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Garmin Instinct Crossover - An Instinct... premium?


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Garmin presents today a new model (another one) of the Instinct series. This new Garmin Instinct Crossover is a combination of a rugged and rugged watch with classic aesthetics (analog hands) and all the functions of the Garmin Instinct series. Garmin Instinct 2.

It is, in short, an Instinct 2 in Sunday dress, over which it brings nothing beyond what the other model has except 200 euros more in price (ouch!).

It does not fall into what podemos consider the Instinct 2 range, but it does complement it. That is, it is not on a par with the rest of the models such as Instinct 2 Surf, Dezl, Camo, etc. And it is not available in two sizes either, only in 45mm diameter. There are tactical or Solar versions.

But as usual with Garmin, this is simply an initial launch of the range to see if the public approves. And if it does we will surely see more sizes, but for the moment it is all about seeing what the general public thinks of this model.

Garmin Instinct Crossover, specifications

I talk about specifications because in reality, beyond aesthetics, there is nothing new in this model. Here is a list of all those little things you should know.

  • Only one size available: 45mm diameter
  • Three versions: standard, Solar and Tactical Solar
  • 0.9″ screen with 176×176 pixels
  • Super-Luminova luminescent analog hands. They move to allow viewing the details of the display and then return to their location.
  • Hands are used in certain parts of the system to support the display of data.
  • Without the "separator" circle to have two displays
  • Garmin Elevate v4 Optical Pulse Sensor
  • Heart rate variability monitoring
  • Estimation of blood oxygen saturation (SpO2)
  • GNSS chipset with support for all systems
  • New sport profiles such as HIIT, yoga, climbing, virtual running...
  • Includes multisport profiles for duathlon, triathlon, cross training...
  • Support for more sensor types: Potentiometer and smart rollers
  • Downloading data from sensors with swimming memory such as HRM-Tri, HRM-Pro and HRM-Swim
  • Compatible with advanced stroke metrics from these same sensors
  • Support for Bluetooth sensors
  • Possibility to transmit optical sensor data to other devices
  • Power Manager for configuring the different power consumption options
  • With training load/training status
  • Acclimatization to heat and altitude
  • Workout daily suggestions
  • VO2Max estimation
  • Mountain biking dynamics
  • Metric Body Battery
  • Respiratory rate tracking.
  • Stress monitoring
  • Recovery advisor
  • Garmin Pay on any model (Instinct 2 should be Solar)
  • Support for Connect IQ
  • Incident detection
  • Configuration of sport profiles through the telephone
  • The Solar model allows unlimited autonomy when used exclusively as a smartwatch.
  • Extended autonomy up to 28 days as a smartwatch (unlimited with daily solar charging and power saving mode). I will talk about the battery later as there are many combinations.
  • Price: from 549€, even more expensive if you add Solar or Tactical version

Basically as I said at the beginning, we are talking about a Garmin Instinct 2 to which we have simply added the analog hands with Super-Luminova treatment. This is a luminescent treatment used on watches, usually high-end watches, that recharges with sunlight and then is very bright in the dark for much longer than traditional luminescent paint.

As for the hands, they have an electric motor to position themselves exactly at the right time, and also try to withdraw from view to hide as little as possible when we need to make use of the LCD screen that is placed behind.

Garmin Instinct Crossover - Needles

There are certain times when these needles can also support the data displayed on the system, such as when displaying heart rate or different graphs.

In terms of features, the Instinct 2 was already close to the Fenix in terms of functions, although without navigation with maps or music playback. But it does receive Garmin Pay, which in the case of the Instinct Crossover and unlike the Instinct 2 is present in all versions. In the Instinct 2 it is necessary to go to the Solar version to have wireless payments.


Autonomy on the Garmin Instinct Crossover

The autonomy of the Instinct Crossover is inferior to the Instinct 2 from which it starts. It seems that the use of the hands and the continuous movement of these has a consumption that is noticed in the battery life. Not too much, but enough to not poder boast infinite battery in smartwatch mode.

Garmin Instinct Crossover - Autonomy

However, there are other modes in which the Instinct Crossover offers more autonomy, such as in extended mode.

But that shorter range is not only the fault of the hands, it is also due to the fact that the solar charging surface is smaller on the Instinct Crossover than it is on the Instinct 2.

Garmin Instinct Crossover Review

Honestly, I don't understand the rationale behind this new Garmin model other than to keep launching different models and cover even more different market segments.

Yes, aesthetically it is nicer than the regular Instinct 2. In terms of performance it is still a very capable watch. But it is still weighed down by a very small screen (only 0.9″) that also has another handicap, and that is the size of the hands. That is, if it is already complicated to display information on such a small screen, it is even worse when you cover it with other elements such as those analog hands.

And if we jump to the price is when we fall backwards. We start from 549€ for the basic version, 599€ if you want the Solar version (which in this case only provides wireless charging) and 649€ for the Tactical Solar. The truth, prices that are quite difficult to digest, both for screen size and use of the same as for competition.

Obviously it is a different watch to everything else on the market, but if we are talking about a watch for sports I find it difficult to even think about it when for the same price you can find the Garmin Forerunner 955 with full map navigation, a much larger and more readable color display, more sports features, music playback. Yes, the Instinct Crossover may be prettier, but it's still a plastic watch with a mineral crystal.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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One Comment

  1. Garmin does what it wants because its competition is either in transition (Suunto) or they are new and do a lot with a strong footprint from the beginning (Coros) or are in the process of suicide (Polar). Of course it is true that for that reason Garmin does things that seem clearly incongruous, the same thing you get the 255 with an excellent price performance ratio, also the 955 and on the other hand this new one that seems to me very very expensive.
    Obviously you must know a lot more, from my point of view and even though sales have dropped in some sectors Garmin feels its overwhelming superiority and seems to be experimenting.
    We will see suunto in its new stage, I trust that it will evolve. Coros, although it doesn't reach the performance of Garmin in certain points (routable maps for example), it's a step ahead. As for Polar ...., finally, not cyclocomputers, does not release updates for its grit x pro or pacer, the polar is worthy of study.
    In the end, it seems that Garmin allows itself these luxuries because it has no real competition, but the price of the crossover does not seem logical.

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