Garmin Instinct 2X Solar vs Instinct 2

Garmin Instinct watches are rugged watches with exceptional battery life. Instinct 2X Solar is a recent release from Garmin. It was released in April 2023.

We look at the main capabilities and points of distinction between Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2.

Main differences

  • Instinct 2X Solar is a solar watch while the Instinct 2 standard edition is a normal rugged watch.
  • Instinct 2X Solar is relatively broader than the Instinct 2 standard edition watch.
  • Instinct 2X Solar offers a longer duration of battery backup than Instinct 2.
  • Instinct 2X Solar also offers multi-band GPS. This feature is missing in Instinct 2 standard edition.
  • Contactless payments are possible on Forerunner 965 using the NFC app of Garmin Pay.
  • Instinct 2X Solar is costlier than the Instinct 2 Standard edition smartwatches.

We will look at these differences in detail below.

Display

Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2 standard edition watches use MIP or memory in pixel screen. The MIP screen on both watches works in monochrome. In other words, color display is unavailable on Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2.

Instinct 2X Solar has a Power glass display lens. Power glass means that the lens is covered with a layer of photo voltaic (PV) cells. These PV cells help in converting solar energy to battery charge.

We look at the major display specifications of both watches below.

Display specificationsInstinct 2X Solar Instinct 2 standard edition
Display lensPower glassChemically strengthened glass
Display sizeDual window display of 1.1″ x 1.1″ or 27 x 27 mm.Dual window display of 0.9” x 0.9” or 23 x 23 mm.
Display typeMIP (Memory in pixel)MIP (Memory in pixel)
Display resolution176 x 176 pixels176 x 176 pixels
Color displayNoNo
TouchscreenNoLED Flashlight
LED FalshlightYesNo
Ambient light sensorNoNo

Instinct 2X Solar has better quality of display lens and offers bigger size on the display screen.

Garmin Instinct 2X Solar is red color

Physical specifications

Compare to the Instinct 2 standard edition smartwatch, Instinct 2X Solar is broader. The thickness of both watches is the same.

We look at the hardware specifications of both watches below.

SpecificationsInstinct 2X SolarInstinct 2 standard edition
Watch size50 x 50 x 14.5 mm45 x 45 x 14.5 mm
Watch weight67 g52 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
BezelTitaniumFiber-enforced polymer
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Band size26 mm22 mm
Recommended wrist circumference145-228 mm135-230 mm
Device storage64 MB32 MB
Water rating10 ATM10 ATM
NFC YesNo
Wireless ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+Bluetooth, ANT+
GyroscopeYesNo
AccelerometerYesYes
ThermometerYesYes
CompassYesYes
Barometric altimeterYesYes
GPS SupportGPS, GLONASS and GalileoGPS, GLONASS and Galileo

There are not too many hardware differences between Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2.

Instinct 2X Solar is broader than Instinct 2.

GPS

One of the more significant feature differences between Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2 has to be the GPS performance and accuracy.

Instinct 2X Solar comes with a multi-frequency positioning sensor. This sensor allows Instinct 2X Solar to use multi-band GPS mode.

Multi-band GPS mode is much like the dual frequency mode. If the GPS signal is of poor strength or quality, multi-mode GPS will allow you to get GPS data from an alternate satellite.

Multi-band GPS is very useful in remote areas or when you have tall buildings around you.

Instinct 2 standard edition does not have a multi-frequency positioning sensor. Therefore, it lacks the multi-band GPS mode.

Instinct 2X Solar has better GPS accuracy than Instinct 2 because of the multi-band GPS mode.

Contactless payments

Instinct 2X Solar supports the NFC app of Garmin Pay. So, you can complete contactless payments through your smartwatch.

However, the Instinct 2 standard edition does not support NFC or contactless payments as we write this.

Solar watch

Instinct 2X Solar is a solar watch.

The Photo voltaic cells on the display lens help in tapping solar energy to build battery backup on the Instinct 2X Solar smartwatch.

However, for solar charging to be successful the following conditions must be met.

  • You must wear the Instinct 2X solar watch for at least 3 hours in bright sunshine.
  • You must wear Instinct 2X Solar under bright sunlight with a luminosity of 50000 lux or more.

So, before considering a solar watch, do know the various solar charging requirements in the Instinct 2X Solar watch.

Garmin Instinct 2

Battery

Instinct 2X Solar has better battery backup than the Instinct 2 standard edition watches.

A list of battery backup times for Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2 standard edition watches is shared below.

Watch modeInstinct 2X Solar backupInstinct 2 backup
Smartwatch mode40 days; unlimited with solarUp to 28 days 
GPS mode60 hours; 145 hours with solarUp to 30 hours
All Satellite Systems40 hours; 65 hours with solarNA
All Satellite Systems + Multi-Band27 hours; 36 hours with solarMulti-band not available
Max Battery GPS Mode 150 hours; unlimited with solarUp to 70 hours
Expedition GPS Activity60 days; unlimited with solarUp to 32 days

Instinct 2X Solar has almost one and a half times the battery backup offered by the Instinct 2 standard edition watch.

Music

Instinct 2X Solar and Instinct 2 have limited music functionality. Both watches allow you to control smartphone music from the watch.

However, there is hardly any device storage to store music files on the smartwatch storage. So, offline music play is not available from the smartwatch.

Costs

Instinct 2X Solar comes for a cost of $449.99 while the Instinct 2 standard edition has a list price of $349.99.

Final verdict

For the additional $100 spent on the Instinct 2X Solar, you will get the following benefits:

  • Multi-band GPS
  • Solar watch that can build charge
  • Contactless payments using Garmin Pay
  • Higher battery life
  • Broader watch

In our experience, Instinct 2X Solar makes for a compelling choice in comparison to the Instinct 2 general edition smartwatch.

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