinite battery life and more fitness features

Away from battery life, Garmin has added a host of extra fitness metrics to the Instinct 2 that brings the range ever closer to the Fenix.

The Firstbeat driven VO2 Max, Training Effect, Training Load have all been added, with details on recovery and suggested workouts, making the Instinct a fitness and performance watch for the first time.

There are bags of sports modes – and Garmin has also added golf, with basic distance tracking for 40,000 courses, which can be added via Garmin Connect.

We’ve often considered the Garmin Instinct to be an outdoors watch – a cut-price Fenix for those that can’t stomach the $700 price tag for Garmin’s flagship.

But with the Instinct 2, it feels as if this watch is about to break out and have its own identity. It offers so much in terms of fitness analysis and data, so many workout modes and at such a good price – the Instinct 2 might be one of the most easily recommendable Garmin sports watches.

TAGGED Garmin Sport

How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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