Tech reviews

Garmin tactix Delta Solar quick review: For the outdoorsy person who has everything

Gelo Gonzales
Garmin tactix Delta Solar quick review: For the outdoorsy person who has everything


All photos by Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

A price of over P60,000 makes this a premium watch for the modern-day adventurer

(Disclosure: Garmin lent a unit for the purpose of this article.)

The Garmin tactix Solar doesn’t feel like a smartwatch to me. It’s marketed for being tested to US military standards, and it truly feels like it: it feels more like military equipment than your traditional sleek, city-lifestyle smartwatch. 

It is decidedly traditionally masculine. Remember when large watches were all the rage? If you were a fan of those, you’ll like the tactix Delta. It’s the largest of the line so far with a 1.4-inch screen, which is 36% larger than any other former model. It’s a truly handsome device with a premium build all the way through featuring a steel bezel, and sapphire glass, along with a thick strap made of nylon and silicone. It’s chunky and hefty, although surprisingly, it’s not as heavy as it looks.

You only need to look at its price tag though to know that you’re not dealing with an ordinary smartwatch. It’s officially listed at P62,795. For the price, you do get a lot of features, but we’ll say it right now: it’s for someone who’s truly always outdoors, does a variety of sports, and has a taste for premium-tier devices that will truly be able to maximize it. 

For someone who’s more used to seeing Apple or Samsung smartwatches, the first thing you’ll be surprised with is that it doesn’t use a touchscreen. Instead, it uses these five buttons – three on the left, and two on the right – to navigate the watch. Make sure to go through the basic navigation tutorials to be able to use it. With these buttons, the device does have an old-school feel to it, and for some reason, it only adds to a more militaristic feel. Given its looks and style, sometimes you feel like some sort of operative even if you’re just going to check if you’re breathing correctly. 

If you’re a city dweller like me, the tactic Solar has features that would make me want to go out more. It uses multiple global navigation systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo), which makes it more accurate when tracking your location, especially in more challenging environments where GPS alone might fail. For the mountaineer, the tactix has appeal. 

Its battery life is much longer than the usual smartwatch. While most smartwatches only last a few days, the tactix promises it can last up to 24 days in smartwatch mode, and since it can be solar-powered, you’ll be able to keep it running as long as you get enough sunlight. And in case you are indeed in the military, the watch has a night vision mode that allows the watch to be viewable while wearing night vision goggles. 

You also get the usual heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, and various exercise modes in the watch. But you know what you find in most other smartwatches? tactix also has modes for skydiving/paragliding in jumpmaster mode which gives you information on altitude and navigation data for where you want to go; topographical maps for skiers; a Climbpro feature made for runners and cyclers who want data on mountainous terrain; and well, maps for golf courses, in case you want to relax from all that adventuring. 

This has to be one of the most versatile and toughest smartwatches around. 

For those who do less adventuring, here are a few other key features: a body battery energy monitor which uses various body data to show you how much physical energy you may use; respiration tracking; and the usual phone notification and Spotify compatibility. 

The tactix Delta is handsome, tough, and can (probably) do it all (except touchscreen functions). But again, it’s not for everyone. For the extremely outdoor person who has access to all sorts of outdoor sporting opportunities (i.e. skiing, mountaineering, skydiving), that’s who this watch will truly appeal to. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.