First look at Garmin’s new FR620 & FR220 GPS running watches


Please note the final in-depth reviews are now out, and you’ll want to look at those reviews rather than this post (which was written at time of announcement on beta hardware/software).

The final Garmin FR620 In-Depth Review is now available here.  
The final Garmin FR220 In-Depth Review is now available here.

Today Garmin has announced the newest additions to their running GPS watches, the Garmin FR220 and FR620.  These watches are considered the next generation watches following the FR210 and FR610 units.  The FR620 will replace the FR610 as Garmin’s top running-specific watch.  Meanwhile, the FR220 will replace the FR210 as Garmin’s mid-range running watch.  At the budget end, they’ve got the FR10 which came out last year.  All of these units of course have GPS.

I’ve had the chance to toy with the units over the past day, enough to get some initial hands-on time – but certainly not enough to qualify this as any sort of review.  Think of it more as a look at all the new features.  The watch won’t be shipping for a bit of time (release date is officially “Fall 2013”), so obviously it’s not done yet and therefore I’m only able to talk to the beta-features as they exist today.  Once the units have final firmware I’ll look to put out a full in-depth review.  OK?  Good.

The Goods: New Features


I’ll say it upfront: I’m impressed.  I had a general idea of what major new features these units would be adding, but they ended up adding a lot of tiny little features that longtime Garmin users have been asking for.  You’ll see what I mean in a minute.  In the meantime, let me go ahead and outline the new features I found most notable:

Garmin Forerunner 620:
– Now proper 50-meter deep waterproofing
– Bluetooth Smart uploads via your phone
– Internet Livetracking during activities via your phone
– WiFi added for activity uploading and firmware updates
– USB activity downloads added
– Can configure the lap banner that displays upon new lap
– Pre-loading of satellite locations via WiFi, and USB (7 days worth)
– Includes internal accelerometer for treadmill speed/distance tracking
– Added Training Calendar support functionality
– Supports new HRM-Run HR strap for Running Dynamics
– The HRM-Run strap adds tracking of Vertical Oscillation, Ground Contact Time, Cadence  (+ usual HR)
– Addition of VO2Max calculator, Recovery Advisor, and Race Predictor

Garmin Forerunner 220:
– Now proper 50-meter deep waterproofing
– Bluetooth Smart uploads via your phone
– Internet Livetracking during activities via your phone
– Can configure the lap banner that displays upon new lap
– Pre-loading of satellite locations via USB (7 days worth)
– Includes internal accelerometer for treadmill speed/distance tracking
– Added vibrate notifications
– Ability to now separately change Distance/Elevation/Pace/Weight in any metric you want (Metric or Statute)
– Added ability to download workouts from computer to watch (used to be high-end units only)
– Added Training Calendar support functionality
– Added Run/Walk Functionality
– Added Pace Alerts (High/Low alerts)
– Complete customization of the FR220 data fields (previous was barely customizable)

Phew, ok.  Those are the major and/or most interesting ones.  There’s a ton more tiny little adds beyond that, especially in the settings area.  Far more customization – primarily on the FR220.

A look at the units:


Before I dive too far into features, let’s backup and just quickly cover the physical units themselves.  First off, each model comes in two color schemes:

FR220: Black/Red & White/Purple (both seen here)
FR620: Black/Blue & White/Orange (Black & Blue seen here)

Size-wise, the FR220 and FR620 screens are identical.  No difference.  Here they are stacked on top of each other, trying to mate:


Depth-wise, again, no difference.  The blue FR620 looks slightly thinner merely because my wrist bone is pushing the right-side up, and causing the left side to go down.  I promise, they’re the same.



How do they stack up to their older siblings – the FR610 and FR210?


Fairly similar screen sizes (display portion), and fairly similar watch face widths.  It’s the depths that you see the most difference.

As a quick update, I’ve seen a lot of questions on the color of the band, with folks believing that the bright blue/red/etc is the outside color of the band.  The outside is black, the inside is the alternate color – that’s the piece up against your skin that nobody sees. Here’s another shot showing the outside. The only bit of color anyone sees is the edging on the display of the unit.

IMG_3023 IMG_3020 IMG_3021

Next, we look at all the running-specific GPS watches on the market today that compete in this range:


(Left to right: Suunto Ambit2, Garmin Fenix, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, Polar RC3 GPS, TomTom Runner, Garmin FR610, Garmin FR620, Garmin FR220, Garmin FR210)

Here’s an additional set of photos comparing the Garmin FR10 to the FR220 that I shot during Interbike.  As you can see, the FR10 is smaller from a watch-face standpoint, but a bit thicker in the back.

IMG_2855 IMG_2857

But what’s probably the single biggest difference is simply the weight of the units.  If you’ve ever picked up the Garmin Swim watch and felt how light it is, this is in the same ballpark.  Here’s the FR620, followed by the older FR610:



Yup, that’s 44g instead of 75g.  Pretty massive difference.

Next, the FR220 followed by the older FR210:



In this case, 41g to 53g.  Not as drastic a change, but still noticeable.  Also note how much thicker the edge is on the FR210 (second watch) comparatively.

You can see this easiest looking at the two watches to the far right (FR210 is furthest right, the FR220 is second to right).


Now, these units did both receive new connectors unfortunately.  Because apparently the world needed another connector type:


Above: The FR620 is shown at left, and the FR220 shown at right.  The FR220 connector sorta looks like the Garmin Fenix connector.  But upon closer inspection you’ll see it’s slightly different (below).  The black one is the Garmin Fenix, whereas the white one is the FR220.


This makes the FR220 clip-on and lock in place.  Whereas the FR620 has a magnetic backing internal to it that locks the connector in place.  I did determine accidentally that you can actually make the FR220 adapter charge and download the FR620 unit in a pinch (look, it was still early in the morning…).  It’s not pretty, but it does work.

Lastly, as noted earlier on, the units are waterproofed to 50-meters.  This was perhaps my biggest pet peeve about older Garmin running watches, they were barely waterproofed to be shower-friendly and certainly not suitable for swimming.  Garmin has confirmed that you’re more than welcome to swim all day long with these watches.  They won’t track strokes or distance in the water, but they will come out alive and well.  And in case you’re curious – I do plan to test this piece specifically as part of my in-depth review.

Connectivity Changes: Bluetooth Smart, WiFi and USB differences

Bluetooth Smart: FR220 & FR620

First out of the gate we’ve got the addition of Bluetooth Smart to both the FR620 and the FR220.  This enables you to pair it with your phone and transfer planned workouts, completed activities, as well as provide live tracking of your run to your clan of friendly internet stalkers (via Facebook/Twitter/E-Mail/etc…).


Currently the feature is only on iOS devices starting with the iPhone 4s and above.  Though, I suppose you could pair it to the iPad and run with that too.

They do plan to bring it to Android, but the current Bluetooth Smart state on Android is a complete mess.  While many devices physically have Bluetooth 4.0 chipsets, only two devices have adopted the standards specification that was reached back this summer.  Garmin is looking for a bit more widespread adoption there before they re-focus on the Android app side.  Though they emphasized quite a bit that it pains them to not be there yet due to the hardware situation (a pain I hear from multiple companies in the market).


Note that while it does have a Bluetooth Smart chip in there, it’s not configured as a master to pair to Bluetooth Smart sensors such as Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence sensors or Bluetooth Smart heart rate straps.  That’s not in this deck of cards.  ANT+ is the direction for that.

WiFi: FR620 only


Next we’ve got the addition of WiFi to the FR620.  The WiFi connection is initially setup via a new application called “Garmin Express Fit”, which you install on your Mac/PC to setup your WiFi networks.  This software is really more of a one-time thing than an ongoing software that you’ll use.  You can pair to more than one wireless network – allowing you to (for example), add your home and work WiFi networks.

After configuring your WiFi network the FR620 will utilize that for not only publishing completed activities to Garmin Connect, but also grabbing new firmware updates.

In the case of firmware updates the user will be prompted if they want to accept the firmware update.

Satellite Pre-loading: FR220 & FR620


The FR220 and FR620 are the first Garmin fitness units to support satellite pre-population.  This means that satellite coverage maps are pre-populated for the next 7 days, allowing your unit to quickly find its friend in the sky.  You saw the power of this recently with the TomTom units, and how quickly it got satellite even after I flew 5,000 miles away to the middle of China and powered it up in that location for the first time.  Mere seconds.

The FR620 will download this information via WiFi or USB anytime you upload a completed workout.  Meanwhile, the FR220 will do the same via USB upon uploading a new workout.  The cache is good globally (not specific to your hometown), and has 7 days worth of data in it.  Every time you synchronize the watch it extends that date.

If implemented like the TomTom unit, this will greatly minimizing standing outside waiting for signal.

USB Changes: FR620 changes to be like FR220

Last but not least we have a subtle but important change for the FR620: It’s no longer using ANT+ to transfer your data to your computer.  Now, it simply uses USB instead (in the event you couldn’t use WiFi or Bluetooth Smart to upload activities).

In talking with Garmin about this, they said noted that they’d much prefer to use ANT+ for what it’s best for (small packets of sensor data), rather than trying to force larger and larger file transfers via it (not as ideal).

I agree with this.  The single biggest complaint I hear from readers on the devices that use the ANT Agent software is stuck workouts.  This simply eliminates that issue and makes it like the FR10/FR110/FR210 and all the Garmin Edge devices.  Looks just like a USB mass storage device and can be plugged into about any computer on the planet.


With that, let’s talk about features.

The new stuff: Running Dynamics Metrics, VO2Max, Recovery Advisor & Race Estimator


Full Section Applicable to FR620 only

The FR620 is compatible with a new heart rate strap that’s also being introduced at the same time – the HRM-Run.  The HRM-Run looks identical to the existing HRM3 heart rate (HR) strap that came out this past spring.  The only difference being that it contains a 3D accelerometer inside of it (and, they’ve stuck a little running-man icon on the outside of it).

With the accelerometer they’re now tracking three new metrics in conjunction with the FR620, they are:

Cadence: Total steps per minute – this has previously been available on the footpod, but this brings it internal to the HR strap
Vertical Oscillation: This is measuring the ‘bounce’ in a runners torso within each step. This is vertical motion, measured in centimeters.
Ground Contact Time: How much time your foot spends touching the ground, measured in milliseconds

These data fields are available to be added to the Garmin FR620 pages, but, they also can be added as an entirely new separate data page as well – complete with color graphs like a dashboard:


Because I didn’t have the HRM-Run yet, I wasn’t able to test out this functionality in action.  Instead however I got them to send me two Garmin Connect screenshots showing the data from one of the team members’ recent runs.

The first run shows an interval workout on a track.  He did 2x(10x200m).  You can see the 10x200m, then a recovery, then the second set.  The cadence numbers aren’t terribly different from what you’ve seen previously with a footpod (though now expressed as total footsteps rather than just half that value with left/right-only).  In this case however it’s measured via chest strap.  The Vertical Oscillation and Ground Contact numbers are totally new here though.

GC 620 a

The next file sent shows a relatively steady-state run.  He noted that he’s seen that while running with this that his numbers ‘improve’ over the course of the run after about a 25 minute warm-up (cadence & ground contact time specifically).  You can see this below where things take a bit of time to stabilize.

GC 620

Of course the bigger question is how to use this information and how to train by it.  No doubt there are plenty of drills that can drive habits in some of these areas, but it may take a while before definitive statements can be made across the board on how best to capitalize on these metrics.  Again, this is similar to left/right balance in cycling not being the black and white issue that some folks believe it to be.

VO2Max Estimator: FR620 Only


The FR620 adds the ability to determine your VO2Max based on your heart rate during activity.  The unit needs 10 minutes of running to determine your Vo2Max.

Garmin is leveraging FirstBeat’s algorithms here for much of this and the next section.  Garmin has previously utilized Firstbeats algorithms in virtually all products made in the last few years to generate calorie metrics.  In this case of the VO2Max estimator, the FR620 is using Heart Rate Variability + Heart Rate + Speed + Distance, all combined together into an algorithm to determine your VO2Max.

What’s interesting here is that Garmin has actually been doing much of this below the hood in most of the watches for some time now, it was just never exposed to the end user.  Now, this number is being exposed to the end user, and will also transfer to Garmin Connect as well.

This doesn’t require the HR-Run HR strap, just any ANT+ HR strap that supports the recording of the heart beat interbeats (what happens between the HR beats, called the RR or HR variability) within it.  Note that all current Garmin straps do.

Note: The HRM-Run strap will be the included in the ‘bundled’ FR620 version, which is $50 more than the non-HR strap version (so $449 instead of $399). If you buy it later it’s $89US.

Race Predictor: FR620 Only

The FR620 Race Predictor is relatively straightforward.  In this case it’s simply taking the VO2Max max number and in turn dumping that into estimation tables for given standard running distances (i.e. 10KM/Marathon/etc…).  They’re using publicly sourced tables to map VO2Max to a theoretical best race you could run.

In other words, this is really more of a ‘best case scenario’ than an actual performance estimate based on your recent runs.  Meaning that if I’ve only been running 10-miles at a 8:00/mile pace, no matter what my VO2Max says, it’s not going to get me to a 6:35/mile pace for a marathon at 26.2 miles.

Recovery Advisor: FR620 Only


Lastly we’ve got recovery advisor.  This is again looking at some of the Firstbeat work done above in concert with things like Training Effect to help provide an estimate for how long it will take to recover from your last workout, until your next workout.  And of course, this too requires a HR strap (though again, not the HRM-Run).

I’ll have more details on this as I near closer to the in-depth review.

The new stuff: Training Plans, Workouts, PR’s & Customizations:

Training Plans & Calendar: FR620 & FR220


Both units now support the training calendar/plan concept.  On Garmin Connect you can grab free pre-built plans for a variety of race distances (running up to a marathon, triathlon up to Olympic, and cycling up to century) and abilities:


Then, these are added to your Garmin Connect calendar:


From there, these can be synchronized to either of the units and the workouts will automatically appear on the correct day.  Thus, if you had a long run scheduled for Monday, when Monday came around, it’d show that workout being on your unit.


You don’t have to use the pre-canned training calendar, as in fact any structured workout that’s on your upcoming calendar is synchronized to the units.  Speaking of “workouts”, let’s move into the next section.

Workouts: FR620 & FR220

A workout is any structured workout.  For example, here’s my Monday night hill repeat workout that I’ve created using the workout creator on Garmin Connect:


I can then transfer these workouts to both the FR620 and FR220.  The new piece here is the FR220 accepting the workout.  Previously only the higher end watches did that.


Workouts then appear within the workout section on the watches:


From there you can view the workout steps, or have it guide you through the workouts.

The same concept works for intervals – on both the FR220 and FR620.  Both watches have an on-unit interval creator that allows you to quickly spit out an interval workout.


PR’s: FR620 & FR220


Next is the addition of PR’s.  These are little notifications that you’ve hit a goal or a new personal record (like a personal best).  These are synchronized to Garmin Connect and the data from your online account will automatically be populated into the watch.  PR’s are both pace based as well as distance based.

Lap Banner Customization: FR620 & FR220


Both units get the ability to customize the display screen when you press the lap button (or auto lap is triggered).  The idea here being that if you want to show different summary metrics for that lap, you can change what’s displayed.  This has been a request I’ve heard a number of times from many people.

This function wasn’t yet implemented in the units I had, so I don’t have too much more detail here.

More customization for the FR220:

The FR610 (as well as the FR620) has always had plenty of customization of data fields, but the FR210 previously was a bit restricted in what you could display and how you could display it.  With the FR220 though it’s more or less a free for all.  This may sound minor, but it’s actually kinda a big deal.

The FR220 has two data pages (screens), each allowing up to three data fields to be displayed on them:



In addition, you get a 3rd optional page that’s just HR-specific, including your current HR and your HR Zone:



Finally, you get a 4th optional page with the clock that you can turn on or off.

Here’s all the FR220 data fields.  You can mix and match these however you’d like:


And, for clarity, here’s all the current FR620 data fields:


With the FR620 you get four data pages, each with up to four data fields per page.  You also get the Virtual Partner page, as well as the Running Dynamics page (both optional).  The time (date/day/etc…) can be accessed at any time by simply pressing the bottom left button, and then press it again to get rid of it.  It otherwise doesn’t show up in your normal rotation.

Note: It’s also possible that given these fields are beta, things my shake out a bit there.

Finally, lacking anywhere else to note this, you can change the theme color for both the FR620 and FR220.  There’s a bunch of colors available:


The old stuff: Running with it:

I realize that I’m mostly focusing on all the ‘new things’, assuming to some degree that you know how the basics of a GPS watch works.  So in this brief section I’ll explain a few things that new readers may find useful.  Folks who’ve been around the block a few times (aka stood outside waving their arms in the air for satellite coverage) can likely skip this section.

To start the run you’ll simply tap the upper right runner man icon.  You tap it once to wakeup the watch, and then again to imply that it wasn’t just an accidental thing.  This applies to both the FR620 and FR220, and should cut down on accidental swipe unlocks.



Once that’s done, the unit will find satellite coverage.  In my case that literally only took a couple of seconds at most.  Though, the units had been turned on in the area previously – so I didn’t really get a chance to see how the satellite pre-population worked.  Satellite coverage is displayed along the left of the unit – those bars leading to the top:


I’ll simply tap the upper right button to start things and get on running.

As I run, my pace/distance and other metrics are displayed on the unit.  In the case below, I’ve added four data fields to the data page:


But I could have just as easily had one or two data fields per page.  And the fields displayed are totally customizable.  To change displays on the FR620 you’ll just tap the touch screen.  The touch screen will automatically iterate to the next page (you can also setup auto scroll on both units).  In fact, that’s a good point in general that I probably haven’t covered yet.  The FR620 has a touch screen like the FR610, whereas the FR220 uses buttons like the FR210.  The FR620 also has buttons for common operations like start/stop, clock access, uploading, and the light.  You can also enable a touch screen lock too.  Like the FR620, the touch screen works just fine with gloves/sweat/rain/etc…

On the FR220 you’ll press the up/down buttons on the unit to change screens:



You can see above the optional heart-rate page displayed on the FR220.

You can manually trigger a lap by pressing the bottom right button on either watch.  Alternatively, you can utilize auto lap as well to preset laps at prescribed distances (i.e. every mile or every kilometer).

Within the run/walk mode (new to the FR220), you’ll get a notification that it’s now time to start the walking segment (or running, if applicable).


Meanwhile, it’ll then also display a count-down of how much time is left in that segment (2m 8s below until I walk again).  This is considered an additional data page:


Upon completion of your run, it’ll give you an overview of the activity.  If you had a phone paired to it, or were within WiFi range, it would automatically upload to Garmin Connect.  If neither of those are true, then you can plug it in via USB and upload that way.


Once online, you’ll get the usual Garmin Connect page of your activity:


This includes things like heart rate data and paces:


Like all Garmin devices these days, the data is stored in a .FIT file, which is compatible with virtually all training log sites out there.  For example, I had no problems uploading the file to Strava.

Finally, of note is that both units have the same identical backlight – so if you’re running at night you can easily see the screens.  The backlight can be configured to stay on for a short period of time, or just stay on permanently.


What didn’t make the cut, or got pushed:


Now, that’s not to say that everything that was in the previous FR610 made it into the FR620.  There were some things that aren’t there going forward.  I’ll point out that I don’t believe there’s anything not in the FR220 that was in the FR210.

The following didn’t make the grade:

– ANT+ weight scale support
– ANT+ fitness equipment support (gyms primarily)
– Support for New Leaf VO2Max calorie burn Profiles (the company went out of business, sold to Lifetime Fitness)

As much as it pains me to see those cut (primarily the scale feature) – I’m also realistic.  There’s just not that many users out there of those features.  The ANT+ scales haven’t kept up with the WiFi scales from a features standpoint (I wouldn’t recommend buying an ANT+ scale over a WiFi scale these days).  And the ANT+ fitness equipment while in some of the Lifetime Fitness gym’s, simply isn’t widespread.

Lastly in the ‘got cut’ section we’ve got the New Leaf Profiles (here’s how that worked).  Given that company went under then a portion of the assets was subsequently sold to Lifetime Fitness, I can see why Garmin made this choice.  Even in it’s heyday, the service was so rarely used that almost nobody knew about.  The final nail in the coffin is really the addition of the VO2Max piece into the unit itself, done by Firstbeat somewhat replaces that (I say somewhat, though obviously not fully).

Next we’ve got features that haven’t made the cut for the first firmware release, but are tentatively planned down the road (tentatively in that it could change).

– Addition back of FR620 cycling-specific mode
– Supporting the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor
– Virtual Racer functionality

These won’t be there out of the gate, but the plan is to get them added.  I see this as a ‘must have’ – simply because while you can change the display metric from pace to speed (i.e. 20MPH), it doesn’t mark it as a ‘bike ride’ – rather keeping it instead as a run.  This in turn means that any bike rides you take will trigger your PR’s/Records to all be really fast runs.

The Virtual Racer piece allowed you to race against past efforts.  Garmin explained that they’re re-thinking how that’s executed and plan to re-add it in a later firmware update (though no timelines specified).

Next, we look at navigation.  A lot of folks have asked for navigation type features in the previous FR610 – stuff such as following a course (routing), or point to point waypoints.  None of those are on the docket for the FR620.  There is the potential for some work around the compass – but that’s still being looked at.  There is not a magnetic compass inside, though there is a 3D accelerometer. Neither is there a barometric altimeter.  Really, for navigation the Fenix is the better bet here.

Overall here you see a lot of fluidity in the state of things, especially for the FR620.  The simple reality here is that the unit is still very much in beta, and thus like any beta product there’s a lot of work still to be done prior to final release.  Further, some of the features that might have made the cut had this been a post-holiday release didn’t make it in an effort to get it out prior to the holidays.  Though, technically “fall” ends on December 21st this year.

Comparison Tables:

Before we wrap things up I’ve put together the comparison charts of all the features of the FR620 and FR220, compared to the older FR210 and FR610.  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 April 9th, 2021 @ 10:21 am New 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
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 Smart 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 live 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
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)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+ Lighting ControlNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)No
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNo
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
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
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.



Now, again, I want to point out this isn’t a review of either watch.  It’s a first look at a unit that was very-much beta.  It wasn’t perfect, like every other beta device I test from every other company on the planet there were beta-bugs present, and there were new and old features that simply weren’t yet implemented in the watch software I was using.  The FR220 is much further along than the FR620.  Beyond that, I’ll evaluate both units upon final (or near-final) firmware once that happens, as part of a full and usual in-depth review.

With that said – I’m pretty excited about both watches, yet for slightly different reasons.

On the FR620, I LOVE the WiFi addition, and the fact that ‘stuff just happens’ when it comes to uploads and firmware updates.  Same goes for the automatic satellite location downloads and caching for 7 days – all via WiFi.  Also on the FR620, I’m interested to see how the Running Dynamics shakes out with the HRM-RUN.  Like left/right balance for power meters, I think there’s a lot we think we know, but far more we don’t actually know.  So I’m interested in seeing what researches and the like get out of that.


On the FR220 side, I’m excited about the fact that a crapton of features got moved from higher-end watches to this watch at half the price of higher end watches.  Specifically downloading complex workouts and training plan support, complete customization of the data fields, and a lot more customization of the watch on the whole.

And looking at both units, the addition of Bluetooth Smart pairing to your phone is solid for Livetracking.  No, it’s not cellular 3G in the units – you do have to carry along your cell somehow.  I was pretty hard on Garmin for not including that in the new Edge 510/810 last year (and I’m still not happy about that).  But, in this case I think they find a good balance of weight and additional chipsets.

As we look to future products, I’m really hoping they steer that way (3G) though.  Note that don’t expect a FR910XT replacement in the immediate future however.  We’d be talking a ‘next spring at best‘ announcement type scenario (meaning, it may not happen at all next season).  Given the competitive market today, there’s actually little reason for Garmin to rush out there in that arena with a new unit.  Further, the FR910xt is really only about 18 or so months old.  While it was announced in Oct 2011, it wasn’t actually available until the Jan-Apr 2012 timeframes.  Garmin typically does a minimum 2-year release cycle.  Just wanted to briefly cover that since lots of folks are asking.

With that, as always if you’ve got any questions feel free to drop them below in the comments and I’ll attempt to get the answers.

Thanks for reading!

Update: Ordering information

Just as a heads up, you can now order the FR620 and FR220 via Clever Training – which in turn helps support the site. As most of you know, I’ve partnered with Clever Training to provide DCR Readers with an exclusive 10% off coupon (DCR10BTF), good for anything you put in your cart. Plus free US shipping over $75.  The relevant links are:

Garmin FR220 (All Packages/Colors)
Garmin FR620 (All Packages/Colors)
Garmin HRM-Run HR Strap (requires FR620 to take full advantage of)

Thanks for the support!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):

After 746 comments I’ve decided it’s probably time for an FAQ, so here’s a first cut at it.

Q: When will you be releasing your in-depth review?
A: Once Garmin notifies me that the firmware is final, and delivers that firmware to me.  Then there’s a short period where I’ll retest everything to validate things haven’t broken/changed.
Updated: The FR620 review will be published on Monday, November 4th.  The FR220 review will be published on either Tuesday (Nov 5th) or Weds (Nov 6th).  Thanks!

Q: When will the Garmin FR220/FR620 be released?
A: Garmin has stated “Fall of 2013”, which officially ends on December 21st, 2013.  They have not provided guidance beyond that.
[Updated]: As of Oct 31st, Garmin has made a small number of units available for purchase at the NYC Marathon.  Retailers will start shipping out units on Monday, November 4th, in small batches (very small batches).  The unit is heavily back-ordered – more so than any other Garmin product in history.

Q: It’s X date and why hasn’t the FR220/FR620 shipped from my the retailer I ordered it from yet?
A: Is it after December 21st?  If not, then it’s not yet delayed.  Retailers put in estimated dates provided to them by their distributors (because if they don’t, then consumers get upset).  Those distributors get those dates from companies, in this case, Garmin.  Specifically, they get them from the distributor/retailers sales rep.  The answers that you’ll get will vary depending on how confident that person is, and that’s the date they give to the retailer, who in turn adds a bit of padding and gives it to you.

Q: When will Garmin add bike mode support to the FR620?
A: If and when they decide to do it (they haven’t committed to that), it would be after initial release.  That could be a week later, January, or April…or never.  Further, that doesn’t mean they’re going to add ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor support (like the FR610 had).

Q: Has Garmin decided to release an all black/gray version yet?
A: No, they haven’t.

Q: What do you recommend, the FR210 or the FR220?  Do you recommend waiting?
A: Yes, I do recommend waiting at this point.  The jump between the two devices from a interface and functionality standpoint is significant.  Obviously, there’s a cost jump too – so you’ll need to balance that against the features in the comparison table above.

Q: Does the FR220/FR620 need a footpod for indoor/treadmill use?
A: No, it has a built-in accelerometer which automatically tracks pace/distance/cadence – and displays/records all those values.

Q: But how accurate is that method?
A: Other units have done this successfully (Bryton Cardio 60, TomTom Runner/Multisport, etc…), but it’ll be part of my full in-depth review to show comparisons with traditional sensor data on the same run.

Q: Will the HRM-Run work with other Garmin devices, will they update the Garmin FR910XT?
A: At present, it only works with the FR620.  (All other units will just see it as a regular Ant+ HR strap without any of the new features)  I suspect over time we’ll see that expand to both other products as well as other uses.

Q: Does the FR220 have a Virtual Partner?
A: No, it has Pace Alerts – which is similar to what the FR10 has.  Pace Alerts on the FR220 are configured so that you set a high value (i.e. 7:30/mile), and then a low value (i.e. 7:00/mile).  It beeps at you if you go outside that threshold.  Note that you can set either the high or low thresholds – or both (to bracket in your pace).  This is different from Virtual Partner in that Virtual Partner you specify a goal pace – and then it alerts you when your overall pace against that virtual partner has fallen ahead/behind, showing you time and distance ahead/behind.  The FR220 simply tells you that you’re off (current) pace.

Q: Are the manuals available for download?
A: Yes!  Here’s the two links: Garmin FR620 manual. Garmin FR220 manual.

(FAQ’s updated as of November 1st, 2013 at 4PM Eastern)


  1. James

    930xt next?

    • Don’t expect a FR910XT replacement anytime soon. We’d be talking a ‘next spring at best’ type scenario. Given the competitive market today, there’s actually little reason for Garmin to rush out there in that arena. Further, the watch is really only about 18 or so months old. While it was announced in Oct 2011, it wasn’t actually available until the Jan-Apr 2012 timeframes.

    • bob

      will this be backwards compatible with older ant+ hrm

    • Yes, it works just fine with any ANT+ HR strap.

    • Shane

      Don’t know if anyone is interested but I went down to REI last night to ask about a pre-order. While they were not allowing them – he did say that they were due in at the warehouse on Oct 1.

      I don’t know what that means for store availability, but I’m excited!

    • It won’t be there by October 1st. ;)

      However, by Halloween, it sounds like it from my conversations today with the product team – I’m much more confident in that timeframe than I was this past weekend.

    • I got in touch with product support and got naffed off with this response, but I suppose they’re kept in the dark to avoid any leaks:

      Dear Adam ******,

      Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.

      I will be happy to assist you with your enquiry. At this stage we have no firm release date other than the 4th quarter of the year, so should be within the next few months. Regrettably until there is a further announcement made for the actual date we wouldn’t; have any further information ourselves.

      If there is anything else I can help you with then please let me know. Alternatively you can search for a solution here: link to garmin.co.uk

      Kind regards,

      Garmin Europe

    • Yeah, you won’t get anything other than an official response there.

      I’ve been told pretty clearly if it doesn’t hit by roughly the end of October, heads will roll.

    • Clay Angelly

      Great preview, thanks!

      Do you know if these will integrate with GymPact? I’m a long-time RunKeeper user and the GymPact integration is important. This is the first watch that has my interest.

    • Kinda-sorta-not-really.

      GymPact doesn’t permit external services other than RunKeeper as ‘counting’. So you can’t directly connect a device to GymPact.

      However, you can sorta get around that. You can sync activities from Garmin Connect to RunKeeper using CopyMySports.com, then from there RunKeeper can Sync with GymPact. Which, allows magic to happen.

      Details here: link to facebook.com

    • Santiago Velez Martinez

      Hi, I have always used my foot pod for mesuring accurately my pace on my 610. Do you believe the built in accelerometor on the unit and the HRM- RUN monitor are going to replace the accuracy the foot pod gave me?

    • Nigeria Forde

      Hi! I am new to Garmin and I’m not sure if I understand….Both the 220 and 620 have an accelerator but only the 620 require the HRM run? So, does the basic HRM premium work with the 220? I was told the accelerator was in the HRM….Any answers would be helpful. Thanks

    • Both have accelerometers in them for measuring pace/distance/cadence while indoors (or outside if you want). Neither unit requires the HRM-Run.

      The FR620 however can use the HRM-Run to get additional Running Dynamics metrics described in the Running Dynamics section above. The FR220 can use the standard HR portion of the HRM-Run, but will not see the additional Running Dynamics metrics.

    • Nigeria Forde

      Another question: Since it seems both watches will do what I want (track distance when in-doors), I am having a hard time trying to figure out which model will suit me best. I am not a marathon runner (by far) however, I do run 3-4 days a week and would like to prepare for a half marathon. I love technology and can easily get caught in the “buy the best” trap. That being said – is the V02 Max, and information regarding recovery important for someone on my level or is that for someone more experienced and sophisticated? I can only hope to improve but I’m trying to be sensible as well.

    • Nate T

      Might have missed it in the 700+ comments, but did garmin give you any info on if they are planning an overhaul of the Garmin Connect iOS app prior to the release of these watches? If so, anything interesting planned?

    • Jay Rafisura

      Will the FR620 fully work in the Philippines and other countries? What map is the watch pre-loaded with? Thank you.

  2. Andrew

    Wow, I’m very excited about the 620. I enjoy my 610, but Ant+ uploads have annoyed me to no end. The 620 looks like the running watch to beat. You mention 10 hours battery life (not final), but how about standby time when in watch mode? Also 30 days? Considering that wifi may reduce this.

  3. Dom

    These look really, really nice. Couple of questions:
    How robust is the strap attachment? My 310’s pins used to fall out, and I’ve heard of people having trouble with the 610 as well.
    Is there a raised lip on the case around the screen, to help protect it from drops/whacks?

    • The pins are much better than the FR610. They use a similar style as the Garmin Fenix, which is kinda a beast in that area, they screw in and lock into each other. You can see them in the comparison photo showing both watches sitting on top of each other (search in the page for ‘mating’).

  4. Zack

    Awesome overview. Some of those features look awesome, some just fluff (so, the usual for any fitness product). Was just considering putting in an order for a 910xt; any idea if it’s worth waiting to see what’s due to follow that, or is it most likely a next-spring-at-best?

  5. David F

    Wow didn’t realize these were due for refresh already. Is a refresh for the 910 to be expected soon-ish?

  6. Jim


    In the comparison chart you list the FR 220 as having WiFi data transfer. Is that a mistake? I thought only the FR 620 was getting that.

  7. Dominik J.

    REALLY impressed by what garmin did here! especially the FR220 now seems to be very compelling with its “fully” customizable display fields – very nice!
    for me, its still sad to see a navigation focussed company like garmin, not to include more navigation features into its sports watches (apart from the fenix – which is no good classic endurance watch…). hope to see more effort here!

  8. Kjell-Tore

    I would really like to see them implement the following on the 620:
    ANT+ scale compatibility, as I love that feature on my 610
    Full functionality for bicycle as on the 610, I would also like power meter compatibility to be added, which I am already missing on the 610.
    Multi sport, quick sport change of sport during one training session.
    GPS,navigate back to start (saved me once during a ski trip, after the dark had set in..)
    Ant+ Footpod

  9. Lawrence

    I literally just bought a 210 about 2 weeks ago… Really hope I haven’t passed the return period because I’ll wait for that 220! Something told me to wait, but that’s not really an option when I get excited about new tech.

  10. Roger

    Since the Garmin Connect app now supports these devices via bluetooth smart, I wonder if they will finally add the Fenix as well? Any thoughts?

  11. daniel

    At least good to see some evolution at Garmin.

    I will keep my foots silent for next years 910XT upgrade.

  12. jeff

    Thankyou Rainmaker. Will wait for the 220. Is the face glass or polly ?.. i also have the same question that i had for the 610.. will it auto backlite on auto-lap like the fr10 does… maybe we will have to wait and see…?

  13. Leg

    Any piece of news about compatibility with Tempe sensor?

  14. Jason B

    Very interesting on the running front! Great to see more features in the 220 as well, especially live tracking (although I never run with my phone).

    One thing to edit in the post: You don’t have the Polar watch in your side-by-side comparison list: “(Left to right: Suunto Ambit2, Garmin Fenix, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, TomTom Runner, Garmin FR610, Garmin FR620, Garmin FR220, Garmin FR210)”

    Will be very interested to see your take on the HRM-RUN as well.

  15. Antonio

    Equipped with a barometric sensor?

  16. simon

    shame to see they’ve dropped support for the Tanita scales – because the ant+ data stream is encyrpted it means the scales are pretty much useless without using a garmin to read it

  17. Helena

    Wow, if this is a preview I’m not sure what I can expect from the review. Thanks for the detailed writeup!
    This looks like a great device, I’m especially enthusiastic about the Wifi, and I really like the looks. I wish battery life was better though. I currently have a 310XT, which I bought solely because of the battery life because I don’t really do multisport at all. The battery really is great though, and I love it for that, but if I could have a nicer looking watch that could also work as a day-to-day watch I would definitely switch.

  18. Bryan

    Great review. Makes me want to delay getting my wife her new watch

  19. Do either the 220 or 620 have vibration-only (time) alarms by chance?

  20. There are two issues I have had with the 610 which I have owned since the original release. 1) The charging issues. I have dealt with the “backward” charging off and on and with several things that helped but never finally solved the issue. 2) The strap issues with the strap flying off during run . Garmin always sent replacement pins etc but that was also an ongoing issue. Garmin replaced my 610 twice over the years and I also ended up purchasing a 310XT which I use as backup just in case the charging issue crops up again. It is my hope the 620 solves both issues as the initial look makes me really want it!! :)

  21. Mathieu

    I’m thinking about replacing my Forerunner 305 with a 910XT. I want to go swimming (mostly indoor) and the 305 does not measure this, as you obviously know.

    With the expectation that there will not be a 920 version soon, I’m in doubt what to do because of these new products.

    What would you recommend in my position. I’m not a professional athlete but more a sporting geek that loves to measure my workouts. Over the year I do running, cycling and I want to start swimming.
    So my options are:
    – 910xt
    – This 620/220 and a separate garmin swim.

    I’ve read your 2013 gadget list and I was considering to order the 910xt. Thanks in advance for your answer!

    • Harrison

      I’m in a rather similar position in a sense that I want to start tracking swims and I need a backup running watch soon. I think for the money, the 910xt is a great watch. Having more gadgets is always cool, and would provide more in-depth data, but the 910xt would fulfill both of your requirements.

    • Rhada

      Exact same situation for me. But for me it’s the decision between getting a seperate Garmin Swim and staying with my 305 for running and cycling purposes or getting the all-in-one 910xt.
      I don’t see the point in getting a new 620/220 if you aim for swim tracking. Last option would be waiting for a 920… but who knows how long that will take (not to mention the price they will be calling for it)

    • Ryan

      I agree. I have been getting by with my 310XT but was hoping to upgrade to a new multi-sport (or at least bike-run) watch before I do IRONMAN FL on November 2, 2013. Without a longer battery life, I don’t think the 620 is enough for me to bite just yet.

  22. Anthony

    Hi Ray

    Does the internal accelerometer on the 620 mean that it will work on a treadmill, without a separate footpod?
    Also, would you expect a new version of the FR70 to be released soon?


    • That’s correct, no footpod required for treadmill use.

      I wouldn’t expect a successor to the FR70 to be released, period. At this point they’ve got the FR10 at that roughly $100 price point, then the FR220 at the mid-range price point (~$200-$250), and then the FR620 at the high end ($400).

      The FR60/70 while cool in their days with more customization, are now pretty much eclipsed by the FR10. Most folks bought the FR60/70 because that was the cheapest Garmin option, not generally because they didn’t specifically want GPS.

    • Ray I’m interested to see how the internal accelerometer does. Maybe I’m paranoid but I just feel like that wouldn’t be reliable compared to the footpod. Have you had any experience with this yet? If you could actually thinking about that for the review that would be great.

    • It’s an area I’ll be looking at pretty closely in my review.

    • It makes me sad that there will not be an FR80. It’s more than just “not needing GPS” The advantages to the FR60/70 are:
      Instant speed info.
      No need to charge- my batteries last 9-10 months!
      Wireless download to computer.
      Distance and speed information no matter where you are or what the weather.
      Virtual Partner, Interval Training, Multiple customizable pages for around $100. The $100 FR10 is very stripped down and lacks many of the FR60/70 features.
      I prefer the footpod to my husband’s 305 GPS, finding it more accurate after calibration. If only Garmin made a watch that allowed me to use the footpod or accelerometer for speed and distance while still tracking my run with GPS, then I might be interested. Of course, there is still the whole battery problem.
      nah! I’ll just buy a backup FR70 and continue enjoying my runs!

    • Shane

      Can I just add my backing to what June has said? I am passionate about my footpod. GPS just really doesn’t do it for me. I do a lot of track running in the summer and the GPS has never accurately measured my speed during a race, whereas the footpod is easy to calibrate and is pretty darn close to what I can see on video. When I need to review a race after the fact, GPS is less than useless (wow, I went in a big circle.. except the GPS has teleported me from lane 3 to 7 and back… what a drunk runner I must look). The footpod, on the other hand, shows my accel curves, shows when I picked up in the back stretch, shows when I went for it too early – all of that.

      I am sure I am a niche market – but all of the other guys with watches … have a footpod.

    • Again, just to clarify, on the FR220/FR620 – the footpod support isn’t going anywhere – it’s still there. You can still turn-off GPS and use that instead.

      Obviously, that’s different that the pieces of the comments above about the FR60/FR70, but just wanted to ensure everyone is on the same page.

  23. Luís Sousa

    This seems to be a nice update, it’s nice to see Garmin incorporating livetracking and wifi to it’s FR live. I’ve also played a little with Tomtom multisport this past weekend and I really liked it, quite slim and stylish, but it really needs interval training.

    I’ll start doing some triathlons next year, and I’ll buy a GPS watch in a couple of months, and I find it impressive that FR310XT from 2009 is still one of the best watches for this price/features considered. I was expecting that Garmin had a replacement by now, something below the 910.

    By the way, as a gadget lover and a runner/cyclist, I find your site to be the very best, keep it up Ray!

  24. Gunnar

    My first thoughts and likes are the USB upload. Yes, WiFi is great and when the Bluetooth upload comes to Android that will be fantastic. But the simple USB connection and seeing the watch as a mass storage device makes it very easy to use phones or tablets to get Data to Strava, Garmin Connect etc.

    My other like (and Ray’s dislike) IS the new charging cable. A secure charging cradle similar to the Fenix makes it much easier to attach the watch to a spare battery while going for extended runs (and using a Camelback or similar) and not have the cable come loose.

    I’m really liking the direction Garmin is headed with this watch.

  25. Patrick Dalton

    Great post.

    Will the 220 push a complete activity to garmin connect via bluetooth, or is it only for the live updates?

    • A completed activity. So you could leave your phone in your car, go for a run, then come back and sync with your phone via Bluetooth Smart and it’d end up on Garmin Connect.

      (P.S – Then you could extend that and use various 3rd party services to then sync that data automatically to places like Strava. GarminSync does that.)

  26. Jerc

    Does the 220 have gps based altimeter like the RC3?

  27. Stefan

    I must admit, Garmin learned from the failed attempt to offer “courses” on their newer watches. On the 405/410 it was OK/usable. On the 910XT it is crap/pure crap
    On the 620 they’ll not even try to include “courses” :-D

    • Tonny

      Which is sad, as the courses functionality of the 405 is good…

    • rosko

      yes Tonny, no course feature is a huge disappointment to me, my 405 isn’t great but it certainly a help in an ultra marathon. The 610 obviously is not geared towards ultra running which is a shame as i would still benefit from the training features it has. Currently there is no watch that really suites this need & i can’t afford 2.

  28. Mathijs

    nice watch, thanks for the first look.

  29. Harrison

    I run at the collegiate level, but I dabble in cycling (my favorite discipline) and triathlon. I’m looking for a new running watch – I’d like to have a back up for when my 610 craps out (bought in August 2011). I currently have a Forerunner 610 and Edge 800 (just a few months old). Not by “well off” means or anything. I just value having GPS tracking.

    What’s the best approach? Wait for a good price on the Garmin 910xt? Wait for the 220? I love features, but I don’t use a whole lot of them on my 610. I only use the fields “timer”, “distance”, and “lap time” and “last lap time” – only the last one would be missing with the 220.

  30. K.G.ENG

    Finally, they brought up new gps running watch 620!! Feel lucky that didn’t bought the 610 but FR10. definitely will wait till 620 released in the market and get my hands on it. UNTIL THEN….

  31. K.G.ENG

    Dc, seems that you going to review your favorite running watch soon. Ha….

  32. are they getting rid of the 4xx line of watches? Cause it seems 220 now looks better than 410 ever could…

  33. Ben

    I love the face you can now monitor cadence on the 220!
    Maybe I missed it, but is the FR220 compatible with the new HR strap that has the integrated cadence sensor?

  34. Oranj

    How was the pace stability on instant pace?

  35. K.G.ENG

    Btw, DC, the newly added color screen really appreciated. .

    • Craig

      But is the colour screen any good? Is it as easy to read / as high contrast as the older grey screen? What about in bright sunlight?
      Or when its getting a bit dark? I know there’s a backlight, its more hassle to press the button for that while running.

  36. Jason

    Looks like these new watches just came out to fend off the tom tom’s multisport and runner. Just from the overview, who do you think have the winner or is it too close/hard to call?

    • Ignoring the $50 price difference there, I think the feature comparison tables otherwise tell the story. TomTom has lots of potential however to improve, given the Bluetooth Smart in it, but the gap just went from slight to huge.

    • Sean

      So are you saying you currently think the new Garmin’s are better than the TomTom Runner?

    • Jason

      I went back and re-read his review on the Tom Tom’s solution and I believe that’s what he meant. Tom Tom’s runner may look to have all the general feature require (swim, run, bike…etc) but they still lacked the detail implementation of each feature.

      That’s my take from his review. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. =)

  37. Jan

    Do you know anything about the live tracking feature? Probably only to Garmin’s proprietary service, and quite low frequency? I’d like to have it set up with e.g. 5 seconds frequency to my own server/app, but based on what I’ve seen from Garmin earlier I don’t have my hopes too high…?

  38. Mick Wall

    Thanks for the heads up, good write-up.

    So these are both solely controlled by buttons now? The touchscreen of the 610 and swipe bezel’s of the 405/410 have gone?

    How does that work navigating through the menus and choosing items etc?

    It certainly sounds that the 220 is nigh on the same watch as the current 610, but cheaper? (and prettier)

    • The FR620 is touchscreen like the FR610. No touch bezel for any units. You can also use buttons for some navigation on the FR620.

      The FR220 is like the FR210, no touch screen – just buttons.

    • Mick Wall

      You’re right, the 620 is touch screen.

      Apologies, I misread the Garmin site. doh.

  39. Benny C.

    wow I just got 610 couple months ago, now it is 620 and looks promising…
    my question is how accurate is the accelerometer compare with the footpod? since the accelerometer is on the wrist, not on foot, how accurate it measure steps? personally I prefer footpod.

  40. Tim

    How about Cadence via the internal accelerometer coming to the 910xt? (given that they have now developed it…)

    • Tim

      Oops, I missed that was using the new HRM strap only… how about new HRM strap data fields in a 910xt or other watches? :)

  41. Drew W.

    I’m currently rocking the FR410 (much to Ray’s chagrin, I don’t mind the touch bezel), but as my training gets more advanced, my needs have outgrown the 410. I was trying to decide between the 610 or the 910. I am a straight runner right now, but have the triathlon bug biting at my heels. This release, combined with the “no refresh on the 910 at this time” statement makes my decision easier. I think I will step up to the FR620 when it comes out and then pick up the new 910 whenever that is released.

    A few questions, Ray.
    – Is the expectation that the 620 will have the same price point as the 610?
    – Are there any plans for the 620 to have an all black version without the blue trim on the bezel or band? I like the stealthy look of the 610.
    – Will the 620 come with a new HRM-Run HR strap or the current Garmin Premium HR strap? If it will have a new strap, will it be redesigned? The rash/chaffing/slicing wounds on my chest from the premium HR strap await your reply.

    • 1) Same price point as the FR610 was originally ($399 w/o HR strap).
      2) I’m not aware of any. Though, the strap is detachable, so nothing a trip to Home Depot and the spray paint section can’t fix…
      3) The version with the HRM-Run costs $50 more, and is $449. I’m not aware of any non-HRM-Run bundled version (like with an older strap).

      The strap on the HRM-Run is physically identical to that of the HRM3 (just different internals), which means that you’ll probably still get cut up a bit without the band-aid trick.

    • Clint

      What did you do to fix the rash/chaffing? I’m regrowing a 4″ wide section of chest skin right now from my 610 that I bought 2 weeks ago… :( I was thinking of making a sleeve out of an old running shirt and see if I can jury rig that.

  42. Josh

    FINALLY! Cant wait. Thank you.

  43. panos

    Are Vertical Oscillation and GCT, been measured for each foot seperately ?

  44. Andy

    The previous 610 has the power saving mode regards the the gps while the watch is idling for few min. Example waiting at the race start line user has to tap to prevent the gps from deactivated. Is this mode optional now in 620?

    • There’s two power save modes, one mode is “Normal” (like the FR610), and the new one is “Extended”. I need to double-check how long extended stays on for, but it was quite a while.

      Applicable to both FR220/FR620.

    • I’m happy to read the reply that there are now two powersave modes. That Powersave mode has been just another thing to be anxious about when I stand at the start of my races – not something I need!

    • Eli

      You would think they could use the built in accelorometer to detect movement and if no movement for x seconds they could just get the GPS chipset to poll less frequently (i.e. gps is still up and active and has no need to re lock) then when movement is detected it goes back to its normal polling rate (so the gps track line will be smooth when looked at later). Battery use in that “sleep” mode would be pretty low so should allow the user to not worry at all about it.

  45. Sara B

    The new features look nice. Very tempting, actually – I think my 310xt is about to kick the bucket, and I’ve been thinking about its replacement. I’m a runner, not a triathlete, so this looks nice. But, I do use the “courses” feature just enough to make me feel like I need it – maybe once a month or so – I’d really be annoyed to have to carry my phone for navigation that often. And I worry about the new HRM features being a complete bust for me – I’ve not been able to get my HRM to work well beyond the first 20-40 minutes of activity, when it starts to become a useless random-number generator.

    • Eli

      Have you used any of the HR strap gels? Does the strap stay tight against your skin? (i.e. not moving around) If the electrode on either side of the box that snaps to the strap need a good electrical connection to your skin

  46. charles

    No ant+ footpod and no scale support? Awful.

  47. Jim Buchanan

    I enjoy obstacle and cross country running so have been looking for a waterproof, robust watch. The one I use when not jumping in the water is the Motorola MotoActv, which is a true Smart Watch 2 years ahead of it’s time. It has internal GPS, uses Ant+ HRM, connects wirelessly, uses standard micro USB, uses Bluetooth with integrated music player, has a large bright customisable screen, Gorilla glass, in fact everything I need except vital waterproofing and the ability to easily export data in a standard format. My search continues…

    I’m not a ‘triathete’, but look towards those watches for decent durability and something to wear as my permanent watch. Having owned and used the Polar RCX5 (external GPS, poor connection to sensors, additional USB download unit, dodgy waterproofing), Timex Run 2.0 (ugly, cheap feel, small screen display), Suunto Ambit 2 (large, uncomfortable to wear, not the easiest to read, USB download) I have kept an eye on Garmin for an equivalent. I’ve been put off their units as I need real waterproofing and the 910 is too much for my needs. The 610 looked a reasonable bet except for the Ant+ USB unit and the small screen.

    The 620 looks more promising with 50m waterproofing and who knows, perhaps with Bluetooth it might offer headset pairing with an integrated music player. It’s just a shame that the screen is so small in comparison to other units. I’ve used this excellent, informative site as my primary resource for checking out what’s available, but nothing’s quite hit the spot. Oh for the MotoActv to be waterproof with good export options (I particularly like the Android OS with the possibility to customise the firmware via XDA Developers and their boffins). Could anyone recommend anything I may not have tried yet?

  48. J. Ruhe

    Android 4.3+ does support BT smart on devices that come with BT 4.0 hardware. As of today support applies to (phones) Nexus 4, HTC One and Galaxy S4 Google Edition.

  49. Rhett

    On the 220, can you configure it for two data fields on a page or is that only the HRM built in page? My wife likes bigger read-outs and a pace/mileage only page with big numbers would be great for her. TIA.

  50. Eli

    No 120? Is the 110 going away?

    Moving away from using Ant-FS for transferring files? Seems kind of funny the newest Ant+ spec has a much faster data channel in it they could have used for Ant-FS support but aren’t. (I personally think Ant-fs is still a pain even if they used the new faster channel as its not as easy to transfer data and initiate transfer, ignoring speed issues)

    Will the wifi uploading be initiated by the watch to garmin connect directly (like leikr as it sounds like the app is just to push the wifi setup onto the watch) or is it more open to allow a user to connect to the watch?

    Will the open the bluetooth smart API so other apps can connect to the watch? (guessing it will be closed like the edge 510/810) Guess uploading and live tracking will be the same as the Edge 510/810 only over BLE instead of the more power hungry bluetooth.

    Pre-loading of satellites? Is this from a move to a new GPS chipset that requires this meaning if you don’t preload getting a gps lock will be very slow (thinking the way my tom tom car gps works)

    internal accelerometer? So no need at all for a footpod? Or can you still use a footpod for greater accuracy? (guessing a footpod is less buffered from the hit of the shoe on the ground that it gets cleaner data to calculate with)

    For VO2 max in Firstbeat Athlete there are some parameters that can be manually entered to get more accurate results, are all those fields settable on the 620? Recovery Advisor, is that actually looking at heart rate data from when not exercising? (i.e. more like Firstbeat sport that actually looks at your recovery more then Firstbeat Athlete that just guesses based on your effort while exercising) Does it still have the other fields licensed from Firstbeat (training effort, etc) Does the 620 still have the option to save r-r intervals to the FIT file like the 610? (ok, you knew I’d have to include mentioning that)

    BTW all Ant+ straps (assuming the follow the Ant+ standard) support getting rr interval data. Only with BLE is it optional. (I think it was after the old all plastic straps from the FR305 days that they made it easier to get rr intervals even if an Ant+ packet was lost but assuming no packet loss one of those straps should work too)

    Is the HRM-Run strap fully Ant+ or is the heart data Ant+ and the other data a private channel?

    If the data fields displayed on the screen are stored as files on the device and the device is mountable as a USB mass storage device is it possible to configure the setup on the computer? This would allow functionality like for a certain type of workout you want a certain layout and another workout you want a different layout so would make it easy to switch between the two by plugging into the computer.

    How long before a data field can display a chart to show history/trends instead of just a number?

    Battery life, any chance for a breakdown between battery life with all the features on (BLE connection to cell phone, wifi) and with them off?

    BTW taking 600mg of caffeine is a very bad idea, unless you like the idea of not going to sleep again…

    • FR10:

      The FR10 has basically replaced the FR110 (and to a degree the FR60/70).

      RE: ANT-fs

      While it’s no doubt faster, it’s a supportability pain in the ass compared to just USB and WiFi (but especially just USB). It also doesn’t really make the end users life any easier, since it requires more stuff (additional software for the ANT Agent, drivers for the USB stick, etc…).

      RE: WiFi

      Yes, the desktop app is there just to configure the WiFi initially, after that they envision the app never being used again. User-initiated (the lower right button is dedicatd).

      RE: BT Smart

      Closed, like the FR510/810.

      RE: Pre-loading/Chipsets

      Same chipset as the FR10. So not any slower than the fastest Garmin watch there is today (without satellite pre-loading).

      RE: Internal Accellerometer

      No need for footpod. We’ll see in the review how accuracy looks compared to it though.

      RE: VO2Max/Recovery stuffs

      Everything in that area is driven by Firstbeat – they did the work. The R-R data is saved to the .FIT file (on both units).

      RE: HRM-Run

      The HR portion is fully ANT+, the other portion I’ve been working with them to get clarification on whether it’s private channel or not.

      RE: Data fields

      Yes, like the newer Edge units that you can copy/paste that file and get your settings.

      RE: Trends

      No idea.

      RE: Battery life

      WiFi is really just a very quick point in time thing (initiated/completed), so that’s neglibable. On battery life, I’m 99% certain those numbers assume BT connection on. It’s something I’ll be testing though.

  51. Jack

    Thanks for the previews Ray! Great work, as always.

    Couple of comments for the Garmin team who must be taking a look at what’s being said:

    *Please consider an all-black, or black with dark gray accents version of both of these. A lot of us liked the ability to wear the 210 and 610 with business attire. The red 220 is too bright; the 620 is better, but all black would still be a big improvement. When wearing a suit, I don’t want anyone wondering, “What’s up with the geek watch?” And I don’t want to have to switch watches when going for a run right after leaving the office.

    *I agree with Ray that a cycling mode is a must-have, and should come with its own sets of data fields. I’d like to see the speed/cadence ANT+ option, but could live without it.

    *As a safety feature, I think a “Return to start” navigation tool would be the responsible thing to do. That alone wouldn’t cannibalize Fenix sales, and for those of us who run in the woods it would bring peace of mind (if not outright saving our butts) that would help justify the cost.

    Overall, these look really good. Can’t wait for the final releases and full reviews.

    • J.Griffin

      I will def second the motion, for a simple black/grey version!! Garmin should have watch band options for those who want to dress/pimp out their watches.

    • Ian

      100% agree on the colour. Now that these watches are approaching a more wearable, every day size, I’d prefer not to have a bright red face on the watch and band if I could avoid it!

    • jeff

      +1 for ‘Return home”. running on the other side of the world causes confusion . it was a NEED that directed me to the 610.

    • Ed

      I agree. I don’t like people asking me ‘whats with that weird watch’ which is why I have the plain black 210. I would upgrade but probably not to the blue and black 620 – still too flashy; the 220 is completely out of the question. I assume that means either they like the colorful watches as attention getters in the initial roll out, or they haven’t done their homework on the fact people wear these watches in their non-running life.

    • Agreed. My first impression was that the faces look kind of like those cheap $10 watches you see in Target or Walmart. The 610’s understated design is actually pretty elegant. The cheesy color accents on the 620 cheapen it.

      I also don’t get the point of the color screen. From what I’ve read here, it’s only used in the running dynamics section. Disappointed that they went through the trouble to add a color screen and then barely even use it. Personally, I don’t see the need for color anyway, but if you put it in there, at least do something with it. Wondering if they have future plans for it in a software/firmware update.

      All complaining aside, I’ll probably buy this anyway for the new features. :)

    • BlessedCheesemaker

      Thanks DCRainmaker for the hugely helpful pre-review.

      +1 for “return to start” feature. This is a deal-breaker for me. Imagine losing your way and dying cold and alone in the hills with a GPS receiver on your arm!
      +1 for bike mode
      +1 for an all black version too.

    • JM

      Agree 100% with all 3 of Jack’s points!

      Just will not buy it until cycling is added… and it was going straight to my xmas list until I read that.

      Colors do look cheep & make it tough to wear as a daily watch – great idea someone had to have different bands available if someone wants to add color.

  52. Guillaume

    Very interesting products. I’ll throw my hat with the others waiting for similar feature upgrades on a tri watch.

  53. Bobbo

    I assume that the new HRM sensor is compatible with the existing Garmin Ant+ line. In other words, will it work with my Edge 800?

    • Yes, it’ll transmit the HR portion to all ANT+ units, but the other units won’t pickup the new fancy Running Dynamics stuffs (just the basic HR information like normal).

    • Luke

      Any idea whether they’ll update the firmware on the 610 with some of these cool new features.
      Obviously BT/WiFi can’t be updated, but unless I’m wrong there is no reason they won’t be able to update the 610 to at least record/store data from the new HR monitor to then be analyzed in Connect.
      Or am I wrong?

    • It won’t happen for the FR610 at this point with a successor named. The nature of consumer electronic products.

  54. Andrea

    It seems that FR620’s new features make it a “running only” watch much more than the FR610, which has a good support also for cycling mode.
    I hope that Garmin in the final release can reintroduce support for Cycling mode. I’d settle for just a Cycling mode to be recognized by Garmin Connect as such and not as a “superfast” run…
    I understand that new features and metrics are specifically designed for running and I know we are talking about a beta unit but some Cycling support is definitely needed.

  55. Nicky

    I think you’ve mentioned already above, eventhough the devices have bluetooth smart chip inside, they don’t support Bluetooth Smart HR-straps.. I guess the Mio Alpha also won’t be compatible to use with these watches, or are there plans from Garmin and/or Mio Alpha to make units that can be used together?
    Thanks for the update on this

  56. Yup, that’s 44g instead of 75g. Pretty massive difference.


  57. Paul

    Does the 620 have a chronograph display down to 100ths when using it for track workouts? The 610 only displayed to 100ths when you reviewed your intervals post work out – not during session. Also if using for track-work and hitting lap at the end of a 400 rep for example do you get a display of the current lap split and the previous lap. ie like the Timex Ironman displays? (Good for intervals and allowing you to time a set recovery interval).

  58. Peter

    From the feature list it nearly looks to be the ideal running watch, it’s a real shame that neither watch has the ability to do courses (or tracks) so you’re not able to follow gpx-route’s. Routing is a feature I use when I go on holidays or run trail races, so won’t be buying this watch …

    • Tin

      Routing and track back is something that’d like. What watch has this ability and live tracking? The wife likes the peace of mind tracking me on long trail runs.

  59. Andy

    How does the thickness compare to that of the FR10?

  60. rc46

    Hi Ray, I know this is a little off topic but the Garmin Connect iphone app is just terrible at getting activities to upload from the app to the Garmin Connect website. If you read the reviews in iTunes (2 stars and dropping fast) you will see that everyone is having the same problems. This is something that is going to effect and should be considered by 220 and 620 potential buyers.I have competely lost faith in the Garmin IOS developers.

    • simon

      ..yes the quality of the garmin app is going to be an issue, especially if it is one of the big selling features of the new watches.

      I wonder if wahoo are gonna support imports/uploads on their app ?

    • It doesn’t do ANT+ transfers, and the BT side isn’t open – so they’d be unable to. But honestly, Wahoo doesn’t plan to do ANT+ transfers on their Android app – even for the other Garmin units anyway. Thus, in general they’re moving away from it.

    • I’ve heard you have to be careful if you have both the Garmin Connect and Garmin Fit apps on your phone. I’ve been told, but never personally had the issue as I’m an android user, that you can only be logged into one or the other at a time.

    • simon

      f we’re stuck with the Garmin App then I think they’re gonna need to up their game on it IMO – especially if they don’t open the BT side

    • runner4life

      I’m a bit confused by your response, DCRainmaker, and losing access to my Wahoo Key’s abilities to upload to its app list really concerns me. So if the existing Wahoo Key won’t work with the 620, do you have any idea who is or might do what to upload to all the apps that the current Wahoo Key provides? thanks!

    • The Wahoo Fitness app depends on ANT+ transfers between a watch and your phone. This is how the higher-end Forerunner watches used to transfer workouts to your computer with the USB stick (with the ANT Agent software).

      In the case of the FR620 (unlike the FR610), it’s doing away with ANT+ workout transfers in favor of WiFi Transfers (to wifi networks), Bluetooth Smart transfers (to your phone), and USB transfers (for your computer).

      Thus without ANT+ transfers the Wahoo App doesn’t have a way to get the workout. But on the flip side your goal was generally to get it to the Wahoo App so you could upload it, so this sorta accomplishes it (albeit not directly to 3rd parties like TrainingPeaks).

      Note this doesn’t impact ANT+ sensors, as that’s an entirely different ballgame.

  61. Billeke

    Thanks for the great review Ray.
    Garmin (and others) are quite impressive in how many data fields they are able to implement in a single little device. One data field they use/record from time to time (but to my understanding is “easily” measured and recorded by modern watches) is R-R intervals (although filtering EMG signals by their strap belt may be better).
    Similarly to Suunto (which has been doing it for many years) they now try to predict VO2max, training effects and so on. Nothing new here.
    I’m however (again) puzzled by the fact that neither Garmin, nor any other company (aka Polar, Suunto to name a few) offers any simple, straight forward way to track the changes in resting HRV to look at training effects throughout seasons, years… (and keep us away from overtraining/overreaching for example).
    Without any engineering background it’s a PITA to convert fit (garmin) files to any text or usable file format to do it (via R or Kubios HRV, 2 free solutions to work that out).
    Any thoughts about this lack of interest on something many athletes and coaches (targeted customers) would find useful?

    • Eli

      I’m not the only one wanting this (happy dance;) )

      Is R this?
      link to rhrv.r-forge.r-project.org

      If so, that and Kubios are hard to use in that how are users supposed to interpret that data? I think that is part of the problem. All the other data fields are easy to understand and do something with for the end user. Firstbeat and Ithlte are the only companies I know of that make an easy to understand product.

      Why aren’t there more products that can make use of the rr interval data? Even with that data field as part of the FIT file standard and all Ant+ hr straps and many BLE straps get that data very few devices actually save it. But then no one saves it cause they claim users wouldn’t be able to make use of the data

    • “Why aren’t there more products that can make use of the rr interval data? Even with that data field as part of the FIT file standard and all Ant+ hr straps and many BLE straps get that data very few devices actually save it. But then no one saves it cause they claim users wouldn’t be able to make use of the data.”

      Well, there’s some truth to that. Right now any apps that do that sort of thing are fringe at best. Not saying they aren’t good, they just aren’t mainstream (or anywhere near it). Perhaps this will change things a bit. But I think trending on Garmin Connect would be required to kick that off some.

    • Eli

      To me it would seem easy for Garmin to enable the option of recording rr intervals on all their currently supported devices (Edge too) by using the same enable/disable fit file copied to newfiles the 310xt/610/910xt support. Then all the web sites and applications that analyze FIT files could start making use of the data. Should be a very simple function for them to add.

      Sure it may take time before that data becomes useful but no harm in having extra data to work with.

      What do you mean “trending on Garmin Connect”?

    • Meaning surface that information up to a dashboard or the suck, as opposed to being just per activity (for recovery, etc..).

    • Eli

      I would put that in step 2 to be done after getting the data in the FIT file first. (Although I guess there may be a greater chance the hardware team will implement the functionality if the web team needs it for their purposes)

    • Steve T

      ” I’m however (again) puzzled by the fact that neither Garmin, nor any other company (aka Polar, Suunto to name a few) offers any simple, straight forward way to track the changes in resting HRV to look at training effects throughout seasons, years… (and keep us away from overtraining/overreaching for example)”

      I believe that POLAR does have their own algorithms built into their Smart Coach enabled watches.

      see link to polar.com and check the recovery test.

      They also have “own index” which is VO2 Max and I have verified with a full VO2 max stress test (Bruce protocol) and it is within 1% pt. I still use TSS etc. on training Peaks however.

    • Billeke

      “Is R this?
link to rhrv.r-forge.r-project.org ”
      Yes, this is it.
      “But then no one saves it cause they claim users wouldn’t be able to make use of the data” . I can understand. But how about vertical displacement during the run?? It looks like Big Company kind of let you whisper “you will miss the new data the brand new watch is allowing you to record” if you stay away from it. But then nothing about “what am I suppose to DO with these data? What do they mean, etc etc.” For instance with the new power meters you can get pedal effectiveness etc. What does it mean? What’s the definition of it, how does it relate to performance, how may you train to improve it?
      In a few words: there is something missing here. You get new types of data (supposedly targeted customers are athletes), without any advice/background about what they are related to. On the other hand there have been decades of research about HRV and their use in many situations and these data are readily available.

      @Steve: my mistake about the recovery test. On the other hand I’m more skeptical about the other test (failed in my case and was out by 10-15 ml/min/kg)

    • Eli

      If you’ve seen the history of my posts I’ve been begging for rr intervals to be saved into the FIT files for a long time.

      Sad we get the garmin vector folks to come to the forum and post but none of the rest of garmin so they can defend the lack of saving that data

    • Steve T


      I’m with you on collecting and using valid metrics from sports science. That’s what I think POLAR has done. They used clinically reliable training data and came up with a useful set of algorithms in a HRM/watch combo. It’s a shame that they keep it proprietary and don’t offer a full suite of devices to cover the primary sports.

      To me there are two reasons I collect any of this data. First to log and second to analyze.

      That’s why I end up pushing or pulling my data to Training Peaks. I can train and track my data and adjust my workouts (VO2Max, FTP, weight)-many sources, one analysis.

      With everything Garmin is coming out with lately, I say wow! it’s about time but then I scratch my head, Ground contact time in milliseconds-really?

      I also follow Matt Fitzgerald http://mattfitzgerald.org He knows his stuff and is on top of how to train effectively-especially with technical assistance. Training weight and nutrition is a huge contributor, and yet Garmin has made the decision to no longer enable the watch to collect ANT+ weight. Why take away the easy collection (and pushing to Connect) of weight data? Why? I believe they (Garmin Sports division) lack a fundamental understanding of what their high end user requirements are or corporate politics overrides (no BT 4.0 for the 810).

      Bet I’m preaching to the choir. I’m still voting NO with my hard earned cash-my 310XT still connects to my Tanita scale.

    • Eli

      Polar keeps it proprietary because that is their competitive edge. Garmin really seems to just be interested in collecting data and letting other people interpret it. (the advanced training effect stuff and vo2max stuff is licensed from firstbeat) Just wish Garmin collected the rr interval data so others could use that data. Polar does do something with the data to add value to their device.

      Weight is not easy to collect, you need an expensive scale.

    • Steve T

      $10 gets you a bathroom scale thats cheap. Calculating and collecting relatively accurate %bodyfat, hydration levels that does cost more and I already made the decision that it was worth the cost to me to step on the scale 2x/day and get the data vs manual logging or more often not logging it.

      I just don’t see the rationale for eliminating a legacy capability-why not just leave it in? Garmin is all about the ANT standard why abandon all those who did buy other ANT capable devices?

      POLAR decided on a proprietary strategy and now they find themselves in an ever shrinking box. If thats their competitive advantage its not leading to increasing market share. Smartphones, apps, BT and data sharing are the market now. They haven’t come out with a significant new cycling computer or running watch for years.

  62. Dominik J.

    I assume that the new HR strap (with its functionalities) will not be made available for older models like the 910xt? Would love to get rid of my footpod…

  63. ekutter

    So the running watches (ie 610/620) don’t support a simple bread crumb screen like the 310/910? That to me is more useful than courses, return to start, or other navigation features. Being able to see where you have been, especially on trails.

    Can the 620 get cadence from the accelerometer in the watch itself or just from the new run strap.

    How many data pages on the 920?

    I agree black on black would be a good option.

    Sounds like they still need to combine the best features of the 620 with those of the Fenix. Any idea what’s happening on the Fenix side?

  64. Ken

    Thanks for the preview, Ray! Can the GPS timeout be disabled on the 220 (unlike the 210) so you can be waiting for a race to start and not have to worry about the GPS turning itself off?

  65. Turn The Damn Cranks

    Am I crazy in thinking at this point that a triathlete not obsessed with OWS data should seriously consider combining the FR220 with the Edge 500/510 and be done with it? No quick release to worry about, your bike computer is always on your bike, and your running watch is much slimmer — not to mention provides live tracking and easy uploads. All for only $100 more than the 910XT.

    • Miden

      I have tried it with the FR 610 and Edge 500. No go.

      You can not have the 610 on your wrist while swimming. I can not tell you how many times I forget to turn off the Edge and the file is then messed up and needs massaging. You need to start the 610 up just at the right point while biking — not too early, as it may turn off, not in the transition, as it may not boot up on time for the run.

      Major pain. Finally bit the apple a few weeks ago and have gotten the 910XT. That said I will still use the Edge 500 on the bike, just for in-race visibility, but not for downloading.

      I do *not* like the 910XT, it is overpriced and soooo 1999, and have looked long for alternatives. But if you are serious about tri’s, there is exactly one device in the market that can actually be used in races: 910XT. (OK, I have not looked at the 310XT, so there may be two).


    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      But with the stronger pins and waterproofing it seems like swimming with the 220/620 is now an option. And with the pre-loaded satellite positions, acquisition ought not be a problem. So I’m thinking you wear it to swim if you like, or hide it in a shoe or under something else in transition if you prefer. For Olympic and sprints, the battery life will more than suffice if you turn it on before transition closes. That’s a bit of an issue in 70.3s and 140.6s, but in those you can spare the time in transition to turn the watch on. But maybe not — I’ve only used my good ‘ol 305, so I am spitballing here. Ray?

    • It definitely could be.

      Garmin was quite clear that they’re more than comfortable with folks swimming with it, and the pins is very Fenix like, and thus seemingly quite sturdy. Now, that’s not to say that a triathlon can’t whack even the most secured watch off of someones wrist, but it’s a good start.

    • morey000

      That’s what I do with my 405/500 combo. No watch for the swim. The 500 waits on the bike, ready to go, with auto power save shut off. The 405 waits on the towel, in tracking mode, also with auto power save shut off. I don’t get T1/T2 splits, but I just hit the start/stop button when I cross the timing mats. then for the 405, grab it with my hat and race belt, and once again, just hit the start/stop button as I cross the timing mats and put the watch on my wrist as I’m running. Works fine for getting the bike and run info. Trans times I get from the race timing anyway. Wouldn’t work for long course racing this way given battery life- you’d need to start the running watch in T2.

      There are some benefits to having two separate units, as either can do double duty if needed. i.e. you CAN capture run data on an Edge 500, and you CAN capture cycling data (Ok, not power) on a running watch.

  66. Mike

    Hi Ray, I have 2 features in my beloved 410 that are important enough to keep me from using my 610. Would like to see if they’ve been included in the new 620:
    #1) Ability to tune the Autolap down to the hundredth (1.01, 1.02, 1.03) vs. only every five hundredth (1.05, 1.10, 1.15)
    #2) Ability to delete a specific lap in my watch after a run without deleting the whole run.
    Any chance either of these 2 options are in the 620? (or even better, coming ina firmware update to the 610?)

  67. David Corsi

    These look outstanding. The last big leap Garmin made IMHO was going from the 205/305 form factor to the 405. The 610 only brought the touchscreen but the actual feature barely grew.


    1. I assume footpods will still work with these watches. While I look forward to hearing about the accuracy of the internal accelerometers based on experience with the Nike Fuelband and other such devices that are worn on a wrist I have a feeling these will appeal only to those looking to approximate distance etc. on a rare occasion or if you forgot the footpod.

    2. I have an Edge 510 so have used Livetracking which I like. I use the Bluetooth to upload the ride after my Livetrack. Will bluetooth be able to upload runs on these watches, I assume so after a Livetrack? But will they also be able to upload a run if I *didn’t* use Livetrack on that run? The 220 is quite appealing if I can still wirelessly upload runs via Bluetooth (since it doesn’t have WiFi) while traveling but I didn’t use Livetrack.

    3. The new data features of the 620 look very cool but like you mentioned I’m not sure if it brings added training value yet. I likely will be the 620 for the WiFi and for the data points but the 220 is very tempting. Do you know if the new heart rate strap will be priced much higher than the old one for the added features and are there other enhancements to the straps for comfort? I didn’t have significant drop outs with Garmin straps but still switched to a Polar strap because the fabric on the Garmins quickly became warped and bunched after a few runs making the Garmin straps very uncomfortable something that never happens to my Polar strap.

    Thanks again, I am pleased to see Garmin taking an update seriously for the first time in a while… rather than taking baby steps as the cellphone industry around them takes leaps.

  68. How is the touch scrren on FR620? I mean is the same (not so good) resistive type found on FR610?
    And… to wake up the watch do you need to press at least one button on 620?
    I’m having too many unwanted wake up on my 610…

    • It’s pretty much the same resistance-type screen.

      As noted above in the lock-section you do need to press a physical button (two-step) to unlock the unit.

  69. Alfie

    Thank you for the great preview! As I am still rocking the 305 but want to possibly dip my toe in the triathlon world, I was wondering if they were planning to refresh the 310 anytime soon as that would be my next logical step from a feature set/budget perspective. Have you heard anything on that front?

  70. J.Griffin

    I will def second the motion, for a simple black/grey version!! Garmin should have watch band options for those who want to dress/pimp out their watches.

  71. Amedeo

    Great great great news!

    first of all, FINALLY Garmin will make FR waterproof: this was an huge lack.

    About fr220: has it a “cadence system” integrated?
    then, how many sections can be set in interval training?

    thanks Ray ;)

  72. Jeff

    While I understand the reasoning about how new the 910xt, I think Garmin should be considering moving up the time-table for a new high end Tri watch. With all of these new features coming out like livetracking through the cell and stuff, there are probably a lot of people, myself included, who are waiting for that to be included in the Tri watches.

    That said, I’m sure they’re well into the development, and really there’s nothing my comments on the internet can change… Just saying. I’m not buying anything until the 910xt replacement gets released or the Leikr ever hops the pond with good reviews.

  73. Christophe

    Hi and thank you for the news

    what do you think about the GPS accuracy ?
    do you think they use GPS + Glonass system ?

  74. Benny C

    just how accurate the accelerometer compare to footpod? by logic thinking how do you measure the steps using your moving wrist?
    I own 610 and edge 810 and still love it, what I really want to see in 620 is the course support like 810.

  75. Erica M.

    Would love to get a women’s perspective on these…can you have The Girl give you her initial thoughts? Mainly about sizing/fit which is my #1 complaint about GPS watches. It seems the 220 is lighter but appears to be the same size and thickness as the 210.

    • It’s thinner than the FR210 (by a chunk). You can kinda see that in the upside down roller photo, though the angle makes it tough. I’ll try and add another photo with a better angle.

      The Girl uses the FR910XT – so about as big as they get. That said, she was out yesterday when I was doing all the photos with the unit I had.

  76. Anthony Anicete

    How do we input weigh from tanita?

    • simon

      I don’t think we do !

    • It’s not part of the FR220/FR620. You’d manually enter that weight onto Garmin Connect (though interestingly, that weight does show back up on the watch, as I noticed yesterday).

    • simon

      …. but unless you have the tanita remote you won’t necessarily get access to all the metrics from the Tanita as they are encrypted.

      You’d need to use an edge/610 or similar to get the data from the tanita – not ideal.

      IIRC any weight/height you have in your profile on GC get’s downloaded to your watch if you download a workout or similar ???

    • Correct. As Eli noted you could use the desktop app (as clunky as it is) and then the ANT+ stick that comes with it to look at that on the software app and then just manually enter that value in.

    • simon

      Oddly the software app isn’t available in the uk (licensing issues ?) but download works fine if you say you’re from the US when you register.

      Still a kludge to get working – especially as the garmin integration was the reason I bought the tanita

    • edsjon

      Yes, it’s a pity this functionality is currently lost. I’ve already dropped Garmin a couple of emails about reinstating it.

  77. Shelley

    Love love love the lack of a required footpod for treadmill running. Hate those footpod things. Also love the Wifi/Smart upload. I run with the FR10 and the husband has the 610XT. I have a tiny tiny wrists, so seeing that the 620 and 220 are smaller/lighter is a big draw for me. I just have a FR10, so seeing all the run options on the screen at once while running is pretty neat. I only get 2 per page on mine.

  78. Shelley

    oh and the pre-loading of satelites rocks. I stand on my step sometimes for up to 5m waiting for my FR10 to get a signal. Funny thing is, when I first started using it, it got the signal super fast, now, not so much.

  79. Miden


    Are personal records computed on whole runs, or strava-like on sections? In other words, do I have to have a run (or maybe a lap) that is exactly 1 mile to have the 1 mile PR show up, or can I run a 5K and it will show me that I had a particularly fast 1 mile as my new PR.

    Fantastic job on the article.

    • Whole runs, but in smaller chunks. For example I got a 1K PR, 1Mi PR, etc… I got 4 PR’s on my first or second run with it, they just show one after another like an awards ceremony.

  80. simon

    what would be the procedure for wireless uploads to strava or other thirdparty sites ?

    if the bt is closed and there is no ant+ data

    it’s a bit klunky to upload to GC then download and reupload to strava. Is there some kind of wifi equivilent of ant agent ? Can you do this in the new garmin software.

    how would you do this just using a phone ?

    • Wireless uploads are only to Garmin Connect. So to get it to Strava “wirelessly” you can use GarminSync.com (3rd party free site), which automatically takes your data from Garmin Connect and dumps it to Strava behind the scenes.

      Same concept on the phone. Both upload to GC, and then from there you’d have to find some way (manual or otherwise) to move it to other sites.

      Of course, you’ve still got standard USB uploads of the .FIT files to elsewhere manually.

      Ideally I’d like to see Garmin make it easier for 3rd party sites to ‘subscribe’ to Garmin Connect uploads, and then be able to activate that on your Garmin Connect profile, so the files get pushed/pulled to various 3rd party sites (i.e. TrainingPeaks/Strava/etc…).

    • simon

      …agreed but I can’t see what is in it for Garmin to do that.

    • Eli

      User likes a 3rd party site and wants a device that integrates well with it by “directly uploading” to it. User skips over Garmin and gets the device that does.

      (by “directly uploading” I mean from the users perspective where they upload once and appears on the site they want to see it on without any other work)

    • Ben

      Unfortunately, it seems like Garmin is doing the opposite of what we’d all like; they’ve started blocking GarminSync!

    • slowburn

      Ray, thanks for your thoughts on how to get data to third party sites. That issue is a showstopper one for me to get a FR620 – if I can’t get data automatically to my third party sites, then I won’t get the 620. It concerns me in general that Garmin seems to have made a decision to block the ability to automatically send data to third party sites (by no option to transfer data via Ant+ for legacy Wahoo Keys, closed BT, and apparently blocking garminsync). While that’s their perogative, it would be great in the review to explicitly address Garmin’s data management and access strategy. If Garmin really wants to keep its watch data in its own ecosystem and try hard to keep us on Garmin-only apps, then having Garmin acknowledge that at least ends the guessing and allows us to make our decisions with more clarity. Thanks for your hard work on this stuff!

    • You might look at this website to sync your workouts to multiple services.

      link to tapiriik.com

      I don’t have any affiliation with the service, other than being on the list of supported websites.

    • Adam Lawrence

      It seems to me as long as the device registers as a simple external drive via USB and you can remove the files from inside manually (both for upload to 3rd party sites, and for safekeeping for when you choose to switch to another platform and Strava won’t let you do a bulk download of your own raw data) then it’s not really a problem. But maybe there’s some major advantage to wireless uploading that I’m not seeing…

    • slowburn

      Aaron, thanks for that link to a syncing site, but to make myself clear: I won’t buy the 620 (or 220) if I don’t feel comfortable with the clarity of Garmin’s data approach and their openness to working with third party training sites and apps. I won’t buy one of these watches, have initial success with a site like tapiriik, and then have Garmin block the site or make a firmware change to make it difficult to continue to do so. Again, it’s Garmin’s perogative to keep their data mgmt plans to themselves and keep us guessing if they’ll allow automatic syncing with third party sites, just as it’s a consumer’s perogative to defer purchases.

    • slowburn

      Adam, the only problem (and a fatal problem from a purchase perspective) will be any data transfer/upload/sharing method with third party sites that will only work manually. I have too many other manual efforts throughout the day!:)

  81. Leandro

    Great preview Ray, thanks.

    Do you know if Garmin has plans to update the firmware on the 910XT (or any current FR watch for that matter) to read & display the running dynamics parameters that the new HR run strap will output? I’m interested in cadence mostly, but vertical oscillation and contact time seem interesting.

    • Pierre

      I´ll be interested if Garmin have said anything about adding some of the new stuff into a new firmware for the 910XT.
      Another question regarding new firmware for the 910XT, any estimated dates for the new firmware supporting the Garmin Vector for the 910XT?

      And third regarding the garmin connect site and the training programs.
      Do you know if there will be schedules for HIM and IM in the future also.
      To bad they don´t have work estimated on watt also :)

    • Pierre

      Found this thru Rays twitter
      link to www8.garmin.com

      Strange that I haven´t seen that before…

    • Rhett

      I’d like to see the tempe sensor added to the 910xt firmware. I’m a runner but I got the 910 because I wanted real waterproofing and I like to hike, so the long battery life was a draw. Having temperature data from the tempe would be good.

  82. Tyler

    Sounds great! Love the new feetures on the 220! Glad garmin finally fully waterproofed their watches to 50m. It would be nice if all garmin watches used the same charging clip.

  83. David

    Great work, Ray.

    Curious if the physical design is finalized on the 220 and 620? Have you heard (or can you speculate) why Garmin’s using such thin strap tangs for the 10/220/620 as opposed to the sturdier-looking wide tangs they use on the 210/620/fenix?

    Thanks for all your bring to the fitness community!


  84. matt

    oh man, this is great news. i like my 610, but i’ve been having a ton of issues with it freezing lately and losing runs. i lost the first 9 miles of my long run the other day. hopefully this comes out fairly soon b/c i have until november 19th to return my 610. luckily i still have my motoactv so i can use that if this doesn’t come out soon enough.

    • Ben

      Why would you support Garmin and buy another of their watches when your first-hand experience is so terrible? I don’t understand. Instead of exploiting retailers’ return policies, buy from a better company.

      By the way, you should reset your 610 immediately. In my experience, this problem will only get worse and worse.

  85. Some interesting enhancements. The possibility for predictive analytics for things like recovery (TRIMP?) coming to the watch is great. It’s not clear if that is based on data recorded ONLY on the watch, or if it incorporates your entire workout history for crosstraining, cycling, swimming, etc.

    One HUGE missing feature (did Ray mention it?) – when is Garmin going to give us heart-rate sensors integrated in the actual watch, instead of as an uncomfortable strap? Companies such as Mio are doing this (for as cheap as $55). I almost wonder if this is a patent issue.

    • Eli

      size and battery? Plus I don’t think any of the wrist ones give good rr interval data so that would hurt the data the watch uses for some of the metrics it displays.

  86. Pawel

    Thanks for this great review!

    What’s really bad about 220/620 is they droped “Back To Start” function. It just saved my life a couple of times when I was lost in a cold rain! Maybe there’s a trace of that somewhere in the software? Some kind of gps compas etc.?

  87. Ray

    Any news about a 320?

  88. matt

    hey ray,

    looks like you can preorder on their website. it says 5-8 weeks for either watch.

    thanks again for the great first look!

  89. paul barton

    Hi, does the 220 have auto pause? my 210 doesn’t and, when running with a buddy WITH autopause on, our average speed/km don’t match. bit of a pain.


  90. akaJut

    The 620 looks to have a higher resolution screen. The 610’s screen was 128×128. What is the resolution for the 620?

  91. phoros

    And the winner is… 220!

    My FR10 is great, but:
    – no custom workouts (!)
    – up to 5 h battery life
    – 2 field data pages
    – doesn’t vibrate and beeps not so loudly
    – no gps fix

    And guess what? FR220 has it all. And more.

    I don’t trust touch screens, I don’t need trillions of data, so 620 is not for me.
    Waiting impatiently for these units in Poland.

    Ray, your site is priceless.

  92. inbal

    hope all this stuff makes it to Fenix 2. I need navigation as well…

  93. Manuel Prates

    Does the FR220 have a virtual trainner functionality?

  94. Manuel Prates

    I see virtual partner on the specs table, but my doubt refers to the functionality of programing a certain distance in a certain time, and the watch telling you if you are running faster or slower than the target time.

  95. Scott Buchanan

    At this rate what with the Virb Elite Garmin will be getting ALL my Christmas money!…… I can see that Garmin has released US prices but nothing for the UK. Am wondering if I should pick up a 620 on a trip to the States. My 410cx ( horrible watch) and 610 both came from the US.

  96. Steve T


    Was this an expected upgrade or is it a beta announcement in reaction to the market, and do you now expect that these watches are setting the baseline configuration (BTS, WiFi, HRM+,etc.) for all future Garmin product divisions? e.g. we’ll see these features in outdoor, sports, and cycling products?

    You are the go to daily destination for fitness tech!



    • This was pretty well expected for a while. I’d expect any future units will have the same communications functionality going forward.

    • Steve T


      I think one of the fundamental drivers to what we end up getting as consumers is more behind the scenes-manufacturing/chipset selection/availability and standards driven.

      Which makes your insight and understanding so valuable to get to customers who are trying to make informed purchasing decisions.

      I’m waiting for the next cycling/tri devices with this connectivity baseline.

  97. Paul

    Any chance they’re working on really increasing battery life? that’s more of a concern to ultra-runners. A battery that could function for 24+ hrs would be great. I’m a 310XT user

    • They communicated to me that it’s in flux/non-final. I definitely wouldn’t expect a jump to 24hrs though, unless they go all Fenix-style battery mode (but that requires a different GPS chip).

    • ekutter

      Given how much weight they trimmed off the thing, I’d be happy if they added a few more grams back in to increase the battery length. I’ts not really usable for most Ultra’s even for a 50mi if you include warm up.

    • Eli

      It almost looks like the 620 watch can be worn with the charging cable attached allowing the cable to run up your arm into a pack with a USB battery in it

    • Sorta, but it’s going to jostle some. It’s not as hard of a clip-on system as the Fenix. It’s better than the FR610 for sure, but it’s still thin magnets doing it.

    • Eli

      Oh well, seems like that’s the approach they would need for the ultra market. Make it easy to wear the watch with the charging clip attached. Get as much battery/solar you want. (although will have left hand vs right hand issues)

    • Adam Lawrence

      Yes, it never occurred to me to worry about how much my watch weighs, and I think about weight as much as the next racer. Even if they’re physically compatible with a battery pack, the watch would also need the firmware capacity to continue functioning while charging. 10 hours is enough for most my training, and should be enough for a 50 miler in a world where I suck less. For anything farther (or climbier than your average 11,000 ft 50 miler), even most of the pros would need a longer battery life.

  98. Mark

    Will there be different watch sizes (men’s and women’s) like the FR10?

  99. Jose

    I wonder how these limited watches will survive when the multifunction truly smart watches like the Omate and the Wear It hit the market around $200?

    • I suspect they’ll do just fine. Everything I’ve seen thus far with smart watches is showing they kinda suck at sports. Not even in the same ballpark (and, I have every one of them and have tested them). Someday, but today is not that day.

  100. Dan

    Yes, it’s waterproof!!!

    Looks like my 610 is officially for sale.

  101. Stanislav

    I hope someone from Garmin reads this. This looks like a great upgrade to FR 610 but it still doesn’t address the reason I and a number of runners I know moved from Garmin (FR 610 in my case) to Suunto Ambit. At 10 hours the battery like is still too short for anything above 50K. Make it a 20 hour battery life and increase ruggedness and you’d have a winner. I considered Fenix, but a friend of mine had Fenix and it had a number of frustrating issues with reliability and GPS reception, so my friend too after a while had moved to Ambit.
    And while we are there, would it be possible to use the built-in accelerometer to improve distance precision on mountain switchbacks? All GPS watches I know typically measure 10-15% short on trails with a lot of switchbacks. I guess accelerometers could be used to detect sharp changes in speed and help identify sharp turns. That would be terrific!

  102. Osbr

    Will I be able to buy the new HR strap with cadence and use it with my 910xt (along with the new features in the strap)? I was looking to get a cadence sensor, but if the new strap has more options I might go that route instead


  103. Ken

    Great mini-review Ray! I have a quick question. Do you know what the back of the watch is made out of (metal versus plastic)? A number of people (including myself) found the metal back of the 610 really irritating against the wrist. I was told that this was a problem with the early units. I bought a 610 when it first came out and so I returned it because of this problem– only to discover that the replacement unit (about 9 months later) was no better. It also seemed unnecessarily heavy because of the metal back, so I took hope I read that this unit is so much lighter.

    Also, totally agree with what other people were saying about the annoying strap on the 610– kept “popping out” under the slightest tension. From the photos, it looks like Garmin changed it to a regular watchband strap. Thank goodness.

    • It’s not metal, it’s plastic.

      Fwiw, Garmin stopped producing the metal versions of the FR610 about 18 months ago (not plastic backing), and even to this day you can still call up and get any metal-version unit swapped out for free (even out of warranty).

      On the wrist strap, totally different design than FR610. Very much Fenix-like, really rugged.

    • Eli

      Garmin wants $100 to fix my broken metal backed 610 :(

    • I literally just called last week to have my original metal one swapped out (regular consumer line). If you’re showing any rust/corrosion/greenness/etc… they’ll swap it out instantly. Mine was bought the first weekend they went on sale.

      (In case you’re curious, I’ve been using it without issue for years, but The Girl took a liking to it last week and within two runs she had the reaction issues.)

    • Tim

      Interesting note about swapping out old 610s!

      I have one from April 2011 that has worn off almost all lettering and looks basically spotted brown on the back (assuming copper or other metal showing through a plating)… I’ve had continuous charging issues with the thing for a long time, I think due to corrosion and an intermittent charge pin on the watch (my other 610 has worked great).

      Anyway, they also told me $99 to out of warranty swap. I will re-contact them and see if I can get it resolved. I like the 610 but the charging issues have been a real pain.

  104. Ladylu

    “The HRM-Run looks identical to the existing HRM3 heart rate (HR) strap that came out this past spring.”

    Does that mean that the actual HRM unit is identical to the most current one? I hope not because the edges/corners of it give me awful bleeding sores! I’ve had my 610 since mid July and have only used the HRM strap less than a handful of times because of this… It has been a deal breaker for me; I have been torn between keeping the watch and returning it since the first time I used that HRM strap. :(

    • Eli

      The small electrical unit, or the strap? If the unit you could try sanding the plastic (voiding all warrentees)

    • Ladylu

      At first it was both so I called Garmin and they sent me the latest and greatest strap (they included a unit, too). Now it’s just the unit that gives the nasty sores. Any spot on my skin where the unit comes in contact with (basically all four corners and the top of the unit) develops a bleeding sore/cut. I really do hope they redesign the unit because it seems as though I am not the only user who has had problems with this. I have tried everything (positioning it differently, body glide, band aids…). I feel like one shouldn’t have to go through all that given the price of the watch. :(

    • Eli

      wear it backwards? (unit on your back)

    • It’s the same physical strap as the HRM3. Just the internals of the pod are different. So if the HRM3 is problematic chaffing-wise, it’ll be the same.

    • Ladylu

      Boo! *sad face*

  105. David

    thanks for the preview. Can you tell if the 220 now has the vibration alert ? This is one thing I found missing from the 210. I just hope they didn’t remove it from the 620

  106. Gerard

    Ray, Thanks for the preview, Garmin made some nice watches again. Having had and still have issues with ANT and the FR610, I am happy that the ANT for data transfer is out.

    A feature request: I used the bread crumb trail on my old 305 always when running in a new city or on holidays, always was able to get back to start using this simple display. I would love to see that back.


  107. Ripon

    Hey Ray,

    Am i right to assume that Polar H7 would not work on both these watches (even when they has Bluetooth smart Support) ? Thanks!

    – Ripon

  108. MikeW

    If you still have them, any chance of comparison pics (for size) between the FR10 and the new FR220 coming out? I like the FR10 (using now for simplicity) but looks like double the battery life on the GPS with the FR220, plus a few more features without being overly difficult to use.

  109. Ethan

    Great preview! As a Galloway run/walker I’m excited about the addition of the countdown to next run/walk interval among other new features.

    How will the new live tracking features work? Will my wife be able to view my location on a web page with a map? Will there be a fee for this service? I know RunKeeper and other services want to charge for this live tracking feature. Will the watch be able to send automatic alerts when I reach a certain mile point (such as 13.1 miles or 20 miles of a marathon)? As you know, some races offer this text alert update system. Are there other options than just Facebook and Twitter for live tracking? I would want to share the live tracking with a small group of people but not everyone on Facebook or Twitter.

    Are there any plans you know of to offer the 620 in black only?

    Thanks for the comprehensive preview! Can’t wait till they are released then I’ll need to think about how to justify the update of my 610 I will have had for a year and half by then.

    • You configure your app to notify people – such as via e-mail/Twitter/etc.., and then they are sent a link to a page that allows you to track them. It’s just a generic page and doesn’t do additional alerting beyond that.

      Check out my Edge 510/810 reviews for more details (same platform).

    • Granite_running

      Ethan – If you’re an iPhone family, I recommend the Road ID app for safety related live tracking. It’s designed as a safety app – no paces, photo sharing, etc. It just sends a text message or email to whomever you designate with a link to a web map showing your track.

      My wife, a non-runner, found the map much easier to view on an iPhone than the Runkeeper map with all of its non safety features. And it’s free.

      I think I’ll stick with my 610 for now. I started getting excited about the live tracking on the 620, but since I would still need to carry the phone, my excitement has fizzled.

  110. Julia

    A friend just posted this on my FB page, and I’m kicking myself because after a fair amount of research I JUST bought an FR20. I decided I didn’t need most of the features of the higher-end Garmins and because I do run tris, I wanted a waterproof watch with core running features.

    However, I’m liking the more data points – especially cadence – on the 220 and 620, the Wifi option on the 620 (though not necessary, very nice). I find the option of preloading workouts and calendars to the unit very tempting. So much so I may return my FR20 and move to the 220. I looked at the charts, and didn’t see much difference between the 220 and 620 except Wifi and some of the more advanced calculations. Can you talk about who you’d see as the target user for the 220 and 620?

    • The target user of the FR220 is anyone who wants more features than the FR10, but doesn’t need some of the additional data field customization of the FR620.

      I see the FR620 as shifting more towards running geeks than as mainstream as it once was. Meanwhile, I think Garmin is using the FR220 as bait for those FR10 users that have been hooked and might want a bit more out of their units.

    • phoros

      That’s exactly my case, couldn’t say it better. The days of my FR10 have started to count down today. ;)

  111. Nate

    My main answer is why no strapless hr monitor? I hate the strap but I want to train with TSS And trimp. I’d jump at the 620 in a second if it had this feature but until it does I’m stickin with my 405

    • I suspect Garmin is looking at it, but probably finds that the technology available to them at the price point that makes business sense doesn’t quite work yet.

      I would suspect we’ll eventually see it down the line – starting with higher-end units, but only when they can get the technology to pass the mass production test (their variations assuming they’re working on one, since some others are caught up in licensing/patent stuffs). Companies like Mio and others can get away with things that Garmin can’t when it comes to how functional the device is across a broad user base. So for example while the Alpha works great for me, it flat-out sucks for The Girl.

  112. Another bump for black/black or black/grey color combo! I dislike carrying around separate watches for work/travel/running. Would be nice if they had a neutral color option available.

    Just out of curiousity, how long does it usually take for Garmin to come out with new color schemes? I’ve noticed they added colors to 210 and 10, but I don’t recall how long it took for them to do that. Thanks!

    • For just an additional band/strap color type that you can buy as an accessory – fairly quickly. It’s full-on different watch bands sold with the watch that adds significant SKU complexity (for retailers/etc..). Accessories are much easier.

    • Gil

      Yeah. I’d like to know who in the running industry decided that every runner wants to wear “candy” colors. Shoes, shirts, and now: sports watches. It’s so annoying.

    • Kelly

      Agree that a plain black/grey option would be preferred here. If people really want a lurid color with their watch yeah replacement bands make sense but keep the main unit plain black. Really don’t understand Garmin’s thinking on this. Otherwise the 220 looks great.

  113. Geert

    The trend to move (back) to USB transfer (from ANT+) is excellent news for Linux users! USB mass storage is universally supported – without the need for any special drivers, tools or agents. The FR210 and Edge 500 work perfectly for me this way under Linux, whereas for the FR310XT I have a half-baked Linux tool (written in python) that suffers from interrupted transfers and other issues.

    • Dylan

      I have a 910xt and ended up setting up a headless vbox instance that always runs in the background, just to get ANT agent to work. Most of the time it works like magic, sometimes it’s a hassle though. Hardware manufacturers will support linux one day……..one day.

    • Mark

      Would be interested to know how you access the data on Garmin devices using Linux. Have an Forerunner 305 with garminplugin. Would like to upgrade to 910XT or 620, but hesitate to break my uploads.

    • Adam

      I have no problem extracting files off my fr10 via usb in ubuntu either manually or through strava. I had to download a little garmin plugin for the os to recognize the external drive but that was very simple.

  114. @Hu3ain

    Seems like the strap on the 620 is better attached to it than the watch it replaces. Quality issues aside, the 610 has a great user interface and plenty of features. I wish a barometric alt. was added to the 620 for less variable run and bike data.

  115. HupHolland

    Hi Ray,
    do you expect any of the new features on the FR620 will be part of a next firmware update for the 910xt?

  116. J.Griffin

    Dang just saying– one heck of a lot of posts for 1-day. Looks like the Garmin fan base is hungry for some new stuff!!

  117. John

    Thanks for the great preview. Will either of these have GPS Accuracy available as a custom field like the 610 currently has?

    • The field isn’t listed today, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be there by release. I’ll make a note to circle back with them on it.

    • Dom

      Ray, if you are asking about fields anyway, could you ask about Time: Average Lap? I use that in my race setup, lapping manually at each mile/km marker so I have a good idea how I’m progressing based on the official measurement of the course. I’d miss that.

  118. steve

    This watch looks to be a step in the right direction but once again a fail. No bluetooth senors, fail. No sync with other apps, fail. I really hope this watch gets functionality with Android, cycling mode, and basic navigation. Garmin made some huge improvements so I will give them some credit. I will probably still buy one but hate the feeling when a company has you by the…

  119. Peter K

    The future looks bright! As others will be eagerly awaiting a 910xt replacement with similar features…

    But… Both these watches have internal accelerometers- probably exactly the same chip as in the Swim and 910xt thus it’s only software stopping either the 220 or 620 being swim watches same as soft/firmware being the only thing stopping running cadence on the 910…

    But then if Garmin added all the features they ‘could’ then they’d miss out on a proportion of people paying top dollar for the 9**xt!

    Regardless I love my 910xt and hope they add all BT, Wifi, USB and more come next year- how about built in quick release mount and customisable ‘Other’ sport types on board….

    Cheers for the preview Ray!

    • Eli

      I have a feeling they will wait for the 620 to be fully done before they start work on the 910xt replacement. I have a feeling much of the code base from the 910xt came from the work done on the 610 and the same will happen this time around too.

      BTW The 220/620 are too new to keep using the same chip the 910xt has. But guessing you’re right in that the hardware could do it but have a feeling that would kill off the 910xt. Don’t see why the breadcrumb map is only on the 910xt though

  120. Gary Gellin

    I’ve been eager to get an upgrade to my beloved and archaic Forerunner 305, but I continually hear gripes about problems or annoyances of later models of Garmin products. The F305 is an accurate, reliable, well-designed workhorse. Well, with exception to the USB communication problems, and the limited (15 hour) storage capacity. I have a number of friends with F-910s whose measurement error is significantly greater than the 305 – like 5% vs. 1% on a known course. Giving up the navigational features (e.g., course following) is a non-starter for me. Any one else agree or disagree?

  121. Keith

    Any mention to battery life? And guessing if want hr only way initially is the bundle? Also do you think replacement straps would be avail?

  122. Steve T

    OK Ray your post made me look at the Garmin site video.

    While it looks like there is a color capable screen all your screen shots show B+W pixels of the actual data pages.

    Does any data change colors to signify say a different HR zone? What are the colored “eyebrow” segments showing? See shot of 620 on wrist with cadence displayed.

    Can you explain more about the “color graphs like a dashboard” part please.

    • Yeah, the only color in it today is the Running Dynamics graph and the ‘start’ page. Though again, a lot can change in a few months – so I wouldn’t count those chickens hatched yet.

      I didn’t see any other screens that had color graphs to them. The edging is found in colors, but that’s just to set your them preferences.

      The dashboard is in reference to the Running Dynamics piece. You can see a photo of it in that section, however because I didn’t have access to the HRM-Run strap, I didn’t get any data to enumerate into that.

  123. Fenitua

    Thanks for the excellent pre-review.

    Also throwing my hat in pleading for an all black “Non Swatch watch” looking face. Then it will be time to retire my 405.

    When might Suunto be due a refresh of models?

  124. Wow. I’ve had a 610 pretty much since it came out. Been through all the issues (bad accuracy corrected by firmware, flying off wrist when the pin falls out, getting cut up by the HRM, etc)

    However I noticed in your post last week it’s still your primary running watch. Quite a testament considering it is 2 1/2 years old and all the cool gadgets you’ve been exposed to in that time. However, I was not surprised. I haven’t seen anything that I’d trade it for either.

    Can’t wait to see the full review. Since HR straps seem to be so problematic for me, I’m just as curious about that as the 620 itself. I’m not expecting it to be great, but I am still curious. I must have read the entire 610 review a dozen times back in 2011 and I started reading this blog regularly after that. Thanks for all the great reading.

    • John, try to use the great Polar SoftStrap with your Garmin HR sensor. It solved the problem for me.

    • Gunnar

      …or try the Magellan HRM strap. That solved the problem for me and from what I remember Ray also recommended Magellan if the Polar strap doesn’t work for you. Dig around in the archives and you will see a good write up on HRM strap issues and answers.

  125. Moh


    My 610 is 3 months old.


    • Eli

      The majority of people on ebay don’t know that. Ok, deceptive, but I’m assuming your 610 is still in mostly perfect shape

  126. Arapito

    I’m looking forward to an “Extended” power save mode. The standard power save on my 410 becomes particularly annoying during relays – with all the noise going on around me I don’t hear the audible warnings that the unit is about to go into power save and then when my runner appears I suddenly don’t have time to reconnect with the satellites. Generally the GPS track starts recording about 200m after the start. Extended power save, bring it on – hopefully you’ll be able to report on times for the two modes in your review.

  127. Stephen Jackson

    Thanks for your reviews… always excellent. I have a 10 and a 310xt. I use the 10 day to day, but the time of day display does not show seconds – I need that for work. Can you include a screen shot of the time of day function on the 620?

    • I’ll add in some more photos over the next day or so (trying to knock out another set of posts for tomorrow with timelines to hit), but I do have one showing that seconds are shown in standard watch-face mode. :) Also shows day of the week below it (i.e. Tues 17)

  128. raven

    A question about the Bluetooth chip. I understand that the 620 and 220 will not be be to connect to Bluetooth devices like a footpod or HRM (although ANT+ devices are supported), but is it possible that could change in a future firmware update, or would that kind of support require different hardware altogether?

    If it is possible to change in the future, that would be slightly encouraging if Garmin even decided to provide their own Bluetooth accessories; if it requires a different kind of Bluetooth hardware then in all likelihood Garmin won’t support these kind of things for another two years (at least in this “weight class,” based on historical upgrade cycles).

  129. David

    Hi Ray,
    It annoyed me that I can’t take a “manual lap” during a custom workout with the FR610. Sometimes you’re part way through an interval and want to take a split (i.e. if half the interval is upwind/uphill etc.). The polar watch I used before switching to the FR610 used “phases” and “laps” as separate things, which enabled this function.
    Will the FR620 change this?

    Thanks for the great preview!

    • The only delimeter in Garmin devices is the lap/interval concept. Thus, a lap is a lap is a lap essentially. The exception being multisport workouts.

  130. Kyle

    Any idea whether some of these features will come to the 910xt via firmware upgrades? I would love to use the new heart rate strap, configure lap banners, and use the training plans and pr’s.


  131. Don in Baltimore

    Hi Ray,

    So much for my email question 2 weeks ago about the 610 rebate…

    We’ll see how good Clever Training’s return policy is?

    I have 1 comment and 1 question:
    1. I have the Tanita BC-1000 scale, so I’m very disappointed about the scales lack of support!

    2. Any info on support for VIRB Elite?


    • Clever Training has a great 60-day return policy. :)

      On the VIRB’s, I’ll have more information on where things stand on Wednesday (Las Vegas time).

      I appreciate the support!

  132. jeff

    Took the 210 that i got last thursday back.. “what new 620/220.. your joking we just stocked up ! ”

    MrGarmin , please add Virtual pacer to the FR220 with a time or distance indication, instantaneous or full distance..
    oh.. and the auto lap back light. It will then have 100% of what i need.. thats saying something ;-)

  133. Edwin

    I love my FR610, but is it worth for an upgrade to FR620 in your opinion? I use my FR610 for my run and cycling activities.

  134. THANKS! Thanks for yours fantastics reviews!
    For the 620 : can you choose the sport (running or cycling) like the 610?
    Why don’t they add the cadence sensor for bike? ( i see on the official Garmin site it’s not compatible with cadence sensor).
    I love the 610 for that and I don’t understand this missing option!

  135. hollyoak

    Thanks for the in-depth previews, a bit non-plussed now that I pulled the trigger on the FR610 at vente-privée last week (too good to pass at €189 though) to replace my old FR405, oh well…

    So it seems “Navigate: Back to start” is gone from the FR620? Not that big of a deal to me since I always run with iPhone 4S in its battery sleeve but I suspect this is going to be annoying to many people who had already lost the “courses” on the FR610…

  136. Anonymous Coward

    What will the 620 unit do if both an HRM-Run strap and an ANT+ footpod are connected simultaneously? Also, once the HRM-Run ships, should we expect a 910XT firmware update with support for Running Dynamics, VO2Max, … ? Finally, will a 620 unit get satellite pre-population if workouts are synced only over Bluetooth?

  137. Gabriellos

    Great review. Finally it’s possible to do a complete customization of data fields on the FR220.

    But is it still not possible to see HR in % if max? That would made it to a perfect watch for me.


  138. Expire

    If I understand this can’t be used (live tracking) for android phones, will this be available soon..
    How this this connect (live tracking), I think your data needs to be or can this be done by wifi?

  139. Wes Howarth

    Hi Ray,
    Does the 620 support non consecutive pace zones? I don’t use my 910xt for run based training as the zones end up being too wide so I used my now dodgy FR310 which does support no consecutive zones.

    By consecutive zones mean, Zone 2 lower limit would be the upper limit of Zone 1, zone 3 start would be the upper limit of Zone 2.

    I ‘ve configured my Zones using Matt Fitzgeralds Pace table in Brain Training:
    Recovery, Base, 1/2 Marathon, 10k, 5k, 3k, etc …


  140. Bernard

    As I see it-
    Great advantages of the 620 over the 610 are the BT connection, satellite pre-population, satellite reception indication and customizable lap banner.
    But I think the cutting out of the Virtual Racer will be missed, as well as the Ant+ data transfer option (unless I’m mistaken and this stays?). I find the Ant+ PC dongle incredibly sleek and non itrusive, most specially as I regharge my unit aith an electrical mains unit.

  141. Scott Gall

    When using four data fields, are the numbers “larger” on the 620?

  142. Daniel

    Looks like battery indicator now is visible in “clock mode”, that is something I have really been missing on my 610.

  143. Sarah Crowe

    can you charge the watch whist still using it. I’m thinking the battery life will still prove a niggle, due to not giving the option to reduce recording interval etc., which is where the ambit still wins out if your on the slower end of ultras

  144. Hi Ray

    Any news on *when* in the fall you’re expecting this watch – for us Brits? :(

    My 405CX strap has come off yet again. This time it’s on the watch itself (the part that holds the pin on the watch side forms the front cover of the watch). Any ideas of how to rescue my strap until this one comes out? :D

    Lastly – a great preview, as always!

  145. Goblano

    I am wondering if they use Glonass satellites too? Do you know?
    I know it made a huge boost in accuracy when I upgraded to a smartphone with GPS +Glonass.
    GPS coverage is pretty bad here in northern Sweden, so Glonass would be a huge incentive to buy the 620….

  146. I do wish Garmin would come out with a premium heart rate monitor strap that wouldn’t cut you to bits.

  147. SF

    Given that a lot of the data is coming from the HRM-Run strap. I’m pretty sure that you will see firmware update so the 910xt, as well as other products, give you the three main features that come from the new HRM strap.

    As far as VO2 Max and over/under training metrics- it’s the same data that my FirstBeat Athlete software spits out so I’m indifferent.

    • Eli

      Not likely, they will probably wait for the replacement to the 910. The new strap will just look like a normal hr strap to other devices

  148. Brian Thompson

    Ray, fantastic preview and great information. I hate to add to all the noise here but I do have one question that I am guessing cannot be answered at this time. I am thrill Garmin has finally come out with a watch that is water proof. That is one point that has frustrated me and prevented a purchase. I am most excited about the 620 and will probably make the plunge when it is released in a couple of months. That being said, what I am most interested in is the accelerometer. I get why it is there and hope that its accuracy is matched to the foot pod. However, if the watch has an accelerometer just like the 910XT and Garmin Swim, what is the possibility that they will add Swim Meterics to the 620? From a hardware standpoint, the watch could absolutely support swimming and or cycling. If they do not plan to add that feature is there a way to add them on your own?

    • Eli

      And then why would anyone buy the 910xt or its replacement?

      Add it on your own? You’d have to reprogram the device so no

  149. Chase

    Any they’ll be released too early & not even function properly until a barrage of downloads/updates over the first year.

  150. Nick

    Do you foresee the 910 receiving the running dynamics and compatibility with the new HRM-run?

  151. trdjohn

    Accelerometer, it’s only in new HR strap, or is there one in the watch too? – maybe you can address that in the watch review, does the internal accelerometer smooth the displayed pace if used with GPS, or does it only work w/ GPS off indoors? That’s one place the Suunto Ambit2 (without footpod) is great, accelerometer changes quickly to show a pick up in tempo & is steady in straight line & twisty trails, where my 610 pace (without footpod) lags to changes in tempo, rarely shows steady pace, jumps around in straight line and especially on twisty trails.

    Will Training Effect estimate be better? I’ve never gotten good data from mine even after a month or 2 of training data, I’ve reset my 610 a number of times after 30 to 60 days and I still get either 5.0 or 1.x TE, never in between, and I do a wide variety of workouts, to me its worthless compared to Suunto Ambit2.

    Battery life seems disappointing, for as much weight they shaved, they could have added a few more grams for extra battery life.

    620 WiFi – confused, you can use Wifi to upload activities, download firmware and satellite data, but can’t use Wifi for download of calendar/workouts? you have to use USB connection for downloading calendar/workouts?

    • Eli

      Is your max hr and resting hr set correctly? See reply #6:
      link to forums.garmin.com

    • trdjohn

      You sir are a freaking genius! Yeah I guess I assumed that because I had the correct info on Garmin Connect, it would sync over to the watch automatically like Movescount & the Suunto Ambit2. I updated the info in the 610 watch today to the correct values, went for a run with both watches and the TE was finally inline with what the Ambit2 was showing. Thanks.

  152. Garmin Noob

    Can someone explain to me why Garmin drops features found on cheaper watches? I have an FR70 with footpod that I deemed good enough for my first watch. It was pretty accurate, did HR, had a cycle mode and worked with ANT+ bike accessories. Virtual Partner, etc.

    But the 220 doesn’t have a bike mode? Why is that? And the 620 won’t out the door?

    Is GPS that helpful, that you should buy a FR220 over a FR70?

    watch noob

    • Noob – Garmin has segmented their fitness product line across three types of athletes: Cyclists (Edge), Triathletes (FR XT), and Runners (Forerunner). As new devices have come out over the last 5 years, this segmentation seems to be getting stronger and stronger.

      So… you have two possible answers, depending on your attitude:
      1) They make devices which are focused exactly on the specific needs of different athletes – no clutter and annoyances for things I don’t want.
      2) They want multi-sport users to buy a more expensive watch, or two dedicated devices for each sport.

      I’m inclined to think it’s more #1 than #2. Just look outside of their fitness line – they have a watch dedicated to golfing! and a dog tracking collar for hunters! So it’s consistent.

    • Eli

      Part of it is development time. Guessing they are trying hard to hit before the holidays to get good sales so they drop the functionality they think is the least important to make their target. Will be interesting to see if Garmin promises any functionality they will add after the initial release.

      I also find it interesting they drop support for ANT+ Fitness Equipment while the thisisant.com folk (the people in charge of Ant+) just a few days ago updated their demo code for that functionality like they still see that functionality having a future.

  153. Llama

    I agree about the colours on the watches. What a shame to spoil a professional bit of kit with childish bright colours on the front. What’s wrong with having at least one black/silver option. Is it not bad enough that most womens running clothing is littered with pink! Now garmin are only offering these in jelly baby colours. Didn’t Apple do this back in the 1990’s with the early iMacs?! Then wisely outgrew the need for gimmicky colours. Come on Garmin, not every runner wants to look like a 6 year old who’s dressed themselves while dad/mum wasn’t watching.

    • Eli

      Have you seen the iphone 5C? Seems to be similar here. If you want it toned down you need to get the higher end device with the 620 toned down more then the 220.

  154. Greg

    Unlike Garmin’s EDGE product updates, the Forerunner’s hardware and software changes appear better thought through and ultimately more compelling.

    That said here are some thoughts/requests:

    1. I use the cycling mode on my 610 for cross country skiing – the ‘hold the lap/reset button is a handy shortcut btw. I’d like to see Garmin commit to at least an ‘Other’ and or ‘Cycling’ mode before the device goes on general sale.

    2. I agree with those requesting a more subtle colour scheme. The 610’s black with subtle blue accents was/is fine. There is too much blue on the Blue/Black 620.

    3. For many athletes 3rd party access to our data by trusted partners like Training Peaks and Strava, is essential to getting the full benefit from the additional connectivity options in the 620.

    Garmin’s at an interesting point in the development of it sports products. Will new products like the 620 seek to nudge us towards an exclusive relationship. Or will they use technologies like wi-fi and Bluetooth Smart to make it easier for us to utilise and share our data with other people and services.

    • Eli

      I agree with point 1.

      Not sure about point 3 though. The same old ways of getting the data to 3rd parties still exist, they just are making new easier ways of getting data off the devices and those new ways are garmin centric. Don’t get me wrong, I do wish they opened the BLE (FR220/620) and the bluetooth communication protocols (Edge 510/810) so 3rd party apps could talk to the devices. Just don’t think garmin is restricting the devices

    • Tim

      For Eli Regarding point 3…

      I see the new auto pushing the data from the device to GC as more difficult to get to Strava (at least in how I use Strava). For me, my PC sucks in all ANT+ data from a Swim, 910xt, and several 610 devices. Next I can log in to Strava and have it pull all new activites from my devices (one device at a time).

      With the new watches the files don’t appear to exist locally, so I am forced to either manually export activities (one at a time) or find a sync service.

      Perhaps I am missing something here though (i.e. a way to load the activity from the watch, to the phone, to 3rd party sites).

      Does GarminSync work well for those that use it? Do all of my activites in GC need to be public for it to see them?

    • ekutter

      If it ends up working like the Edge, you just plug it in with the USB cable and your computer sees it just like any memory card. Then Strava can just grab it directly from there. No need to go through the extra step of having it upload to your computer via Ant+. For me, I prefer this since I plug mine in to charge anyways and like having direct access to the files on the device.

      This method obviously doesn’t help those that want to do it wirelessly through their phone using the Ant+ adapter.

      One downside of this is it doesn’t automatically make a backup copy on your computer when it uploads it through the Ant Agent. But it should still automatically upload to Garmin Connect via WiFi or blue tooth so you will get a backup copy there.

  155. Erik

    I realize everyone’s needs are different in gear like this, but for me it is mind boggling that a flag ship running watch omits basic GPS navigation (courses). I was hoping it was just a sloppy oversight in the 610, but now it seems like a very deliberate move.

    If I travel and/or run in new places (which I do as much as possible), being able to quickly plot a course, upload to my watch and head out without the risk of taking a wrong turn is crucial. Plus the planning part can be good fun if you have the spare time.

    It is beyond me why such a feature would be deemed appropriate only for a multisport models. As it must be pointless for swimming, that must mean that they think of it mainly a cycling feature. And I couldn’t disagree more. Basic navigation should be one the most obvious features in a GPS-enabled watch, period. *rant over*

    • Eli

      I would agree and the main reason I back Leikr’s watch. To me it should have at least the functionality the old FR 305 had (breadcrumb style map)

    • Gunnar

      Agree about the breadcrumb routing and lack of course download as a bummer. I stopped using it on my 910xt as it tuwned out to be fairly buggy and slow and simply rely on my edge 800 for cycling and having a phone with me for running in unkown territory (which I dislike).

      I did do a few runs and one bike ride in Copenhagen two weeks ago with the Leikr and the maps were great. Allowed me to run nice and light (no phone) AND know where I was going.

      Lack of breadcrumb trail will keep from getting the 620/220 and hoping the Leikr team can get their ducks in a row and finish their promising watch.

  156. David Rosser

    Seems the screens on both models are significantly more readable than on the 610. I currently have the TomTom Multi and really love the screen (not much else).

    How would you compare the 220/620 screen’s readability to that of the TomTom?

  157. Phil

    Thank you for the great reviews.

    I am a 310xt user, and had previously read your workaround to create a pace alert. Is that method also required for the 910xt? or is there a real deal pace alert built-in? Same question about the 620.

    I went to the Garmin site and “compared” the three. In the Pace Alert row the 310xt and 910xt were YES(for advanced workouts) and the 620 is just YES.

    When I started running a few years ago I purchased my 310xt based on a friends recommendation as well as your review (at the time it was the only waterproof watch with the functionality.) I truly only use it for running, and now most of the Garmin(s) are waterproof.

    I ran the Navy AirForce 1/2 this weekend (used it as a training run for the Richmond marathon in November). I won’t list all 13 miles, but a sampling of my splits: 7:36,7:23, 7:04, 7:11, 7:20, 7:16, 7:19… My pacing was all over the place and I really need to get a handle on it!!!!

    Thanks again, Phil

  158. Garret Barends

    Nice Garmin device, again they do it. Hard to accept is the space around the display wich i find is too much of it. A big display simply works better while running. Now Garmin shows a lot of design around a small display. What’s your opinion ’bout that Ray?

    Nice article, let’s wait what Garmin finally delivers in a couple of weeks. Excited! In the meantime i’ll keep running with my 310XT ;)

    Hi from Holland,

    Garret Barends

  159. arek

    There is no weekday at the display anymore?

  160. runner4life

    Here’s to hoping the accelerometer thing can be used to better calculate my route distance when I run a lot of switchbacks with curves, and in general improved route distance accuracy when running a tortuous path and through tunnels. In other words, I would hope that the accelerometer and Garmin’s new code is capable of inertial navigation to some degree in calculating position, routes and distances.

  161. J.Griffin

    One thing is for certain with just about anything, it will be very difficult to please everyone.

    One has to decide which whistles & bells are most important, and which are deal breakers, ease of use, and of course cost.

  162. Craig

    I’ve read through the comments, so if I’ve missed something alluding to this please forgive me… Something I’d LOVE to see is an HRM strap from Garmin with bluetooth to smartphone capability as well as linking to HRM watches (basically a Garmin version of the Polar H7). Remember that the H7 has two radios, one for BLE and one for compatible HRM watches. Does the HRM Run strap do this? I just think it’s about time Garmin gave us a ‘dual purpose’ HRM like the H7, and would have thought the FR620 might have been a good chance to do this.

  163. Geert


    Do these watches have recessed glasses? Like the 305, and I think the 210 as well?

    • Eli

      So if you lay the watch down on the display the screen itself isn’t touching anything and the bevel around it takes all the weight? (So not like the pebble watch)

  164. yannis

    On the comparison tables under Workouts Training Calendar Functionality the 610 is marked as No and the 620 as Yes. I have been using the Training Calendar with my 610 for a while now and I have all my scheduled workouts in the watch. Is it a mistake in the table or something I did not understand?

    • The difference is that on the FR610 is just dumps the workouts onto your watch as a bulk-dump in the “Workouts” section. Whereas on the FR620 they show-up assigned to actual days.

    • yannis

      That’s not correct Ray. The workouts on the 610 appear on the specific days as scheduled in the online plan at Garmin Connect. They are not just under workouts they are under “Scheduled” in the menu structure.
      On any given day I can go to scheduled and do the day’s workout or choose the workout from the next day and do that instead if I feel like it. It is true calendar view not just a dump. I use that feature everyday.

    • yannis

      I forgot to mention that as soon as I wake the 610 it asks if I would like to perform that days workout so I rarely have to go to “Scheduled” in the menu.

  165. Adam Lawrence

    Thanks for all these detailed and technically proficient reviews, they’re quite helpful, and a welcome change from the “I ran with it once and I liked the color but the strap chafed my wrist” reviews that permeate the amateur athlete blogosphere. These look neat, but am I the only one who is a little annoyed by the proliferation of gimmicky extra features, which drive up the price, and I assume (although perhaps you could correct me here) drain the battery? All the features I really need are in the Forerunner 10: distance, time, and a range of pace and lap display options. If it just had a 20 hour battery, it would be perfect. It’s annoying to me to have to pay $120 more for a color touch screen that it never occurred to me to want, just to get a halfway decent battery life. And with all the online platforms for processing GPS and heartrate data in all manner of interesting ways, is there really any need to increase the amount of analysis that can be done within the device by the watch’s own software? It seems to me that the most efficient solution is a device which creates a reliable GPS file over many hours if neccessary for post-workout analysis outside of the watch, and gives you a simple time/distance/pace display during the workout.

  166. Ryan

    If it could do with direct it could make a better connection than BT, and I think all newer android phones support it.

    Also, what is with the big bezels? Seems like so much wasted space. And four sections would look much nicer taking up more screen, especially on the 220. I thint touch is overrated and a waste of space. Give me bigger and easier to read screens.

    And if they’re going BT, they are a small step away from putting in 16gb of memory and a2dp or apt so it can be a complete solution. Many utilize music, and if you’re going to download training runs, piping commands hough the headphones would be ideal.

    The minute they put gps in Android watches, there will be some stiffer competition as people like the MotoActiv idea but wish for better implementation.

  167. Ryan

    If it could do wifi direct it could make a better connection than BT, and I think all newer android phones support it.

    Also, what is with the big bezels? Seems like so much wasted space. And four sections would look much nicer taking up more screen, especially on the 220. I thint touch is overrated and a waste of space. Give me bigger and easier to read screens.

    And if they’re going BT, they are a small step away from putting in 16gb of memory and a2dp or aptX so it can be a complete solution. Many utilize music, and if you’re going to download training runs, piping commands through the headphones would be ideal.

    The minute they put gps in Android watches, there will be some stiffer competition as people like the MotoActiv idea but wish for better implementation.

  168. jeff

    The bigger blank looking Bezels maybe to house antennas.ANT,GPS,BT… The FR10 does not have a buldge on the side because the GPS antenna is under the face bezel.

  169. Mike

    Excellent write up.
    There is a feature in the 410 that I’m curious if they’ve brought it to the new 620 or 220. It’s the ability to fine tune the distance in Autolap all the way down to the hundredth (1.01, 1.02, 1.03) vs. only every five hundredth (1.05, 1.10, 1.15). Do you know if we can do that with the new 220 or 620? Comes in handy in longer races such as marathons. I put the Autolap at 1.01 and it is almost dead-on perfect for the whole race, the watch beeps almost exactly as I cross the courses mile markers.
    Thanks in advance.

  170. Alan J

    Have been looking at investing in a quality running watch for a while and am quite excited by the 620. However a massive draw back for me is the delay in the Virtual Racer – this is one of the main features i’ve been looking for in a watch. How long do updates like these normally take to come along?


    • It could be one month or 12 months. It honestly depends a bit on the team behind it, and what else they’ve got going on – it’s primarily a resourcing thing.

      I got the feeling on the call the immediate focus was getting the watch shipped as-is with the feature set described, and then going into the new year playing a bit of catch-up with some of these features left out.

  171. Paul

    I saw a similar comment asking about taking splits witihin an intervall. I have a similar question;

    Say you are running a 5K on a 400m track. You have the autolap function enabled for every 1K (or autosplit as I would call it). Why don’t Garmin differentiate between laps and splits? E.g. One lap would be 400m (or any other distance <1K<, which could be handled manually with the lap-key. While the fixed distance of 1K should be logged automatically as a split time. Or, while running a marathon you would get 1K splits, and could manually lap at 21,1K to analyse the first and second half of the marathon in addition to every km. They way the current lap-function works is that manually laping within a 1K autolap messes things up as the watch does not differentiate between splits and laps.

    If you follow me, your 5K recordings could (or should) look someting like this split/lapwise:
    Split 1K (auto): XX:XX, Split 2K (auto): XX:XX Split 3K (auto): XX:XX Split 4K (auto): XX:XX Split 5K (auto): XX:XX

    Lap 400m (manual): XX:XX, Lap 800m (manual): XX:XX, Lap 1200m (manual): XX:XX…….

    Hope you follow my reasoning – thanks for any reply (:


    • jeff

      Not having much experiance with how Garmin chooses what will be in which watch, can anyone help suggest functions that will most likely stay in only one of the two new watches (220/620) ?

      I can’t justify a 620 at the moment just because it MAY get Virtual XXXX or back track, but then again i would hate to get a 220 or a 620 to find IT missed out.

    • In fact Polar does exactly this – you can have multiple types of laps which “overlap” each other. It’s a bit of a challenge from a data perspective!

      For Garmin probably the answer: Unnecessary complexity.

      Imagine showing the lap/split times on the watch – the athlete is expected to know “which” split the lap refers to (400m or 1k). Showing this -ON WATCH- is a bit overkill.

      Once you’ve done the workout and want to analyze “post race” – any credible software solution (such as SportTracks… shameless plug) will let you look at your workout by autosplits of arbitrary distances, as well as creating segments “on the fly” of the first half/second half, any interesting hills or segments, and then comparing those to similar workouts, yadda yadda.

      With that kind of “post race” analysis – autolapping isn’t even necessary.

  172. Søren G. Andersson

    Thanks for a comprehensive preview.

    You wrote in an earlier answer: “It will not be compatible with Tempe” (FR620)
    Do you know if it is Garmin strategy not to add Tempe to forerunner equipment or is it just “current fact”?
    Thanks in advance

  173. Andrea

    I hope they’ll reconsider the Tanita BC-1000 support for the 620…since is useful to track health data on GC

  174. jonno

    Shame looks like the market they are after is not the serious althlete.
    10 hours battery life – I would need to re-charge each day at the weekend when i am doing long stuff, never mind a normal weeks training and that’s before we get to multi-sport and ultra events. Tom Tom have a new watch with the same issue of short battery life. The 310xt maybe ugly but at least it goes the distance. (Anyway it’s not supposed to be worn around the office it’s supposed to be a effin sports watch). grrrrr

    • Adam Lawrence

      Yes, it seems to me Garmin is actually regressing on battery life here. If they’re discontinuing the 310, that leaves only the 910 as an option for serious ultra distance training and racing, and that damn thing costs $400. The 220 costs the same as the 310, with half the battery life. What really annoys me is the addition of things like full color touch screens, which drive up the price, drain the battery (I assume, though I could be wrong on that), and seem designed primarily to make these “sport” watches appeal to phone addicts.

    • The FR910XT is the replacement for the FR310XT – an endurance watch. The FR220 is a replacement for the FR210, which had 8 hours, and now has 10 hours. The FR620 is a replacement for the FR610, which had 8-10 hours, and now has 10 hours.

  175. Danijel


    I am very happy with the FR210, but what I am missing is the VIRTUAL PARTNER. And now I see the FR220, it’s the same, NO VIRTUAL PARTNER. Why? This is only one more field, it’s not so difficult to put in on. My old FR60 has an VP…. Please GARMIN add the VP on the 220 before is out.

    • morey000

      Agreed! In looking through the 220’s features, I think it’s got everything I need. Customizeable fields, custom workouts, vibration alarm. A much more functional running watch than the 210. The only thing that it really really needs is a Virtual partner! The VP on my 405 was singlehandedly responsible for getting me to BQ. In the middle of a marathon I cannot do even the simplest math in my head. I need to look at a display that says I’m 1:32 ahead of plan (or whatever). It’s a killer feature for letting you know exactly where you are. But, then again, perhaps Garmin is intentionally withholding it in order to spring an extra $200 from my wallet.

    • ekutter

      Virtual partner can be nice but you can get most of what it gives you by just looking at average pace. If you know what your average pace needs to be, comparing two numbers is pretty simple math, even in a race. That said, my distance has often been off by a significant enough amount compared to the official race distance that if I were relying on the pace (or virtual partner), the data would have been off by quite a bit which could be the difference of a BQ. So the watch distance and pace is no substitute if seconds / mile matter.

  176. Danijel

    Rainmaker: please fix: battery life for 210 is 8 hours, not 10.

    • I’ll double-check again today, the reason it’s listed as “Not Final”, is because it’s well, “Not Final” by Garmin unit. In the meantime I’ll stick it with the lower 8 hours, even if inaccurate.

    • My initial chart was correct, it is indeed 10 hours, not 8 as Garmin.com says – it’s currently incorrect and being fixed.

  177. Aben

    How useful is the new data available, stride height, time of foot on ground etc to the non professional runner (intuitively it seems very useful to me, if it gets me to keep my feet less time on the ground and not stride so high….). I understand things like cycling right/left power is not useful

    • I talk a bit about this in that section above. I think there’s still some work/learning that needs to be done in this space to identify real-life trends with this data and what should/shouldn’t be done.

  178. John

    Does either of watches show true “Split” times with each “lap”. This is a different question to some of the previous Q’s relating to splits.

    “Lap” being the usual lap (manual or auto), “split” being cummulative split times, this is a standard reference in athletics.

    example: 1st 1km lap 4min (split = 4mins), 2nd 1km lap 4mins (split = 8mins)…………………5th 1km lap 4min (split 20mins). This is pretty standard for most sportswatches but i have found not for GPS watches. It is useful when using as a stop watch to time more than one athlete in a race but also when looking back at a run to figure out your own 5km split in a 10km race for example.

  179. GAH!!! I have a Garmin 610 on the way in the mail. I hope that Garmin will be good and replace mine for the new one! Even if I have to pay an extra few dollars.

  180. Gabriello

    Great review. Finally it’s possible to do a complete customization of data fields on the FR220.

    But is it still not possible to see HR in % if max? That would made it to a perfect watch for me.

  181. Andrew

    I need the 220 to have Virtual Partner and Virtual Racer and it would be a complete midrange runners watch(I’m not going to use / need the 620 features, I want them but dont need them). At least one of these (VP / VR) need to be added to the 220, ASAP.

  182. Gunnar

    The more I analyze these two watches (and ship my 910xt out for repair…for the second time), the more I think the 220 is excellent bang for the buck. The 620 is pretty pricey at $399 for a few more “geeky” workout items. WiFi connectivity doesn’t excite me much with the 620 since I travel frequently and hotel password protected wifi’s don’t help with uploading. Bluetooth uploading direct to smartphone does excite me and luckily the 220 has that (however, the wait for Android bluetooth connectivity may be a long one!), but at least I can simply use the USB cable to pair to my tablet when traveling and extract the .FIT files (since I don’t travel with a laptop).

    If I end up missing the 910xt swim features (for the pool) I can mull over buying the Garmin swim with the money saved with getting the 220 (and selling my 910xt). I’m fine with the swim cap method for open water swims….which the 220 will do just fine with since (finally!) it’s waterproofed.

    • Gil

      You might want to look into the Suunto Ambit 2S.

    • andzs

      For 620 it probably would work if you use Wifi tethering mode on Android phone and configure watch to use your phones access point. It will solve your traveling and/or Android issues. Mobile data rate plans still apply ;)

  183. David

    Just a heads up on Clever Training and the 620…

    I have previously used Clever Training to purchase an already released product, the Edge 510 and used Ray’s discount and all went smoothly. I saw that Clever Training had the 620 Bundle up for preorder so I went forward with that, again using Ray’s discount. To my suprise it SHIPPED this morning LOL! Of course this product is a month or months away for release so I called them immediately and their warehouse had mistakenly boxed a 610 Bundle (despite the order clearly saying 620 Blue/Black Bundle) but we caught it before it hit the mail. While on the phone I asked if I could have my credit card also refunded immediately and was suprised to learn Clever Training charges your card when you PREORDER! While I should have caught this when ordering as I am sure they spell it out on their site, it certainly is a different way of doing buisness than Amazon or other major online retailers that only charge your card when an order is actually shipped. I canceled my preorder and they have now processed a refund.

    Just a word to the wise. I have been happy with Clever and would use them again but I will certainly wait till they have product in stock before placing preorders with them in the future.

    • Hi David-

      Thanks for the support via Clever. This is definitely pretty wonky. I’m meeting with them here in person in the next few hours at Interbike – so I’ll get a clear follow-up on how that happened. Definitely the first I’ve ever heard of that happening.


    • Thomas Reagan

      I can confirm that pre-orders are charged at the time of the order.

      The same thing happened to me. I asked them specifically about the issue via customer support and was told that charges are processed automatically when the order is taken. Apparently, they are unable or unwilling to fix the system.

      I am willing to live with it, since the 10% discount is so nice, but this is pretty weird.

  184. Chris

    Love it. Like others, I eagerly await what I hope will be the similarly equipped 920XT (next year?). I just have to convince myself I don’t need the 620 AND the 920XT to go along with my reliable 310XT now.

  185. Josh

    X2 Ray, I went ahead and called them to confirm if I preordered today if my card would be charged and was told yes, so I too decided not to preorder. Maybe you can discuss their policy of charging folks prior to shipment?

    • Thanks Josh. I’ll be talking with them about it today (pre-order charges). I appreciate everyone’s support. And as David noted, the Clever Training folks are really great to work with and always aim to make the situation right in the event of any snags.


    • MJ

      I agree. I also inquired about charges for pre-orders. I have never purchased from Clever before but I did pre-order the 620 & charge is already posted on my credit card. So hopefully there will be no fulfillment issues.

    • Hi MJ & Josh-

      I talked with Clever Training about the pre-order/pre-charge issue this week at Interbike. They’re actually in a bit of a pickle right now with their current order processing system. The good news though is that they’re switching backend processing/accounting systems in the coming weeks, and once that’s complete they’ll be looking at being able to change their pre-order process. Especially for items like this where the ‘risk’ is low for them and placing larger orders and knowing the units will go out.

      Again, thanks for the support!

  186. Will you try and use the 620 with the 4iiii’s Viiiiva ANT+ HRM?

  187. Paul

    Looks great but simple question, can you now use this as a normal watch? Drives me nuts that I can’t on my 910 because the battery dies too fast even with GPS turned off.

  188. Dustin

    Awesome article! I’ve seen mixedanswers on the Virtual trainer for the 220. Your image on the comparison table says NO, Garmin has both YES and NO depending on which part of the site you read. Cleaver Training has it listed as YES. I’m confused to know if it has it or not. Can you confirm or deny if the 220 has the Virtual Partner?


  189. Martin

    Hi Rainmaker,
    After reading your review we decided to wait for the 220 to arrive, instead of ordering a 210.

    We ordered at Clever Training. Postage was $29,99, but using your coupon code nicely balanced that out. ;) And we will probably have it sooner than it will be available in the Netherlands. And cheaper. ;)

    So thanks for the review and keep up the good work!

  190. Martin Ommen

    Hi Ray.
    Regarding the new HRM-RUN do you expect the 910xt to be updated for the new data metrics?

  191. jeff

    Anyone , How does international or national warranty go when one purchases from the US ?
    ( i’m in OZ)

    • Typically it gets a bit messy, because the device you’re aligned to is a US device. In most countries it’s not the end of the world and they’ll help you out, whereas in places like Brazil, you’re basically SOL because of the horrid import restrictions there, totally changing the support models for companies.

  192. All, regarding FR910XT and HRM-Run metrics.

    In talking with Garmin today, it doesn’t sounds like we should expect to see this ported to the FR910XT. While we may continue to see bug-fix style updates for the FR910XT, at this point updates going forward won’t generally be feature-adds.

    Given the FR910XT release cycle I talked about at the end of this post (see last two paragraphs), one can probably understand why they might be making this move and the allocation of resources going forward. This is really no different than any other technology company in adding new features and functionality to new devices (see: iPhone). In the case of Garmin, sometimes devices get additional features post-launch (such as the FR910XT getting Vector updates two days ago), and sometimes those new features might come in the form of a new device down the road.

  193. jeff

    Thanx Ray,

    Virtual Pacer is what i want on the 220. But not just a agead / behind indicator. I need to know time or distance… I need help with a sub 90 half ;-)

    Here in OZ even when the AUD was 1:1 with the USD the 210 was $50 cheaper in the US. Now at 93 cents to the USD The black 210 is now $299 here with strap. the 610 is $499 with.

  194. Rai

    Regarding the vertical oscillation I can see how this could potentially be used to aid in running form analysis, however, you have to question its accuracy. Unless Garmin have some good calibration and filtering techniques then surely the unit will also be recording any relative movement of the strap to the body, i.e. if you’re carrying some excess body fat your strap will move relative to your body at each foot strike. If your body composition changes then the relative movement is likely to change also. I suppose that in that scenario you could use it to gauge weight loss!

  195. Oz

    The chart indicates both have pace alerts, but do both have heart rate alerts (both bpm and zones) as well? I assume that they would, but want to make sure before I pre-order.

  196. MJ

    So is there a foot pod that can be used with FR620 or is that feature now built in to the HRM-Run monitor?

  197. Eli

    Any chance of having the Recovery Advisor feature added to the Edge 810/510? Pretty sure the answer is no, but hope Garmin sees there is interest

    • Actually, that came up yesterday – there is some interesting in adding those features to other fitness devices where appropriate (i.e. you wouldn’t add vertical oscillation to cycling, but recovery advisor would make sense).

    • Eli

      :) The optimist in me thinks this may mean they would also add rr interval recording functionally too.

      Vertical oscillations for mountain biking to track the jumps done? ok, thats a big stretch but would be interesting to have a metric of how smooth a ride is. For road bikers that would make it easy to collect data for how smooth a road is which could be useful for the sites where you create courses by picking the smoother roads. And for off road guessing that could be used to show a bit of the difficulty of a trail as you could see how smooth it is vs needing to jump over obstacles.

      (just to be clear recovery advisor is the feature I really want the other is a small bonus)

  198. JayCar

    I’ve combed the posts and the internet as well.. :-) But do we have an official release date? I’m without a training device right now and would really like to hold out for the FR620 but also can’t wait TOO long. Any insights?

  199. Ray, am I right to say that it’s perfectly possible to use this FR620 with just an iPhone? As I’m planning to go travelling, I won’t have access to a (personal) computer…

  200. Sebastián

    I have a FR10 and the feature I miss is current lap time. Have FR 620 or FR 220 this feature?

    Thank you!