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Garmin Instinct GPS Watch

Garmin developed the Instinct GPS watch to fill a price point and technology void for Outdoor users who also participate in many other fitness and health activities, but who didn't really need a Fenix-level watch. The Instinct has a much simpler and limited display, but in a much more rugged package that appeals to people who prefer to use buttons over a touchscreen and want features, not frills. At $300 the Instinct is packed with useful and desired features and set-up for true outdoor use as well.

When you can rely on Instinct, the world can rely on you. This rugged, reliable outdoor GPS watch is built to the U.S. military standard 810G for thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100 meters). The fiber-reinforced polymer case adds strength and durability, and the chemically-strengthened, scratch-resistant display is high-contrast enough to read in bright sunlight, so you can take it with you into the extremes you face every day. Plus, the fully vented silicone bands include two independent, removable keeper loops to ensure a secure fit and to keep you from getting caught on things.

If you’ve never been one to follow the beaten path, Garmin can relate and that’s where Instinct fits in their world. GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite network capability tracks more accurately, in more challenging environments, than GPS alone. The built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter help you keep your bearings. Take the guesswork out of your return journey by using the TracBack feature to navigate the same route back to start.

The Elevate Wrist Optical HR equipped Instinct GPS watch monitors your heart rate, activity and stress throughout the day (and overnight if you desire), so you know how much you do, how hard you’re working to do it and how much recovery you need. When you’re ready to train, we’ve got you covered with preloaded activity profiles for running, biking, swimming and more. We've listed many of the fitness and health features below, but please check out Garmin's site for complete details.

Smart notifications let you leave your phone in your pocket. Pair your phone with Instinct and our Garmin Connect online fitness community for automatic uploads, live tracking and the GroupTrack feature. Or, pair with the Garmin Explore website and app to plan adventures before you head out. Garmin has even made the Instinct a powerful partner for deeper satellite based tracking and protection as you can pair your Instinct with an inReach® device so your watch can display messages received on your inReach device and send preset messages using inReach satellite communication technology. Get weather alerts on your wrist to stay up to date with changes in your environment. Plus, with this potential integration with inReach, you’ll be able to trigger an SOS alert to contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team.

Frankly, the Instinct is on outlier in Garmin's product world. It is rugged, unsexy, cost effective, loaded with capabilities and features, and seems to really be built for people who love the outdoors, want a good general purpose training watch, and don't care very much about visual customization. There is nothing wrong with wanting a great outdoors watch, and there is nothing wrong with wanting a Fenix 5X+ Ti, or anything in between; all that matters is you have options for the best GPS watch for you. We recommend your trust instincts in such a decision.


  • Rugged GPS Outdoors/Fitness/Health watch built for toughest environments
  • Constructed to US mil-spec 810G for thermal, shock. 100m water resistance
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity / Garmin Connect app for iOS / Android
  • Built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter
  • GPS, GLONASS and Galileo global navigation satellite systems
  • Monitor heart rate activity and stress; train with preloaded activity profiles
  • Stay connected with smart notifications via smartphone
  • Garmin Elevate Wrist Optical Heart Rate Monitor
  • Automatic data uploads to the Garmin Connect™ online fitness community
  • TracBack® feature to navigate the same route back to your starting point
  • Use Garmin Explore™ website and app to plan your trips in advance
  • Standard clock features plus sunrise/sunset times
  • Daily smart features: standard notification options plus calendar, weather, etc
  • Can control smartphone music; Find My Watch, Find My Phone
  • Activity Tracking: steps, move, calories, sleep, intensity, stress, etc
  • Gym activity profiles: Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga; with rep counting
  • HR features: HR zones, HR alerts, HR calories, % HR max, % HRR, Auto max HR
  • Run profiles: Running, Treadmill, Indoor Track, Trail
  • Run: GPS distance, time/pace, Cadence step/min, Run workouts, Foot pod capable
  • Outdoor rec profiles: Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Tactical
  • Cycling profiles: Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking
  • Bike: speed, cadence support (with ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors)
  • Swimming profiles: Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
  • Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)
  • Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories)
  • Other sensors: Barometric Altimeter, Compass, Accelerometer, Thermometer
  • Physical size:45 x 45 x 15.3 mm / Wrist circumference 132-224 mm, 22mm silcone watch band- QuickFit™ watch band compatible
  • Lens: chemically strengthened glass / Bezel: fiber-reinforced polymer
  • Display size: custom, two-window design; 0.9” x 0.9” (23 x 23 mm)
  • Display resolution/type: 128x128 pixels / monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Battery life: up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode, up to 40 hours in UltraTrac™ battery saver mode
  • Memory/History: 16 MB
  • Includes: Instinct watch, Charging/data cable, documentation
  • Colors: Graphite, Tundra (Red also available, contact )
  • Weight: 52 grams


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