Is the brand new Garmin Instinct 2X Solar worth all the hype? The short answer, yes. Every review we could find about its predecessor the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar has at least 4.5 out of 5 stars. But thankfully, Garmin ignored the sage old advice of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Because the new Garmin Instinct 2X Solar truly is next level.

With its larger frame than the Instinct 2 Solar, the Instinct 2X Solar is able to fit increased GPS accuracy inside, new training feedback features, and industry leading battery life. Battery life to the tune of 40 days in Smartwatch Mode, 100 days in Battery Saver Mode, and 150 hours in Max GPS mode. Nearly twice that of the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar.


Instinct 2X Solar, Graphite

If you’re lucky enough to be somewhere that’s sunny–battery life could potentially be unlimited with solar, thanks to a translucent solar panel that sits atop the LCD display, and a circular panel that surrounds the display. This dynamic sun-sucking duo provides the Garmin Instinct 2X Solar with up to 50% more solar charging capabilities than its little brother the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar.

When it comes to cycling, the Garmin Instinct 2X Solar has a very long list of specific bike performance modes; Bike, Bike Indoor, MTB, eMTB, Cyclocross, Gravel Bike, Bike Commute, Bike Tour, Road Bike, BMX, and Penny-Farthing. Just kidding about the last one haha… But you get the idea. There is performance feedback monitoring for every type of cycling you would ever want to track. There is also a Cricket mode, if you have any idea how to play that very confusing and astronomically long game. If that’s you, well, cheerio.

The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar is basically like having your very own personal trainer wrapped around your wrist. Offering helpful training feedback and planning data like VO2 max, training readiness, training status, HRV status, stress levels, and recovery reporting.

Historically wristband monitors and cycling have not been the best pairing. Wrist monitor’s traditionally hate bouncing around on single track and smashing long downhills, resulting in poor and/or inaccurate data. But the Garmin 2X Solar really doesn’t seem to mind. Several early testers are even boasting the heart rate accuracy while cycling is the best they’re seen. I should mention the accuracy does wane slightly on super shaky descents, but overall does offer a great result.

When it comes to GPS accuracy, the Garmin 2X Solar gets an upgrade from the Instinct 2 Solar with a dual band, or multiband satellite chip set. What does that gobbly gook mean? Good question. It means increased accuracy when satellite signals are iffy when cycling by large rock walls, or through canyons that would normally interfere with satellite accuracy.

If there were any room for improvement, it would be that this watch doesn’t currently automatically switch between single frequency satellite mode, and multiband mode to save on battery life. Which is a small bummer, because you’re spending more juice, but I guess the caveat is that this watch already gets phenomenal battery life. So you may not even notice the additional battery drain.

How did you sleep last night? The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar knows. In a not creepy way. With your morning coffee the Morning Report feature offers sleep details like sleep length, time spent in REM, along with an overall sleep score. What about weather info and your scheduled events for the day? The Instinct 2X Solar has your back. It also receives notifications from both Androids and iPhones. If you are an Android user, you can reply to texts with predefined responses customizable in Garmin Connect.

This review is almost over, and I probably should have mentioned that there is also a Garmin Instinct 2X Solar Tactical ($499). Surprise! If jumping out of planes and night vision are your thing, or you enjoy doing those things in video games–go Tactical. The Jumpmaster feature and night vision compatibility for $50 dollars more will be enjoyable for you. Or if you just prefer green lights over red lights on your watch, go 2X Solar Tactical. There, now you know.

Overall The Garmin Instinct 2X Solar is very impressive at $449, and outperforms many watches twice the price.

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