Garmin Instinct Solar - Product Review
By Conon Ford:
To say I'm a bit obsessed about my new Garmin Instinct Solar is probably a bit of an understatement. I love it! I've been wearing a Garmin watch when running for over 4 years now, and despite the temptation of other brands - be it colour, size or battery life - it's the features and reliability that keeps me loyal to Garmin.
I need a watch that I can depend on for the long periods of time I'll be using it for and also handle the variety of conditions I'm using it in. From the heat of the day to the cold dark of night; rain, dirt, dust and a fair bit of sweat.
When I got my first Garmin Instinct, it did all this. I loved the range of colours and the tough, military spec materials it was made of. Long distance running from 2 through to 10 hours tested out everything I needed it to do.
But as approached the start of my first 100km event, and the potential 18 hours I may be out there for, I knew it would be pushing the battery life to the extreme. And it did. Turning off most of the features and changing the GPS mode, there wasn't much left after the almost 15 and a half hours I completed my race in. And this was only to be the start of these sort of distances, so I needed something better.
And then the Instinct Solar was released. What a game changer. As I spend so much time out in the daylight, the benefits of charging on the run and still being able to access all the features is great. To go from talking about hours of battery left to days of battery left is fantastic. The battery saver mode gives you several options depending on the activity. For my training runs, I tend to not need the heart rate so I switch to 'Jacket Mode'. This turns off the heart sensor, saving battery power and also means, as the name suggests, you can wear the watch on the outside of your sleeve or jacket. Handy during those cooler months or when it's raining.
With the bluetooth connection to my phone, I can see emails, calls and texts as they come through and reply, dismiss or delete them with preselected responses with a few presses of a button. Which means my phone can stay safe and dry in my pack until I really need it...like taking a picture. And because the Instinct is built tough, it comes in to the shower with me after a long, sweaty run for an easy clean. I have quite a bit planned for this watch over the next 2 years, culminating in my first 100 mile endurance run in 2023. All things going to plan, that's at least 30 hours on the go. This is where the solar function will prove its worth, and let me focus on all the other stuff I have to do.
There's so many more features available as well depending on your lifestyle and what your sport is. The trickiest part is deciding on what colour to choose. So yeah...you could say I'm a bit obsessed.