Skip to main content

Garmin’s Instinct 2X Solar smartwatch never needs charging

If you look at the Apple Watch Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and think, “They aren’t quite up to the job,” then Garmin’s new Instinct 2X Solar may be the smartwatch that will keep up with your lifestyle.

The Instinct 2X Solar is a rugged mix of Ultra-style outdoor features and Casio G-Shock toughness, complete with Garmin’s excellent health and activity tracking features.

The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar on a person's wrist.

The massive 50mm polymer case meets the tough MIL-STD-810 standards for water resistance, shock resistance, and thermal protection. It can survive in water down to a depth of 100 meters, and the strengthened glass over the screen will resist scratches, which is important as underneath it is the solar charging array. In smartwatch mode, provided you keep it fed with sunlight, there shouldn’t be any need to charge it externally at all. Garmin says it produces 50% more energy than the Instinct 2’s solar array.

Garmin has improved the GPS connectivity for the new model, providing multi-band GNSS support for increased accuracy, plus a new barometric altimeter sensor and a 3-axis compass. This means you don’t have to hold the watch horizontally to always get the correct reading. Garmin’s Tracback routing feature is onboard to lead you back to your starting point … should you get lost.

The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar on a person's wrist.

The Instinct 2X Solar contains all the usual fitness and activity tracking, including sleep tracking, respiration, and blood oxygen monitoring too — just like what you get on the Garmin Forerunner 265. It’ll track running, cycling, swimming, and plenty of other activities, plus a new Obstacle Course feature has been added. Obstacles are manually added to the workout for the first lap, then automatically recognized for each subsequent lap, and details are included in the data at the end of the course.

Finally, the Instinct 2X Solar has a built-in LED flashlight with different intensity settings and the option to select a red or white light. Interestingly, it has a strobe mode that matches your running cadence and alternates between red and white lights, making you far more visible when running at night. The smartwatch connects to the usual Garmin app and supports Garmin Pay payments too.

The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition.
Garmin Instinct 2X Solar (right) and Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition (left) Garmin

In addition to the standard Instinct 2X Solar model, Garmin has also introduced the Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition. This version, as the name suggests, includes tactical-style features — such as Garmin’s Jumpmaster, which tracks Static, HALO, and HAHO skydiving and parachute jumps. There’s also Stealth Mode, which disables connectivity and only shows GPS data on the watch, and doesn’t save it. The LED flashlight uses white or green light to help aid natural vision in darkness.

Both the Instinct 2X Solar and the Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition are available now. The standard model costs $450, and the Tactical Edition is yours for $500.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Huawei Mate X2’s outstanding hardware stuns, but there is a shocking downside
huawei mate x2 hands on features price photos release date side hinge

By ditching the “folding back on itself” design for the new Mate X2 folding smartphone, and adopting the same “open book” style as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Huawei has schooled every other company on how to make an utterly fabulous folding phone. It’s genuinely one of the most breathtaking phones I’ve held -- the definition of high class, worth-every-penny supertech that has more in common with a luxury vehicle than it does a normal smartphone.

Except while the hardware is leaps and bounds ahead of the already delectable Mate XS, the camera -- a traditional Huawei high point -- hasn't kept pace, and is a surprising misstep. I’ve been using the Mate X2 for just under a week, which isn’t enough time for a full review, but more than enough to understand where the latest Huawei folding smartphones strengths lie, and where its weaknesses hide.
Open and closed
The Mate X and Mate XS’s unfolded screen folded back in itself to become the front and back of the closed phone, effectively giving the device three screens. The Mate X2 has two separate screens, just like the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Unfolded it’s an 8-inch, 90Hz, 2480 x 2200 pixel OLED, while on the closed front of the phone you look at a 6.45-inch, 90Hz OLED screen with a 2700 x 1160 resolution.

Read more
Huawei Mate X2 foldable mimics the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s look … and sky-high price
huawei mate x2 news white

Huawei has launched a new folding smartphone, the Huawei Mate X2. It’s a sequel to the Huawei Mate Xs (itself a refreshed version of the original Mate X), but this time goes in the opposite design direction. Instead of an outwardly folding design, where the screen folds on itself to create a smaller device, it takes on a dual-screen book-style fold, like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Unfolded the 8:7.1 aspect ratio OLED screen measures 8-inches and has a 2480 x 2200 pixel resolution, while folded, the slim outer, 21:9 aspect ratio OLED screen measures 6.45-inches with a 2700 x 1160-pixel resolution. The Mate X2 screens both have a 90Hz refresh rate, while the outer has a 240Hz touch sampling rate, and 180Hz on the inside. It’s covered in a special layer for low reflection and less glare.

Read more
Garmin’s Quatix 6X uses transparent solar panel to hit 24 days of battery life
The Garmin Quatix 6, conspicuously placed on the arm of a potentially able seaman.

Garmin is stepping up its smartwatch game with the power of the sun. The company announced the new Garmin Quatix 6X Solar, which expands on the original Quatix 6X by adding a solar charging display that helps extend the battery life. As a result, while the original Quatix 6X offers a 14-day battery life, the Quatix 6X Solar extends battery life to an impressive 24 days.

The solar charging tech is a smart addition. It's transparent and lives in the display, meaning that you won't actually see a solar panel -- as you might have on old solar-powered calculators. Users will be able to see how much energy they're getting from the sun, as well. The watch features a time indicator to show how much sun the watch has been exposed to.

Read more