The Garmin Descent G1 has been launched on the market by Garmin in 2022. It is economically the more accessible version of the Garmin Descent MK2, and it is a real opportunity. In fact, the new product by the American company offers the chance to have all the functions of the Descent MK2 at a much lower price thanks to a more “contained” hardware. We have analyzed the special Solar version of the G1.

The sensors inside the Descent G1 are a plethora of features, making it an ideal fitness, sleep, and health monitor. 30 built-in sports applications and sophisticated training capabilities, as well as new additions such as Fitness Age and Health Snapshot, are accessible. No music can be stored as instead is possible on the Garmin Descent Mk2.

Design and materials

The Garmin Descent G1 Solar has both the case and the bezel in fiber-reinforced polymer. This is a lighter and more economical material compared to steel. Of course, steel is stronger and looks better, but indeed the material of the G1 is much cheaper. On the Garmin Descent Mk2 the bezel is instead in stainless steel.

The dimensions of the Descent G1 Solar are a diameter of 45.5 mm and a thickness of 15.2 mm, versus 52 x 18.8 mm of the Mk2. The weight of the G1 Solar goes down to only 66 grams from the 104 grams of the Mk2.

The display size is 0.9″ compared to the 1.4″ of the Mk2. Here we have of course quite some difference in readability. The Descent G1 is monochrome, and a sunlight-visible, 176 x 176 p resolution transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) solution.

The watch band is in sylicone and measures 128-224 mm. There is a very useful extra long band to reach the length of 373 mm, excellent to be used with thick Winter wetsuits.


Apart from the proven top quality of all Garmin products, the strong asset of the Descent G1 Solar, just as the Mk1 first and the Mk2 now, is the enormous number of available sport profiles: Running, cycling, tracking, golf, swimming pool, open water, kayak, sup, surf, boating, weights, yoga, cross-country skiing and more. These functions all help us practice sports, but also train for what we love the most, freediving and spearfishing. Of course, the characteristics dedicated to scuba diving are all present, but let’s take a deeper look at the spearfishing and freediving ones. The heart beat monitor sensor under the case is key for all these activities.

Spearfishing and freediving

Apnea Hunt

The really special and unique function of the Garmin Descent G1 and G1 Solar is the GPS sensor system. Thanks to deep dive resistance of the Garmin G1, plus the GPS system, it is possible to have an accurate registration of the diving spots. This definitely helps when spearfishing. The spearfisherman will be in fact able to memorize good fishing spots without the necessity to have a boat and boatman as support nearby. The Apnea Hunt mode in fact automatically tracks divers’ surface entry and exit positions utilizing multi-GNSS satellite support. This allows the spearo to examine a comprehensive analysis of each dive activity.

Tides and sun hours

Extremely useful is the tide information, which is key for the expert spearos in determining the best moments of the day to hunt. The tides evolution along the day will be indicated by the Garmin Descent G1 based on the GPS position, on the position coordinates inserted by the diver, or on the previously saved positions. A graph will be shown with the evolution of the tides, but also a simple list of high and low tides along the actual and following days.

Indeed, also the indication of the daylight hours is key. The sunrise and sunset times are always available on the G1, with the onscreen data adjustable to have them visible at all times.


During spearfishing and freediving safety is key. The Garmin Descent G1 and G1 Solar are complete with a number of alarms. One of the key ones is the surface recovery time, which can be set manually. Other alarms useful both for freediving and spearfishing are the setting of the variometer, which means the alarm will be activated every time the dives will vary depth of the set number of meters (so both descending and ascending). The maximum dive time, dive depth, ascend and descend speeds can all be set to be advised when such values are reached during the dive. The alarms can all be set with tones, vibration or mute. The difference between the Apnea and Apnea Hunt modes is exactly the alarm setting. In the Apnea Hunt mode all alarms are silenced (only vibration).

Garmin Apps & Express software

Garmin Connect and Dive apps

The Garmin Connect and Dive apps are definitely something that represent a huge help for the spearfisherman and freediver. The Garmin Connect is a complete App that shows all the info on the Descent G1, including any activity, from running to bicycling, to diving, to up to 30 different sports and activities. Garmin Dive App is focused on diving. For the diving activity both Apps show great information.

Detailed info of each session and each dive are stored in the Descent G1 and is visible on the smartphone easily. What is good, which is not something always true with diving watches, is the immediate connection between the G1 and the smartphone.

Focusing on the info of our dives, graphs are shown with the depth of each dive, water temperature, even heart rate if the G1 is positioned directly on the skin of the wrist. The GPS position of the surface entry and exit points of each dive are also indicated. A general screen of maximum depth and maximum dive time of all the dives of the session, surface entry and exit points, eventually maximum and minimum heart bpm is immediately available. The list of all dives can then be selected, with immediate view of the maximum depth, dive time and surface time between to consecutive dives.

Selecting the single dive we will see the GPS position of the dive on the map, the graph of the descending and ascending phases time (horizontal axle) versus depth (vertical axis). The list of a huge number of data is then available. Total dive time, surface interval, time at the bottom or at a fixed depth, maximum depth. Advanced data is indicated with descent and ascent time and average and maximum speed. Surface access and exit GPS points of the dive. Remember that to correctly register the exit point of the dive it is good to keep the Descent G1 out of the water for a few moments.

Express software to PC or MAC

The Garmin Express software, downloadable from the Garmin website, is a great tool to connect and eventually download the data from your Garmin Descent G1 (Solar) on your PC or Mac. The software permits to view all details of the diving smartwatch connected, setup the App directly from your PC or Mac, and view all info of your activities. This of course includes the diving sessions. Practically the data shown by the Garmin Express on the laptop is the same as the one shown by the Garmin Dive App on the smartphone. Evidently working on a laptop makes all data more visible, with large graphs and easily readable lists of data.

Battery life

The battery life of the Garmin Descent G1 Solar in Dive Mode reaches up to 25 hours. In Smartwatch Mode it is 21 days. This is assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions (sunny day). In battery Saver Watch Mode the charge of the battery can last up to 48 days and is unlimited with solar (assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions). The GPS mode, key for many activities, among which definitely the spearfishing one, has a battery charge of up to 26 hours and additional 13 hours with solar charging. In the expedition GPS Activity Mode, the battery charge lasts up to 27 days and is unlimited with solar charge (still assuming at least 3 hours of full sun per day).

So in general great duration of the charge of the battery. The solar recharge, evidently due to limits in the dimensions, mainly supports the duration of the battery, more the actually charging it (it does but with strong sunlight and takes time).


If you want a real jewel computer watch, almost a status symbol, you might go for the Garmin Descent Mk2. But indeed, it is not a low price diving watch. Still, it is something that diving, freediving and spearfishing enthusiasts would really love to have. Beautiful with its steel or Titanium bezel, the large case and wonderful wide colour screen, this is really a must have! Still, an amazing job has been done by the Garmin technicians to maintain most of the incredible qualities of the Mk2 in a much cheaper watch, the Descent G1. In fact, the only main differences between the two diving watches are the smaller monochrome screen, and the glass loaded Nylon bezel. Al this, for practically a price for the Descent G1 which is half the one of the Mk2. The great functions and quality of the Garmin Descent line is now available to many more spearfishermen and freedivers than before.