Wow! The initial YouTube-reviews on the Instinct 2 are up:
- DC Rainmaker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFik67SnAFY
- Chase the Summit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaOAPcA8F4E
Here are some initial thoughts:
- ConnectIQ apps, custom watchfaces and higher screen resolution: Finally, a totally customisable display, if perhaps at a slightly higher battery cost. Great!
- VO2max: Finally! Apart from maps, basically the one thing missing on the Instinct 1.
- Solar 'unlimited battery life': Like before, only really possible if every day is sunny, and in that case also possible on last-gen Instinct Solar, even if with more sun. The differences here are being hyped too much.
- Watch case inner ring around display: Strange, intrusive zig-zag optics, no idea what they were thinking, this will attract dust. Also, the shallower angle looks clunkier.
- '4-leaf clover' watch case ring: Optically heavier than the old design. Again, not sure this is better.
- Round, symmetrical watch case: No more less curved lines on the right side. Perhaps an improvement.
- Sizes 45 and 40 mm: Very good decision. 47 and 42 would have been bloated considering the lower overall functionality compared to a Fenix.
- Some fonts a bit smaller and more closely spaced, due to higher resolution: More data, but sometimes less visibility.
- New altimeter / barometer port position: Some previously had a problem here with sweat, this should be better.
- Sleep tracking on the watch: No more Connect necessary to analyse sleep. Nice!
- Elevate HR sensor v4 vs v3: A bit better while running and for measuring spO2, not much change during normal movement with current v3-SensorHub-firmware. Sensor coating is glass now, which should cause less skin irritation for some. Update: There is, however, increasing discussion about the durability of this glass, both against cracking, and against scratches. forums.garmin.com/.../fenix-7-sensor-glass-durability
- Transmittable raw HR data via bluetooth: Is this the case? Update: Yes, see below. Cool feature.
- Garmin Pay: If it works in your country and with your bank, very useful.
- Possible yellow-reddish tint of improved solar cell: Optically, this seems like a step back versus the slightly purplish grey under certain light conditions. 1) https://scr3.golem.de/screenshots/2202/GarminInstinct2/thumb620/In2_01.jpg 2) https://www.zdnet.com/a/img/resize/f3aff5cdb289313517c0a6712ef012b3e84a8dee/2022/02/09/245704fa-7eb3-4d3e-bc56-dae88da24929/garmin-instinct-2-solar-1.jpg?width=1200&height=1200&fit=crop&auto=webp 3) https://www.outdoorlife.com/uploads/2022/02/09/garmin_instinct_2s_solar-1536x981.jpg 4) https://www.zdnet.com/a/img/resize/8531526e44049f0c942958a4545c2680394f9588/2022/02/09/a011d8bb-358e-4ada-b54e-9cdb253310f7/garmin-instinct-2-solar-3.jpg?auto=webp&width=1092 Perhaps this is the reason: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.suffolk.edu/dist/8/940/files/2015/11/image002.png
- Still a blueish tint when display is lit, and even perhaps slightly when not lit: One could have hoped for an improvement here.
- Intrusive white circular line around display, too prominent 'Solar' lettering. This is Casio territory, but it's sexy there.
- Very long watch strap: In all reviews, the watch strap seems to reach around the wrist right up to the watch. On smaller wrists, this looks strange and could be annoying. Wearing above the jacket sleeve, which might justify this, is a fringe use case.
- New 'Dezl' version for truckers, and as before Surf, Tactical, Camo, many colours, and most with or without Solar. Almost two years after the Instinct Solar Surf came out, Garmin seem to have finally nailed the surf-functionality with GPS-updates and fine-tuning. Tides - not so much. (Small rant: There is a really cheesy Garmin Slovenia truck driver ad here, with weightlifting and coffee-cup-holding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmVYmx2_2f8 The reality is these East Europeans are badly paid modern work-slaves for the global economy.)
- Price: 450 dollar / Euro - that is a lot of money, considering you can get a Fenix 6 Pro with maps for this price. I think Garmin went too high here, considering the baseline Casio-appeal of the Instinct. Just below 400 feels right as a starting price.
- GPS-chip: new Mediatek/Airoha or old Sony? Update: Maybe Sony, see below. Update 2: Confirmed by DCR. This is kind of a shame. While it enables the Surf version to use the at last fine tuned surf-algorithms, it does mean slightly less accuracy compared to the Fenix 7.
- Software quality: Garmin must *really* up their game, even DCR commented on the crashes in his review - I will stick with my Instinct Solar 1 on 16.00 long after all issues have been ironed out.
- No more single widgets to simply scroll through! If I understand this correctly, you now have to go through a list of small font, barely readable widget glances, and then click to see the detailed info. This is a huge step backwards, as clicking through the well readable, even if limited info single widgets was part of the core Instinct 1 experience. Formerly, you could use muscle memory, i.e. so-and-so many clicks to see this info, to quickly navigate around.
- Apparently, the screen is slightly convex, i.e. not flat. This actually does not seem like a good decision, as those screens tend to crack a bit easier, and at the same time current screen protectors for the Instinct 1 don't fit. Also, reflections can be more confusing, as it is easier for our brain to filter out non-distorted pictures. https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recreation/outdoor-recreation/f/instinct-2-series/286335/has-anyone-confirmed-a-properly-fitting-screen-protector-for-the-45mm-instinct-2-2-solar
- Some have mentioned a rather loud vibration motor.
- It seems the Instinct 2 Solar has a worse screen than the Instinct 1 Solar! This make it hard to read at night when looking from any angle other than from straight above. Huge regression! https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recreation/outdoor-recreation/f/instinct-2-series/286546/instinct-2-solar-tactical-washed-out-display-anyone-else-having-this-problem-w-their-display Update: It seems that, compared to the Instinct 1, either the display as a whole or the LCD-polarisers are upside down on the Instinct 2. Thus, when viewing it at an angle from above, it can be read well, but not from below.
- Tiny amount of memory for IQ apps, widgets and watchfaces - apparently 512 kilobytes, barely enough for about 8 additional applications. https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recreation/outdoor-recreation/f/instinct-2-series/286642/instinct-2-solar-too-little-memory Not sure how this compares to other Garmin watches, though.
- For some, there seems to be a gap between the display glass and the casing. https://forums.garmin.com/outdoor-recreation/outdoor-recreation/f/instinct-2-series/286838/should-the-bezel-be-flush-with-the-screen This gap surely will let dust and sand in, which in turn could damage the display.
It is fascinating that the usual esteemed early reviewers have missed so much...
Altogether, though, an interesting package! What are your thoughts?