Your Garmin Instinct 2 is about to get some amazing new features for free

Women's wrist wearing Garmin Instinct 2S Surf Edition
(Image credit: Garmin)

If you’re a Garmin Instinct 2 wearer, you’ll be getting some of Garmin’s best new features in an Alpha firmware update coming in January, including the popular Morning Report and wrist-based running power functions. What a way to start your new year!

The new firmware update takes some of the features of the best Garmin watches released this year and adds them to the Instinct 2, according to a report published on Garmin’s website. Initially, the features will only be available to members of Garmin’s early-access beta testing program, but they are expected to be rolled out to all Instinct 2 users automatically around late-January, according to a report by Gadgets & Wearables.

The full details of the features coming to the Instinct 2 can be found below, as written on the Garmin website:

  • Added Morning report.
  • Added Sleep Mode.
  • Added Primary Race and Race Calendar glances.
  • Added Wrist-Based Running Power.
  • Added Daily Suggested Workout Improvements.
  • Added Grade-Adjusted Pace.
  • Added Backcountry Snowboard activity.
  • Added Physio TrueUp - Training Status Improvements.    
  • Added Real Time Settings support for activity alerts.
  • Added temperature recording activity setting.
  • Updated phone app pairing flow to use PIN comparison.
  • Fixed issue where daily active calories total could be incorrect.
  • Fixed issue where Indoor Bike activity could start on wrong data screen. 
  • Fixed Surf waves activity summary page.

Analysis: Reporting for duty – but what about the Instinct Crossover?

The main attraction here, and the feature we’ve gotten the most use out of, is the Morning Report. First introduced on the Garmin Forerunner 955, the Morning Report feeds a selection of curated information to your wrist as soon as you wake up, including information on last night’s sleep, the weather, your Training Readiness score, and a recommended training intensity. 

This allows you to alter and curate your training plans for the day: for example, if it’s a day of icy weather and you’ve had a terrible night’s sleep, you may want to abandon that long run in favor of a short, restorative yoga flow.

Race calendar glances is also really interesting, allowing you to see the races you’ve put into Garmin Connect on your wrist, offering a countdown to the next big day. Wrist-based running power is a fantastic way to calculate the overall effort and tax on your body created on any given run. 

Normally, you need one of the best heart rate monitors to calculate this metric effectively, but the Instinct 2 will allow you to do it without a HRM from January. Other features include listed fixes to common problems, such as increased calorie-counter accuracy.

There’s no mention of whether these features will come to the Instinct Crossover,  Garmin’s latest watch, which is essentially an Instinct 2 retooled to work around analog hands. We imagine Crossover users will be in for a longer wait, as the UX of each feature will need to be adjusted to work around the watch’s analog design. 

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.