Garmin Instinct vs Instinct 2: What’s the difference?

  • Garmin

    Garmin Instinct 2

    All the best

    $290 $290 Save $0

    Garmin Instinct 2 offers a wide range of options and sizes – including Edition watches – so there’s plenty to choose from, enhanced by a full range of features, so it’s a brand to choose from.


    • Lots of options
    • A complete selection of exercises
    • Mobile payments

    • They are a bit expensive

  • naturally


    Garmin Instinct

    Another cost effective option

    $142.49 $249.99 Save $107.5

    Often discounted, the original Instinct offers solid performance in a well-protected watch that’s well presented, but it doesn’t offer the same solid performance as the newer model, even if it’s cheaper.


    • They are often heavily discounted
    • A very solid watch
    • Basic exercise routines

Garmin doesn’t like to leave its products without a long-term update, and it takes the Instinct as seriously as anything else. The Garmin Instinct was first announced in 2018, looking to attract foreign brands or those looking for a solid watch, before updated in 2022 and the new Bible.

While there are similarities between the Instinct’s functionality and other watches – such as the Forerunner – the Instinct plays to life, a bit like high end Fenix ​​gear. But with so many colors – 18 basic colors and that’s not even including color variations – there’s a lot to choose from, and a lot of options to choose from.

Price and details

The Garmin Instinct — the older version — was priced at $299, but it’s here many discounts so you can get the best price. One of the reasons why it is reduced so much is because it launched in 2018. The The Garmin Instinct 2 costs $349, but again there is a discount. Instinct 2 comes in many colors, and The Instinct 2X Solar is bigger and more expensive at $449, while the Instinct 2S is smaller – but the same price is standard. Solar models cost more, so it’s a good idea to decide if you want solar power – and many Edition models cost more too.

There’s a lot to think about with Garmin Instinct gear, and then you can take a look at some of the great features it offers.

  • Garmin Instinct 2 Garmin Instinct 2S Garmin Instinct Garmin Instinct 2X Solar
    Heart Rate Monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Battery life Up to 28 days, unlimited sun Up to 21 days / 51 days with sun Up to 14 days / 54 days with sun 40 days, unlimited sun
    Show it 23 x 23 mm, 176 x 176 pixels 20 x 20 mm, 156 x 156 pixels 23 x 23 mm, 128 x 128 pixels 27 x 27 mm, 176 x 176 pixels
    Storage 32 MB 32 MB 16 MB 64 MB
    Health monitoring GPS, HR, ABC, Pulse Ox GPS, HR, ABC, Pulse Ox GPS, HR, ABC, Pulse Ox GPS, HR, ABC, Pulse Ox
    Dimensions 45 x 45 x 14.5mm, 52g 40 x 40 x 13.3mm, 42g 45 x 45 x 15.3mm, 52g 50 x 50 x 14.5mm, 67g
    Mobile payments Garmin Pay Garmin Pay No Garmin Pay

What are the different models of Garmin Instinct?

There are a number of different types of Instinct, here’s how they break down:


  • Instinct and Instinct 2 – a basic device with a 45mm case
  • Instinct 2S – a small device with a 40mm case
  • Instinct 2X – a larger device with a 50mm case


  • The Sun – has an Electric Mirror to be reflected back from the sun


  • Standard – the base device
  • Camo – comes with a camo finish
  • Tactical – has special features such as night vision, stealth mode, dual GPS mode, kill switch, jumpmaster mode
  • Surfing – changing styles, wave sizes, surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding activities
  • Dēzl – designed for car drivers, with exceptional performance
  • Esports – has a dedicated esports channel

Only the Instinct 2 offers three dimensions, but beyond that you can set the size, display and print to scale. This means, for example, that you can get the 45mm Solar Tactical, or the 40mm Solar Surf. The best thing to do is to choose the size and then the Edition if you want something special.

Of course, some people just want to buy a watch of the color they want – usually you can have black any way you want – but if you want a lime watch, then the standard Instinct 2, if you want olive green, then the Instinct Solar Tactical, for example.

The best fitness trackers image 11

Design and construction

The Instinct 2 is slightly smaller than the original Instinct, although the weights are the same. The Solar model weighs 1g, not that you’ll notice, while the Instinct 2S is smaller and lighter. The Instinct 2X is the largest with a 50mm case, and the heaviest at 76g.

Again, the different models are similar in construction, both offering 10 ATM – 100m – water resistance and a solid construction, with a reinforced polymer thread and bezel.

The bezel differs slightly between the Instinct 2 models, with the design changing between the Standard, Camo, Tactical, Surf, and Dēzl models, so each one looks a little different.

For the original Instinct the design is the same, only the colors are different.

Both accept QuickFit straps, with 22mm across the Instinct and Instinct 2, while the Instinct 2S uses 20mm QuickFit straps. The Instinct 2X has 26mm QuickFit straps.

The Instinct also carries MLD-STD-810G protection, so it should be abused. The chunky design is part of the appeal of these devices.

Show it

All Garmin Instinct devices use the same color scheme. As we said, everything is the same on the 45mm device, with a smaller display on the 40mm Instinct 2S, or a larger one on the Instinct 2X.

The technology is the same – it’s Garmin’s flexible MIP display – and both have Corning Gorilla Glass to block glare. As mentioned above, devices with Solar in the name also have a Power Glass component, which can provide money from the sun to improve battery life – more below.

Instinct is also unique because it uses a two-window feature, where we have a separate screen on the screen. It is worth noting that the Instinct 2 models (both 45, 40mm and 50mm) have a slightly higher resolution than the original Instinct.

Garmin Instinct 2 image 8



When it comes to content there’s as much to pack into Instinct as there is to everything Garmin devices. From a hardware perspective, there’s more storage on the Instinct 2 and 2S, growing to 32MB from 16MB, meaning you can store more. The Instinct 2X has 64MB on top of everything.

Otherwise, many things come down to the software, since they all have GPS, heart rate, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer and thermometer, which enter the data they can collect. Both also provide blood pressure monitoring.

Instinct 2, 2S and 2X add additional training features, including recovery, training results, VO2 max monitoring and performance status – features that are available on the Forerunner and now available here. There’s also Garmin Pay support on the Instinct 2 models, meaning you can pay from your watch, something you couldn’t do with the original Instinct, so the new model looks a lot better.

Of course, some of what Instinct has to offer comes down to which model you buy. While they all support things like running, cycling, swimming, step tracking and sleep tracking, the Edition models give you access to a variety of features. For most users, the 2 versions of the Instinct 2 have fitness controls – but if there is something else you want, such as wave timing or smart devices, then you should buy the Edition that includes these.

Garmin Instinct 2 image 3


Battery life

The battery life you get from your device depends on what you do with it, of course. In general, there’s good battery life from these devices – it’s solar mode means you can get to the top when the sun is shining.

Of course, using all the sensors will drain the battery from weeks to hours – but all will provide GPS tracking for longer than most people would like. There’s up to 16 hours on the original Instinct, but 30 hours on the Instinct 2 – but some of that can be achieved with battery-saving features. Garmin says the Solar models of the Garmin Instinct 2 have unlimited battery life – but you’ll need sunlight for that to happen.

The end

For those looking for a rugged outdoor watch, the Instinct family has a lot to offer, with a range of features available from the original model that still look great – especially since you can now find the old Instinct at a much lower price than newer models, with similar features.


Garmin Instinct 2

$290 $290 Save $0

But there are some basic advantages from the Instinct 2 models. Of course, there is a small size that some may be attracted to, but there are also some important exercises that mean you can keep an eye on your training and performance. For those who really want something chunky, the Instinct 2X is there for you.

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