Garmin’s New Solar-Powered Watch Promises 70-Day Battery Life

Garmin wants to make charging your watch nearly a thing of the past. The fitness watch maker on Tuesday announced the Instinct Crossover, a hybrid watch that promises to provide up to 70 days of battery life if you purchase the solar-powered edition. That’s significantly longer than the one- to two-day battery life found on most traditional smartwatches and the roughly month-long battery life on other hybrid watches.

The Garmin Instinct Crossover starts at $500 and launches Tuesday, while the solar-powered model costs $550. International pricing wasn’t immediately available, but the US price for the base model converts roughly to £435 and AU$770, while the solar model pricing is about £477 and AU$848.

The Instinct Crossover is a hybrid smartwatch — meaning it includes some of the qualities of both smartwatches and regular analog watches. Hybrid watches typically offer longer battery life than regular smartwatches like the Apple Watch since they compromise on certain features. The Instinct Crossover, for example, doesn’t have a color display, but it can show notifications and supports Garmin Pay for digital payments. Like Garmin’s other Instinct watches, the new Crossover was designed primarily for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a rugged fitness-tracking device. It comes at a time when Garmin faces increased competition from traditional smartwatch makers like Apple and Samsung, which capture 29% and 9% of the overall smartwatch market, respectively, according to Counterpoint Research.

The Instinct Crossover has many of the health-tracking features you’d expect from a Garmin watch, like sleep tracking with a sleep score, blood-oxygen measurements, heart-rate variability tracking and VO2 Max stats, among other readings. It’s also shock- and thermal resistant, along with meeting the MIL-STD-810 durability standard. Water resistance is rated for 10 ATM, which means it can withstand pressures of up to a depth of 100 meters, similar to the Apple Watch Ultra.

But the Instinct Crossover’s battery life seems to be one of its most distinguished features. The Solar Edition should last for 70 days in smartwatch mode, thanks to its solar charging, according to Garmin. In battery saver mode, which preserves analog features like the time, date and stopwatch, Garmin says the solar-powered Instinct Crossover has “infinite” battery life. But you’ll have to make sure you’re meeting the recommended solar charging requirements to get that level of battery life, which Garmin says is three hours per day in 50,000 lux conditions.

The nonsolar base model also lasts for nearly a month in smartwatch mode, according to Garmin, which sounds like it’s roughly on par with the Instinct 2’s 28-day battery life. Turning GPS on brings that down to 110 hours, but that’s still a lot of time to have it be active. That could make the Garmin Instinct Crossover appealing to those who want a watch they can wear for daily training and sleep tracking without having to charge it in between.

Aside from long battery life and wellness features, the Garmin Instinct Crossover has navigation features like GPS, TracBack for finding your way back to a starting point, and Reference Point, which lets wearers monitor a given location relative to their position. There’s also a Tactical Edition of the watch that adds night vision compatibility, a stealth mode, dual-format GPS and a kill switch.

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is another sign that smartwatch makers are paying more attention to battery life, particularly in pricier models designed for athletic training. Garmin is a longtime household name in the world of fitness and running watches, but Apple and Samsung only just began focusing more closely on this market. Apple launched the Apple Watch Ultra in September, its biggest competitor yet to performance watches like those made by Garmin. In addition to its larger screen, titanium build, dual-frequency GPS and depth gauge, the Ultra’s estimated 36-hour battery life is one of the biggest features that sets it apart from the Series 8. The case is similar for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Prowhich distinguishes itself from the standard Galaxy Watch 5 with a titanium design and an estimated 80-hour battery life.