Garmin Forerunner 620 In-Depth Review

Garmin FR620 Front Shot

The Garmin FR620 is Garmin’s newest and most advanced running GPS watch.  The unit packs in everything from WiFi to ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart, and adds a slew of new metrics and functionality.  But are these new metrics a fair trade for some of the older functionality that’s been removed?

And quite simply, is it worth the cash over the FR220 which costs roughly half as much?  Especially once you consider needing the new FR620’s HRM-Run strap to take advantage of all the new features.

As for the FR220 In-Depth review, that’s now available here.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin provided both beta and final production FR620’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.


Before we can use the thing, we’ve got to get it all unboxed.

Garmin FR620 In box

There’s an outer shell which protects the inner stuff.  Below the watch are all the accessories.

Garmin FR620 In box

Garmin FR620 Unboxed

Here would be those accessories, or rather, the contents of the box.  On the left we’ve got the power cable, in the middle we have the watch plus the HRM-Run pod, then the manual, and then finally the heart rate strap that connects to the HRM-Run transmitter pod.

Garmin FR620 Unboxed

With the plastic removed, you’ve got the below situation:

Garmin FR620 Unboxed Parts

As you’ll see in later sections, the FR620 is much lighter than its predecessor – the FR610.  It’s also just a touch bit slimmer than it as well, owing in part because the band goes completely flush with the unit when placed on a flat service – versus the FR610 having a portion of the GPS antenna in that area causing a bit more of a bump.

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

As you can see, the FR620’s charger is completely different than previous Garmin Forerunner chargers, and isn’t really compatible with any other devices in the lineup either.  It’s a bit better than the FR610’s charger, but I find the FR220 charger much more secure in that it clips on and can be swung around without fear of the charger falling off.

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

Next we’ve got the new HRM-Run strap.  This is perhaps one of the most important pieces to being able to take advantage of all the new FR620 functionality.

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Inside the HRM-Run transmitter pod (which has the little running man icon) there’s an accelerometer which measures movement, enabling new Running Dynamics metrics which I cover in a later section.  This is all in addition to traditional HR metrics such as beats per minute.

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Also worth pointing out is that while the pod is new, Garmin has stated that they’ve continued to make minor tweaks to the strap itself – trying to further minimize HR spike/dropout issues.  Additionally, more work has been done around that within the pod as well (above and beyond what the HRM3 offers).

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Finally, the last item within the box is the Getting Started guide.

Garmin FR620 Instructions

With that, let’s dive into some of the comparisons with other units on the market.

Size Comparisons & Weights:

Next up lets compare how the size of the Garmin FR620 is to that of other units in the same general price and functionality range.

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.

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

(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).

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

If I look at the three other units the Garmin FR620 tends to be compared to the most, you can see this a bit more clearly.

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

The FR620 is of course the successor to the FR610.  Below, we can see the two side by side.  Display-size wise they’re virtually indistinguishable.  The touch button placement has been swapped around a bit, and there’s now one additional button.

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

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 FR610 (silver) watch band as it leaves the display is still a portion of the unit and added bulk, whereas the FR620 doesn’t have any of that extra bulk.

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

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

Garmin FR620 on wrist

Garmin FR620 on wrist

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:

Garmin FR620 on small womens wrist

Garmin FR620 on small womens wrist

The Girl wishes to convey that she plans to steal my FR620 upon pressing publish on this review.  Thus far, she’s been using it pretty much every time I’m not using it (she’s also been using the FR220 as well).

Last but not least, here’s the weight situation.  The FR620 weighed in at 44g:

Garmin FR620 Weight

Whereas the older FR610 (metal backing) came in at 75g, and the updated plastic backing at 62g:

Garmin FR610 Weight

Garmin FR610 Weight

Running Functionality and Features:

After you’re ready to start running you’ll head outside and get GPS reception.  Unlike past Garmin Fitness watches, the Garmin FR620 automatically caches the satellite locations for the next week, which means that it can find satellites much faster than before.  This caching is updated via WiFi and Bluetooth Smart each time you connect the FR620.

To illustrate this in a short video, I’ve started with the FR620 turned off (entirely – which is sorta unusual) and then recorded the process to turn it on and until satellite reception.  The red bar on the left side indicates the satellite reception, which turns green once nearing completion.

Typically the unit is already on, so it’s just a 2-second matter to switch into running mode and then enable GPS.  So that first portion to turn on from being off took 18 seconds.  Then, the satellite lock while sitting next to a tall stone wall/ground took 14 seconds.  I’ve seen it even faster when not sitting next to a massive wall.

One pretty cool new feature on the FR620 (and the FR220) is the ability to change how long until the unit falls asleep.  Previously it would fall asleep after 5 minutes if you weren’t actively recording an activity, or hadn’t touched the screen.  This meant for folks waiting at the start line of a big race, the unit could fall asleep on you.  Now though you can change to ‘Extended’ mode, which will in turn shut the unit off after 25 minutes.

Garmin FR620 Timeout

So, with the unit on, we’re ready to start running.  To do so you’ll press the upper right button, which starts the activity.  You can press the same button again to resume it.  The lower right button is the lap button.  The upper left turns on the backlight.  On the front bezel you’ll see a little ‘Back’ arrow and on the opposite side ‘Three lines’, which allow you to navigate through the menus.

Garmin FR620 Main Pages

Once we’ve started running the unit will display a multitude of metrics, based on what you’ve configured.  By default this will be things like pace, distance, time and heart rate.  Each page can have different metrics on them, and you can have different pages.

For example, below I’ve configured a four-metric lap page, which shows my current lap distance, lap time, lap pace, and heart rate.

Garmin FR620 While Running

In this case, below, I’ve setup a two-metric screen that just shows heart rate and the HR zone:

Garmin FR620 While Running

In total you can configure four data screens (+ a Virtual Partner and Running Dynamics screen).  Each screen (page) can contain up to four pieces of data (or as little as one piece of data).  You’ll change all of these within the Activity Settings area, and then Data Screens:

Garmin FR620 Display Fields

Here’s the full listing of data fields you can configure:

Garmin FR620 Data Fields

While running in order to change screens you simply tap the screen.  The touchscreen can be navigated by swiping up and down, just like most phones.  This is similar to the FR610 (but very different from the FR405/FR410 touch bezel).  This touch screen has no problems with water droplets (rain), nor with gloves.  For fun, here’s a quick little video I shot wandering through the menu with a few different gloves:

As you can see, even with the biggest mitten you can navigate it.

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.  I ran for a short distance and then abruptly stopped, so you could see the short delay until the unit shows zero (stopped).  The pace number is shown in minutes/mile

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 elevation, pace, distance) individually and independently of each other.  So you could have elevation in meters and distance in miles.

Garmin FR620 Miles & Kilometers

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

Garmin FR620 Auto Lap

Additionally you can also configure 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 few options.  You can create alerts on a number of metrics such as time, distance, calories, cadence, or pace.  In the case of pace or cadence, these are typically 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:

Garmin FR620 Pace Alerts

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.

Garmin FR620 Run/Walk Alerts

Lastly in alerting you have the Virtual Partner.  Once enabled the Virtual Partner is set for a given pace (you can adjust it on the fly), such as 7:25/mile.

Garmin FR620 Virtual Partner

The unit will then tell you how far ahead or behind that virtual pacer you are, in both distance and time.

Garmin FR620 Virtual Partner

What’s unfortunate here is you can’t set a goal time for an event (i.e. 3:30 marathon), nor can you see the predicted finish time based on your current pace (for a given distance/event).  I was really hoping to see this given some other units have implemented it lately (namely, the Magellan Switch/Switch Up).

Further, Garmin removed the ability to race against past results (at least temporarily), so you can’t race against yourself nor against any other runner.

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):

Garmin FR620 Save Run

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:

Garmin FR620 PR Records

Garmin FR620 PR Records

Garmin FR620 PR Records

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.

Garmin FR620 Run Summary

Garmin FR620 Lap Summary

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

Looking at GPS accuracy, I’ve seen good stuff with the FR620.  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:

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

Sorry this last one’s a bit fuzzy, it was at night.  26.87km = 16.69 miles.  So in this case we had a bit more variance (from 16.19mi to 16.69 miles with the Echo hanging out in the middle at 16.4 miles.  Of course, it’s impossible to know which one is right.

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

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.

New FR620 Running Dynamics Metrics:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics

The FR620 has introduced the ability to get new “Running Dynamics” metrics, which focus primarily on running efficiency areas.  These metrics are only available if you have the (also new) HRM-Run heart rate strap.  This is the strap that has the little runner symbol on the front of it, and contains an accelerometer in it (it otherwise looks like any previous Garmin HR strap).

There are two and a half new metrics that come from the HRM-Run.  I say ‘and a half’, because one of them – cadence – was previously available via the footpod (and also available in the FR620 internally).

The other two metrics are Vertical Oscillation and Ground Contact Time.  First let’s cover what these are:

Vertical Oscillation: This is simply how much you (specifically, your chest) goes up and down during each footstep.  Basically defining how much vertical movement you generate, measured in centimeters.  The less vertical oscillation the better, as it means you’re in theory spending less energy pushing your body up and down vertically (energy which could be used to move your body forward).

Ground Contact Time: This metric covers how long each footstep spends on the ground, measured in milliseconds.  Remember that 1,000ms = 1 second.  Typically speaking the less time you spend on the ground the faster your cadence.  And most elite runners tend to have a fairly fast cadence.  You’ll likely see this number fluctuate directly with that of cadence, which in many people’s situations tends to also correlate with speed.

Cadence: This is not a new metric.  It’s just that Garmin has decided it was time to make you aware of it.  This measures how many steps per minute you take, or, how many times per minute your feet touch the ground.  Traditionally this has always been measured in Garmin products for just a single foot (i.e. 90SPM).  However with the switch to the FR620 and FR220, all of these metrics across Garmin sites are now shown as both feet (i.e. 180SPM).  You’ll note that any previous runs you did now show double what they did before (the change occurred last week updating all old runs).

As a side note, Garmin produced two YouTube videos which were actually surprisingly good.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever linked to a Garmin video in a review before – but this one on Running Dynamics explains it very well with cute graphics and animations..  And the same on VO2Max & Recovery Adviser (which I’ll cover in my next section).

Garmin includes this handy little chart in the manual to help you figure out whether or not your results are good.  Of course, they don’t say good, rather, they just label them with non-descript colors so that everyone feels good about themselves.

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Ground Contact Time Charts

So how is this information displayed for you?  Well, let’s first start off with running.  While running you can choose to enable a new display screen called, obviously, Running Dynamics.  This screen looks like a small car dashboard:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Cadence

The data is updated in real-time just like any other metric on your watch.

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Vetical Oscillation

You can switch around any of these three metrics in the configuration of your data fields.  Further, you can add these metrics to any of your other data pages/screens.

Next, post-run you’ll see a few new (and updated, in the case of cadence) display fields within Garmin Connect:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics on Garmin Connect

Looking more closely at the fields you can start to see clear trends between pace, cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.  Though, I think it’ll be some months until coaches and others can really start to make sense of what this data looks like en mass (sorta like left/right power data).

I say that because if you look at the charts above (from one run), and then compare it to the charts below (from a different run), you see different trends.  For example, below you see an increase in vertical oscillation (more bounce) while there’s actually a decrease (faster) in ground contact time.  Which is a bit of a strange correlation to have occur.  Again, more over time here.

Here’s a close look at each of the graphs from a recent run.

Ground Contact Time:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Ground Contact Time on Garmin Connect

Vertical Oscillation:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Vertical Oscillation on Garmin Connect


Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Cadence on Garmin Connect

You’ll notice a few little blips here and there.  For example that random spike about 80-90% of the way through my run is when a very old man partially fell off his bike a bit ahead of me.  I stopped for a second to make sure he was OK, resulting in that short spike.  Beyond that I’ve seen the data be incredibly clean while running on trails/routes uninterrupted.  However, with city running and jumping on/off sidewalks and around people I see a fair bit more variance.  So be sure you keep your running environment in context when looking at the data.

It should be noted that the HRM-Run continues to also grab standard heart rate data as well – so no changes there:

Garmin FR620 Heart Rate on Garmin Connect

Note that only the Garmin FR620 today can take advantage of the new Running Dynamics metrics from the HRM-Run.  The other units can still connect to the heart rate portion just fine, but not anything beyond that.  Garmin does not have plans to add this to the now ‘older’ FR910XT, but I suspect you’ll see it in future higher-end fitness units from Garmin.

It’s probably worthwhile noting that the HRM-Run strap produces without question the ‘cleanest’ HR data I’ve seen to date on any strap, Garmin or otherwise.  In fact, nearly all of my runs have been very good.  This is notable especially because it’s the fall, which tends to be the worst time of year for HR spikes and dropouts due to the cool weather where people are still wearing t-shirts/shorts and thus you tend to produce less sweat than in either summer (hot), or winter (bundled up).

I’ve only seen a tiny bit of initial latency in the first 1-3 minutes, and only if the strap becomes more dry due to excessive waiting pre-run (you’re to wet the strap in three spots before running).

Garmin FR620 Heart Rate on Garmin Connect

If you’re struggling with past HR straps, this may be the golden ticket from what I’ve seen.  I’ve never seen any issues (spikes/dropouts/whatever) past the first couple of minutes with the HRM-Run and running with it the past 30-40 days.

Lastly, it should be noted that at this time Garmin has selected to make the transmission of the Running Dynamics data ‘private’, rather than open ANT+.  This means that other companies can’t leverage this data real-time from the HRM-Run to the FR620.  However, they can still read the data once the .FIT file is downloaded after the activity (that portion is open).

It should thus be pointed out that it’s a bit hypocritical for Garmin to keep this private-ANT rather than ANT+, especially since they own ANT+ (Dynastream technically), and the sheer success of ANT+ (and to a large extent, Garmin fitness devices – especially cycling) can be owed to the openness of ANT+ amongst member organizations and the willingness of those organizations to produce devices that are compliant with Garmin units (i.e. power meters).

Ironically, if Garmin were to open this up, it’d actually compliment other metrics that other companies are working on – potentially allowing for even greater metrics across the board.  For example, the Scribe running kinematics pod I talked about last week.

VO2Max, Recovery Check, Recovery Advisor & Race Predictor Functionality:

The Garmin FR620 introduced four new features: VO2Max (to predict/determine your VO2Max), Recovery Check (to tell you the current state of recovery), and Race Predictor (to tell you how fast you can run your next race).

First we’ll start with VO2Max.  Your VO2Max is a number that defines your body’s maximum ability to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise.  Many consider it a way to identify elite athletes, though there’s certainly cases where elite marathoners may not have the highest VO2Max numbers and can still do well focusing on other areas (i.e. running efficiency).

Still, this number is nonetheless ‘interesting’.  Though unfortunately, there’s very little you can do to change it beyond initial fitness.  It’s more genetic than trained, and beyond a standard baseline level of fitness you won’t see dramatic (or even major) shifts in your individual VO2Max number.  Most people get this number by performing a standard VO2Max test that lasts about 10-15 minutes on a treadmill.  You can read about one of my past tests here.

The FR620 attempts to predict this number when using a heart rate strap by leveraging algorithms from FirstBeat Technologies.  These algorithms can get you in the ballpark of your VO2Max, and do so in a way that’s much less painful than a VO2Max test (which hurts a lot).

After 10 minutes of running, the unit will calculate a VO2Max value, however, the entire run is considered for the final VO2Max number presented at the end of the run.  Upon completion of the run the watch will display it to you:

Garmin FR620 VO2Max Detection

You can go back and check your current value on the watch at any time from the menu:

Garmin FR620 VO2Max Detection

This data is then tracked on a chart within Garmin Connect:

Garmin Connect Dashboard VO2Max

You’ll likely see slight variations in this day to day because of a lot of factors that the FR620 doesn’t know about (such as fatigue or sleep).  Further, the type of workout you do may impact this number.  For example, I have a rather difficult workout coming up on Tuesday and I’m interested to see if it shifts the number a bit (as my other recent workouts were more focused on length rather than aerobic pain).

In my case, the highest number the device has reported is 57, which is a bit below my actual measured VO2Max of 63.6  Though, that measurement was a few years ago – and things certainly may have changed.

So what good is the VO2Max data?  Well, that data is directly turned around to give you predicted race times.  These times are based on a simple lookup table against your VO2Max and age/gender.  Meaning that it doesn’t take into account whether or not you’ve actually run 18-20mi before that 26.2 mile marathon – it just looks at your aerobic capacity.  It also doesn’t take into account the realities of race day (i.e. hydration, nutrition, brain-farting, etc…).

Still, it’s somewhat interesting.  In my case, it gives me the following estimations:

Garmin FR620 Race Predictor

Which, is actually pretty much in-line for my current marathon PR at 2:54.  And for that matter, the rest of my times are within 30s of my actual PR’s.  However, that’s merely speaking to potential.  In my case, I know I could have run faster that day (marathon).  By the same token, I’m sure I was in better marathon shape that day than today.

Still, it gives you a ballpark, and in my case the greater ballpark is still somewhat accurate.

Next we look at two inter-related features: Recovery Check and Recovery Advisor.

Recovery Check is designed to assess your recovery level after the first 6 minutes of the run, and it’ll display a message to you shortly thereafter:

Garmin FR620 Recovery Check

Whereas Recovery Advisor is a post-run message that tells you how long you should wait before attempting another hard run workout.

Garmin FR620 Recovery Time

Further, the watch then counts this down and you can always access the current ‘clock’ to see where you stand:

Garmin FR620 Recovery Time

The goal here with Recovery Advisor being to reduce injuries.  Many runners (both new and not-so-new) tend to incorrectly schedule workouts to not give enough rest between hard running workouts.  This in turn leads to injury – especially following long runs and the like.

Treadmill Running & Internal Accelerometer:

A lot of treadmills

The Garmin FR620 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 @ 15KPH (6:26/mi, 4:03/km)
2 Minutes @ 10KPH with letting treadmill stop last 10 seconds. (9:30/mi, 6:00/km)

After that first minute, the following 4-minutes at 13KPH provided a nice steady chunk of graph to look at.  Further, that pace is just a nice average running speed for me – similar to a long-run pace.  And, looking at the graph and paces in that section, it did exactly that.  The paces there were within 3-5s/mile – perfectly suitable.

Garmn FR620 on treadmill

Then, I would increase the pace by 1KPH (metric treadmill) each minute.  In theory this would provide a very clear step-ladder of sorts of paces.  Here’s what it actually showed: Not much of anything.

Garmn FR620 on treadmill

In fact, it actually reported me going slower.  Now, what’s really interesting here is that you can very clearly see my cadence increasing on the cadence graphs – incredibly clear step-ladder there:

Garmn FR620 on treadmill Cadence Data

As you see above, once I hit the 5-minute marker, and each minute thereafter my cadence naturally increases (this is common/normal as you speed up).  But the pace accuracy drops outs.  And, if you were to look at the final two minutes where I was at 10KPH (9:30/mile), the unit actually has me closer to 8:30/mile.

Now, what’s interesting here is that I saw this same sort of trend with the TomTom watch and its internal accelerometer.  It was quite good at tracking paces right around my normal running range (i.e. 7:00-7:45/mile).  However, as soon as I dropped below 7:00/mile it fell apart.  It’ll be interesting to see data points from other users on this and see what patterns look like.

Now of course do keep in mind that calibration of treadmills across gyms and fitness centers is horribly bad (really, it’s rather ugly actually).  So that could impact individual tests.  However, in my case, we’re talking nearly 2:00 min/mile difference, and the fact that as I came closer to 5:00/mile in pace, it was actually reporting I was getting even slower than my baseline pace.  I assure you, my little heart begs to differ.

I suspect what’s happening is some portion of my arm swing changes at these higher speeds and thus throws off the pace metrics.  However interestingly, the cadence metrics (coming from the HRM-Run at this point) actually tracked quite well with a footpod I had streaming cadence to another device.  Here’s the two right on top of each other:

Garmn FR620 on treadmill Cadence Data with HRM-Run

Garmn FR610 on treadmill Cadence Data with HRM-Run

You see a bit more noise in the footpod data, which is interesting in that it shows just how clean the HRM-Run data is for cadence.

If the accuracy of the internal accelerometer for pace though isn’t good enough for you, you can always pair any ANT+ enabled footpod to the unit.  For example, one like the below:

Garmin Footpod

You’ll dive into the sensor area and then pair the footpod:

Garmin Footpod enablement with FR620

Garmin Footpod enablement with FR620

Once that’s done you can go ahead and specify the calibration factor if you know it:

Garmin Footpod Calibration with FR620

At that point you’re pretty much good to go. Likely when in indoors mode you’ll want to switch off GPS, which is again just a quick tap of the top GPS icon to set it to off. At this point it’ll provide pace, distance and cadence while indoors.

Workout Creation & Training Plans:

The FR620 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.

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.

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

Once you’re done with the workout, you’ll see all the steps listed.

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

Upon completion you can go ahead and send it to your device via USB or Bluetooth Smart (by pulling it from the Garmin Connect Mobile app):

Garmin Connect Send to Device workouts

Additionally, you can also add it to your Training Calendar. The Training Calendar on the device will then automatically show you your scheduled workouts on the day it’s scheduled.

Garmin Connect Send to Device Training Calendar

On the unit these workouts will show up after tapping the little Trophy in the middle of the screen and going into the workouts area:

Garmin FR620 Training Calendar Workout

You can preview the steps for each workout as well there:

Garmin FR620 Workout Structure

Garmin Connect also includes training plans for a variety of different goals (5K to Marathon) and sports (Bike/Run/Tri), as well as levels.

Garmin Connect Training Plans

Each Training Plan has specific workouts in them which are automatically added to your calendar after you’ve clicked the ‘Schedule’ button.  You can easily remove all workouts as well and change plans.  The scheduler will allow you to specify either a start or finish date (i.e. race day) and all of the workouts then align to that date.

Garmin Connect Training Plans - Marathon

Here you can see the calendar view:

Garmin Connect Calendar View

Finally, on your unit these will show up in your Training Calendar view right next to workouts, after tapping the little trophy:

Garmin FR620 Training Calendar Feature

Structured workouts like those included in the training plans (and via the workout builder) will walk you through each step of the workout, automatically counting down the time allocated for each step and letting you know what the goal is for each step:

Garmin Connect Workout Screens on FR620

If you exceed a threshold, it’ll alert you immediately, like the below.  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 above, but when the pop-up alert happens as seen below, it doesn’t say “High/Low” there).

Garmin Connect Workout Screens on FR620

Lastly, you can cancel a workout at any time by just simply tapping the three lines on the right side and hitting cancel.

Cycling Functionality:

Garmin FR620 while cycling

The Garmin FR620 does not contain a cycling function/mode, nor any way to connect to speed/cadence sensors while cycling.  Which differs from the FR610 that both had a cycling mode as well as had the ability to connect to ANT+ speed/cadence sensors.

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.

You can also just swap things over to show speed across the board:

Garmin FR620 while cycling change mode

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.  You can clear these on the unit itself by going into the PR section and manually removing them.

And on the Garmin Connect side you can go ahead and modify the workout type to be ‘Cycling’ which will then address the issue there.

(Update: Garmin has confirmed that in ‘Spring 2014’, the unit will receive a firmware update that enables a cycling mode with support for the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor.  Remember that ‘spring’ does technically go well into June.)

Like the FR610, the FR620 does not contain any form of navigational/course routing.  However, unlike the FR610, it doesn’t contain any ‘back to start’ type functionality that the FR610 had around getting back to the start of you run by providing basic compass style directional navigation.  The FR610 also provided current GPS coordinates, which the FR620 doesn’t provide.  Finally, it provided saved locations.  Which also isn’t available on the FR620.

Garmin has stated that they may look to add back some of these features in a future software update, but that they aren’t going to be available for launch.

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.  Alternatively, the Suunto Ambit 2/2s are good choices in the navigation department, though lack the same training plans and workout functions (and kinda-sorta-barely has an interval function).  But, the Ambit 2/2s do make for much better triathlon watches than the FR220/FR620.

Use as a day to day watch, backlight:

Garmin FR620 and FR220 at night

(The FR220 at left, the FR620 at right)

The FR620 can hang out in non-GPS mode for 6 weeks, acting as a standard day to day watch.  In this mode the screen is automatically locked, and unlike the FR610 simply having your shirt brush the touch screen won’t switch it back into GPS mode.

Instead, you’ll need to tap one of buttons and then you’ll have to touch the touchscreen center unlock button:

Garmin FR620 lock screen

From an alarms standpoint you can create a single daily alarm.  You are not able to configure it for specific days of the week and/or additional alarms:

Garmin FR620 Time Alerts

In time mode, you can actually configure the background to be black (with white text), or white (with black text).  The time will be automatically pulled from GPS, unless you use the manual mode to set it manually.

Garmin FR620 Display Invert

Finally, the unit has backlight which can be configured to turn on for a specified time, or configured to stay on at all times.  For me running in the dark I just turn it on at the start of the run and utilize the ‘Stays On’ option so it’s always there for quick and easy glancing:

Garmin FR620 Backlight Settings

Additionally, you can also set the unit to automatically illuminate if/when you either press a button or if any alerts appear (i.e. lap notifications, pacing alerts, workout alerts, etc…)

Garmin FR620 Backlight Modes

ANT+ Weight Scale Connectivity:

Garmin FR620 ANT+ Weight Scales

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

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 FR620/FR220 users, I would think that it might benefit them to 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.


Garmin FR620 Waterproofing

The Garmin FR620 is fully waterproofed to 50 meters (150ft).  And, unlike most past Garmin running specific watches (usually minimal IPX7 waterproofing), the FR620 is more than fine on your wrist while swimming (though it won’t capture any metrics).

In my testing with the unit in various water-filled situations such as brief swimming bouts, running long runs in the rain, and showers, I’ve seen no issues.  With the similar body designed FR220 I’ve spent even more time in the water, doing openwater swims in salt water as well (for up to two hours in the water), without any issues.

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:

Garmin FR620 Bluetooth Enablement

The Garmin FR620 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.  This of course does require your phone be present with you the entire run for live tracking during the run.

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 FR620, you’ll need an iPhone 4s or newer in order to take advantage of the uploads and connectivity.  At this time, Android is not supported.  Again, Android is not supported today.  This is largely because the Android Bluetooth Smart story/support has been a complete cluster until recently (notably, Android OS version 4.3).  Thus, it’s really only been the last couple of months that we’ve see that hit handsets, and even now for example, Samsung users in the US on AT&T only got it last week.  Remember that Bluetooth Smart is a subset of Bluetooth 4.0.  So it’s not only a case of ensuring your phone physically contains a Bluetooth 4.0 chipset, but also that the handset is running Android 4.3.  And of course, beyond that, getting the app to support it (which, it doesn’t today).

At any rate, Android aside, here’s how it works on the iPhone.

First up is the pairing.  Unlike other Bluetooth devices, you won’t be doing this from the Bluetooth Control panel (beyond ensuring Bluetooth is simply enabled on your phone).  Instead, you’ll do it from the Garmin Connect Mobile app (download it first, it’s free).  Then, once you’ve got that installed and signed into your Garmin Connect app, you’ll start the wizard:


Meanwhile, on the phone you’ll go into the Bluetooth settings to get that all enabled and paired:


Once you’ve got those two pieces completed, you’ve got a few options.  The primary use here is really on the Live Tracking side, which the FR620 does as long as your phone is within Bluetooth range of your FR620.  In this mode you’ll create a Live Tracking session for your run.  This can be named anything you’d like, or, if you leave it as the default it’ll just autogenerate a name based on the date.

Next, you’ll setup who you want to invite.  In my case, I’ve configured it to always send a notification to my Coach, my wife, and myself (just for the heck of it).  This is sent via e-mail and gives a link that they can click on (more on that in a second).  Additionally, you can configure notifications to Facebook and Twitter.  You’ll see an option to extend sharing.  I always set this.  This means that upon completion of the activity your friends/family will still be able to see that you’ve finished for up to 24 hours.  Otherwise, it’ll kill the session as soon you press Stop/Save.

Garmin FR620 Livetracking App

Once that’s all ready to go, you’ll go ahead and start the live tracking session.  Note that you need not start it at the same time as pressing the watch start button.  This allows you to start it on your phone, and then stash your phone away (armband, CamelBak, Spibelt, etc…).  Think of this like starting your car.  It doesn’t actually go and drive anywhere until you put it in ‘drive’ (in this case, pressing start on the FR620 for your activity).

Garmin FR620 Livetracking App

Once you’ve started, you’ll see two little icons at the top indicating that Bluetooth is connected.

Meanwhile, your friends and family will receive an e-mail with tracking information:


When they click on said link, they’ll be brought to a simple tracking page:

Garmin FR620 Livetracking Site

This page also works just as well from a mobile device as well (screenshot courtesy my coach):

Garmin FR620 Livetracking on iPhone Garmin FR620 Livetracking on iPhone

The page can be switched between MPH/KPH and Pace, as well as through the different formats such as kilometers or statute.

The live tracking updates every 30 or 60 seconds (I’ve seen both), and will graph your ANT+  data as well, including heart rate, cadence, and if you have the HRM-Run, that information too (vertical oscillation for example, added in the last few days).  If you hover over any of the sections on the graphs you’ll get stats about that particular data point.

Additionally, you can swap between standard maps and satellite maps.

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking

Along the way it’ll plot markers every mile.  It doesn’t show any lap information you’ve set however, it just beats to its own drum:

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking Mile Splits

Overall, the tracking seems to be working quite well.  I’ve been tracking my wife’s runs, and my coach has been tracking all my runs the last 7-10 days or so without issue.

Upon completion of the activity a banner will display that the user has completed the run:

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking End

And, upon completion the activity will be uploaded to Garmin Connect via the Bluetooth Connection on the phone.  This is accomplished when the ‘Auto Upload’ option is enabled.  Note that it first uploads from the device to the phone, and then from the phone to Garmin Connect.  Below, you see it uploading first from the FR620 to the phone.  Then, once that’s complete (takes about 30 seconds), you’ll see a little ‘Up’ arrow icon, which then indicates it’ll move over to Garmin Connect online.

Garmin FR620 Mobile App Uploads Garmin FR620 Mobile App Uploads Enablement

Now, I have noticed a few oddities/bugs with the app in my testing.

I can’t get it to Tweet out my run for Live Tracking, no matter how hard I try.  It says it’s going to, but it never does.  In poking around Twitter, it appears other peoples are working fine, so perhaps it’s just me.  I’ve tried deleting the app, deleting my Twitter account of the phone, and everything in between.  Multiple times over.  No love. Update: I got this fixed.  It turned out I had to revoke the App from the Twitter.com Settings page (not my phone), and then re-set everything.  Good to go there!

I’m getting intermittent failures on the run actually uploading to Garmin Connect (post-run, live tracking is fine/separate).  I’m reasonably sure this was working just fine the first few days, but now it seems to be failing to upload the workouts.  Update: Now, this seems to be working just fine for me again as of Nov 19th, 2013.

– 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.

Note: For Android support, according to this post from Garmin’s product support team, they are targeting “Q1 2014” (i.e. Jan-March 2014).  As expected, it’ll require a Bluetooth 4.0 capable handset, along with Android Jelly Bean 4.3 OS installed on it.

WiFi Connectivity Functionality:

The FR620 is the first Garmin Fitness unit to include the ability to transmit data via standard WiFi connections.  This allows you to upload completed activities, firmware updates, as well as download training plans and custom workouts.

In order to get everything cooking you’ll need to download the Garmin Express Fit app, which is how you configure your WiFi networks.

Garmin FIT Express

Once that’s completed and you’ve got your FR620 connected via USB, you can open the application to get started:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620

It’ll then have you sign-in to Garmin Connect to connect the watch to your account.  Once that’s complete it’ll bring you here, ready to set things up, clicking ‘Yes’ would be the proper answer for a successful journey:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

Next, you’ll be able to start adding WiFi networks:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

You can see them listed out, or you can manually type one in:

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi manual network

Here’s what it looks like once you’ve added a few in:

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi networks

After clicking OK, a few seconds later the unit will get the settings transmitted to it via USB.

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi networks

It should be noted that you can also click the little dropdown box to access a setting to automatically clear transferred workouts from the device.  I personally don’t do this.  The device has approx 4MB of memory (aka 4,000KB).  Each 1hr of workout is approximately 100KB, thus, you have 40 hours of workout time on the device.  I like to grab those raw FIT files before they disappear.  So I’d rather just clean them out manually later.

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi Upload Configuration

Next, go out and do a workout.  When you return and finish the workout you’ll notice two little icons at the top of the screen:

Garmin FR620 WiFi Uploading

These icons indicate the unit is uploading wirelessly.  Note that WiFi isn’t enabled 24×7, only shortly after the workload completes.  This is to prevent battery drain.

If you miss that ‘window’, you can simply tap the connect button on the unit itself (it’s the lower right button), which will then trigger connecting to WiFi to upload workouts and transfer data:

Garmin FR620 Searching for WiFi

Garmin FR620 Transferring on WiFi

I found that the upload process doesn’t seem quite as fast as I would have expected – about a minute.  But that’s fine.  If you just do it when you first walk in the door it’s more than completed by time you get to your computer.

Computer (USB) Upload Functionality:

In addition to WiFi and Bluetooth Smart uploads (as discussed in previous sections), you can also just simply plug in the Garmin FR620 and upload the data manually (or, send the data to 3rd party sites).

The unit enumerates as a standard USB mass storage device – just like a USB thumb drive.  This is ideal as it requires no special drivers, and works on practically any device in the world.  The workouts all hang out in the ‘Activity’ folder.

Garmin FR620 USB Upload

Once you’ve got it plugged in you’ll go ahead and crack open Garmin Connect and then click on the ‘Upload’ button, which brings you to the below page.  From there just click to ‘Upload all new activities’.

Garmin FR620 USB Upload to Garmin Connect

The upload process only takes a few seconds and then shows you which runs you’ve uploaded to click on.

Garmin FR620 USB Upload to Garmin Connect Picker

At which point, your activities are online and ready to analyze.  Simple tap the ‘View details’ link, which will conveniently move you into the next section.

Garmin Connect Online:

After you’ve completed uploading the data to Garmin Connect, you’ll be able to pull up the activity and drill into details.  This includes maps, charts, and summary information.

By default you’ll start off at this page, within the ‘Details’ tab of the activity analysis section.  Here you’ll see a full overview of your activity with maps that can be customized to use Bing, Google, and OpenStreetMap as providers, and then the satellite or standard map views depending on the locale and provider:

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Overview

As you work your way down the page you’ll see the summary metrics along the left side.  While on the right side you’ll get pods for each of the different metrics the FR620 recorded during the run.  These metrics will vary slightly based on what ANT+ accessories you may have paired (such as the HRM-Run ANT+ strap, a regular ANT+ HR strap, or an ANT+ footpod).

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Overview Page Charts

You’ll see above that I have laps created every mile.  This was because I had Auto Lap on, which I typically enable for long runs.  For interval runs I generally control that manually and press lap as I iterate through each of my workout sections.  In either scenario though, the laps show up here.

As I dive further down I get to the FR620 HRM-Run specific features, such as Vertical Oscillation and Ground Contact Time.  On the left side you’ll see weather which is pulled from a local weather station after the fact via a data provider (it’s not from the unit itself).  Also, you’ll notice that elevation correction is automatically enabled since the FR620 doesn’t include a barometric altimeter.

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Running Dynamics Charts

Beyond the detail page seen above, there’s also a laps page, which you can dive into more detail about each of the various laps that you’ve triggered:

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Splits Charts

And the last section being the ‘Player’ view, which allows you to replay back your run and see performance metrics such as pace and cadence at any point along the route.

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Player View

If you’d like to poke around at one of my recent FR620 runs, you can use this Garmin Connect link here to do so.

3rd Party Site Compatibility:

The Garmin FR620 outputs files in the standard .FIT file format.  This means that it’s fully compatible with just about any 3rd party site you’d want to use.  Said differently, if your 3rd party site doesn’t accept .FIT files, it’s probably not worth using.

The better/more interesting news here is that the additional Running Dynamics data that’s added to the .FIT file doesn’t ‘break’ any 3rd party sites I tried.  Those 3rd party sites haven’t yet been updated to read that data, but they don’t choke on it either.  I’ve successfully uploaded to: Training Peaks, Strava, and Sport Tracks.

For those developers in the house, here’s a zip file with a handful of FR620 .FIT files for your development pleasure. All of these files were done on the final firmware.

One item I will point out that’s fairly annoying is that Garmin has decided to produce the .FIT files with a completely useless name.  Previously they had the date and timestamp on the name of each file, making it easy to figure out what was what.

Garmin FR620 FIT Files on USB

Now, it’s just garbage.  This is the same as the FR220, annoyingly.

Firmware Updating:

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating

Like most units, the FR620 supports updates to the firmware over time as Garmin releases new bug fixes or additions to functionality.

The FR620 is however the first Garmin unit to be able to handle these updates over WiFi, as well as traditional USB.  Further, it along with the FR220 also can receive the updates via Bluetooth Smart from your phone.  During a discussion I had with them a month ago, Garmin noted that they really wanted to move towards a platform like the phone where updates are more visible, rather than the existing Garmin Connect system where you really have to know an update is available and go out of your way to apply it.

As you can see above, once an update is available it’ll show up on your unit when you switch into run mode.  At which point you’ll have three options.

First, you can simply install it right then and there.  Takes only a couple minutes and all your settings are saved.

The second option (seen below), is to defer the update until you’re ready.  You might want to do this if you’re just about to head out on a run (Tip of the day: Never update anything – watch, nutrition clothes, etc… – the day before race).  The unit will re-prompt you the next time you switch into run mode.

The third option is to simply dismiss the update, which tells it to not bother you again.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating

Once you’re in a good position to update, just press ‘Install Now’ and the update progress bar will show you how much of the installation has been completed.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating Installing

Looking at historical firmware updates for Garmin devices, you tend to see more updates just after release, than a year or two down the road.  Further, you don’t tend to see massive new feature sets (like an iPhone), but rather, smaller adds.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating Installed

In the case of the FR620, they’ve previously talked about the potential to bring back things like the FR610 cycling mode – so I suspect we may see that as a good example of a firmware update.  Also, you tend to see more functionality adds in the higher end products such as the FR620, than you do in the lower-end products like the FR220.

Bugs and Miscellaneous:

Garmin FR620 Bugs

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 listed below.

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

– I’m having some issues with the Garmin Connect mobile app.  It’s unclear how many of these are specific to me, or widespread.

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) [Update: Nov 6th – This appears to be fixed for me in the 2.30 FW release.]

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

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
– Incredibly lightweight for a GPS watch (or any unit)
– Waterproof to 50m (finally!)
– WiFi uploads are awesome, with Bluetooth a good substitute when required


– 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

Comparison Tables:

Before we wrap things up I’ve put together the comparison charts of all the features of the FR620, compared to the older FR210 and FR610 – as well as the new FR220.  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:

Garmin FR620 Backplate

Overall I’m quite happy with the FR620, and it’ll quickly become my go-to GPS running watch (I’ve previously always used my FR610 as my GPS running watch).  And, The Girl has also laid claim to a unit for her as well (she’s been using it as well).  Though, she wants a purple one, just like the purple FR220.  I love the WiFi upload functionality, and am looking forward to the integrated live tracking once the app is updated/released.  The only challenge with the WiFi upload functionality is that I still need to plug in the FR620 to get the raw .FIT file up to TrainingPeaks (3rd party site).

The Running Dynamics pieces with the HRM-Run are ‘interesting’ right now to look at.  I’m not sure what training decisions can be made based on them, but in the meantime it’s fascinating to start making correlations.  More importantly however is that Garmin has finally made a heart rate strap that actually works without spikes or dropouts.  Heck, that in and of itself is worthwhile.

There are some downsides though – the lack of cycling mode will be a problem for some (admittedly, not me).  And the loss of the ANT+ weight scale support is also a Debbie Downer for many ANT+ scale owners.  Further, lack of any navigational support (such as ‘Back to start’) is sorta odd for a GPS watch.  Though again, I suspect use of these features is just very low overall.

For me though, it’s pretty much exactly what I want in a GPS running watch.  A well waterproofed unit that just simply works, day in and day out – with little maintenance overhead and full integration with 3rd parties.

Found this review useful? Or just want to save a bundle? 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 FR620 – Orange/White with HRM-Run [without HR strap]
Garmin FR620 – Blue/Black with HRM-Run [without HR strap]

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 @ 10:34 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 FR620 Charging/Data Cradle Magnetic Garmin$25N/ALinkN/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. Duan

    this watch does pretty much everything i want it to do, but be an everyday activity nanny. Is there a way to do that? Or do I have buy an activity band to do that? Just seems to be a waste if I can’t use it everyday as well to track my movements.

    • No, unfortunately it sounds like it lacks the underlying low power mode to be able to do 24×7 activity monitoring.

    • Duan

      So now I wait for your review of the fitbit surge to see how it works as a running watch as well a 24/7 monitor. Is there anything else out there that can accomplish both?

    • No, nothing else at this point that’s on the market.

  2. Francois Nel

    I just got my FR 620. May I charge the unit with an 10W iPad charger base (USB)? I.e. what are the technical requirements of the USB powersource?

    • Vic

      I’m using my ipad adapter for the 620. It hasn’t blown up yet 😉

  3. Josh

    Today’s 13.1 race here in town resulted in a chip time of 01:38:18, 07:30/mi. On my 620 the results were:
    13.14 miles, 07:29 pace, 01:38:18. Not bad accuracy, not bad at all. :)
    Now if I could only get the treadmill pacing to be as accurate using the watch.

  4. Is there anyway of getting the “Garmin Wrist Strap Kit for Garmin Forerunner 610” to fit the 620? (link to amazon.co.uk)

    I hated the solid band on my 610, but love this fabric/velcro band on it.

    Hoping there is someway of getting it fitted if I was to upgrade to a 620.

  5. AMB

    I have had the 620 for about 8 months now, its completely useless. It freezes and spontaneously turns off constantly. Ive contacted garmin support numerous times but they are slow to respond and unhelpful. Its a great device when it works, but I spend more time trying to get it functioning than actually running! I wouldn`t recommend this watch to anyone.

    • If you haven’t tried a full reset, do so. Also, try removing any files in the Activity or Workouts folder off of the unit. Sometimes a corrupt file can cause what you’re seeing.

  6. Francois Nel

    How does one manually put the FR620 in to power save mode? If it is on the day clock screen, you would assume it is in power save mode, but even on that screen the automatic power save kicks in after a while. Long after I already know I do not need the GPS to waste my battery life…

    • Just tap the left ‘back’ arrow on the left side of the screen a few times, and that’ll put it into standby mode.

  7. Keith

    I see Garmin have released an update for the HRM-RUN to 6.30 here link to www8.garmin.com but how do apply it?!! Looking at my fit files my HRM-RUN is currently at 4.00

  8. Ranjith

    Ray, Any update on virtual pacer or racer feature rollout to FR620? Many of the courses I run are rolling hills and it helps to keep track of my relative pace over the climbs.

  9. Francois Nel

    Currently, if you set the watch to wake you up for a race at, say 3am, the damn thing would wake you at 3am every morning until you switch off the alarm. My previous watch’s (Polar RS400) alarm would only go off once, which worked perfectly. Is there any hope that they would introduce a “one time alarm” to the FR620?

  10. Ted H

    Is the phone upload for activity still not possible with Android? I have the Samsung S3 (ver4.3) and it connects to the FR620 and does the livetrack just fine. It just won’t upload the run from the phone after I’m done. I do not have any issue with the Edge810 (I know, diff BT chipset)

    • Yup, all good these days for Android.

    • Ted H

      Any idea as to why the phone won’t upload the run after I “save” on the watch? I’ve checked the setting on the phone and the upload to GC is turned “ON”.

  11. Nina B

    What are your thoughts on the Forerunner 620 vs. the Fenix2? Trying to decide which to purchase as a gift for my husband and don’t know which is better. I like the look of the FR620. I see in your reviews the screen on the FR620 is touchscreen to scroll through the different features. Is this the same on the Fenix2? They are both the same price so having a hard time trying to decide which is better. My husband would mainly be using it for running, some gym workouts, and maybe cycling. He wouldn’t really take advantage of using the swimming feature. Any info or advice would be great. Trying to purchase it this week.


    • If they’re mostly a runner (and not so much tri/swim/hiking), then go FR620. If they’re more intro triathlon – and/or want more hiking type focused features, than the Fenix2.

      The FR620 now has a relatively straight forward bike mode, so that’s an option. The top of the FR620 review has a link to my post on the FR620 cycling mode.

  12. Jan Vdw

    Hey Ray, great review! Just one nagging question: is it possible to share 1 watch between 2 persons? For example, my wife and I never go out running together, but we would still like to have our seperate PR’s etc etc. Can the watch do this automatically (like Run profile 1 and Run profile 2 instead of Run vs Ride profile) or should it be done through Garmin Connect? Cheers and thanks! Jan

    • No, all of those items would unfortunately be combined. No method on-watch to separate them, only via Garmin Connnect.

  13. I often program workouts directly on my 610, but I haven’t found this feature on the 620. Is there a way to create a workout on the watch itself? Or in Garmin Connect Mobile App? Or do you have to create all workouts before you leave the house? Thanks!

  14. Mike

    Hi Ray, have been running with the 620 the last 3 months and found the WiFi function a little fussy about connecting to my router – usually have to give it at least 3 or 4 attempts before it manages to upload a session – any thoughts?
    Also last week I did a run which the FIT file claimed was run on 23rd December 2014!
    This has caused me a few problems but have now deleted the session after managing to correct the entry in Sportstrack and Garmin Connect. Just wondered if anyone else has seen that one?!
    Other than that I really like the watch 😉
    thnx, Mike

    • Hmm, odd. Every once in a while I get cases where the Garmin WiFi upload doesn’t seem to catch (oddly enough, tonight after my run with the FR920XT).

      In your case, with the odd older-date file, you might want to look at doing a hard reset and then re-associating the WiFi networks through Garmin Express. Might clean things up.

  15. Simo

    Curious if anyone who has updated their HRM to the latest firmware (v6.30) is now seeing wildly different HR data compared to that recorded prior to updating. Mine used to record avg HR around 155 bpm, now has me at 175-180 (and fluctuating between 160-190…not at all even over the run).

    • Drew W

      I updated both the HRM firmware & the watch software. It was a little difficult to figure out because you have to sync, then put the HR strap on, then sync again, then let the software update. I followed some steps I found on the Garmin forums. It took less than 10 minutes.

      I have been on 3 runs since the update & to be honest, I don’t see any difference. One thing I have been doing now that it is cold & licking the strap doesn’t work because it takes longer to build up a sweat is I started using electrode gel (link to amzn.to). I don’t see any spikes or dips & my HR doesn’t go past 200 at the start of every run before I can get a good sweat going.

      I would suggest if your HRM is all over the place, try the gel.

  16. Hannes

    I have a question about the HRM Run which works on full power only with FR620 and Fenix2. Is that really so? I know it only sends heart rate data when used with an other watch. But what about phones, can they understand the belt better? I assume that the belt always sends he data but it’s not understood by other devices. With some right chosen app it could be possible?

  17. Naomi

    Mayday. Mayday.

    Dear Ray,

    George S. already asked above #2441: “But how do you update the HRM after you update the 620?”

    I cannot do it either.

    Please.Please. Would you please so kind and tell me how you managed it?

    Step by Step ,yes? -explain it to me please in a way that a girl 4 years old could understand.

    That would be very kind of you! Thanks in advance!

    Herzallerliebst! Naomi

  18. Am I missing something?

    On my 610, I used to create workouts, say HR between two values or pace between two values.

    When I was outside of those values the 610 used to say “HR too low” / “HR too High” or “Speed Up” / “Slow down” etc.

    I was racing with my new 620 on Sunday using a workout to keep my pace between two values, but I didn’t see any of the messages, the watch just vibrated. When racing, the last thing you need is to start doing calculations in your head whether you are going too fast or too slow, that’s what I want the watch to tell me.

    Am I missing something?

  19. Dave Caracciolo

    While reading the comments to your excellent review of the new FR920XT, I read where you said that this watch could store multiple sensors such as heart rate straps. I am assuming that this feature is not available on the FR620? I like to go back and forth between the Garmin HRM strap and my Scosche optical strap, but every time I do I have to delete the old strap and pair the other one in, as new. I just want to make sure I am not missing something, as it would be nice to have both straps store themselves and just connect to the one being used. Thanks for your awesome work and reviews.

  20. Paul

    Hello All,

    I’ve read as many comments as I can, but I can’t find the answer, has the virtual partner function of being able to run against one of your previous runs ever been re-introduced?

    I’m just getting into running, and this would be great for me to try to improve me 5k times.

    Thanks in adavance

  21. Eliot

    The default 620 configuration flashes a screen for a couple seconds after every mile with a pace for the mile. It also flashes some small numbers on that mile flash screen, does anyone know what all the little numbers are?

    • By default I believe that’s the lap number. But either way, you can change it within the custom lap banner settings to be anything you’d like.

    • Eliot

      Great, I found that, and now I realize that the little number after the lap time is the fraction of a second.

  22. Naomi

    Hi folks,

    after updating watch to 3.10 and while updating the HRM to 6.30 there was that colour circle on watch seen doing like searching GPS showing progressing the Update 6.30 on the belt.
    When half of the circle (say 6 o´clock)was done (very fast indeed) the update was frozen. So after about 10 minutes I stopped and noticed ( seen in the watch)that update HRM to 6.30 was done.

    But from now on VO2max modus will not do any longer.

    I tried to solve the problem :
    Total rest of the watch.
    Put in the battery in belt upside down for a moment and then put in in the right way again.
    Made the update 3.10 in watch again,
    but next step, where one could update other languages, there aren´n that two downloads and the end of list, whith witch I could manage to update the belt to 6.30 the last time.

    I ask for help please. Has got anybody the them problem and found a solution? Please tell me!

    Herzlichst! Naomi

  23. Naomi

    Hi folks,

    after updating watch to 3.10 and while updating the HRM to 6.30 there was that colour circle on watch seen doing like searching GPS showing progressing the Update 6.30 on the belt.
    When half of the circle (say 6 o´clock)was done (very fast indeed) the update was frozen. So after about 10 minutes I stopped and noticed ( seen in the watch)that update HRM to 6.30 was done.

    But from now on VO2max modus will not do any longer.

    I tried to solve the problem :
    Total rest of the watch.
    Put in the battery in belt upside down for a moment and then put in in the right way again.
    Made the update 3.10 in watch again,
    but next step, where one could update other languages, there aren´n that two downloads and the end of list, whith witch I could manage to update the belt to 6.30 last time.

    I ask for help please. Has got anybody the same problem and found a solution? Please tell me!

    Herzlichst! Naomi

  24. Naomi

    Hallo ,

    Watch changed by Garmin. New watch same problem: it doesn´t get Vo2max!

    This is my third FR620 now. First one showed Vo2max. Second one showed Vo2max until updated device to 3.1 and HRM 6.3.After that no vO2max only info : move 10 minutes in the open to get vo2max. all the time.
    Third one didn`t show from the beginning. only that hint to do run 10 minutes..It had device V.3.0 and HRM I didn´t checked. So I made update to 3.1 and HRM 6.3.

    Has anyone same problem! Any solution found? I ask for help please.

    Schöne Weihnachten wünscht Naomi

    • David

      This is a pure guess, but do you have a max heart rate programmed into the watch? It utilizes that in calculating VO2Max.

  25. Naomi

    Hallo David,

    herzlichen Dank.. thank you very much for you answer!

    Max heart rate is given in. Dosn´t solve the problem.

    Schöne Weihnachten.. merry Christmas to you!


  26. Naomi

    Hi Ray, to solve my little problem above,

    please one short answer:

    which does create VO2Max : device or HRM ?

    May thants for you answer.

    Schöne Weihnachten!

  27. Karthik Iyer

    ran my first run using the 620 today. I see all metrics on garmin connect related to the running dynamics but no Vo2 max or race predictor..any ideas?

  28. Naomi

    Hi Karthik,

    does VO2 Max and race predictor are shown on the watch?

    or do you missing it only on Garmin Connect?

    Liebe Grüße! Naomi

    • Karthik Iyer

      Hi Naomi

      My run yesterday showed the VO2 max and race predictor at the end of the run (right after I hit save).

      But today’s run failed to showed me the VO2 Max again. Not sure what’s going on…also I missed the save button today (but it still saved!!!…puzzled)

      Garmin connect site does not show VO2 max at all…FYI I am using the new layout…


  29. Naomi

    Hi Karthik, …why Garmin is my desert:

    In German Garmin forum one discuss this problem with Garmin FR920tx . Some have seen VO2max after one week the first time after a dozend runs. Others did several total resets and have been successful.

    German Support means : take HRM Belt ,take off batterie, turn it upside down, press top on watch (causes short circuit) then put batterie in right way again and it should work and show VO2 Max. I´ve done this without success.

    As this is my third 620 now (I swapped it twice) my expierience is that VO2max was shown after the first run on both first watches.

    So I´m so much tired to swapp my 620 another time at the moment, just wait if VO2max comes the next two weeks or not. I don´t mention it to protect my nerve system.

    I´m very found of this watch but I cannot rely on it. So I get a 920tx next week and can relax. I think that´s simple math from then on. like travelling through desert with two Landrovers . one fails with probability 1/1000 , but two Landrovers with a probability 1/1000 X 1/1000 it comes to 1/1000000 to fail.

    That´s my solution . I want to go out and move my boby in sunshine or rain, not to break my head why on hell this bloody fucking watch doesn´t work properly this time. I send it back to the Garmin desert und move with my other watch.;-)

    • Karthik Iyer

      Thanks Naomi. Its seems very intermittent indeed, todays run also showed no VO2max

  30. Reinhard

    @Karthik & Naomi,
    Cannot verify your VO2max problem when using the old (layout) version of garmin connect. It is visible as always.
    As to software/HR parameters: We are using the same/latest software/HR-versions
    Furthermore: I do see VO2 max values from today’s and past runs on the watch. I too cannot see V02max in modern view (but usually use old version which is fine …).
    Kind regards, Reinhard

    • Karthik Iyer

      Yes I can see the VO2Max in the old layout. But not for all runs, just one run off the 7 I have done so far.

  31. Paul

    The only place I can see VO2 max in GC modern is in reports.

    For running, it’s reports / running / VO2, similar for cycling or all activities.

  32. Naomi

    Hi Reinhard,

    My problem is simply I cannot get VO2max seeing on the watch itself.

    Herzlichst! Naomi

  33. Maria

    The watch only shows VO2max when the number has increased. Otherwise you have to scroll the menue for this data.

  34. Mario Ghiggini

    Purchased on Chrystmast….
    Bluethoot works only on IOS no Android….even if the App is available in Android Mkt

    The wifi works for just 2 days and then no more ! No way to sync the data.
    In contact with Garmin Support I Formatted the watch as a external disk….. uploading data from Gramin FTP server…
    No way….
    Actually they asked to send the watch back for Service (10 days brand new)…
    I think You’re quite in touch with Garmin in order to let the People help on this “famous” issue on WIFI connectivity.
    Thx in advance for helping US !
    Regards Mario

    • Hmm, the Android app just fine with the FR620 – many folks use it without issue. You will need to ensure your phone is new enough to support it however.

      I can see how if they had you format the FR620 that would indeed cause some serious issue. Not good at all.

    • Mario Ghiggini

      Dear Ray
      Android phones works only if the smartphone adopt Smart Bluetooth (energy saving BTH)… Mine aren’t so youre right !! I’ll keep working on IOS phone and not Android ones…

      But regarding the Wi-Fi issue, I think that Garmin should excsue themselves to all Costumers….I see a lot of Forums talking on this from 1 years ago and Garmin has not yet solved the matter.
      They’re asking me to send back the watch to Costumer Service….but what would be for my workout and marathon preparation ???

      Frankly speaking I would have wait and purchase the 920 XT (if WI-FI will work)…… :-(
      IDEA: Do You think that Garmin should change my FR620 with 920 XT adding some € ??


    • Mario Ghiggini

      Update @ 09:40:
      Just speak with Garmin asking for some more infos ….. .they told me to “WAIT THE NEXT FIRMWARE” update :-O (that to me sound like a lagging response).
      …and no way to pay and change the watch with 920XT ….

      Much more disappointed than before the morning call to ” “Costumer Service” ” .

  35. Pekka P

    Hi Ray,
    I have not seen anywhere else so thorough product reviews as yours! Thank you. It took me several hours though to read them when trying to find out which GPS watch I would select for running (and cross country skiing). It looks like I am going for 620. Did you have a discount code for amazon.de?

    Regards from Finland

    • Mario

      my personal suggestion is to buy the newest FR920xt
      So maybe that Garmin solved the Wi-Fi troubles.

    • Hi Pekka-

      No discount code for Amazon (.de or otherwise), but, if you use the Amazon.de link onthe sidebar just below the big Amazon logo I have, then it’ll still support the site. Just use that link and then after the Amazon page pulls up you can just search on Amzaon’s site from there and I’ll still get credit.


  36. Bart

    Hi Ray
    Have you still not experienced any spikes in your HR measurement with this device?
    In my third run ever with the 620, I already got a nice one of 180 BPM seven minutes in a very easy run with a 133 BPM average. Very disappointing if stable HR measurement is one of the main reasons for purchasing the 620, I must say…

  37. Bart

    Hi Ray
    Have you still not experienced any spikes in your HR measurement with this device?
    In my third run ever with the 620, I already got a nice one of 180 BPM seven minutes in a very easy run with a 133 BPM average. Very disappointing if stable HR measurement is one of the main reasons for purchasing the 620, I must say.

  38. Johan

    Hi, thanks for this great review. As I am running for over 1.5 year now and want something else then my phone, I am looking for a great watch. I only want to use it for running, so at the moment I am looking at the 610 or the 620. I also looked at the 310 and 910/920, but I want to be able to upload schemes easily. But I have some questions, which I think current users can answer.

    Besides the price, should I go for the 620? Or get the cheaper, older 610?

    I want to use BT, but I don’t know if my phone supports it. Samsung Galaxy S4 mini (latest firmware 4.4 android).

    If I upload plans and am running with it, does the watch beep and vibrate when I go out of the min/max. This for the speed/tempo, HR etc.

    I read several times users are having issues with the VO2 for the max, prediction. Some even got there 3th watch. Are this just a few users or are there indeed nasty bugs in this watch? As I want to use this watch to train for my first half marathon in June, I want to be sure it will do the job.

    Thanks so far.

    • Johan

      Some details about the phone:

      Android 4.4.2
      BT: v4.0, A2DP, EDR, LE, apt-X (I read somewhere it is “smart ready”)

    • Yes, the S4 is compatible (all variants).

    • Johan


      Any comments/answers on my other questions?

    • jcg112

      The watch will beep/vibrate when you are outside of your set limits, if this is how you have it set up. As far as the VO2 prediction, I’ve had my watch for 1 1/2 weeks and I am seeing the number trend upward. So, I guess it’s working. I’m really not sure how accurate/useful it will prove to be since it is a prediction.

      I’ve been pleased with my 620 so far. It gps syncs really quickly and I’ve had no issues with BT or wifi transfers when I’m done, whether downloading a workout or uploading a completed workout. I have the HRM run and it’s also been rock solid so far, both outside in the cold (25 deg F) and indoors on the treadmill. I’m waiting on delivery of the footpod for indoors on the treadmill. I don’t mind the cold, but it’s going to be -3 F on Wed morning! Outside ain’t going to happen. I don’t see any issues with it handling your marathon training routine.

  39. Johan

    Thanks for your reply. Forgot to ask, what about sound/beeps when you are in interval training?
    When you need to change speed/HR, do you hear beep of feel vibration then?

    • jcg112

      If you are taking about the interval function built into the watch, I haven’t used that yet so I’m not sure. Now, with a downloaded workout plan, the watch will beep and vibrate at each individual step in the plan. It actually starts beeping five seconds prior to the upcoming step and then gives a long beep/vibrate when the step starts. My only gripe so far is that when you set up your steps in Garmin Connect, you can pick from thinks like interval, recovery etc for your running steps. But, when you look at it on the watch, all the running steps are called “run”. Not sure why the naming doesn’t follow over. On the watch, it still shows the parameters you set for each step, so not too big of a deal.

  40. Johan

    Thanks. That is exactly what I meant. I guess the names (recovery, cool down, etc) are just to make it easy in the GUI. I think I will order the 620 today.

    • jcg112

      I think you will be pleased with it. Don’t let the negative reports keep you away. As Ray said somewhere in the comments, people go to the Garmin 620 forum section to report problems, not to report their satisfaction with it. You see the same trend with complaints about the new 920XT in its forum section.

      The “warm up” and “cool down” names do transfer over, that is why I’m puzzled the others don’t. Maybe in a future update. This is a very capable running watch and will give you enough data to look at and keep busy with. I ordered the bundle with the HRM Run belt for $50 more than just the watch alone. You really need it to take advantage of all that the 620 can do. Enjoy!

  41. Amanda

    I am wondering if I read your article right, that when you upload your running sessions it doesn’t record the route taken? Will it show where you have run?


    • jcg112

      Yes, the watch will record the route you have run using the GPS. When you upload your workout to Garmin Connect, you can look at your run either on a regular map view or satellite view.

  42. Matt plaskett

    Can you use the heart rate monitor and gps tracking at the same time? I read somewhere that this was not possible with the fenix2

  43. Matt plaskett

    Can you use the heart rate monitor and gps tracking at the same time? I read somewhere that this was not possible with the fenix 2

    • jcg1112

      Yes, you can use the hrm and gps tracking at the same time. This is how normally run. The Fenix 2 issue is something totally different.I think is has to do with not being able to use ANT+ and blue tooth (for live tracking) at the same time.

  44. Alan Moses

    This watch is killing me. I have 620, and it is stuck in version 3.0 with 3.10 ready and waiting to upload. I’ve deleted all runs from watch, and it still says watch full and refuses the upload. I use a mac, and can not get my head round what is going on. It is driving me berserk.

    Also, does Garmin connect mobile no longer work on iPhone iOS 8?

    What the hell is going on with Garmin!!!

    • David

      With your 620 connected, empty the trash on your Mac.

  45. Johan

    I received my 620 yesterday. Didn’t run with it yet, but so far it look cool.
    The only thing I notice is the screen. If I compare it with the video’s and pictures in this review, it look like mine is less sharp or something like that. Yes it has colors, ex the blue running man, but it could be some kind of grey too. And with back-light turned off, the black letters are not as black as here on the site. I tried this in side and outside. Is it me? Is it readable, but according to me it could be better….Or do I miss an option in the settings where the brightness can be set?

    • Johan

      Hmm just found this introduction video by Garmin:
      link to youtube.com

      If this is what it should be for real, then mine is just like that.

      But the white watch in this video:
      link to youtube.com

      has darker letter. Or is it me?


    • James

      The colors are more muted compared to the pics. I’ve used mine in bright sunlight, cloudy skies and indoors at the gym and haven’t had any issues with reading any of the screens. There is no brightness setting.

  46. Rasmus

    Thanks for another great review! Really enjoyable reads as well as informative.

    In the cycling mode it reads: “(Update: Garmin has confirmed that in ‘Spring 2014′, the unit will receive a firmware update that enables a cycling mode with support for the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor. Remember that ‘spring’ does technically go well into June.)”

    Has this happened yet? And what about PRs, are they now pulled from garmin connect, or will using the watch when biking or cross country skiing mess up PRs?

  47. Rasmus

    Thanks for another great review! Really enjoyable reads as well as informative.
    In the cycling mode it reads: “(Update: Garmin has confirmed that in ‘Spring 2014′, the unit will receive a firmware update that enables a cycling mode with support for the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor. Remember that ‘spring’ does technically go well into June.)”
    Has this happened yet? And what about PRs, are they now pulled from garmin connect, or will using the watch when biking or cross country skiing mess up PRs?

  48. Knut

    Thanks for another great review! Really enjoyable read as well as informative.

    I was wondering about cycling/multisport mode/ function. You write that a firmware update was planned last year enabling this. Has this happened yet? And what about PRs, are they now pulled from garmin connect, or will using the watch when biking or cross country skiing mess up PRs?

  49. Johan

    Got my watch last friday did my first run today. Guess what … no VO2 max.
    Updated to 3.10, do not know about the firmware of the belt.

    Should I contact Garmin?

    • Naomi

      Hi Johan,

      see #2481

      I had no luck shortcut the belt but others had.

      Now a have my 4th Garmin FR620 got yesterday.(Time before I had two Fenix 2 for three month and gave it back, before that time I had a Polar RS 800 five years running 32 000 Km with no problem – just chaning battery from tme to time by myself)

      The display is not as good readable (cristalclear) as my new 920xt one I got yesterday too.


    • Johan

      Well that sucks, reading 2481. Hopefully this 4th will do the job!

      In the meantime I contacted Garmin and they say, it takes 3-4 runs before VO2max is calculated. Very curious it will. Else the shop where I bought it, is willing to help me out.

      So I really hope, I have the value after 4 runs.

    • Naomi

      @j Hi Johan, thank you a lot!

      And also: good luck 4you ! I hold my fingers crossed!

      Let me know , please, when exactly VO2 Max is on the watch.

      Herzlichst !

    • Johan


      Well I did my second run today and YES I have VO2max now.

      Maybe setting a HR rest “fixed” it, but as far as I know that is not needed to calculate VO2max.

  50. Franki

    So i’m using the 220 at the moment… would I need a need heart rate strap?

    • Johan

      Well that depends on what you want to measure. If you want HR, VO2max, cadence etc yes.
      I think it’s not a must, but very nice to have. I want to know and also train in HR zones. And I also want to try to make myself better to figure out what makes my ground-contact for example. My friend, has a 310, comes with HR strap, but he never uses this.

      So it’s up to you, but if you can buy it for a nice prize, I would do it.

  51. Riel Hugo, South Africa

    Stupid Question but how do you turn off Auto Pause once it is activated?

  52. xTHENKx

    Can I use the footpad and HRM-Run at the same time? For example for treadmill and treadmill only. Can I get the accuracy of the footpod but use the HRM-Run for heart rate?

  53. Robert Black

    When clicking on the amazon links it does indeed take you to your own country. Is there any workaround? The fr620 is 52 euros cheaper from the German site, with three day shipping. So it would probably get her quicker tha using the UK sites free postage option.

  54. Frans

    Does anybody know if the R in the serial number (ex. 3Rxxxxx) means it is a refurbished watch?

    • Johan

      No. And R doesn’t mean it is refurbished. Just call Garmin and they can check that.

    • Robert Black

      Refurbs also come in a black and white box and are a clearly labeled as refurbished. I bought a 610 as the price was right last April and it’s been faultless.

  55. Greg


    Question please: i currently have FR10 (love it), but during interval training I need to strain my brain to work out the times for interval / breaks.
    When I have a 6x400m intervals with 60sec rest followed by 6xx600m with 90sec rest – can this watch be set to alert me accordingly?
    (or the FR220)?


    • Johan

      Yes as far as I know it does. Some seconds before the change of plan comes, it beeps and vibrates.

    • Francois Nel

      Yes it does. You can even design the intervals on Garmin Connect and download it to the FR620
      It not only reminds you of the next interval, it also shows you on what interval you are (no more drawing lines in the sand 😉

  56. Arthur

    First off, I am not particularly computer literate–especially with Apple products even though I use them quite a bit.

    So my question is, I will be traveling on an extended car camping trip for two months with my G-620 watch and with an iTouch and an iPad. But I will not have access to a p.c., which is what I use (along with my home wireless network) to upload running data to my Garmin Connect account when I am at home. Is there some way to upload my running data to my Gamin Connect account when I stop in at a McDonalds or a library or someplace with free Wi-Fi?

    • Naomi


      don´t stop at McDonalds! It´s not good for your health! Go to library! It´s good for your brain!

      Herzlichst! Naomi

  57. Fay Smith

    Brilliant reviews – thank you! A question: Designing intervals via the watch is long winded. If I do it via the Workout method (on the Garmin Connect site) is that the same?

    Also, will the Virtual Partner reset at each step in a workout?

    • Yup, I always do it on the web site – works great and much quicker for complex workouts.

      On the Virtual Partner, it’s a separate function and is just focused on the entire length of the run.

  58. Hugo van Leeuwen

    Hey, I went from FR405 to FR620HRM after reading your review. I must say i’m impressed. One thing is bugging me. I’m running a lot of 5k on the track and i”m missing laptime ‘by position’. Is there another way of getting this?

    Greetz from Holland

    • No, no method today. The thing is though, for track running it’s honestly more accurate in most cases to just use the line on the track than GPS.

  59. Sarah

    Thank you for all your fabulous reviews! Extremely thorough and helpful.

    Any chance the 620 will get activity tracking functionality (specifically daily step count)?


  60. mark collinson

    Hello all
    I am hoping that someone here can shed some light for me.
    I have added a level 2 hr based triathlon training program to my garmin connect calendar. The whole schedule appears in the calendar. The swim sessions appear as notes only, (to be expected on a run / bike watch, the fr620 is not a swim watch.) But the bike and run workouts do appear on the calendar. When transferring from connect to the forerunner though, i can only see the run workouts on the forerunner. if i apply the ride profile, there is no little calendar icon to show me my bike training workout for the day.

    I can see all run workouts for the triathlon program, i dont expect to see the swim workouts, but i had hoped that i would have the ride workouts.

    Is there a way to transfer ride workouts from the calendar to the foreunner ?

    Thanks in advance


  61. Marios

    Any idea when the FR630 with Connect IQ is supposed to come out?

    • Aydin

      I am alao curious what would be next model and when on this lineup?

    • I am looking forward to the next model with Connect IQ as well. It’ll be 2 years this September since FR620 came out. Also, Garmin is running $50 rebate on FR620. Could that mean the next model will be here pretty soon? I hope so!

    • Robert Black

      me too, I only want to wear one device for tracking and exercise so I sold off the fr610 and got a polar m400 which is a solid little device, as is polar flow. I don’t miss vibration as much as I thought I would, but I do miss the ability to quick set targeted workouts ie 150-155bpm on the watch.

  62. franki

    I have to say the accuracy of the VO2 estimate is really good…. it says 61 for me . I got it tested in a lab 64

  63. michael S

    I just got a 620 and im a little disappointed. Ive upgraded to the 3.2 firmware. I did have the reverse battery problem initially ( used a different Samsung USB charger solved it). The store I purchased from told me never to leave it charging overnight – I assume there have been some battery problems.
    The wifi features are good but the GPS accuracy seems lower than the 610 I had before (for the same routes) and the initial GPS connect time seems the same or longer despite the claim of caching. I do move between countries and im wondering if that is messing the caching up. Is there a way to reset the cache ?
    I regularly run round a condo in the evenings with an inner quadrant followed by an outer parking road to make a 1KM loop. The 610 tracked the outer circuit perfectly while the inner quadrant was a bit like spaghetti presumably because its built up. The 620 makes the whole thing look like spaghetti.

    I was 50/50 on upgrading and to others thinking about it i’d hold off for the 630 or whatever the next upgrade is.
    Its a little bit easier to use and a little bit nicer looking but nothing special to justify the cost of upgrade.

    • Hugo

      Set the Data Recording from ‘Smart’ to ‘Every Second’ . this will make the gps more accurate.

    • michael s

      Thanks that has helped . The outer segment is now much closer to the 610 – the inner segment is still spaghetti though. I tried walking the loop very slowly to see if I could generate an accurate course (and distance) but clearly the building reflections are confusing some part of the GPS.
      It now does grab the satelites quickly so I assume the caching was messed up after the trip to Singapore and has reset but ive seen between 5.5 and 7.5K for the the same 7 lap distance on the same route since the cache update which is disappointing.

  64. Chris

    What are garmin’s future plans to replace the 620 in the coming years. I know garmin announced several new watches recently, but I am hoping Garmin will continue the 600 series as they are an amazing watch.

  65. Aydi

    Thanks for great reviews!

    I was wondering when Garmin would potentially release an updated version of 620?


  66. Ingo

    Just noticed that the slowest I can make the virtual partner is 8:55 min/k. That’s pretty silly, no? I wanted to set up a 9:05 min/k pace for a 50k trail race tomorrow and couldn’t believe that you can’t select “9” for minutes.

    At first I thought ok, it must be a roadie watch and nothing for trails and ultras but I just checked this on a friend’s Fenix3 and same issue there. What kind of logic are people using to offer a “virtual partner” that cannot be slower than 8:55 min/k?? I could probably hack it by switching to miles but that’s not the point.

  67. Zohar

    accuracy is really bad. I use to run in 1 km lap and adjust my pace in every lap. I have noticed that every time a new lap starts, it takes long time till I get a stable pace again. I used the Garmin 405 for few years and it never happened. pace was always very stable + i could check previous laps during my activity + 405 has
    the virtual partner feature, bottom line the 120$ Garmin 405 is a much better watch. Only problem is all the old heart rate straps. The new 620 strap is perfect but the 405 can’t work with it.

    • Double check your software is up to date, and failing that do a hard reset of the unit. What you’re seeing it’s the norm.

  68. Zohar

    One more big issue for me: I want to adjust my running pace according to the last interval heart rate. I couldn’t find a way to see my interval average heart rate:

    1. there is no “lap alert” with the lap info during workout.
    2. There is no way to see the previous laps results before I finish the workout and save the data (I could so it with the 405).
    3. there is no field to show “last lap heart rate”

    Anyone has any idea how can I fix it? I consider running again with the old good 405.

    • Hugo

      Settings >Activity Settings > Laps > Lap Alert > Secondary Field > Lap HR . This will fix your 3 problems.


    • Zohar

      No Hugo. I don’t think so. If you do a workout, you won’t be able to see lap alerts for every interval.
      For example, I want to run 20 KM. First 10 KM in a constant pace and then the next 10 KM I break to 10 lap and change my pace according to my HR. It’s very easy to prepare such workout. The problem is that while doing the workout I can’t see my interval HR. Instead of showing the “lap alert” it will show the next interval pace/distance target.

  69. Dan R

    Hi, Ray. I just bought a 620 with the HRM Run heart monitor strap. I cycle with an Edge 1000 and was wondering if this strap had any benefits/advantages for that application; I’m using Garmin’s latest generation HRM strap without the embossed runner logo with the 1000 and it works pretty well.

    • No additional benefits for use with the Edge 1000 – just functions like any other ANT+ HR strap.

  70. Jeannette

    I’m catching a plane right now I’m running through the airport. I read your review on my mobile so forgive me if I skipped a part where you answered. Is it worth the extra investment from the 220. I want to replace my Garmin and want to purchase soon. I’m so undecided. Where the 220 seems to do what I need. I’m just wondering if I should invest in the 620.

  71. Brandon Hough

    I have a question for anyone who can help me. I bought the 620 last year at the Boston Marathon 2014 Expo and it came with a special blue/yellow band.

    The band is breaking on me rather abruptly and I want another one really bad. Garmin was great on the phone and is shipping me a black/blue band but the service rep could not locate this blue/yellow band I have.

    Anyone have any leads?

    • Yeah, those were basically driven by the marketing department – and were one-offs. I’m not sure if they had more this year or not. I’d try reaching out to Garmin on social media, since that’s the same team that was at Boston last year with the custom bands. If you ask nicely…you might luck out.

  72. Robert black

    For UK buyers you can get the bundle for £202.68 against the rrp of £359. That’s a massive saving. Clearing the shelves ready for the FR630? link to expansys.com

    • Mario

      Beh sound s good….But the update needs to be confirmed on FR…..
      And here’s the problem
      My FR tell me that this <1 min update has failed

  73. Anita

    Issue with the wi-fi connection

    A couple of months ago, my 620 has stopped connecting to the wi-fi, therefore I have not been able to download any of the updates into the unit. I live outside the US, so I don´t know if this is a factor. Any suggestions as to how this can be fixed?

    • The easiest way to get it updated is find a computer with a USB port and install Garmin WebUpdater on it (super light-weight/small).

      I believe there were also some WiFi updates in there in the last few months too.

    • Mario

      Infortunately no way
      After 1 year no update solve same problem on mine…..neither Garmin costumer Service
      Good luck

    • Anita

      since i will have to end up buying a new unit, I am seriously thinking of dropping Garmin after years of using their products: my first one was the Forerunner 101. I´m pretty much done with this company, and their dealers in Costa Rica are THE WORST!

    • I’m not sure why you’d have to buy a new unit rather than simply plugging it into a computer to update the firmware. Seems kinda silly.

    • Anita

      What is a web updater, I´m not familiar with that. What I have is just the charger that comes with the unit. Not really sure what you mean with a web updater. you must think I´m really stupid, but this isn´t really my field of expertise 😉

    • Here ya go: link to www8.garmin.com

      The WebUpdater is Garmin’s super-old-school updater for any USB connected Garmin device (Fitness, Marine, Cars, anything).

      It’s singular goal in life is getting the update file to your device. And it’s really darn good at that (and nothing else). When all other update methods fails, this always works – 100% of the time.

      It essentially connects to Garmin’s servers and looks for any updates for your device. Simple and easy to use.

  74. Scott J

    Just got the FR620 to replace an FR220 (interested in cycling mode, virtual pacer, HRM with running dynamics/recovery advisor/VO2 max calculator). Seriously, SERIOUSLY disappointed in the battery life. It’s about half what it was with my FR220, and that was after a year of daily (sometimes twice daily) use. I’m considering sending it back and sticking with the FR220, because I can’t deal with having low battery after 3-4 less than 1 hour runs. After about 1.5 hours use yesterday it was down to 39%. Totally unacceptable.

    • There’s something wrong with your unit, simple as that. Assuming you’ve updated the firmware, I’d try doing a full reset on it. Else, calling Garmin support.

  75. vic

    Darn good, lightweigth, always works, user friendly,… No wonder Garmin keeps this WebUpdater hidden for their customers…

  76. Josh

    Was instant pace from footpod ever added as an option on this device and secondly is a 625 expected similar to the 225 upgrade?

    • Only indoors, not outdoors.

    • Josh

      Fwiw the blue black bundle is now being offered by Amazon fulfilled by Amazon for $340, that’s another 10% off from where it was yesterday. 630 imminent?

    • No, just part of the May sales (FR220/FR620/Fenix2).

      Check out the link at the top of the review here for a bit more detail.

    • Josh

      I was aware of the May sale, what was so surprising was the even further discount Amazon was offering by making the bundle even less expensive than many vendors “watch only” pricing. That would lead you to think they are clearing inventory for a new product.

    • Josh

      Seems I got lucky as the price went back up on the blue black bundle to the $371 range. No complaints! Now to find one of those nice blue and yellow Boston replacement watch bands.

  77. Dan

    Great review, Ray! Kept looking at the 620 for a cpl of months now and finally pulled the trigger at a bundle offer from Amazon for $340 on 5/19. Best price ever! Combine with the $50 rebate from Garmin, couldnt pass on this deal. Can’t wait to test drive it this weekend. Hope to improve my running performance with it.

  78. Josh

    Received my new blue black bundle last night, looking forward to beginning another 26.2 training Sunday with it. Out of the box it did experience the reverse charging issue after the 3.30 update, something I need to request a replacement for or in your opinion should I be good now that it has charged up to 100%?

  79. Josh

    Is there any reason Garmin couldn’t add the metronome feature onto the 620? I do not need an activity tracker, point being the next version of the watch would most likely come with a feature I don’t need.

    • No reason they could’nt as far as I see it. Lot’s of reasons they would’nt…

  80. Tanja

    Hi Ray.

    I am considering getting FR620 but i like some of the new features on the FR225. Do you know if there are coming an upgrade for the FR620, with some of the new features?


  81. Lesley

    It seems I’m in the same boat as a number of other people. Considering getting the 620, but since it’s been out for a while (almost 2 years), I’m a bit reluctant. It would be rather annoying buying it and then a new model comes out in a couple months.

  82. Frederik

    Hi Ray, I bought the 620 as soon as your review came out. Have you since your review heard of any battery issues? Since a month or so the battery life is < 1h, haven't had any issue before. Also using an older 910 without any issue.

  83. Andrew

    A comprehensive and interesting review; thank you. I live in a wooded area in England and, during summer, I will be running under the canopy of rather dense trees. My mobile phone has no problem in keeping connected with Endomondo; does your experience show that the 620 can be used in wooded areas? Many thanks, Andrew.

    • Daniel

      I’m interested in the 620’s performance in wooded areas as well.

    • Rob

      I have had the 620 for about a year and have put well over 1,000 miles on it (and done all of the updates) A few of my runs are through the woods, and the satellite reception is absolutely terrible.

      When I run under thick tree cover I can see my lap pace skyrocket up because the GPS is lost. When I look at the map on Garmin connect when I am done, there is a straight line (sometimes half a mile) connecting the point I was “lost” to the point I was found.

      My 310 was MUCH better than the 620 for accuracy.

      This may be against the rules (linking to another site), but a much more scientific analysis of GPS accuracy is done here: link to fellrnr.com

    • Daniel

      Ouch, doesn’t sound good at all.
      Really want to upgrade my Garmin 305, but nothing out there seems accurate enough.

  84. Nick

    If paired with a Wahoo trckr X or Run, would you get the run dynamics and VO Max information or can you ONLY get this using the Garmin HDR-Run?

  85. Pippa Pearson

    Hubby says this is the best review of anything he has ever read ever!! And I’m buying one for his birthday.

  86. Midpackbiped

    Two nice features I just “discovered” on the 620: compass and sunrise/sunset. But then I’m probably just behind the curve. link to midpackgear.blogspot.com

  87. Geoffery

    Hi Ray,

    Just curious, what’s the battery life you are getting after 1 year plus of usage? I’m getting about 7+ hours of continuous tracking.

    Also how’s your strap is holding out? The under blue layer has cracks and fallen off, I did order a replacement but I find that for a sports strap, it’s kind of flimsy to have it replace yearly…

  88. Hannes

    I wanted to comment on the often noted differences found in testing done by Jonathan at fellrnr.com
    I think one thing many people miss (if I have understood it correctly) is that his primary test is very focused on GPS accuracy as such and less on how that affects the GPS derived metrics we generally look at in the end or even over mile-segments. I would think that by breaking runs down into really pretty short segments (quarter mile) and looking at the magnitude of deviation one might count a lot of error that would cancel out over a longer run (or maybe be smoothed out?). A bit like simply leaving the watch lying down and counting the distance accrued.
    You can see that play out in the detailed table where even the worst of the bunch has an average distance deviation on 20 miles that would be totally acceptable to us.
    So (questions of route aside) I think he does a really great test on the specific accuracy of the GPS signal but should maybe emphasize more the impact on final metrics.

  89. Jen

    Is there a device you can buy to extend battery life (i.e. pocket charger) for this watch? I have a 20 hour race coming up, and I’d rather not have to buy a different watch for the race. Thanks!

    • Hannes

      Yes you can of course put the charging cable in a USB pocket charger but you would have to find a good way to have it attach to the watch during your run (or during breaks but charging is slow). Looks like that could be doable, given how the charger is build.

      Alternatively, you could do fotpod with GPS off, will give you good data….

    • Hannes

      on a second thought you would of course have to verify that the watch stays operational while charging. That you can try with a wall charging adapter.

    • On the FR620, it does not work. It’ll end the activity if power is applied, unfortunately.

      Fwiw, the Vivoactive, Fenix1/2/3, Epix, and a few other watches I’m forgetting offhand, all support charging on the go.

    • Jen

      Thanks for all the replies.

      So it looks like the solution is either get a footpod and turn the GPS off or get a different watch.

      I’ve been looking at the 310xt. Is this watch still a good option given how old it is?

    • Definitely a good option. Also, keep an eye on Amazon today actually. They’re doing this annual sale of sorts, and the FR910XT was dropped pretty dramatically in price earlier today (about 2 hours ago actually). It sold out, but might appear again (sometimes it does).

    • Jen

      Thanks Ray! I found the deal on Amazon, and I’m on the waitlist. Will see what happens.

    • Jen

      I got it! That was an awesome deal, and I got $20 with another coupon code I had. Now, to try it out. Thanks for the tip Ray!

  90. Uhagen

    This would probably get a prize for the least elegant solution ever but you could maybe borrow a watch from a friend (that also pairs with your hr strap), run with both and switch the second one on when the first one dies..;)

    • Jen

      Unfortunately for me, all my running friends are either running the same race I am or running a overnight relay that weekend. Thanks for the suggestion though.

  91. Fab

    Hi Ray:
    I just bough a pretty basic bike and started to use the FR 620 Ride Mode, very straightforward. Is there a way to set up a training session using ride first, run sencond and then ride back as a third activity?. I’m curretly riding my bike to the racing track, then my running session and finally ride back home. This process takes three separate sessions meaning saving three times. Would be great if at least I could join the two ride sessions into one. Thanks !!!.

    • Pieter

      Don’t think there is an option. Forerunner 620 doesn’t support multisport. You either need the Forerunner 310XT of the Forerunner 920XT to to be able to switch between sports. Also the 305 does the trick which you can easily buy secondhand. Buy the way: only the 920XT and 620 have running dynamics built in.

  92. Pieter

    After about 150 hours of running I need to replace the battery of the heart rate monitor. What a horrible design. Its absolutely impossible to open the case. Bought a special screwdriver set (which didn’t fit), borrowed several screwdriver sets of others, but no solution. Hope the local juweller has a solution.

    Seems to me this is a serious design flaw. Chances are I have to buy a new heart rate monitor. Very disappointed.

  93. Jean-Charles

    Commenting here was the minimum I could do to thank Ray for his huge work, which helped me a lot to make my choice. I finally bought a used FR620 last week (200€ with HRM, 1 year old), and I must say I did the best choice I could.

    I am only planning to use it for running. My initial choice was the white/orange, but could not find one, so I had to take the black/blue. Still, it looks quite ok. It is VERY light, and since I’m never wearing a watch, it was really important.

    I confirm as well its quickness to capture the GPS. Just a couple of seconds.

    The touch screen is really nice, and very useful to change screens while running. Even if you’re sweating! After a few minutes, you get use to the menu and simplicity of it.

    I used for a few runs the 610, and it’s not comparable. The only thing I miss somehow would be the “Back to start” because I ofter travel and like to run and get lost in the city. But this is not a big deal in the end.

    The Garmin interface is really nice also, very intuitive. I createdmy training plans on the web and pushed it to the device, no problem about it. And the nice thing is that it automatically uploads your activity when you reach home (or the office). Easy :)

    The virtual partner is nice if you want to run at a regular pace (you can change it while running).

    Easy to deactivate the GPS if you run on a trendmill. I tried it, and had quite a big difference between both of them, but not sure which one was wrong…

    Well, I thinkthe FR620 will become my best friend :)

  94. Marcello

    Hi Ray,

    quick (perhaps out-dated) question:

    I cannot seem to get my Garmin Forerunner 620 to offer me an “auto-calibrate” option with my (Garmin) foot pod. I have the latest firmware updates (v3.3) installed on the watch. I have installed, removed, re-installed the foot pod several times. I made sure that it installed while the watch was also receiving GPS signal.

    Would you know how to solve this problem?

    Thanks, Marcello (p.s. wonderfully helpful site, btw!)

  95. Les

    Hello Ray
    I am now a Permanent Fan of dcrainmaker and you do a great service giving an unbiased review of products you test. I simply consider yourself an expert. Therefore I ask a hard question:
    When I run, from time to time my watch shows constantly high HR readings, sometimes even 190+. The manual checks of my pulse and general feeling always give me “normal” 120-140 range.
    Is it something wrong with the device or with my heart?
    Have you heard about other runners sharing similar experiences?
    Is it possible that 620 is “picking/sensing” additional heart beats or AF?
    Thank you in anticipation.

  96. Ricardo Martins

    This unit is kinda ls now, 2 years now i believe…Any idea when and if a garmin 630 will be out any time soon?

  97. Ricardo Martins

    kinda old*

  98. Eric D

    Hi Ray, great info here! I had a couple quick questions (for anyone in particular).

    I know the 620 doesn’t have an altimeter / doesn’t calculate altitude based on barometer but I saw in the screen options above that one is “elevation”. Does that mean, in GPS mode, that the watch can show current elevation based on GPS mapping?

    Secondly, although I’m pretty sure it doesn’t, can the watch display altitude gained during a run? I thought I read elsewhere that this is not a function of the 620 but thought I would confirm.

    Thanks again for all the great info!

    • Yes, it shows current GPS based elevation (usually fairly close).

      I don’t believe so off-hand (ascent on the unit itself). I don’t have one handy at this very second to double-check.

    • Urtman

      I would be somewhat cautious with GPS-based elevation or ascent displayed on the watch. At least on a tricky trail I had my race strategy completely blown because my Ambit 2R strongly underreported ascent (Strava later corrected that almost perfectly btw) I kept being worried for the great hills to come.

  99. Zohar

    Hello. It was very frustrating to find out that this advanced watch doesn’t support doing virtual partner with a previous ride (it does only against the average speed). I used to work with this feature more than 10 years ago with the first Edge model of Garmin and later with the forerunner 405. How come Garmin stepped back on this one?
    My question is how can I know what models today support this feature of racing against previous rides, including position? I can’t really figure out from the Garmin specs.
    I wish I could buy a simple old Edge model but these are not available anymore.

    Thanks ,Zohar.

  100. Michael

    Great info! What are the recommendations about buying used versions of this to save a little $? I’ve seen several on eBay and Amazon sells “refurbished” versions. In both cases, it’d be possible to save about $100+ vs. a new model.

    How long should these watches and straps last? A lot of people say “I’ve only had this for one year” or “relatively light use.” Is there anything in particular to ask the seller to evaluate the risk of future failure?

    I see that Garmin offers a 1 year warranty but requires the original receipt. I doubt I’ll get that with my purchase or that Garmin will extend the warranty if my name is on it.

    So any experience buying used products? How long should this product last? Any other advice?

    This info helped a lot. I’ve been debating the FR225 vs. Polar m400 and then the FR620 vs. v800 once I decided that I wanted more advanced training functionality. I like what seems to be more customizable aspect of the v800, but am put off by having to buy another sensor to get some of the cadence/stride info that the 620 provides automatically, and the smaller size/weight of the Garmin vs. Polar. I’m still not sure. Whenever I read negative comments about the 620, I lean back towards the v800, and vice versa. When it comes down to it, the size of the v800 is probably a no-go for me considering I’d like daily use as well.

    Thaniks again!

  101. Fredrick


    Thanks for the amazing reviews. I have a quick question for you:

    I have the FR 620 and am trying to pair it to a Schwinn M Power Echelon console available on the spinners at my gym.

    I tried several times to pair it and wouldn’t work, so I went on to the ANT+ website to find compatibility and found this: link to thisisant.com

    It appears the console in question is compatible with all the older Garmin models up to the 610, but not the 620.

    Is there a work around? Shouldn’t the software in the 620 be backward compatible?

    Any suggestions would be welcome



    • Unfortunately the FR620 won’t pair to ‘gym equipment’ type machines like some of the older watches did. I’ve never gotten a great answer as to why, though I suspect the real reason is that basically nobody used the feature because those units were so few and far between (I realize it does suck when you’re one of the people impacted).

  102. Ulrich

    Hello Ray,

    your reviews are really extra-ordinary. Thank you for the great work you do here for all, I read them with great delight. I bought FR620 six month ago after reading review and I am very happy with it. Yesterday I got me the Garmin Footpod, after a couple of treadmill run in hotel gyms during business travel. As your review suggests the internal accelerometer does not do any good there. Today I did first outdoor run with footpod on (with impeccable GPS coverage). Couple of questions :
    1. Auto-Calibration : My FR user manual mentions foot pod would be auto calibrated through outdoor runs, your review suggests recent firmware has de-activated that. What is the situation? FR620 should be on latest firmware, Watch says 1.000 still after the run for calibration factor, then again the measured distance is spot on
    2. With footpod and HRM run and GPS on, how does all work? Do I get distance and pace from footpod or from GPS?
    3. Is there any reason to operate with GPS and footpod together, e.g. is pace more accurate with footpod?
    4. Google Earth as reference : pretty unrelated question. To create references on distance of my runs I draw the tracks using Google Earth on my PC. To me result looks pretty astonishing precise. Do you have any view yourself yourself on how accurate that method is?

  103. Paul

    Any experience with “USB Device not recognized” by Widows (10)? Tried resets, uninstalls, reinstalls, all to no effect. Garmin Express will not pick up my 620.
    620 is on the latest firmware.

    620 also claims to paired with my phone, but it does not show up in my Paired Devices list on my phone (Nexus 6, android 5.1)

  104. Brendon

    Thanks for the awesome reviews! I just picked up a 620 and have the Rhythm Plus. I was wondering how ‘off’ the VO2 max and recovery adviser data are when using optical HRM vs from using the HRM RUN? I just ran 13.4 miles at an average pace of 8:56 min/mile on a very flat course with an average heart rate of 139 and was reported a VO2 max of 52. I’ve never been tested for a VO2 max. I’d appreciate your insight.

  105. John Kissane

    Maybe a glitch but the UK Garmin shop is showing the 630 (& 230) today, No optical HR sensor it seems just ConnectIQ. Copied these specs from the page.

    GPS Smartwatch with Advanced Running Metrics
    Touchscreen GPS running watch with a high resolution colour display
    Advanced running dynamics¹ include ground contact time balance, stride length and vertical ratio
    Features stress score, performance condition and lactate threshold²
    Connected features³: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, live tracking, audio prompts, smart notifications and social media sharing
    Download data fields, watch faces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ™

    • ceus

      630 will be thinner and gets a bigger screen with higher resolution

      — 630 specs——–
      Physical dimensions 45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
      Display size, WxH 1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter
      Display resolution, WxH 215 x 180 pixels

      and new colors:

      midnight blue

    • Peter

      Awesome. I came to this page looking for 630 rumors and find this. If it has GLONASS support and optionally 1-second recording intervals, without an optical HR sensor built into the back, I’m sold.

  106. enzo

    I am a race-walker got a new garmin 620. two issues:
    -cadence: too high values, in the 250spm’s while i measure in the 170spm. what is wrong? why so high values?
    -calories: quite underestimated about 400Kc per hour while (my weight 136lb) i should have some 600Kc as Polar and an old garmin indicated.

    thanks if you can address these two questions by e-mail

  107. Henry Bickerstaff

    Not sure there is a previous comment on this. I lost my scale functionality when i moved from the 310 to the 920. I did find an app that used the ANT device connected to my phone and then uploads to Garmin Connect. It was less than $10.

  108. Dwayne

    There’re some product images on Garmin’s datastore for FR630
    link to static.garmincdn.com
    link to static.garmincdn.com
    link to static.garmincdn.com
    I’ve just modified image link from soft strap compatible devices list where I found FR630 and FR230 listed.

    • Urban

      Thanks for that Dwayne! Wonder if the Rain Man is busy reviewing them at this very moment? Gotta admit they look great, wonder what the difference is going to be between the 630 and the 230….can’t wait for the reviews and release dates☺Anybody got a list of the expected specs of both watches??

    • Teriemer

      I’d bet he is 😉 But of course he can’t tell us yet. But with more and more details leaking out about the new FR630, it cannot be that long to release date.

  109. Bob B

    The 630 could be tempting, but it would be hard to give up the higher end looks of my fenix 3 (specifically, stainless steel bezel and glass face) for a completely plastic watch. Hopefully Garmin will make it better all around.

  110. Danny

    With the 630 due soon in Australia i have seen the 620 selling for as low as $299au vs its $499 rrp.
    The 630 looks like it will be $560au.
    Is the 630 worth the extra $260au it will be in Australia?

  111. Kylie Sherwin

    Sorry I don’t have the time or patience to read all of the comments, but I currently have a 210 which is perfectly fine for what I need EXCEPT the battery life when using the GPS. I recently did a trail run that took me 4.5 hours and the battery only just made it, and unfortunately it only made it that far because it stopped recording my elevation (the one thing i really wanted to see after my run!). I was very disappointed to say the least.
    Your table above suggests that my watch should have gone for 10 hours! And that the 620 does too……….I’d hate to buy a new watch thinking the battery life would last a full days trail run whilst recording ALL data, only to find it doesn’t go even half the distance.
    Any updates on battery life for this watch (620)?

  112. You probably get this a lot, but I noticed some folks selling Garmin watches on eBay using photos from your reviews. With the price drop on the Garmin 620 I thought, “why not see if any eBay retailers are even lower.” This one included about 4 photos from this review. It’s funny that I recognized The Girl’s skinny arm and the made the connection. She is a famous arm model. Anyway, I wouldn’t use someone else’s photos without crediting the source, but it’s probably more flattering than malicious.

    • Yeah, it’s unfortunate. I find it’s rarely worth the trouble to track peoples/sites down unfortunately.

  113. James

    Hi DC,

    I’ve been running with my 620 for a couple of years now and love it — even though it is a little generous with VO2MAX readings and race equivalency. Anyway, I always run outdoors with it, but I’ve started using it inside on a 200m track as well. My question: Is it fairly accurate indoors and do I need to wear the HRM to enable the 620’s ability to keep pace and distance indoors (sans GPS). Thanks much! Looking forward to hearing from you.