Garmin announces an even more rugged Instinct smartwatch

The newest Garmin fitness watch is built for extended adventures.
Garmin Instinct 2X Solar family
The new Instinct 2X Solar is available in four colors. Garmin

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Garmin is keeping the ball rolling, and you running, this year with exciting releases. The company released two vibrant new watches in its Forerunner series in March. And now, Garmin has announced the newest product in its rugged, adventure-focused Instinct line: the Instinct 2X Solar and the Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition (shown below). The new smartwatches get many improvements and exciting editions compared to the Instinct 2 Solar, including even better solar charging and a more rugged, durable design. It’s also the first Instinct to feature a built-in flashlight and the Obstacle Course Racing activity type. We really enjoyed the Instinct 2 Solar, and this adventure watch looks even better. 

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar – Tactical Edition

Garmin Instinct training features

In keeping with Garmin’s wearables, the 2X series has robust training features and tools. It offers 24/7 health and wellness tracking, including wrist-based heart rate, sleep monitoring, respiration tracking, heart rate variability, Pulse Ox, and more. 

There’s a vast range of sports and activity types, so you can track whatever you like to do to stay active. New in the Instinct line is the Obstacle Course Racing activity. This new activity mode lets you manually record obstacle splits and automatically track them after your first lap. The data from the activity will include the number of runs on a course, times, the number of obstacles, time spent on each obstacle, basic run metrics, and more. If you’re a fan of Tough Mudders, Spartan Race, or the new military-inspired obstacle competitions, this watch will be a big help. 

You’ll also have access to Garmin’s Training Readiness and Morning Report features. These help you plan and maximize your training and maximize to ensure healthy, well-balanced progress. And the multi-band GNSS provides highly accurate positioning to give you price route information and even navigation tools.

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar details

The Instinct 2X Solar gets some very exciting upgrades from the Instinct 2 Solar. It is even more rugged and built to U.S. military standards (MIL-STD-810). The 50mm polymer case—10mm larger than the Instinct 2 Solar—will withstand just about anything you throw at it.

One of my complaints with the Instinct 2 Solar was that the solar charging didn’t give all that much of a benefit. But Garmin says that the Power Glass lens on the Instinct 2X Solar (both the standard and Tactical Edition) will produce 50% more energy than the Instinct 2 Solar. It requires three hours of direct sunlight, but that’s a significant improvement and should mean that solar charging actually results in a real addition to battery life.

This watch’s other exciting new feature is the built-in LED flashlight (shown below). It even offers variable intensities and strobe modes. It could be a significant asset for hiking or any sort of activity in the backcountry, especially in emergency situations. 

Instinct 2X Solar flashlight shining into a backpack—Garmin lifestyle photography cropped

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition details

The Tactical Edition of the Instinct 2X Solar gets the same training features, sensors, and build qualities as the standard edition. But on top of that, Garmin says it is also “packed with features specific to tactical operations, including Jumpmaster and tactical preloaded activities.” It features a Stealth Mode, which prevents GPS location sharing and disables wireless communication. And the built-in multi-LED flashlight can be set to either white or dedicated green, resulting in natural vision at night.

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar pricing & availability

The Instinct 2X Solar is available in four colors: Flame Red, Graphite, Moss, and Whitestone. It’s available for purchase now for $449.99. The Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition is also available now for $499.99 in two colors: Black or Coyote Tan. 


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Abby Ferguson

PopPhoto Associate Editor of Gear & Reviews

Abby Ferguson is the Associate Editor for Gear and Reviews at PopPhoto, joining the team in 2022. She has been involved with the photography industry in various capacities since her undergraduate training at the University of Kentucky, with work ranging from client photography to program development and management of the photo department at Evolve, a vacation rental company. Education within the photography sphere has always been a big focus for Abby. She strives to help new and experienced photographers alike better understand the technology and techniques necessary to succeed within the medium.