Never Ending Battery | Garmin Instinct Solar Full Review

 

The Garmin Solar Instinct is a smartwatch that I don't think can be judged by its looks alone. While other smartwatches are vying for sleek designs, Solar Instinct seems to be taking the opposite step.

The price is arguably quite expensive for a smartwatch, which is IDR 5,999,000. However, the Solar Instinct watch delivers a tough watch and has many useful features especially for sports and outdoor activities.

One of the most interesting features of Solar Instinct is the solar charging feature that makes this watch arguably has unlimited battery power.


To be honest, the first time I used this watch my wife immediately laughed at it. At first glance, in my opinion, the design of this watch coupled with the blue color looks like a children's watch. My friend who uses the black variant of this watch seems more pleasing to the eye.

From its formation, Solar Instinct seems to want to show that this watch is not for casual or formal use and is more for the use of sports activities because that is the main function of this watch.

Although from the outside the Solar Instinct design style looks less attractive, the quality of the materials used by Solar Instinct deserves thumbs up. The straps are flexible yet strong and the watch case uses tough plastic.


The Solar Instinct also has a water resistance rating of 10 ATM and has been tested to United States military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance, making the watch usable in a variety of situations.

The watch is just the right size and it feels comfortable on my wrist, not too big and not too small. It weighs quite lightly at only 52 grams

On both sides of the watch there are a total of 5 buttons, quite a lot for a watch. This is because Solar Instinct doesn't use a touch screen. All clock interface navigation is done by pressing a button.


Maybe this feels less intuitive for a smartwatch. However, seeing that its function is more for sports activities it makes more sense to use the buttons for clock navigation because it is more efficient in various situations.

For those who are using this watch for the first time made by Garmin, it may be difficult to use this watch with its various buttons. But because I previously routinely used the Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch, adapting to using this watch only took a moment.

Most of the functions on the Solar Instinct are similar to my previous Garmin watch, only the way to access them is different using the buttons.


Solar Instinct, apart from being able to accept pressing input on each button, can also accept push and hold input which will provide a different function. For example, pressing the Light button on the watch will activate the backlight but pressing and holding the button will bring up the control menu.

The Solar Instinct screen can only display monochrome displays with a small resolution. However, the screen uses transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) technology, which saves battery life and the screen is easier to see in the sun.

Plus, the Solar Instinct screen is always active so you don't have to bother making gestures or pressing buttons to be able to see the watch face.


Another interesting thing about the Solar Instinct screen is that the edges of the screen are filled with the Power Glass solar charging panel.

With this solar charging panel, Garmin Instinct automatically has unlimited battery life as long as the hours are actively used in the sun. Especially in Indonesia, the sun often shines very brightly.

Garmin provides the Solar Intensity feature to see how much sunlight is captured by Solar Instinct. The greater the intensity the more the battery is charged.


If charging via solar power is still lacking, this watch is still equipped with standard charging via cable using a special Garmin connector.

As a smartwatch, Solar Instinct has various useful functions such as bringing up notifications from cellphones, controlling music on cellphones, to displaying weather forecasts. Music player apps like Poweramp and Spotify on Android can be set through this watch.

There are several built-in watch faces on the Solar Instinct that can be further adjusted to display different information as desired, such as the number of steps or the battery capacity of the hour. Unfortunately, unlike other Gamin smartwatches, in Solar Instinct the choice of watch faces seems to be limited to the default watch faces.


Solar Instinct has a Garmin Connect companion app which is used for setting the watch especially when the watch is being used for the first time. This application is available for both iPhone and Android cellphone users.

The Garmin Connect application also functions as a dashboard of information collected by the watch such as heart rate, stress levels, sleep, and sports activities that have been carried out.

Like a Garmin watch, the Solar Instinct is equipped with various sensors and sports activity logging features. The watch includes a GPS sensor, altimeter, compass, accelerometer, heart rate and Pulse Ox.


The Pulse Ox sensor in Solar Instinct is useful for measuring oxygen levels in the blood. But unfortunately I often have trouble getting results from the sensor.

The difficulty of detecting oxygen levels in the blood is more severe than when I used the HONOR Watch GS Pro some time ago. In addition, there are no guidelines on the watch face regarding the correct procedure for detecting blood oxygen levels smoothly.

Unlike the Pulse Ox sensor, the heart rate sensor on the Solar Instinct works smoothly although there are slight differences in results with Omron's medical heart rate detector. It doesn't really matter because the health data on Solar Instinct is more for personal reference, not medical.


The GPS sensor on the Solar Instinct is fast enough to lock my position so that you don't have to wait long to start recording sports activities.

Solar Instinct supports a wide variety of activities that can be monitored from walking, running, cycling, mountain climbing, yoga, even fishing and hunting.

When an activity starts recording with the clock, the clock screen will show important info depending on the type of activity being carried out. For walking or running activities, the screen will display information on the distance traveled, traveled time, and speed.


In other activities such as fishing, the information displayed on the clock screen is different, such as the number of fish that have been caught and the current time along with the time of sunrise and sunset.

Other information regarding current activities can be accessed via the Up and Down buttons. Each activity also has additional features in it, one of which is the TracBack feature which will provide directions to return to the starting position while running or walking.

The Garmin Solar Instinct overall is a very capable watch for sports and outdoor activities as long as it's okay with its unique design and absence of a touch screen.


Solar Instinct's battery life is practically unlimited, the screen is very clear in the sun, and the watch is comfortable to use.

One thing I don't like about this watch is its design, but the more I use it the gradually I get used to it. In addition, the Pulse Ox sensor in Solar Instinct is rather difficult to use to produce data on oxygen levels in the blood.

If you are interested in buying Solar Instinct, it's a good idea to try it out first, especially around the color choices so you get a variant that fits your everyday style.

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