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Garmin chases solar smartwatches by adding four new offerings to its lineup

Robust battery life has always been difficult for smartwatches to deliver. For this reason, hybrid offerings from the likes of Withings and Fossil have become popular as wearers can shed the need refuel at the end of the day. Garmin today is heading an entirely different direction with a slew of new solar smartwatches. By implementing a solar panel into each watch, Garmin is able to extend usage and limit how often wearers need to hunt for a power cable. Continue reading to learn more.

Garmin expands lineup with solar smartwatches

Of all Garmin’s new offerings, Instinct Solar is the most affordable. Thanks to its newfound power source, this watch can now stay fully-powered in battery saver mode,  two months in expedition mode, and up to 50 days when used as a full-blown smartwatch. Real-world numbers are yet to be determined, but if these numbers are true, it’s likely we will see more and more solar smartwatches in the future. Garmin Instinct Solar pricing starts at $399.99.

Next up we have the more high-end Garmin fēnix 6 and 6S solar smartwatches. When exposed to enough light, wearers can anticipate battery life to boost by around 15-20%. This equates to roughly 10.5 days of smartwatch usage. While not as impressive as Instinct Solar, these offerings provide more robust feature sets with the ability to monitor activities like surfing and mountain biking to indoor climbing and more. Wearers can also playback music without a smartphone. Garmin fēnix 6 and 6S begin at $849.99

Of all the new solar smartwatches that Garmin has unleashed, the tactix Delta Solar Edition is most rugged. It’s “built to military standards,” and solar charging takes smartwatch battery life from 21 to 24 days. A built-in kill switch makes this watch stand out from the rest as does its $1,099 price tag.

“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.

9to5Toys’ Take

While it’s certainly a shame that solar isn’t enough to power the full feature set of Garmin’s smartwatches, this is still an exciting step. The extra power boost extends battery life further than before and best of all, it comes with no on-going cost as solar is free for everyone to tap into.

It’ll be interesting to see if these solar smartwatches are able to utilize indoor lighting to refuel. If so, this could drive adoption for folks that spend the majority of their time at home, in a car, or at the office. Only time will tell if big players have solar charging in the works for devices like Apple Watch.

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