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Garmin Instinct

photo: Garmin Instinct gps watch


Price MSRP: $299.00
Current Retail: $299.99
Historic Range: $239.99-$299.99
Weight 52 g
Physical Size 45 x 45 x 15.3 mm
Lens Material chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Material fiber-reinforced polymer
Case Material fiber-reinforced polymer
Strap Material silicone
Fits wrists circumference 132-224 mm
Display Size 0.9 x 0.9 in / 23 x 23 mm
Display Resolution 128 x 128 pixels
Display Type monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Battery Life Smartwatch mode up to 14 days, GPS mode up to 16 hours, UltraTrac mode up to 40 hours
Water Rating 10 ATM
Memory/History 16 MB


1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

The Garmin Instinct is meeting my needs and lifestyle.


  • Very lightweight
  • Comfortable and not bulky
  • Handles cold weather
  • Easy to use when you get the hang of it
  • The Garmin Connect app is simple.
  • Lots of features for an active lifestyle
  • Battery life is pretty decent.
  • Garmin Livetrack provides another layer of security for those of us who play alone.
  • Can be paired with newer InReach devices
  • Quite a few colours to choose from. I went with graphite.


  • There is a bit of a learning curve to use the Instinct. There are some excellent videos on YouTube that walk you through it.
  • The charging cable that’s included is very short. I ended up buying a two pack of bases for home/car use. The short cable is in my pack with a portable charger.
  • Doesn’t pair with older InReach devices. I was planning on upgrading anyhow but for someone with an older device it might be an issue.

I’m quite happy with this purchase...happy enough that I‘m contemplating getting a second one when they’re on sale again.

I‘ve only had this watch for about six weeks but in that time I’ve come to appreciate it. All the features that come with it seem pretty accurate when I compare them to other devices/known points of reference.

This is one of the most comfortable watches I’ve ever worn...I really don’t notice it’s on my wrist. The silicone straps are supple, easy to adjust, and have two loops to secure the band. I’ve been sleeping with this watch on, it’s that comfortable!

The watch face reminds me of my Kindle display-wise. I like the simplicity of it and I’m not missing the ‘bling’ of my previous battery draining watch. The menu is pretty easy to scroll through when you get the hang of it and (in my opinion) the buttons beat touchscreen for accuracy and reliability, particularly when it’s cold.

I‘ve currently got my watch set in UltraTrac and I’ve been pleased with the battery life. I toss it on the charger every couple of days but haven’t come anywhere near draining it.

A feature I’m liking is the way it’s challenging me to do more than I did yesterday—anything that motivates is welcome in my world.


Previous watch is an Apple 3.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $270 Canadian (on sale).


Thanks for the review of your Garmin, Heath. What kind of activities do you use your watch during?

2 years ago
andrew f.

in case you want to keep track of battery life, Garmin Connect has great download/apps, including a battery life meter that is very easy to read, both visually and showing the percentage of battery charge left.

2 years ago
BC Heath

Hi Alicia, so far I’ve used it for trail and in town runs, xc skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, walks, and various workouts. The Garmin Connect app is reasonably intuitive to use and set up various activities.

2 years ago
BC Heath

Hello Andrew, the battery meter icon on the watch is accurate enough for my needs. The Instinct doesn’t allow for different downloads of watch faces (I was aware of that before I purchased it) although there are a few options that come installed in the watch to choose from. I just wanted a simple gps watch that had a few features for my outdoor activities- this one fits my needs perfectly. Battery life is waaaay better than I expected.

2 years ago

Thanks for that info, Heath. It sounds like a good general GPS watch option.

2 years ago

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