Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Instinct 2

Garmin Forerunner 265 is a March 2023 release. It is the latest in the series of Forerunner watches. Instinct 2 was released in February 2022.

We look at a side-by-side comparison of Forerunner 265 and Instinct 2 standard edition watches below. This should help you pick the ideal watch for you.

Main differences

  • Forerunner 265 is a special watch for runners while the Instinct 2 is more like a rugged smartwatch for extended and rough use.
  • Forerunner 265 has a higher device storage than Instinct 2.
  • Forerunner 265 supports AMOLED display while Instinct 2 uses a MIP (Memory in pixel) screen.
  • Forerunner 265 also has multi-band GPS capability.
  • Instinct 2 does not support Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Forerunner 265 has a gyroscope and an ambient light sensor. Both features are missing on the Instinct 2 smartwatch.
  • Forerunner 265 has a touchscreen feature and color display. Instinct 2 lacks these features
  • Instinct 2 has a higher water resistance rating of 100 meters.
  • Instinct 2 is cheaper than Forerunner 265.

We look at all these point in detail below.


In terms of display specifications, Forerunner 265 has a strong configuration. You cannot consider Instinct 2 on par with the Forerunner 265 for the display specifications.

  • The AMOLED display of Forerunner 265 leads to a higher display resolution and a brighter screen.
  • Forerunner 265 can support Always-on-display mode.
  • Forerunner 265 uses Corning Gorilla Glass for the display screen while the Instinct 2 uses chemically strengthened glass.
  • Touchscreen, color display and ambient light sensor are available on the Forerunner 265.

A complete list of consolidated display features of Forerunner 265 and Instinct 2 standard edition watches.

Display specificationsForerunner 265Instinct 2
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3 Chemically strengthened glass
Display size1.3″ or 33 mmCustom two window size; 0.9″ x 0.9″ or 23 x 23 mm
Display typeAMOLEDMIP (Memory in pixel)
Display resolution416 x 416 pixels176 x 176 pixels
Pixel density453 ppi124 ppi
Color displayYesNo
LED FlashlightNoNo
Ambient light sensorYesNo

In terms of display specifications, Forerunner 265 is a complete watch. The AMOLED display results in a much more vibrant and lively display experience on the Forerunner 265.

Forerunner 265 activity screen

Physical specifications

You will find Garmin Instinct 2 slightly bigger or broader than the Forerunner 265 watch. However, Forerunner 265 does have premium hardware specifications.

A list of hardware specifications of Forerunner 265 and Instinct 2 is shared below.

SpecificationsForerunner 265Instinct 2
Watch size46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm45 x 45 x 14.5 mm
Thickness12.9 mm14.5 mm
Watch weight47 g52 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
BezelFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Band size22 mm22 mm
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm135-230 mm
Device storage32 GB32 MB
Water rating5 ATM (50 Meters)10 ATM (100 Meters)
Swimming profilePool Swimming, Open Water SwimmingPool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
Wireless ConnectivityANT+, Wi-Fi, BluetoothANT+, Bluetooth
Pulse OX sensor for SpO2 monitoringYesYes
iOS compatibleYesYes
Android compatibleYesYes

Forerunner 265 has an internal storage of 32 GB. You can add topo maps, trail maps or music files on the device storage.

Additionally, Forerunner 265 has gyroscope sensor and Wi-Fi connectivity.


Forerunner 265 has a multi-frequency positioning sensor. The sensor allows Forerunner 265 to provide multi-band GPS capability.

Multi-band GPS allows you to fetch GPS data from multiple satellites at any time. The feature is useful when the quality of GPS signals is poor.

The reliability and accuracy of GPS improves due to multi-band GPS feature in Forerunner 265.

The downside to using multi-band GPS is the heavy battery drain.

To offset the battery drain issue, Garmin has integrated SatIQ sensor on the watch. SatIQ is an intelligent technology.

SatIQ works by automatically toggling the multi-band GPS on or off, depending on the quality of GPS signals.

When the GPS signals are weak, SatIQ will bring up the multi-mode GPS to fetch GPS signals from alternate satellite.

If the GPS signals improve in strength and quality, SatIQ will toggle off the multi-band GPS and use the simple GPS mode instead.

Garmin Instinct 2 does not have multi-band GPS or SatIQ technology.

The combination of multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology is a game changer for the GPS performance of Forerunner 265. Forerunner 265 offers much more reliable GPS performance than Garmin Instinct 2 standard edition.


Due to limited device storage, Garmin Instinct 2 does not offer offline music storage. Infact, Garmin Instinct 2 offers limited music functionality.

Garmin Instinct 2 can be used to control music content on the smartphone.

However, Forerunner 265 offers full music feature. Forerunner 265 can do the following for music:

  • Forerunner 265 can be used to store music files on the device. You can play music offline on the Forerunner 265.
  • Forerunner 265 can be used to control music on the smartwatch.
  • Forerunner 265 can also be used to control smartphone music.

Forerunner 265 has complete music functionality while the Instinct 2 has a limited music functionality.

Garmin Instinct 2 standard edition smartwatch


Garmin Instinct 2 is a rugged watch, and hence it offers extended battery life. In comparison with Forerunner 265, Instinct 2 offers longer battery backup.

We look at the battery backup offered by Garmin Instinct 2 and Forerunner 265 on different watch modes.

Watch modeForerunner 265 backupInstinct 2 backup
Smartwatch modeUp to 13 daysUp to 28 days
GPS modeUp to 20 hoursUp to 30 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-BandUp to 14 hoursMulti-band not available
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with music Up to 6 hoursMulti-band not available
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS modeUp to 16 hoursSatIQ not available
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode with musicUp to 6.5 hoursSatIQ not available
Max Battery GPS ModeUp to 70 hours
Expedition GPS ActivityUp to 32 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode Up to 65 days

Instinct 2 has a longer battery backup than the Forerunner 265. But, the difference is manageable if you were to consider the Forerunner 265.

Miscellaneous features

There are a few other features that are different between the Forerunner 265 and Instinct 2 standard edition. We share these features below.

  • Forerunner 265 has safety features for runners. These include spectator messaging, Live Event sharing on Android phones, and Incident detection alerts on the phone.
  • Forerunner 265 has on-screen workout animations and muscle maps.
  • Forerunner 265 has additional profiles for running.
  • Instinct 2 has more comprehensive profiles for cycling and outdoor recreation.
  • Instinct 2 support Garmin Golf app while the Forerunner 265 is not compatible with it.


Garmin Forerunner 265 has a list price of $449.99 while the Instinct 2 standard edition has a cost price of $349.99.

Final verdict

Instinct 2 is a solid watch with extended battery life and good bit of robust and rugged performance.

However, I am bit biased for the Forerunner 265 and would choose it over the Instinct 2 because of the following reasons.

  • AMOLED display
  • 32 GB device storage
  • Multi-band GPS
  • SatIQ technology
  • Full music functionality

I hope you had a great time reading this comparison study.

Please do consider leaving your feedback if we were able to help you know more about Forerunner 265 and Instinct 2 standard edition smartwatch.

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