Garmin has added another another robust fitness smartwatch in its range. This time it’s the $499.99 Garmin Instinct Crossover. As the name suggests, it is a mash-up of a hybrid analog and multisport GPS watch. It’s a mind-boggling combo, but hey, it’s got analog hands.
Hybrid analogs look like traditional watches but have basic smart features like push notifications and alarms. They’re aimed at people who want a discreet yet sleek wearable that’s good enough for casual fitness tracking. As for the Instinct Crossover – which really sounds like it should be a Suburu – it seems like it’s for folks who want a slightly less “ugly” Garmin without sacrificing its rugged capabilities.
In terms of design, it resembles a Garmin. You’ll love or hate the Casio vibe, but it’s nowhere near as chic as Garmin’s existing Vivomove hybrid lineup. What stands out here are the analog hands. They are coated in a glow-in-the-dark material and feature a new “RevoDrive” technology that automatically calibrates the hands in the event that your watch experiences a “significant impact”. Otherwise, the hands borrow a page from Fossil’s playbook because they strategically get out of the way when you need to read notifications or view data.
It has military grade durability, 10ATM water resistance and is “thermal and shock resistant”. You get a wide range of Garmin’s fitness and health features, including Body Battery, training status/load/effect, HRV status and recovery time. It also has built-in GPS, multi-GNASS support and other navigation features such as trackback. You also get Garmin Pay and about a month of battery life for the base model. For $50 more, there is also a solar charging model that can last up to 70 days. For an additional $100, there is an Instinct Crossover Solar Tactical Edition that adds night vision, stealth mode, and other “tactical” capabilities.
If you’re confused, I’m with you. As mentioned, Garmin already has a Vivomove range of chic, lifestyle-focused hybrids. (The Vivomove Sport is a excellent sporty and affordable hybrid.) Garmin also has several — and i mean really multiple — rugged fitness watches that look like the Instinct Crossover, have similar feature sets, and cost a similar price. Some, like the recently launched $349.99 Garmin Forerunner 255, are cheaper yet have more accurate multiband GPS. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a rugged Garmin with good battery life, you can choose between the Enduro, Epix 2, Instinct 2, Fenix 7, and Forerunner lineups – plus a handful of others I’m probably forgetting.
Aesthetics aside and the kind of gimmicky hands, I’m not sure why you’d pay $150 more than the base Instinct 2 models, of which there are multiple. Fifteen, in fact, and we’re not even talking about color SKUs. Garmin knows how complicated its product catalog is. Their site has a Choose your own adventure style quiz to help you choose the right watch series.
There aren’t enough hours in a day to explain Garmin’s entire product portfolio. And while I will always advocate greater consumer choice, there is a point where you too many choice. In this case, you end up watering down your entire product catalog.
Garmin has been like that for a while, but something about the Instinct Crossover feels like we’ve reached Garmin’s maximum capacity. Perhaps it is the fact that Apple and Samsung are invading their territory. But I’m not sure if I should add another robust watch – this time with quirky analog hands! – very logical.