The Instinct Solar is the cheapest of the new watches but still commands a cool £349. For that price though you get what Garmin calls ‘unlimited battery life’ when used in battery saver mode. Garmin is claiming that with enough regular sunlight exposure in this mode, you’ll never need to charge the thing.
Bumping the watch into Expedition Mode increases GPS functionality but still promises two months between charges – very impressive if this works out. Garmin is also releasing a Tactical edition and Surf edition of the Instinct Solar, the latter aimed squarely at the water sports market. Some models come in a range of bright colours.
If you’re willing to pay £649 then the Garmin fenix 6S Pro Solar and 6 Pro Solar watches give you a colour screen and the ability to accurately track a dizzying number of outdoor activities from trail running to golf courses.
The fenix 6 duo also come in various colours and strap materials, pack in thousands of maps for golf and skiing, granular high-end performance tracking, space for 2,000 songs, music streaming without a phone, mobile payments, and up to 16 days battery life in the 6 Pro Solar.
At the pros-only-need-apply end of the scale is the £999 tactix Delta Solar Edition, the fourth-gen tactix watch from Garmin that builds on the functionality of the fenix series but adds military grade housing, ‘stealth mode’ (basically aeroplane mode but branded differently), a kill switch to wipe all user data, an always on display with scratch resistant sapphire, a DLC-coated steel bezel and basically anything to make it more army-like and more expensive.
For most people looking for a serious outdoors smartwatch, the Instinct Solar should be more than enough, and has the added bonus of technically unlimited battery life – great if you want to forget about your charger, or if, when travelling becomes a thing again, you don’t want to charge your watch for the whole trip.
The fenix 6 is well-regarded if you’re a serious athlete, while in our eyes the tactix line is overkill unless you’re Rambo. It’s also worth remembering that Garmin’s Forerunner series of watches for more casual tracking are also excellent, and better suited to the mainstream buyer.