Garmin Instinct Esports Edition review

Gaming is great, the feeling of exhilaration as you get a win in Apex Legends or the stress you feel in horror games like Outlast or Phasmaphobia. Imagine being able to show your stress levels as you play to your viewers on Twitch? Thanks to Garmin, now you can.

The Garmin Instinct Esports edition not only works as a great fitness watch but you can now sync it up to your computer and add a unique overlay to your streams.

Let’s talk a little bit about the watch first though. Coming in at £269.99 – The Instinct is a great looking rugged watch with all sorts of capabilities, some of the standout specs are:

  • 14 day smartwatch battery life
  • 16 hours in GPS-on mode for outdoor workouts
  • 80 hours in Esports streaming mode
  • Nifty game controller icon on watch face
  • 24×7 activity tracking with steps/sleep/heart rate/stress
  • Included optical HR sensor, barometer, altimeter
  • Bluetooth Smart notifications
  • MIL-STD 810 durability specification compliant

The Instinct Esports edition is a special edition version of the popular Garmin Instinct watch with a unique Esports profile. Using the watch at the same time as an specially designed app you’ll be able to show three metrics on screen for your viewers; Heart Rate, Stress and Body Battery. Through the app you can customise the colour of the overlay and also have animated gifs display when you the watch reaches a customisable threshold. For example if your heart goes above 100 bpm, a heart breaking in half shows on the screen.

The STR3AMUP! app takes just a few seconds to install, it will look to connect with the watch straight away. Once you are connected you’ll be able to customise how the overlay will look on your stream. Adding the overlays to your stream is fairly straightforward, you basically need to add window overlays to your streaming software, then add a chroma key filter for each window you use.

I’d have liked to see more customisation options available within the software, there are limited colour options for the metrics, none that fit in with the branding for my stream and you weren’t able to customise the gifs that displayed apart from the three choices available. Despite that, it’s really cool being able to see how games affect your body metrics and it offers a unique perspective for your channel and viewers. 

For those of you that aren’t sure, it’s worth explaining a bit more about the metrics. Heart rate should be obvious, it measures how fast your heart is beating per minute (bpm). The Stress and Body Battery metrics are algorithms that give you an idea of how stressed your body is and how much energy it has. The screenshots below give a good example. This week at work has been mental and my stress chart confirms that, throw in my body battery levels and it shows how the stress affects you. I could see how this would be useful for Esports organisations too, they could monitor their teams and use the data to help players who find some situations more stressful. Knowing when a player may ‘choke’ based on the metrics could help teams learn from the situation and improve next time.











It’s easy to forget that there is a whole lot more to this watch. It’s also a smartwatch and a proper fitness device too. I really like the bold look the watch has, it has a rugged black case with bright red markings, having not seen the Instinct range before I really like the screen too with its 23 x 23 mm two window design. The circular second window can be customised to show individual pieces of data. With over 30 sports available to track including, run, trail run, walk, treadmill, hike, climb, bike, ski, row, pool swim, strength, cardio and yoga.  the rugged design of the watch lends to an active lifestyle. No doubt it will handle some rage quitting too!

Navigating through the watch is really easy, short button presses let you scroll through the fitness metrics while there are some long button presses that let you access  the smartwatch features available. The watch links to your phone via the Garmin Connect app and allows you to receive notifications, sync courses and train via the Garmin Coach. 

As you would expect from Garmin, whichever sport you decide to take on you’ll see accurate statistics which can be poured over via the Garmin Connect app or website. As for battery life, the Instinct has an advertised battery life of 14 days in smartwatch mode and can last 80 hours in Esports mode, Of course battery life changes depending on how you use it, from my experience these stats seem to be pretty accurate.

Overall, I love the fact this watch has added an Esports mode to it, for streamers it adds a unique layer to their presentations and for their viewers its a fascinating look at just how their favourite gamers are being affected by what they are playing. For Esports teams, the opportunity to analyse data on their players is too good an opportunity to miss, it could make the difference between winning and losing.

Huge thanks to Garmin for their support!

Dave Moran
Hello! I'm the owner and Editor-in-Chief of the site. I play too much Rocket League (and Fortnite for that matter) and I wish I was better at Rainbow Six Siege!

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