Garmin Instinct rugged smartwatch goes official

Doris Richards
October 12, 2018

The Garmin Instinct looks similar to a Casio G-Shock on the outside and is thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100 metres).

Plus it has a 3-axis compass, a barometric altimeter and a heart rate monitor, with the last of those additionally helping you track stress (through heart rate variability), sleep and activities, such as hiking, running, cycling, swimming and skiing. Garmin Instinct is a rugged smartwatch built for outdoor activities, which doesn't come cheap at all. The watch has a "fiber-reinforced polymer case" that is meant to add durability to the outer shell and also has a "chemically-strengthened, scratch-resistant display" with high contrast that will make it easy to read in most conditions. Plus compatibility with other Garmin devices, like its VIRB action cameras. The device can last for 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in Global Positioning System mode and 40 hours in battery-saving mode. Before heading out, you can also send your route or waypoints to the watch and when it's time to head back, the TracBack feature on the watch can navigate you back to your original starting point via your recorded route.

The watch comes with some smart features, too.

As you'd expect, battery life is pretty good. It lacks NFC (Near Field Communication) and Connect IQ, but the smartwatch will receive notifications and other alerts from your smartphone. At $300 on Garmin's website, Instinct offers quite a bit for the money. It comes in around half the price of a new Fenix 5 Plus - although at $299.99 it's not a budget watch.

The Instinct is also a little play at the GSHOCK market - and will likely be the choice for fire fighters who have to be out in the elements and need military grade protection and strong navigational tech to support them (see the video above).

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