Home » Garmin » Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core: Which One Should You Buy?

Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core: Which One Should You Buy?

The Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core are two popular watches by Garmin. They both come with a variety of features, such as heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. Choosing between the two can be difficult. To assist in making an informed decision, I will compare the “Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core in this ‘vs‘ guide.

Comparison Table

Here’s a comparison table outlining the similarities and differences between Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core.

Display45mm, AMOLED49.1mm, LED
Resolution128 x 128 pixels320 x 240 pixels
Temperature Sensor
Activity TrackingActivity reports]
Calories Burned
CompatibilityiOS and AndroidNone
Battery Life14 days (smartwatch mode)
16 hours (GPS mode)
12 to 18 months
 Garmin Instinct
Buy on Amazon
Sunnto Core, Outdoor Sports Watch

Buy on Amazon

Design and Display: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

The Garmin Instinct watch features branded damage-resistant glass that is light, thin, and can withstand high levels of force. However, this is not the case for the Suunto Core watch and 87% of other Suunto watches, which lack branded damage-resistant glass. So, be extra careful with the Suunto Watch so that it doesn’t get damaged if it falls.

The Garmin Instinct watch has a display resolution of 128 x 128 pixels, while the Suunto Core has a higher resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Neither watch has a touchscreen display, so you will use the side button to navigate.

In addition, the Garmin Instinct comes with replaceable bands that allow you to customize your watch to match your outfit for the day.

On the other hand, Suunto Core doesn’t offer a replaceable wrist strap. The Garmin Instinct weighs less than 52g, while the Suunto Core weighs about 63g.

Suunto Core feels slightly bulkier than the Garmin Instinct, which is more comfortable on the wrist.

Water Resistance

It’s important to note that smartwatches have varying levels of waterproofing. For example, the Garmin Instinct has a water-resistant rating of 10 ATM, which means it can withstand water pressure up to 100 meters below the surface.

However, the Suunto Core watch is only water-resistant up to 30 meters. So, if you’re looking for a watch that can handle the swimming pool or beach, the Garmin Instinct is a better choice. On the other hand, the Suunto Core is suitable for showering, but not ideal for swimming or beach activities.

Sensors: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core


Did you know that 75% of Garmin watches come with GPS for mapping routes and paces, while only 25% of Suunto watches have this feature? If you’re looking for a watch that guides you on the best routes to take while running, walking, or cycling, Garmin Instinct is a great choice. It comes with a GPS sensor that can show you the way. Unfortunately, Suunto Core doesn’t have a GPS sensor for geo-tagging, which is a shame.

Pulse Oximeter Sensor:

If you want a watch that monitors the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles, you won’t find that feature on either Instinct or Suunto Core. However, the more exercise you do, the better your blood oxygen levels become, so you can still benefit from these smartwatches.


Both Suunto Core and Garmin Instinct have a built-in barometer sensor that measures air pressure. This sensor is useful for predicting the weather; for example, a quick drop in air pressure could suggest that a storm is on the way. If you calibrate the barometer correctly, you can also use it to determine altitudes. This is especially helpful for GPS devices, as it can make them more accurate.


An accelerometer on a watch measures linear acceleration and detects when the watch changes between horizontal and vertical positions. If you’re looking for a watch with this feature, you’ll be happy to know that Garmin Instinct has a built-in accelerometer. Unfortunately, Suunto Core does not.


Both Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core come with onboard compasses. Compasses are essential for navigation software, maps, and even gaming. However, only about 58% of Garmin smartwatches have compasses, while about 42% of Suunto smartwatches do not.

Temperature Sensor:

A temperature sensor is important for tracking temperature changes to estimate exertion levels and avoid hyperthermia. If you opt for the Garmin Instinct, you’ll find a built-in temperature sensor. However, if you go for Suunto Core, you won’t get this feature.

Cadence Sensor:

If you love cycling, a cadence sensor is an essential feature to track the number of pedal cycles or revolutions you make per minute while cycling. This can help you determine how fast or slow you pedal. If you’re looking for a smartwatch with a cadence sensor, Garmin Instinct is a better choice than Suunto Core because it comes with this feature.


Neither Garmin Instinct nor Suunto Core have a gyro sensor. This type of sensor is responsible for tracking your smartwatch’s orientation by estimating the angular rotational velocity.

Activity Tracking: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

Route Tracker:

The Garmin Instinct features a route tracker that allows you to add your routes on a map. This feature becomes particularly useful when you plan to do a similar route again. With the Garmin Instinct, you can easily track your routes and share them with the Garmin community. However, the Suunto Core is unable to track your routes.

Activity Reports:

Companion apps or website dashboards offer daily activity reports that analyze your activities. These reports give you insights into your level of activity and help you find ways to improve. The Garmin Instinct provides you with activity reports while the Suunto Core does not.

Distance Tracking:

The Garmin Instinct can monitor the distances you cover while calculating steps. Unfortunately, Suunto Core is unable to track the distances you cover while walking, jogging, running, or cycling.

Calories Burned:

When trying to lose weight or on a strict training diet, it is important to have a watch that can track the number of calories you burn. The Garmin Instinct can calculate calories burned, making it the smartwatch to opt for. However, the Suunto Core does not calculate the calories burnt. A smartwatch that tracks how many calories you burn can boost your motivation to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep Tracking:

The Garmin Instinct is the watch to go for if you are looking for a watch that can track your sleep. It can tell you how long you sleep, and the quality of your sleep (sleep stages) – light, deep, or REM sleep. Unfortunately, the Suunto Core does not track your sleep.


Both the Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core smartwatches do not have NFC, which means that contactless payments cannot be made using either of them. Additionally, neither the Instinct nor the Core support Wi-Fi connectivity. However, the Garmin Instinct supports ANT+ while the Suunto Core does not.

When it comes to wireless syncing, the Garmin Instinct automatically syncs, whereas the Suunto Core does not. Furthermore, the Garmin Instinct is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, while the Suunto Core is not.


If affordability is a concern, the Suunto Core watch is a good option, as it is priced at around $123. However, the Garmin Instinct, which is priced at around $169, is worth the investment as it has more features to offer than the Suunto Core.

Battery Life: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

The Garmin Instinct boasts a battery life of up to 14 days on smartwatch mode and approximately 16 hours on GPS mode. On the other hand, the Suunto Core has a Duracell 2430 3V lithium battery that can last between 12 to 18 months, depending on usage. If you are looking for a smartwatch with a long battery life, the Suunto Core is a great choice.

Related Guide

Leave a Comment