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

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

Without much ado, here is the Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core comparison table to quickly help you distinguish between the two smartwatches.

Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core Comparison Table

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

Garmin Instinct comes with branded damage-resistant glass that is thin, light, and can tolerate high levels of force.

Unfortunately, Suunto Core and 87% of Suunto watches don’t feature branded damage-resistant glass. It is important you be extra careful it doesn’t land on the ground so hard.

The Garmin has a display resolution of 128 x 128 pixels while Suunto Core comes with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.

Both watches don’t come with touchscreen displays. To navigate around the watch you will need to use the side button.

The use of buttons feels tiresome sometimes compared to when using touchscreen displays. Talking of the wristband, Garmin comes with a replaceable wrist strap while Suunto doesn’t.

You can therefore customize the Garmin Instinct watch with a new wristband to match whatever outfits you are putting on for the day.

In addition, Garmin Instinct weighs less than 52g while the Suunto Core weighs about 63g. Suunto Core feels slightly bulkier than the Garmin Instinct which feels more comfortable on the wrist.

Water Resistance: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

The smartwatches differ by far when looking at their waterproofing. For instance, Garmin Instinct features a water-resistant rating of 10 ATM.

This suggests Instinct can withstand water pressure of up to 100 meters below water. Other Garmin Watches that are waterproof to 100 meters are the Fenix 6 and Fenix 6x.

On the other hand, we have the Suunto Core watch which is only water-resistant up to a depth of 30 meters.

Garmin Instinct is the right watch to go for when you are in search of a watch withstand that can withstand the swimming pool or beach.

Suunto Core on the other hand is not best for swimming pools and beaches but can be who in the shower.

Sensors: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core


75% of Garmin watches come with GPS for mapping routes and paces while 25% of Suunto watches don’t.

Luckily, Garmin Instinct comes with a GPS sensor that will guide you on what routes to take while running, walking, or cycling. Suunto Core doesn’t come with a GPS sensor for geo-tagging which is so unfortunate.

Pulse Oximeter Sensor

Either Instinct or Suunto Core isn’t a choice when you are looking for a watch that will monitor the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles.

The more exercise you do the better your blood oxygen levels and so you don’t realize how better your blood oxygen level become with either of the smartwatches.


Suunto Core and Garmin Instinct both come with a built-in barometer sensor that is responsible for measuring air pressure.

The barometer can be used to predict the weather. For instance, a quick drop in air pressure could suggest that a storm is on the way.

Also, calibrate the barometer correctly and you will be able to determine altitudes. This is also of great help to GPS devices because they become more accurate.


The purpose of an accelerometer on a watch is to measure linear acceleration. The sensor will detect when the watch changes between horizontal and vertical positions.

Garmin Instinct is so fortunate because it comes with a built-in accelerometer while the Suunto Core smartwatch doesn’t come with the feature.


Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core both come with onboard compasses. Compasses are essential for navigation software, maps, and even gaming.

About 58% of Garmin smartwatches come with compasses while about 42% of Suunto smartwatches don’t come with compasses.

Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor is important because it helps track the changes in temperature to estimate the exertion level and for that reason you avoid hyperthermia.

Luckily, those who opt for the Garmin Instinct will find a built-in temperature sensor while those going for Suunto Core won’t get the temperature sensor.

Cadence Sensor

The cadence sensor is an important feature for those that love cycling. A cadence sensor will monitor the number of pedal cycles/revolutions you make per minute while cycling.

If you want to know how fast or slow you pedal this is the feature to look for. We would prefer Garmin Instinct instead of Suunto Core because Instinct comes with a cadence sensor to track cycling.  


Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core both don’t feature a gyro. A gyroscope sensor is supposed to track your smartwatch’s orientation by estimating the angular rotational velocity.

Activity Tracking: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

Route Tracker

Garmin Instinct comes with a router tracker that will let you add your routes on a map. The route tracker becomes more helpful when you are planning to do a similar route once more.

Garmin Instinct is able to track your routes while Suunto Core can’t. Instinct will also let you share the routes with the Garmin Community.

Activity Reports

All your daily activities are analyzed to come up with reports. These reports are provided on companion apps or website dashboards.

These reports will make you realize how active you have been and find ways to improve where necessary. The good news is Garmin Instinct provides you with activity reports while Suunto Core doesn’t.

Distance Tracking

Garmin Instinct will monitor the distances you cover while calculating steps. Unfortunately, Suunto Core will not be able to track the distances cover while walking, jogging, running, or cycling.

Calories Burned

Considering a watch that can track the number of calories burned is important when you are trying to lose weight or when on a strict training diet.

Garmin Instinct calculates the number of calories you burn and it is the smartwatch to opt for. Suunto Core doesn’t calculate the calories burnt.

A smartwatch that tracks how many calories you burn boosts your motivation to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep Tracking

Garmin Instinct is the watch to spend money on if you are looking for a watch between the two that can track your every night’s sleep.

Instinct will be able to tell you how long your sleep was, and the quality of your sleep (Sleep Stages) –Light, Deep, or REM sleep.  Unfortunately, Suunto Core does not track your night sleeps.

Connectivity: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

Both Garmin Instinct and Suunto Core don’t come with NFC. This means you can’t make contactless payments with either of the smartwatches.

Both Instinct and Core don’t support Wi-Fi. Garmin Instinct supports the ANT+ while Suunto Core does not.

While Garmin automatically syncs wirelessly, Suunto Core does not. In addition, Garmin Instinct is compatible with both iOS and Android devices while Suunto Core isn’t.

Price: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

In case you are looking for a smartwatch that is more affordable, we would prefer you get the Suunto Core watch, it only goes for about $123.

While Garmin Instinct goes for about $169 which is slightly expensive but worth the purchase since it has got more to offer than Suunto Core.

Battery Life: Garmin Instinct vs Suunto Core

Garmin Instinct comes with a good battery life of up to 14 days on smartwatch mode and about 16 hours when on GPS mode.

Suunto Core, on the other hand, comes with a Duracell 2430 3V lithium battery that will last for about 12 to 18 months depending on how it’s used. Suunto Core is the watch to run to when looking for good battery life.

Also, see how Garmin Forerunner 235 and Instinct compare.

Leave a Comment