Garmin Instinct Crossover Review: Ultimate companion for adventure seekers

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is a hybrid smartwatch which offers a plethora of fitness and outdoor features, albeit at a premium price. Should you go for it? Know it all in our review.

By: SHAURYA TOMER
| Updated on: Apr 18 2023, 18:25 IST
Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover is priced at Rs. 55900 for the standard model. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover is priced at Rs. 55900 for the standard model. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

Smartwatches have now become a staple in most of our lives, combining the functionality of a smartphone with a health and fitness tracker, all on your wrist. Though the first smartwatch, the Seiko Ruputer, was released as far back as 1988, it wasn't until Samsung's Galaxy Gear in 2013 and the Apple Watch in 2015 that they became widely popular. However, for some individuals (such as myself), the most fascinating smartwatch to come out was in 1984 when Casio introduced its CA50. This watch had a built-in calculator, making it a game-changer for those who frequently use one. It became so popular that even Marty McFly was spotted sporting one in the iconic movie Back to the Future, and the increasing demand has seen Casio re-release them as part of its Vintage Series.

However, smartwatches have lost some of their appeal nowadays despite being able to perform almost all the functions of a smartphone. To freshen up the smartwatch industry, a new type of watch has emerged - the hybrid smartwatch. It combines the elegance of an analog watch with the technological capabilities of a smartwatch. The Garmin Instinct Crossover is one such entry in this segment which offers a comprehensive range of features, especially for fitness enthusiasts.

But with a hefty starting price tag of Rs. 55900, how does it fare against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and the Apple Watch Ultra? I spent a few weeks with it on my wrist and here's how the Garmin Instinct Crossover fared.

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Design

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is a rugged smartwatch by all means and has a fiber-reinforced polymer case with stainless steel accents and chemically strengthened glass on top. Moreover, the build is US MIL-STD 810 standard and offers thermal and shock resistance as well as water resistance up to a 100 meters.

Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover design (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
image caption
Garmin Instinct Crossover design (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

It has 5 physical buttons, three on the left and two on the right. Now physical buttons are a boon especially for rugged smartwatches, but getting used to the operation with so many buttons takes quite a while. With a 45mm dial and 16mm thickness, it certainly looks like a chunky smartwatch but does not feel like one while wearing it. It is surprisingly comfortable, even after a long period of wearing it, partly due to the comfortable silicone strap.

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Display

Instinct Crossover has analog hands with a super-Luminova coating which glows in the dark, as well as a 1.28-inch monochrome display which shows notifications for all your apps as well as activity tracking details, satellite coordinates and even becomes a compass. Although the display has a relatively low resolution of just 176x176 pixels, it really doesn't need AMOLED technology or super high resolution to perform the task it was meant to.

Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover display (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
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Garmin Instinct Crossover display (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

Now, you might feel that it is essentially an overpriced GShock and it wouldn't be wrong to think so by just looking at it, but the Garmin Instinct Crossover offers much more. The analog hands and the monochrome display work well in tandem and the hands move to the 9:15-time position while you're accessing any smart features of the watch, giving users an unobtrusive view.

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Performance

Garmin Instinct Crossover is one of the best fitness and outdoor smartwatches that you can buy hands down. Garmin has integrated its Revodrive technology which automatically calibrates the watch hands via satellite if it takes any knocks or moves into another time zone. It is packed with tons of fitness and health monitoring features such as SpO2 monitoring, 24x7 heart-rate monitoring, HRV status, VO2 Max tracking, fitness age calculation, training status, step counter and body battery. In my time with it, all the sensors proved to be highly accurate with minimal error.

Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover performance (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
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Garmin Instinct Crossover performance (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is one of the best outdoor smartwatches with features like ABC sensors, Multi-GNSS support, TracBack, barometer, compass and moon phase. The hybrid smartwatch is also equipped with the Incident Detection feature which, like the Fall Detection feature on Apple Watch, uses the watch's sensors to detect if you've experienced an accident while participating in an outdoor activity, and it notifies emergency contacts through SMS or email.

Despite its advantages, the watch also has some drawbacks. Unlike other flagship smartwatches, it lacks a touch screen which hinders functionality and makes it less "smart" as users must rely on the five buttons provided for operation. Moreover, the monochrome display also limits the availability of watch faces. Other notable downsides include the lack of topographical maps and the ability to store onboard music with a meagre 64MB of onboard storage, although you get music controls.

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Battery Life

Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover battery life (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
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Garmin Instinct Crossover battery life (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

The battery life on the Garmin Instinct Crossover is the best I've seen on any smartwatch yet. Garmin promises up to 28 days of battery life on smartwatch mode, up to 25 hours in GPS mode and up to a staggering 71 days (about 2 and a half months) in battery saver mode. While these seem unachievable figures on paper, the Instinct Crossover managed to hit the 28-day mark before shutting down. There is a solar model available too priced Rs. 6000 higher which takes the battery life to almost 70 days in smartwatch mode alone.

Garmin Instinct Crossover: Verdict

Garmin Instinct Crossover
Garmin Instinct Crossover verdict (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
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Garmin Instinct Crossover verdict (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

With a starting price tag of Rs. 55900, the Garmin Instinct Crossover has a lot going for it. A plethora of health and fitness features and satellite connectivity make it stand out as one of the best outdoor smartwatches. Moreover, it competes with other smartwatches with features like Incident Detection. However, unlike other flagship smartwatches, it only has a monochrome display which lacks a touch screen. You cannot store topographical maps or any music onboard. When it comes to battery, the Garmin Instinct Crossover offers almost a month of battery life on a single charge in smartwatch mode, which is the best I've seen yet.

So, if you're looking to purchase a smartwatch for your fitness and outdoor needs, then the Garmin Instinct Crossover is one of the standout options to go for.

Rating
3.5 out of 5
Price
INR 55,900/-
Product Name
Garmin Instinct Crossover
Brand Name
Garmin
Pros
  • Vast array of fitness features
  • Rugged build
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • No touch screen
  • Cannot store maps or music
  • Pricey
Specifications
  • Display
    0.9-inch Monochromatic
  • Resolution
    176x176 pixels
  • Battery life
    Up to 28 days
  • Water resistance
    Up to 10 ATM

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First Published Date: 18 Apr, 18:18 IST
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