The Garmin Instinct range has been well received by users and it’s no surprise that fans are keeping an eye on the release of the next installment in the range. In this article, we look forward to Instinct 3 and its potential features and upgrades, as well as the expected release date.
As with any new watch, there are many rumors and leaks about the next iteration of a popular product. So far, however, there has been no information about Instinct 3. However, numerous theories are circulating about improved sensors, tracking abilities and design improvements that a new edition could bring.
Essential reading: top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Garmin hasn’t done a good job of keeping information about upcoming devices under wraps in recent years. That means it’s only a matter of time before information about Instinct 3 leaks out. We’ll update this article when we hear more.
Possible design and technical data
Functionality we’d like to see
Possible release date
Garmin Instinct 3: Possible design and specifications Image source: Garmin
The Instinct range is built to withstand tough conditions, with a durable and robust design that can keep up with an active lifestyle. These watches are packed with features that make them ideal for hiking, running, biking, swimming, and a host of other outdoor activities. They are able to deal with extreme temperatures, water and shock.
There were three years between the first two generations of the watch. So it’s no surprise that the second version came with many upgrades. Hopefully the wait for Gen 3 won’t be that long. As for what it will bring, we can look to the recent crop of Garmin watches for clues.
Multiple build options – new case materials
What is clear is that the company is not moving away from the current form factor. So once again, expect a round watch with five physical buttons, three on the left and two on the right.
What would be nice to see is a metal version of the watch – maybe a titanium, aluminum, or steel case option. The current range consists of fiber reinforced polymer. This would increase the price, but it would be nice to have the option for those interested.
As before, expect at least two iterations—one large and one small. The latest generation offers case sizes of 40 x 40 x 13.3 mm and 45 x 45 x 14.5 mm.
It is also certain that there will be other editions besides the standard. The current range includes the variants Camo, Tactical, Surf and Esports and DEZL. The latter is new, it is designed for professional truck drivers.
reduction in thickness
Also on our wish list is a reduction in the thickness of the watch. Instinct 2 is thinner than the original – a result of smaller and more energy efficient engineering. Let’s hope Garmin continues in this vein for Instinct 3.
The limiting factor is that reducing the thickness affects battery life. With less space, there is less room for a larger capacity battery. And a long battery life is important for everyone who likes to be out and about in the great outdoors.
Once again we expect an edition with solar charging. In recent years, this has become more than just a gimmick, and this functionality helps increase the time between charges. Of course, further improvements in solar and cable charging time would be good. And we’ve seen a number of posts on social media and forums asking for a protected USB-C port.
Larger, higher-resolution display (AMOLED version?)
The display hasn’t changed much between generations, so it’s still a monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel with a custom two-window design. The normal version measures 0.9″ x 0.9″ and the S version measures 0.79″ x 0.79″. The only difference is that both are slightly higher resolution than the original.
Fewer frames and more display area would be nice. It would improve visibility and allow users to see more relevant fields on the screen.
And what about a separate AMOLED edition? It’s a realistic possibility, as the Fenix and Forerunner ranges prove. Garmin has made strides with AMOLED displays and they are almost on par in terms of battery life compared to those with memory-in-pixel displays.
In fact, about a year ago there was a leak of an upcoming Garmin Austin being listed as an outdoor watch along with the Fenix, Tactix and Instinct ranges. Could this be an AMOLED version of Instinct 2 or 3?
Garmin Instinct 3: Functionality we’d like to see Image Source: Garmin
A watch for those interested in outdoor activities, Instinct allows users to track their location, distance traveled, and elevation gain. This is especially useful for hikers and trail runners who want to track their progress and make sure they stay on track. In addition to the satellite connection, the Instinct range is also equipped with a variety of other sensors, including a heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, pulse oximeter and compass.
This range of watches has always impressed us, and the latest iteration has added some nice upgrades. Most of these are software-based and take the form of a variety of performance metrics. The original isn’t even capable of generating VO2 Max readings. You now have access to almost everything available in the Forerunner series. These improvements turn it into a much more capable all-around fitness and sports machine.
Blood Oxygen is now available on all watches, allowing for both spot checks and auto during sleep or throughout the day. You’ll also get 24-hour breath rate, fitness age, advanced sleep score and insights, health snapshot, HIIT workouts, and a range of sport activity profiles.
The device, while impressive in its specs, is by no means perfect. Here’s what we’d like to see.
In terms of smartwatch features, it’s fair to say that the current Instinct line is lacking. Storing and playing music, for example, is an obvious omission.
This feature would be a valuable addition to the Garmin Instinct 3. It would eliminate the need for users to travel with a separate music player or smartphone. This would be especially useful for trail running and hiking where users want to keep their pack light and streamlined.
This should go without saying. Garmin watches from last year all had multi-band GNSS support. Multiple frequencies from each constellation can be used for improved positioning in areas where satellite signal reception is difficult. The improvements in connection speed and GPS accuracy are evident.
The Instinct 3 watch will almost certainly include this.
A smartwatch flashlight can be useful in a variety of situations. It can help you navigate in low-light environments like a campground, bedroom, or parking lot. Or maybe during power outages when you need to walk around or out of the house. It can also help you find items you may have dropped in a dark area. Maybe you need to draw attention to yourself while running or cycling at night. Finally, it can act as an SOS signal.
So far, the only Garmin watches with built-in flashlights are the Fenix 7X and Enduro 2. The LEDs are above the display, between the watch bezel and the band. The Instinct range is ideal for this.
More comprehensive map and navigation
The Instinct 2 has a range of mapping capabilities, but they don’t go as far as some of Garmin’s other high-end watches. Omissions include Around Me mode, UpAhead, NextFork, ClimbPro Ascent Planner, preloaded topographic maps, preloaded road and trail maps, downloadable cartography support, and more. These features are useful for those who enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities.
Garmin Instinct 3: Possible release date
The original watch first went on sale in 2018, followed two years later by a solar variant. There was also a preliminary eSports edition with a special esports activity profile. These were all tweaked versions of the original that featured some incremental upgrades. It wasn’t until February 2022 that we received the fully-fledged second-generation device.
And let’s not forget Garmin Instinct Crossover, which was released just a few months ago. You can consider this an intermediate version in the Gen 2 range as it includes the same sensors and features as the Instinct 2. The difference lies in the hybrid design.
Here is the current release schedule.
Garmin Instinct (October 2018)Garmin Instinct Solar (July 2020)Garmin Instinct 2 (February 2022)Garmin Instinct Crossover (November 2018)
As for the next iteration in the series, we certainly don’t expect more than a two-year gap. Most likely we will see Generation 3 land in early 2024.
Still, we were able to see an intermediate version of the watch. Don’t be surprised if Garmin releases an AMOLED version of the Gen 2 watch later this year. Now that both the Fenix and Forerunner ranges have AMOLED versions, we definitely wouldn’t rule that out.
If you don’t want to wait another year for Gen 3, the non-solar variant of the Instinct sells for $349 on the Garmin website and is also available on Amazon (check price). The price is pretty reasonable considering the specs. The first generation now retails for just $189 – so while supplies last, this could be an attractive option for those on a budget.
So what do you think? What would you like to see on Instinct 3?
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