Garmin Instinct Crossover review: The smart Casio G-Shock of my dreams

1 month ago 31

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is simply a smart, blase ticker that’s fundamentally a revamped Instinct 2, though it’s missing immoderate of Garmin’s latest features that are reserved for its premium offerings. However, the summation of its analog hands makes it the archetypal of its kind, giving it a robust G-Shock aesthetic. If you don’t attraction astir maps oregon on-watch music, it’s the cleanable outdoor companion.


  • +

    Analog hands!

  • +

    New GPS chipset with 5 outer systems

  • +

    Good artillery beingness


  • -

    More costly than Instinct 2

  • -

    No maps is simply a miss astatine terms point

  • -

    Hands interruption up the screen

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Two infinitesimal review

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is simply a Garmin Instinct 2 with an upgraded chipset and analog hands, and I emotion it. It’s 1 of my favourite enactment watches of 2022 based connected the novelty origin alone, though the information it uses the fantabulous Garmin Instinct 2 arsenic a basal means it’s a precise susceptible escapade watch, not conscionable a one-and-done gimmick. It's decidedly 1 of the best Garmin watches retired determination and the champion hybrid outdoor ticker I've tried, though it falls somewhat abbreviated of cleanable arsenic it's overpriced for what you get.

The hands are based connected a exertion Garmin calls ‘RevoDrive technology’. Revodrive ensures that if the ticker takes a large knock, moves into a antithetic timezone, oregon undergoes immoderate different lawsuit which would origin an mean analog ticker to show inaccurate time, RevoDrive volition automatically calibrate the ticker utilizing its outer technology. 

This exertion is besides what allows users to really marque the astir of the Garmin Instinct 2’s smarts. A elemental property of immoderate of the relation buttons (other than the light) volition halt the watch’s analog timekeeping and swivel the analog hands to signifier a horizontal enactment betwixt the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. 

Information and workout statistic are mostly presented successful database form, truthful you tin scroll done the info and spot it clearly, adjacent though the analog hands are successful the way. When you’re done, instrumentality to the location screen, and RevoDrive volition instrumentality the analog hands backmost to the close time. 

Overall, determination are a fewer improvements successful the Instinct 2’s hardware, which we’ll screen later, and each the accustomed Garmin worldly is arsenic bully arsenic ever, including Body Battery functionality, way tracking with TracBack, fantabulous moving metrics, and each the accustomed health-tracking features, specified arsenic bosom complaint variability. 

The lone issues preventing the ticker from earning an elusive 5 stars is the summation successful terms arsenic a effect of the analog hands, which pushes it into the aforesaid territory arsenic Garmin watches with much functionality, specified arsenic the Forerunner 955

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Garmin Instinct Crossover specs: ComponentSuunto Peak 9 Pro
Price$499.99 / £479.99 / AU$999.99
Dimensions45 x 45 x 16.2 mm
Case/bezelFiber-reinforced polymer/stainless steel
Display176 x 176 px, MIP, chemically-strengthened glass
Battery life28 days (25 hours GPS)
ConnectionBluetooth, ANT+
Water resistant?Yes, 10ATM (100 meters)

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Price and availability

 The Garmin Instinct Crossover is disposable beauteous overmuch everyplace you tin get Garmin watches, including astatine Amazon and nonstop from the Garmin website. It’s priced astatine US$499.99 / £479.99 / AU$999.99 for the basal version, though the solar-charging exemplary costs $549.99 / £529.99 / AU$1,049.99. A tactical mentation of the Solar, with stealth mode and a termination power to wide each idiosyncratic information instantly, is besides disposable astatine an further premium, though the other features are improbable to entreaty to anyone extracurricular of the subject oregon those with a emotion of 'tacticool' gear.  

Garmin Instinct Crossover

(Image credit: Garmin )

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Design

  • Great integration of analog elements
  • Rugged exterior
  • Very heavy – possibly excessively thick?

The Instinct 2 was already 1 of the best-designed rugged watches disposable astatine its terms point. It’s inexpensive capable to consciousness similar you tin propulsion it astir without worrying astir spoiling a four-figure watch, yet costly capable to transportation tons of Garmin’s champion features and usage premium materials successful its construction. Garmin hasn’t reinvented the instrumentality here, with chemically strengthened solid connected the non-solar mentation (the star mentation gets Garmin’s Power Glass), and the fiber-reinforced polymer/stainless alloy lawsuit and bezel that are besides contiguous connected the Instinct 2. Garmin has besides swapped chipsets, from the Instinct 2’s Sony to an Airoha, which expands the watch’s GPS options.

It’s inactive a 45mm watch, but somewhat deeper astatine 16mm compared to the 14mm Instinct. This adds further wrist protrusion to an already precise chunky watch, but it’s casual to spot why: Garmin has added the analog hands, which person a super-Luminova glow-in-the-dark coating, wrong the lawsuit of the Instinct. This requires that other 2mm of space, though we ideate aboriginal iterations volition beryllium capable to streamline the tech somewhat, and bring it down to 14mm oregon adjacent 12mm. As is, acknowledgment to the rugged bezel, heavy silicone strap and analog hands, the full happening gives disconnected existent Casio G-Shock vibes. 

Until, that is, you property 1 of those relation buttons and the ticker bursts into life. Considering that it’s built similar a tank, the mode the hands are designed to interact with the astute elements of the ticker – rotating with the interaction of a fastener to beryllium arsenic unobtrusive arsenic imaginable erstwhile speechmaking the accusation connected the surface – is amazingly elegant. In the words of Futurama’s Zapp Brannigan, it’s built similar a steakhouse but handles similar a bistro. 

The satisfying whirr of the centrifugal arsenic the hands buzz astir to signifier a consecutive enactment doesn’t truly get old. I’ve been utilizing the Instinct Crossover for astir a month, and I’m inactive not bushed of showing people. It’s similar I said erstwhile reviewing the blood-pressure strap connected the Huawei Watch D: I emotion that innovations successful smartwatches are getting carnal again. Tech should beryllium amusive arsenic good arsenic functional, and it needs to look good. Despite the extent of this watch, face-on it’s a truly charismatic beast, arsenic good-looking arsenic immoderate different analog escapade ticker I’ve travel across. It’s similar a Garmin had a babe with a G-Shock Mudmaster, and I wholeheartedly emotion the design. 

I’m a longtime Garmin user, truthful I already emotion the plan of the Garmin Connect companion app. It’s casual connected the eye, and intuitive to navigate for the astir part, though I’m inactive utilizing my thumb to deed the incorrect information of the surface occasionally aft a workout, slamming my thumb straight beneath the stat I privation to grow alternatively than switching tabs. I emotion the vigor representation the app generates aft a run, with antithetic colors depending connected my velocity and exertion during peculiar parts of the people – it’s 1 of Garmin’s astir utile features, and an illustration of beautifully-presented data. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Garmin Instinct Crossover watch

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Features

  • Great wellness and fittingness tracking
  • Good escapade credentials
  • Lack of surface abstraction means definite features are missing

There are tons of functions and features here, beauteous overmuch each of which person already featured connected the Instinct 2. Activity tracking features abound, providing notifications connected floors climbed, region traveled and steps taken, arsenic good arsenic different wellness metrics, specified arsenic a slumber people and Garmin’s precise utile Body Battery score, which monitors your betterment and tells you however prepared you are for your adjacent adventure. There’s nary Training Readiness though, which is fundamentally a much precocious version. 

The Instinct Crossover measures your bosom complaint 24/7. It besides offers a bosom complaint variability measurement (which watches for irregularities portion you sleep), and an estimated respiration complaint to assistance show your exertion during exercise. It’s a truly terrific ticker for the outdoors successful particular, offering biology accusation specified arsenic sunrise and sunset from the ticker face, arsenic good arsenic GPS coordinates, elevation information, and your region from a designated destination, which you tin acceptable up successful the app. 

The sports illustration I usage the astir often is running, and I’ve fixed that an extended spell with the Crossover up to astir 14 miles. There’s large GPS integration, on-wrist moving power, and TracBack, which tin assistance you instrumentality to the commencement of a route.  The autolap diagnostic works good whenever I walk the kilometer marker, arsenic Garmin Connect provides an update successful my earbuds with a fewer stats specified arsenic clip and mean pace, conscionable similar astir accepted moving apps. 

The cycling and swimming profiles connection akin functionality, with speed, cadence, lengths and changeable counts replacing granular moving accusation similar stride length. Like the Instinct 2, this is simply a perfectly bully triathlon watch, and if you’re looking for thing a spot stylish and quirky that’ll inactive springiness you each the info you need, the Crossover mightiness beryllium an perfect fit. 

There’s nary onboard euphony connected the watch, conscionable euphony control, which is disappointing astatine this terms point. In fact, determination are a fewer features present that are missing. The Garmin Forerunner 955, which you tin get for astir the aforesaid price, offers onboard euphony storage, a Training Readiness score, a regular Morning Report push-notification digest, Pace Pro precocious pacing tools, and topographical maps. I tin admit that it’s hard to see maps with the analog hands, but it’s a diagnostic that’s truly missed here, particularly arsenic truthful galore of the Instinct Crossover’s features are geared towards the large outdoors. 

In its haste to rise prices, Garmin has done the Crossover a disservice by placing it supra the Instinct. It’s present successful the ballpark of the premium Forerunner and Fenix ranges, each of which specialize with topographical representation functionality and dedicated sporting features. The Instinct 2 is simply a phenomenal ticker astatine its existent price, and the Crossover is simply a fantastic alternate to it, but it can’t vie with Garmin’s different watches successful the $500 / £500 / AU$1,000 space. 

  • Features score: 4/5 

Garmin Instinct Crossover and Forerunner 955 watches

Left: Garmin Forerunner 955. Right: Garmin Instinct Crossover. (Image credit: Matt Evans)

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Performance

  • Accurate GPS and wellness tracking
  • RevoDrive works a treat
  • Quite bulky for mundane wear

During my tests, the GPS was highly accurate, and comparable to the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, arsenic good arsenic the Apple Watch Ultra, erstwhile it came to measuring my wide velocity successful clip per kilometers covered, and comparable bosom complaint measurements. I’m wholly satisfied with its accuracy, having tested it alongside different high-standard watches, and I’d person nary qualms astir utilizing it arsenic an mundane moving watch. 

As mentioned above, I emotion the heat-map plan of the routes shown successful the app, and arsenic usual, the ticker fed my information into Strava and uploaded my runs automatically. LiveTrack, the diagnostic which allows friends and household to show your runs remotely, works a treat.

I personally don’t request onboard euphony and maps, arsenic I mostly usage Spotify, instrumentality to the roads, and support my telephone connected me, but habitual way runners mightiness similar to marque usage of some features, successful which lawsuit they’d beryllium amended disconnected with a Forerunner. I tin spot wherefore radical mightiness request these features, but I’ll beryllium keeping my telephone connected maine arsenic a substance of people – arsenic a runner with asthma, I whitethorn 1 time request to halt and telephone my woman to prime maine up, though that’s not happened yet.

The ticker was large and bulky, and took a small getting utilized to. As bully arsenic it looked, its other thickness was precise noticeable, bulging nether my sleeve erstwhile I wore it during the day, and it’s large capable to consciousness obtrusive erstwhile worn astatine night. However, it wasn’t an uncomfortable wear; Garmin’s silicone straps are mostly precise good, and this ticker was nary exception. It’s conscionable big. 

It provided maine with a bully enactment of Garmin’s baseline wellness metrics, with each the item I’ve travel to expect, from regular accent scores breached down into minutes of rest, low, mean and precocious energy, to continuous bosom complaint monitoring and an HRV score. 

You tin prime your ticker look configuration to amusement the accusation you want, and though the 176 x 176px monochrome show is rather basic, that’s portion of the charm: the thought of having an analog ticker is to marque definite you’re not arsenic connected arsenic you would beryllium with a afloat smartwatch, and the hybrid offers you the champion of some worlds by limiting your interactions with yet different screen. The Crossover’s show reminds maine of a Casio LCD screen, which is conscionable different portion of its retro charm – I truly did autumn successful emotion with it, and the RevoDrive exertion ne'er showed maine an inaccurate clip contempt my changeless flitting betwixt modes. 

  • Performance score: 4/5

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Battery Life

  • 28 days successful smartwatch mode
  • 25 hours successful GPS mode
  • 70 days for solar-extended unit

Garmin claims the artillery beingness for the modular Instinct Crossover is up to 28 days successful smartwatch mode, oregon up to 25 hours successful GPS mode. On average, with mean GPS usage, that volition instrumentality you down to a hairsbreadth nether 3 weeks, which is beauteous overmuch precisely what I recovered – I utilized my Instinct Crossover for astir 18 days earlier the artillery depleted, and charged it up successful a small nether an hour. 

The Solar mentation offers a longer artillery life, with 70 days of solar-extended usage provided that you walk astir 3 hours a time extracurricular to marque the astir of its Power Glass technology. Unfortunately, I didn’t person the Solar mentation (or 70 days) to trial it. 

  • Battery beingness score: 4.5/5

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Buy it if…

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Don't bargain it if…

Also consider

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Also consider ComponentGarmin Instinct CrossoverCoros Apex 2 ProSuunto 9 Peak Pro
Price$499.99 / £479.99 / AU$999.99$499 / £499 / AU$850$549 / £419 / AU$759
Dimensions45 x 45 x 16.2 mm46.1 x 46.5 x 14mm43 x 43 x 10.8mm
Case/bezelFiber-reinforced polymer/stainless steelGrade 5 titanium alloyReinforced polyamide/Stainless steel
Display176 x 176 px, MIP, chemically-strengthened glass260 x 260 px LCD, sapphire glass240 x 240 px, sapphire crystal
GPS?GPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSSGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, Beidou
Battery life28 days (25 hours GPS)30 days (45 hours GPS)300 hours (30 hours GPS)
ConnectionBluetooth, ANT+BluetoothBluetooth
Water resistant?Yes, 100mYes, 50mYes, 100m
Maps? NoYes, topoNo

First reviewed: January 2023

Matt is TechRadar's adept connected each things fittingness and wellness. A erstwhile staffer astatine Men's Health, helium holds a Master's Degree successful journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands similar Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well connected everything fittingness tech, exercise, nutrition and intelligence wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the unusual yoga flow, and insists everyone should agelong each morning. When he’s not grooming oregon penning astir wellness and fitness, helium tin beryllium recovered speechmaking doorstop-thick phantasy books with tons of fictional maps successful them.

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