A few days ago I purchased a Garmin Instinct 2 Solar because I really hate the “Low Battery” notifications that appeared on previous devices I was using for longer bicycle rides. What can be worse than the data recording ending before the activity has been completed?
The benefits of solar charging extending battery life during long rides convinced me that solar was the best solution.
After one week of wearing the device 24/7 as a watch, sleep and heart rate monitor, and for several runs and pool swims, the battery indicator showed 9% of the charge remaining, or another three days’ worth of usage. I reckoned that the 3 days indication was for non-GPS mode use, not for sports activity recording.
Would 9% of battery charge be enough for recording a run? There was only one way to find out, so off I went.
It was four in the afternoon, the sky was cloudy with thunder roaring in the distance and very light rain falling, so the solar charging conditions were not optimal.
As the 54-minute run came to an end I pressed the GPS button (which is the activity start and stop button). The device monitored my recovery time and then I saved the activity. Absolutely no problem.
It was only after the activity was saved that the “Low Battery” notification appeared, prompting me to enable “Battery Saver Watch Mode”. At that point, the device indicated that there were still three days of charge remaining, and the charge level had gone down to 5%. Without the solar charging, the charge level would surely have been less than 5%, but I have no idea what the exact level would have been.
So I learned that a 9% battery charge is enough for a 54-minute run. Good to know, but in practice, I plan to charge the device when the battery nears a 40% charge, as that’s what my smartphone and laptop manufacturers have recommended for those devices. There was no guidance in the user manual regarding when to charge the device, so for now I’ll just follow the 40% rule.