A hefty smartwatch for adventurers

I’ll be trustworthy… upon unboxing the Garmin Instinct ($299.99), my thoughts instantly went to the unique G-SHOCK and BABY-G — these hulking watches that have been all the craze amongst youth within the early 2000s. Judging by appears to be like alone, it’s not an unfair comparability. The Intuition is available in a number of colours, is massive sufficient to be attention-grabbing, and has a complete lot taking place on the floor.

However that’s only a snap judgment based mostly on look, which is clearly an unfair solution to assess a watch.

Through the two weeks I took the Intuition for a spin, I did my finest to drop my preconceived notions and consider it because the daring and sturdy accent for true adventurers that Garmin advertises it as. After numerous working, fiddling, and analyzing, right here’s the place I settled:

It’s a beefy watch

Let’s get the plain out of the way in which first: The Intuition will not be a dainty watch. All in, it measures 45 x 45 x 15.3 mm, which most likely doesn’t imply a lot till you see it up shut or strap it on. In case your wrist is something however massive, it’s unlikely to be a watch you’ll placed on and overlook about.

The Garmin Instinct is a hefty watch, but has lots of features.

The Garmin Intuition is a hefty watch, however has plenty of options.

Credit score: Becky wade firth

Its band is made for the outdoors.

Its band is made for the outside.

Credit score: Becky wade firth


Past the entire navigation help and exercise monitoring, the Intuition can do most stuff you’d need in a smartwatch.

The excellent news is that it’s surprisingly light-weight. At 52 grams, it’s much less prone to be the load that feels burdensome as it’s the dimension. (For comparability, the Fenix 6 Professional Photo voltaic, which I just lately reviewed, is barely bigger and a contact thinner, however weighs in at 85 g for the metal mannequin and 72 g for the titanium mannequin.)

It’s military-standard powerful

Though comparatively mild, the Intuition is extremely sturdy. It’s fabricated from supplies meant to resist all climate circumstances and varieties of excursions: Scratch-resistant Energy Glass™ for the lens, fiber-reinforced polymer for the bezel and case, and silicone for the strap. It additionally meets U.S. army commonplace 810 for thermal, shock, and water resistance. On that final level, it has a water score of 10 ATM, which implies it may well deal with pressures equal to a depth of 100 meters and every little thing from rain showers to snorkeling to high-speed water sports activities. Principally, this watch can stand as much as nearly any journey.

The show is a bit small and busy

For its dimension, I’d count on the Intuition to have a much bigger show and the next decision. However the show dimension is proscribed by a thick border, and the decision is simply 128 x 128 pixels (half that of the Fenix 6 Professional Photo voltaic). It’s additionally monochrome, which isn’t a deal-breaker for me, however which could not be excellent for some.

My greatest criticism concerning the Intuition show, nevertheless, is the little window-within-window within the prime proper nook. It’s a small circle that shows numerous issues such because the date while you’re on the house display screen, the progress of the GPS because it’s loading, and such. Frankly, I discover it extra distracting than useful, and I’d somewhat customise the info fields somewhat than surrender valuable display screen area for an pointless second window.

The battery life will hold you adventuring longer

The battery life is definitely one cause the Intuition is so hefty. It lasts as much as 14 days in smartwatch mode, as much as 16 hours in GPS mode, and as much as 40 hours in UltraTrac mode. That final one is a GPS mode that areas out the frequency of GPS updates to as soon as a minute, and is an enormous promoting level for athletes like ultrarunners and thru-hikers who’re out in nature for lengthy durations at a time. With UltraTrac mode, they nonetheless observe their progress with out the chance of draining the battery too early.

For the intense endurance athletes, there’s additionally the Intuition Photo voltaic, which rings in at $399.99 (at the moment on sale for $324.99) and allows you to lengthen the battery life throughout the board, given loads of time in sunny circumstances.

You can display your stats in various ways to see how you performed over the course of your activity.

You’ll be able to show your stats in numerous methods to see the way you carried out over the course of your exercise.
Credit score: becky wade firth

The multi-GNSS satellite tv for pc help and outdoor sensors are a navigator’s dream

In contrast to most smartwatches worn within the U.S., that are outfitted with simply GPS know-how, the Intuition accesses three World Navigation Satellite tv for pc Programs (GNSS): GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. With out going too deep into the variations, GPS (World Positioning System) is United States-owned, GLONASS (GLObal NAvigation Satellite tv for pc System) is Russian-owned, and Galileo is European Union-owned. All of them have completely different strengths — GLONASS is nice within the mountains, whereas Galileo excels in city settings, for instance — however utilizing all three of them means larger accuracy and one of the best of all GNSS worlds.

Whereas I’ve no simple means of scrutinizing the multi-GNSS help, based mostly on day by day runs in numerous areas and circumstances, I can vouch for the energy of the programs as a complete. It by no means took lengthy to catch a sign, and the tempo, distance, and elevation readings I received each whereas working and after appeared dead-on.

On prime of the satellites, the Intuition comes with a collection of altimeter, barometer, and compass (usually referred to as ABC) sensors (plus a thermometer) that carry ease and accuracy to the navigation course of. The altimeter lets you already know your present elevation in addition to ascent and descent totals; the barometer makes use of air stress adjustments that will help you hold observe of (and predict) the climate; and the compass lets you already know which course you’re heading in, whether or not you’re standing nonetheless or on the transfer.

The Trackback Routing™ and optionally available inReach pairing add a layer of security to your adventures

Garmin’s Trackback Routing™ characteristic makes out-and-back journeys, which a lot of my runs are, a breeze. With a compass, primary map, and distance remaining metric, it helps you get again to your start line through the identical route that you just took, no guesswork required.

For next-level security, plus an additional $350-$800, you can even buy an inReach system (together with the mandatory satellite tv for pc subscription). It’ll pair along with your Intuition and assist you to trade messages, share your location, get climate updates in your watch, and alert a 24/7 emergency response crew that you just want rapid assist. Since these units imply yet one more factor to purchase and carry (most of them are corresponding to the scale of a walkie-talkie), I think about it’s one thing that solely probably the most critical of explorers would benefit from. However in dangerous and solo conditions, I can see how the smartwatch-inReach combo could be a complete game-changer — for each the adventurer and their anxious family members.

It tracks a ton of actions and metrics

By way of exercise monitoring, until you take part in one thing tremendous area of interest, the Intuition has most likely received you coated. It consists of a number of profiles for working (basic, treadmill, indoor observe, path); biking (basic, indoor, mountain); and swimming (pool, open water); in addition to a slew of outside recreation profiles (mountain climbing, climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, snowboarding, XC snowboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking, and technical).

The stats are pretty accurate and its GPS tracking is even better.

The stats are fairly correct and its GPS monitoring is even higher.
Credit score: becky wade firth

As well as, it tracks a handful of gymnasium actions, together with energy, cardio and elliptical coaching, stair-stepping, flooring climbing, indoor rowing, and yoga. For the overwhelming majority of customers, that checklist might be greater than enough. However for those who’re a critical surfer, jumpmaster, or golfer, it’s possible you’ll be left wanting for those who go along with the Intuition.

Metric-wise, the Intuition gives a tough report of your coronary heart price, sleep, cadence, steps, energy burned, flooring climbed, and different activity-specific metrics. For extra correct coronary heart price readings, a chest strap is all the time a greater choice than the built-in wrist-based heartrate monitor.

It does nearly every little thing you’d count on from a smartwatch

Past the entire navigation help and exercise monitoring, the Intuition can do most stuff you’d need in a smartwatch: Sensible notifications, climate, calendar, smartphone music controlling, and such. Notable omissions are Garmin Pay, music storage (and controlling) on the watch itself, and Wi-Fi connectivity; the Intuition is barely Bluetooth and ANT+ appropriate. This watch clearly was created for out of doors lovers, who could be unlikely to overlook such options.

Add to cart?

The Garmin Intuition is a selected look ahead to a selected person. Along with many of the anticipated smartwatch and exercise monitoring capabilities, it goes above and past in just a few key areas. For one, it’s extraordinarily sturdy, material-wise, and it meets thermal, shock, and water army requirements. It’s additionally tremendous robust within the navigation and security division, with multi-GNSS satellite tv for pc help, ABC sensors, a sturdy battery life (particularly in UltraTrac mode), Trackback™ Routing, and the choice to pair with an inReach system. A small subset of great adventurers and endurance athletes would moderately make the most of and admire such options.

There are some tradeoffs, although. The watch takes up substantial area (whereas remaining comparatively light-weight), the show dimension is considerably small and disrupted by the second mini-window, the decision is on the weaker facet, and it lacks just a few options resembling Garmin Pay and in-watch music storage.

General, the Garmin Intuition is a good look ahead to an inexpensive worth — particularly for those who would benefit from its particular capabilities. Ultrarunners, thru-hikers, solo trekkers, and trailblazers of every type would obsess over this. For much less adventuresome athletes (like my marathoning self), nevertheless, it most likely does greater than you’ll ever want, and also you’d be higher off with an easier, extra sport-specific alternative.