The Garmin Instinct is the low cost option for those who think that the fenix 5 watch and MARC are too expensive. It is still an expensive GPS watch but it has everything you need (except for Connect IQ downloads) that you will probably not miss the fenix series much.
This watch has a rugged look to it and initially came out in three boring colors, but in May 2019 Garmin offered three new colors which personally I prefer more. The monochrome display reminds me of the older Forerunner series, which means it is very readable in sunlight, in darker rooms or vehicles, not so much.
You can pair the Instinct to your smartphone to either Garmin Connect or Garmin Explore. I would choose one platform to sync to depending on your activities.
Once all the bluetooth hooks are in, how is the watch? Well that depends. I ran into a few issues:
Avoiding Skin Rash By Washing Underneath
I started getting a rash around the charging port. This was the first time this has happened. The fix from Garmin was the wipe it down after every activity.
My fix was to buy some charging port covers from Amazon and wipe around the heart rate monitor every few days. And that has kept the rash away.
Wonky Heart Rate Values
Overall the heart rate details from an activity are as good as wearing a strap, but I find that it is not as good as previous fenix models and I find the refresh rate very slow or that it has way more spikes or drops that I am accustomed to.
Functionality Is Still Worth It
As a GPS sports watch, it still does the job. While I don’t use it as much for running these days, I still use it for walking, hiking, indoor use and mountain biking.
This is a feature rich option for those who do not want to buy a fenix series watch but still has all the flexibility for your outdoor recreation activities.