Garmin Instinct announced with GPS and a very tough build

Outdoor adventure watches need to be tough, and the newly announced Garmin Instinct certainly sounds like it fits the bill, as it’s both built to MIL-STD-810G military standards, for thermal and shock resistance, and water resistant to 100 meters.

The build includes a chemically-strengthened and scratch-resistant display that’s designed to be easy to read even in direct sunlight, and a fiber-reinforced polymer case.

But the Garmin Instinct is more than just tough, it also has many of the tools and features you’re likely to rely on in the great outdoors, including GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO support, so you always know where you are. The Garmin Instinct also lets you send waypoints to the watch if you plan your route in advance, then use its TracBack feature to retrace your steps.

Plus it has a 3-axis compass, a barometric altimeter and a heart rate monitor, with the last of those additionally helping you track stress (through heart rate variability), sleep and activities, such as hiking, running, cycling, swimming and skiing.

Smart and long-lasting

Pair the Garmin Instinct with a smartphone and it can also display texts and other alerts on its circular screen, while using it with the Garmin Connect app can give you deeper insights into your stats.

The battery apparently lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours is GPS mode or 40 hours in its UltraTrac battery saver mode.

If you like the sound of the Garmin Instinct, you can grab it in Graphite, Tundra or Flame Red for $299.99 / £269.99 / AU$399, putting it roughly in line with the Garmin Vivoactive 3 – a less rugged watch but one which comes with Garmin Pay and optionally onboard music, which you don’t get with the Instinct.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.