Garmin Forerunner 220 In-Depth Review


The Garmin FR220 is the company’s latest mid-range (price-wise) running watch, which succeeds the older FR210 unit.  The FR210 carved out the mid-range niche, ahead of a slew of competitors that have followed in its footsteps.  But can Garmin jump ahead of all of these units with the Bluetooth connected FR220?  Over the past month+, I set out to find out – one run after another.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin provided both beta and final production FR220’s, with this review being written on the basis of the final production hardware + software (some photos were taken during the software beta period of course).  As always, in the next little bit I’ll be sending them back to Garmin and then going out and getting my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

So – with that intro, let’s get into things.


The FR220 comes in a variety of flavors – including grape (aka purple), which is the review unit flavor I ended up with.  Sometimes I think the Garmin folks just like to send me the girly colors merely so they can laugh at me.


Here’s the back of the box, in case you’re into that sorta thing:


After you’ve removed the outer shell, you’ll have three basic piles of stuff: Watch stuff, charger stuff, paper stuff.


Here we are, after having removed the plastic stuff:


Here’s the front of the watch itself.  As I’ll cover in a little bit, the unit is notably lighter than other units (and visibly so on the scale).  It’s also thinner a well as having a brighter screen.  All things you’ll see over the course of the next few hundred photos.


And here’s the back of the unit.  You’ll notice a new charging port, different from past Garmin products.  Also, you’ll see the ANT+ logo as well as Bluetooth Smart logo on there.


Looking at other boxed content, we’ve got the ever-exciting Quick Start Manual.  I suspect however by time you finish reading this post, you’ll ace the Quick Start Manual test.


Finally, we have the charging cable.  While this may look like the Garmin Fenix charging cable, it’s actually slightly different.  The pin-outs (little copper things) are arranged different such that you can’t interchange the two cables.


Here’s a closer look at how things line up:


And then snapped in:


The good news is that unlike some of the previous Garmin Forerunner charging cables – this one stays locked on very nicely.  You can see it hanging here.  I could easily hold onto one end of the USB cable and swing it around my head like a lasso and it won’t fly off.


I do want to briefly note that the FR220 comes in two color variations.  The purple which you’ll see throughout this review, as well as a Red/Black variant, that I had at the beginning and end of my review cycle:


With our unboxing complete, let’s see how things size up to other units on the market.

Size Comparisons & Weights:

First we’ve got the standard rolling pin side view.  You’ll notice that for the most part the GPS units these days are all roughly in the same size arena.  It’s only the ones to the far left that are a bit bigger – the Adidas Smart Run GPS and the Suunto Ambit 2s.  And, at the far right side you’ve got the lightest and smallest of the bunch, the Magellan Echo.  Except that doesn’t have GPS in it but rather depends on your phone’s GPS.  The FR220 feature-wise best compares to the TomTom, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, and Polar RC3 (the three units directly to the left of it).


(From left to right: Adidas Smart Run GPS, Suunto Ambit 2s, Garmin FR610, Garmin FR620, Polar RC3, TomTom Runner/Multisport, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, Garmin FR220, Magellan Echo)

Next, we can turn them up a bit and see the height of each one.  The pattern is pretty similar here.  The TomTom is a bit of an optical illusion because while the height looks thin on the display side, the button wraps down around the front and pops up a bit.  The thickest units overall are the Adidas, Suunto and then the Timex Run Trainer 2.0 (3rd from right).


If I look at the three other units the Garmin FR220 tends to be compared to the most, you can see this a bit more clearly (Polar RC3, TomTom Runner, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, FR220).


The FR220 is of course the successor to the FR210.  The most noticeable aspect (aside from weight) though is really thickness.  In particular though towards the base of the unit.  You can see how the first bit of the FR210 watch band as it leaves the display is still a portion of the unit and added bulk, whereas the FR220 doesn’t have any of that extra bulk.


In the below photo you’ll note that the bezel of the FR220 is actually slightly larger (diameter) than that of the FR210, though you’d likely never notice it outside of this picture.


If we look at how it compares to the $129 Garmin FR10, you’ll see that it’s a fair bit thinner.  The 14-month old FR10 always was a bit chubby when it came to height, even though it had a fairly small width footprint:


Looking at wearing it, here’s what it looks like on my wrist, my wrist size is 17cm (or about 6.5 inches):



And, for all the smaller ladies in the house, here’s what it looks like on The Girl’s wrist, her wrist size is 14cm (or 5.5 inches) – and she’s tiny – 5’2” tall:



The Girl was quite happy with the watch – at least until I gave her the FR620, at which point she went for that.  She much prefers the FR220 colors though over the FR620 colors.

Last but not least, here’s the weight situation.  The FR220 weighed in at 41g:


Whereas the older FR210 came in at 52g:


Running Functionality and Features:


Now that you’re done looking at the thing, it’s time to actually run with it.

We’ll head outside and search for satellites.  This process should be much quicker on the FR220 (as well as the FR620) as both these units introduced the ability to pre-cache satellite locations for the next week.  These satellite caches are updated via Bluetooth Smart via your phone.

This tends to reduce the time to pickup satellite reception down to about 10-15 seconds – really scary quick.  I’ve seen some reception times in as little as 4-5 seconds.  The green bar along the top indicates satellite reception.  Once it’s fully green, a second later it’ll be ready to go.

Here’s a short video of this. This particular unit hadn’t been turned on for GPS reception in about 14 hours:

Here we are, ready to go:


One really cool new feature on the FR220 (and the FR620) is the ability to set the auto-sleep setting to ‘Extended’.  In the past, if you were at the start line of a race the unit would try to go to sleep every 5 minutes if recording hadn’t been started.  Now, you can configure the ‘Extended’ option which gives you 25 minutes to do something (either start, or to tap a button).


Once that’s all done, it’s time to start running.  To do so you’ll press the upper right button (colored button), which starts and pauses the run.  It’s also used for resuming if you pause.  Below that on the lower right you’ve got a lap button.


On the left side you’ve got an up/down set of buttons for navigating the menu and changing your display pages while running.  And finally in the upper left you have the backlight button.


Once you’ve started running the FR220 will display the metrics which you’ve configured it to display.  By default this will cover things like pace, distance, time, and heart rate.  You can customize different pages with different metrics.

For example, I typically like to configure a page with all my lap stats – such as lap pace, lap time, and lap distance:


And then on another page I’ve got more general run stats (heart rate, overall run time, but still lap pace):


The FR220 also allows you to have a two-metric page with HR stats on it, so that’s displayed below:


In total the FR220 lets you configure two data screens (+ one HR screen and one screen for the clock).  Each screen (page) can contain up to three pieces of data, either in a 1-metric, 2-metric, or three-metric configuration.  You’ll change which metrics are shown within the Activity Settings area, and then Data Screens:



You can choose to enable the clock view, which will add a page just for the clock.


Here’s the full listing of data fields you can configure on the FR220 (Update: In the latest firmware version 2.80 and above, you can now add the ‘Elevation’ data field):


(EDIT: Note that for the %Max HR/%HRR, that’s to setup the zones, but the display itself doesn’t show %Max HR/%HRR while running).

Many people ask about pace stability while using GPS.  Below is a short video I took while running with the unit.  I’m not wearing any footpod, this is pure GPS pace. Sorry for the bumpiness.  The bottom number is the pace number, shown in minutes/mile

Before you run you’ll want to pair the ANT+ heart rate strap if you purchased one.  This will transmit your heart rate to the watch for display and later retrieval in the recording.  It also greatly improves the calorie burn accuracy of the unit.  In fact, you can use the HR strap indoors with the GPS off to get calorie burn metrics.


While running you’ll just press the up/down button to iterate forward or backwards through the data pages.  You can also however use Auto Scroll to do it for you.  This will simply scroll through the data pages automatically:


The unit can be configured for both metric and statute displays (i.e. miles or kilometers), and in fact, there’s actually settings to change any of the different fields (such as pace or distance) individually and independently of each other.  So you could have pace in kilometer-related and distance in miles (as confusing as that would be).


While running you can configure the unit to automatically create laps, called Auto Laps. These can be setup based on a preset distance, such as 1 Mile.  I tend to use this for longer runs, rather than shorter ones.


Also of note is that the unit supports Auto Pause, which will automatically pause the unit when you go slower than a certain threshold – such as stopping at a light for a crosswalk.  You can customize the thresholds if they’re too high/low for you.

When it comes to alerting you’ve got a couple options.  You can create alerts on a number of metrics such as pace or heart rate.  These are both defined as high/low alerts, where you set a high value and/or a low value (both or individual) and then the unit alerts based upon crossing that threshold:


I’ve found the pace alerts though to be a bit finicky (on both the FR220 and the FR620), at least a bit hyper-sensitive.  In trying to do a workout with them set on the FR220 for 5:50-6:20/mile, it never stopped beeping, despite having three other GPS watches tell me I was holding 6:05-6:10/mile quite nicely.

Note that the FR220 does not have a Virtual Partner feature.  Rather, the pace alerts are your best option here.

You can also setup alerts such as the Run/Walk alert, which is common in a number of marathon training plans these days.  In this case you setup a Run Time (i.e. 10 minutes), and then a Walk Time (i.e. 1 minute) and then the unit will simply repeat this duo forever until you tell it otherwise.


Once your run is done you’ll go ahead and tap the pause button to pause it, which then brings you to this screen where you can save the run (or discard it I suppose):


After which it’ll list off any PR’s that you’ve hit for that run.  PR’s (Personal Records) are listed for distances from 1KM upwards to Marathon, as well as for records such as longest run.  Here’s a few of them:




The only problem is that while it’s supposed to pull your previous PR’s from Garmin Connect, it doesn’t appear to be doing so.  So in reality my PR’s are kinda skewed.

All of this information then ends up in the history section if you’d like to review it later from the watch itself.



And of course it’ll get uploaded online as I’ll cover in a bit.

Looking at GPS accuracy, I’m very happy with what I’m seeing with the FR220.  It’s in line with a bunch of other GPS units I’ve paired it up against, always relatively close to each other.  Given the accuracy of GPS technology in the consumer space, you’ll almost never get the same measurement from two units (even two like units), but in these cases you see very similar numbers across the board:




I’ll likely be doing accuracy tests again with the large batch of new running watches on the block, since it now makes sense to do so.

Treadmill Running & Internal Accelerometer:


The Garmin FR220 includes an internal accelerometer (in the watch) which enables the unit to measure both pace and cadence without the need for an external footpod (as most watches previously required).

This internal accelerometer is automatically configured while running outdoors with the GPS enabled (there’s no additional manual configuration).  My ability to test this particular feature has been somewhat limited, as only the final firmware enabled my unit the ability to record this data (as opposed to just viewing it).  That said, one of the easiest ways to test this is by simply running it through a straight forward pyramid test on a treadmill after a run outdoors (to get the unit calibrated via GPS).

For this test I did a very straight forward treadmill test after completing a short warm-up.  The recorded test includes the following:

1 Minute @ 12KPH (it took about 15-20s for the treadmill to get to full speed)
4 Minutes @ 13KPH (7:26/mi, 4:37/km)
1 Minute @ 14KPH (6:45/mi, 4:17/km)
1 Minute @ 15KPH (6:26/mi, 4:03/km)
1 Minute @ 16KPH (6:02/mi, 3:45/km)
1 Minute @ 17KPH (5:41/mi, 3:32/km)
1 Minute @ 18KPH (5:22/mi, 3:20/km)
1 Minute @ 10KPH (9:30/mi, 6:00/km) with letting treadmill stop last 10 seconds.

After that first minute, the following 4-minutes at 13KPH provided a bit more variability than I expected actually.  On previous tests where I couldn’t record the data (beta stuff), I did see much more consistency at these paces.  So I’m not quite as concerned here because I know from other testing as well as what I saw on the FR620 that it tends to do well in most cases at my ‘normal’ paces.


Nonetheless, if you look at the FR610 using a standard calibrated footpod, the paces are spot-on what you’d expect for each ‘step’ (increase) in my workout.  Or rather, more importantly – there are ‘steps’ at all!

In the case of the above FR220 data, it tops out at about 7:18/mile.  Whereas in reality, the below FR610 tops out at 5:23/mile, which is within :01/mile of the specified treadmill speed (point scored for footpod!).


In short, what you see here is that the paces are a bit all over the map when it comes to paces outside my normal range.  Which is pretty much exactly what I saw on my FR620 tests.

Next, we look at cadence provided by the internal cadence within the FR220 unit itself.  In this case, it’s actually not too bad.  What’s funny is that you can clearly see where I must have brushed sweat off my face around the 1:40 marker, as the cadence throws a dropout.  Remember that since this is measuring cadence based on my wrist (and not a footpod), it’s going to be impacted by things like that.


Next is a graph from a FR220 on the same arm (another one) that was set to use a standard ANT+ footpod.  In this case you can see how perfect the cadence is across each of the various steps.  As you can see, both pace and cadence from the internal unit is overwritten by the external ANT+ footpod.


Nonetheless, the pattern I’ve seen both inside and outside is that the cadence information provided by the FR220 internally is actually quite accurate.  I’ve put it up against really long 2hr runs and it’s within 1SPM for the entire run, which is pretty good considering I’m often grabbing gels, taking photos or the like.

Which, brings me to the last point that you’ve probably observed at this point in this section: The FR220 does indeed pair to a ANT+ footpod for pace and cadence.


While outdoors the unit will use the cadence from the footpod and GPS for the pace/distance.  While indoors with GPS off it’ll use data from the footpod for both.  The FR220 will not leverage the cadence information passed by the Garmin HRM-Run HR strap.  Only the FR620 can utilize that.

To pair your footpod you’ll go ahead and dive into the sensors area, and then add a footpod sensor:


From there you can search for the footpod:


You can manually configure the calibration factor there, or just let it do it via GPS after your run.


At that point you’re pretty much good to go. Likely when in indoors mode you’ll want to switch off GPS, which you can access by pressing the ‘Up’ button from the home screen (the one that says “Run”).  Then, select GPS to off.  At this point it’ll provide pace, distance and cadence while indoors (either with footpod or internal unit accelerometer).

Workout Creation & Training Plans:

The FR220 supports the ability to create manual workouts that you’ll follow on your device and be prompted for each step of the workout.  These workouts can have a variety of targets (such as pace, cadence, heart rate and speed), and can have preset durations such as time, distance or just simply pressing the lap button.  This is new to this price point, as previously the FR210 did not have this capability (it had basic interval support)

The workouts are created on Garmin Connect and then transferred to the device via Bluetooth or USB.

Below, you can see my creating one of my workouts.  You can create a multiple of steps, and include embedded repeating steps (such as Work + Rest intervals).  The Garmin Connect workout builder is pretty much the easiest and most complete interval builder out there.  Incredibly simple to use.


After you complete creating all your individual steps, you’ll be ready to save the workout (and name it).  You can always come back to it and edit it later though:


Once you’ve saved it you’ll go ahead and send it to your device via Bluetooth Smart (phone) or USB).  In my case, we’ll just go with USB:


At this point you can also add it to your Training Calendar.  By adding it to your Training Calendar you can sync the calendar to your device which will in turn automatically make certain workouts show up on the device based on the day you’re planning to execute them:


To find the workouts you’ll scroll down on your device to ‘Training’, you can then select ‘My Workouts’, where you’ll see any workouts you’ve transferred listed:


Within this you can also preview the steps for a given workout:


In addition to creating your own workouts, Garmin Connect includes (free) training plans for a variety of goal races from 5K’s to Marathons to Triathlons.  Each of these plans has various experience levels.


You can poke around at the different plans and decide which works best for you.  Each plan includes specific workouts for certain days of the week.  These workouts are based on the assumption of a known Start or End Date.  Typically the Finish Date is your race day.  You’ll just press ‘Schedule’ to add them to your Training Calendar.


Here you can see them in the Calendar View:


Back on the watch, these will show up within the Training > Training Calendar view.



Structured workouts will automatically walk you through each step of the workout, showing you how many minutes are left and the target for each step of the workout.


During the workout it’ll display a new page with each step (target) and the time remaining for each step:


If you exceed a threshold, it’ll alert you immediately.  You can see this below:


In the case above, I completely stopped, which triggered the pace to show null (zero), and give me a pace alert for being too slow.

Though strangely, it doesn’t actually tell you whether you were high or low – just simply that you were out of bounds for that portion of the workout. (To clarify: It always shows you the view two photos above, but when the pop-up alert happens, it doesn’t say “High/Low” there).  Update: It’s been explained to me that the border color of the alert will actually tell you if it’s high or low.  For high, it’ll show orange.  For low, it’ll show blue (as seen above).

Cycling Functionality:


The Garmin FR220 does not contain a cycling function, nor any way to connect to speed/cadence sensors while cycling.  It does however contain the ability to switch the display metric from pace (usually displayed as minutes/mile or minutes/kilometer) to speed (i.e. MPH/KPH).  You can do this via the the Settings > Activity Settings > Data Screens menu, and then within one of your data pages you can select the data field you want to change and change it to Speed.

At this point the unit will display speed (MPH or KPH depending on your preferences) as one of the data fields.


The only challenge with this particular workaround though is that by default the workout will still be uploaded to Garmin Connect as a ‘Run’, rather than a ‘Bike’ workout, which means that it’ll incorrectly trigger both PR’s on the unit (i.e. fastest 5KM) as well as incorrectly triggering those on Garmin Connect.

On the Garmin Connect side however you can go ahead and modify the workout type to be ‘Cycling’ which will then address the issue there.  On a subsequent synchronization it’ll pull that PR information back down to the watch.

Like it’s older sibling the FR210, the FR220 doesn’t contain any form of navigational and/or course routing.  Meaning that if you’re looking to use the GPS to get directions to somewhere, you’re better off taking a paper map for that.  I call this out in a section specifically, merely to minimize the number of questions on it.

For users that need these functions, the better choice would be the Fenix/Tactix watch form-factor lineup, rather than the running-specific watches.  The Fenix watches focus on navigation, running, and exceedingly long battery life (upwards of 55 hours).  They do lack however areas such as training plans, interval, and workout functions.  Though, they do contain a cycling mode with full support for ANT+ speed/cadence sensors.

Use as a day to day watch, backlight:


While the FR220 has 10 hours of GPS time, it can stay in standby mode for 6 weeks with GPS off.  in this mode it acts as a day to day watch.

If you want to unlock you’ll press one of the buttons and then press the little runner man button again to unlock it:


The FR220 allows you to create a single daily alarm.  You can’t configure said alarm for specific days of the week, nor can you create additional alarms.


Interestingly, in time mode you can configure the background to be black (with white text), or white (with black text).


By default the time on the unit will automatically come from the GPS, but you can manually override that if you wish.


Speaking of Time, you can also configure it for 12hr or 24hr mode:


Lastly, while running in the dark you can configure the unit’s backlight to remain on for a specified period of time.  By default it’s only a handful of seconds.  Thus I change it to simply ‘stay on’ until I tell it otherwise.


You can also select to have the unit automatically illuminate if/when you press any buttons or if any watch alerts pop-up, such as lap notifications, pacing alerts, etc…

ANT+ Weight Scale Connectivity:


While the majority of Garmin fitness devices used to support connecting to a small number of ANT+ enabled weight and body fat scales, the FR220 no longer continues that tradition.  Based on my discussions with the product team, there are no plans to enable that functionality on the FR220 (or, the FR620).

I suspect the primary reason for this is simply the number of users using those weight scales today (unfortunately barely a rounding error on a tenth of a percent at best).  Added to that the fact that most of the WiFi scales today far exceed the functionality provided by the ANT+ scales.

Of course, that doesn’t help users of past Garmin devices that have purchased those ANT+ scales solely for the purpose of connecting them to Garmin devices (the only company that truly ever lit up that scenario via ANT+ ).  Given it would be Garmin’s goal to convert those users into FR220/FR620 users, I would think that it might benefit them as a gesture of goodwill to look at an update down the road to connect to the scale (it’s just a firmware change).

As a side effect, this pretty much kills any ANT+ scales going forward. Which, shouldn’t really be a major surprise.  Even Bluetooth scales aren’t really a great solution.  Neither protocol really fits the bill for scales compared to WiFi, especially since virtually nobody would travel with their scale – meaning that it’s always going to be hanging out in a single place with easy WiFi access.



The Garmin FR220 is waterproofed to a depth of 50 meters (150ft), which differs from many past Garmin running watches which only had IPX7 waterproofing (30 minutes at 1m/3ft deep).  This means you can easily use it on your wrist while swimming without any concerns about killing it.  It won’t capture any swim metrics (distance/stroke/etc…), but it’ll survive just fine.

During a recent work trip I spent considerable time submerging the FR220 in the open ocean water swimming around and spending a bunch of time underwater working on product shots for a different review.  My wife also spent time with it in the water while I wasn’t in the water.


I’ve seen no ill effects as a result of that.  Nor have I seen any issues with rain and/or sweat during my other runs over the past month+ with the unit.

As with most GPS units you won’t get accurate distance outside while worn on your wrist.  This is because the FR220 isn’t designed to understand how to deal with the dropouts that occur when the watch goes under the water each time during the stroke.  To demonstrate this, here’s a short swim workout I did.  The FR610 was tracking distance in my swimcap and acting as a reference.  The Suunto Ambit2 was tracking it on my wrist – and that unit understands how to track openwater swims correctly.  You can see the FR220 is nearly double that distance.


Looking at the GPS tracks, you can see quite a difference:


Finally, for pure curiosity I was interested in what the cadence data looks like from the internal accelerometer.  While the unit does measure ‘something’, it’s not 100% clear to me how that number correlates while swimming.  Either way, it doesn’t appear to be strokes:


Going forward into December I’ll be bringing both the FR220 and the FR620 down to 33m (~100ft deep) in an indoor facility designed for exactly this sort of thing, to test out the waterproofing myself.  Should be fun!

Live Tracking & Mobile Phone Upload Functionality:


The Garmin FR220 includes the ability to connect via Bluetooth Smart to your mobile phone to upload workouts immediately upon completion, as well as to provide streaming live tracking of your run to family and friends.  You can share out the link automatically via e-mail or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

We first saw this technology in the Garmin Edge 510 and Edge 810 last January.  In that case however, the units used older Bluetooth chips which meant compatibility with older phones.  With Bluetooth Smart being used here in the FR220, you’ll need an iPhone 4s or newer in order to take advantage of the uploads and connectivity.

[Update]: When I originally published this review, the mobile app was not yet updated for the FR220. Since then, it has become available for iOS.  I’ve added an updated section into my FR620 review showing how it works there, and I’ve used it on the FR220 (the usage/functions are 100% identical to the FR620) as well without issue, but just haven’t quite yet written it up here.  I’ll be doing that shortly.  In the meantime, check out the FR620 review to see how it works.  Note that Garmin has not yet released the Android version, and has stated that’s coming in Q1 2014, so sometime between January and March 2014.

Computer (USB) Upload Functionality:

In addition to Bluetooth Smart uploading via your phone, you can also simply plug the FR220 into your computer via USB and upload the workouts that way.  This allows you to not only send workouts to Garmin Connect, but to 3rd party sites as well.

When you plug the FR220 into your computer it enumerates as a standard USB mass storage device – just like a little USB thumb drive.  This is best because it doesn’t require any special drivers and works on pretty much any device out there, as well as any operating system.  All the workouts are found within the ‘Activity’ folder:


Once everything is plugged in you’ll go ahead and wander over to Garmin Connect and click on the ‘Upload’ button in the upper right corner.  This brings you to the below page, where you can then select to ‘Upload All New Activities’, which is what I typically choose.


The upload process usually only takes a few seconds (.FIT files are small, about 100KB per hour of recorded data).  Once the upload is complete you can click on ‘View Details’ to dive into the individual workout.


With that, let’s dive into things on Garmin Connect, which is Garmin’s free training log platform.

Garmin Connect Online:

Once the data is uploaded to Garmin Connect, you’ll be able to view information about your run.  To start with, you’ve got the main overview page.  This view shows your activity summary information along the left side, with detailed pods along the right side.  At the top you’ve got the map, which you can swap between Bing, Google and OpenStreetMap as providers, and then views such as satellite or standard maps depending on the location and provider.


As I scroll down I get pods for each one of the key running metrics.  Timing is what shows my pace, which is configurable as either minutes/mile or minutes/kilometer (or, in MPH/KPH if you switch to a speed mode).  Then below that elevation data, which is automatically corrected after the fact.  Then you have heart rate information below that.  On the left side you see my different splits. These splits were manually created by me based on me pressing the button.  But laps created by auto lap will show up here as well.


Finally, at the very bottom along the left side you’ve got the weather information that’s pulled from a nearby weather station (historical).  And on the right you have cadence information.  This information shows your running cadence displayed in SPM (Steps Per Minute), which is the sum total of both feet.  Some sites display this as just one foot (i.e. 90SPM), and some sites display it as two feet (180SPM).  In fact, Garmin Connect actually changed this last week to display it in sum rather than the previous one-foot.

Remember that this information comes from the internal unit within the FR220 (and the FR620), unless you have a footpod – in which case it comes from that instead (like all previous Garmin watches).


In addition to the activity view, there’s also a player view, which will replay back your activity with a moving dot on the map, showing the speed/cadence/HR/etc… at that given point in time.


Beyond this, Garmin Connect provides calendars and reporting, as well as the training plans that I discussed a bit earlier.  Ultimately I find Garmin Connect a good option for runners wanting a simplistic online site that’s easy to understand.  For more advanced users, you may want to check out some of the options in the 3rd party realm, shown next.

3rd Party Site Compatibility:

Like virtually all Garmin Fitness devices these days, the Garmin FR220 outputs files into the standard .FIT file format.  This means that it’s compatible with pretty much every 3rd party site on the planet (and, if your 3rd party site/app doesn’t consume .FIT files it’s likely not worth using).

I’ve tested the FR220 files with the 3rd party apps I use most frequently, all with success: Strava, Training Peaks, and Sport Tracks.

For those developers in the house (or, just anyone who wants to test if their app can read FR220 files), feel free to use this small collection of files.

One change I dislike however is that Garmin has changed their naming scheme on these files to names that are basically entirely garbage.  Previously the names were a combination of the date and time (which, you know, is logical).  Now, it’s as if someone threw up a bit in their mouth and then spit out these file names:


The FR620 shares this awesome naming scheme.  Hopefully they’ll change it in a firmware update.

Firmware Updating:


The FR220 supports firmware updating as Garmin releases new firmware versions for the watch.  This is typically done to fix bugs and/or add new features (usually minor features).

To get new firmware for the FR220 you’ll connect it to Garmin Connect (via USB) or to the Garmin WebUpdater (also via USB).  Additionally, you can do firmware updates via your phone as well (via Bluetooth Smart).

What’s interesting is the slight shift in how firmware updates work.  Now, the update is downloaded to your unit but hangs out until you’re ready for the update to be applied.  You can see this above where it shows a firmware update ready to be installed (along with the version).

Within that screen I have three options.  The first being to simply install it right then, with the second being to ‘Remind Me’ – which simply reminds you the next time you turn the watch back into Run mode.  And finally, the third being to dismiss the update entirely.


Assuming you press to install, it takes just 1-2 minutes (which was true to what it said it would take), and then shows you this small status bar along the edge as it updates.


In the updates that I’ve applied thus far to the unit, no settings were lost – it simply retained those (including workout history and customizations).

Traditionally speaking we tend to see Garmin release more updates shortly after a product is released as they address any issues found, and then those taper off the longer from release date.  Further, you tend to see the more expensive products get feature enhancements (such as the FR910XT, Fenix, Edge 810, etc..) – rather than the less expensive products (i.e. FR10/FR210/etc…) – which may only see one or two tiny changes to the functionality.

Bugs and Miscellaneous:


In recent reviews I’ve been adding a bugs section to cover things that I stumbled upon.  Because I’ve had the watch for a bit now, I’m really only focusing on bugs that I’ve seen on the final firmware.  Remember a ‘bug’ is different than ‘by design’. For example, the lack of a feature is something I highlight within a given section is considered ‘by design’, whereas something not really working right is below.

In the case of the Garmin FR220, the issues I’ve seen are largely in the ‘annoyance’ category, rather than the show-stopper category.

– The internal accelerometer pace data while on a treadmill seems suspect at faster than your norm paces, and slower than your norm paces.

– The pace alerts (high/low alerts) seem overly sensitive to trigger, though I need to re-validate this after the Saturday firmware update (no release notes)

– Added: Calibration of footpod: In my testing, I had calibration values shown when I used the footpod.  However, in recent builds, it doesn’t seem to be updating the calibration value from outdoor GPS runs.  Thus you have to manually calibrate (a pain, involves math, kinda stupid).  If you use the footpod in the current firmware with GPS, you’ll get inaccurate data because the footpod will be set for 1000 (likely incorrect for you), and will override GPS.

– The PR’s don’t appear to take into account existing Garmin Connect PR’s, rather, are only device specific.

– [New] In software version 2.20, if using a footpod (optional), the footpod will OVERRIDE the GPS for distance/pace outdoors, which will likely result in incorrect pace. I’d highly suggest disabling the footpod while outdoors if you have one.

Now, this doesn’t mean this is all the bugs out there.  This is just the ones I saw during my running and/or use.  As a single person I can’t possible test every possible feature in every possible combination to reproduce every possible scenario.  Sure, I’d love to – but companies have entire teams of testers and they still miss things.  So I do the best I can to note what I’ve seen above.

Pros and Cons:


While there’s a lot of text here that covers a lot of fairly important details, here’s the super-duper slimmed down version of that:


– GPS accuracy seems to be quite good, unit finds satellites very quickly with pre-caching
– Customized workout function a nice add over the FR210 that didn’t have it previously
– Incredibly lightweight for a GPS watch (or any unit)
– Waterproof to 50m (finally!)
– Bluetooth Smart Live Tracking (once app is updated/released)


– Not convinced the treadmill (internal accelerometer) paces are accurate at all pace ranges
– No cycling, navigation, weight scale functionality
– Some people dislike the color choices offered
– About $50 more than other mid-range running watches (though those don’t have any phone connectivity/Live Tracking)

Comparison Tables:

Before we wrap things up I’ve put together the comparison charts of all the features of the FR220, compared to the older FR210 and FR610 – as well as the new FR620.  You can of course create your own comparison tables using this link with any of the products I’ve previously reviewed.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 21st, 2015 @ 1:43 amNew Window
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2010SEPT 16, 2013APR 12, 2011SEPT 16, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 2010OCT 31, 2013APR 15, 2011OCT 31, 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, Bluetooth SmartANT+ WirelessUSB, WiFi, Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX750 MetersIPX750 meters
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours10 hours8 Hours10 hours
Recording IntervalSmartSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1-second & smart1-second & Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYes, 7 daysNoYes, 7 days
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)Barely (Speed mode only)YesBarely (Speed mode only)
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYes
Strava segments integrated on deviceNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYes (also has internal accelerometer)YesYes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoYes
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNoYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoYes
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoYes
Run/Walk ModeNoYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for swimmingNoNo (protected though just fine)NoNo (protected though just fine)
Record HR underwaterNoNoNoNo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Auto Start/StopNoYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesNoYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoYesNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoYesNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)No
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
Di2 Shifting IntegrationNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesNoYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
PC ApplicationGTCGarmin ExpressGTC/ANT AgentGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidGarmin FitiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYes
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.

Final Thoughts:


Over the past 30-40 days I’ve used the FR220 a lot.  In fact, I’ve used it more than any other watch (even the FR620).  And quite simply – I really like it.  If it weren’t for the FR620’s ability to show four data fields concurrently over the FR220’s three data fields, I’d easily use the FR220 as my standard running watch (yes, even the purple color they sent).

The user interface is incredibly quick and simple to navigate, and the waterproofing is what I’d expect of an expensive GPS watch (read: it’s actually waterproofed unlike past watches).  I love the fact that Garmin decided to throw in the custom workout functionality (creating workouts online and downloading them), which the predecessor to this unit didn’t have.

Now, I do have concerns about the treadmill pace functionality.  Like the FR620 I’m seeing that it’s not quite as accurate at significantly faster or slower paces than my calibrated norm.  That might be a problem for some, though, you can always add an ANT+ footpod to get spot-on pace (albeit at extra cost).

Like the previous Garmin FR210, I think that for 95% of runners out there, the FR220 covers everything you’d need in a GPS watch – from data tracking to easy uploading.  It’s really only if you want a bit more data on the screen at once, or a bit more detail on things like Running Dynamics, that I’d recommend looking at the FR620 instead.

Found this review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP program you get a bunch of money-saving benefits, which you can read about here.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free 3-day US shipping as well.

Garmin FR220 Purple/White & Red/Black (Click drop-down to change color or bundle)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (all colors shown after clicking through to the left) or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryManufacturerStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programMore Info
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 1st, 2014 @ 10:16 am
Garmin 220 Replacement Band (Purple/White, Black/Red) - Compatible with FR220/FR620Garmin$25N/ALinkN/A
Garmin 620 Replacement Bands (White/Orange, Black/Blue) - Compatible with FR220/FR620Garmin$25N/ALinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1Garmin$37.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2Garmin$69.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3Garmin$50.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-RunGarmin$99.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)Garmin$28.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)Garmin$45LinkLinkLink
Garmin Approach S6 Watch Band (Orange, Black, White) - Compatible with FR220/FR620Garmin$25N/ALinkN/A
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin FR220 Charging/Data Sync Cable (Extra)Garmin$25LinkLinkN/A

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices. These guides are all listed on this page here.

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  1. Linda

    Thanks for the outstanding reviews you provide Can you tell me if the Garmin 220 can be set for distance alerts. I take walk breaks every 2K rather than after a set period of time. So I run 2K and walk 1 minute. I have looked at the manual but it refers only to time elapsed alerts and not distance elapsed. I really don’t care if it alerts me after one minute as I can track that but its nice not to have to looking at the watch for the elapsed distance.


    • No, it’s only based on time. You can’t set distance in there.

    • John O

      Hi Linda,
      You could achieve something close to what you want by defining a workout with, for example, a step of 2KM followed by a step of 5 minutes followed by a step of 2KM and so on. You could just define the first two and then have the workout repeat these two steps several times. If you activate the workout at the start of you run then at the end of each step the watch will announce the next step by a series of beeps. Its technically not what you asked (distance alerts) but it would still meet your requirement.

  2. Koen

    Perhaps some others can relate, while I’ve searched through this message-board I can’t seem to find others with similar problems.

    Today was the first time I used the FR220 for an interval-training and the pace was just terrible. I was doing 800M(4x) with 400M (4x) at a low pace and it took the watch approximately over a minute to adjust the pace (correctly). Very annoying and therefore not suitable to use for intervals (in this instance). With my old Polar RC3 GPS the latency was within the 10-25 seconds range, which was acceptable. Though what makes it even more odd: on Garmin Connect the lap times seems to be quite ok with what I should be.

    • gingerneil

      This is my one big issue with the FR220 – the current pace is soooo smoothed that its useless for intervals (although I’ve used it OK for runs where I am aiming to hit a pace for >1mile). I setup the intervals as a custom workout using GC, and then use avg lap pace on the watch to know if I am hitting my splits. I also set the pace goals for the intervals very wide so that I dont get stupid amounts of pace alerts as the current pace varies hugely around what I’m actually doing (which is why I think they must smooth it so much for the display). It drives me mad that the interval pace alerts are based on current pace and not avg lap pace – seems stupid to me when you set the goal pace for the interval overall in the setup of thw workout.

      @Michael Schilder – the 220 does not allow 1-s recording.

    • Koen

      Perhaps I haven’t read Ray’s review carefully enough or did he not mentioned this? (I’m guessing the first). Although that is indeed stupid and makes this watch useless for intervals (or should the specially designed option be used for intervals?).

    • Gingerneil

      I’m not sure if the internal interval option does any different – I think it’s just an ‘on watch’ way of defining a specific type of custom workout.
      It’s frustrating, but I work around it as detailed in my reply. I need to look at the watch to see my lap pace for that interval, but other than that it’s fine. Saying that…. Garmin could make it much better by using avg lap pace for the alerts.

    • Koen

      I will be using your method instead, guess so even with tempo-runs (which are a variation on intervals). Though Garmin SHOULD know better!

    • Fwiw, recording interval is listed inside the comparison charts. It’s in the first chunk.

    • Koen

      They’d listened. It has been resolved in the latest firmware:

      “Changed alerts during running workouts to be based on lap pace/speed rather than instantaneous pace/speed.”

      Kudos for Garmin!

      Full changelog: link to www8.garmin.com

    • Gingerneil

      Fantastic news – that’s the one thing that really really annoyed me!

    • Gingerneil

      Oh, and reading the change log, great to see the have put an accuracy field in. That’s another big issue ticked off.

  3. Michael Schilder

    @Koen, Did you put your watch on “one second recording” instead of “smart recording” that might solve your problem.

    • Koen

      I haven’t looked into this feature, so probably not. Thanks for the help!

    • Koen

      As Neil commented: this option isn’t available on the FR220

  4. Pete

    Is the 220 able to sync to the computer wirelessly using an +ANT dongle? I’ve looked up the +ANT dongle on the Garmin web site and under compatible products, the 220 isn’t listed. Was wondering if it was omitted by mistake.

    Thanks, Pete

    • No, it’s not able to do ANT file transfers like the 310XT/910XT and a few others.

  5. Lisa

    Maybe I missed it in the review but once your data has been uploaded to garmin connect, how to you clear your data from your watch. Want to make sure I have enough space for my marathon on Monday.

    • You can go into history on the watch, and delete individual activities. Or, while plugged in to a computer, you can delete activities out of the ‘Activities’ folder.

      That said, the FR220 has a TON of storage capacity. So I’d be pretty surprised if you hit the limit.

      Good luck in Boston, I’ll be cheering for ya somewhere on the course!

  6. Daniel Lott

    I take it there is no way to install later versions of the GPS chipset file. I updated to 3.1 and the accuracy is even worse than how inaccurate this watch already was. If anyone knows how to go back to 3.0 that would be helpful. I am so fed up with this watch’s accuracy that I am actually considering going back to my 410!

    • kreg37

      If you see my comment above, I’m experiencing the same issue. I haven’t looked into how to downgrade the firmware. Ideally, I would hope that Garmin fixes it.

  7. Alfie

    Hi Ray,

    Do you know if they corrected the issue with the foot pod now that they are up to version 2.6? And did the foot pod issue also impacted the 620? I’m in the market for a new watch since my 305 died in the middle of my last half marathon and I am debating which one to get. I have more faith in the footpod than the accelerometer in the watch and that is one of my pros/cons.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Mike

      The accelerometer in the 220 works great. I wouldn’t mess with a foot pod.

    • Yes, it’s corrected (ordering) within 2.6.

  8. Alfie

    Hi Ray,
    Do you know if they corrected the issue with the foot pod now that they are up to version 2.6? And did the foot pod issue also impacted the 620? I’m in the market for a new watch since my 305 died in the middle of my last half marathon and I am debating which one to get. I have more faith in the footpod than the accelerometer in the watch and that is one of my pros/cons.

    Thank you in advance!

    • In 2.6 it is properly ordering them now.

    • Alfie

      Thank you Ray and sorry for the double post as the mobile site kept giving me an error when I tried to post.

  9. Jean

    I’m a new owner of a forerunner 220 and I would like to know if my girl friend and me can user the same watch for our training (2 possibles configurations???) but not in the same time of course. Thank you.


    • Yup, she can use it, however there’s only one user profile. The two items that would be impacted would be:

      1) Calorie calculations (primarily if her weight/age is significantly different than yours).
      2) Treadmill ‘learning’ of paces for indoor use, based on outdoor running.

      However, you can easily setup the watch to upload to your own Garmin Connect accounts assuming you have separate computers.

    • Mark

      Will it pair to more than one iPhone/app for the upload, then?

    • No, not to two separate iOS devices unfortunately.


    Obviously this is a great watch and I want to congratulate you for the commitment to disseminate it. But one thing I still do not understand, and maybe you can explain to me. What is the reason you have not commented on the fact the forerunner 220 does not show the average speed? Surely you well know that you can set between speed and average pace (definition, system, format) , but unlike average pace, average speed will appear only in the historical of the running. Logical that this was a gross error of Garmin, since the intention was also to make the average speed shown on the display during running. Also, you should know that the average speed may not be important for advanced runners, but it certainly is very popular for other users. So I think the brilliance of his review was overshadowed by you have not clarified this point so important. Tks, Bob

  11. JayT

    Thanks for all of your reviews, I’ve found them very helpful and informative. I am however, still trying to decide between the Garmin 220 & 610. I will mainly be using it for running, but I am also hoping to use it as a heart rate monitor to track indoor aerobic workouts (ie classes, spin etc) and calories burned. I have only ever used the Nike+ Running app and am looking to upgrade. Any advice as to which Garmin to choose? Being a women I have to say the 220 looks smaller, lighter and more appealing in general, but the price of the 610 is great right now for the product and all of its features. TIA

  12. Jay8

    Thanks for all of your reviews, I’ve found them very helpful and informative. I am however, still trying to decide between the Garmin 220 & 610. I will mainly be using it for running, but I am also hoping to use it as a heart rate monitor to track indoor aerobic workouts (ie classes, spin etc) and calories burned. I have only ever used the Nike+ Running app and am looking to upgrade. Any advice as to which Garmin to choose? Being a women I have to say the 220 looks smaller, lighter and more appealing in general, but the price of the 610 is great right now for the product and all of its features. Thanks

    • Jay8

      Sorry for the double post, it kept giving me an error and saying it couldn’t post, but I guess it had, twice

  13. Kat

    Thanks for the great review!! Only thing holding me back from buying are the color choices. Since apparently I’m not the only one disliking them….do you by any chance know if Garmin is planning on offering the 220 model in additional colors anytime soon? Thanks in advance :)

    • I don’t see that likely right now. I would have expected them to announced any new colors in time for the spring (typically done at Boston Marathon). Given that didn’t happen, next ‘window’ would be fall (often happens in September/October).

  14. Aaron

    Great review as always Rainmaker. I have an FR 220, and got a good sized scratch on the face of it that id like to remove if possible. Is there anything that you (or anyone) suggests.

  15. Al


    Thanks for the great review. I found it very useful and think this would be a great watch for marathon training. I just have a few questions, when doing tempo runs or anything that is pace specific does the unit give you an average predicted mile time or does it jump around because it gives actual speed at that instant? I use the RC3 GPS and RCX5 and find that the pace jumps so much (because it shows current speed) that I have a hard time hitting a specific split. Would I be able to set up a display that shows current lap, previous lap and total time if doing a workout on the track? I guess I just want a traditional stopwatch for track and speed workouts with some added GPS and download features, would you recommend this watch?


    • I don’t really have any problems with pace jumpiness on the FR220 or FR620. The data fields offered on the FR220 are a bit more restrictive, but I’ve listed them all up above in a chart so you can see which ones are there.

      Typically speaking on a track, I focus on time, rather than pace. And then simply do pace in my head. The reason being is that all GPS watches struggle on tracks due to the near-nonstop curving nature of them. Thus, it’s more accurate to do time math since the distances are well known.

  16. Linus De Paoli

    Can I pair this watch with a Mio Link HR sensor?

    • Yes, no problem.

    • Linus De Paoli

      Ray thanks. Bought both last month and have been using them since than. It works like a charm. Only complain right now is the intermittent issue pairing the FR220 with my Nexus 4 Android phone.

  17. Chris

    Hi, Great review. Does it continue working in training mode while charging with a portable battery pack?

  18. TomV

    Has there been any update from Garmin or other companies as to whether or not the FR220 will sync directly to other Android apps? ie: MapMyRun / Runtastic / etc..

    • No, there are no plans to do so. Instead, you’ll likely see said companies tie in directly with Garmin’s new API, thus enabling near-instant access to the activities from the 3rd party site after uploading via the Garmin Connect app.

  19. Chris

    So which Garmin watches do continue working in training mode while charging?

  20. Aaron

    I have an FR 220, and got a good sized scratch on the face of it that id like to remove if possible. Is there anything that you (or anyone) suggests.

    • I’m not aware of anything. You may want to check out the Garmin Forums, as someone might have an idea there (forums.garmin.com).

  21. ingrid

    still struggling to find an answer to the mile/km problem. i live in south africa and miles are NEVER used so i really need to change all data to km’s, but can’t find where to do it! the watch records in km while training but then gives feedback and breakdowns in miles. Useless to me!

    • Within Garmin Connect under settings you can change it there (for the web site). On the mobile app, it’s also under settings (called Units). And finally, on the watch, it’s also under settings (called Units too).

    • Dan

      This bug appears only with certain browsers (versions). Just try it with another computer, at work, your grandma’s etc. Once you managed to change it, your account will keep the setting.

  22. Hi DC, thanks for the fantastic review (and all of your reviews!)

    I am a beginning runner that really enjoys the feedback from Nike+ but wants to get away from swinging my cellphone around while I run. I was looking at the Nike GPS Watch, but am interested in the Tom Tom Runner as it’s an open platform and a more recent iteration from the same team.

    Then I see the FR 220 and… I really want this watch! However, I’m open to saving a bit of money. I use the indoor track at work but I like to run outdoors now the weather’s eased up. So, I’m not all that pushed about a heart strap but footpod support (or the Runner’s tech) would be nice. For a beginner like me, do you think I’m better off sticking with the Runner? Or perhaps I could get a FR 210?

    ……. Or there’s a way to convince my wife I need the FR 220? :)

    Thanks again for all your great work. Take care.

  23. Retro Believer


    First of all, thank you for a wonderfully thorough review. I often read your reviews to decide which watches I should purchase.

    Anyway, I’ve been reading through the posts here and I just need clarification: as of today (4/24/14), does the Garmin 220 with updated firmware record cadence data from a footpod without disrupting the recording of GPS information? I understand that the footpod does not override GPS data during outdoor runs, but can I still get cadence data from the footpod without overriding the GPS?

    By the way, to some of the other posters, cadence is useful data, especially for minimalist runners. The quicker the cadence, the more mid-foot your landing would be.


  24. The most in-depth review of a running watch I’ve ever read. Awesome job!

  25. Mark

    I picked up a 220 over the weekend and have been playing with it and found two updates from your original published post:
    1 – Garmin Connect PRs. On “your” web dashboard, there is a button at the PRs, next to Show/Hide, for “Send to Device”. Connect the 220 via USB, hit send to device, and it transfers your web records to your watch.

    2 – Mobile connectivity. As you already know, the android app is out and working. Under supported devices on Garmin’s Support site, they list the Samsung Note 2, Note 3, S3, and S4, as well as the HTC One.
    I can verify that it works without a hitch on a AT&T’s version of the HTC One (M8) [the new as of 4/14 HTC]. I don’t know if it works on the original HTC One (M7) [releases 3/2013].

  26. Dan

    If I remember well, a new firmware was due end of Q1 2014 to make the lap banner configurable. (Currently, it only shows time, not distance, pace HR or anything else).
    Any news on that?

    Also, last week I took the watch to the Alps, staying at around 3000m altitude (9000ft+). I was shocked to see that the watch front/glass kind of pushed out of the frame leaving a gap of 1-2 mm between glass and body. I assume this was to compensate for the low pressure in altitude. Back in the valleys it went back to normal. I’m afraid that this will have an impact on waterproofness. Anybody has experienced that before? Any thoughts?

  27. claudia

    thankx so much for this great revue, makes my life so much easier, and I really feel that I use my new, yes purple, forerunner 220 to it’s max!!!

  28. Cris

    Hi, great review and information! I just got my 220 from Clever Training to replace my old 205 – which I still love in its way, but the 220 is SO much thinner and lighter on my wrist, I love the feel of it.

    One question I can’t find the answer to here – there is no way to confirm while wearing the watch what the current battery charge is, is there? Seems to me like maybe I can only see that when I plug it in for charging. Seems sort of odd, but whatever.

  29. One feature of the 220 I dislike is, upon hitting the stop button during a run, a window pops up with the option to Resume, and showing the elapsed time, but blocking the other display fields. It would be much preferable to be able to see the other fields while the watch is paused. E.g., you stop the unit during a long run to take a break, or at a red light, and won’t be able to see stats other than elapsed time until you hit resume…

    • If you just press ‘back’ (lower right button), the window goes away and you can scroll through your stats while stopped. Enjoy!

  30. Amanda Abbott

    Hi Ray…

    I have been looking through the comments and I apologize if this question is in there somewhere. I had mentioned quite some time ago about my watch going nutty…it seems that it is pausing right after i hit the start button. I have gotten all of the proper updates, shut the watch off then back on…now I have had to turn Auto-pause off in order for it to seem to work (haven’t tested it since I did that, outside) Is there a problem currently with the 220? Also, the treadmill distance on my run the other day suddenly went from being spot on to being wayyyy off towards the end of my run, not to mention extremely slow for the pace I was running (even for a treadmill, which always shows me quite a bit slower)…Any insight from you on what to do would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Amanda-

      No, the problem you describe isn’t something I’ve heard of. I’d ring up Garmin support as you’re best option.


  31. Matt Ainsworth

    Are there any plans to bring a cycling function to the FR220 like you mention in the FR620 review? I want to start swimming and cycling training and adding cycling to the FR220 would cut down on having to buy an Edge unit.

    • Last I chatted with them a few weeks ago, there wasn’t. Still seems like a strange decision to me, given other units in same price range do offer an other/bike mode.

  32. Muhammad

    My Forerunner 220 having sync error while syncing with Android app (on samsung note 3).
    Please advise.

  33. JTB

    Fastest way to get a replacement charger for the 220?

    • Generally a local running shop might have them. In a huge pinch you can actually make a Fenix/Tactix charger work, if you have a friend with one.

  34. Jeff G

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve made it all the way to comment 1245! I recently lost my old 405 and am debating either getting the 10 or the 220. I’ve read both of your reviews on these two devices (excellent work, BTW) and I had one question regarding these devices and a function the 405 used to have. I could program in a 6 mile run and it would show as an option in the display field a ‘distance to end.’ Now I can obviously calculate that by simple math, but it was really convenient to be able to glance down and instantly see I had X distance left in a run. Does the 10 or 220 have this functionality built in?

    Thanks again, I’ll be buying either device soon through this site!

    • No distance to end option in the Garmin running series. The TomTom does have that, fwiw, in the goals function.

  35. Alfredo

    You mentioned Garmin ending Ant+ weight scale support. Is there a plan to support Wifi scales through Garmin Connect in the future? Are they working on their own scale/partnership like with Tanita before? Would be nice to step on a Wifi scale at home and have everything sync up with Connect.

  36. Neil

    Thanks for your great review of the product Ray. I believe it will help me I deciding which watch to get. I think I just have a couple of questions before I make a decision.

    1. Are the pace alerts set to go off at a user defined distance (I want an alert every 100m let’s say) or is it just every few seconds when it checks for pace.

    2. Can you set pace alerts to go off while doing an interval workout. We commonly do 16x400m repeats and was just wondering if pace alerts can be used in conjunction with intervals.

    3. During the run, if I understand correctly, the 220 gives your mile pace in 5 second intervals and calculates the total pace (when the run is finished) to a exact while the 620 gives the mile and total pace to the exact second?

    4. Although the 220 measures the current pace in 5 second intervals, can I still set my 16x400m workout at a 4:32 pace? Or will it be a 4:30 or 4:35 pace?

    5. On the actual interval workout, once I set recovery (1 minute) and press start, does it give beep alerts once the recovery is up and start my next interval automatically or does it start my interval when I start running? Also is it set to lap at the distance or can I change it to lap the 400m based on position?

    6. Last question I promise. How does the watch feel moving at a 4:20 pace? Is it too shaky when running that fast? Just wondering if I should use it during races or not.

    Thanks for your time Ray and I apologize for the extensive questions. I’m a serious runner and finally decided a GPS watch would be great to have (I’m always that one guy who calculates paces in his head every 200m during races and every 1/4 mile during long runs). Also, based on my desire mainly to use the watch for long run days and interval workouts, would you recommend the 220 or the 620?

    • Hi Neil-

      1) Pace Alerts: No, they go off whenever you stray for a few seconds.

      2) It’d be better in that scenario to use a custom workout. Much more flexible. End resultant is cleaner and would ensure that pace alerts aren’t randomly going off while in rest/recovery.

      3) Almost. The FR220 will give you mile summary pace to the exact second, but just the instant-pace while running is rounded to the :05 seconds. Same with the FR620.

      4) For a custom workout you can.

      5) With any of the custom workouts or intervals, once you start, think of it more like a roller coast ride. You’re not really in control anymore. You’re just along for the ride. It’ll transition to the next segment of the workout automatically and you just need to be running at that point (or walking).

      6) A 4:20/mile or 4:20/km? About the fastest I’ll get in any workouts is 4:45-5:00/mile. So not sure below that. But at that pace I use it to pace just fine. As for 4:20/km I don’t have any issues viewing there at all at that pace, and I often train slightly faster than that.

      Finally, do keep in mind though that GPS units in general struggle on a track. Thus, if you’re looking to do these on a track, you might be off a few seconds and it’s honestly best to just know the seconds per 100m for your intervals. If you’re talking outside on a non-constant-curving route, then no problem at all.


    • Neil

      Thanks for the quick reply! In relation to question six I was meaning 4:20 per mile. If it works well for you at 5:00 I think it should be fine at 4:20. The answer to question three was really helpful and I think I’ll go with the 220. As far as track goes, it shouldn’t be too bad. Luckily I’m not on the track too often so the Garmin will still provide benefit to me on long runs if it’s inaccurate on the curves. Custom workouts is what I find most attractive about this watch. I will be buying the red FR 220 and using it during starting in the summer. Thanks for the review and responses Ray!

  37. Marius

    Hi I have one question about the GPS units display, I used to have the 610 and it was able to show my location in BNG when I went into the settings and I would like to know if the 220 can do the same? Great review by the way!

  38. Tuncer Karaman

    Thanks for the great review. You helped me so much for choosing the product.

  39. Kate

    Thanks for all your thorough reviews, and also for the Clever Training discount!

    I recently got the 220 to replace my old clunky 305, and have noticed an odd discrepancy in the distance and pace calculation. My 305 tends to overmeasure my distance on straight routes and undermeasure routes with lots of turns (and subsequently give slighty fast/slow paces). The 220 so far as been more spot on for straight routes, but undermeasures by a greater amount on curvy routes than the 305. When I look at the GPS tracks on the map post-run, the lines bounce around a similar amount for both the 220 and 305, so it seems like the 220 is adjusting for GPS error just by subtracting a small amount of distance between recorded points. Do you know if this is by design (since it kind of makes sense to do this to improve accuracy for road runners) or is it something buggy with my unit?

    • hoimir

      Hi Kate, not just your unit – I have yet to run a marathon where my 220 grants me more than 41.8k (instead of 42.2k, for the metrically impaired).

  40. David

    Hey, how many interval programs can you set? multiple or just one


    • You can save one interval program, sorta a ‘most recent’ to have on hand. But you can download/create multiple custom workouts, which give you the same functionality (actually, way more functionality). No limit I’m aware of there.

    • aspin30

      First of all: thans for your great reviews. I never buy a watch without reading your review!

      The FR620 is limited to contain 10 custom workout at the same time. I’m guessing it’s the same for the FR220.

  41. Chris

    Hi Ray,

    I have some questions about the FR220, can you set the alarm to wake up in vibration only? and I need the HR strap for measure calories, distance and speed?

    Thanks in advance

  42. John O

    Hello Ray,
    well after three months, I am getting extremely close to sending back my FR220, if that’s still possible, that is.
    I checked out the forums at Garmin.com and there are lots and lots of disgruntled owners of 220s and 620s with exactly the same problems that I have – unreliable current pace and, as a result, lack of support interval training. Added to that are the other problems with the WiFi and the downloading of scheduled workouts via the calendar at Garmin Connect. These problems are minor and tolerable but taken altogether this product is just not acceptable. To add insult to injury, I have not had a single response from Garmin Support after 7 days and 4 contacts.
    Pity, as I really, really like the features promised by this watch. Hence my question to you – what other watch would you recommend as a replacement for the Forerunner 220. If I get my money back I am willing to spend more cash next time for a watch with these or similar features, it just has to be reliable. Suuntu or Polar or something else?

    • Sorry to hear you’re having troubles. Have you tried calling Garmin support instead of e-mailing? I know it’s a pain, but honestly, it’ll get you resolved likely near instantly (even if that means a new unit to you). Plus, it has the added benefit of costing Garmin a heck of a lot more – which is ideal for forcing the company to resolve issues.

      Do keep in mind though that looking at company forums as a barometer for issues is like going to the hospital as a barometer for people needing medical assistance. The only reason one goes to a company forum is to get help with something that’s broken…just like a hospital.

  43. Robin

    The GPS on my 220 stopped working the other day. After an hour on the phone with Garmin support, they said they could not fix it and will send me a replacement. This watch is under six months old. Has anyone else had this problem?

    • Clark

      Both my husband and I have a 220 and we’re both having the same problem. We ran Wednesday night and the watch connected just fine but once we started running it seemed to lose it and didn’t track the run at all. We thought maybe it was the weather b/c it was a little overcast (even though I’ve run in worse weather and it worked before). Now this morning, a bright cloudless sunny day, and it didn’t work again. Haven’t called Garmin support to report it yet so we’ll see how it goes when I do.

  44. Ryan

    I’m having a lot of the same issues as everyone else – satellite connection inaccurate and extremely slow to link up. None of my totals work (everything is listed as 0 – monthly and weekly), and all my activities and records deleted themselves. I turned the watch off and now it won’t turn back on. It just sits at the Garmin logo screen for eternity. I have tried calling Garmin support 4 times at different times of the day. Each time, I’m told the wait time is between 30-35 minutes – and this is specifically for the Forerunner support option. No way I’m waiting on hold that long. I’ve tried e-mailing support to no avail. This is utter chaos.

  45. Geoff

    I experienced the problem where GPS suddenly stopped working. Turns out that the GPS software on the watch was corrupted. When you go to your menu and then System and then About, GPS Version was 0.00.

    I used WebUpdater to reinstall 2.6 software and then installed the 3.1 GPS software. Last two runs have been great.

    Hope that helps someone. Thanks!

    • Geoff

      I apologize, Menu, then Settings, then System, then About.

      Related.. I have never noticed when connecting via Bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app where the download of updated satellite data occurs. Satellite lock is very slow. However, when I connect through Express Fit, I do get the updated GPS data and it locks in very fast. Just a tip if you’re depending on the app for that…

    • hoimir

      Thanks a ton Geoff – after two weeks of increasing frustration I’m happy to have read your instructions. This was exactly what the problem was and what solved it. Relief!!

  46. Kartik

    I’m a casual runner; I bike as well. Primary sport is tennis (I play competitively); so running and biking is mostly training for tennis. I have an FR60, but am looking to upgrade. I’d like a GPS watch (which will preferably sync via wifi and bluetooth), has a cycling mode and will sync with my Garmin bike speed/cadence sensor. Do I necessarily have to plonk down serious money for either a FR620 (cycling mode being launched in June on this device via a firmware upgrade, I presume) or a Fenix2? I’d like to preferably stick with the Garmin family of devices. Do share your views – your advice would be very valuable for me.

    • Yeah, I’d say it’s down to the FR620 and Fenix2. There’s also the FR910XT, but that’s likely a bit big for what you want (though, it’ll be on sale starting tomorrow for about 38% off, via Clever Training).

      The FR620 update will solve the cycling mode/sensor problem there, though, the FEnix2 already has it. Both sync via Bluetooth, but only the 620 via WiFi.

      The other option would be the Suunto lineup. Something like the 2S might be an option and is cheaper and covers everything you’d want. Though, it’d be outside the Garmin line-up that you’re looking for and wouldn’t do BT/WiFi sync either.

  47. Bridget

    Are you aware of Garmin having plans to add the Activity Tracker feature to FR220 via firmware upgrade?


    • No plans to do so. From discussions with them about it back a few months ago, the power design in the unit doesn’t really support a lower power 24×7 mode for the accelerometer.

  48. Jack

    I’m planning on getting a GPS watch solely for running, and I’m sorta caught between this one and the 310xt. Both seem to have similar features, except the 220 can upload workouts which would be fantastic for me as I’m terrible at keeping a running log. I was just wondering if the 220 is worth the extra money or is there something else you might recommend?


    • I’d look at a few core things:

      1) If purely a runner (not a triathlete), then most of the FR310XT features will probably not be used (if triathlete, then skip discussion and go with 310XT)
      2) If remembering to plug into computer and upload is a limiter, go with FR220.
      3) If size is an issue, go with FR220
      4) If you’re running really long (more than 10 hours), go with FR310XT

      Those would be my core considerations.

  49. Newrunner

    I’m having a problem syncing PR’s from the website to the 220. It keeps failing. Any idea what’s the fix?

  50. Newrunner

    I’m having a problem syncing PR’s from the website to the 220. It keeps failing. Any idea what’s the fix? Thanks

  51. Chuck

    I am a kind of distracted runner who has a heck of a time keeping a steady pace. From your excellent review it sounds like 220 might not be the best choice for me because pace alerts dont work well. You mention three other watches that did this “nicely”. Any chance you can share that info?

    • We saw a few firmware updates that tried to address that, and seems to have resolved most of the unexpected alerts for most folks (both FR220/620). Thus, I wouldn’t let that be a core decider at this point.

    • John O

      Hi Ray,

      which updates for the 220 would those be? I would be very, very interested in having this problem resolved. I bought my 220 in January and none of the updates that I have seen since then 2.5, 2.6 and not even the one released this week 2.7, address the pace alert problem. Did I miss something here?


    • Did you test it though? In my case it did seem to calm it down after 2.50.

    • John O

      Actually my FR220 had V2.5 on it when I bought it in January. I have been “testing it through” since. The alarms are based on current pace, which can be all over the place, especially if you vary your pace as in interval training. Only the lap pace seems to be reliable. Unfortunately the alarms cannot be set to work based on lap pace. A whole bunch of 220 and 620 users are talking about this on the Garmin forums, many ex-610/210 users who found their old watches far superior, but Garmin don’t seem to care much about this. V2.6 and now V2.7 don’t address this problem at all.

    • How far apart are you setting your pace alarms (meaning, high/low)?

    • John O

      Yesterday’s training step was a 10KM with steady pace of 6:30/KM, so I set up a workout with a single 1KM step repeated 10 times, that way I get lap pace figure for the current KM. I set the pace targets at 6:15 (min) and 6:45(max). Thats wide enough. Alarms were going off on average every 30 seconds or so for about 8 of the 10Kms. I have long since turned off the audio alerts and leave the vibrations on.
      There are two major but separate problems with the pacing in the FR220: 1) current pace wandering up and down suddenly for no apparent reason and 2) current pace lagging way behind real pace and lap pace as displayed i.e. after slowing down at the end of a workout segment (interval) it adjusts current pace in steps of 5 seconds/KM every 5 seconds or so sometimes taking up to more than a minute to adjust pac from say 5:30 to 7:30/KM. This happens only now and then but all in all the effect is that you just cannot believe what the 220 is telling you about your pace.
      Like I said its not just my watch, lots of folks reporting identical the same behaviour also with the 620.

    • Hmm, bummer. I’d look at having Garmin try and swap it out.

      While I recognize there are folks with issues on the Garmin forums, do keep in mind that only people with issues go to the Garmin forums. And to that end, if you look in the sub-forums for different watches, there’s always people who see similar behavior on any other watch (including the much loved older ones). Not saying you’re not seeing an issue (since it sounds like you are), I’m just saying you should ring Garmin support and have them swap it out.

      For reference last night I did 30″ sprints with a FR620 and FR15 from walking pace to 5:00/mile pace, and it stabilized within about 10-15 seconds.

  52. newrunner

    this is the error message I get when I try to sync:
    “It looks like there isn’t an ANT stick connected. Make sure your ANT stick is plugged in to your computer’s USB port and try again.”

    I am connected. I turned off and on my computer, and powered off and on the F220… Still the same error message…..
    What does this mean?

    • Yeah, that error message is for other devices (like a FR910XT or similiar). The FR220 uses USB directly to the unit to sync. Validate/see if it’s showing in Windows Explorer, which will tell you whether or not your computer sees the device. Else, it’s probably best to ring up Garmin Support to get help quickly (or, see the Garmin Express portion of the Garmin Forums at http://forums.garmin.com)

    • newrunner

      Thanks alot. My computer sees the Garmin FR220. I will call the support tomorrow….

  53. Rick

    Thanks for the thorough review! I used you Amazon link to buy a FR 220. My FR 305 died today and I was trying to decide between the FR 620 and FR 220. Your review convinced me that the 220 is a great way to go.

  54. Randolph

    I saw the previous comments on using the 220 during an Ironman – in regards to battery life concerns. I have an 810 on my bike for the ride so I really only need a watch for the run. I don’t want the 310 or 910 as I really don’t like the bulk and have no need for the additional functionality. My plan would be to put it on in T2. My question is does it pick up GPS relatively well on the go. My current Timex Global Trainer can struggle to find a GPS if I start running without first setting the GPS. Often, if I start before it sets, it never ends up finding a satalite.

    • If you grab satellites before the race in that current spot and then turn it off (well, just standby), once you hit T2 it’ll likely find satellites in about 1-3 seconds.

  55. Lydia Rodriguez

    Great review. I now find myself not able to purchase anything without reading it here first.
    Question for you though, you may have discussed this above but I did not see it (sorry). I currently own a Garmin 500 edge. Can I use the heart rate strap from for this watch?


  56. John

    Would the Garmin FR220 be a good choice for gym workouts (e.g., cardio classes and weight lifting)? I know that the FR220 is geared for runners, but I don’t usually run outdoors so the GPS feature would not get much use. I’m hoping to get a HRM that will work with Mio Link. Any other recommendations? Thanks.

    • It’ll capture calories fairly accurately assuming there’s a heart rate strap connected with it. The Mio Link is fine in that particular regard. Though, by the same token for most gym scenarios it might just be easier/cheaper to connect the Mio Link to various apps via Bluetooth Smart.

  57. Paul Brower

    Thank you so much for this review. I’m an amateur runner, and I’ve just purchased this product based on your review!

  58. Cat555

    Hi. Thanks for the fab review.
    I’m just about to purchase the 220 for running purposes mostly and I like to train with a HR monitor. It sounds like this is fine for running, though does the HR monitor / time / calories function work when not running , if required – For example when using a rowing machine.

    Thanks so much :)

  59. Cat555

    Hi. Thanks for the fab review.
    It sounds like the 220 is great for running, though does the HR monitor specifically work as well as time / calories function when not running , if required – For example when using a rowing machine.

    Thanks so much :)

    • Yes, when not in GPS mode you can use the HR strap inside for HR driven metrics (i.e. a gym).

    • Cat555

      Brilliant. Thanks so much.

  60. Lia


    Wanting to share with the husband as we train at different times, does this have multiple user profiles? would this matter?

    Or can we separately upload to our own Garmin Connects with whoevers using the watch for that workout?


    • No, only one user profile.

      The biggest thing you’ll lose with two people using the same watch are:

      1) Inaccuracy indoors on a treadmill
      2) Calories would likely be off as well, since your weight/age/gender are different.

  61. LeneNJ

    Hi Ray,
    thank you so much for all your in-depth reviews. I am now on my 3rd GPS watch, mainly encouraged by your blog.
    I have had a Garmin 410 for skiing/snowboarding, running and cycling and then moved on to the Polar RC3GPS because of better heartrate measurements. However, last year I started kayaking and the Polar is not water proofed for swimming, so when capsizing I am always worried about the watch.
    So now I moved on the the FR220 and have been happy with reception of the heart rate monitor (the watch is mounted in front of me, not on my wrist, so distance is a little further). However in comparison to the Polar RC3GPS, the speed measurements is too slow in updating for my taste. You speak about “pace stability” as being good, but I believe this has the downside of the speed updating very slowly. It feels like the watch is roughly 5 seconds delayed, when I alter the speed. Eg. starting from 0km/h and going full throttle takes maybe 20-30seconds. But the watch is way behind and updates very slowly, so I feel like I get unreliable measurements. Also, I use the watch to push me so I know when I drop below (not using alerts, just manually) a certain speed. But it seems like the watch doesn’t really notice when I stray off… Do you recognise this behaviour? It is very noticeable in a direct comparison to my Polar. And it makes the watch almost useless for my purpose. We use speed and not pace while kayaking, does this have an effect? Or is there a setting, to get it to be more sensitive?
    Thanks for you help!

  62. Brian T

    You sound as if you’d prefer the 220 to the 620 if it were not for the 3 vs 4 data screens issue. May I ask your reason for this? Is the touchscreen more of a hindrance? Is the GPS connectivity any faster on the 620 due to the wifi ?
    Lastly, I was checking the history of updates to other devices and it would not appear to me that Garmin adds many significant features to any of their devices after launch… So I assume the chances of navigation being added should NOT be factored into the decision to buy a 620 vs the 220?

    • I think it’s mostly just that the FR220 is significantly cheaper. That’s really the primary reason behind the comment. During the review cycle I spent pretty much the first half on the FR220, and then switched the second half to the FR620 + the FR220. So I was much more comfortable with the FR220 buttons at that point. Ultimately, it’s really a non-issue.

      The GPS connectivity on both is the same (reception time). I would not factor in navigation getting onto the FR620. You can however factor in bike mode happening very shortly for the FR620.

    • Nicolas

      Do you know if there is any chance of a bike mode (or even just a “non-running” mode, that could also be used for hiking, skiing, etc.) being added to the 220 too?

    • There’s unfortunately no current plans to do so.

  63. Thomas


    Reading carefully about your review on 310XT and 220, and thanks for your deeply anaylsis.

    Now i`m really confused on those two itmes.I spend half time on running and another on cycling downtown.

    actually,speed and cadence sensor is preferred but not necessary.the basic functions required for cycling is just for Speed fields(speed ,average Speed,max speed),time fields(lap time,accelerate time) and distance(lap distance and accelerate distance)

    I do think typically this cycling function requirement is somehow to replace the cycling computer like cateye and sigma and i have no idea to some extent whether the GPS watch can do the same work like cycling computer?as your review,220 only can dispaly only 13 fields .Is there my basic function and data can be recorded by GPS sensor and show me when i conncet to Garmin Conncetion?

    For the function of specific running,definitely,220 have advantage than 310xt on bluetooth vs ant+usb ,more bettery life,my waterproof ability,lighter weight,more sensitive GPS receive.And the 4 fields display with huge size to the 3 fields display with watch-like look will depends on different runners

    I prefer 220 than 310xt for its latest function and dislike for 310xt look especially 310xt is too old to buy though it only $170 right now.

    If 220 can do the same works like basic bike computer,I think that is enough to give up to buy 310xt for me.

    How do you think?

    Looking forwards to your suggestion

  64. Hello Ray,

    I have a FR 410 and I have the Heart rate Monitor which I got with FR 410.

    Can I use the same HRM with the FR 220 ,


    • Gingerneil

      You certainly can. Any ant+ strap will work fine. (Incidentally, I did exactly the same – coming from a 410 to!)

    • Hello Gingerneil ,
      Thanks for your reply. That means I did a wise thing not to order a HRM with FR 220.

      How is your experience with FR 220. This is my second GPS watch . My first one was 410. I am stlill very happy with FR 410. But now a days it is giving less battery. It doesnt last long for more than 75 minutes.

      Heavily excited to get a new GPS FR 220.

    • gingerneil

      Yep – you did the right thing!
      I was in exactly the same position. I was starting marathon training with a watch that would go from 50% battery to nothing in about 5 minutes. I even changed the battery in the 410 (took some soldering), but I still wasnt confident that it would last a long training run or a marathon (about 3:35 for me).
      I’m very happy with my 220. The only issue I have is the current pace is too variable/smoothed to enable me to use it for intervals of less than about 800m. I dont mind that, as I normally go by avg lap pace anyway – creating custom workouts on garmin connect and setting the pace goals very wide (about 1min/mile) around my goal pace so it doesnt beep all the time!

    • Thank you.

  65. Tumbledown

    As a veteran runner the gadgets have come a little late but I still get a lot of fun out of running to explore. For me the blue tooth facility is totally useless as my devices all use MS windows and I cannot anyway see the point in linking to my smart phone.

    I have an old Garmin FR 205 which is almost impossible to run with without getting sores on the wrist especially in hot climates and it also has a short battery life. So weight and comfortability are a priority. Also I think quick gps start up is important – I don’t want to wait for satellites to be found. Accuracy of measurements and exportability are also important. In France for example, for mapping your trail, one of the best sites is link to mygpsfiles.com as it is, as far as I know, the only site that has access to French IGN Topo maps ie the equivalent of UK Ord Survey maps. But you need GPX file formats to use these mapping systems. Smart phone apps will provide GPX format files but can you get these from gps watches?

    I am considering getting a Garmin FR 220 or a Suunto Ambit 2 R or 2 S (some good deals on 2S in UK). As I do not want bluetooth, Ambits seem better especially with apps facility but they are more expensive than the Garmin and they weigh nearly twice as much (same as the old fr 205) – which makes me wonder whether they are comfortable on the wrist when running in the heat. I don’t need the gps watch for swimming but would also like to monitor bike rides and trekking. Any advice?

    • hoimir

      If it helps you at all – over the past half year, the 220 has been doing excellently in South African summer. No niggles whatsoever.

  66. NewRunner

    In one of the images above, you show the details of the run as date, distance, time, pace and calories. I cannot get the “pace”, I get “Avg Speed” instead. On the second page, I get Avg Speed, Calories, Avg HR, Max HR and Cadence.

    Is there a way to show the details differently that how my watch is currently configured?


    • NewRunner

      to answer my own question:
      –> settings –>system–>running: show pace

  67. Hedvig

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Loved the review. Super thorough. I found it through my interest in a watch with highly customizable interval training capabilities.
    I have a question:
    With using the Garmin Connect is there a limit on how many steps i can add on? I had a Timex Ironman 150 with 16 interval units available to customize. I wonder how much Garmin FR220 can do. I honestly tried to read though the comments, to see if someone has asked this question already, but there was just too much!

    Thanks for your reply in advance!


  68. NorthBar

    You mentioned in the review of the FR220 and in the review of the FR620 that your wife liked the FR220 a lot. Then she tried the FR620 and that became her favorite. In comparing the two watches, it seems the big difference is the running metrics. Is that what swayed her or was there something else? I don’t think the run metrics will be a big thing for me but I know that each product carries a certain amount of intangibles that can mean one product gets favored over another. She liked the colors of the FR220 better, so what about the FR620 made that watch the one of choice for her? I actually favor the FR620 colors but am trying to justify the extra cash. Just curious what swayed her.

    On a side note, I bought both the 910xt and the Fenix2 but am returning them. It really bugged me that the 910xt couldn’t be used as a day to day watch – to and from a workout or if I ride my bike to work and forget my “work” watch. And for the Fenix2, not having a quick release made me think that I would just stick with a Garmin 500 on my bike. That has lead me to looking for a regular running watch. My thought is that I would use it for everyday running. For triathlons, I would put it on under my wetsuit and just turn on the run function when I got to that portion of the race. I would use the Garmin 500 for the bike. That’s what I currently do, just with lower level equipment – a polar heart rate monitor that doesn’t track pace and a cadence/speed CatEye. I was a swimmer in high school and really am not worried or interested in swim metrics so that just leaves the bike and the run and it brings me to the waterproof FR220 or the FR620. So, just curious about what turned the tide to the FR620 for your wife? Thanks so much.

    • For her it was entirely 3 data fields vs 4 data fields. Simple, but the deal killer.

  69. Love

    Hi, do you know if the 220 accounts for outside temperature in its calorie count (without the heart rate monitor)? I noticed that it said I burned more calories on a 10 mile run at 74 degrees (about 112-116/mile) than on a 14 mile run at 57 degrees (82-83/mile). The former was slower than the latter (8:20 pace vs. 7:48) but that difference in pace hasn’t seemed to result in different calorie counts for other runs. I’m not really very concerned with calories, just curious, and I want to make sure something’s not mis-calibrated. Thanks!

    • It doesn’t account for temperature (it has no temperature sensor). It’s first driven by HR, and then lacking that it would be driven by pace/distance/weight/gender. Though, that’s a pretty big gam for calories for just a minor change in pace.

  70. Bill Dann

    I used Last Lap Pace all the time on my 205…until I lost it last week. I like everything about the 220 except I don’t see Last Lap data fields available. Are they?

  71. Superzoom

    I would strongly recommend that you do your research on the many bugs inherent in this GPS device. I ran a marathon on June 14, 2014 (Niagara Ultra Races Marathon) and due the extremely inaccurate readings (probably due to some moderate tree foliage), I ran a much faster pace than I had planned for. By the half way mark (21.1 km), my distance covered read 20 km on the watch! By then my race had been ruined, and I just did my best to finish.

    And yes, my watch had all the latest firmware and software updates applied (2.70 watch, 3.10 GPS).

    My last Garmin watch, a 405CX had none of the inaccuracy problems of the 220 (although the 405 died on me very suddenly for no reason).

    I would absolutely NOT recommend this watch to anyone who wants an accurate, reliable, bug-free watch. I suspect the problems I encountered cannot be fixed with the endless firmware updates that Garmin provides. Someone suggested that the cheap GPS receiver in the watch may be the culprit. BUYER BEWARE.

    • Congrats on the race.

      For a trail run (and/or that with high tree cover), you’re going to see some variance. That said, it’s quite rare that you’d see a ‘shorter’ distance, unless there are loopage back on each other or lots of twists and turns (switchbacks). I’d be curious to see the GPS track. Being off by that much at the half-way mark would be sorta understandable if it was measuring long, but being under is as I said really tough to do and generally indicative of a short course and/or something being shorted (i.e. auto-pause on, triggered via switchbacks or tree cover). You can validate that by looking at elapsed vs actual time.

      As for providing updates/fixes, all companies (that are worthwhile) provide updates to their devices. It allows them to improve it. I’m not sure one can really complain about that.

  72. Daryl

    Have just received today my new Forerunner 220. Haven’t had a run as yet but just familiarising myself with its features. I’m having difficulty locating satellites. I’ve been outside for around 30 minutes and still has not detected satellites. I’ve ensured the GPS function is on. Is there something else I’m not aware of I need to do?

    • FRiC

      Have you synced it yet? Even if you didn’t have a workout to upload yet, but syncing it will let the watch download satellite info which will speed up satellite acquisition.

  73. Billa

    Hi there,

    Here is a quick question, and as always the answer is much appreciated.
    With using the Garmin Connect is there a limit on how many steps i can add on? I had a Timex Ironman 150 with 16 interval units available to customize. I wonder how much Garmin FR220 can do.


    • Within Garmin Connect I believe it’s still 20 unique steps (repeats don’t count against that).

  74. Jen

    Thanks for the great review. I’m trying to decide if I should purchase the watch now or wait for a new version. Have you heard of a new release coming or know how often they are typically released?


    • On average, Garmin replaces devices about every two years. The FR220 has been out about 8 months.

  75. srvfan

    On that note as well, is there any indication as to whether the next round of Garmins will have heart rate monitors built into the watch, whether it be the Mio version or Garmin’s own variant?

  76. Love

    Hi, do you know if the 220 accounts for outside temperature in its calorie count (without the heart rate monitor)? I noticed that it said I burned more calories on a 10 mile run at 74 degrees (about 112-116/mile) than on a 14 mile run at 57 degrees (82-83/mile). The former was slower than the latter (8:20 pace vs. 7:48) but that difference in pace hasn’t seemed to result in different calorie counts for other runs. I’m not really very concerned with calories, just curious, and I want to make sure something’s not mis-calibrated. Thanks!

  77. Marta

    Hi! First thanks for your really useful reviews, and second sorry for my English.

    I am a Garmin fan, and after reading your reviews I decided to update my 405 with the 220. I returned the first one thinking I was unlucky and I got the crappy one, but after some trainings with the new one I am strongly convinced that Garmin has made a big mistake with the new chipsets. The 220 isn’t accurate, it drives me crazy while running, not reliable and better avoid commenting on the map reading I get afterwards.

    I tried running with my three gps devices and the only one with discrepancies and crazy pace was the 220. I feel really disappointed and I am not sure about what to do now.

  78. Gary

    I did my first workout today on my new FR220. (purchased from Clevertraining). Unfortunately my eyes are old and I can’t see the tiny description of what I’m supposed to do for each workout transition and no, I’m not going to wear my reading glasses on my runs! Would be great if Garmin would update the firmware to show the workout details full screen with a start button press to clear it. I might stand a chance. Today was easy, slow easy run with a warm down. Reps are going to have me squinting. You young guys won’t think this so is funny down the road.

    I’m doing the fitness workouts right now based on heart rate alerts and I’ve already set zone alarms on the watch. Will the workout zones conflict with the preset zones? I couldn’t really tell during my run which alert was triggering.

  79. Víctor

    Hi, Very useful reviews and support answering all kind of question.

    I’ve notice something with my unit:

    First time I used, i run on Trendmill for 10 Km and it recorded 9.6km, not bad.
    During some days I used indoors and more or less it took correct distances.

    Now, after 4 months, with a lot of workouts done, I come back to the treadmill, and now it record 800-850 meters for ever Km. So, When I end my Indoor 10K, it says I’ve only donde ran 8.2 Km.

    I know its imposible to redefine the distance of my steps in the, and that it takes my workouts to adapt it to my normal distance step, but it seems that It’s worst than the first time I used, when it worked with default table of distance steps…

    Will I improve that if I completely reset the clock?
    It’s updated to 2.7 soft, 3.1 GPS,


  80. HN

    Thank you for a great review. What does the display show when the watch is in Auto Pause mode? Can this display be configured? I am asking since my actual watch doesn’t show any useful information when paused and I would at least like to see the time of the day.

  81. Jason

    Hey Ray. I know you mentioned that the footpod would over write the GPS data in your review so I always make sure to remove it when running outside and then reactivate it when running on the treadmill. Does that still hold true? I upgraded to firmware 2.8 last night and noticed as part of the release notes it indicated that GPS will now calibrate the footpod too. Haven’t tried it yet but will look to see what the calibration factor looks like at some point this weekend.

    • When it first started out, it would incorrectly override it. Then that was fixed (good). Now, as of yesterday they’ve also added in GPS calibration as well of the footpod as you noted, but I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet.

    • Gingerneil

      Ray – does the instantaneous pace now come from the footpod? This is something users on the Garmin forum have been asking for due to poor instant pace from the gps.

    • I don’t know. I’ll try and find out, and/or do some tests (I think I need to find a way to put a treadmill outside…). Though, that would first require me having a treadmill.

    • Jason

      ok thanks for the replies. I will post back what I notice after my weekend runs.

    • Jason

      Ran 8 miles this morning and footpod calibration says 98.9. That’s usually about right for me. Let me know what everyone else sees.

    • Jason

      Today ran 4 miles slow. Calibration factor says 101.1 for foot pod. I will check with my friend Spock so he can start the analysis and see if this is logical over time. Will report back with his findings.

    • Today I took my FR220 to do track intervals today, and I noticed that the instant pace takes about 15-20 seconds to stabilize. Did any of you ever figure out if instant pace will now come from the footpod in firmware 2.8/2.9?

    • To answer my own question, with FW 2.9, the instant pace now stabilizes in less than five seconds. But I had to do a master reset (search on YouTube for the procedure) to get it to do so. So all is working well now!

  82. Trish

    I noticed on the Clever Training website for the 220 it features a Virtual Partner, though in your review it doesn’t have one. Which is correct?
    Is there an android app now available? I do not want to buy an iphone.
    I am quite keen to get one of these watches as I do like the Garmin website. I used to have a FR210 but I had it replaced 3 times so gave up and bought a Nike GPS sportwatch but find the Nike website does not give enough data and breakdowns on your runs. I can’t compare runs with runs like I could on the Garmin site to see if I have improved etc.

    • Linus De Paoli

      Yes they have an Android app working for this watch.

    • Hi Trish-

      Thanks for the heads up. The FR220 does not have Virtual Partner, but rather has the pace alerts. I’ve let the CT folks know to tweak it.

      Sorry for the confusion!

    • Trish

      Thanks for that – I have bought one and its on charge. I paid reasonable price here in New Zealand, thanks to Kiwivelo. Looking forward to using it. Now I just have to update my phone to suit!

  83. David Brocklehurst

    Just wondered if all 220 models have the HRM Feature incorporated and just need the Strap for it to work, some are advertised with HRM, and some not. I have a strap with mine, but will it work with my friends, who’s came without?

    Many Thanks


    • Yup, you can add in the HR strap later to any FR220 – they all have the same code on them. Many people simply add a strap later on, totally normal.

  84. Clint

    Hello Ray,

    I don’t know if this bug has been mentioned or not? Tonight for the third time, I went out to run and part way through my run I noticed it had no pace indicators. they were just “–” marks. I realized that at some point the watch lost the GPS version and it read “0.00” instead of “3.10” or whatever the current version is. Do you know what causes this? Really annoying to have to go and try and redownload the update to get pace information. The software version never changed it still read “2.60.” Thanks for the help

    • I’d definitely try and re-download the update. Not sure if you were using a computer or a phone to upload, but I’d use Garmin Express (computer) to ensure it’s all set. Very odd though, haven’t heard of that before.

  85. Trish

    Does anyone know if the GPS is off automatically when it is in watch mode or do you have to disable it when not in use?

    • Jason

      Automatically disabled when in watch mode. You know it’s in watch mode when you hit any button and see the padlock.

    • Trish

      Thanks Jason. Still learning about the watch. Went for a 5.5k run this morning and loved the auto pause when at traffic lights, crossing the roads.

    • Jason

      You are welcome. I’m still learning too but definitely enjoy the watch.

  86. Gidi

    Hi Rainmaker,

    I currently using the 310XT model and I think about changing it to 220 (I can sell mine and buy the 220 at the same price, so money wise, it’s not a problem).
    I’m wondering which one is better? the 310Xt has longer battery life (when GPS is on) (BTW, by GPS on does it mean while running or while the watch is turned on?)


    • It really depends on whether you want a smaller watch or a watch with more functions. The FR310XT for the most part has more functionality (minus Bluetooth related features), but it’s much larger.

  87. Jen

    Hi – I purchased last week and went for my first run with the watch today. It didn’t seem to be very accurate as the pace had a wide range and after i loaded my data the map didn’t have my route correctly – according to this I never returned! That said, the total time is correct. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Jen-

      Have you updated the firmware on the unit?

    • Jen

      I believe so. I have software version 2.8 and GPS version 3.1

    • Jen

      I may have figured it out after re-reading your post. The bar at the top never went fully green. I waited about 5 min and decided to just go.

    • Hmm, I’d try a hard reset first. If that doesn’t clear up the satellite issues than ring up Garmin to have them swap out the unit (you can ask them for a cross-ship to get you a unit quicker).

    • Ahh, perfect – yes, waiting is indeed important. Have a good weekend.

  88. Stan

    Hey rainmaker,I find this review very,extremely awesome for I am new to these garmin watches.im trying to buy one for my wife,it’s her birthday next week and she would absolutely live getting a garmin as a gift,my question to you is,which would you prefer,this fr220 or fr405?

  89. Trish

    Stan – From a female point of view and a new user of the FR220, I would recommend it for your wife. I have the white/purple one and it fits well and is super comfortable. I have small wrists, similar size to Rays wife and even though it looks large, it just feels right.
    As for features, I have not tested enough as only been on one run then had to do night shift. It worked perfectly and I love it and can’t wait to go for another run.

    • Stan

      Cool thx a lot Trish,for my wife also has small wrist,she is very petite.i searched and called many places,big five,sports authority,sports chalet etc…sports chalet had it in stock but only in blk/red.i really wanted the purple/white one for her because it looks more girly lol.It was kinda difficult to find but I managed to find it at an r.e.i store today. I could have ordered it online but wanted to make sure I can pick up and have it ready for her bday on Wednesday. Hope she likes it! Thx for the help.

  90. Jeff Warner

    Does the Heart Rate Page allow for any customization? Its set up for 2 fields (HR and Zone), but can you add a field … such as time or pace … or change the HR fields?

    I know the Two User data pages are customization, but I got used to the Garmin 210 Heart Rate screen that would show HR as well as distance and pace.


  91. Dave

    In case you were still wondering what the bizarre file naming scheme was all about, there is a post on the Garmin forums that seems to have cracked it :

    link to forums.garmin.com

    As always, an awesome review too. Thanks for spending the time and effort to do these reviews. It’s a wonderful resource.

  92. alex

    went for a 6km run yesterday and over the course of the run the watch seemed to gradually drift off (to the north) of my actual position. the starting point and general shape of the course are correct but by the end it is around 300m off. there are some trees along the course, although mostly at the beginning when it was most accurate. do you think this is caused by a problem with the watch itself or some other factor?

    • Every once in a while I’ll see offsets like that from people (across a range of devices from the FR305 to current generation devices). Never really had a clear idea what causes it. Sometimes it might help to wait a few extra seconds at the beginning of a run before you press start (perhaps 15-30 seconds).

    • alex

      thanks for the reply, It had a lock for probably 5 minutes before I started running.. I am hoping it might have been a general gps system issue so not anything wrong with the watch itself which I really like. Anyway went for a long run today and it seemed to be spot on so hopefully all is well.

  93. Gina

    I just got the FR220 about a month ago and have some serious concerns with the pace lagging. I’m a slower run walker and also recovering from an injury, so at first I thought I was just running slower than normal. I then ran with both my new 220 and my old 305 to compare the current paces and saw how the 220 takes over a minute to catch up to my current pace as shown on the 305. The average paces were within 2-3 seconds on both watches, so it is capturing and chewing on the same data as the 305, but as a run walker, current pace is very important. *** My questions are: is the 220 THAT slow to record and display an accurate current pace or is there something wrong with my unit (I have updated all the software)…is this something that Garmin could fix with an update or bug fix…or us this just a design choice they made and I need to eliminate walk breaks? *** thanks for your input!

    • No, it’s not normal. If you’re on the latest firmware and have fully reset the unit – then I’d ring up Garmin support. It shouldn’t take more than a handful of seconds to reflect instant pace changes.

    • Gina

      Thanks for your help. I did what you suggested and still no better.
      So then, I went out for a run wearing my old 305 as well as my new 220, uploaded the data to Garmin Connect and talked to Garmin Help Desk. It is clear from the readings that the 305 is much quicker to respond and the 220 is lagging by almost a minute. eg, the 220 says I’m running at a 15 min pace and the 305 says I’m at an 11 min pace. Or, during a walk break, the 220 says I’m at a 13 min pace and the 305 says I’m at an 17 min pace. So this is not matter of the pace being off by a few seconds; it is off my a few minutes! The 220 catches up with the 305 after about a minute…not 5 or even 15 seconds, and the average pace is spot on between both the 220 and 305.
      Garmin is escalating my problem and I suggested that they look at the data in the uploads and they will see exactly what I am talking about.

      The Help Desk also said that Garmin is working on a software update for the 620 series that has to do with a lag in the lap pace, and since these are sister devices, it might be the same issue with the 220.

      Fingers crossed. I love this watch except for this key issue. Thanks for your help and support.

    • Eric Lofgren

      Did this get resolved?

  94. Sharon

    Great review! I own a 305 heart rate monitor strap and was wondering if it would pair with the 220? Also, do you know if there are any improvements with the 220 HR strap or is it identical to the 305 HR strap? Thanks!

    • Yes, it will. And yes, the strap is improved to reduce spikes/dropouts.

    • Sharon

      Thanks, Rainmaker! I ended up buying the 220 yesterday and took it out for my first trot. Works well so far! Only thing is it seems so flimsy compared to my 305 – hopefully it doesn’t break easily.

  95. Vincenzo

    Hi Ray,

    great review as usual! I own a FR 220 HR and have two questions:

    – Having used it twice for triathlon and noticed that after the swim session the HR monitor doesn’t start automatically. I know the HR strap doesn’t work on water, but I assumed that once out of water it would get that info (also it DOES count the calories consumed at the end of the race…) (my Timex HR Zone trainer works just fine). Any advice? Is my HR monitor that has some problems or it’s just like that?

    – Is there a way to save a training session WITHOUT saving the records eventually set on THAT session (i.e. every time I use it on bike I’ll break every record of my previous runs :-( )?

    Thank again for your incredible work!

    • 1) Hmm, I’d definitely ensure that you have the HR showing pre-swim. Usually most devices do auto-resume, so that’s odd.

      2) No, unfortunately not.

    • Vincenzo

      Grazie mille Ray!

  96. Keno

    Hi Ray, thank you for the consistently well written reviews on GPS watches. I searched this review and it’s comments and, maybe I missed it, but I’m wondering does the FR 220 allow setting up custom workouts on-watch instead of through GC like the 310XT does?


    • Yes it does. Enjoy!

    • Keno

      Thanks. I bought one today. Technically it has an interval workout feature that can be edited on-watch, but if you go to My Workouts, which is where I would expect custom workouts to be, it tells me to Download workouts from Garmin Connect. I don’t want to have an account on Garmin Connect. Seems I should have said that specifically in my original post. Oh well, for my training this year the editable interval workouts will do.

      Or maybe I need to update the firmware? I’m at 2.20. If so, it seems I’ll be bullied into signing up on Garmin Connect to get it.

      I do also have a recently bricked 15 month old 310XT about which I’ve contacted Garmin, hopefully they will hook me up so I can have true custom workouts on-watch again.

    • Sorry, I thought you meant downloaded workouts. Yes, it has the basic interval function, but for the complex pieces you have to create on Garmin Connect. Unfortunately Garmin Connect mobile doesn’t support creation there.

    • Keno

      On a whim today I downloaded Garmin Training Center, and it turns out even though it was last updated in 2011, it recognizes and appears to fully support the 220. So I have a way to make custom workouts without using Garmin Connect. I’m happy about that.

      Thanks again for your work on these reviews, Ray.

  97. Bob B

    Ray, after 7(!) years my trusty Garmin Forerunner 305 is starting to have problems (backlight stopped working). This review has persuaded me to buy the FR 220. But reading some of the comments makes me concerned that this new unit may not be as reliable. Do you think an extended warranty is worthwhile, or do you think that the newer Garmin products are as reliable as the older ones, based on your extensive usage? Thanks.

  98. Peg

    Thank you so much for such a comprehensive review! I have bought the 220 (in awesome purple) and it is FABULOUS! We’re even heading to Paris in Sept so I’ll be checking out your fave runs on your other page for then! Thank you!!!!

  99. Liz

    Hi… How is the calorie count comparison between the calories with the HRM strap and without it (just using GPS)? given that you can enter your physical stats, do the numbers come out roughly the same? I don’t want to have to wear a strap….

    I am looking for a watch that has no external piece requirements, GPS, HRM, calorie counting, basic watch features for a runner, and isn’t too pricey. What would you recommend?

    It would be AWESOME if it also incorporated activity tracking features too, but I can’t seem to find a good one!

  100. Jessica

    Hi! I am running my first 10k trail run in September and was considering buying a watch. There are so many out there in the market that I was getting a headache and couldn’t make up my mind. My husband found your website and has been bugging me to read your reviews and comments. I think he wants to buy me a watch for my birthday! :)
    I finally picked the Garmin 220 with the additional foot pod. Thank you for the extensive easy to read and full of photos review section. I spent almost an hour navigating your site!!!

  101. Ondrej

    New firmware released!
    Changes made from version 2.80 to 2.90:
    – Fixed an issue where incorrect pace/speed smoothing could be applied during certain activities.-
    – Changes to support manufacturing.

  102. Koen

    What’s up with this data-field called “unknown”? Is it included for some futuristic feature?

  103. Bob S

    Thanks for all the wonderful info on your site. Quick question:

    If I get the Forerunner 220 without the heart rate strap, will the strap from my Garmin Edge 800 work? They look the same in the pics, but I’d like to make sure.

    • Bob S

      Sorry, I just read through all of the previous repliess and see that my question was already answered in post #70; yes it will work.

  104. Mirna

    Thank you so much for all your reviews, I’ve read many of them and find them extremely useful. However, I still can’t decide which GPS watch to buy, and this is why. I want a simple watch, the only functions I really need are distance, time, average pace (for the whole run) and instant (or at least) lap pace. Garmin FR110, FR15, FR10 as far as I understand don’t allow you to see both paces during the same run. FR220 seems like the cheapest option to offer this, but for this price you can get a FR 310XT. I would also like quick satellite reception, good satellite connectivity, smooth instant pace (if they offer instant pace) and at least 5hrs battery life. Is really the FR220 the cheapest unit offering these? And, if yes, what is its advantage over a FR 310xt (except size) that costs almost the same? I was also looking up your review of the TomTom, but I didn’t like the fact that the watch falls out of the strap…
    Thanks a lot in advance for your help!

    • The TomTom does do both (all models).

      As for the Garmin models, the main advantage of the FR220 over the FR310XT is really Bluetooth and size. But beyond that, the FR310XT has far more functionality.

    • Chris

      Great write up btw, bought my FR10 based on your reviews and been an excellent watch, still love it. Only problem with it is that it doesn’t let me see the average pace as well as instant pace. Are we saying here that the FR220 ‘does’ allow you to see both fields on the same run at the same time? i.e one date field shows instant/current pace whilst the other shows you average pace overall during the run? Thanks

  105. Szabó Bakter

    Great review. I ‘d like to buy this watch. I have a Zephyr Bluetooth strap. Is it compatible with this watch or i have to buy a bundle?

    • No, the FR220 is unable to connect to any Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth legacy straps. Only ANT+ straps.

  106. vanessa

    Many thanks for this detailed review. This was very very felpful for me, thanks again for taking the time to do it so professionaly.

  107. rajo

    Has the footpod problem (i.e. automatically overriding GPS) been solved yet?

  108. Ken

    I’m looking for a watch with HRM and the 220 looks great. I do some indoor workouts- cross fit, etc. that I would also like to use the heart rate monitor for. Do I understand correctly that I could set the 220 to Run / Indoor no GPS and it would work fine to monitor heart rate for indoor exercise of any type? Thanks!

  109. Fernando

    Great review. Very deep into details.
    I’ve been wearing the watch for a little bit more than 30 days and really like it. However, I’m not using the workouts from the page. I got used to Adidas micoach training plan, which considers how advanced I am into running, but I guess I’ll have to give it a try after my actual plan is over.
    Thanks for the review

  110. Satish

    Firstly, thanks for a great review as always, I bought a 220 based on your detailed review. Have been using the watch for a over a month now. It seems like there is a bug (atleast on my device) on the Data screen settings. I have faced 2 specific issues:
    1. The Data screens have changed on their own, different from what I set. I had set Screen 1 to display Distance and Time, and Screen 2 to display Cadence and Pace. When I went on my run, Screen 2 started showing Lap time and Lap distance. I did not change any setting, this happened on its own.
    2. After my run, when I tried to set the screens again, there seems to be an issue in displaying 3-metric screens. It is now displaying one metric less than what I try to set. For example, if I set 3 metrics (Distance, Time and Pace) on Screen 1, it shows only Distance and Time. If I set 2 metrics on Screen 2 (with the Middle metric set as ‘Off’), it displays only the Top metric.
    Have you heard anything similar from other users or faced it yourself?

    • Bob B

      I had a similar problem with the Data Screens. A master/hard reset solved the problem. The Data Screens now behave as they should.

    • Satish

      Thanks Bob, Will try and hard reset.

  111. Stacy

    Hi! I just got my forerunner 220 in today from clever training. Went through all the set up and things looked great. I started the software update and it has frozen on the main screen. I can get it to power off, but when I turn it back on it’s on the same frozen turn-on screen that just says “GARMIN.” Can anyone help with this?


  112. Rex

    Thanks for your great reviews! You are amazingly thorough! One question about the 220 and 620: Is there a way to determine how much battery life is left during a run? (i.e., if doing a timed ultramarathon, it would be nice to know whether the watch is going to make through the entire event).

    Thanks in advance!!!

  113. Rick

    I’m preparing to run more 5k’s and eventually a marathon. Would the 220 be my best option to buy to help me with training for that? What about the Nike + Sports Watch?

    • Trish

      Hi Rick
      I really like the FR220 and I have had a FR210 (lots of problems) so went to Nike+Sports Watch but it is so limiting (watch and Nike site) that I went back to Garmin….definitely recommend the 220. Get loads more info from the Garmin watches if you are into data etc.

    • Rick

      Thanks Trish. I appreciate the feedback. Do you know if the FR220 comes with the heart rate monitor or is is separate and is it necessary?

    • Trish

      Hi Rick
      I think it can be sold with or without a HRM. I had one from the previous watch so that paired ok (Ant+). I do like my HRM as it shows me how hard I am working at running and when I get up to a certain rate….I need to slow down and walk. Others of course would use it differently.

    • Yup, Trish is correct. It’s sold in a bundle with or, or without it. If you previously have an ANT+ strap then you can pair that to it. And without it, you won’t get heart rate (HR) data. Cheers!

  114. David Faul

    Hi. I have had the forerunner 220 for a while now but recently I am having a problem with my data screens. On screen one, I have selected distance, timer & average page & screen two I have selected lap data. When I preview the screens or when I go for a run only two data fields are displaying in each screen, the bottom field is not displayed. Has anybody encountered this or how do I resolve this?

    • Is this before you’ve started the timer? You might just want to briefly try starting the timer just standing there and see if it shows up while running the watch normally.

    • David Faul

      Yes before I start the timer but it does not appear when I start the timer either? Maybe I will just reboot the watch?

    • Satish

      Iam facing similar probems with Data screens, had posted a comment on this forum last week (see my comment dated July 16 2014). I tried doing a hard reset as Bob has suggested above, but doesn’t seem to have addressed the problem. I have also escalated to garmin support, but haven’t got a response from them yet. Let me know if you find a solution.

  115. Trish

    I have 2 data fields set up – HR and distance and the other screen just pace. On the first screen it shows the HR and HR zones…..never the distance. I have done a reboot as after the 2.9 update as I could not turn off data fields and this worked but still the incorrect field shows – HR zones not distance (even tho on the preview screen it shows the correct field as distance).
    Not sure how to get around this.

  116. Rex

    Hope a repost is okay; no one addressed the question and I did not see it anywhere in the other comments.

    Thanks for your great reviews! You are amazingly thorough! One question about the 220 and 620: Is there a way to determine how much battery life is left during a run? I know it is supposed to last 10 hours but assume that can be affected by number of screens being used, etc. (i.e., if doing a timed ultramarathon, it would be nice to know whether the watch is going to make through the entire event).

    Thanks in advance!!!

  117. Good day!
    Can you help me?
    Nowdays we have sale price for Garmin 610 = 312$. Usual price for Garmin 220 = 391$ and Garmin 220 with sale = 328$

    What is the better decision? 610 or 220?

    • It depends, in general though, I’d go with the FR220. Here’s why you would want to purchase the FR610 instead:

      1) You want some of the basic navigational features of the FR610
      2) You want the cycling-specific mode (remember, you can still change the display to ‘Speed’ on the FR220), or you want ANT+ speed/cadence sensor support on the FR610
      3) You want to display 4 customizable data fields instead of three, per page.
      4) You want Virtual Partner (the FR220 has pace alerts, which is like a floor/ceiling instead)
      5) You want weight scale support

      Those are the main reasons. Personally, I’ll take the quicker satellite reception and upload of workouts through the phone, as well firmware updates that way. Also remember that the FR220 has significantly more features than it’s older sibling, the FR210 (for example, advanced workout support). So it’s really more of a FR620 ‘Lite’ than it is a FR210 ‘Pro’…if that makes sense.

      Just my two cents…

    • Dear Rainmaker!
      Thank you very much for comment.

  118. Joseph Patrowicz


    Thanks for the great review on the 220 and the 620. I’m torn between the two units. My biggest question is regarding the WiFi on the 620. I have an outdated iPhone 4 with Bluetooth 3.0, so I cannot take advantage of the BLE features of either of these units. Will the 620 allow me to sync with my phone via WiFi for uploading data? If so, that would make my decision easier.


    • If you’re phone supports creating a WiFi hotspot, yes (so other devices can use it).

    • Joseph Patrowicz

      Thanks for the quick reply. I can use my phone as a hotspot. This makes my decision much easier.

    • No problem. Just to be clear, that’s FR620 only (not FR220).

  119. Rex

    Is anyone able to comment on #1430? I have not been able to find this info in the review or in other comments. Appreciate the help.

  120. Christy

    Thanks so much for the review…extremely detailed and very helpful. Considering getting the 220 and I know it can be used on a treadmill with the footpod. I hate treadmill training and subject myself to the painful indoor track during Chicago winters. Would the 220 with the footpad accurately track time per mile and distance on an indoor track?

    • Yup, no problems on an indoor track – same as on a treadmill. Actual accuracy may vary from person to person however.

  121. Greg

    I am confused. I am trying to decide between the Garmin 220 and the Garmin 620. I run a lot on the treadmill and unsure if I need a foot pod. There have been several software upgrades to both units so I am not sure if I still need an external foot pod to measure cadence or if the internal capabilities are now sufficiently accurate. Also, I am not sure if the 220 and the 620 have the same updated functionality. If the recommendation is to select the 220 with the external foot pod would it make more sense to just pay a little more money and get the 620 and use the internal cadence function if the cadence functionality of the 620 is currently superior to the 220 and a foot pod is not needed.

  122. carly

    Hey Ray,
    I bought a Forerunner 210 about 7 months ago from Amazon.com. For the last month, it has been acting erratically. Garmin support, has offered to exchange it for a “overhauled” (i.e. refurbished model.) This is a bit frustrating that they sell a defective product and will only exchange it for a used model that they fixed.
    The rep told me that if I wanted a new watch, they would give me a new Forerunner 220 for $135 in exchange for my defective 210. Is this worth it?

    • Honestly, I’d have no issues getting a refurb unit. Having seen the process, you’re basically getting a brand new unit that’s re-built from the ground up in the same factory as previous units – even the outside is brand new. Tested the same as new units, etc.

      Full details on how it works: link to dcrainmaker.com

      That said, I’d definitely take $135 for a FR220 if they’d let you do that. That’s a very solid deal.

    • Trish

      I ended up with 3 x refurb or new FR210. But happy with my FR 220. I would take the exchange and get rid of the FR210. The FR220 is much more comfortable on the wrist as well.

    • carly

      Thanks Ray and Trish!

  123. Hai Nguyen

    Is there a new discount code ? DCR10TXS seemed to have expired.

    • Hi Hai-

      Thanks for the support! There’s still a discount, fear not. For 99.99% of products you can use the coupon code, but for a handful (7, to be exact), you have to join the VIP program instead (at the manufacturers request). That includes the FR220– but you’ll still save the 10% and support the site with the VIP program.

      It only takes a moment, and there’s more benefits and it also supports the Girls on The Run charity as well. Here’s all the details: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Again, thanks for the support!

  124. Rex

    My eyes are getting worse with aging…I intended to ask for a response to #1420.

  125. Trex

    Can the 220 display/capture/record heart rate data (or any other ANT+ data sensor, with Live Tracking enabled? You mentioned in the Fenix2 review that the 220/620 have this capability, but I can’t find it in the review for the 220.

    I’m torn between the capabilities of the Fenix2 (which is in a different category) and the form factor of the 220.

    • Yes, it can. The FR220/FR620 are different than the Fenix2 in that regard, they can do both concurrently.

      I didn’t mention it in the FR220/FR620 review, since they came prior to the Fenix2 review – and it wasn’t a problem then. It was only an issue starting in the Fenix2.


  126. Hazel O'Halloran

    Hi Ray, great review, thank you! I’m a runner and am considering both the Garmin Forerunner 220 and the TomTom Runner Cardio. They seem pretty similar, would you say one is better than the other or does it really just come down to the built in hrm vs the chest strap?

    • Overall the FR220 is a more advanced/functional watch, whereas the TomTom Runner Cardio is more simplified watch. So it pretty much comes down to how much you want the built-in HR component.

    • Hazel O'Halloran

      I thought that might be the case, thank you! I think I might go for the Garmin.

    • Trish

      I had the Nike Sportswatch which is similar to the TomTom (without the HR built in). And I found it too simple. The FR220 is great for a runner and I don’t find a chest strap uncomfortable if you want a HR monitor.

  127. Miguel Flores

    Great review, as always! Quick question: I have the 910xt and my wife is seriously thinking about the FR220. When we get home from our activities, will our workouts be uploaded simultaneously to one Garmin Connect account? Thank you.

    • It completely depends on how you configure it. Garmin Express allows you to pair a given device to a given account, even on the same computer. So your FR910XT could go to your account, and then the FR220 to her own account – and it’ll do it automatically when you plug the devices in to the computer (or if she sync’s the FR220 through her phone).

  128. Mark

    Hi all,
    Great review, just a quick question….I currently have the 410 and love it but recently have added a gym membership to my training. They have an indoor track and obviously no gps available in there. Am I better adding a foot pod or upgrading to the 220 due to accelerometer? I’ve seen some changes in distance tracked outdoors with my 410 as well. Btw I’m not a techie so simple terms please : )

  129. Kat

    I read through your review before I’m asking this, but I didn’t see it touched on. My friend just got the 220 and she is training for a race with specific goal paces during training. Example a 9:08 pace for a mile. She says the watch is showing her paces rounded out. Like either a 9:05 or a 9:10. Is this a function that got switched on somehow. Is there a way to make it show actual pace and not have it rounded?

    • No, it’s only shown in 5s increments. The reality of GPS devices though is that the data has to be smoothed one way or another. So either it’s smoothed at 5s increments, or it’s smoothed for a longer period behind the scenes.

      For intervals, what I do is use lap pace instead – which then shows you down to the second.

  130. Paul

    Hi Ray,
    Great review as ever, your reviews have helped me to decide on an Edge810, 2 x Vivofit and FR220 in the last three months!!
    Just a quick technical question regarding the FootPod. I was previously using a FR310xt with my FootPod, which I calibrated to my treadmill. I have now paired the same FootPod to my FR220, and wasn’t asked for any calibration info. I had assumed the calibration data was held in the watch, and I’d have to calibrate again, but now I’m wondering if that data is in the footpod!

    Any ideas, and if you think the calibration is in the watch, advice on how to force a calibration would be much appreciated.


    • The FR220 ‘hides’ it, which is kinda annoying, as you just have to run with it instead so that it automatically calibrates it.

    • Paul

      Thank you very much.

  131. Michael

    Regarding the live tracking feature, assuming this feature uses mobile data (maybe not?), how much data would you say it uses for a half marathon?

  132. Ashley

    I don’t think this specific question was covered before. I just got the 220 and so far like it, although the loud beeps with each button press and the vibrations are bothering me a bit. Is it possible to turn off all vibration alerts and beeps with each button press?

    • I don’t have a unit on me at the moment (at the airport), but within settings you can turn off key tones (when you press a button) and alerts, and whether or not it vibrates or beeps.

    • Ashley

      Thank you! I missed these settings when I first looked.

  133. claire

    I was wondering if you would recommend this watch over the Suunto Ambient 2 R?? I am having a hard time making a choice between the two ?

    I basically want it for running both on road and at the gym on the tread mill and to monitor calories whilst doing all forms of exercise ? eg weights as well?

    Thanks for your reviews btw

  134. James Thompson

    I’m still in a quandary on which watch to get: the FR 220 or the Ambit 2. I know these two watches don’t really compete but I can get an Ambit 2 within $50 – $75 of what I’d pay for the FR 220 so I’m considering it. In any event here’s a question about the FR 220. In the run/walk mode, does the FR 220 record or report data any differently than if I set up an interval run or workout run of similar time parameters? If not, what’s the purpose of this mode/alert? What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your response!

  135. BrianMC

    Real life battery life question.

    I am trying to decide whether to get the ambit 2s or 2r or the 220.

    I use the garmin 405 , don’t do a lot a fancy stuff with it, but the like the opportunity to use workouts.

    I am training for the jfk50 and would hope to finish in less than 10 hours

    I like the features of the 220 better than the suuntos, but really do want to think that the battery would take me through the race.

    I have seen the forum comments generally supporting the 10 hour life, any real world experience?

    • I haven’t seen anyone say it doesn’t get 10 hours, but at the same time, one likely doesn’t see too many FR220 buyers running 10hours in one shot. Realistically the 2S is probably a better watch in terms of time/duration, but I can see the thinking on wanting to go with the 220.

    • BrianMC


      I remain torn

      On the one hand, while i am not a triathlete, i would welcome the swim capacity of the Ambit. I dont use alot of the garmin connect features now, so limitations re intervals and workout arent absolute dealbreakers, but some of the garmin feaures are really sweet.. And the battery life would unambigoulsy get me through the jfk50

      In addition, the current pricing on the Ambit 2s is so attractive.

      On the other hand, the 220 seems like a more refined running product, and the ability to upload with bluetooth and not be tied down to my computer (And i extensively use a iphone ands ipad) are really compelling.

      close call any advice would be welcome

    • Yeah, it’s really a personal call. If you’re a pure runner, I prefer the FR220. But if you go multisport or hiking, then the 2S is a better call.

  136. Donkey walker

    Thanks heaps for the review. On your recommendations I bought a Forerunner 220 with heart rate monitor and am generally happy with it. I use it for running as well as toning sessions but I am curious how they calculate calories burned? I seem to burn heaps more on runs than I do when doing cardio exercises despite heart rates and total time not being too dissimilar.
    And another query, when I upload the sessions to Garmin Connect, the average and maximum heart rates are way lower (by 40 to 70 bpm) than the watch history tells me. This has been for all my workouts! Curiously the graph in Garmin Connect appears to show the correct readings. Have you come across this issue before, or do you have any idea why the sessions are showing different readings to the watch history ? Cheers

  137. Sat

    Thanks for all your reviews. Amazing website. I bought a Garmin FR 220 and its been really good until a few days ago. I run on a treadmill and FR used to track the miles accurately. Of late though, it has been acting weird (some times when I run in different gym). The miles are not being tracked at all even though I maintain the same pace. It shows 0.2 miles (or very small number) for a mile of my run. I am suspicious it is switching to outdoor mode even when I am indoors.
    Any pointers as to how to diagnose and get rid this of issue. Appreciate your help.

  138. patricio

    Hola Ray, plwase explain me how the calibration factor of the footpod works. Should it be 100 like in the picture you show? After two runs with my FR220 using GPS and Footpod the calibration factor changes to 102.3, waht this mean? How should i know what is the correct calibration factor? What is best: use the calibration factor or let the watch to calibrate the footpod after several uses?

    best regards

    • Paul


      If you have been out running with the GPS on and the footpod connected, the FR220 will have auto-calibrated. The 100 number on the review pictures show the default setting, which roughly equates to a stride length of 100cm. As yours has auto-calibrated, it shows that your stride length is slightly more, hence the 102.3 number.

      There is no need for you to change this, the FR220 has done it all for you.


    • patricio

      Gracias Paul!!!

  139. Kostas Bossinas

    after 2.90 update my second data screen shows only 1 data (although i have turned on all three ). i sent emails but no answer. is this a bug?

    • I’d try and call Garmin Europe support instead. Or, you could do a hard reset (see Garmin Forums for exact instructions), as my bet is that’ll solve it right away.

  140. Joseph Greygor

    Hello DC,

    I am new to your reviews and I have to say very impressed by the in-depth information you provide. After reading through several reviews and the Q&A’s as well, I’m stuck as to which option to purchase. From what I’ve read, I’m torn between the FR10/ 220/ 305.

    My run’s consist of activity between 2-4 days/week, and I like knowing my pace, distance, avg. distance and prefer to have the GPS feature as well. I currently use Nike+ Running App on my phone (Samsung GS5) and it does a fairly decent job of mapping my run and the aforementioned features I look for. My only issue is that there is no HRM.

    Do any of the models above keep track of HR without having a strap (which I feel s an inconvenience to have to wear); or is there a model/fitness watch brand that you could recommend with those features?

    Thank you for your time,

  141. Dave Rosenbaum

    I own a Garmin 220 and love it. One of my favorite features is programming workouts; it really helps during a workout to not have to think about what I have to do next because the watch tells me.

    But there’s one thing I can’t figure out how to program. I have a workout coming up that consists of a warmup then three miles of one-minute hard, one-minute recovery, one-minute hard, one-minute recovery then one mile of cool down.

    I know that the 220 allows me to program time intervals and it also allows me to program distance intervals. But is there a way to program time intervals within a set number of miles. For example, one minute hard, one minute easy for three miles?


    • The best bet would be to use the custom workout function on Garmin Connect and then sync your watch with it. That’ll allow you to do exactly what you’re looking for. Super easy to use.

  142. Dave Rosenbaum

    By the custom workout function, you mean the regular workout function in Garmin Connect, right? From what I’ve seen, that only allows me to specify segments by time or distance, not by time segments within a larger distance segment. Or am I missing something?

    Thanks anyway. I appreciate how diligent you are in monitoring the comments.


    • Ahh, I see what you mean by embedding that. No, that’s tougher to do. You’d basically have to create repeat sets within that and assign the time segments according to a best guesstimate on how many you’d want to do.

  143. Jo

    So I made the leap and purchased the FR220. And of course I’ve come across a new comparison, that for some reason wasn’t apparent the first time round; the FR15. I’m seeing that it has quite a few features of the FR220, at about $72 less cost (this is with HRM and footpod- to compensate for the FR220’s accelerometer). haven’t had the opportunity to run with the FR220 yet, due to work timing, but was curious as to whether or not the v2.90 has the Auto-pause feature of the FR15?

    Could I get a brief comparison (not as in depth as the charts, just something quick) as to whether you feel the extra cost of the FR220 is worthwhile compared to FR15?

    Thanks again for your time DC,
    your advice and assistance is always appreciated

    • I’d say the core reasons to go FR220 over FR15 is that you want either customized workouts, more data field customization, or you want Bluetooth sync via phone.

      For me, I’d probably go with FR220 myself, but I think for most people the FR15 is a very solid option.

    • Jo

      Does the FR15 display all of the same graph information as the FR220? And is the Bluetooth for the Live feature only, or does it save the use of always having to connect to a computer after a run?

    • Online they display the same information. But on the device the FR220 displays far more information (see the data pages listed in each review). Bluetooth on the FR220 is for Live Tracking, as well as pushing completed workouts to Garmin Connect, and also downloading workouts and satellite cache information. Both units allow you to upload via computer instead if you want (USB).

    • Joseph Greygor

      Thank you for being so attentive with your replies, it’s greatly appreciated. I believe I’m am going to stay with the FR220 for the shear convenience of everything that it offers (BT, accelerometer built in, uploading without having to connect w/my computer; and it was fairly spot on after taking it for its first run :) )

      I just honestly feel the extra money is worth the hassle free integration of the FR220 :)

      Thank you once again for your attentiveness,
      it’s been extremely helpful!

  144. Nyree Michaels

    Awesome review. I was tossing up between the 620 and 220 for a few months and I think your reviews really helped me to make the right decision for me. I purchased the 220 and I absolutely love it. I think having 4 data fields on the one screen would have been an added bonus but I can make do with 3.

    I have made my Garmin connect sync up with Runkeeper which was what I was using before. I’ve noticed that the calories burned are different, Garmin says I burn fewer calories than Runkeeper…. but this must be more accurate with the heart-monitor.

    And about the heart-monitor…. I had never used one before I bought the 220… and I’m not sure this is normal or not but I experience a lot of chaffing from the constant friction of the sensor. I try to put it as tight as possible but going 20+km of running with it and I find I have chaffed, blistered and burnt wounds from it.

    Is there anything I can do for that?

  145. claire jeffrey


    I just recently purchased the 220 after reading your review. I am wondering when doing circuit workouts ( at the gym) what options do you need to switch off to ensure a accurate calorie count. I have been turning of the GPS but sometimes it turns it self back on and I still get a ‘distance’ . Is there an option to disable the distance for the use of circuit work.

    Hopefully this makes sense!


    • Just turning off the GPS is the best option. It’s probably not turning itself back on, but rather the distance is coming from the accelerometer thinking you’re on a treadmill. There’s isn’t a way to disable that, but no worries since calories comes from HR anyway.

  146. patricio

    Hola Ray, I have set the watch to display only one main screen with: Distance, Pace, HR.
    Yesterday i run an interval workout from one of the Garmin’s own plans. The workout was 5 intervals of 3 minutes within a pace of: 5:55-605 min/km with easy jogs from: 7:30-8:00 min/km.
    When an interval workout is performed during the workout a new display screen is automatically created showing your pace within the zones and the time remaining of the interval.
    I observe that when i was running the first display screen shows a pace different, normally lower than the one show in the second screen (the automatic screen created by the interval). Why you think is that?


    • patricio

      Hola Ray, please any help with this?

    • It sounds like one of the screens is showing instant pace, and the other lap pace. The lap pace would be applicable to that segment of the workout and effectively the average pace for that segment.

  147. Smallpark

    You don’t seem to know that if you hit the top right button twice(unlocks device) then click agian BEFORE the sati lite syncs, it will just be you and the acceleramiter, no gps unless you click back witch bottem right and take te time to sync.

    Now, one thing I don’t know is how to, say, if I needed to time somone holding their breath… Must I click 4 times just to time them? What if it’s urgent? Is there no way to make the crodograph fast access like a non-gps timex watch with the forerunner 220?
    Thanks a bunch, let me know if you know!

  148. Drew Lanier

    Hey Ray:

    Thanks for the great review of the 220, which I have now read multiple times. Based on that, I now have the 220 and it is a great piece of running electronics. Today I finished a long run and somehow did not save the run data. I have been using the watch all week. So, I wanted to know if there is an “auto save” setting somewhere. I have looked at the manual to no avail.

    Thanks and keep up the good work. Your reviews are awesome.

    • No automatic save method, but it does ask you at the completion of each run. The only way out of it would be to actively say ‘Discard’ for the run. :-/

    • Drew Lanier

      Thanks. I must have selected “discard” somehow.

  149. Joanne

    Great review and great website. thanks ! i am considering getting either a FR15 or 220 (leaning more towards FR15 because i’m only a beginner runner). I notice you mentioned both models can be use in gym (by turning off the GPS) but it only counts calories if a HRM is worn. I am not planning to get a HRM as i couldn’t see much use of it(don’t really care about my HR….should i? ). Will it count my calories without a HRM if i’m running outdoors?

    Also- the FR220 has a “ON-UNIT INTERVAL FEATURE” but the FR15 doesn’t (saw this on your FR15 review-comparison table). what does the this feature do?

    thanks heaps!

    • Interval feature means you can quickly create a set of intervals with a warm-up, a main set, and then a cool-down.

    • Joanne

      Cool thanks. Will the calories count still work on the FR15 for outdoors if I don’t wear a HRM?

    • Yes, though the numbers will differ since w/o a strap it just goes into super-basic mode for calories where it’s basically just doing mass & distance.

  150. Joseph Greygor

    In being newer to the technological aspect of running, I was curious as to what information does the footpod and/or accelerometer track other than cadence? Does it affect HR monitoring or provide a better accuracy for mapping the run or elevations?

    Thank you for your answers in advance :-)

    • It tracks pace and distance (and cadence as noted), that’s it. So sometimes on trails with switchbacks or places where GPS might struggle a bit (or on a treadmill), that’s the main reason to use it. No elevation data or impact on HR monitoring.

  151. Art

    Is there a way to see on the watch, phone app or web app, how much time was spent in each HR Zone for a specific run?

    • Not within the Garmin platform. But 3rd party apps like Training Peaks, Sport Tracks and Strava all support it.

  152. Art

    Thanks. Pretty weak that they don’t provide it.

  153. Ken

    Does the 220 have customized interval inputs? Can it handle a workout like: 10 mins hard (marathon pace), 2 minutes easy, 8 minutes hard (1/2 mar. pace), 4 minutes easy, 6 minutes hard (10k pace), 6 minutes easy, 4 minutes hard (5k pace), 8 minutes easy, 2 minutes hard (faster than 5k pace), with a open warm up and cool down on either end? Or does it just handle say 2 minutes hard and 1 minute easy and repeat itself?

  154. Smallpark

    Thanks for the awsome review, I’ve read it and others many times. I’ve got some questions regarding how to properly charge.

    Here we go:

    Is charging with an iphone chord dangerous for the watch battery? Also, if I charge every night, even when it’s not completely empty, will this cause the battery to corrode faster like it does with a smartphone? Should I not be worrying about this so early? Is it replaceable? Sorry to bombard you with questions, I’m just scared I’ve been doing the wrong thing for the past 3 nights of me owning the 220. Thanks a bunch!

    • The iPhone cord won’t fit into the FR220. But, if you’re talking about the USB charging block there’s no issues at all with using that. USB is designed so that the device only pulls the power it needs. I have no idea the last time I actually used a Garmin charging block – I use pretty much anything around, including an Apple one.

    • Oh, and as for charging it every night – there is some (small) bit of truth in terms of charging cycles (often around 1,000 for a given device). In most peoples cases they’ll kill the device in some other manner far before you erode charge holding via charging cycles. That said, I typically charge mine every few days.

    • Smallpark

      Thanks for telling me, I had no idea. That makes things a whole lot easier! I realize u probs got better things 2 do than answer my paragraph of questions, but if someone could, please glance through and see if you can enlighten me…the sooner I know the better, even if experience will teach me this XC season.

      If you wouldn’t mind, I’ve generated a few more questions from my running with this being my first gps:

      I set my data fields so that I have lap time, timer, and lap pace for shorter workouts, and distance, time, and lap time for longer runs. It got me thinking, is there a way to preset all of the configurations and toggle them on that way?

      Also, I ran today for my 5th time just doing three 7:20 miles and the pace thingy (regular pace mode) kept on fluctuating without settling in for a long time. It went from 7:00 pace to 7:50 to 6:30 to 6:00 pace and back to 7:20 in about 10 minuets. It’s frusterating because it took us so long to figure out what we were at, though we were clearly running one pace continuously. I’ll admit that I always keep te gps off and after runs or if I accidently turn it on trying to use the crosograph I’ll turn it off via system settings. I hope that doesn’t mess with the satellite caching thing, and I’ve also hooked up inside a few times by accident but really fast for a gps watch too, as you said. For some reason my watch seems to hook up at the same speed no matter where I am. Is that a defect or a technological advancement. And did the pace fluctuate because of the neighborhood I ran in because there are no trees but i dont know if the gps doesn’t work in some places… I mean- it does say global! Right? No one else in my group had a gps today so I couldn’t compare my issues but I think they are genuine to this watch.

      And for the grand fanaly:
      The watch also offers “average pace”, “lap pace”, and “pace”- aren’t those the same thing? I’ve been through many seasons if XC and track- but now I feel like a running noob.

    • That’s a bit wide for pace fluctuations. Usually you’ll see +/- about 10-15 seconds at most.

      Double-check that you’re on the latest firmware update for the FR220. Else, you can try resetting the unit, that might help.

      For me, most of the time I use lap pace, with either auto-lap set (long runs) or manual laps for the different segments of a workout (such as intervals). That allows me to pace for that specific segment and hit precise paces for a given workout portion.

  155. Mel

    I have the FR 220 and just got a Garmin footpod b/c I’ve been on the treadmill a lot. When on the treadmill, I turn off GPS and use the footpod. But I’m unclear on the calibration technique, even after reading the above comments. I THINK it just calibrates by running outside… Is this correct? If so, do I need to manually connect the footpod or does the FR220 use the GPS data to calibrate the footpod without me doing anything? Also, on GC is there anywhere to tell if the data was collected form GPS vs footpod? Thanks!

    • Yup, correct. The FR220 will use GPS to automatically calibrate as you run outside. That’s it. By default the unit will use GPS (and there isn’t a way to change it). Unless the GPS drops out, in which case it’ll failover to footpod.

  156. Courtney L

    When using the live track feed what’s the battery and data usage like? I’m running a marathon and enjoy my music. Will it hold out for 4+ hours?

    • No issues there, the unit will go with live tracking for the full duration of the battery spec’s. On the phone side, it doesn’t use the phone’s GPS, which means the battery impact is low there.

  157. patricio

    Can’t be more happy and satisfied with a product.
    The FR220 its THE watch for RUNNERS who likes data and customization, even for casual because they can play with the display. I mean, this watch has it all, its 100% a runners watch. One of the most important features for me is that i don’t need to depend of a computer to config a workout or to change any feature (this only happens with uploaded workouts). The costume options to change in the watch are all valuable for the runner: you need a top heart rate alarm? you can use the ones in your training zones or create one by yourself in the watch! the same for pace. You want alarms? you got vibration, audible and visual with colors! and you can also turn off each one at will. Are you running a workout you made in the web page but you realize your don’t like it during the workout? Don’t stop, just press the back button until the watch ends the workout and continue running a free season and any of your data is lost…that is very cool! Accuracy…the best. Lost GPS? (by the way i got signal within 15 seconds even in cloudy days) got the internal acelerometer, waterproof, Bluetooth for the phone upload, upload complete training plans to the watch, calendar, three display screens plus HR screen and workout screen, very stable GPS while running, auto stop…UUFFF!! and so on!!….so…what else is need it?
    Very recommend, the price can scary you at first but you wont regret at all.

  158. J

    Great review, thanks.

    One thing that I did not see was the ability for the watch to have multiple user profiles. I am sure that others in my house will use the watch when I am not looking and I want to make sure all our training data is not intermingled.

    • Correct. Unfortunately there aren’t any GPS watches that I’m aware of that allow you to have different users defined on them.

      In general though, the only thing it really impacts is calorie burn.

  159. Kim

    Hi! I read through some of the comments, but I haven’t found an answer. Do you think Garmin will ever add more color options to this watch?

    This review helped answer a lot of questions I have. Thanks!

    • Peronnik Beijer

      Nope, I don’t think this will happen. But the colors are pretty dull anyway, don’t dwell on these details in my advice, look at the important features you need/

  160. Amanda

    I tried to see if this question came up but i couldn’t find it.
    I have a vivfit right now and I do love it but since getting it I have picked my workouts a lot more, so i was thinking about upgrading to the FR220 but it still lacks some of the function I like about the Vivofit. I know about the FR15 but my question is do you think those function, like daily traking and maybe the smart notification will ever come to the FR220 or are those feature not so important to people who use this watch.

    thanks, Amanda

    • Peronnik Beijer

      I don’t think they will ever come to the 220. Both for commercial and technical reasons..

    • Correct. The primary issue is that the FR220/FR620 lack the right low-power modes to make it work.

  161. Andrea

    Hi ,
    I would like to ask you if is possible to set personal interval training on unit ,
    like 2×2000 rec 3′ + 2×1500 rec.3′ + 4 x500 rec. 1′ .
    I think you already said that is possible through garmin connect,
    but is also possible to do it on the watch? Like on the garmin 610 that I had before.
    Thank you

  162. Alessandra

    Hi, Ray.
    I’ve been having some issues with transfering my workouts to my I-phone 5S via Bluetooth. The 220 shows a “Phone Connect” message but the workout is not transfered. I saw other people complaining abou that. Do you know what the problem is? Any clue how to fix it?

    PS: Love your blog, by the way. I’m reading it from the beginning, like a book (almost finishing 2013 posts. : )

    • I know there were some issues earlier in the week with Garmin Connect for certain users, I don’t know if those have been resolved (mine seemed largely OK when others were having issues, so hard for me to validate).

  163. Tommy

    My FR220 is having problems charging. At first when I connect it, it appears to be charging. Less than 30 seconds later, the the watch just turns on and does not charge. I then disconnect, and try again. After several attempts, it may connect and let me upload and recharge. It is very annoying, does anyone else have this problem?

    • Hmm, try grabbing an eraser and cleaning off the contacts on the back of the watch first. Then, try a different USB port (you may have already tried that) – preferably on a different charging device.

  164. C-Ac_6

    Thanks for you great review!
    I was wondering why there aren’t any other color choices for te gr 220. Does garmin have some weird philosophy that everyone’s watch must look the same because it bugs me that I can’t get my school colors as my watch! Otherwise this would be perfect… Do you think there’s a way I could customize it myself with paints and stuff? Is there a turorial for that anywhere? Thanks

    • It’s mostly due to the scaling out of distribution. If they had watches in all sorts of colors than retailers would be expected to have those on-hand. They did this in the past a bit and the retailers ended up getting somewhat upset either because they had colors onhand nobody wanted, or they didn’t have what someone wanted.

      The way they’re trying to address it now by going towards fully interchangeable straps. All recent units (FR220/FR620/Fenix/Fenix2) are using the same strap – thus enabling you to swap straps and slowly increasing the colors of the straps.

    • Tommy


    • Cat

      Colored straps!?!?! That’s news to me! Awsome! Where do I find those- I’ve looked all over online and it couldn’t find any even on amazon… Do I have to buy those in stores?
      Thanks a ton!

    • Eric Hanneken

      I know you can find them on Garmin’s web site. Click on “Bands” to expand the selection.

    • Trish

      If you go to Ebay you will find them if you type in Vivofit bands.

  165. C-Ac_6

    Oh, and I also was thinking-

    Do you think that wearing a GPS watch all day is weird? I guess it’s a bit annoying having to hit 4 buttons just to time something and then be asked to save it after everyteime, so Is there a way to that you know to quickly crodograph like my non-gps timex? I wish it was simpler.

    Also, should I be shutting my watch off when I’m not using it or does the battery drain if I leave it on all night? I’d like to hear what you think,

    Thanks a lot

  166. Just bought a 220. My last watch was a Garmin 610, which had started resetting every time I pressed the Start button. The 610 had what was probably the worst in a long line of horrible charging cradles from Garmin. I suspect that if the charger was more reliable, the watch would have lasted longer. The new cradle for the 220 seems much better.

    Anyhow, the new watch is amazingly light, which is great, but tends to reduce the impact of the vibrating alerts, compared to the 610.

  167. Anthony Tieuli

    Hey Ray,
    Thanks for the review. In a recent firmware upgrade, “elevation” became a choice for the data screen.
    It tells you the current elevation at any given time. It seems to me that, since it knows elevation during an activity, that some simple math could yield a cumulative “elevation gain” data field. Any idea if this is coming?
    I’ve given up on the Fenix and downshifted. I love the 220, but miss my cumulative gain field.

  168. Jo

    So I’ve had only one major issue with the 220 so far, and it has to do with Garmin Connect. Everything in my profile is set to Standard (miles, feet, inches) but when I post from the Connect App to Facebook everything is posted in Metric and a foreign language (Italian or French I believe). I have looked all over the website to find a way to change this, but so far no luck. Do you or any of your readers know how to resolve this?

  169. carlos nobrega

    the FR220 charger is compatible with the FR620?

  170. andy o

    Hi, thanks for the thorough review.

    I’m wondering if these newer 620/220 watches have the auto-lap by position function that you describe here link to dcrainmaker.com and that my 305 has as well. I can’t find no mention of it in the respective manuals, whereas on the 305’s and others’ it is clearly mentioned. I find it remarkable that apparently no running apps for the phone, including the half-baked Garmin one, include this very useful feature.

    Thanks again.

  171. Rick

    When I used the Garmin Forerunner 220 today, I noticed that the pace was not showing up on my screen. I have it set to show the pace but yet it is not calculating my pace. Does anyone know why this is happening or how i can correct it?

  172. Giles Endicott

    I struggle to really understand Garmin’s justification for no cycle mode. While the obvious statement is to set it apart from the 620/XT/ Fenix watches, the reality is you can, and most people still do, use this watch for cycling.

    As a result the functionality is there, as the speed/cadence sensor isn’t so important, but in the process of not having a bike mode, Garmin are merely messing up the functionality they’d like this watch to have for running, i.e records etc. In having to change all the data, or just have screwed up, unrealistic records, the watch just looks bad on Garmin, so in my humble opinion, as long as Garmin can’t stop you using this watch on a bike, they might as well add the few lines of code to separate records and datascreens between bike and run (no need for extra sensors) and stop it messing everything up, thus ruining the watch’s rep.

  173. Andrew

    first, thanks for the great reviews!
    Does the 220 have a configuration to show HR and Pace on one screen?

    I tested the Forerunner 15 and what bothered me the most is that I have to switch between 4 screens over and over while running (Screen 1, Screen 2, HR, Time), just to get my Pace and HR.

    Now, I am currently looking for a GPS watch with this feature (best would be Time, Pace and HR on one Screen). If you can’t configure the 220 with this setting, can you recommend another watch?

    Thank you very much in advance!

  174. Zach

    is it possible to set target zones for data fields other than pace and HR? specifically cadence? I just returned my tomtom multisport, which was great, but didn’t track the one thing I really needed to improve. So, I am debating between the Forerunner 220 or possibly the Ambit2R. While I appreciated the multisport nature of the TomTom, I might just need to get a bike-specific unit at another time as there’s nothing as unobtrusive and affordable that has the same feature set. Any thoughts are VERY appreciated.

    • Brandt

      I just got the watch, it doesn’t have Cadence as an option.

  175. Kathy Townsend

    Thinking about getting the forerunner 220 but not sure it is the best hrm for my needs. I have started trying to get in better shape and lose weight. Currently I don’t run. I use elliptical machines, walk outside, hike outside, do strength training and fitness classes. I want to know my heart rate during workouts and my calorie burn. It would also be nice to have the gps functions for when I go on walks outside, but my phone does this too so maybe that isn’t necessary. I want the hrm to sync to my phone wirelessly. Would the forerunner 220 be the best hrm for this purposes? Thanks!

    • Brandt

      My opinion, if you don’t do races and will always have your phone on walks, then I’d stick with it. Now that being said you may want to get a Bluetooth HRM, pair it to your phone, but you need an app that can use the data from your HRM. I know some exist.

  176. Rhett


    Can you post some pics of the 220 with 2 data fields and 1 data field showing? The only pics I see anywhere on line all show three fields unless it’s the heart rate screen. I’m thinking about upgrading my wife’s 210 because her biggest gripe is being able to read the display.


  177. George furmage

    Do you know if you can charge this watch on the move without it resetting itself? I do a few races over 10/12 hours and last year ended up using 2 110’s merging the data and lost all the splits

  178. Art

    I learned that after finishing a run if I leave the 220 on the resume/save/discard menu, my recovery rate will be displayed. Is this saved for further review?

    • Dom

      It’s saved in the fit file as an event. Most software ignores it. If you use the Sporttracks PC program with OMB’s fit file importer plugin (cost option, but it’s only a few euros and it’s worth it for things like this), it’ll be visible. There are others too, but none which I use so I honestly don’t remember what they are.

    • Art

      Dom thanks for the plugin info. Besides recovery rate, what other information is in the 220 FIT file, that the plugin can grab?

  179. Patrick

    Thanks for all you do. Your passion and commitment in providing detailed information to help make informed decisions is greatly appreciated.

    This is probably a noob question, but instead of charging the 220 through a computer usb port, can i use an adapter and charge through a wall outlet? I would like to bring the 220 wherever i go, but not so much a laptop.

  180. Maggie

    My garmin 305 is dying and I’m looking for a replacement.
    would the old HRM strap be compatible with the 220?

    • Brandt

      Yes, it should connect to any ANT+ strap. I just got mine w/o a strap and use it with the several straps I already own.

  181. Ashley

    When using live tracking, does it drain the battery any quicker on the watch? I’m running a half tomorrow and I’d like to use this feature so my family can track me and know when I’m going to be passing them. I can carry my phone with me.

    • Scott

      Used live tracking with my FR 220 for a half a couple of months ago. Worked great. The FR 220 battery doesn’t get drained much faster with live tracking on (there’s *way* more than enough battery to last for a half, or a full, marathon with live tracking on). The phone battery gets hit a bit because it’s essentially sending out short bursts of data every few seconds, but it’s not that bad at all because the watch is doing the GPS work, which is what kills a phone’s battery.

  182. Ashley

    Thanks Scott! Going to test it out tomorrow.

  183. Tvd

    I’m seriously thinking about buying this watch and your review helped me a lot with deciding. But I still have 2 questions:
    1. Is there a cadans function on the watch without footpod? I see it’s one of the variables you can select for the screenviews
    2. Is it possible to setup intervals with the watch without using garmin connect? And I don’t mean walk/run (like on my FR10), more like 300m run/30sec rest/600m run/30sec rest/…etc.

  184. TVD

    I’m seriously thinking about buying this watch and your review helped me a lot with deciding. But I still have 2 questions:
    1. Is there a cadans function on the watch without footpod? I see it’s one of the variables you can select for the screenviews.
    2. Is it possible to setup intervals with the watch without using garmin connect? And I don’t mean walk/run (like on my FR10), more like 300m run/30sec rest/600m run/30sec rest/…etc.

    • 1) Yes, it’ll automatically determine running cadence without a footpod.
      2) Yes, you can do both custom on Garmin Connect, but also on unit interval creation.


    • Alden

      Can you elaborate on how to set up a custom interval on the watch itself? I’m setting up C25K intervals for my son but couldn’t figure out how to set up 1:30 run/1:30 rest then 3:00 run/3:00 rest. Any help would be appreciated!

  185. srvfan

    I was wondering if there are other data analysis tools out there like sporttracks that anyone recommends. I tried that but it was incredibly buggy and gave nothing but problems when I used it. The wife and I use Garmin products and Mio. I don’t mind paying for something but it better be good.

  186. Awesome review!

    I was wondering if any GPS watches had live tracking capabilities, but without the burden of carrying a phone on the run as well? I’d love to track my friends workouts, but she doesn’t want to carry her phone as well.


    • The Bia watch does (see review), along with the upcoming Timex One GPS+ unit (also a post on that too). Enjoy!

    • Hi Ray,

      Thanks so much for your help. I got myself an Suunto Ambit 2s from Clever and I’m still deciding on a watch for my GF. Perhaps waiting for the Timex One GPS+. Thanks for all your hard work.

  187. RexD

    Hi Ray,

    Great reviews. I’ve switched to Garmin because of these. Thanks!

    Anyway, I just got the fr220 but im not sure if it has issues. I created a workout in garmin training center programmed this way: 10 min warm up, 4 min run and 1 min walk until distance of10km and lastly 10min cool down. It was transferred to my FR220 but when i do the workout, it doesnt stop after 10km. I thought it might be counting my warm up which is about 1km, so I continued to run but i reached more than 12 and the 4-1 run walk still continues and the distance is more than 12k.

    Thanks again!

    • Hmm, hard to say without seeing the exact structure. Have you tried creating it within Garmin Connect instead?

    • Rex

      Garmin connect only has repeat until xxx times but not repeat until distance is achieved.

      I’ve communicated this to Garmin already but no response till now.

  188. Terrance

    How is the memory (ie. how many runs or hours of running can it store)? I see from your photo you’re uploading 7 runs- that isn’t the max, is it?

    • No, that was just when I grabbed the screenshot on that particular unit (I had multiple units during the beta and final production unit cycle). I don’t have one with me at the airport now, but I believe it has 2MB of space. Most workouts are about 50KB per hour on the FR220, so that’s about 40 hours on the device.

      Again, that does depend on me remembering that it’s 2MB…

    • Terrance

      Thanks for such a quick reply! That’s plenty for me- I was just hoping I wouldn’t have to upload more than once a week.

  189. Art

    Is there anyway to overcome the glaring lack of accuracy when using the 220 indoors on a treadmill? (for instance, a way to force the watch to only use the footpod?)

    • Yes, with a footpod it’ll automatically use the footpod.

    • Art

      I have a footpod, it recognizes it, I assume that it is calibrated since I ran with it outdoors yesterday, but today it still is over 1 minute off with pace. any ideas?.

  190. Mel

    Do I need to turn the footpod off (on my Garmin) when running outdoors? I keep it on my shoe all the time and the Garmin always recognizes it when I turn on the Garmin. I assumed when I’m outside and my GPS is on (by default), the GPS is used. Am I right?

  191. Robert Black

    Hi Guys, How do you enable hrv/r-r on the 220? On firstbeats page is says the 220 and 620 are manually compatible at this time with the athlete program but only gives instructions on how to enable it on the 620. As you are no doubt aware, no hrv data and the programs a binary paperweight.

  192. Terrance

    Does the CleverTraining 10% discount still work? I tried ordering a 220 but it says the code (DCR10WHP) is not valid. The 220 isn’t discounted or anything- it’s still full price.

    • Robert black

      Hi Terrance, I think you now have to sign up to the vip program to get the discount. Membership costs $5 last time I looked so that’s still incredible value imho.

    • Hi Terrance-

      For the FR220 and about 7 other products you’ll need to use the DCR Clever Training VIP membership to save 10% (per requirement of Garmin). It only takes a second to sign-up and you still save a ton, plus benefit Girls On The Run as well. Details here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Thanks for the support of the site!

    • Terrance

      Thanks for clarifying (both you and Rob). I’m more than happy to support you since your reviews are what helped me choose the 220 as my first GPS watch in the first place!

  193. jason Worswick

    I know it’s not a swimming gps, but will it track distance (sticking it in a swim cap) accurately?

  194. Jack

    Still can’t decide between Garmin 220 or Garmin 15. Although I run mnay miles a week a basic watch works for me. Both reviews you had were very helpful.

  195. Stuart

    Great review!

    Could someone please explain if you see any difference (both whilst running and in analysis after an upload) between the smart recording on the 220 and the 1 second recording on the 610/620?
    Would the smart recording be slower to react to a change of pace either in “pace” or “lap pace” mode? I prefer to use “lap pace”, so I can’t imagine I would see a lag due to smart recording?

    Also, are you able to change the background to black in training mode? (the review says you can in time mode)

    Many thanks

    • You won’t typically see any difference while running, but might see substantial difference post-running. The core difference is that in 1s-mode you get once per second, smart recording varies between 4-7s, sometimes as high as 10-15s. This means you might not get super-current data.

      There is no smart recording view mode on the watch, so whatever you have as far as pace/lap pace, etc… is what’s shown and seen. So there’s no lag during the run. It’s juts about recording.

    • Stuart

      Thanks Ray, as long as it’s showing accurate pace/lap pace during the run, I’m not too concerned about analysis


  196. Chris

    My wife is getting more into running and looking into getting a Garmin (I have a 620 & 610) – considering FR15 or FR220. The activity tracker appeals to her, but she’s also quite keen to do a 5K-10K race.

    It seems odd to me that the FR15 supports Virtual Partner, but not in a core running watch, like the 220. I know this can be programmed with a workout, but at the risk of constant alerts, if dropping below the pace.

    Virtual Partner would tip the balance towards the 220, any idea if it is a likely update?



    • No, the FR15 doesn’t support virtual partner, but rather Virtual Pacer, the same as the FR220. I don’t expect either watch to get full blown Virtual Partner.

    • Christopher


      Thanks for the clarification regarding Virtual Pacer.


  197. Gabrielle

    Hello. Just got the watch for myself and I am very happy about it. Your review helped a lot for the choice, thanks!
    A side note: I am disappointed though that there can’t be a cycling mode. I was really taken by surprise on that one, since I had a Forerunner 305 which is a model from 2006 that does really well switching between Running/Cycling/Other, so I didn’t imagine that the 220 would come a feature less than the 305.
    Especially since now you can connect via Bluetooth (with Android too), which uploads directly to Garmin Connect, which now pairs automatically to Endomondo.
    So now each time after a biking workout I have to go change the sport on Endomondo or all my stats and PR are wrong.

    • I think the thing to keep in mind is that while the FR305 has it, it’s also a multisport watch. When it came out, it was $399US. Over time it declined in price, but ultimately it’s from a separate product line aimed at triathletes versus runners.

  198. Tana

    Hi, I’ve had my 220 for about 3 weeks, and over the last few days the GPS has stopped working. I am wondering if it’s because I live in CA and I am currently in NYC. have you heard that the GPS is territorial or could something else be wrong. I bought the watch for this trip, but sadly can’t get the best use out of it. Any suggestions welcome, and yes it’s has the most recent updates.

  199. Trish

    Sadly I have to give up running and find a lower impact way to stay fit and exercise. I have a FR220/HR monitor and footpod and wonder if this will work with a cross trainer/elliptical machine?

    • It’ll work with the HR aspect for calories, but you won’t get terribly accurate distance/etc with the elliptical.

    • Trish

      Thanks….I suspected that would be the case. Now it seems like my watch may be redundant. Just when I find one that I really like. Great site Ray…love reading all your stories and reviews. Don’t know how you do this all in 24hrs!

  200. BabiSz

    Thanks for this review Ray, it’s so much better than the user manual!!! I truly love my FR220 (yes, I’ve got the purple one) and your article helped me understand it better.

  201. Mike Walsh

    I saw recently that another watch company enabled smartwatch features on model that didn’t have those features at launch. Do you have any inside info as to whether Garmin might enable those kinds of features like smartphone notifications or media controls or is that just wishful thinking on my part? They have the know-how as shown by other Garmin products and the Bluetooth Smart is just asking for more to do.

    • No, very unlikely as my understanding is that the FR220/FR620 lack the low-power modes required there from a hardware standpoint.

  202. Gary Bower

    Hi – I live in England and have a Forerunner 110 which works fine in its very basic way, but the strap has split, so I am looking for a replacement. I generally run for fun and fitness to support my main hobby, which is squash and I play at a good standard. I do run a number of 10K races per year and like to analyse performance, and would like to add more structure to my running in terms of training plans, rather than just plodding the same old courses for aerobic and endurance work. I have an ANT+ heartrate monitor. I would be curious to assess the metrics during a squash game (assuming I could get the heart rate monitor strap to stay in place). Given that, which would be the best watch and would a foot pod be necessary, or would an internal accelerometer do the trick. I have considered both the 15 and the 220, but I’m also drawn towards the Polar M400 and wouldn’t mind the investment into a new bluetooth HR strap for it as long as it would be worth it (and it could stay in place during the rigors of squash).

    • Robert black

      I’m sure Ray will be along to correct me if I’m wrong but for running purposes both the fr15 and m400 will require a footpod as their accelerometers are not enabled for running like the fr220’s. Also iirc on the m400 footpod support will be added in a future firmware update. As for the heart rate monitor see how you get on with yours, if it’s problematic then look into the rhythm dual band optical arm strap monitor. Above all remember garmin is ant+ and the M400 BT smart. It kind of gets expensive if you let it. I have both types of footpod, but luckily most devices like my tickr are now dual band.

    • Yup, correct!

    • Gary Bower

      Thanks both. I guess I’ve played squash for over 35 years without monitoring metrics, so I will get by without. It was interesting to gauge some thoughts on the possibilities.
      I’ll have to make my choice over the 15, the 220 or go over to the Polar side and consider the M400 for making my running training more efficient. The 15 has the simple run/walk function which can be used to create repetitive intervals. I can always obtain training programmes from Garmin Connect if I want something different, although I know I can’t put them on the watch on the 15. But I really liked your M400 review and I am very much drawn to the host of features available on it. Given that early indications show it is only likely to be about £30 more expensive (with BT HR strap) compared to the 15 (without HR strap, my old one is compatible) in the UK; and £35 cheaper than the 220 (without strap), given the features of the M400 makes it an attractive proposition – I’m hoping for a benevolent Christmas,if I can wait that long and / or the temporary use of parcel tape still holds the broken 110 strap in the the meantime

  203. Art

    Garmin Express installed a new update today on my 220. Do you know what this update is for?


  204. Reed

    Thank you for the informative article. I enjoyed all the pictures as well. I ended up purchasing the Forerunner 220 based off the review and have loved it ever since. Keep up the good work.

  205. Terrance

    This is probably a dumb question but is not being able to feel the vibration alerts a common experience? It was coldish and wet out today so if I didn’t pay attention I wouldn’t have been able to feel the vibration because my wrists were too cold.

    This isn’t really a complaint about the watch, it’s just something I hadn’t considered.

    • No common. Though, I’ve certainly missed it every once in a while, especially if I was in the middle of doing something that required more attention (such as running across traffic), or, if I had the watch outside of clothing (very possible).

  206. hoimir

    Happens to me fairly often – basiclly on every >10k run I check whether it’s still registering as I will not have felt a vibe for several ks. It may have been the weather, we’re at the end of the dry season now (which makes the HRM band even more obnoxious than ususal).

  207. Russell Willis

    I just got a Forerunner 220 because on paper it seemed as if it would do everything I wanted. Maybe not. I set the auto lap feature to record every 1 km. When I went for a run I clicked my own laps which seemed to cancel the auto lap setting. Can I set it to record each km even when I’m clicking other points at shorter intervals along the way? If not, is there any other GPS watch that will allow me to do this? Thanks for any advice from anyone.

  208. Russell Willis

    Thanks. do you know of any GPS watch that allows both?

  209. Brigit

    After reading several of your reviews I finally bought a 220, it’s within my budget and I like its color. Your review is very very useful, thanks!

  210. Lucie

    I’m in run/walk mode in the middle of a long run. I decide I want to change my run/walk alerts (perhaps to lengthen or shorten the run period). Do I have to stop the timer to change the run/walk (or any other) settings? Am I missing something? Is there a way to get to the menu or change settings while keeping the timer going? Many thanks!

  211. Dianne Petersen

    Great, comprehensive review. One question I have – can I plug the USB cable into a wall charger to charge the unit? I don’t always have my laptop with me when I travel.

  212. Eric C

    Hi, can you do lap recall with this watch where you can go back and look at mile or lap splits? I’ve been running with the Garmin 110 and a lot of times will do a workout with a Timex simply so I can go back and look at mile splits easily.

    • Yes, you can access lap history after the activity is complete on the watch (or online/phone app). Or, you can do so for the just completed lap during the activity.

  213. gabe

    hi Ray – i just purchased this for my gf – birthday gift

    any benefit to getting the HRM Run or just get the standard HRM3?

    also is there an update that provides Smart Notifications like on some of the other garmin watches?

    Thanks – btw you rock the purple well !

    • Nope, no benefit at all there since the FR220 can’t take advantage of any of the HRM-RUN straps. So the HRM3 is the best bet.

      As for smart notifications, from talking with Garmin the platform isn’t really designed with a lower power mode that’s needed there.


  214. new runner

    Hi, what settings do I have to change to be able to see my total activities history for more than two months back?
    Histroy -> Totals ->Weekly
    Histroy -> Totals ->Monthly
    the earliest I see is September in both cases…
    What do I do if I want more history?

    • New runner

      I’m posting again in case the first time got missed: is there a way to see more than two months of history?

    • It’s based on the number of activities (size technically), not time. Via the phone app or web you can see everything.

  215. Mike

    I’m not sure why would Garmin would put out that the 220 is not capable of a low power mode needed for Smart Notifications. It has Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Smart or whatever the consortium is calling it now and is capable if continually passing data via live tracking. I think it’s technically capable and that Garmin will fall behind competitors if they don’t add the feature. Fortunately for consumers the market life on Garmin watches tends to last a few years so there’s time to add features via firmware updates.

    • It’s not a case of having Bluetooth Smart, it’s a case of being able to be in a low-power standby mode for weeks that can still intercept the Bluetooth Smart stack notifications. Adding it during activity mode would probably be pretty straight forward (when the device is active), doing it in low-power standby mode is entirely different.

  216. Tim

    Hi; thanks for the fantastic review. I have just bought fr220 and disappointed after 3 runs with it. In each run it starts perfect with good gps, stable current pace data etc. but then current pace is becoming much more faster than my pace. ( extremely low like 1″, 2″ min) I stop the watch and resume again, then all is normal. have you experienced such problem? Thanks and best regards…

  217. Aie

    I understand that the 220 doesn’t have cycling mode due to market segmentation reasons, but I really hope they will implement it in the nearest future. Direct competitor Polar M400 has running and cycling mode and it is cheaper. This should trigger garmin to implement it on the 220 too.

  218. Peter Collins

    I’m not sure if this has been covered, and sorry if it has (there are, after all, more than 1600 posts!), but this thing has happened to me a couple of times: accidentally pressing the lap button during a run. Not only does this give you a lap mark where you don’t want one (which isn’t serious of course), but it also then switches to marking a lap only at every mile (or km, depending on what you have chosen) beyond where you accidentally marked a lap. For example, if I accidentally press the lap button at 1.35 miles, the next lap marker won’t happen until 2.35 miles, and you won’t get one at 2 miles. Of course, one solution is when you next get to a round mile or km to press the lap button, but it seems a bit silly to me. Can you turn the lap button off? Thanks by the way for your work.

    • Gabriel Eguia

      Peter – i believe this is a function of all Garmin Watches.

      I noticed when i was doing recording some intervals during a fartlek run it wouldn’t update me on every mile split.

      I believe the work around is to create a workout with 1 mile splits.

    • Correct, when doing workouts in an official workout, the splits align to the workout segments.

  219. New runner

    I’m posting again whether it’s possible to see more than 2 months of history. Thanks.

  220. Antonio


    My question is on the accuracy on the treadmill, is the issue resolved if the footpod is used? or even with the footpod the accuracy is not optimal.

    Thank you

  221. David Walker

    Hi Ray, Love your reviews. I am having a hard time deciding between the 220 and the 610. I originally wanted the Ambit2 S but like the idea of the training features on the Garmin watches. Do you find you actually used those features on your 610? My main struggle in choosing now is the 1S vs Smart recording intervals. Is it likely the 220 will have a firmware update to include 1s? I run a lot of trails as well as road and my previous GPS (MotoActv now broken) was very inaccurate when I got into twist and turns in wooded areas. I am about to start marathon training but will still be doing a lot of trail runs/races throughout the year. What would you recommend?? Thanks.

  222. David

    Hi, you mention connectivity via USB but I don’t see a USB cable in your “unpacking” shots, only the charging cable which I assume is a mains charger.
    Do you have to buy this separately?

  223. theo

    so great preview. 2 quick questions.

    1) does it charge with a usb wall mounted plug as well? ( you know the ones that they sell with iphones).

    2) in order to use live tracking your mobile phone has to have 3G on?

    thank you
    keep up the hard work

  224. Peter Royle

    Long time reader first time poster!

    My Garmin forerunner 320’s battery is on its way out and I can’t run past 9 miles, so I need a new watch.

    I know I am losing the virtual partner, the 1 second data recording and the mapping but will I miss anything else in the FR220? I have a cycling computer so I don’t really need the bike functionality.

    Finally, could I use the heart rate monitor that came with my edge 800?

    Great site by the way!

  225. Johnny Mawer

    Hey. Not exactly sure when it stopped but I am no longer able to sync my 220 and iPhone/iPad. I am no longer able to pair the devices following the instructions. My 220 has the latest update as do my iDevices. When I go to the iTunes store, the Gamin Connect app says the app in not available in U.S. stores. I’m in NY State. I’ve tried everything, including searching the web for others with my dilemma. I sent an email to Garmin but based on others, I’m not holding my breath for an answer. Curiously, when trying to pair, the 220 says the watch is paired, but my iDevices say the pairing failed. Have you heard of any issues?

  226. Robin Anthony

    Hi. I have a timex run trainer, but am getting really frustrated as the USB connection keeps failing (and however I clean the connections it only works very occasionally. I’m thinking of replacing it with the Garmin 220 as this has a wire free upload which might be more reliable. Can I use the heart rate strap from the Timex with the Garmin? And before I put the Garmin on my Christmas list, do you think this sounds sensible.


  227. Mark Todd

    I’m using the forerunner for kitesurfing – is there any way to get a max speed readout on one of the screen datafields?

    Just got my one, but couldn’t see any option for this?


    Hi, thank you for your review.
    Is there the ability to turn off the alerts for each mile ran and or pace and just use the gps and interval run function?


  229. Sergio

    Hi Ray, it is the first time that I comment. Thank you for your deep reviews, they are really helpful.
    This said, I have some doubts that I hope you can help me with:

    1- Given that by getting a FR210 instead of a FR220 I would save more than $100 (depending on the store), is it worth to get a FR220?. I just run, and all I need to know is my HR, the distance and my instant pace (min/km).

    2- I have an old Polar F7. Would its HR strap work with the FR210 or the FR220 or do I need to get a new one from Garmin?

    3- Battery replacement: It’s almost impossible to replace the battery in both the FR210 and the FR220, right?. Is there any nowadays gps-hr monitor where it is kind of easy to do this?

    Thank you so much.


  230. Carrie Mattingly

    Hi, I bought my daughter the 220. I would love to be able to see the features on the ipad that I do on our desktop but the app does not seem to work right? Do you have another suggestion for this?

  231. Art

    Version 3.1 Firmware was just released. Any comments?

  232. The Blimp

    I use a Garmin 800 for cycling, but am thinking of using the 220 for paddling. Any thoughts? I have heard of someone taping a foot pod to the paddle for extra accuracy/data.

    Thanks for your comments

    • I’ve tried taping a pod to there on my kayak’s, the data is blah at best, but usually horrible.

      That said, as a GPS watch to measure you’re route, it’s great. But, for paddling it’s honestly overkill and you can probably save about half the cost by going with something like the FR15 or even the FR10. Just my two cents.

  233. Landon

    I’ve recently purchased the 220 and love it; however, my son also wants one just like it. Are there any recommended places to find quality watches that fit children that aren’t cartoon characters and at least look like and feel like a entry level GPS or Sports watch?

  234. Greg Mu

    I’ve held off posting this question in hopes that pouring over all of your reviews and a good chunk of the comments for each would lead me to a decision.

    Alas, I’m asking for your opinion.

    -I’m primarily a trail/ultra runner
    -train by HR
    -appreciate good elevation data (realtime?)
    -prefer light/minimal design (but would relent, if convinced)
    -upload to Strava
    -like the idea of vibration alerts but never used
    -have never used a GPS watch but would not have trouble navigating complexity

    Price being equal–I can get each for around $230 (new, with HR kit)–which gets your vote? (And why? If you have time):

    FR220, FR910XT, Polar M400


    • Hmm, I’d probably go with either the FR910XT or actually the Suunto Ambit2S (not on your list, but worthy of consideration and in that price range). Both are longer lasting options for ultra runners. The Ambit has more navigation capabilities than the FR910XT, and the 910XT has more capabilities than the other options.

  235. Steve

    Great site. Trying to decide between M400, FR220 or Other. I see your recommend M400, but a couple of features I am looking for are still not released so wondering if it work holding out for the M400 based on my usage.

    I am a runner and occasional biker. Outdoor running is primary activity . The data metrics which are important to me are:

    – Cadence (SPM) with footpod outdoors
    – Heart Rate
    – Pace with manual intervals

    M400 – shows a lot of promise
    – Does not support Android sync yet – Supposed to be released in Dec 2014?
    – Does not support Cadence (SPM) without foot pod – No planned date for footpod support
    – When you add in the HRM and external footpod support the cost comparison to FR220 starts to balance

    – The whole outdoor footpod overriding GPS has been resolved correct?

    What would you recommend

  236. Benny

    Very good reviews!
    On my 305 I can set satelite sync to very 3rd second to extend battery time. Is that possible on the 220 or is 10h max?

  237. Joakim Heise

    Thank you for very good reviews!
    Do you know if it is possible to use a vivobraclet or something else instead of the strap for Garmin FR 220?

    • No, not from Garmin, but you can use something like the Mio Link or Scosche bands (see my reviews on that) instead.

  238. larry jones

    Great review! Very detailed and answers every question I can imagine and then some. I just bought the watch from amazon and am now quite confident that I made the right choice.

    thank you!

  239. New runner

    I’m not sure what exactly happened to my HRM but the 220 was not always picking up a rate/value… I changed the battery and now my 220 is not picking up the HRM at all… Did the HRM die on me? It’s less than a year old and it seems they are pretty expensive… I did try more than one battery and the 220 did not pickup the HRM at all…
    Thanks in advance..

    • Any chance the battery is in backwards? Failing that, I’d just ring up Garmin – they’ll usually swap out without any issues (especially since it’s less than a year old).

    • New runner

      Thanks for your quick reply, Ray. I was pretty confused about the face up or down especially with no + or – sign anywhere. I then watched a YouTube video and learn that the plus would be facing me…. I then read more and came across a Garmin post about waiting 10 minutes between old and new battery or the HRM module can overload ….

      I’ll follow up with Garmin and I appreciate your advice.

      On a different note, I would like to know if there is a way to change my setting in 220 to show more than three months of activities (right now the earliest I show is week of September 21….

      Thanks a lot.