Garmin claims new Solar smartwatches make recharging a thing of the past

New solar charging-equipped smartwatches offer extraordinarily long run times

Garmin has launched a range of new solar-powered smartwatches, with multisports functionality that includes mountain biking and road cycling modes.

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The three model ranges are the Fenix 6 Solar, Instinct Solar and the Tactix Delta Solar Edition, which is said to be built to military standards. 

If you’re outside enough and use its most economical mode, Garmin claims that the Instinct Solar will keep running indefinitely without ever needing to be recharged.

Garmin Fenix 6 Solar 

Garmin Fenix 6S Solar
The Fenix 6S solar boasts a battery life of up to 16 hours.
Garmin

The new flagship Fenix 6S Pro Solar and Fenix 6 Pro Solar have a Garmin Power Glass solar charging lens built-in. 

In sunny conditions, Garmin says that, with the right settings, this will allow them to run for up to 16 days between charges if you’re outside for three hours a day. There’s also a significant increase in recording time if running the power-hungry GPS chip. 

The Fenix 6 series already has a wide range of sports profiles built-in, including ClimbPro which tells you how far up a gradient you’ve climbed and what’s coming up. Garmin has now extended this, and both the standard Fenix 6 and Fenix 6 Solar feature MTB-specific ‘Grit and Flow’ metrics, which rate how difficult a trail is and how smoothly you descend.

If your interests extend beyond cycling, there’s also a new Surf activity profile that tracks your surf time, total time, total waves ridden, maximum speed and longest ride.

Rock climbers can also get metrics for indoor climbing sessions that include the number of routes climbed, vertical distance, difficulty and climb time.

There’s in-built ANT+, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity to peripherals such as a power meter and to your phone and computer. 

The full Fenix 6 series now also includes wrist-based heart rate measurement and pulse oximetry to measure blood oxygen levels.

Garmin Fenix 6S Solar
The new Garmin Fenix 6S Solar includes maps for 41,000 golf courses, which could be perfect if you like to send sick jumps on their features.
Garmin

Other Fenix 6 features include base maps for Europe, ski resort maps and plans for over 41,000 golf courses. There is an on-board payment functionality and storage for up to 2,000 music tracks.

After all that, you’ll probably need a good kip. Both the standard and solar Fenix 6 smartwatches can track your sleep stages, breathing and oxygen levels as you sleep too, Garmin says, giving you a stress score and sleep insights.

Prices for the Fenix 6 Solar Edition watches start at £649.99. As with other Fenix 6 smartwatches, there’s a range of bezel and strap options available, including titanium, black and gold.

Garmin Instinct Solar

Garmin Instinct Solar
The Instinct is considerably pared down compared to the Fenix 6S.
Garmin

Priced from £349.99, the Instinct Solar cuts down on the functionality offered by the Fenix 6, but Garmin says that when run in battery saver mode, it offers unlimited charge-free running, if you’re out and about in the sun enough.

In Expedition mode, it says that you can run the GPS and still get over two months’ battery life. 

Use only the Smartwatch mode and even indoors Garmin claims up to 24 days battery life, extending to more than 50 days if you venture outside sufficiently. Other new features for the Instinct range include pulse oximetry. 

As well as the standard Instinct Solar, Garmin has launched a Tactical Edition, compatible with night-vision goggles, and a Surf Edition with surfing metrics, tide data and 100-metre water resistance.

Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Edition

Finally, the military-grade Tactix Delta Solar Edition uses the same platform as the Fenix, but adds a stealth mode, disabling location sharing and wireless connectivity, and a kill switch that wipes the memory – ideal for your rides into hostile territory.

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Price is £999.99.