Image source: Garmin

Leaked images spark debate over potential Garmin Instinct 3

A couple of leaked images purportedly show a new Garmin Instinct model. The pics, which originate from a Telegram group, have been circulating on various social media platforms. The back of the device clearly displays “Instinct 3,” suggesting this could be the next iteration of the device.

The Garmin Instinct series has seen a steady evolution since its debut in October 2018. The original model was followed by a solar variant in July 2020 and an eSports edition, both offering incremental upgrades. February 2022 marked a significant milestone with the release of the fully-fledged second-generation Instinct 2. Most recently, in November 2022, Garmin introduced the Instinct Crossover, a hybrid design that maintains the functionality of the Instinct 2 while offering a unique aesthetic.

All of this means it is time for an upgrade. We recently wrote about the possibility of Garmin Fenix 8 landing in early September, but it seems we may also soon get the Instinct 3.

A Garmin Instinct 3 pre-production model?

The leaked images show a device that retains the Instinct’s signature square-ish shape. The iconic circular display in the top right corner is present. The partial view of the display and the plastic cover on top creates an optical illusion that makes the screen look different from previous Instinct models. But they are similar.

Many details in the leaked images also align closely with Garmin’s current design language. The overall screen layout, fonts, button texts, and the prominent “SOLAR” text on the bezel are all consistent with existing Garmin watches. The screws and information on the back of the device, including the “Instinct 3” label, also match Garmin’s typical style.

Garmin Instinct 3

The heart rate sensor appears to have a covering, making it challenging to determine its generation. It could be either the Elevate 4 or the more recent Elevate 5 sensor. If it’s the latter, the gray sections on the bezel might be metal contacts for ECG functionality, which would be a significant upgrade for the Instinct line.

A sticker visible in the images carries text that translates to “controlled machine cannot be shipped,” suggesting this could be a pre-production model. Such units are often sent to regulatory bodies for certification before final release, explaining the unfinished look of certain elements.

Final word

We have been keeping an eye out for retailer leaks as we are expecting the Garmin Instinct 3 to land soon. Users on social media are divided on whether these images are the real thing. Some say it’s fake, others that it is the real deal. Our guess is that it might, very well, be a development prototype.

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If genuine, the Instinct 3 appears to represent a slight evolution in design, potentially offering users improved functionality while maintaining the rugged durability that Instinct users have come to expect. As always with leaks, some caution is warranted, but these images offer an insight into the possible future direction of Garmin’s Instinct line.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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