Having come to the end of the Suunto train with their latest app nonsense, (feel free to peruse my other GPS watch related thread) I am looking into the Garmin instinct as a replacement.
I'll use it for walking, running, a bit of cycling and some swimming. Has anyone any experience with this piece of kit?
Had one for 18 months since getting sick of constantly replacing Sunnto's $5 bands on a $400 piece of tech.
Does all the things needed (well, Connect does much of it) minus the sexy interface. Sufficiently rugged, battery ok, good with gloves on. Good all rounder. The Connect data is good, though they've had hacks and glitches including recently, but updating all the time. Usual caveats about accuracy and co-relativity. Feels more intuitive than Suunto though by definition that's totally subjective.
Band is as good as new.
Will it display your location in a range of position formats - e.g. British Grid or UTM...?
The (very expensive) Coros watches cannot - all they'll display is latitude/longitude.
That's a big failing I think.
> Will it display your location in a range of position formats - e.g. British Grid or UTM...?
On most of the Garmin GPS watches you can download widgets from Connect to do this
> On most of the Garmin GPS watches you can download widgets from Connect to do this
I don't think the Instinct can access the ConnectIQ 'store', which is a bit of a shame. The OP might want to check OS Grid is an option, as that could be a significant issue for using it as a nav backup.
A lot my friends (and me) use Garmin: 735XT & 945. MTB, road, swimming, running, walking
Great bits of kit.
The 945 also has useful mapping (can download free OSM mapping with contours, the Garmin stock maps don't have contours).
The 735XT are still going for £200 on Amazon (there is a newer 745 model). The 745/945 are £££.
If you want geek-max out reviews: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/
> I don't think the Instinct can access the ConnectIQ 'store', which is a bit of a shame. The OP might want to check OS Grid is an option, as that could be a significant issue for using it as a nav backup.
Just had a look at Youtube. The instinct has an option for "British Grid" in the location format settings. I assume this is OSGB.
> Just had a look at Youtube. The instinct has an option for "British Grid" in the location format settings. I assume this is OSGB.
That's very very useful to know! Thank you for your research.
I have just ordered an instinct so will see how we get on with it.
Anyone want to buy an ambit 3? :P
UKC really is a mine of detailed info.
> Will it display your location in a range of position formats - e.g. British Grid or UTM...?
From their own support site https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=lvWzTYlPsx6BvUDTyKfqC8
Can you post a link to that video please...?
On an Instinct from the watch face press and hold menu
From here you can change
-Format - British Grid
> On an Instinct from the watch face press and hold menu
> -Pos. Format
> From here you can change
> -Format - British Grid
Winning.... didn’t realise the instinct could give you a current grid reference until reading this thread. That’s now made my stand alone GPS obsolete for hill days.
I’ve had the Instinct for a couple months, main criteria were wrist based HRM, gps for running and super durable. It hits all of those perfectly at a decent price. I saved up and got a refurbed one for £120 ish which seems to be going strong so far.
The menu system takes a bit of getting used to, although I like the physical buttons over a touch screen. There’s some good YouTube tutorials on pretty much every aspect of the watch too.
I too am wanting to buy an Instinc very soon. When in hiking or running mode (ie with gps running and clocking your time and distance etc) can the watch display a grid reference with a couple of button presses? Basically do I in need to go back to the main menu to then find the coordinates section or is there a quick way mid activity to check your position?
I don't have an Instinct, but the Instinct runs the same operating model as the other garmin watches, i.e when doing your activity you have a number of ‘data screens’ that you can scroll through using up and down buttons on the left side of the watch. You can also add or delete screens, but there is a maximum number of screens you can have per activity - this depends on what model of watch you have.
Each data screen has a number of 'data fields', my watch has a maximum of 4, the instinct looks to have 5, including the 'bubble'. You can change the contents of the fields in the watch menu so you can customise the screens to suit. Note that some fields, like HR zones, can take up an entire data screen.
I have a screen set up with OS Grid, elevation and lap distance (in km) on my watch so I can do a bit of basic nav (in conjunction with map/compass). You could set up something similar, including a bearing, on the Instinct and just scroll down to it with a coulple of button presses when needed.
Only thing to note is most garmin watches allow you to download additional third-party watch faces, data fields and widgets from the 'connect IQ store’. These range from really useful to pretty useless, and may affect things like battery life.
With the instinct you get what garmin has put on the watch and nothing else. However it seems to have pretty much everything on there, and you don't want your watch suddenly freezing due to a dodgy widget in the middle of nowhere.
I bought an Instinct from Amazon in July and have been wearing it almost daily since. Its my first smart watch so can't make comparisons. I have found it comfortable, fairly accurate, robust and easy to use/understand. I use it for running, gym/kettlebells, bit of mountain biking and climbing.
Plenty of resources available online about it and the garmin website is pretty good. I have it linked to mapmyfitness and myfitnesspal which works well. Big discrepancy with the calorie calculations between the various apps but I go with the instinct as its more frugal in its calculations. I also have it linked to a Tickr HRM on a chest strap which works well.
The gps tracking for running seems good but I seem to have problems with the altimeter which often needs resetting.
I have had to reset it a few times but you don't lose any data saved to the garmin connect app so that's a bit of a bore to redo widgets etc. Once it is carrying a fair number of workouts or runs it feels a bit clunky so needs resetting.
I bought a screen protector from amazon which has helped it handle a few climbs on grit.
All in all very happy. Does all the metrics I want for the workouts I do.
> The gps tracking for running seems good but I seem to have problems with the altimeter which often needs resetting.
The instinct has a barometric altimeter, which needs to be calibrated to current atmospheric pressure/altitude. Its more accurate than GPS elevation, which most GPS watches use, but it does require a bit more work.
I'm a bit concerned you need to keep 'resetting' the watch. That doesn't sound normal to me.
Are there any links as to how to upload the OSM mapping Chris? Cheers
> Are there any links as to how to upload the OSM mapping Chris? Cheers
I'm not sure about the Instinct, but if it works similarly to the Fenix then you purchase from Garmin's webstore and download it via a bluetooth connection to your PC.
Once upon a time Garmin used to do National Parks OS mapping which was convenient (I still have Peak District 25k loaded on mine) but now it appears to be whole of the UK only.
Looking further they don't appear to do OS maps for wearables at all now, only handheld devices.
Cheers, Ive seen a few people with contours on their watch but not been able to get my Tactix (essentially the Fenix 6x) to do it. I found the DC Rainmaker description
However when you go to click the contour map it isn't a selectable option
I'm think the Garmin Instinct and Solar Instinct are the only watches Garmin make that won't desplay Grid Ref's. I hope somebody can show me if they can ?
Follow charlie.wilkinson’s instructions above then hold the GPS button down on the watch, voila, grid reference. I haven’t checked if the grid reference is still accessible when it’s tracking you using gps (ie running) but I think someone above had mentioned it does do this too.
Edit - Just checked and looks like you can check grid reference when it’s in ‘running’ mode too. You can’t seem to pick it as one of the customisable data fields but if you hold the GPS button down it will flash up the grid reference again.
The optical HRM is piss poor on my wife’s so factor in getting an Ant+ chest strap if you want to use it for HRM training.
> I bought a screen protector from amazon which has helped it handle a few climbs on grit.
Thank you for that idea. I've recently bought one, mainly with the idea that it might be useful in The Alps next year (when Corona virus will have disappeared!). Yet I had not thought about the need for avoiding screen damage.
> Edit - Just checked and looks like you can check grid reference when it’s in ‘running’ mode too. You can’t seem to pick it as one of the customisable data fields but if you hold the GPS button down it will flash up the grid reference again.
Thanks for the info, seems a bit of an oversight that a watch aimed at hikers, climbers etc won't allow grid reference as one of the data fields, but the majority of the running/triathlon watches do. At least its accessible when using the watch.
Yup, would seem like an easy fix to include an optional data field too.
I get the feeling the watch is maybe more aimed at the US market where the ‘breadcrumb’ trail is the flagship navigation feature. Wanting OS grid references is perhaps something more commonly used when running around trail-less bogs and heather in the UK!
It works well for my needs anyway, where quite often I just want the occasional grid reference to confirm that I’m not lost.
> I had not thought about the need for avoiding screen damage.
I cracked the screen of my 235 on a climb at Bosigran. Silly me.
I've had the Instinct Solar for a few months now; its tough as old boots and the battery life is epic. I can do a 2 day hike (60km) with full resolution gps and not need to charge it. Works fine for mountian biking too.
Haven't used any others to be honest, but I've been very impressed so far. A tonne of features for a fraction of the Fenix price (not to mention that much better battery life).
I only realised late in the day that there is a solar version, which is annoying, because I would have bought that version if I had known about it.
Really? Literally every other watch Garmin make has the option, the process is detailed on this thread. I'd be amazed if they bothered to remove base functionality from the firmware on higher end models.
> Really? Literally every other watch Garmin make has the option, the process is detailed on this thread. I'd be amazed if they bothered to remove base functionality from the firmware on higher end models.
The post you replied to was talking about watches from Corus, not Garmin. Different manufacturer.
Stand corrected - assumed it was a Garmin model.
The Instinct and I have been getting to know each other well over the past week or so. After a dash to my previous property to collect it (delivery kerfuffle) I have got the thing working. I'll start with the positives.
TLDR: Everything I want / need and a whole lot more!
It looks cool and the screen is very easy to read.
Not initially intuitive to use but now second nature. Controls are simple and logical.
Light! But feels very robust.
Battery life is ridiculous. Used quite a lot, including lots of runs, charged only 2 times. Once for a couple of hours, once for about 40 mins. I haven't got anywhere near low battery.
Bike tracking impressive.
Garmin sync very good. I've never used a 'fitness tracker' before and have enjoyed all the extra data this gives me. Surprised by how interesting sleep data is (and how many flights of stairs I do in a day!)
UK grid ref is available and visible as a screen during activity. (I have this feature set up on HIKE mode only at present) it's a 10 fig ref tho.
Barometer is an absolute winner. What a cool bit of kit.
The HR monitor seems to over read for the most part. Atleast, I hope so, or else my resting heart rate has jumped up 12 ish beats a minute.... It doesn't seem to be too far off when running though, if a little slow to respond.
The strap isn't super nice but this is nitpicking.
Nitpicking, ending a workout mid run is easy to do, but then so is using the lock function.
All in , very pleased so far. Thank you so much for all your input.
I'll never touch a Suunto again.
That’s an ace review with very specific info that I need. Thanks very much.
Good to hear you're pleased with the watch.
> Light! But feels very robust.
I'll attest that it is. They are popular with vocations that value ruggedness.
> Battery life is ridiculous. Used quite a lot, including lots of runs, charged only 2 times. Once for a couple of hours, once for about 40 mins. I haven't got anywhere near low battery.
Yes they charge very fast. 10 - 12hrs GPS use is not bad either.
> Garmin sync very good. I've never used a 'fitness tracker' before and have enjoyed all the extra data this gives me. Surprised by how interesting sleep data is (and how many flights of stairs I do in a day!)
Have a look into all that. Beyond the issue of accuracy there's the matter of correlation of all the data. In a few months you will have an archive to trawl and will start to see limitations.
Be careful if you do what I did, like strapping the watch to my kids to see there sleeping HRs and other funny stuff, it skews your short term data.
> Barometer is an absolute winner. What a cool bit of kit.
Yes and no. Correlate it with your altitude, where even when in GPS mode you can see how skewed it can be. I often run a flat course early in the morning and the barometer can make it look like I've run down a coal mine, simply from the shifting pressure around sunrise.
> The HR monitor seems to over read for the most part. Atleast, I hope so, or else my resting heart rate has jumped up 12 ish beats a minute.... It doesn't seem to be too far off when running though, if a little slow to respond.
I'd agree with that. The HRM is no more than a trend indicator, though the daily record seems more accurate. Grab the chest monitor if it really matters.
> The strap isn't super nice but this is nitpicking.
And it will far outlast the junk Suunto straps.
> I'll never touch a Suunto again.
Another defector. I wonder if people go the other way too?
Main advantage of the solar models is not the solar part (only minor charging benefit) but the fact that all the sensors are the newer ones (e.g. HR) which use about half as much power. Thus, it gains around double the battery life of the original.
Billy Ridal has had his 'best day' of rock climbing during which he climbed Keen Roof (Font 8B), Fat Lip (Font 8B) and Superman Sit Start (Font 8B+), all of which are on Peak limestone.