The Garmin Instinct Crossover Has Looks And Brains

Garmin Instinct Crossover worn on man’s wrist
(Image credit: Garmin)

Hybrid smartwatches like the Garmin Vivomove Sport and Withings Scanwatch have largely focused on activity tracking to date, rather than sports. That changes with the arrival of the Garmin Instinct Crossover, which is a proper sports watch that has analogue hands.

Those hands are the most noticeable difference between the Instinct Crossover and the Garmin Instinct 2, but there are some important updates under the hood as well. The Crossover has a new GPS chipset that offers all-systems-on tracking, an upgrade on the two-systems tracking on the Instinct 2, though the Crossover does not offer the multi-band GPS tracking found on other watches such as the Garmin Epix 2.

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar with GPS signal screen

(Image credit: Garmin)

The Crossover also has a coating on its hands and hour markers that glows when “charged up” by the sun. Under the hands is a square screen with rounded corners that is not broken up like the display on the Instinct 2. Where the Vivomove range just had small digital display areas on the face, the Crossover has a full screen behind the hands to show the extensive range of stats it tracks during workouts.

Like the Instinct 2, there is a solar version of the Crossover which will extend battery life in sunny conditions, but even without solar panels the Crossover is impressively long-lasting. In smartwatch mode the Crossover can last 28 days, or up to 70 with solar, and the GPS battery life is 25 hours (31 hours with solar) in all-systems-on mode. If you use the less power-intensive max-battery GPS mode it can track for 111 hours (up to 553 hours with solar).

The Instinct 2 was a big update for the line when it launched, bringing advanced training features like training load analysis, VO2 max estimates and suggested workouts over from the Garmin Forerunner line. The Instinct Crossover also gets those top-notch software features and has Garmin Pay as standard, whereas it is available only on certain editions of the Instinct 2.

You will be paying a premium for the hybrid design, however. The Garmin Instinct Crossover costs $499.99 in the US and £479.99 in the UK for the standard watch and $549.99/£529.99 for the solar edition. The Instinct 2 is significantly cheaper at $349.99/£299.99 for the standard model and $449.99/£389.99 for the solar watch. Those prices have also dropped in the UK to £259.99 and £299.99 in the Garmin sale, if you’re looking for a Black Friday Garmin deal.

The Garmin Instinct Crossover is available now from Garmin US and Garmin UK.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.