Using the Garmin D2 Air X10 with your iPhone and Garmin Pilot

Garmin D2 Air X10

The Garmin D2 Air X10 packs a lot of sensors into a small watch.

Garmin continues to improve their range of aviation smartwatches, and the new D2 Air X10 is their best yet. It retains the bright touchscreen display and built-in pulse oximeter from the previous generation D2 Air, while adding new voice assistant features and an impressive 7-day battery life. It can navigate to the nearest airport, show your pressure altitude, and even monitor your heart rate. After some recent test flights, we are very impressed—it’s enough to give the Apple Watch a run for the money.

While the D2 Air X10 can function quite well as a standalone navigator (using the internal GPS and aviation database), it is even more powerful when paired with a smartphone. This allows you to get updated weather and even share flight plans; it’s really an extension of your flight deck. Here’s what it can do.

First, download the free Garmin Connect app on your phone. This is not an aviation-specific app, but it’s the main connection between your watch and the internet. This app will allow you to sync calendar appointments and contacts, track your workout data, and push email/phone/text alerts to your watch.

To make the connection, press the bottom button on the right side of the watch, tap on the settings symbol, and choose Connectivity -> Phone. This will put the watch in pairing mode. On your phone, open the Garmin Connect app and add a device—D2 Air X10 should be one of the options. Note that you won’t go to the main Settings app as you would with most wireless devices. All pairing is done directly in the Garmin Connect app.

Once you’re paired, you can adjust options and set up personal information, from downloading music (the watch supports Spotify and Amazon Music) to enabling Garmin Pay (the company’s contactless payment system). One thing that’s worth spending some time on is the order of glances, the quick-access widgets that are accessible by swiping up or down from the main watch face. The Garmin Connect app makes it easy to add, remove, and reorder these glances to suit your preference.

The D2 Air X10 can display live METARs and TAFs anytime you’re connected to the Garmin Connect app on your phone and you have an active internet connection. This is an easy way to check weather without needing to look at your phone or tablet. You can even set a favorite airport and the main clock face will show weather data for that airport.

To unlock all the aviation features, download the Garmin Pilot app and sign in. If you’ve already paired your watch to your phone with the Garmin Connect app, you should see the D2 Air X10 available under the the Connext menu. This is the place to find all external devices, from GDL 50 ADS-B receivers to Flight Stream panel-mount devices. Tapping on the D2 Air X10 will show details about the watch, including connection status. This is also the place to sync flight plans. In the left screenshot below, we have it set to automatically transfer flight plan updates. In the right screenshot below, we are manually pushing a flight plan from our phone to the watch. You can also see that we’ve simultaneously connected to a Flight Stream 510 in the panel (represented by GTN 750 below) and the D2 Air X10.

Unlike the higher priced D2 Delta series, which is still available, the D2 Air cannot display a moving map or animated radar. However, we like the screen and smaller size of the D2 Air X10 more than the D2 Delta. Also note that flight plan sync is not available with ForeFlight or other apps.

One other setting on this page is the SPO2 warning threshold. This uses the watch’s built-in pulse oximeter, which tracks oxygen levels and pulse:

But you can also set an alert in Garmin Pilot to pop up a notification in the app if your oxygen level drops to an unsafe level. Here we’ve set it to 90%:

Finally, note that automatic flight logging is available with the D2 Air X10. The watch can start recording above 200 feet and stop recording when groundspeed gets below 30 knots. This will record GPS position and speed, and a basic map and graphs are available in the Garmin Connect app:

For more detailed analysis, the flight logs are uploaded automatically to FlyGarmin.com. From here, you can see all the details:

The D2 Air X10 Smartwatch is available for $549.99, a good value considering all the features it has. The Garmin Connect app is free to download for iOS and Android. Garmin Pilot is free to download (also for iOS and Android) but requires an annual subscription to unlock most features.

8 replies
  1. Matt Smithers
    Matt Smithers says:

    Great review, thanks. I’d be interested in knowing more about daily living with it and an iPhone. I LOVE my Apple Watch & use Siri to make reminders, appointments, etc. I know this watch connects with Siri, but I’m curious to what extent. Is it limited, are there incompatibilities, etc. This is my only hold back at this point. I really like it, & if it plays well with the iPhone in non-aviation use, I’m in!

    Reply
    • Jake Hall
      Jake Hall says:

      You might want to take a look at reviews of the Venu 2 Plus for Siri integration, my understanding is the watch is the same underlying platform just without the aviation-specific apps and widgets. So all the smartwatch features should work identically.

      Reply
    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      I would say it’s 90% of an Apple Watch. Via the Garmin Connect app you can sync almost everything from your iPhone: calendar notifications, text message notifications, Slack messages, reminders, etc. The fitness features are all on the Garmin watch itself, so I don’t think any of the Apple Workouts features transfer. You can set the middle button on the side to be initiate Siri. More details here from Garmin: https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=B0n9YwrwMg4j7yEgevIWgA&productID=869433&tab=topics

      Reply
  2. John Benham
    John Benham says:

    All of the initial reviews on this new D2 Air do not mention phone connection thru the watch for voice calls. Does it or does it not compete with the Apple Watch in this way? Thanks

    Reply
  3. Mark S Jacobson
    Mark S Jacobson says:

    The watch has been extremely problematic. With Bluetooth enabled and a connection through Garmin connect sometimes the watch will pair sometimes not. If I do get the watch paired it will disconnect after a period of time even with iPhone 10 next to it. I have never received a GPS connection nor been able to transfer a flight plan from Garmin pilot.

    Reply
    • Remfire
      Remfire says:

      You need to check if you have a iPad with connect on it, also with end reach of Bluetooth, watch gets mixed up, as to which devise to sync too.

      Reply

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