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New Garmin Instinct Solar - Tips Appreciated

I am a new owner of a Garmin Instinct Solar and it's the first fitness watch I've owned.  I've watched a variety of YouTube videos but still seeking some basic guidance/tips on setting things up.  If anyone has some helpful suggestions as a user of this watch, it would be most appreciated.  

I'm figuring out how to mess with widgets, get the things I want to see most where I want them.  How to use the watch versus the mobile app versus the website - which does what.

My mobile is Android, my computer PC, I'm very tech savvy.  I prefer to work on computer platform if that's available.

My use/purpose for the watch is to track hikes, cardio and sleep.  And by tracking hikes, I mean getting my mileage, elevation and route/track captured.

Thanks to everyone who can help me out!

Gillian

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12 Replies

Hi @Gillian!

Congrats on your new watch! As a fellow Garmin user (not the Instinct, specifically, but another watch), it can feel overwhelming to know how you want to see all the data that your watch can collect, especially when you start navigating into the different widgets and apps that can be downloaded via the Garmin Connect IQ app.

Though Garmin devices are compatible with home computers, in my perspective, the data is easiest to view and track on mobile. Garmin offers two apps--Garmin Connect, and Garmin Connect IQ. The former presents all your data tracked on the watch, and the latter hosts all the widgets and watch faces that can be downloaded to your watch.

There are also third-party apps like Strava and Runkeeper that track your data and show maps of the places you've hiked. Deciding which to use to help you track your movements really depends on your personal preference and how usable you find each platform. 

I'd start with carefully reviewing the watch's user guide to understand how it works, and then use the Garmin Connect app to track your data. If you find the Garmin Connect app isn't presenting data the way you want, try a third-party app. And you can experiment with all the options on Connect IQ to see which displays you like best. 

The beauty of customization means that there's a lot of options, so the more you test things out, the more you'll understand what works for you and what doesn't. Should you continue to have usability issues, let us know here, or contact Garmin customer support. 

Happy trails!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I was unaware of the IQ app, so thank you for that tip.

Question - I want to track my hikes and (hoping) that I can use my watch to do so without the need for a 3rd party app with it.  In my head, I would start and end the activity on the watch, and when complete, download to my computer the gpx file created????  Does it do that?

Gillian

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Hi again, @Gillian 

So, you can manually add the .gpx file to your computer to see your hikes, but the beauty of the Garmin Connect app, and the Garmin computer app is that the app design and UX/UI present a lot of data about your activity in a clear, detailed way that goes beyond what the mapping from the raw .gpx file can provide. Here's a couple of screenshots from my most recent snow postholing run/walk/wog adventure on the Garmin Connect app. The first indicates the elevation gain and loss. 

REI-PearlD_0-1614720539060.jpeg

Below is the main view of my activity including the map.

REI-PearlD_1-1614720594352.jpeg

Personally, I use the third-party app Strava to collect my data because it's more run focused, but because you have to have the Garmin Connect app to be able to pair your phone and watch, it's not necessarily an extra step to be able to see this data. For me, Bluetooth connection with Garmin connect is more convenient than plugging my watch into my computer, especially since the app collects my run data about 10 seconds after I finish. However, your data is your data, and you can certainly import the raw .gpx files manually.

Hope this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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The timing of your reply was spot-on!  I hadn't yet had opportunity to take it for a "spin" and I did that today.  While I do like the stats (self-acknowledged data geek!), I also LOVE maps!  I use Gaia GPS and Strava and my InReach Mini currently and they all give me different mileages if they don't crash.  I'm hoping the watch will prove to be more reliable.  I will be hiking soon and see how it looks and may not bother with the importing.

Does anyone know if there is a community group just for Garmin products?  I went to their website, but I'd like something where I can get detailed questions answered by users of the watch I have.

Thanks for all the great help!

Gillian

 

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@Gillian 

Does anyone know if there is a community group just for Garmin products?  I went to their website, but I'd like something where I can get detailed questions answered by users of the watch I have.

There is indeed: Instinct - Wearables - Garmin Forums

...Wanderer


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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@REI-PearlD 

I don't think the Instinct Solar supports Connect ID, only Connect. (At least that's the case with my original non-solar Instinct.

The issue is that this model lacks the ability to download maps the way higher end watches can. I don't miss that feature because I prefer to use my smartphone for looking at maps. The screen is bigger and there's enough storage to hold all the maps I could ever need.

 

...Wanderer


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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Nice purchase!! I loved my Instinct before I got another Garmin as a gift. I agree with Pearl and read the user manual and just get familiar with the device. Then hone in on what you use a lot and customize accordingly. It probably took me a month to get the watch customized the way I wanted it. That watch is so powerful and has so many features. It will not let you down! 

Thanks!  I figure it will take a while because it's packed with so much.  A very fun rabbit hole to disappear into for a bit!

Gillian

@Gillian 

The Instinct's UI can seem formidable at first with all the menus, settings, options, etc. and only 5 buttons. It's worth spending some time with the manual and with the many, many YouTube videos that people have made. Then start using it. It took me a while but soon I was able to navigate the menus with the same ease as the YouTubers making the instructional videos. 

...Wanderer


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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