Garmin Instinct 2 VS Vivoactive 4: Which One Is Better?

To begin this comparison, it is essential to note that we are dealing with two watches with completely different designs, one more sport and stylish in the case of the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and something more robust in the case of the Garmin Instinct 2.

However, both use the standard circular format that Garmin always favors.

Although most of the functionalities in both wearables are the same, there are distinctions in their display, design, and other features.

In this article, we will discuss some of the major differences between Garmin Instinct 2 and Vivoactive 4 so you can determine which one is right for you.

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4 : Comparison

Features Vivoactive 4  Instinct 2
Weight 50.5g 52g
Physical size 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm 45 x 45 x 14.5 mm
Lens material  Gorilla Glass 3 Power Glass
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer fiber-reinforced polymer
Display size 1.3” 0.9”
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel monochrome, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Touch screen Yes No
Display color Yes Yes

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Display & Design

Garmin vivoactive 4

Both watches’ displays are quite different from one another. In this regard, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a Memory-In-Pixel (MIP) Technology touch screen, as does the Instinct 2, but it is not touched but is also MIP, so the Vivoactive 4 has a slight edge in having a touch screen.

Furthermore, the Vivoactive 4’s display is full-color, whereas the Garmin instinct 2’s display is monochrome, grayscale. There are also different sizes available, with the Vivoactive 4 panel measuring 1.3 inches and the Instinct 2 measuring 0.9 inches.

The Vivoactive 4 has a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels, significantly larger than the Garmin Instinct 2’s 176 x 176 pixels. Both, moreover, are protected by resistant glass and can withstand bumps and scrapes.

Even though Garmin expanded the screen resolution of the Instinct 2 from 126 x 126 pixels on the first Instinct to 156 x 156 pixels for the Instinct 2S (and 176 x 176 pixels for the Instinct 2), but still there is no touch technology added in it like the Garmin Fenix 7.

When we consider water resistance, the Instinct 2 comes out on top because it has a resistance property of 10 ATM (320 feet) and a military certificate of MIL-STD-810G grade, making it very robust and high resistant to harsh environments, making it an ideal model for extreme explorers, hikers, and travelers.

But still, in case a Military Standard 810 rating against extreme climates, temperature and pressure aren’t enough to persuade you.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4, on the other hand, has a water resistance of 5 ATMs (50 meters). It is a sturdy smartwatch, and it is not as sturdy and robust as its competitor this time.

The Instinct 2 still looks like a Casio G-Shock with porous straps and fun color combinations, which I believe contributes to the lineup’s appeal. It offers a sense of adventure as well as longevity.

When it comes to Vivoactive 4, the only weak point of Garmin’s Vivoactive 3, the previous model of the series, was that its design was not that catchy.

However, the Vivoactive 4 makes a big difference in addressing this issue. For starters, it has a bigger 1.3 screen. Combined with a relatively narrow boundary and glass that’s tactfully curved at the sides, it results in a more sophisticated-looking watch than its previous model.

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Health & sports features 

garmin instinct 2

There is a lot to say about behavior and sports monitoring. We are dealing with two pretty comprehensive wearables for basic users, athletes, and adventurers, each with its positive aspects.

Both include a step counter, a distance traveled calculator, caloric intakes, floors went up, body energy, daily strain, and sleep patterns.

They can also evaluate heart rate and acquire basic and evolved statistics for exercises like running, cycling, swimming, outdoor recreation, and much more.

The Instinct 2 includes the improved heart rate sensor found in the Venu 2 and Fenix 7 and tracking for more than 40 different activity types. 

That’s far lesser than higher-end Garmin watches, including some of the optimally cheap smartwatches. However, it comes with all the fundamentals and more sports and recreation options.

Vivoactive 4 is something made for golfing, and it has dozens of golfing feature that enables you to enjoy your golfing experience. Whereas for running, Instinct 2 is recommended as it offers running dynamics, vertical oscillation, stride length, cadence, run workouts, race predictor, and more. 

Compared to the original Instinct, Instinct 2 now offers guidance for HIIT training sessions, run pacing, multisport activity monitoring, and Daily Recommended Workouts for motivation to get you moving.

The Instinct 2 also has VO2 Max readouts and a pulse oximeter for monitoring blood oxygen (SpO2) rates, which you can set to monitor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, though this will reduce battery life.

 Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Sensors

garmin instinct 2 vs vivoactive 3

There are numerous sensors available in the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and the Garmin instinct 2. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a slight advantage over the instinct 2 because it has more sensors and can measure blood oxygen levels, whereas the instinct 2 cannot.

 Sensors in Garmin Vivoactive 4

  • Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Compass and Gyroscope
  • Accelerometer and Thermometer
  • Pulse oximetry sensor

Sensors in Garmin instinct 2

  • Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Compass
  • Accelerometer and Thermometer
Activity monitoring Vivoactive 4  Instinct 2
Step counter Yes Yes
Calories burned Yes Yes
Distance traveled Yes Yes
Floors up Yes Yes
Sleep monitoring Yes Yes
Measuring stress levels No Yes
Heart rate measurement Yes Yes
Calorie intake No No
Hydration levels No No

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Battery

instinct 2 vs vivoactive 4

Garmin watches are designed for people who enjoy being outside. As a result, these watches have longer battery life.

Similarly, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and instinct 2 have prolonged battery backups, removing the need to recharge the watch daily.

The Vivoactive 4 has a battery life of 7 days in smartwatch mode and 5 hours in GPS mode.

In testing, the battery life of the Vivoactive 4 dropped by only 24% in 24 hours. I did a short GPS-enabled run and a 50-minute yoga training throughout that time.

The battery had less than 30% charge after nearly three days of frequent use and another GPS-tracked run.

The Instinct 2, on the other hand, has a more long-lasting battery that provides 28 days of battery backup time in smartwatch mode and 30 hours in GPS mode.

Garmin claims that the Instinct 2 can be used continuously for up to four weeks in smartwatch mode. In addition, Garmin proposes a brand new benchmark, allowing unlimited battery life in smartwatch mode on selected models.

According to specifications, the 45mm Instinct 2 Solar models can achieve an infinite battery life if the sun aligns perfectly. 

While many of the finest Garmin smartwatches can last for days (if not weeks) before needing to be recharged, the Instinct 2 is the brand’s first to use solar power to last indefinitely.

Battery Life Vivoactive 4 Instinct 2
Smartwatch mode 7 days 28 days
GPS With mode 5 hours 30


GPS mode without music 16 hours 42 hours
Battery Saver Watch Mode No such mode 65 days and has solar charging capability

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Storage And Music Compatibility

vivoactive 4 vs instinct 2

Just like previous model Vivoactive 4 brings built-in music storage that allows you to pile up the list of 500 songs. So during workous you can enjoy your favorite playlist from your wrist.

Music can be downloaded from your laptop or third-party providers such as Amazon Music, Deezer, Runcasts, and Spotify.

In testing, setting up Spotify on the Vivoactive 4 wasn’t particularly convenient, but I eventually got it working by following the guidelines in the online user manual; you can also use that for this purpose.

 Meantime, the Garmin Instinct 2 only has audio tracks control and no internal memory for storing songs. Another issue is that this model is incompatible with any previously mentioned streaming music services.

 Garmin Vivoactive 4 storage

  • 7 timed activities
  • 14 days of activity tracking data
  • Up to 500 songs

 Garmin Instinct 2 storage

  • The Garmin instinct 2 has a storage of 32MB

Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Connectivity

When we talk about connectivity, it must be stated that the Vivoactive 4 is more functional than the Instinct 2. 

This smartwatch includes low-power Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi, ANT +, integrated GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and NFC for contactless payments via the Garmin Pay system. On the other hand, the Instinct 2 lacks Wi-Fi and NFC, so it has less to offer.

 Garmin Instinct 2 vs Vivoactive 4: Price

instinct 2 vs vivoactive 4

The cost of a watch is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing one. Garmin watches are typically more expensive than conventional sports watches.

The Garmin Instinct 2 is now available in a range of form factors. it offers Surf, Tactical, dezl, and Camo editions with special colour variations and specialised features and solar-powered offerings.

The Surf Edition, for example, includes a tide widget and Surfline Workouts suitability. Meanwhile, the Garmin Instinct 2 dezl Edition was designed for truckers.

  • Garmin Instinct 2/2S: $349 
  • Garmin Instinct 2/2S Solar: $449
  • Garmin Instinct 2/2S Camo Edition: $399
  • Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Tactical Edition: $499
  • Garmin Instinct 2/2S Surf Edition: $399     
  • Garmin Instinct 2/2S Solar Surf Edition: $499 
  • Garmin Instinct 2 dezl Edition: $399 

Garmin Vivoactive 4, on the other hand, ends up costing $329 for both the 40mm and 45mm versions. So, if you’re on a low budget, go with Vivoactive 4.

Garmin Instinct 2 VS Vivoactive 4: Which One To Choose

If you want an elegant smartwatch with a good battery and a sleek design that can be worn both at a party and at the office, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the best option.

However, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you should go for Garmin Instinct 2 as it offers a long-lasting battery plus many outdoor sports activities and health features. And also it’s more durable than Vivoactive 4 that’s why easily sustain under harsh conditions.

However, Garmin Instinct 2 lacks a touch screen and cannot measure your blood oxygen level, whereas the Garmin Vivoactive 4 has both of these features. It is now your part to decide which smartwatch to purchase.

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