July 3, 2022

The Garmin Instinct series has all the trademarks of a reliable adventure watch, from a rugged design to unstoppable battery life and reliable tracking. If you compare the Garmin Instinct vs. Garmin Instinct 2, however, it’s no contest: the newer model makes some significant improvements in specs and software that make it the better purchase. So the question then becomes whether these new features justify an upgrade, or if you should stick to your current model. We’re here to help you decide.

Garmin Instinct vs. Instinct 2: Battery life

Solar intensity readings on the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Solar intensity readings on the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar. (Image credit: Michael Hicks / Divinemercy)

Both the Garmin Instinct and Garmin Instinct 2 come in both Standard and Solar varieties; the latter adds a Solar panel that massively increases battery life estimates, assuming you spend about three hours a day outdoors in 50,000-lux conditions. Garmin says the Instinct Solar has “Unlimited” battery life” in Battery Saver mode if you spend your time outside, while the Instinct 2 Solar has “Unlimited” battery life in the standard smartwatch mode as well as Battery Saver.