Garmin’s latest in its Instinct series brims with nostalgia as the wearable sports a tough Casio G-Shock-style design. This one resembles the earlier iteration of Garmin Instinct, and is comprehensive with analogue and multi-sport features. The hybridised version is priced at ₹61,990. Although Garmin has an established market, it will be interesting to see if the new Instinct Crossover Solar can compete against the Apple and Samsung watches.
(For insights on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, business, and policy, subscribe to our tech newsletter Today’s Cache.)
The first thing that catches the eye once the watch is out of the box is the robust design and the analogue hands, which move out of the way when you read a message or opt for workout modes.
The Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar has stainless steel accents built into the polymer fibre bezel, giving it a more upscale appearance than the Instinct. We got the Graphite colour variant, which has a premium look and matches nearly every outfit you wear.
The heart rate sensor and typical Garmin charging connector are located on the rear, off to the side. The available bands are very soft and flexible, making it comfortable to wear without any wrist strain. There are five buttons available for navigation on the watch: three on the left side of the dial and two on the right side.
The sturdy look of the watch is not just for show as it has some high-level resilience with the US MIL-STD 810 standard, thermal and shock resistance, water resistance up to 100 metres, and power glass to protect the device from scratches.
The new Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar comes with a 1.28-inch full dial display with bright luminescent analogue watch hands, making it easy to read. The company has integrated Revodrive technology in the Instinct Crossover to deliver precise analogue timekeeping even under the roughest conditions. It has the ability to stabilise and automatically adjust the hands to ensure accuracy if the watch is accidentally struck hard enough to knock them out of place. The display comes with a screen resolution of 176x176 pixels.
From the market competition perspective, the screen’s visibility is dull without the analogue hands. The screen space is small and lacks a touchscreen feature. This makes navigation tricky for first-time users. The analogue hands are an impediment as they partially block sight of notifications.
The Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar has many functions, making it one of the best outdoor watches available. It has features like Advanced Sleep Monitoring, Body Battery, VO2 Max estimation, Pulse Ox (blood oxygen measurement), Fitness Age calculation, Training Status/Load/Effect, heart rate variability status, and Recovery Time.
Other features include ABC sensors, TracBack routing (which enables users to follow the same path back to their starting point), and Multi-GNSS support that helps users keep track of a known place relative to their location.
The Instinct Crossover Solar only has 64 MB of internal storage, which is the bare minimum, leaving no room for maps, music, or much else.
The watch also allows you to check the moon phases and sunrise/sunset times on the wrist. The data recorded on the watch can be viewed and analysed in detail through the IQ app.
To pair the new Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar, you have to download the Connect IQ Store app, which allows you to see the recorded data and the watch’s status on your phone. Once paired, you can receive emails, texts, and alerts on your watch. Unlike digital watches, you cannot reply to texts or talk using the watch.
The Instinct Crossover Solar’s clock hands don’t interfere with its sporting functions, which form a large part of the Instinct Series 2 capabilities. Everything remains the same, including identical sports modes, detailed sports analytics training tools, and external connectivity through third-party sensors, apps, and data fields. There are numerous sports features available like Bike Indoor, Run, Bike, Treadmill, Navigate, Expedition, Track Me, Project Waypoint, Reference Point, Area Calculation, Brick, Swimrun, Trail Run, Virtual Run, Track Run, Indoor Track, Walk, Hike, Climb, and more.
In terms of battery endurance, no other company offers the ability to make their smartwatch last as long as Garmin does, and its latest Instinct Crossover Solar is no exception.
Powered by a solar charging facility, the watch can last for months in an outdoor condition in analogue mode, only running on solar energy. As per the company, the battery can last for 70 days in the smartwatch mode and for 31 hours in GPS mode. The company has used the solar charging facility around the rim of the display.
There is also a charging pin present on the back of the dial to power the watch. When we received the watch, it had 22 days of power. After 14 days of usage, the battery bar still suggested 14 days of backup.
Undoubtedly, the latest Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar can be considered the best hybrid smartwatch available, made to last under any condition.
It offers the feeling of both an analogue and a digital watch. Still, the small screen and the need for more storage, along with missing features like calling capabilities, puts it in a dubious position when considering the competition.