Garmin’s latest premium Fēnix 6 Pro Solar and Tactix Delta Solar Edition adventure smart watches track your biking & other activities with full mapping & routing, using their solar-powered lenses to extend the time between needing to plug in to recharge! Or without maps, the new Instinct Solar smart watch delivers much of the same tracking features for less than half the price.

Garmin Solar-powered, activity-tracking smart watches

Solar powered watches have been around for decades, but now as we become more dependent on smart watches for GPS & heart rate tracking of biking and other sport activities, even navigation on the go, energy demands continue to increase. Paired with smart mobile phones, smart watches often help us (me) break the cycle of constantly looking at my phone throughout the day for everything from telling time to checking notifications. But that only works when the smart watch stays charged. Last fall, Garmin added solar charging to their big dial $1150 Fenix 6X Pro Solar watch.

Now that same clear solar-charging lens comes to four more smart watches across a more affordable price range – the Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Fenix 6S Pro Solar, Tactix Delta Solar Edition & Instinct Solar – all with significantly increased, solar-augmented battery life, so buyers can “Do What They Love Longer”.

Garmin Fēnix 6 & 6S Pro Solar GPS tracking smart watches

The fēnix 6 is pretty much Garmin’s peak high-end GPS smart watch combining activity tracking, mountain biking-specific metrics & multiple other sport-specific apps; wrist-based heart rate tracking; animated workouts and other training features; sleep, breathing & hydration tracking, full color topo mapping, turn-by-turn navigation & round-trip routing; smart notifications, music streaming, wireless payment & much more – all on your wrist. There’s actually plenty more features that will do most everything you could want in a smart watch.

activity-tracking smart watches,

Adding to its sixth generation, the $850 fēnix 6S Pro Solar (42mm case) and $850 fēnix 6 Pro Solar (47mm case) join last autumn’s fēnix 6X Pro Solar (51mm case). These each add Garmin’s latest Power Glass transparent solar charging lens and customizable Power Manager modes to extend how long all of that tech works between charges.

How long does Fēnix 6 Pro Solar power last?

activity-tracking smart watches,

Unfortunately of course, the solar charging can’t keep all of that running indefinitely. Garmin claims the addition of solar charging extends regular full smartwatch mode by just two days up to 16 days with all-day wear and 3 hours outside every day (up from 14 days without solar power). In regular GPS tracking mode you are likely to get an extra four hours of solar power up to 40 hours of full tracking while using the watch outside in bright conditions. There’s also a battery saver GPS tracking mode that gives 21 hours of extra tracking, up to 93 hours in the sun. The biggest boost though is probably for people who want to pare down to Battery Saver Watch Mode, that adds 32 days with solar charging, up to 80 days between charges for the most basic functions away from civilization.

Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Edition GPS tracking smart watch

If the fēnix 6 is somehow not smart enough for you, the tactical $1100 Tactix Delta – Solar Edition GPS smart watch completes pretty much all the same functions, plus the ability to “carry out field ops undetected with tactical-specific features such as night vision compatibility” if that is your type of thing. There’s even an optional $300 “Applied Ballistics Calculator” function upgrade because, why not… I guess?

activity-tracking smart watches,

All the same track & smart connectivity, plus stealth, jumpmaster, expedition, gold course modes & a kill switch that “if security becomes an issue, wipes the device of all user memory”, seriously. Oh yeah, and it gets the photovoltaic Power Glass transparent solar charging lens and customizable Power Manager modes.

How long does Tactix Delta Solar power last?

activity-tracking smart watches,

In the same vein as the fēnix but boosted with improved energy efficiency, the Tactix Delta Solar boost a bit more – three extra days up to 24 days in solar smartwatch mode. Regular GPS tracking mode adds four more hours of solar power up to 66 hours of full tracking, or an extra 28 hours of solar power up to 148 hours of solar-assisted battery saver GPS tracking. Expedition GPS activity tracking extends ten days to 56 days with solar power, and Battery Saver Watch Mode extends forty days to 120 days for your most remote travels.

Garmin Instinct Solar affordable GPS tracking smart watch

All of those are quite over the top, but at less than half the cost of even the solar Fenix, the (still not cheap) $400 Instinct Solar GPS smart watch still offers wrist-based heart rate, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo activity tracking, sport-specific data profiles, smart connectivity & notifications, and even breadcrumb return-to-start mapping in a much more affordable watch. Special Surf & Tactical versions are also available. And yes, they all get photovoltaic solar Power Glass charging.

How long does Instinct Solar power last?

Garmin Solar-powered activity-tracking smart watches, Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Tactix Delta Solar, Instinct Solar

In fact, thanks to its simplified monochrome display and pared back functionality, solar power gives it even bigger boosts. It adds thirty(!) extra days up to 54 days in solar smartwatch mode, eight extra hours to 38 hours in regular GPS tracking mode, seventy-five (!) extra hours up to 145 hours of battery saver GPS tracking, and thirty (!) extra days up to 68 days in solar-assisted Expedition GPS activity tracking mode. And in base Battery Saver Watch Mode solar power extends the battery only fifty-six days up to an indefinite period. So as long as you get three hours out in the sun every day, you wouldn’t ever need to charge it.

Garmin Solar-powered activity-tracking smart watches, Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Tactix Delta Solar, Instinct Solar

all photos c. Garmin

All of the new Garmin Solar-powered Fenix 6, Tactix Delta & Instinct activity-tracking smart watches are available now in several different color and wristband options, through all Garmin distribution channels.

Garmin’s multisport GPS watches are the choice for athletes and adventurers willing to push themselves through the next mile or over the next mountain. Using our solar capabilities, the new Instinct, fēnix 6 and 6S, and tactix Delta solar watches provide extraordinary battery life and give customers the ability to follow their passion to the sunset and further,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “In addition to the solar charging capabilities, these editions are full of updated and unique features. From new camouflage design patterns to surfing activity profiles, there is something for everyone with the new members of Garmin’s solar family.


  1. Pete on

    I was genuinely interested in the fenix but won’t buy stuff from companies that sell “tactical” products, especially a product so blatantly catering to people who want to play pretend-soldier.


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