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Garmin Fenix 6S/6 Solar and Garmin Instinct Solar | Garmin Solar family expands

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Garmin today unveiled new additions to two of its outdoor watch families. Both to the Garmin Fenix 6 range as well as to the Garmin Instinct new models are incorporated, including the solar charge among its list of features.

That is, that function that had been reserved for the top of the Fenix range (the Fenix 6X Pro and its 51mm diameter), is already present in the rest of the Fenix 6 series and you can buy any of its sizes with the solar charge glass. And, by the way, also in the Garmin Instinct.

Of course, you have to pay a price... but if you want solar charging you no longer need to opt for the most expensive option. In short, these are the new models that Garmin has presented today (eight!):

  • Garmin Fenix 6S Solar
  • Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar
  • Garmin Fenix 6 Solar
  • Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar
  • Garmin Instinct Solar
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Surf Edition
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Camo Edition
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical

In some cases Garmin has used the opportunity add some new functions to the software. But before we go into details, let's go with the features.

Garmin Fenix 6 Solar, specifications

As with the Fenix 6X, the Fenix 6S Solar and Fenix 6 Solar are just a different version of the model, let's say, original. In all three cases they simply add the technology needed to carry out solar charges and thus slightly increase the total watch's battery life.

However, Garmin has taken the opportunity to make "official" (so to speak) some of the features that it has been adding lately through updates in recent months and that had already arrived in both the beta and the official version.

  • Power Glass that enables solar charging on theFenix 6S Solar andFenix 6 Solar . Remember that there are Solar versions of both normal and Pro (which include maps and music playback).
  • Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar battery life: In use as a smart watch, it goes from 9 days on the Fenix 6S Pro to 10.5 days (an additional day and a half). With use of GPS up to 28 hours in the Solar, compared to 25 hours on the non-Solar.
  • Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar battery life: In use as a smart watch, it goes from 14 days on the Fenix 6 Pro to 16 days (two additional days). With use of GPS up to 40 hours in the Solar, compared to 36 hours on the non-Solar version (4 additional hours).
  • New sport profile to track surf by individual waves.
  • Compatible with SurflineSessions.
  • Sport profiles for indoor climbing and bouldering .
  • MTB metrics, with Grit and Flow
  • New altitude acclimatization widget considering elevation, acclimated elevation, oxygen saturation, heart rate and respiration rate.
  • Sleep analysis straight on the watch thanks to a new widget.

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar

As expected, all this features joins the extensive list already offered by the Garmin Fenix 6 (which you can see in detail in the full review of the Fenix 6 series):

  • Complete maps including popularity layers, ski resorts, golf courses, etc. in the Pro.
  • Music playback and compatible with streaming platforms such as Spotify and Amazon Music on Pro versions.
  • Wireless payments thanks to Garmin Pay.
  • Power manager.
  • Expedition GPS mode.
  • PacePro.
  • ClimbPro.

But don't forget it, between a Fenix 6 and a Fenix 6 Solar the only differences are the solar charge and the slight aesthetic changes between them. But at a software level, both offer the same features.

Garmin Instinct Solar, specifications

As for the Garmin Instinct Solar, the new features are also seen in the extended autonomy provided by the Power Glass. In the case of Instinct it is more remarkable because, having a monochrome display the battery consumption is lower. The use of the new Sony GNSS chipset adds to it too.

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Garmin Instinct Solar

And it has been a great opportunity to add the new OHR sensor as well, including the Pulse Ox function (to estimate blood oxygen saturation).

Garmin Instinct Solar

Unlike the Fenix 6 there's no surf sport profile for all the models, although there will be a Garmin Instinct Solar Surf Edition with the same possibilities as the Fenix 6 (wave tracking and Surfline Sessions). It is one of the new special editions that accompany the Instinct Solar, as we will also see one with camouflage decoration and of course the Tactical.

Despite the fact that the new Instinct does not bring with it any major software updates, it does receive a few functions that are present in the Fenix 6, all of this to get a watch totally focused on outdoors use and with an astonishing battery life.

  • Power Glass enables solar charging onGarmin Instinct Solar .
  • Sony GNSS chipset to reduce battery consumption while doing activities.
  • New optical heart rate sensor with Pulse Ox (used for blood oxygen saturation estimation)
  • Power manager, inherited from the Fenix 6, which allows you to modify different settings and see at all times the remaining battery life.
  • Battery life: In use as a smart watch, it goes from 14 days in the normal Instinct to 54 days with solar charge (30 more days). With use of GPS up to 38 hours using solar charge, compared to 16 hours without sunlight.
  • With the battery saving mode (the one that simply shows the time), battery life is unlimited with the solar charging.
  • Expedition GPS mode (as in the Fenix 6) that can give you up to 68 days of battery life.
  • Surf sport profile in the Garmin Instinct Solar Surf Edition.

Of course, it continues to offer MIL-STD-810G military-grade resistance certification and its very special aesthetic (very similar to the Casio G-Shock).

But where it stands out above all others is in its battery life. It is already much superior to the previous model even without considering the solar charge (Sony chipset and the new sensor has something to do with it), but thanks to the solar charge and the low consumption of the monochrome screen we can see real differences here.

Garmin Instinct Solar - Autonomy

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While in the Fenix 6 Pro Solar we are talking about slight increases in battery life, the Instinct is a complete different animal. Talking about 30 extra days in use as a smart watch thanks to solar charging is a remarkable fact. Or the 8 extra hours of GPS usage you can get.

In short, in the case of the Fenix the extension of battery life is mere testimonial, but in the Instinct Solar it is something to consider.

Surf profile and Surfline Sessions

These are the two details that were, perhaps, the least known until now. The surf profile was quietly introduced to the Fenix 6, but so far the support for the Surfline app and the ability to have videos of the waves you catch while surfing was not yet announced.

Starting with the first, the new surf profile allows you to count how many waves you have taken in total during the session. It will also indicate the distance surfed by wave and the total, along with the speed.

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar - Surf

What about the Surfline Sessions? It's about integration with the Surfline app. This company has numerous cameras on different beaches around the world that record at all times.

By activating the Surfline Sessions mode, the watch will start recording GPS locations along with the waves you've surfed, leaving all that information stored. Once your session is over, you can download it from the watch and sync it with the app and then sent to Surfline.

From that moment the application will take the GPS data and time to extract that video fragment and offer you all the videos of the waves you have surfed. But this will depend on you finding yourself on a beach with Surfline cameras, and that's harder to find...

You can see more info about Surfline Sessions on their website.

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar and Garmin Instinct Solar, price and availability

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Garmin Fenix 6S Solar

 

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar

 

Garmin Fenix 6 Solar

 

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar

 

Garmin Instinct Solar

All these models will be available in the coming weeks, but as I said at the beginning the solar charge comes with a price. All these new models are more expensive than their counterparts without solar charge. Something that is normal and expected (the new technology has to be paid), but is amplified by the price drops already suffered by the Fenix 6 and Instinct, so the price difference at launch is much greater.

And what's the price? I'll give you the details below.

  • Garmin Fenix 6S Solar: 749,99€
  • Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar: 849,99€
  • Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar: 749,99€
  • Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar: 849,99€ / 949,99€ / 1.099,99€ with steel / titanium / DLC bezel
  • Garmin Instinct Solar: 399,99€
  • Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical, Camo, Surf: 449,99€

If we compare it with the versions that do not have solar charge, this feature means 150€ on the Fenix 6S and Fenix 6 (you can even talk about 200€, because their prices are now reduced) and 100€ on the Instinct. But the real difference is greater, because we already know that the original models can now be found at a lower price.

Is that extra cash worth paying for the solar charge? It is something that depends entirely on the particular use of each one of you. In the case of the Fenix, I doubt it because the benefit is not too noticeable. We talk about extending 2 days in use of smart watch or 4 hours with use of GPS, that is not such a great deal.

The Instinct Solar is different. In this case the differences are greater, in fact 1TP10We could speak of this model as "Instinct 2" because of the other changes it receives.

Opinion

The arrival of these models was quite obvious, I do not think it will surprise anyone. That they were going to be more expensive was also known to everyone, it was only necessary to extrapolate the price difference between the 6X Pro and the 6X Pro Solar to calculate the price of these new models.

However, the battery life achieved by the Instinct is more surprising, especially compared to the original model. Here we benefit not only from solar charging, but also from Sony GNSS chipset and the newest OHR sensor, both offer lower battery consumption.

Being able to say that the watch can always stay on, even if only in the power-saving mode (which basically is to show only the time), is an extremely important fact for this technology. It gives Garmin the ability to say that they have a watch that can simply be fed from the solar charge, even with conditions.

We shall not forget that solar charge and Power Glass came from last year's purchase of SunPartner Technologies, a French company dedicated precisely to solar technology.

So the "solarization" of the entire range has only just begun. At the moment it has been extended to the entire outdoor range -Fenix and Instinct-, but we can expect pod in the near future in other devices of the brand, both in watches and cyclocomputers. And you can already see that depending on the characteristics of the device it can go from being testimonial to quite important. Will we have a Garmin Edge on the horizon capable of always being charged?

And as for the surf features... they are fine, I guess. It's not a sport I practice so I won't be able to give you any more information, and with that... Thanks for reading!

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13 Comments

  1. Good afternoon !!!!
    Great update, and, at last, we are entering the 21st century with these watches that can run on "clean" energies.
    Owner of a phoenix 5, a polar v800 and a Suunto 9 (not cheap, which I bought thanks to your advice, and I know, I'm a whimp ... I love the gadgets !!!! ) the truth is that I have excellent autonomy for my target events, which are the LD triathlons.
    But I am very attracted to the idea of the Tactic, the monochrome screen is not my ideal, but with those autonomies ... it makes me rethink it.
    How do you see it for training and competing in foot races, triathlons and others?
    My phoenix is still very much performing and sometimes makes me wonder why I bought the Suunto... I don't see it as complete (yes, it's beautiful!!!). Renewing for a 6 I don't see it yet, but the tactic I haven't podido see "live" yet....
    and on the other hand: are spO2 sensors really reliable? Or are they still very green ?

    Thank you!

    1. Well, with Instinct you have a problem, and that is that there is no multisport support. So no triathlon, duathlon, etc. profile, only individual sports.

      As far as oxygen estimation is concerned, the technology is very basic and has been with us for many, many years (basically it is like the clamp meters in hospitals). The novelty is recording on the move, and this is where there can be problems. But of course, there are no other solutions for poder to test on the move and check the data.

      1. Ok!
        Well, it's better for my pocket ????????
        Anyway, still "premiering" practically the Suunto 9 (by the way bought at the time with the links you put on Black Friday) and, although I like it a lot and has things that I like a lot, for day to day, compete and train seriously I'll take the Garmin Phoenix 5 without a doubt. And the polar is that it's too old already, and it doesn't have things that I'm missing right now... I have my eye on the Grit-X ????????♂️... I have no choice ????????♂️.
        I work in healthcare and I find the spO2 a very interesting data, we will have to wait another year or two to see it really evolve.

        Thank you so much for your blog and for keeping me up to date ????????????

        1. Thanks to you Sergio for being there behind and for collaborating by buying through the links!

          The Suunto 9 is a good watch, but it is clear that triathlon is not its forte... In that segment the Garmin reigns supreme.

  2. How can I finance at the lowest price a Garmin 5 beautiful...unique are my dream

  3. Hi, thank you very much for the articles you write, I read almost all of them hehehe. I am a former owner of the first Fenix 3 and now a Fenix 6 pro and I am delighted. I would like to ask you what is the name of the widget to see the sleep analysis from the watch, I can't find it anywhere. I don't know if you can tell me. Thank you very much. Thanks a lot.

    1. Thank you, Javier.

      At the moment the new sleep widget is present in the latest (or penultimate) beta version of the firmware, but it has not yet been released to the normal update channel. However, 1TP10You could install this beta version now.

      1. Hello again, it has just been to write here and update the Clock because it has jumped me the update on the computer and I have already seen the widget and just add it in the option to add and some more new there. Thank you very much for the work you do and for answering. Best regards

  4. Hello.

    Do you know if the instinct solar will measure parameters such as vo2?

    Thank you!

  5. Hello

    Andone the big question of whether or not to go to the site

    https://www.correrunamaraton.com/garmin-instinct-resistente/amp/

    I use it. I use it for my work to see what km I do and as control of the pulse calories and take advantage to see how I sleep minimum pulse etc so I controlled my day to day, something like activity bracelet but with total control in Garmin connect.

    I like the aesthetics of the Casio watch although I didn't use half of the training stuff since for cycling I have another one which is where I ask for exact workouts.

    What do you think? Is it worth it from normal to solar? In addition to the. Solar those changes and for my use

    Thank you for your hard work and great reviews.

    1. Personally, for the use you are going to give the watch, I would stay with the normal version. There are new features that can be interesting in the Solar, but the most notable is the autonomy, something that from what you say is not going to worry you too much.

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