How Rugged is the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Smartwatch, and Is It Worth It

If you are a lover of outdoor activities and extreme sports, the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch is a good pick for a wearable watch that costs under $300.

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch boasts of being built to the U.S Military standard 810 for thermal, shock and water resistance to 100 meters which is amazing. 

I can definitely picture myself with a Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch on a hiking trail or perhaps ice climbing.

Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch Review

How Rugged is the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Smartwatch?

The Garmin Instinct rugged outdoor smartwatch is a rugged smartwatch that comes with exceptional shockproof, water-resistant and high standard thermal. Built with a 45mm fibre-reinforced polymer case and a 22m removable quality rubber silicone strap. 

 The Design of the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch is built like a Casio and gives a nostalgic nod to the 1980 style. It comes in a 45mm fibre-reinforced polymer case with the 22m removable rubber silicone strap attached to it and the optical heart rate sensor at the rear, almost as similar to Fenix 5 Plus but 34g lighter. 

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch comes in a 23 x 23 mm in size, has a two-part screen design, and is not a touchscreen, which makes sense because it is designed to withstand all environments; a touch screen would definitely be an inconvenience.

The charging connector is similar to the Fenix 5 and V-vector 3.

What does the Garmin instinct do

Display

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch is a 1.3-inch colour display with a resolution of 128x 128 pixels. 

It makes up for the low resolution with the black and white Memory in the pixel panel that makes it easy to read even in bright sunlight, and you can press the top-left button for light in the dark.

That’s not as bad as it sounds when you consider it’s only 23 x 23mm in size, and, importantly, the black and white MIP (memory-in-pixel) panel is easy to read in all light conditions, including bright sunlight. If you’re using the watch in the dark, it can be illuminated with a press of the top-left button.

Health features

  • You can check your heart rate all day with the Elevate wrist heart technology so you can keep a record of where you are going, and the auto climb changes the data page automatically to show you how much climbing you have done. This is really cool if you are doing a lot of mountain running or just hiking.
  • You can use the sunrise alerts on the hands-on portion to get a good head-start in your day.
  • The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch has preloaded activity so you get a virtual partner to help you out with your training.
  • The Instinct smartwatch comes with basic heart rate sensors that mark calories burned.
Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch Pros and Cons

Battery life

 The battery life is definitely built rugged, it is 16 hours of GPS on mode or two weeks of just standby mode, and it can also ultra track up to 40 hours in saving mode.

Performance

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch comes with a two-part screen design with one part in the top-right corner highlighting a single piece of information and the default watch face showing the date, weather and any other customised widgets to your preference, the user interface can be operated with the two bottom buttons on the left side. 

Alongside the already existing widgets, you can customise your Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch by adding more widgets to the interface like temperature, music control and more. 

For your quick action control, you can long-press the bottom left button to use your compass, altimeter and barometer. 

Although the Garmin Instinct smartwatch has about 12 watch faces which is great, but the option to install Connect IQ apps is not there, so that is pretty disappointing. 

Also, there are different modes of sport to choose from, but the golf mode is not included for some reason.

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch has Galileo, GLONASS and GPS support which allows you to get navigation satellite signals that are more accurate. 

It also has a mini-map on it, but you do not get to see the details around you like lakes; it simply just shows you the trail ahead of time; you can also use the trackback feature to navigate back to your starting point, which would be pretty helpful if you are lost on a hike. 

You can keep your bearings with the built-in compass and barometric altimeter for coordinate-based navigation. You just need to put in the GPS coordinates to get familiarised with your area.

Is the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch Worth Buying

Features

  • You can customise the different sports modes you want, from cycling to running and even more exciting open water settings, which is a huge deal for a wearable watch under $300 that is not a triathlon watch; you can check your heart rate and body temperature.
  • There are about 12 watch faces to choose from.
  • It is a blend of a Garmin Vivoactive series watch like the Vivoactive three with a Fenix watch which is one of their high-end watches, and it comes in at $299, a bit pricier than the Vivoactive.
  • It is built to MIL-STD-810G and is water-resistant to 100 meters compared to the usual 50 meters benchmark; the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor smartwatch is a mil-spec for drop testing, so I do not expect it to scratch on any impact except an excess, of course.

Connectivity

You can still stay connected with smart notifications on a compatible phone, of course, and automatic data uploads to the Garmin Connect online fitness community. It also connects well with other Garmin devices.

Garmin Instinct Rugged Smartwatch

Pros

  • It has a reasonable price.
  • It checks the high durability test.
  • It is scratch resistant.

Cons

  • There is no music support or storage of music.
  • There is no advanced sensor support, no power meter lights, no radar, but it supports basic sensors that you can use to check your heart rate speed.
Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch Review and Buyer's Guide

Buyer’s Guide

Here is the Garmin Instinct rugged outdoor smartwatch buyer’s guide (things to consider).

How much does the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch cost?

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch cost about $299, which is a bit expensive than the Vivoactive. It is a blend of a Garmin Vivoactive series watch like the Vivoactive three with a Fenix watch, one of their high-end watches.

Is the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch worth buying?

The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch is the perfect wearable watch for outdoor activities. 

It has great navigation support asides from just GPS, which is the perfect tool for outdoor activities, and It is reasonably priced for a watch that can be used for open swimming.

The health features are pretty solid, although not too extra but the basics like heart rate monitor and activity tracking are well covered.

Conclusion

I am pretty sold with the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor smartwatch. It is well above average and checks all the boxes of a smartwatch that I would bring along for outdoor activity.

How Rugged is the Garmin Instinct Outdoor Smartwatch

FAQ

Can Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch make calls 

You can receive notifications, and if paired with a compatible device, you can reject and receive calls.

Does Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch play music?

It does not support music.

Does Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch have golf?

The smartwatch has different sport modes, but golf is not included.

Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch Photos

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