Garmin's impressive new rugged watches come with 'infinite' battery life and built-in flashlights

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Garmin's impressive new rugged watches come with 'infinite' battery life and built-in flashlights
While Garmin is unlikely to ever be able (or even willing) to compete against Apple in the rugged smartwatch field as far as marketing expenses go, what the wearable industry veteran can certainly do is flood the market with many different options for many different buyers on many different budgets.

The Instinct family alone currently consists of more than a dozen members, each and every one of which rocks an incredibly robust design, an expansive list of fitness-centric features, and perhaps most importantly, a considerably lower price point than the heavily advertised Apple Watch Ultra.

The newest such models are already up for grabs in the US starting at a very reasonable $449.99 with a number of key advantages over the original Garmin Instinct 2 series unveiled back in early 2022.

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar

50mm Smartwatch with Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Case, Power Glass Lens, GPS, Multi-Band Frequency Support, Built-in LED Flashlight, Heart Rate Monitoring, Pulse Ox Sensor, Sleep Tracking, Unlimited Battery Life with Solar Charging, Multiple Color Options

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar - Tactical Edition

50mm Smartwatch with Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Case, Power Glass Lens, GPS, Multi-Band Frequency Support, Built-in Multi-LED Flashlight, Heart Rate Monitoring, Pulse Ox Sensor, Sleep Tracking, Unlimited Battery Life with Solar Charging, Jumpmaster Mode, Stealth Mode, Kill Switch, Night-Vision Compatibility, Multiple Color Options

Meet the Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2X Solar - Tactical Edition!


While the Instinct 2 comes in four main variants including Standard, S, Solar, and S Solar in addition to "purpose-built" Surf, Tactical, and Camo (sub) editions, there are only two derivations of the brand-new Garmin Instinct 2X with a jumbo-sized 50mm case.

As their names suggest, both models are equipped with solar charging capabilities allowing them to tout unlimited battery life... in ideal conditions. Specifically, you'll need to expose the Instinct 2X Solar or its Tactical sibling to at least 3 hours of direct sunlight per day at 50,000 lux illuminance to make that lofty advertising promise a reality and permanently go without hugging a wall.

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Of course, if you live in a place like London, that might not be possible roughly... 11 months a year, in which case you'll have to "settle" for "just" 40 days of continuous use in "smartwatch" mode. That's still a positively mind-blowing figure compared to both the likes of the Apple Watch Ultra and the Garmin Instinct 2 or Instinct 2 Solar.

That endurance number predictably goes down to 60 hours with GPS use, 40 hours with "all satellite systems" enabled, 27 hours with said services and multi-band connectivity switched on, and presumably even less if you take advantage of the other big Instinct 2X selling point.

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We're talking about LED flashlight functionality, which may sound... basic but it's actually something that very few smartwatches offer today, most likely due to the tool's energy consumption needs.

While the Instinct 2X Solar can light up your way in either red or white, with the latter color being adjustable and a strobe mode also supported to alternate between the two hues, the Tactical Edition offers white and green options, with the latter being touted as especially useful in maintaining your eyes' "natural night vision." It's easy to imagine how all of this could come in handy when running in the dark, but of course, that's not everything these new smartwatches are about.

So many great features, so little money


Yes, in addition to stellar battery life and built-in LED flashlight "technology", the Garmin Instinct 2X Solar has (a lot of) other stuff going for it, including everything from 24/7 heart rate monitoring to in-depth sleep supervision, respiration tracking, Pulse Ox, "body battery" energy monitoring, and for the first time, the ability to closely watch obstacle course racing training sessions as a standard activity.

On top of all that, the 2X Solar - Tactical Edition is unsurprisingly "packed with features specific to tactical operations" like a Jumpmaster Mode, projected waypoints, dual-position GPS formatting, Night-Vision compatibility, a Stealth Mode that can disable all wireless communication and stop sharing your GPS position at the flick of a switch, as well as an actual "kill switch" that automatically deletes all user data.


Both Instinct 2X versions are capable of withstanding super-deep water immersion and various types of shock courtesy of a fiber-reinforced polymer body and a state-of-the-art "Power Glass" lens that can also handle scratches like a champ.

The monochrome display is described as "high-resolution" and "easy-to-read" in all official marketing materials, although predictably enough, touch interaction is not supported and the 176 x 176 pixel resolution is... not great if you compare it to the world's most popular smartwatches from brands like Apple and Samsung.

But at $449.99 and $499.99, the Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2X Solar Tactical clearly provide unrivaled value for the money... of a very specific audience that the Apple Watch Ultra will probably never touch with a ten-foot pole.

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