Garmin Instinct vs Fenix: Complete List of Comparison [Guide 2022]

This time, we will be comparing the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar vs Fenix 7 Solar and list the key differences between them. So that both smart watches are rugged outdoor watch of Garmin. However, there are some specific differences that could make one or the other better for you depending on what you are looking for on a outdoor watch.

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar vs Fenix 7 Solar Main Differences

In this post, we would like to highlight the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar and Fenix 7 Solar instead of their standard models. Because, both of them are the most popular smart watches in their production line. Also, they are more suitable for outdoor activities compared to standard model of Instinct 2 and Fenix 7.

If you need a long story short answer for which one is better, the Instinct 2 or Fenix 7, we have prepared following table to list the key points and differences between them:

Comparison of#Garmin Instinct 2 SolarGarmin Fenix 7 Solar
Our Selection forThe Rugged & Cost Effective Outdoor WatchBest All-Around and Outdoor Smart Watch
Latest Price TagRates on AmazonRates on Amazon
Bezel MaterialFiber Rainforced PolymerStainless steel
Lens MaterialPower Glass™Power Glass™
QuickFit™ watch band compatible20-mm for Case Size 40
22-mm for Case Size 45
20-mm for Case Size 42
22-mm for Case Size 47
26-mm for Case Size 51
Physical size40 x 40 x 13.3 mm
45 x 45 x 14.5 mm
42 x 42 x 14.1 mm
47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
51 x 51 x 14.9 mm
Display resolution156 x 156 pixels (40-mm diamater)
176 x 176 pixels (45-mm diameter)
240 x 240 pixels (42-mm diameter)
260 x 260 pixels (47-mm diameter)
280 x 280 pixels (51-mm diameter)
Battery lifeFor Case Size 45-mm:
Smartwatch: Unlimited with solar*
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Unlimited with solar*
GPS: 48 hours with solar**
Max Battery GPS Mode: 370 hours with solar**
Expedition GPS Activity: Unlimited with solar*

*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
**Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions
For Case Size 47-mm:
Smartwatch: 22 days with solar*
Battery Saver Watch Mode: 173 days with solar*
GPS Only: 73 hours with solar**
All Satellite Systems: Up to 40 hours with solar*
All Satellite Systems and Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS: 289 hours with solar**
Expedition GPS: 74 days with solar*

*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
**Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions
Water Resistance10 ATM10 ATM
ConnectivityBluetooth®, ANT+®, No Wi-FiBluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Music storageNo Music Storage
Can’t Play or Control Music in Smartphone
Up to 2000 Songs
Memory32 MB16 GB
Highlighted Sensors & FeaturesNo Multi-Frequency Positioning (Only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar)
Barometric Altimeter
Heart Rate Monitor
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Accelerometer
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen
Compass
Thermometer
No Gyroscope
No HRV Status
No Touch Screen & No Color Display
No Preloaded Topographical Maps (Only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar)
Multi-Frequency Positioning (Only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar)
Barometric Altimeter
Heart Rate Monitor
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Accelerometer
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen
Compass
Thermometer
Gyroscope
HRV Status
Touch Screen & Color Display

Preloaded Topographical Maps (Only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar)
Expert ReviewGarmin Fenix vs InstinctGarmin Fenix 7 vs Solar vs Sapphire Solar

Key Differences Between Garmin Instinct 2 and Fenix 7

He is the main differences between the Instinct 2 Solar and the Fenix 7 Solar that needs to be highlighted:

  • The Fenix 7 Solar has stainless steel bezel, on the other hand the Instinct 2 Solar has a fiber reinforced polymer bezel. So, considering the bezel material, the Fenix 7 Solar is way more durable than the Instinct 2.
  • When it comes to the case material, both Instinct 2 Solar and Fenix 7 Solar have fiber reinforced polymer bezel.
  • The Instinct 2 Solar is available in 40-mm and 45-mm case size options. On the other hand, the Fenix 7 Solar is available in 42-mm, 47-mm and 51-mm options. It is good to note that for both watches, the larger the case size larger more the battery-life is. Also, for both watches, the price tag is increasing with the case size. We will be comparing the Instinct 2 Solar 45-mm with the Fenix 7 Solar 47-mm. However, you can check out other variants in the table below.
  • The Fenix 7 Solar offers more pixels and better resolution than the Instinct 2. Also, the Fenix 7 Solar has a touch screen in addition to the buttons, yet there is no touch screen on the Instinct 2 Solar. One more point, the Fenix 7 Solar has a color display, but Instinct lacks it.
  • In some certain cases, the Instinct 2 Solar offers more battery-life. However, if you consider the all-smart features that comes with Fenix 7 Solar, its battery is superior to that of the Instinct 2 Solar.
  • Considering the connectivity, the Instinct 2 Solar does not support Wi-Fi connectivity, but Fenix 7 Solar does.
  • Comparing the music storage, the Fenix 7 Solar can store music up to 2000 songs for off-life playing. It can also control and play the music in your smart phone. On the other hand, these features are not included in Garmin Instinct 2 Solar.
  • For the data recording, the Fenix 7 Solar offers 16 GB memory, yet, the Instinct 2 Solar has only 32 MB.
  • When we compare the sensors of Instinct 2 Solar vs Fenix 7 Solar: The Instinct 2 does not have Gyroscope, HRV measurement, multi-frequency positioning and preloaded topo maps. On the other hand, the Fenix 7 Solar comes with all these features.
  • Because of all the differences that we listed above; the Garmin Fenix 7 Solar is way better outdoor watch compared to the Instinct 2 Solar. However, all these extras that comes with only Fenix 7 Solar adds up to its price. Therefore, it is more expensive in comparison to the Instinct 2 Solar.

The Style

If you are working in office environment then Fenix 7 is more professional looking watch and it fits in office environment. The Fenix 7 looks more stylish. On the other hand the Instinct 2 is more are rugged looking watch. Therefore, it doesn’t fit quite in the office environment.

 the Instinct 2 is more rugged looking. But Fenix 7 is more stylish.

Instead of using the standard band comes with the smart watch, we like to change the watch band frequently. With the Fenix 7, if you don’t like the silicone bands which come with it then you can get other bands. Our testers personally prefer leather bands on Fenix 7, in order to make it even more professional.

Training Features & Music Storage

Another difference is how they perform at the gym and while training. The Fenix 7 Solar works great for weight trainings. It has a dedicated weight training program. Also, it has animations that pop ups in the screen and shows you how to do exercise. Moreover, it includes automatic rep count which is really cool! You don’t have to do anything; it will tell you how many reps you done in sets and automatically ends the set which is really good for timing your rest periods.

What we liked the most on Fenix 7 Solar is that you can listen anything of your Spotify account directly from the Fenix 7 Solar using Bluetooth headphones. We found this feature very nice at gym.

You can listen Spotify via Garmin Fenix 7, but you cannot with the Instinct 2

If you have Garmin Fenix 7 Solar with you and you are running, you don’t need to bring your phone with you to listen music. The Fenix 7 Solar has a better running analysis and tracking programs compare to the Garmin Instinct 2.  

So, the Instinct 2 does not have these features and this may and may not be a deal breaker for you guys.   

Garmin Instinct vs Fenix: Maps and Navigation

Feature for Uploading Topo Maps included in Garmin Fenix 7. On the other hand, the Instinct 2 does not include this feature.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast or a runner, you will definitely need maps and navigation on your smart watch. Considering this situation, the Fenix 7 Solar has ability to upload topo maps which you can use it as navigator. We like to load our roads on the Fenix 7 before we head on a trip, then we can follow that road on the map. We love the navigators in Fenix 7 since it helps to save battery of our mobile phone. On the other hand, Garmin Instinct 2 lacks this feature.

Bottom-line Garmin Instinct 2 Solar vs Fenix 7 Solar:

So, here is the final question. Which one is better Garmin Instinct 2 or Fenix 7? In this post, we mainly compare the Solar edition of both watches, since they fit better considering the longer battery-life which we needed during our long haul.

The Bottom-line for Garmin Instinct 2 Solar vs Fenix 7 Solar:

  • We will recommend you to go with the Fenix 7 Solar, if the extra every day features; training features and maps are worth extra 400 dollars for you.
  • You can get the Instinct 2 Solar, if you don’t really care about those features but prioritize battery life, ruggedness and price!

Honestly, our testers and I personally prefer Garmin Fenix 7 Solar over Garmin Instinct 2, since the Fenix option is more versatile. On the other hand, The Garmin Instinct 2 is pretty plain compared to the Fenix ​​7.

When it comes to training and fitness features, there is also a more cost effective and feature rich smart watch “Garmin Vivoactive 4”. You can check our “Garmin Vivoactive 4 Revivew” article to read more about it.

We would recommend checking out following articles, if you are willing to find a smart watch!

Garmin Instinct 2 support and how to use video:

References: Introduction to Garmin Instinct 2 and its user manual

Garmin Fenix 7 support and how to use video:

References: Introduction to Garmin Fenix 7 and its user manual