After nearly 10 years of covering wearables, we thought we’d seen it all – but the Garmin Instinct Crossover has surprised us with something new.
A Garmin Instinct sports watch but with analog hands, the Instinct Crossover is an interesting hybrid smartwatch that’s way more powerful than we’ve seen before.
It boasts infinite battery life as a smartwatch, thanks to its solar capabilities, and also features full GPS, for hiking and outdoor activities.
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Despite the use of analog hands to tell the time, the Instinct Crossover retains the transflective display underneath, which shows digital information, such as heart rate, sunrise/sunset, solar intensity, and of course, workout live feedback.
In effect, it’s a full-fat Garmin Instinct 2, with added hands. Did someone ask for this? Garmin is the master of offering something for everyone, and a power hybrid was one of the few unexplored areas.
It’s also tough. It’s water resistant to 10ATM (100m) and features the same MIL-STD-810 shock resistance.
And it’s big on battery life, too. Garmin says you can get 70 days with smart features enabled and infinite using the analog dial, as long as it gets three hours of solar exposure at 50,000 lux. As we found in our Instinct 2 review, that’s easier said than done in winter, when the watch spends time under your coat.
Garmin also boasts 31 hours of GPS battery life, as long as the workout is constantly exposed to 50,000 lux. Again, achievable in summer, but less easy in winter.
But even with basic, non-solar assisted power, it blows most hybrids out of the water.
You get scores of workout profiles, and when you get back from a workout, you can access
VO2 Max, Training Status data and HRV Status insights –, so it’s an adept workout partner, even for those that train seriously.
And, of course, all the wellness features such as Blood Oxygen, stress momnitoring and Body Battery are all there as standard.
So what is the Garmin Instinct Crossover and who is it for?
Well, the Garmin Instinct 2 moved on from being a hiking watch to a fun, Casio-style, and robust workout watch, and significantly cheaper than the likes of the Garmin Fenix 7 – and more fun and stylish than a Forerunner 255.
The Crossover adds analog hands for those that want more of a traditional watch experience, and don’t want to charge the watch just to tell the time.
We can see the practical justification, although simply adding hands to a Garmin Instinct doesn’t necessarily sell us on a traditional timepiece experience.
The Garmin Instinct Crossover goes on sale for $499. Watch out for our full review.