I Switched the Pixel Watch for the Garmin Instinct for a Week!

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It’s Old But, Still Good!

Garmin Instinct
Photo by Author

Released in October 2018, the Garmin Instinct GPS smartwatch isn’t new. In fact, a second version of the watch, the Garmin Instinct 2 has been released last year.

But just because the watch is old, doesn’t mean it’s bad and nothing could prove this better than my recent hiking trip to the Tatra Mountains in Poland.

Before even going on the trip, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. My current go-to everyday smartwatch happens to be the Google Pixel Watch, which is a brilliant everyday smartwatch, but I wasn’t sure how it would cope on long hikes.

I mean in terms of battery life on the Pixel Watch, I usually get around 1 day of usage, but I haven’t really tested it on long activities such as long hikes in the mountains. 

I guess I didn’t want to take any chances, so I decided to take my Garmin Instinct with me, a watch that I only tend to use for longer activities such as ultra-long cycle rides.

I was in for a pleasant surprise!

Before we get any further in this blog post, I just wanted to mention that I’m by far an expert when it comes to hiking, in fact, this was my first “proper hike” in the mountains.

The first hike I went on took me around 6 and a half hours to complete. I left the AirBnB with the watch being charged to 100% and caught a minibus from Zakopane to Palenica Białczańska, which was the starting point of the hike.

The goal of the hike was to reach the Valley of 5 Lakes and stop of at a famous waterfall, but unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side that day and we ended up going to the waterfall and then headed back. But it was still a pretty decent hike.

I used the watch to track the entire hike and I was left very surprised with the fact that when I got back to the minibuses, it was still showing half a battery left!

In fact, I continued to use the watch throughout the day, and with the battery life staying practically the same, I put it on charge the following morning as I had another hike planned on that day.

As a whole, the battery life of the watch has seriously surprised me considering the age of the watch. I can bet that if I haven’t charged the watch the following morning it would have still lasted me throughout the second hike I went on.

In normal use, I only charged the watch once, and the battery remained charged throughout most of the week, other than the intensive hiking activities, which I wasn’t sure how it would cope with, so I charged the watch.

The watch coped really well, but…

As you can tell, I was incredibly satisfied with the overall battery life of the watch. The watch was even able to deliver notifications from my phone when I had mobile phone coverage.

But here’s the thing, the Garmin Instinct is technically a basic watch and I’m not sure whether I can even call it a smartwatch. I mean yes it has various really cool features such as a GPS, a built-in compass, and the ability to deliver notifications from my smartphone.

I wasn’t able to reply to those notifications using the watch, I wasn’t able to do a large number of things that I can do with the Pixel Watch. For some, this can be a deal breaker. It’s also the reason I see it as an activity watch as appose to a smartwatch. 

In all fairness, going back to the hiking trips, I didn’t have any mobile coverage for most of them, and it felt a bit different, but I really enjoyed not having notifications buzzing on my wrist. 

Sometimes it’s just nice to get away from the online world and have time to think for yourself. It’s exactly what the hiking trips have done for me. It’s also why I enjoy going on weekly cycle trips in the countryside, it can be a very relaxing experience and it can even boost your productivity!

It just goes to show, that sometimes it’s great to have a break from technology and social media.

Moving on to the app, I feel that the Garmin Connect app is a bit dated, but it does show some really good information about the hike and any other activities you go on. 

I seriously think that the app needs a bit of an overhaul, I mean in all my time owning the Garmin Instinct, I don’t think the app has changed much.

Final Thoughts

To summarise this blog post, I was happy that I decided to take the Garmin Instinct on my adventures this year, the watch coped really well in various conditions, including being submerged in the swimming pool. The battery coped incredibly well and the tracking seemed accurate, if compared to the results of others that went along the hike with me.

I am definitely thinking about buying a new and much more up-to-date Garmin smartwatch following the great experience I had with the Garmin Instinct.

Overall, I definitely think it’s worth the Garmin Instinct if you are thinking of buying this watch second-hand or if you can still find it brand new. I will continue using my Garmin Instinct for tracking longer activities for the foreseeable future.