Garmin Instinct Fitness GPS Watch – Australian Release and Price

Garmin has announced the new Garmin Instinct watch that has been released in 3 different styles. The three styles all have the same software and features the only difference is the colour style. The options are set to arrive in Australia on November 1st but can be pre-ordered now. The Australian release RRP is $399.

Garmin Instinct Flame Red | ETA 01 November | $399 AUD

Garmin Instinct Graphite Black | ETA 01 November | $399 AUD

Garmin Instinct Tundra | ETA 01 November | $399 AUD

Garmin Instinct Graphite
Garmin Instinct Graphite
Garmin Instinct Tundra
Garmin Instinct Tundra
Garmin Instinct Flame Red
Garmin Instinct Flame Red

What does it do?

The Instinct watch is an entirely new entry for Garmin. It takes a mix of features from all of their current lineups but visually it looks like the Casio G-Shock watches but with a Garmin touch, particularly with the monochrome display. Overall based on its price and software it’s probably closest to a very slimmed down fenix 5 plus watch. The Instinct watches are primarily focused on outside features specifically for hiking, climbing etc. I’ll list the significant features below:

  • Lightweight design (52g) with U.S. Military thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100m)
  • Course navigation features including point-to-point navigation, breadcrumb trail (real-time), Back-to-start, distance to destination display, vertical speed display, total ascent/descent display
  • TracBack feature to navigate the same route back to your starting point
  • Compatible with Garmin Explore (inReach device needed)
  • Built-in 3-Axis compass and barometric altimeter
  • GLONASS, GPS and Galileo Satellite system access
  • Storm alert features (this uses your barometric altimeter trend measurements to provide incoming storm warnings)
  • Projected Waypoint
  • Area Calculation
  • Sight ‘N Go
  • Sun/Moon times
  • Trail run auto climb (enabling this mode will automatically detect elevation changes and can be used when hiking, running, climbing or biking)
  • SmartPhone notifications
  • Battery Life: Up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 40 hours in UltraTrac mode (Ultra mode is a watch mode that decreases the amount of GPS and sensor used to increase battery life)

There are also a couple of features I would consider ‘significant’ that the Instinct watches don’t have:

  • Garmin Pay not supported
  • VO2 Max Metrics not supported
  • Connect IQ support (no custom data fields or apps/widgets) not supported
  • Onboard music storage not supported
  • No built-in WiFi hardware

This is a pretty hefty line-up of features, and it comes with a much more attractive price point then what you would typically expect from Garmin’s outdoor division. These features are particularly popular with hikers and trail runners who like to just set out to explore or run, and the watch will allow for easy navigation back to your starting point.

Missing out on features like Garmin Pay, Connect IQ Support and Onboard music storage is not surprising considering this watch is designed with a more off the map approach. What is surprising is the lack of VO2 Max support, No WiFi and No Pulse Ox. I would have expected Pulse Ox to be included considering it was released on the vivosmart 4 but it was left out. I don't think this will make a big impact on people considering this watch but I think it might have helped sway some decisions.


The Garmin Instinct watches are jam-packed for outdoor recreation users but based on the features Instinct is missing I wouldn’t recommend to a casual user who’s only interested in basic health and fitness metrics. This price point seems much more accessible to people who are looking for a powerful outdoor GPS watch, it’s built to be tough and survive bumps, drops and scrapes. Overall this looks like a well put together watch that's perfect for hikers, trail runners, explorers and forestry workers looking for an all-purpose watch that suits their lifestyle.

Pros Cons
Military Grade Hardware No WiFi
Great navigation and outdoor specific features No Pulse Ox
GLONASS, GPS and Galileo Support
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