Update: an authorized Garmin dealer has prematurely posted a listing page mentioning a Garmin Instinct 2X Tactical Edition. Read on for full details of everything we know so far.
Recently, news and rumors have started to swirl surrounding the Garmin Instinct 2X – an extra large version of the original Instinct 2 that was released in February last year. The watch has yet to be officially announced, but since the middle of March 2023 things have really picked up, and with leaked images now online, it seems like the king-sized watch may be nearly ready for launch.
Here, I've rounded up all the latest news and rumors about the upcoming watch, and shared some of my own thoughts about what the Instinct 2X might bring to your wrist when it eventually arrives.
I'll be keeping this page updated regularly, so if you like your watches big, bold, and built like a tank, bookmark it and check back again in a few days' time when hopefully there'll be even more info to share.
Garmin Instinct 2X news
The FCC tests and approves all devices capable of wireless communications before they go on sale in the US, to make sure they're safe and don't interfere with any important frequencies such as those used by emergency services and air traffic control. Once a product has been tested and approved, the FCC publishes documents online for the public record, which can give a sneaky insight into upcoming devices.
As Flo noted on Twitter, although most details of the design have been redacted, the design of the new watch's face matches that of previous Instinct watches, with the familiar rectangular screen and small round cut-out.
A new watch listed at @FCC under IPH-4600 likely is a Garmin Instinct 2X / 2X Solar.The width is about 57 mm, which is significantly larger than the 45 mm of the Instinct 2.Source / Screenshot: https://t.co/lA6r0wlSj6#garmin #instinct2x #solar #outdoors #sports pic.twitter.com/p7pj3DZeG1March 12, 2023
The watch is also described as having a case measuring 57mm in diameter, which is frankly huge. To put that into context, the regular Garmin Instinct 2 is 40mm, and even the hefty Garmin Enduro 2 is 'only' 51mm.
A few days later, I was browsing Garmin's website when I noticed a new device that appeared to have been listed by accident. The 'Instinct 2 EMS Series' appeared in the adventure watches category, and linked to the listing for the regular Garmin Instinct 2.
I'd take all details other than the product name with a hefty pinch of salt. The picture shows the regular Instinct 2 in the Tidal Blue colorway, and the text below seems to be a mish-mash of copy related to other Instinct watches (mostly the Instinct 2 Tactical Edition). I think that the EMS watch (which is presumably aimed at emergency medical professionals) will be a special edition of the Instinct 2X, and will look quite different.
In late March, we got our first glimpse of what the Instinct 2X is likely to look like, courtesy of German site WinFuture (visit the site to see the images yourself).
The site doesn't disclose its source, but the pictures look legitimate and appear to show a seriously beefed-up Instinct 2 with a huge case and visible screws like those of the bombproof Amazfit T-Rex series.
It looks like the EMS version won't be the only special edition Instinct 2X, either. On April 3, authorized Garmin retailer Jura Watches prematurely published a page referring to a Garmin Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition. Most of the page's content was removed before it could be cached by Google, but the store left a brief description of the watch in place (see screengrab above).
Most of this might be placeholder copy (it's exactly the same as Amazon's description of the standard sized Instinct 2 Tactical Edition), but it's very interesting that Jura has mentioned the Instinct 2X Solar Tactical Edition by name.
The watch clearly has a much larger display than the original Instinct 2, allowing it to show more text and data, but it's still a grayscale memory-in-pixel unit, which should help extend battery life. That huge case could also contain an extra-large battery, and the solar edition of the watch could have (theoretically) unlimited battery life with a regular dose of daylight.
Of course, the actual battery life will depend on which features you use, and the Instinct 2X seems to have something other watches in the series lack: a flashlight. This is something we've previously seen in the Garmin Fenix 7X and Enduro 2, and it's incredibly handy to have. As I found when testing the Enduro 2, you don't realize just how many applications it has until you try it. It even worked well on a run through a dark, mile-long tunnel.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).