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

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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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

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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.

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

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(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.

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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:

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

Next, the FR220 followed by the older FR210:

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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).

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

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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.

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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…).

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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).

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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

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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

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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.

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With that, let’s talk about features.

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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:

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Then, these are added to your Garmin Connect calendar:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Workouts then appear within the workout section on the watches:

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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.

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PR’s: FR620 & FR220

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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

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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:

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

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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:

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

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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).

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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:

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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.

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

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This includes things like heart rate data and paces:

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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.

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

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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
Price$179.00$249$349.00$399
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
AlertsAudio/VisualVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALAUDIO/VISUAL/VIBRATEAudio/Visual/Vibrate
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
Altimeter TypeGPSGPSGPSGPS
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
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLink
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.

Summary:

IMG_2562

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.

IMG_2571

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)

1,006 Comments

  1. Josh

    Ray any word on CT allowing preorder without prepay considering the wait time?

  2. Kon

    It appears I am not alone, as many on the GARMIN forums have experienced battery and charging issues with their forerunner 610’s.. Basically my watch is 18 months old and as soon as the battery drops to about 70% – 75% it starts re booting and becomes unusable… I’m lucky if can get 2 hours out use with GPS out of it on a full charge… Unfortunately its out of warranty and there is nothing i can do with it.. its a lot of money wasted in this instance i would of expected it to get a few years use out of it at least… Its a shame as i also own their cycling gps products edge 800 and previous model the 705… they are great units…

    Do you think Garmin have made any improvements on these issues in respect with charging pins and battery longevity? They would need to, if I was to consider upgrading to this new model…

    • Duane

      I agree with Kon. The endless booting loop that the 610 sometimes gets into when the battery drains has been more than frustrating. I have had this watch for 2 years and there still has not been a reliable fix for this. For a $400 product (or even a $100 product) this is unacceptable.

      I do not know how many times I have sworn I will never buy another Garmin…alas the 620 looks nice if I was sure it would not have these problems.

      I also agree with a previous poster that the Motorola Motoactv was a watch that was 2 years ahead of its time. I would love to see the TomTom or some other Smart watch come to market quickly that could really compete with Garmin.

    • melissa

      Preach.

      I’ve exchanged my 610 three times to the store, and once to Garmin for RMA. The charging pins on the back of the watch keep getting corroded and I’m in an endless cycle of reboot/reverse charge. The last time Garmin RMAd me I got the new plastic-backed refurb, which is nice but it doesn’t address any problems with the charging leads. At this point I don’t know what to do. My big race is in 3 weeks and the watch is completely unreliable. The FR620 won’t be available by then (although the charge leads look improved on that model).

      I can’t trust this watch at all anymore. I’m not sure how much I can trust other Garmin products given the fact that this STILL is a problem for so many people.

    • Eli

      If its purely corrosion on the charging pins try vinegar. (don’t dunk the watch in it as the watch isn’t waterproof but a qtip may work to reach in there)

    • Rick

      Great tip, Eli! Thanks!

      I had a year of the 210 and its oddball charging clip and thought the 610’s charger would be a step-up. Not so. After just a few months, even with periodic cleaning, there was such a build-up of gunk on one of the leads that I wasn’t getting a charge anymore.

      I used the tip of a corkscrew and hot water to try to dissolve salt and corrosion away. I’ve got it functioning well again, but not tip-top. I’ll definitely try the vinegar, though at this point I’m waiting on my CleverTraining pre-order for the 620. :-)

    • Rich

      corrosion or gunk on leads — go to Radio Shack – I hate the store but its one of the few to have Deoxit and Deoxit Gold — works perfectly — just a drop or two.

  3. Bahlawan

    Damn you Garmin my 610 is barely 6 months old but this 620 looks so appealing. I love the WIFI upload. Anyone in the market for a 610 say around Halloween?

  4. Ryan

    Think I’m sticking with my 210. For an everyday wearing watch, the colors are just dumb. Still can’t get 4pcs of info on screen without scrolling. The rest just isn’t enough to ditch the 210 and get the 220. And no android solution would be another reason. Already have that on the 210. ;-)
    .

  5. Paul

    Cant wait to get the new 620 on my wrist!
    Will Garmin be offering any trade-in programs to upgrade from the 610?
    My biggest gripe with 610 is that the screen is easily scarred. I’m on my second one and it has several scars on surface. I hope they have upgraded the materials used so it is not as easily damaged. The weight difference gives me hope!

    • Dom

      Zagg circular screen protectors are what you need.
      My first 610 (replaced under warranty for other reasons) was cracked by some clown who bodychecked me off a path just before a race. The replacement never got hit that hard, but I put a protector on it the day it arrived and the screen is pristine 14 months later.

  6. Sharee

    I’m really disappointed the 220 doesn’t have a Virtual Pacer & that Garmin didn’t go ahead and make the bluetooth available for Android for those of us with compatible phones. The Jawbone Up got torn to pieces for not being on android right away–but it and the FitBit Flex are compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and S4!

    I’m torn between the 310XT and the 220. I’m not sure if triathlons are going to be my thing (I didn’t enjoy my first one earlier this year, but I’m trying another one next year), but the 310 has the “navigate back home”, “Compas–via GPS”, and “virtual pacer” features that I really want in a watch. And a much better battery life. But the 220 has a ton of cool features too– live tracking (although is this available only for iOS?), bluetooth/smart phone capability (hopefully for android?), and, of course, functioning as an actual watch. . . I guess I will wait to see if Garmin allows Android compatability, otherwise I suppose I’ll be getting the (ugly) 310XT.

  7. Crispin E

    Great preview. The 620 is just what I’ve been waiting for Garmin to release. Whilst I don’t expect any Fenix type navigation options, it would be nice if the 620 could display map grid references (OSGB in my case) like the 310xt and 910xt can. That’s all I need from a GPS when out hiking/fell running – just confirming my location in poor visibility (map & compass do the rest).

  8. gunnar

    Ray, is it possible (with the 620) WiFi to use your mobile phone wifi hotspot feature to download workouts?

    Could be a way around the android bluetooth issues for uploading when away from home/work WiFi networks?

    • Yup, absolutely. Assuming you’re cell phone and/or carrier supports it, you’d be good to go there.

    • Ryan

      an offshoot of this is Wifi Direct. More reliable than bluetooth and probably easy to do on android so you could sync with the garmin android software taking the bluetooth issues right off the table.

  9. TH Painmaker

    Will PR’s be calculated and show up on the device during a run? If you set a 1 mile PR during a half marathon does it show up at the end of the run or when you complete the lap?

  10. Andrew

    Seems like a few people want to see VR / VP on the 220.

    How hard would it be to add and I don’t think its really eating into the 620 market, were not after Recovery etc.

  11. David Corsi

    A quick question about the new HRM… Are the new measurements recorded internal to the “pod” itself or are sensors imbedded in the fabric strap? I guess what I am getting at is can I continue to attach this next generation Garmin HRM pod to a Polar strap like I currently can without losing the new metrics…

  12. Aben

    NEW HRM DATA? other head units?

    Will for example an ‘app’ be cable of written for the ambit 2 to utilize this data (which is just numbers on Ant+ stream?)

    • Here’s my comment regarding other units and the HRM-Run: link to dcrainmaker.com

      As for other non-Garmin devices, that’ll depend highly on whether or not Garmin selects to make the data available as part of a public ANT+ device profile (HR monitor), or if they’re going to make it private. Obviously, I’m hopeful they’ll make the decision to make it public – in spirit with the goals of ANT+ as an organization body, which they own. If they went private, it’d be the first example I can think of where Garmin has gone with a private profile for something within ANT+.

      If they did make the data public in the HR strap, then Suunto (using your example) would have to not only read the information, but then further make it available in the API for apps (two separate steps).

  13. Charles

    Did you get a feel for what is going to happen to the body metrics screen on Garmin Connect? If they’re dropping support for collecting and pushing that data to Garmin Connect in such a major product release you have to wonder if that will translate to ending that collection & reporting at Garmin Connect at some point. Thanks.

    • I wouldn’t expect them to remove any of those metrics, for two reasons. First, it’d piss off a lot of people. But secondly (and honestly, probably more importantly), having that portion of the site sets up Garmin quite nicely for future health-focused products. Surely one doesn’t believe Polar is the only big name fitness company interested in new products taking some of that market…

  14. ekutter

    This seems perfect for someone that mostly runs on the road and familiar routes. Without BP altitude and even the most basic navigation, it doesn’t do much for the trail runner. The Fenix is Garmin’s only answer to trails but has too many shortcomings itself if you are used to the forerunner line.

    Any idea if they are working on something more aimed at trail/ultra running that combines the best features of the Fenix with the FR?

    On a side note, what’s up with Garmin’s web site? Their redesign makes it nearly impossible to find any level of technical information.

  15. Thanks for the thorough review. My question surrounds running with tree cover (trail running or even off-trail). The previous generation of Garmin watches did not do well under tree cover due to reception issues – just doesn’t give an accurate track. MapMyRun app using a phone does much better. I’m wanting to lose the cell phone – is there any reason to think that the antennae has dramatically improved to deal with this issue with the next generation of watches? Thank you.

    • Which previous generation watch are you referring to? Anything made within the last few years has no real issues with tree-cover when running in a relatively straight line. If you’re talking dense tree cover on mountain switchbacks, that’s a bit different.

  16. riz

    Ray, thanks for this review. I can’t see one thing that peaks my interest: is it possible to set the data point gathering frequency in these new units? I mean GPS coordinates/second – 1 second, 5 secs, 1 minute, etc.

  17. J.Griffin

    I’ve often wondered IF, Garmin conducts any outside/public focus group studies to determine what it’s customer base really wants & needs vs. what Garmin thinks everyone wants & needs.

    ie. seems like the 220/620 color scheme was simply a way to make the product look way different than the previous lines. A one inch ’round’ screen seems a bit on the small side, square or rectangle would have allowed room for bigger fonts.

  18. jeff

    @j.Griffin , I think We ARE the focus group ! I have a feeling that A version of Pacer will make it to the 220, but we have to push to be sure its not just a “too fast” , ” too slow” indicator like on the FR10.

    @all, Here in OZ its normal to have your CC debited when you order, not just on shipping. As long as they refund on delay or non fulfilment, I’m ok with it.

    Close to pre ordering a 220 if Garmen OZ jack the price up on us.

    • J.Griffin

      @ Jeff — I sorts agree, except that it is after the fact as far as hardware goes, unless some new versions get release, but software wise it might result in some enhanced features.

  19. Paul

    Still wondering about the preorder charge thing… if this gets sorted I’m preordering ASAP :)

  20. Jay

    Any word of it being released during Chicago Marathon?

  21. Kelly

    Regarding the cycle mode and the ANT+ speed and cadence sensor. I see it won’t be available in the initial release. However, did you get a feeling for Garmin that is something they are definitely going to add back in. I run more but do ride and not having a cycle specific mode is a big turnoff. I’d rather have the 620 but contemplating the 910 because of this.

  22. Tonny

    Do you have any inside information on how to get the activity import of SportTracks to work with the WiFi upload feature of 620? Even with the many new feature of GC, I would still like to use the advanced features of SportTracks.

    • You can still manually transfer them just like the FR610, via the files. Otherwise, it’s going to take a plug-in to pull from Garmin Connect and download the files that way (how some apps move them between other 3rd party services).

  23. Sean

    Do you have any idea when a cycling specific mode would be added to the 620? That is really the only feature that could convince me to get it over the 220.

    • Unclear. But, I’d guess if they do indeed commit to it, it’d probably happen between release and January. But again, just a swag in the wind.

    • I had the same question. This unit would be ideal if the cycling mode is included.

      What would be the reasoning for leaving it off? Force people to go with another unit?

      If cycling mode is not included, what unit would you purchase? Looking for something that covers cycling and running.

      Thanks! — Steven

      • No, as noted towards the end of the post, it’s really as simple as hitting the holidays with the running features, and pushing that till post-initial release.

    • Eli

      Which makes sense but would be nice if garmin made an official announcement when the 620 ships of what features they know they will be adding post release. Currently it sounds like they are running out of time to finish all the features before release so they are cut and don’t really know if any of them will be completely after release.

    • In regards to cycle mode, what percentage would you wager that cycle mode will be added to the 620?

      Do you think cycling mode might be left off to further segment the running devices from the cycling devices?

      I am ready to preorder if cycling mode was more likely to happen than not.

      Thanks again for the great site! — Steven

    • I’d wager that it will be added, the when is the tough part.

  24. Paul

    So no news on using it as an actual watch? No way to turn off all the battery draining crap like the Ambit has?

  25. Aaron

    Thanks for the preview and answering the questions so promptly!

    Does the 220 or 620 allow intervals in metric and pace display in imperial units? On the 210 I have, I have to stay in metric in order to do shorter intervals that don’t fall on any imperial divisions (e.g. 200m and no 0.124 miles).

  26. Radim

    Thanks for the awesome preview!
    One question about the alerts customization if I may … My older Garmin has Pace alert (audio only) for High/Low pace so I know I am in the desired range. Unfortunately both alerts (HIGH, if I am too fast and LOW, if I am too slow) are exact same sounds. If I set the range too narrow and then get alerted I have to look at the watch to know which one is it – am I too fast or too slow.
    Can I customize this on 220 and/or 620? Two different sounds or one-beep vs two-beeps or something similar. Or even different vibration styles for High/Low? Well that would be almost too much to ask :)

    Thanks in advance for your time!

    • Ethan

      Have to say, this was the NICEST feature on the TomTom watch I just sent back to them. That thing needed more time in the oven. But that feature — pick pace, and _then_ you got to do the +/ – of so many seconds (ie, 7:30 pace with a plus or minus of 15 seconds) was awesome.

      So simple and dead on. Loved it. I need the fr620 to do something here. But yeah. I pre-ordered from clever. :)

  27. Søren G. Andersson

    A very basic navigational function (bee-line is fine) will be appreciated. I am used to run with FR405 and normally set a “starting point waypoint” when running in an unknown area. For me this is of great value since I can focus on the run itself and forget all about finding my way back.

  28. andy from embsay

    I’m using an Ambit2 at the moment, but the thing that drives me nuts is the auto-pause that doesn’t pause, so on a weekend’s cycling I just gave up and used my Edge – but I do like having one watch that I can use for running, cycling and basic nav – but without at least grid refs and speed then it looks like the Ambit’s the nearest thing still.

    Because of the lower weight and thickness I may go for a 620, as I wear my running watch everyday – but have you any detail on the alarms? I really liked my Fenix (i had that for about three weeks!) for the multiple and weekday only alarms.

  29. Justin

    Thanks for your super site, it’s a great place to not only get motivated for fitness training but make sure I’m buying the right gear to help me along the way.

    I’m in Australia and would like to support your site by purchasing my next watch (220 most likely but my inner geek wants the 620) through your partner Clever Training. I’m not sure how warranty issues go if I buy from OS though. Does anyone have any experience they could inform me of with regards to warranty if I’m unlucky enough to get a bad unit?

    Cheers

  30. Angel

    Thanks for this nice review.

    I don’t know if this is too much to ask but, could you please post a couple pictures comparing the size and the font size of the Garmin 220 with the Bryton Cardio 60? Especially at night, I really have trouble reading some of the smallest fields on my Cardio 60. I wonder how the Garmin 220 compares to it.

    Thanks in advance. Please keep up the excellent work you do with this site.

    Best,

    Angel

  31. Blake Sills

    Ray,

    Do you know how the 220/620 would do tracking open water swims when worn on the wrist?

    What about a potential future firmware update to give it swimming metrics, since it has an accelerometer in it?

    I’m thinking this may be a good option paired with a Edge 510/810 instead of a 910xt. This way, I would get more data fields on the bike, and not have to deal with a quick release kit and the dangers of losing another watch to the bottom of a lake.

    Thanks,

    Blake

    • Eli

      You think they want the 220/620 to take away from the 910xt market?

    • I expect it would be on-par with non-swimming GPS watches in openwater. And I definitely don’t expect Garmin to add in swimming functionality.

      Quite honestly, I’ve never understood why they don’t offer a watch with 910XT-like functionality at this size point, or even $100 more if they want to up-sell for the size (i.e. $499, which is what the full Suunto Ambit2 is).

      I know a lot of people prefer the bigger 910XT and being able to quick-release it (would be more difficult on the 220/620/etc…), so I don’t think getting rid of that size form-factor is the answer.

    • Eli

      Purely from a hardware perspective the 910xt only really adds a bigger battery (longer battery life) over the 620 along with a wider but not really higher resolution screen.

      So it would seem like they could release a 910xt replacement that is mostly the same as the 620 but with backing that allows for quick release functionality and power along with it. This way you could have a quick release mount on the bike that can double for supplying power to the watch to allow for longer battery life needed for iron man and the like and maybe even a way to charge the watch while worn on your wrist for all the ultra marathon people who complain about short battery life.

  32. Jeremy S

    So, out of curiosity, for a first time watch owner (of the GPS nature) would you recommend the 220 or the 610 (you can find used or refurbished ones for roughly the same price point)?

    I’ve looked at other non-Garmin devices, but none seem to really hold the same quality.

    Thanks!

    • For a first-timer, I’d go with the FR220 over the FR610. I’ve long said that the FR210 (pre-FR220) fit the bill for 95% of runners out there. The FR610 was/is really about more customization and then a bit more on the data field and workout side. With the FR220 chipping away at a lot of those areas, there’s less and less reason to choose the FR610 over the FR220.

  33. Sam

    Is Eli your new sidekick or just a comment stalker?

    ;)

  34. jeff

    Garmin need to standardize on the names of functions.
    When on buy.garmin site when comparing 210,10,220 and 620 there is “Pace alert”. the fr10 is listed as NO but the 220/620 are both YES.
    DCrainmaker and a mates watch shows ” Virtual Pacer” IS on the fr10 ( ahead/behind only).
    DCrainmaker on the 220/620 ‘First Look’ page talks about ‘Pace alert’ in the text but shown nothing in the comparison table.
    I would like to see a standard name for this function and an entry in the table indicating if it shows only ahead/behind (A/B or basic) or if it can also show distance (D) and/or time (T).

    Still no mention of the 220 or 620 on the OZ garmin site. i’ll phone now and see what they have to say about availability and price.

    • Virtual Pacer, Pace Alert, and Pacer are all unfortunately different things:

      Virtual Pacer is the grand daddy of them all: It’s designed to have you set a given pace and the alert you when you stray from that. Further, it also tells you how far ahead/behind you are against the pacer.

      Pacer: This is just like the Virtual Pacer, except it doesn’t tell you how far ahead/behind you are.

      Pace Alerts: These

      In my tables, I’ve always shown Virtual Pacer and Pacer as the same, since most vendors tend to implement a variation on those two that it makes it really difficult to nitpick them apart in a simple table without adding even more rows. I then elaborate on them within the review.

      Pace Alerts in the tables have always fallen under the alerts section, but I haven’t listed out all the types of alerts, mainly because these vary with different units so heavily that it just wouldn’t really fit into the rows very well.

      Hope this helps!

  35. Moliv

    Looks like the watch will be available in stores 1st November in France with pre-orders already open

  36. Puffolino

    Good news and important informations, thanks!

    I’d like to know, if it will be still possible to copy the collected data to the training center (GTC), which is my database since nearly 10 years…

    • I haven’t double-checked the .FIT files, but I’d expect core functionality to be there (i.e. pace/etc…) since other 3rd party apps import those fine, but none of the new FR620 extended metrics around running dynamics.

  37. Liat

    Hi,
    You mention on your table that the 620 will not gave the “back to start” option.
    Is it corroct? Or a mistake? I find it a very useful feature and surprised to find Garmin cutcit out.
    Dud they? Could you check for us? Many thanks.

  38. My question is, will the 4iiii’s Viiiiva ANT+ HRM be able to do everything the new Garmin HRM can do? It seems that the 4iiii has some pretty cool tech built in from the review.

    • It technically can (and actually do more since it has the BLE chip in there). But whether or not 4iiii’s can take it there from a get-to-market standpoint, that’d be the bigger question.

    • Don van Dalen

      I was thinking about that too. I was wondering if the viiiiva still has a plus when buying the FR220. Or will the nieuw HR belt do on its own?
      Can the viiiiva transfer extra data (GPS, footpod and HR) by BLE? Or does its extra stop when purchasing the FR220 including a HR belt?

  39. Josh

    Regarding color, is the orange/white version prone to getting dirty, or is the material such that its easy to clean and keep clean?

    • I had the same question. I have so many black and dark watches, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to go with the white version.

      Does anyone have any personal experience or thoughts on white version of the 610/620?

      Thanks! — Steven

    • Mike P

      I’ve been running with the blue/white FR610 for nine months now (not each time/day, but often enough) including trails and any weather (no mudders or similar though) – so far it still looks pristine, giving it a splash of water post-run.

  40. Josh

    Ray, also wanted to mention I did go ahead and order the orange/white bundle from CT. It seems late october/early november is reasonable to expect delivery and if they require prepay, happy to do it to support this site which is full of wonderful information. Always enjoy following it. Thank you again.

  41. Hi All-

    There was a small pile of questions that folks had asked me ask Garmin while at Interbike, or look into myself. The questions were ones I pulled from the 400+ comments at the time that weren’t otherwise answered:

    1) Are the FR220/620 screens glass or plastic? They are plastic. However, the Fenix screen is glass.
    2) Does the backlight automatically illuminate on lap? Yes.
    3) Can you create vibration-only time alarms? We played with this a bit. The answer is technically yes, but you’ve got to set the overall alert mode on the watch to be vibrate-only. It’s not just per-time only.
    4) Does cadence information also come from the internal FR220/FR620 accelerometer: Yes, for both watches.
    5) Should the FR110 and FR70 be considered the end of the product line? For both of these they said that they aren’t sure. We discussed that there may be a position for a watch on the Garmin lineup somewhere between the $129US FR10, and the now $250 FR220. I’d agree with them, I’d just have no ideas what wonky combination of features you’d have to come up with to arrive at a midpoint.
    6) Will the Garmin Fenix get uploads via Garmin Connect App since the FR220/620 now have it? They weren’t sure here, but didn’t see any technical blocker – but were going to loop back with that team to see what it would take to make it happen.
    7) Do you plan to retail a separate black-only strap? They seemed genuinely surprised by this, and really believe it’s more of a photo-appearance thing than a real-life thing. Meaning, the strap is pure black from the outside with only the smallest hint of blue visible through the holes at certain angles.
    8) Do the units have GLONASS: They believed so, but are double-checking on this.
    9) Will the satellites pre-cache/pre-populate over Bluetooth Smart? Yes, they will.
    10) Does the FR220 show HR in % of Max? No, not as a regular data field (you can configure zones that way and display the zone however)
    11) Is the screen recessed: Yes, just barely.
    12) What’s the minimum distance you can set autolap for? .05KM (or .05mi)

    Thanks all!

    • Jack

      Great new data to have–thanks for continuing to extract more details.

      As to the color, I agree that the strap on the 620 isn’t too obnoxious, but I’d prefer not to have the blue on the face of the watch, and stealth black all over would make me much more comfortable wearing it as an everyday watch. The 220 is obviously worse, though.

      All black and cycling mode and I’ll definitely pick one up. Otherwise I’m on the fence, since my current 405 and 210 are working just fine, and as much as I’d like to have the new features of the 620, I can live fine without them.

      I’ve never had a watch that does 1s GPS updates, so I’m curious how much that will affect accuracy, especially on twisty trails.

      Jack

    • Gil

      Thanks for all the info! Re: color choices, it’s not about the color of the strap; it’s about how some (many?) of us don’t like the bright blue or red colors on the watch face. We find that distracting and annoying.

  42. Don van Dalen

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for this great first impression! Looking forward to your in depth story.
    Can you tell me if these watches work with the viiiiva from 4iiii’s?

    And can you give me your perspective about the combination of a Garmin FR220 on my wrist, a viiiiva on my chest and an iPhone on my arm? Can i skip the viiiiva or is it needed for communication (of the HR) with the iPhone?
    Would be great if the viiiiva could transfer gps data to my iPhone through the viiiiva as well. Or am i asking too much? ;-)

    Thanks for al your energy!

    Regards, Don

  43. Gunnar

    Ray, Not terribly on comment….but….regarding Android and Bluetooth 4.0 and units such as the 220/620, do you have any insight as to when Android (or whoever the powers that be are) are going to get something worked out so we have a workable bluetooth platform?

    I was just re-reading your Viiiiva review (with iOS app) and it looks fantastic. I also recently upgraded to the Edge 810 so I can have direct upload to Garmin Connect (and then to Strava through CopyMy Sports.com). I really like the seamless upload with the 810, and would love to consider the 220/620, but will hold off because there will be no direct upload for Android (via bluetooth) any time soon.

    This whole bluetooth mess (almost) makes me want to go back to the iPhone!

    • Eli

      Android 4.3 with BLE support is already out so the API needed by those writing software (i.e. garmin) is there to write BLE supporting Android apps. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 should have 4.3 by the end of Oct going by news that just came out today.

    • Though, that does depend on carrier rollout, which is the big sticking point. And ultimately why so few companies are ‘bothering’ to write apps right now for it. They’re really hamstrung by both devices and carriers, and given peoples level of trust with Samsung for hitting any firmware-related timelines, I don’t blame them.

    • Ryan

      I wouldn’t blame Samsung at this stage. They’ve gotten much better at rolling out updates the past two years.

      And the harping on bluetooth gets old. It’s not very standard for being a standard in general. Android isn’t the first to not have it down, and you can blame the mfg’s right along with it. The 620 has wifi. Most new phones have wifi direct. You can bypass bluetooth completely. <url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Direct.Wifi Direct allows a direct connection sans routers and assigns each device a limited wireless access point. We already have WiDi, Miracast, Airplay and the like. These guys are in the dark ages of technology. Heck, they can’t even keep a consistent charging solution. I’m quite happy my 210 and 310xt can use the same charger. A company like Motorola makes all the competitors’ watches look like dinosaurs, and nobody does anything to respond which is a shame because Moto just dropped the ball with the concept and other could have run with it. TT could have really leapfrogged the Nike watch.

      Anyway, Wifi Direct is supported in most android 4.1 and 4.2 versions. No need to wait for 4.3. And you only need one of the two devices to support it. Since the phone already does, the watch will work with it by default. I can’t vouch for iOS. Wifi Direct is an open standard so history says unless they can close it up and make it their own, it’ll never happen. Garmin would probably have to make it Airplay compatible, but who cares when BT is fine on IOS.

    • I harp because the situation sucks. Simple as that. Every single conversation I have with companies (every company) when I ask about Bluetooth Smart support and when they’ll have it on Android, they literally just groan at the current situation. It’s due in part on this harping that gets things fixed. But pretending the issue doesn’t existed just misleads folks who then get upset when it doesn’t work (See: Mio Alpha).

      WiFi direct is fine for things like uploads, but that’s honestly a tiny part of the equation. It’s not a low-power sensor technology, thus isn’t relevant when we’re talking HR/SPD/CAD/PWR/etc sensors. Anything that Bluetooth Smart does today. Low-power is critical when we look at devices like these. They simply can’t keep a WiFi connection live, either on the watch side or the sensor side, and have any functional battery life given the size of the batteries in these devices.

      I do agree (and said it at the time) that the Motoactv was way ahead of it’s time. If it weren’t for their waterproofing fumbles and initial battery problems, I think it would have been a different story.

    • Ryan

      I wasn’t referring to BT accessories. This was about syncing with android, plain and simple. The Wifi Direct standard is very straight forward and consistent. So skip the android Bluetooth syncing issues and go the wifi route.

      Your other commenter below already talked about a workaround using a hot spot to connect. That’s just added agg when you can skip the router and go direct. I think you can actually try wifi direct if you still have the 620 to play with. Grab a friend’s newer android phone and try and connect.

      I’ll be happy to test it for you. :-)

      Personally, easy syncing with my S4 would be the only reason for me to upgrade isccertainly I can’t get 4 fields on these watches without scrolling. So make getting my data uploaded seamless and easy, and it might be worthwhile.New ffeatures don’t mean much if I still need to get to my 310 to see 4 fields at once.

      And it’s a shame. Moto doesn’t do a gen 2 or anyone else doesn’t build. Garmin still seems like they are three generations behind where they should be. And touching on my complaint about the big bezels. You mentioned antennas and such being housed, but there isn’t a layer of metal around these screens. I don’t think the screens inhibit signal strength. Unless they’re just cramming things in, and the actual screen portion doesn’t extend to the outer edges, but that just doesn’t seem right. Bezels are useless wasted space. Just look at phone evolution.

    • Eli

      How are you expecting wifi direct to work? Just because the watch has wifi doesn’t mean it has wifi direct implemented.

    • Ryan

      From what I know of the standard and what I already mentioned above, only One device needs to be wifi direct capable, and in this case that would be the smartphone. So from the 620’s perspective, it should just think it’s connected to wifi via a virtual access point rather than an actual one. If I’m wrong, please correct me, but that was my understanding of the standard and why all these wifi direct compliant devices could connect directly to normal wifi devices like printers, scanners and the like.

    • Eli

      So the watch will then think it has access to the internet from the smartphone acting as a router and the data plan the smartphone has. (assuming the wifi direct connection is being routed) This won’t allow the phone or apps on the phone to talk to the watch as the watch has no server listening to IP requests on it. Yes this would allow you to upload sessions to garmin connect and anything else you could do if you were near a normal wifi access point but won’t do anything beyond that.

    • Ryan

      I think you’re overthinking this. Personally, I would just care about getting my data into the app and let the app do whatever it does. Right now I don’t do any data archiving period. If I could upload through my phone, and it was all there in the app,I would probably track my runs more and make them a bit more competitive. But back to the point…

      What can you do via Bluetooth and the iPhone? It shouldn’t be any different connecting to android via wifi direct. The phone sees the watch, the watch sees the phone. Who gives a flying leap how it does it? If the iPhone is transferring data to the watch via Bluetooth through it’s data connection, the same thing ashould be possible via Android.

      Even if it does just upload data from watch to app, why is it bad thing, and why do you seem so resistant to it. Some people live on their phones and just want their data offloaded from the watch the quickest and easiest way possible.I want to hop in the car and have the watch sync up to my phone. Would be even better if the phone would recognize the watch, connect automatically and upload any new data without user intervention.

      As I mentioned, I never put enough effort to utilize the apps and connect the watch. I just remembered what I did previously and try to improve on it next time. So if I don’t need my computer now and have info at my fingertips on the phone, I’d probably upgrade and probably track a push next year to break a 1:30 half.

    • Eli

      The watch as it stands now is just wifi. That means all it knows how to do when it has a wifi connection (whether it does this automatically or when you tell it I don’t know) is upload to connect.garmin.com or some other garmin server. So the watch is only making a connection out and has no reason to allow incoming connections. It won’t open a TCP/IP port to listen for incoming data as it doesn’t have any reason to do so. It doesn’t see a phone, it sees a wifi connection with access to the internet. (will it handle a proxy, I don’t know. Ray?)

      A smartphone that implements wifi direct will know what IP address it assigned to the device connecting to it and have an API exposing that data. So an app will know what IP address to connect to but the watch has no open ports to connect to. So the app has no way of interacting with the watch.

      Wifi direct is not at all the same as Bluetooth or BLE. Wifi devices don’t magically connect to things, they have to be written to connect to things or allow other things to connect to it.

      I’m not against an app on the phone talking to the watch but it should use the correct technology which is BLE and hopefully Garmin will add Android support soon. (ok, the watch could open a TCP/IP port for listening which would be cool but probably a big battery drain and security issues)

    • Ryan

      Then I would imagine it’s a lot easier for Garmin to upgrade the firmware to have more flexibility for a direct wifi connection as opposed to dealing with the bluetooth issues on android, especially with a larger number of phones being on 4.1 as opposed to 4.3. It’s just an idea, and a selfish one since I’m on android. But the standard is there, the 620 has wifi. Would be nice to have connection options. And if it can search for the garmin connect website, why couldn’t it search for the local connect app on the phone? All you’re doing is cutting out the middleman and changing the website to the phone. It seems like it’d be on Garmin to make it happen. If Ray still has it, it would be interesting to see what it does. I’m sure someone from Garmin could pose the question to the developers/programmers. It’s still relatively new, so it’s not even on most people’s radar as an option. But again, if bluetooth is going to take time to get working and then only appeal to phones on 4.3, I think it’s worthwhile to investigate.

      I think the wifi direct seeks out connections if it’s on. Not sure, but when hopping in the car if I could just turn wifi on on the watch and have the connection be automatic, get a beep when the transfer is done (or some sort of notification) and then turn off wifi on the watch, I’d be a happy camper.

    • Eli

      If you had any experience doing network programming you would know what you are asking for is way harder to do then just releasing an Android app that uses the API in 4.3 to get BLE support.

    • Ryan

      So if there is already a path to the website for data transfer via wifi, creating an alternate path to the phone app is that much of a task? I’m a bit of a geek, but not on the programming side. Just can’t picture it being difficult to change a path from a website to the phone. Would think it’s just a little bit more than assigning it a new adr based on the access point that’s assigned.

    • Gunnar

      I had a feeling my question/comment regarding connectivity would generate some responses! Sorry Ray if this hi-jacked the thread, but I’ve learned quit a bit from all the comments posted regarding connectivity options and the 220/620 (and future watches to come). Thanks all!

  44. Patrick

    As a follow up on the Bluetooth questions…with the FR220 are you able to use bluetooth to directly upload to a computer, or must you upload via iphone and have the phone transfer to Garmin Connect? (or USB direct to computer, obviously…just curious about the wireless options)

    And a simpler question…”elapsed time” is a field I’ve found myself using a bit more lately on my 610…it’s not listed as a field on either the 220 or 620…is this something they’ve done away with?

    • Patrick

      I meant to also ask about data pages….does the FR220’s 2 data pages mean 2 in addition to the timer page (timer page plus 2 custom pages with 3 fields) or 2 including the timer page (i.e. timer page with 3 fields plus 1 custom page with 3 fields for a total of 3 pages with 3 fields)? I know that my 610 treats the timer page separately from custom pages.

    • No, with the FR220/620, the BT is only to the iPhone (and in the future Android) apps, not via computer. The 620 does have the WiFi of course (and USB).

      For the FR220 data fields, yes, the clock page is in addition to the two custom pages + the HR page. So 4 pages in total. The FR620 also treats it seperately.

      As for elapsed time (running including stoppage), it wasn’t in that beta firmware build, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be there in the final build.

    • Duane

      I hope companies will take notice of Windows Phone before long. WP8 has overtaken iPhone in some places like Brazil and is gaining quickly in other countries. With the compatibility problems with BT smart on Android I really hope WP becomes more popular with developers.

    • Eli

      I agree that WP8 shouldn’t be ignored but WP8 also has no support from BLE, that gets added in 8.1. With MS based in Seattle where there are lots of cyclists and lots of MS employees who bike you would think MS would be doing a better job at this :(

  45. jeff

    @Ray , thankyou so much for looking into the auto backlight /lap on the fr220. thats the watch i will get now.

    OZ readers, from Garmin lastnight:
    “As per Marketing, we do not have a definite release date or pricing yet. But looking at historics, the FR220/620 should be released in the next 1-2 weeks based on previous launch trends after a product is launched in the US.”

    I told them to take care in setting thier price as on line sales are now quick, easy and trustworthy.

  46. Rick

    Hello Ray,
    Many thanks for your first impressions of the 220/620.
    With the 620, could I transfer workouts from the unit to my droid phone and Garmin Connect using the phone’s Verizon wi-fi hotspot and the Garmin Connect app?
    Also, I have a HR strap (HRM-1G) that’s about five years old. With that and my foot pod, could I get the VO2 Max data and cadence from the 620? Would I be better off buying the 620 bundled with the new HRM strap?
    Thanks again for all of your work on this site.

    • Yes, the WiFi hotspot would work perfectly – in which case it’ll upload direct to Garmin Connect (rather than via the Android Garmin Connect app). However, once uploaded, you could then use the Android Garmin Connect app to view the workout.

      And yup, the new HRM-Run is only needed for running dynamics, not for the VO2Max pieces – so pretty much any ANT+ HR strap will work there. As for cadence, you can use either the footpod or the in-watch detection. As part of my review I’ll be comparing that.

    • Eli

      If the HR strap doesn’t implement data pages 1-4 as added by 1.11 of the spec in July 2008 then some of the calculations that depend on rr interval data like VO2 Max may not be as accurate. Without those extra data pages the watch will lose a bit of data if there is a dropped data packet. Shouldn’t be that much of an impact but may be some, I have no idea.

      (this is completely separate from the running dynamics functions)

  47. OZ

    Clever Training website now shows the watches will be available after 11/08/2013.

  48. Fabian

    Hi Ray,

    Great review once more.

    Do you know if the “Pre-loading of satellite locations” is used or they are thinking to use it to correct the “real time” elevation displayed in the watch?

    My understanding is that the FR610, only corrects the elevation once you upload it into Garmin Connect. It would be awesome to see those corrections based on some pre-loaded info into the watch, otherwise the satellite-based elevation seems to be sub-optimal.

    Thanks,
    Fabian.

    • No, it’s just doing pre-caching of the satellite locations, not the elevation data with it. This speeds up first-satellite lock, but doesn’t help GPS elevation data. Only post-upload will it correct the elevation.

  49. Dane

    First off, I want to say, just love your in-depth analysis in all your reviews and previews!

    Now, I currently have a Nike+ watch. It was a great starter watch, however I now realize I need much more then what this watch offers (i.e. vibrate alerts, pace and zone training, walk\run training, etc). I was originally looking at the TomTom watches, now my attention is looking at these Garmin watches. I am having an issue deciding which one to get. I would love the 620, but I have seen that Ray has said that 95% of us would just need what the 220 offers. I am a fairly new runner, just running for the past 3 months, and I am also a data geek…and it honestly helps me learn more about my capabilities. I am leaning towards the 620, but wanted to know…will I be happy with either of these Garmin for the long run? Are the features such as Recovery Adviser and the Running dynamics more gimmicks that someone like myself just think we need? In the end I want a watch that is going to last for some time, especially with the money being invested…

    • David Corsi

      The jury is out big time on Running Dynamics because no one in the mainstream running field has ever shown those stats before. I and many others are unsure if there is relevance to these new data points and secondly it is unclear if we can train to specifically improve those metrics. Bottom line is they are neat, don’t harm anything, but no one knows if we can DO anything with them.

      The Recovery Adviser works based on the proven First Beat technology (also present in the 220 for calculating calories but not Recovery) that Garmin has had for several years. It works and is a nice feature but can be thrown off if you do other activities besides running. Not sure it is worth the price of entry.

      Basically you get the 620 for the heavy, heavy customization to screens available (although the 220 now does way more of that then the old 210) and for “neat” nice to have features like Running Dynamics and Recovery Advisor. I would recommend the 220 for a newer runner UNLESS you have the disposable income and simply want to have a fun new high end watch that you may not fully benefit from but brings happiness to you for the extra niceties.

  50. usamathias

    Ray,

    Great preview and thanks for your hard work!!
    I would also put in my vote for an all black or dark grey/black watchband and face. This almost seems like my new watch but some less flashy options would be nice.
    What about the unannounced Polar RC5 GPS, when will we hear about that model?

  51. Anssi

    Good review!
    I hope garmin would quickly release new version of connect mobile and add support for workout uploading for these watches and FENIX!

  52. andy zhou

    what a wanderfull watch !i like it.

  53. J.Griffin

    Just some thoughts– at some point I plan to upgrade my FR305, which is still rocking just fine. My only real issues with the 305 is it’s brick-size, lacking vibrate alerts, & can’t tell date & time. Prior to the announcement of the 220/620 I was just going to step-up to the 310XT, once I was ready or it hit a can’t pass on price-point (thinking 149- I’ve seen 160’ish). I mostly run, with some biking (separate bike GPS), & no swimming. I really thought TomTom might hit the mark, but so NOT.

    Normally when it comes to electronic stuff I go w/ the latest ie. cell phones and consider what whistles & bells I need or want. In the end most of the time I typically buy middle of the line, not the top-end not the bottom/strip-down end. I like the looks of the 620 way better than the 220, but not for 2-bills more. My other concern with the 220/620 is readability, just don’t understand all that wasted screen space going to the oversized bezel area (I hope there is a purpose for that). And does the Garmin staff thinks all their runners/buyers have “youthful eyes”?? Not to mention the red/purple on the 220 making it looks like a cheap Armitron watch (just my opinion). But size wise it is way better than the 305, not sure about the 310.

    Of course I will try and wait until the 220/620 gets release and all the feedbacks starts hitting, plus maybe seeing them in-person might help sway the decision process. I’m also a little concern with possible new release glitches.

    Any runners still using/happy with the 310xt?

  54. Maria

    Could you please tell me if you know of course if the battery of the new gps watches are user rechargeable or not? Thank you.

  55. ekutter

    Looking for other reviews on the 620, I had to laugh at this one. Makes me appreciate your honest unbiased say it as it is reviews. Thanks. This will teach me to stray!
    link to holabirdsports.com

  56. Andy

    For those in the UK, Garmin have informed me that the RRP for the 620 with HRM will be £359.99 and £339.99 for the standalone watch.

    • Brian

      Any word on the 220 (UK) pricing??

    • Dom

      Wiggle are quoting RRPs of 359.99/329.99 for 620 with/without HRM-RUN and 249.99/219.99 for 220 with/without standard HRM, Brian.

    • Brian

      Great! Thanks for the info. Think the 620 is a bit overkill so def. looking at the 220 – especially as my 5 1/2 year old 405 is starting to a) look it’s age and b) being a pig to charge successfully!
      Thanks again!

  57. Lisa

    Hi
    New to running and run outside as well as on a treadmill.
    With the 220 do you need a foot pod to be able to know what you are running on the treadmill. Never used a watch before. Not really sure what internal accelerometer is, whether this has something to do with it or not.
    Thank you.

  58. Leslie

    I was just wondering which watch you would recommend over the other-the 220 or the 410. I am trying to decide which one would be a better watch to get and just can’t make up my mind. Which do you think is the better watch?

  59. Drew

    Looking froward to getting one of these, and finally retiring my Nike sportwatch. Would you believe that over two years, Nike has had to replace my watch 6! Times! Yup, the only reason why I’ve stayed with it is cuz they’ve replace it for free each time…but I’m done.

    Two questions…is it possible to transfer my two years of nike+ data to Garmin Connect? Secondly, is it possible to simply use the watch and HR Strap as a heart rate monitor/calorie counter when I’m at the gym lifting weights on off run days…and still record that data as such?

    Thanks.

    • I’m not aware offhand of any way to go from Nike+ to Garmin Connect (in bulk), unfortunately.

      And yup, no problem using the watch/HR strap and just keeping calories with GPS off.

    • David

      I transferred a year’s worth of Nike data to my Garmin Connect account a few months ago. I just found some website that was simple to use and did everything in batch. Can’t remember what it was called though sorry. I just Googled around a bit to find it.

    • Eli

      link to mattstuehler.com
      ?
      (I haven’t used it as I don’t use Nike+)

    • David Corsi

      I used: mattstuehler.com and it worked GREAT to move my Nike+ runs over. There is one large hitch… it will not move over runs without GPS data, so if you ran indoors or with only a footpod and iPod recording the data it won’t work. I was able to move over 80% of my Nike+ running watch runs and then added the remaining 20% of treadmill runs manually to Garmin Connect.

  60. Cody

    Do you expect that Garmin will have another buyback program where we can offload our old watches when we buy the new ones?

    • That’s tough, but I doubt we’d see it before the holidays. Garmin is (logically) likely expecting strong sales of the FR220/620, and thus can probably wait till post-holidays to provide more incentives. Just my random guess.

  61. Renee

    Rainmaker I noticed you responded to an earlier post on the 220 vs the 410. I am also looking into purchasing one of these watches and have been torn between the 2. Putting the touch bezel aside, which watch would you recommend based on the features and getting the most bang for your buck? Also I noticed the 220 doesn’t have the back to start option or the bike use option-is that worth getting the 410 instead of 220? I also noticed the 220 worked without the footpod-do you know if that is pretty accurate? I know you have a lot of insight on these watches-just in general, which one would you tell a friend to purchase?

  62. Renee

    Also are all of the colors the same size on the 220 or is the purple one smaller for women?

  63. Martin

    Thanks for yet another good insight a few remarks:

    1/ I can’t believe that the return to start will be disabled, I got lost when running in Atlanta last month the return to start feature saved me! As I travel a fair bit and have no sense of direction I must say that I use this feature regularly.

    2/ Will the R-R recording still have to be activated using Firstbeat Athlete and has Garmin any intention to license this technology and integrate it in Garmin connect? I think that Firstbeat is great as one gets a training programme that reflects your latest training activity but if this were integrated in Garmin Connect at a premium – I’d pay.

    • The R-R data is recorded by both units, and available to both FirstBeat and Garmin Connect. Garmin is already licensing the technology within the units of course, but I don’t think we’ll immediately see it directly on the GC site, but rather indirectly (as in, they’ll be adding some of the data from the unit to the site).

    • Eli

      I don’t think any of that data is saved in the FIT file as I don’t think its part of the FIT file spec. Also don’t think thats what Martin is asking, I think he wants the ability of the training calender to change around based on the results of the training that was done the same as the way Firstbeat athlete works. (a run you do one day is determined to be easy one day so the calendar will add something hard, oh, the run you did was really hard, then the calender will take away or make the next run easier.)

      R-R data isn’t recorded by default on the 310xt,610,910xt and has to be enabled which is done by placing a fit file of the right format in the new files folder. That fit file follows the FIT file standard so guessing the 220/620 will follow it as well. Can you verify that?

  64. Ken

    Does the 220 do what the 210 does, often asking if I’m indoors shortly after searching for satellites? That drives me NUTS. It’s always when I’m outside.

  65. Le

    On the new 220’s-is the black and red for men or can women wear it as well? I read on one website where the red and black was for the men? I was looking to buy my wife a watch and from the looks of the white and violet, it would get dirty quick. What do you think about the red and black for women after seeing them in person?

    • Both are identically sized, so anyone can wear anything. It’s just common wording that got attached to a SKU. So it’s not like (for example), the FR10 watches or others where they are actually different sizes.

      As for whether or not a woman would prefer one color over another…I’ve long since learned I’m a bad judge of any women’s fashion related things (my wife reminds me of this daily).

  66. Awesome heads-up as always dude. It’s a shame they removed all navigation in totality – there’s not even the return-to-start anymore. Now, that was poorly implemented anyway, but I’m a little surprised that these watches aren’t more advanced, given some of the competition in wearable units now – such as the Leikr.
    How do you think the two compare?

    PS. I was in Paris with my missus early this month and dropped by your wife’s cake shop – sadly she’d run out. We will come back next time!

    • It doesn’t compare with the Leikr. The Leikr is unfortunately turning out to be pretty disappointing feature-wise. I may end up putting it into the comparison table, since I get a lot of questions on it. But right now I’d barely qualify it as beta (I’ve got a unit), and needs many many many more months of work.

      Bummer on being sold out! Sorry! It’s a tough balancing game some days – we generally follow the weather (rainy means less cupcakes). But sometimes, like the weatherman, we get it wrong (everything is made every day in the morning). Thanks though for trying!

  67. Anthony

    Is the 10% discount code going to be good until actual shipping date? I didn’t really want to pre-order since they pre-charge.

  68. Michele

    So what’s the option going to be for scale data. I have the 610 (still with the metal back and doing fine) and a Tanita BC-1000. Of course if I got the 620, I could continue to use the 610 for the scale, but that is just silly. Is there a new wifi option on the horizon that will interface with Garmin devices?

    • With the BC-1000 you can still use the desktop software (crappy, I know). Or, the FR610 (just leave it sitting on your counter (also crappy, I know).

      Other units have WiFi in them, but none go to Garmin Connect without some form of 3rd party software. I’m not aware of any 3rd party software that fully automates it (meaning it just magically shows up on GC). Long term, I suspect we’ll see Garmin get into the game here with something. Though, I don’t think that’s why they’ve canned the feature. I really think it’s as simple as very few people use it in comparison to other things, and right now they’re trying to hit the holidays.

    • Jared

      link to syncmetrics.com works with withings to garmin connect

  69. meven

    A little error :
    “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.”

    It works on iPhone 4.

    For the preview, as usual, you are the best. So many details ! Respect.

    • Eli

      The iPhone 4 doesn’t have BLE, the 4S was where it got added

    • meven

      Eli, because of bluetooth 4.0, not of bluetooth connection. For example, the Fitbit One, can’t work on iPhone 4 because of Bluetooth 4.0, but the new Withings Pulse works like a charm with the bluetooth on iPhone 4.

    • BLE = A subset of Bluetooth that requires Bluetooth 4.0, thus, iPhone 4s not having BLE support = not having BT 4.0.

      The Withings Pulse doesn’t use Bluetooth Smart, but rather a full-on Bluetooth 4.0 chip, which means that it can ‘down-level’ transmit to legacy BT devices. The problem there though is that it ‘costs’ more battery wise (a lot more).

  70. Adam

    Thank you for the very nice review.

    Would you suggest the order for UK (London)?

  71. Sara B.

    I’m currently using the Wahoo ANT key and app on my iPhone to upload my 310xt to both Garmin connect and training peaks – I really like being able to get my data into TP without going through my computer all the time. Since ANT data transfer is going away on these watches, do you foresee any way to similarly/easily get data into training peaks (without loading device agent on the computer)? I’m hoping for either a bluetooth-based solution or some sort of data-exchange between the online services (or anything else, I guess).

    • I suspect we’ll see folks like Training Peaks look to enable ‘pull’ techniques from Garmin Connect. Such that you upload to GC, and then moments later it shows up in TP.

      Today you can do that through 3rd party services (i.e. CopyMySports.com, previously called GarminSync.com) – but they don’t go into TP.

      There’s another company doing something similar that had more sites, but their name is escaping me at the moment.

  72. Paul Chambers

    link to tapiriik.com does sync between runkeeper,strava,garmin connect,endomondo,dropbox,sporttracks

  73. jardinra

    Mr. Rainmaker,
    I am a big fan and I even follow you on Instagram.

    Is it worth replacing my Forerunner 410 for the new 220?

    • It depends on what you want out of the FR220. Meaning, if you find the smartphone uploading and livetracking valuable – then definitely. However, if not, then you’e got the vast majority of the features (plus some extra) in your FR410 already.

  74. Eric C.

    Great review of these products, after much debate on jumping up to a GPS watch I went ahead and pre-ordered the Garmin 620 from the Clever Training website.

  75. Fred

    Thanks for the review, Ray.
    Actually Syncmetrics lets you upload scale data (well, weight at least) now to GC, but only if you’re prepared to give away your username and password of course.

    The 620 looks like the best runner’s watch out there and potentially a nice successor to my 610, but it seems the gap is growing further with Garmin’s software part (GC), which hasn’t evolved in years, looks dated compared to e.g. Nike+, and is stubbornly closed off from integration with other popular health devices (e.g. Aria, Withings scales etc.).

  76. runner Moe

    Dang! I just bought the forerunner 610. I was telling the store employee that i wish there was a GPS watch that uploaded runs via bluetooth or wi fi. like the motorola discontinued watch. then this comes out?!?! should I just buy the wahoo Ant+ key for my iphone? or is the 620 worth it?

    • matt

      return the 610 for sure. the wahoo key is $60! plus you have to get the 30pin/lightning adapter if you have the iphone 5 or newer (another $40 if you don’t already have it). i have the 610 now and almost bit the bullet on the wahoo key to upload on the road, but i’ll be getting this 620 and returning the 610.

  77. Harmless Harm

    Looked like amazing watch, but after seeing pre-order prices here in Europe for 620 HRM, my enthusiasm is over. 449e for a watch not having BT sensor support, no navigation features, no barometric altimeter, only run mode, creating dependency to chest strap. Given the positive responses here, looks I missed the point.

  78. matt

    so what’s the best price we’re seeing on the 620 so far? CT with the 10% DCR code is $360 (ship date nov 8). roadrunnersports is $360 also if you’re VIP (and says october 18 ship date).

    anything else people are seeting?

    • ekutter

      If you are in a state with sales tax, Clever Training will be cheaper. Not to mention supporting this site.

    • matt

      I’d prefer to get it off clever training, but i’m in a pickle.

      i have until nov 20th to return my 610 and i have my goal HM on nov 17th. i’d like to try to get the 620 before the HM to get a few runs in. but with a date of “after nov 8th” on CT, it’s cutting it close.

    • The CT date is a ‘safe’ date based on what Garmin is saying, they prefer to under-promise and over-deliver – the best that their suppliers allow them to (i.e. Garmin). The October 18th date you see above isn’t a realistic date. But in the event that does somehow happen (that’s not what Garmin is targeting), then the CT date would move upwards. CT is pretty much on the first shipment list.

    • matt

      ok good to know

    • matt

      just placed my order through CT. thanks as always, this site is great!

    • For what its worth on October 18th, RoadRunnerSports have pushed their ship date back to October 28th.

      I placed my order for an Orange/White bundle through CleverTraining using the coupon from this site. Thanks!

      Hopefully the Orange/White is less in demand and I will be among the first batch sent out from CleverTraining. I am a web/graphic designer and prefer bright color plus I already have too many black watches. Just hope the white is easy to keep clean.

      Thanks! — Steven

  79. James Breen

    Any word on Pace Smoothing? Does it have it. My old Garmin 205 had it. My current Nike GPS watch does not and it sucks. I’m assuming all Garmin GPS watches have pace smoothing …

    • I suspect you’re just looking for stable pacing, rather than unnecessary smoothing of pace. I’ll be including videos of the pacing as we get closer to final release. I’m hesitant to do so now because I’ve found in the past that one firmware release it’s great, and then the next it can get hosed up.

    • Neil Gendzwill

      Can’t speak for James but yes, I would like pace smoothing. An option to average over some user-selected distance or time would be great. I would love a good instantaneous pace, but the 210’s is not good enough to compel me to upgrade from my 110. Hoping the 220 is better.

  80. jeff

    In OZ the 220 is going to be AUS$299 + $50 for the premium HR strap.
    Ships ” 5 to 8 weeks”
    With shipping and the DC discount and the $0.93 it will be the same price in our local shops….

  81. Martin Gudmand

    How is the cadence sensor built-in to the HRM, in the strap (belt) or in the transmitter (little black plastic snap-on-thing)? I sincerely hope it is in the transmitter. Does anyone know???

  82. CS Weast

    Looking to buy my first GPS watch. I’ve tried several phone apps and have issues with all of them, especially shaky GPS and erratic pace. I was sold on the 220 but the CT sale on Suunto distracted me. I will most likely only use the watch for running. I need large number display and HRM. I’m not crazy about adding a footpod but like the looks of the white Suunto Ambit 2S. Advice?

    • That’s tough. Since it’s just running you’d be served well by either the FR220 or the Ambit 2s. It depends a bit on if there are detailed features that you’d like from one or the other. But honestly, you won’t go wrong with either watch.

    • CS Weast

      Thanks Rainmaker. I am new to GPS watches so am not even sure I’ll know what detailed features I’ll want until I’ve had it a while. Is a footpod/accelerometer really that important when you can log treadmill runs manually? Is one easier to read than the other? (I need reading glasses but obviously don’t wear any on my runs).

    • Having one or the other is important on a treadmill. But honestly, in most cases it won’t likely matter which one. Typically you’ll see footpods are slightly more accurate because they aren’t impacted by things like grabbing a waterbottle, towel, etc… Whereas the internal wrist-driven accelerometers are.

  83. Aaron

    First post but have following you for a while.

    So 620 vs the 220. Do the differences really stack up. How accurate is the VERTICAL OSCILLATION, GROUND CONTACT TIME, is it worth the extra money being spent? I am currently using the 610 and do find the touch screen frustrating during a run/race. I do prefer the 610 over the 210, love alerts, having 4 data points per screen and the charging feature is much better, magnet vs clip. I am a regular runner, avg 45 miles a week…thoughts?

    PS. I was just in Paris for 10 days but unfortunately The Girl’s Bakery was closed on the weekend, Sunday the 22nd. Hopefully next visit.

    • As part of the review I’ll be attempting to look at some of that, though it’s a bit challenging. I think the bigger question is what to do with it, and how to use the data.

      Bummer about the cupcake attempt. The power company incorrectly cut-off power in our building Friday afternoon, and since they don’t work on the weekends, it wasn’t until mid-day Monday they were able to come back and turn it on. :(

  84. TH Painmaker

    Do you see any reason that Garmin could not include multi-sport support in the 620? It looks like a transparent attempt to cripple a device to preserve 910 sales.

    I would but a 910 but I use my watch as a watch. The 910, despite sitting at the high end of the Garmin lineup, fails at functioning as a day to day watch.

    I also don’t get why we can’t insert transitions in Garmin Connect after the fact or define portions of a run as street vs trail.

    Not sure if you know the reasons these decisions are made at Garmin.

  85. Alex

    Thanks for the review! Can we set it up for other language and also miles/km?

  86. Datto

    I can get the 610 at 350$, the 620 will run about 500$ here in israel (lots of import taxes) when it arrives next month. Does the extra features worth 150$?
    It’s mentally challenging to buy previous-gen watch a month before the next-gen arrives, even tough the extra dollar can’t be overlooked.

    • Aben

      Geek alert:

      I guess this will have to wait for full review but a techy question, how can acceleramotors in watch or HR belt work on a tread mill for speed? On the foot it can detect the foot movement (forward and then tread mill belt pulls it back) so detect stride length (and along with cadence) figure out speed.

      Acceleramotor (watch/hr belt) would be fine for outdoor running (one could say on the chest could even be more accurate as it is closer to just moving forward)

      Another techie question. GPS watches doing 60s recording (to save energy) it is not ‘the recording of data’ that save energy rather I assume the GPS goes into low power mode (GPS use a lot of power because of attenuation of the GPS signal, from the satellites which is quite weak) as such does not speed shown on the watch get compromised?

    • Dom

      Aben: it’s an accelerometer, not a speedometer. It measures the changes in speed through the stride cycle and uses those to calculate how fast you are running relative to the surface under your feet. If that surface were the deck of a ship, it would give you pretty much the same answer if the ship were in harbour or steaming along in a straight line, because the constant velocity of the ship won’t affect the accelerometer. If you then stop and stand still, the footpod (or the watch) will say you have stopped, whether the ship is moving or not. In physics terms, this is because the universe has no preferred rest frame, and the forces on the accelerometer look the same no matter what the velocity of the frame of reference you pick. (Imagine standing in your cabin in dock holding a plumb line. You’ll see it swinging around as the ship moves out to sea, but it will just hang still as in dock if the ship’s moving at constant speed in really smooth seas).
      The HRM-RUN accelerometer probably doesn’t even try to work out pace; if your running style is good enough, the centre of your chest will be moving along at almost perfectly constant speed, just bouncing up and down a bit.

  87. Rohan

    If I’m not looking for day-to-day watch or live tracking; is there any reason to buy a 220 at $250 vs picking up a 310xt at $170?

    • Nope (and also ignoring uploading via smart phone).

    • Aben

      Dom great response.

      Question: On a tread mill my feet are constantly accelerating and decelerating. My chest (if I had the smoothness physique of a ballerina) “stays still” (as I am far from a ballerina its wobbling around, but nothing near the motion of a foot)

  88. ekutter

    The 310 is a great watch and actually has some of the very basic navigation stuff so many people are complaining about missing on the 220/620. If you want to do anything but run, the 310 is definitely a better option. As purely a running watch, the 220/620 is lighter and less bulky than the more full featured triathlon watches. But hard to beat the $170 price tag of the 310.

  89. Rick

    I agree with ekutter’s comment.
    In my experience, the 310xt multisport functions are quick and easy to use, it has virtual partner, courses, back-to-start location, and up to 20 hours battery life (although I have never tested that battery-life claim).
    The backlight is bright and can be kept on continually for hours, which is great for night running, and the 310xt pairs with Garmin’s bike speed/cadence sensor.
    The wireless ant connection to my computer is OK, although sometimes it takes a couple of tries to connect. I would prefer the usb connection of the 220.
    I didn’t buy the quick release kit because it adds a little bulk to the watch. Instead, I use the Garmin handlebar attachment and wrap the 310’s strap around it. I would prefer a Velcro strap if I could find one that works well.
    Just my two cents worth for how it’s worked for me…
    I had a Forerunner 610 for a brief time, and mostly liked it, but I returned it after a short test because the screen was a little small for my eyes, and the battery life seemed questionable for long bike rides.

    • Gunnar

      I agree on problems with pc connection with 310xt/910xt. One way I have never had any connection issues is using my ANT+ dongle and android phone/tablet (using Sportablet app). Just my two cents.

  90. christian

    Hi. would it be stupid to buy the 210 over 220 if you get the 210 for half price of the 220? they are on sale now. appr 100$ :)
    none of them has %of max hartbeat? can the 210 see that when uploading to garmin connect? do I see %of max hartbeat there? on 210?

    pls tell if I do a wrong descission on buying 210. is there really so much differnce?

    • I’m not sure where you see the FR210 for $100 – but that’d be a really darn good deal.

      On Max HR%, not as a normal field, but enumerated as a zone.

  91. Jauda

    how much of a hassle is it to transfer data to pc on 210? and charging it? is it that bad with those 4 probes?

  92. christian

    pls tell excatly what I should think of before buying a more expensive 220 over the cheap 210 now.

  93. Tommy617

    I have the 220 on backorder at REI – just got notice the release date is pushed out another week, looking like early November.

    • Do remember that officially Garmin’s release date is “Fall 2013”, which means anytime up till December 22nd. Anything beyond that is pretty much just guesstimates from retailers based on what their various distribution contacts are telling them. They are generally somewhat accurate, but vary heavily based on who their Garmin sales person is.

  94. Angi

    In your list of fields available for the 620, you listed time of day, but not for the 220. Does that mean that we cannot see the time of day at all during a workout, or does that just not count as one of the screens where we can program different fields?

    Thanks for the review.

    • The second, you just can’t program it as a data field on one of the customized fields. But, since you can just tap the time/date button, it shows it right there anyway (new to the FR220/620). Or, you can configure a 4th data page to always have it there for you.

  95. Tess

    Thanks so much for all the amazingly in-depth reviews and previews!! A couple questions:

    Is there a limit to how many wireless networks the 620 can connect to? Also, is the software needed to add additional networks each time a new one is added? For example, if I set it up originally to connect at home and at work, but then go for a run with a friend that ends at their house, or a Starbucks or something like that, will I need a computer there with the software installed to setup those connections?

    Thanks again!

    • I’ll find out if there’s an upper limit, I’m not aware of a non-practical limit (meaning, it may be something like 25 networks, but they specifically talked to me about multiple networks locally). You do need the software to setup WiFi networks. The challenge with something like Starbucks is typically clicking some sort of user-agreement before your ungated.

  96. Ruairi

    1. Does this watch allow you to set autolap at 1.01 or only 1.05,1.1 etc like the 610. This is a great feature in other garmins that you can set autolap at 1.01 for a marathon as it will be more accurate for your splits.

    2. Is there any scales I can get that will update weight on garmin connect when I get a 620?

    • 1) Only in .05 increments (mi or km). I talked with them about this recently as well, perhaps we’ll see a shift there in the final firmware versions.

      2) Not directly. But there are 3rd party options as discussed a bit higher up in the comments (just search for ‘weight scales’).

  97. Blake Selesnew

    Great not review, I heard about this new watch from one of my co workers and was happy to see you already looking over it. I will be looking at getting the 620, found your site last year and it pushed me to get my 910xt, thanks again for your straightforward views on the products you review.

  98. Stijn

    I was planning on waiting for the 220, but after seeing the current prices of the 610, I’m torn between the two:
    – 610, incl HRM: 250€
    – 220, incl HRM: 295€

    Pro`s 220:
    – BT4.0 (data transfer + live tracking)
    – +2 hours battery life
    – Waterproofing (although I don`t intend to swim with it)
    – Training calendar
    – No need for a separate foot pod

    Pro`s 610:
    – Cheaper
    – Bike mode (I regularly take my bike to work. At 20 miles (32km) each way, I treat it like a workout).
    – Virtual partner/racer
    – Back to start

    The biggest bummer is the bike mode. Any thoughts, since you’re a long time 610 user and can compare it with the 220?

    Thanks!

    • That’s a tough one. If it weren’t for the cycling your doing, I’d say go with the FR220. But with the cycling, you’d have to think how important that piece is and whether you wanted it easy or not to swap into speed mode. Otherwise, I’d probably go for the FR220.

  99. Christoph

    Hi,

    I would like to know how well these new watches can be used with linux.
    I have a fenix now and I am very pleased that even the firmware-upgrades can be done with linux.
    Since these two new watches seem to be usb-storage also, it might be as easy.
    it would be gread if you could test If the pre-loading of gps positions works with linux whenever you
    start your real review

  100. HupHolland

    Thanks for the very helpful review,
    can you help us people from Europe (and I think there are a lot of us reading your blog!) to get a rabate on the 620 in Europe?
    If we order from the States, we get additional taxes.
    regards
    Huub

    • You can order through Clever Training and still receive 10% off, regardless of where the item is shipped to. As far as European import taxes, it’s really a European taxation/import problem (keeping in mind I live in Europe and am in the same boat as you). The various EU countries impose the taxes (it varies, here in France it’s 19.6%) and one way or another someone’s going to pay that. If you buy it from a local store, you pay the mark-up built in, if you buy it from overseas you pay it on import.

  101. HupHolland

    +1 for “return to start” feature. A deal breaker for me!

  102. Martin Post

    Hi DC!
    FR220: There is no ELEVATION in the Datafield Menu. Is there a chance to ad via Firmware update????
    Rgds. Martin

    • Technically they could, but I wouldn’t expect them to since it would continue to erode the FR620’s feature set. The data is still available on Garmin Connect afterwards though with the FR220.

  103. Goblano

    Any update on whether GLONASS is supported? Thanks!!!!

  104. Filip

    Major advantages FR220 has over older FR610 are calendar workouts, better battery life, fully waterproof.

  105. Dennis

    Thanks! Your reviews are always very helpful. I take it that this watch is not as powerful as the 910XT, however, I am desperately looking for a fix to a vexing problem and wonder if, on this new model, they have improved the process for starting a run using the interval feature? Or can/will update firmware on 910XT to do it better.

    I love my 910XT, BUT, it takes sixteen keystrokes at the start of each and every interval run, even if all parameters remain the same. It is a pain in the neck and I consequently run with the 910XT and and old Timex Ironman just for the intervals.

    See below:

    Garmin 910XT (and previous)

    0 – Power on

    1 – Mode – History highlighted
    2 – Down – Training highlighted
    3 – Enter – Run Alerts highlighted
    4 – Down – Workouts highlighted
    5 – Enter – Interval highlighted
    6 – Enter – Two sets of intervals displayed – Time highlighted

    First time setting requires selecting time or distance for each interval and the length of each interval – my current training mode is Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. Watch “remembers” previous setting.

    7 – Down – Time metric saved, length of metric highlighted
    8 – Down – Length of metric saved, second interval metric highlighted
    9 – Down – Second Time metric saved, length of second metric highlighted
    10- Down – Second length of time saved, More highlighted
    11 – Enter – Number of reps highlighted

    12 – Down – Number of reps saved, Warm up check box highlighted

    I always set it to max number (255) otherwise, timing will terminate when number of reps entered has been completed. ( 2 minutes plus 1 minute) x 255 = 765 minutes ( 12 hrs 45 min)

    13 – Down – Warm up status saved, Cool down status displayed

    14 – Down – Cool down status saved, Do workout displayed

    15 – Enter – Ready to start, length of first interval displayed.

    16 – Start!

    Images can be seen at: link to garmin910xt.shutterfly.com

    • Hmm, if I’m understanding you correctly, you’re really just using interval mode as a run/walk training/racing plan, correct?

      If so – why not just use the FR910XT’s Run/Walk feature?

  106. Michael

    Thanks for the preview DC. Looking forward to the final review.

    I hope Garmin are monitoring the comments as I’d like to add another vote to the requests for neutral colours. I too would have to question the marketing behind these bright colours. These watches are now reaching the stage where they can be worn as an all day watch and thats exactly what I’m looking for and its obvious many others are as well. There needs to be a black or grey and black edition to both models. How annoyed will customers be if Garmin release a neutral version 6 months later. I for one will not be purchasing the 220 until other colour options are offered. As quoted before, I don’t want to change watches for training. Don’t get me wrong, I like the watch but unfortunately too geeky to wear as a day to day watch especially in my profession. Maybe waiting for the price reduction on the 210 is the way to go. Having said that, understand if others do like the colours, just doubt its the majority.

    Would’nt it be interesting if a neutral colour was released with the red and blue version. I bet my “cods” the neutral colour will outsell the red and blue. Come on Garmin, get your act together. Anyone can see this isn’t the best way to go. At least give the customer options.

    • CS Weast

      This is a major reason why I am seriously considering the Ambit 2s White over the Garmin 220/620. Even though the Garmins are smaller, I think the colors make them stick out more. FYI – I am a not so young female training for my 2nd Half Marathon and thinking about adding road/mountain biking. I have another day to think it over before the Ambit promo ends. Anyone else having the same dilemma over the Ambit 2s vs Garmins? Bang for the buck – is the Ambit a better deal with the promo pricing?

    • Bang for buck is really tough between the two. It depends a bit more on what you’re doing. For you, if you’re primarily a runner I’d go FR220. But, when you add in the mountain and/or road biking, then it’s clearly 2s. Especially if you ever convert over to teh dark side and become a full-on triathlete. ;)

    • Dennis

      Reply to #657 (reply button didn’t seem to kick in.)

      Yes, I only use the interval on Timex for interval countdowns. I leave four screen:
      Distance
      Time
      Average pace
      Current pace
      Displayed on Fr910XT.

      I don’t use interval feature on FR910XT because I don’t want to have to push 13 keystrokes at the start of each run.

      That process is obscene!

      I’m hoping that the 620 makes it easier.

      I also have a Nike GPS watch by TomTom that I sometimes use for the interval. It is automatic! That is, if it is enabled on watch settings AND you have set the proper intervals at home connected to a computer. The deficiency, for me, is that we sometimes change our interval (at the start of the training run) and if I’m set to the wrong interval, I can’t change it. Now, the new TomTom doesn’t even have interval at all.

    • CS Weast

      Thanks again for the advice. I just took the plunge on the White Ambit 2S with HRM using your link to CT!

  107. Soomba

    Hope you can help- was very tempted to buy ther 610 for the virtual pacer/ partner feature? is this on the 220?

  108. andy from embsay

    Ray – question on alarms. I like the fact my Fenix allows multiple alarms (as in “wake up!” alarms) and weekday only etc – is that the same on the 620? Thanks!

  109. Kavi

    Does the HRM communicate via ANT or Bluetooth ? Can it be used without the watch, pairing directly to a phone via Bluetooth for heart rate data using various other apps ?

  110. Adam

    On CT website it says the orange one is already in stock. Mistake?

  111. Tyler

    I was excited for the Live Tracking feature, but if you have to carry a phone to enable this, then I don’t understand the point.
    There are many free live tracking cell phone apps out there.

    Wouldn’t the use of BTLE + cell signal have the disadvantage of draining both the watch and the phone’s batteries even quicker than if I just used each device separately for the same purposes?

    • Yes and no. Ideally it wouldn’t require a cell phone, but today, that’s what’s there unfortunately.

      Cell phone apps are tricky in that most won’t transmit sensor data (HR/cadence/etc…), whereas this will.

      Also, the burn rate of a cell phone with GPS on is much higher than a cell phone just streaming data with BLE on (and GPS off).

  112. Dennis

    Re#657.

    Oops! Make that SIXTEEN keystrokes at the start of EACH run. NG!

  113. Real

    Some FR 620 things I’ve just found out from my local running store Garmin rep. Ship date to Ottawa from Wisconsin is 25 Oct. Watch specs are -20C to +60C. I do cold weather running so I asked. Watch can work with footpod but not HRM-Run and footpod simuluaneously :-(… I liked footpod and consider them quite accurate once calibrated. No calibration procedures with either one (footpod or HRM-Run). I like this watch and since I’m really looking at running (ultras is what I focus on) I wanted a pure running watch – but want long batter life. I was hoping that HRM-Run or footpod would allow me to turn GPS off to get battery life. Now I’m concerned about accuracy without the calibration procedure being available? Maybe I’ll train with the GPS capabilities and race long races with a footpod if I find out it’s more accurate than the HRM-Run? Can’t wait for more data! :-)

    • Eli

      From what I can tell the HRM-Run acts like 2 seperate ant+ devices so sounds like the 620 can only support 2 ant+ devices at one time (a hardware limit) while calibration is more a software thing. Going by what Ray has said above calibration may just have been one of the features cut temporarily so they could ship the unit and would be possible they will add that feature at a later date.

    • ekutter

      Is the lack of foot pod calibration that there is just no automatic way to calibrate? Can you still manually enter a calibration factor? I actually always use manual calibration anyway. It’s pretty easy to calculate if you run a known distance, either on a track or from previous runs where you know the exact distance.

  114. Rick

    I am having a hard time deciding whether to get the FR 220 or the 620. Currently I have a FR 310xt, which I really like and will keep for multisports and use as my bike computer, but I would like to get the FR 620 or 220 for running and use as an everyday watch. In my experience, as a runner for 13 years, I would be interested in the FR 620’s VO2-max estimate and the run recovery data.The 620’s WIFI ability also appeals to me. I doubt that I would pay much attention to the vertical oscillation and ground contact info, and I am neutral on the touch screen compared with the FR 220’s buttons. So with this information in mind, do you think the 620 with HRM Run is worth $135 more than the 220 with HR strap, or are the 620’s additional features more sizzle than steak? (The price difference includes Clever Training’s 10% discount for mentioning DC Rainmaker’s excellent website). Many thanks in advance for your thoughts on this!

    • Real

      My take is that with the FR220 you’d want a footpod. But I’m a proponent of footpods so I have a bias there. Given that comment then you’d have to buy a footpod (unless you have a useable one) and that would reduce the $135 delta. So, in that case I’d say get the FR620. The truth is the Vo2max data is not “that” useful once you have it. The Recovery tools seems appealing if you do a lot of running – meaning >60 miles perhaps. I just changed my running style to “forefoot” landing and I’ve decided to monitor GCT and Vertical Oscillations so I’m curious if I can improve my running form any further. But if they don’t interest you then… we’ll see how Ray answers the question – I’m curious too.

  115. Luc

    I tried to preorder from CleverTraining but there was a problem with the credit card, I suspect because of the shipping address. It gave me an opportunity to test their support.
    I called repeatedly yesterday and today, only to be directed to a voice mail of mailbox “201”, or “2003”. Not even the name of the company. I emailed using the form on their web site and got no reply.

  116. Manoftheday

    Hi. is there any way of seeing %of max hr on 220. or only on 620?

  117. Will B

    Am I right in thinking that I can no longer get my ‘Current Location’ on the 620? I can understand that for a lot of runners this isn’t ever used, but for me it would be really handy to get a GR if / when I get lost. Seems a backwards step if it is as its available on the 610.

  118. Rick

    I am thinking of upgrading the forerunner 220 from the 10. I like the virtual pacer that tells me if I am behind/ahead of my pace. Does the 220 have that feature? I also like the Auto lap on the 10 that tells me when I have reached each mile (that is what I set it as). Does the 220 have that feature?

  119. jeff

    Hmm.. my mates FR10 does “Pace Alert” by indicating AHEAD or BEHIND from your chosen pace.

    From the Garmin Site: “Pace Alert on 220/620 – Get vibration alerts so you know when you are ahead or behind the pace you set your watch to track”. No idea if it does text as well like the FR10.
    Ray did say it will not give the time or distance that you are off :-(

  120. Andoni De Urutegui

    Hi! a quick questions!

    Does the 220 has alerts on time/distance goals?, and another one…..i travel a lot so i wont have problems gps wise right?

    Thanks!

  121. Othman

    Many thanks for te great review.

    do you think it will be efficient if i use it when i play soccer. ie: does it count how many sprints that i did or the highest speed that i reached.

    thanks

  122. Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi

    hi,

    I have two questions about the FR620.

    1- I play soccer most of the time, can the 620 inform me about the sprints i did and what is the highest sprint?

    2- can i connect a Bluetooth headphone or any kind of headphones to live get feed back when i’m running, and play music?

    • 1) Not exactly. Yes, you could look at the data afterwards and pick it out, but not in any sort of ordered manner.

      2) No, it doesn’t connect to any audio devices.

  123. Johnnyu

    If the run has been gone through open areas then long tunnels then open areas, how will 620 do the job? I mean can it be automatically switch from GPS (open area) to treadmills (in tunnel) mode and then back to GPS (open area)? Thanks.

  124. matt

    Darn, clever trainings ship date on the 620 changed from Nov 8 to “mid november”

    • Keep in mind, the date displayed on the site is for new orders, not existing orders. Existing orders continues to be ahead of that (first come, first served).

  125. carlos nobrega

    hi, and still no news about “bike mode”?

  126. carlos nobrega

    so, bike+run, 610 is best than 620?

    • Until they announce otherwise. But honestly, if you’re doing a lot of cycling, I’d look at one of the multisport watches instead (i.e. Suunto Ambit 2/2s, Garmin FR310XT/910XT)

  127. Oliver Nokes

    Any idea when it will be in the shops in US? I am running US MC Marathon and may need a treat!

  128. carlos nobrega

    thanks, but i want day to day watch with bike+run features, and for this, 910 and 310 is to big, agree?

    • ekutter

      Partly depends on what you want it for with cycling. Do you look at it during the ride and want it to tell you MPH or KPH? Do you need it to connect to your cadence/speed/power sensors? If you mostly want it for distance, HR, and having the data for post ride analysis, it doesn’t really matter if it is in running vs cycling mode. With any software you use to download it after the ride you can change the sport.

    • I agree with EKutter. If you want a day to day watch that has all the features across multiple sports, the Suunto Ambit’s are really hard to beat here. If you don’t need day to day, then the 910XT (or 310XT). If you don’t care about looking at the unit while using it, then go with the FR220 (or FR620) and just change it afterwards.

    • Jimlefkas

      Footpod Question……
      Ok when we use threadmills we dont need foot pod with the new 220/620
      What about indoors running.. can we switch off gps and use the new garmins with gps off and have speed data as we would have if we have used foot pods?

  129. Kev Dwyer

    Ray,
    I was curious as to if it would be possible to use the inbuilt accelerometer and switch off the GPS in order to extend the battery life, and if so how accurate the distance reported would be.

  130. JY

    Hi, I am curious about how the watch handles tunnels. Can the unit switch from GPS to accelerometer while in a tunnel and back to GPS when out from tunnel? Any limitation (such as half an hour) on waiting GPS signal when in tunnel?

    • Yes, all Garmin units automatically switch from GPS to footpod/accelerometer when GPS signal is lost. That said, it’s something I’ll show in my In-Depth review.

  131. Amelia

    Ok so I was planning on either picking up the 10 or the 210. Should I wait for the 220’s release? I do like the colors, accelerometer, and custom workouts that the 220 offers. However the price is above what I would like to pay. I don’t use heart rate straps so that isn’t an issue. What should I do?

    Thanks,

    Amelia

    • That’s a tough one. Ultimately if you plan to use the unit indoors, I’d go with the FR210 or FR220. If you plan to stay outdoors and can do without the custom workouts (and since you don’t like HR straps), I’d go with the FR10. The FR10 and FR220 have similar color options.

  132. Michael

    Was wondering when your In-Depth review will be posted? Do you have access to the products before they are released? Are you in the process of writing your review already?

    Not sure which one to go with, 220 or 620. Really hope they aren’t rushed to the market too early as was the Tomtom watches.

    • My review will be released on and/or shortly after the product firmware is considered final. Obviously, when that date is is fully up to Garmin.

      Much of the reviews I’m able to write ahead of that point (functional/how things work pieces, etc…), however aspects like stability/etc is dependent on final firmware validation.

  133. Michael

    Appreciate the response. Excellent source for these products. Don’t know where you get the time.
    Hardware looks good, lets hope the firmware is up to scratch….

  134. Gunnar

    Ray,
    Sorry to kick this Bluetooth Smart thing to death but I was wondering what the response will be with a company like Garmin when android 4.3 becomes available on phones? Does that mean there will now be parity among different devices (such as Sony Xperia vs. Samsung etc…) which will make it worth it for Garmin to allow bluetooth connectivity with the 220/620 via bluetooth 4.0?

    I ask this because I hear rumor that android 4.3 will soon be coming to the Xperia Z line of phones (the phone that I have). If this new release of android 4.3 still means a mess for bluetooth smart then I may be convinced to switch to the iPhone since there are some good deals on the 5 right now.

    Thanks!

    • I suspect so. It’s really just a simple math equation right now with lack of devices supporting it. I think if you fast forward a few months (say, January), they’ll support it then.

      They haven’t specified a timeline, but from discussions it’s on the short-term list.

  135. jeff

    I did the 1/2 at the MelbMarathon this weekend. Garmin had a tent.
    Me, ” do you have the 220/620 to look at ”
    SalesBloke ” what…who said… shh.. i have to sell this first”, ” no idea , we don’t have them in OZ yet”.

    I ordered a 220 with strap at our local sports shop $299 + $49. ” early november”.

    @Ray , whats the most posts to a thread you have on this site.. is the current 700+ close to the most ?

    • Outside of contests/giveaways (which have thousands) – it’s the FR910XT review, currently at 971 comments.

      Once my FR220/620 review comes out (whenever they release the product), then I’ll close this post to new comments – simply because it becomes to difficult to manage and there end up being too many duplicate questions (beyond the many dups already). I tend to do that for any First Look posts, and then leave the final review standing. Purely comment workload item for me.

  136. Renee`

    DCRAINMAKER,

    I am faced with a certain…. obstacle *sighs*. My birthday is in early November, and I really cannot decide between a few Garmin models. NOTE: I do NOT train with heart rate. My choices are 10/410/220. I have heard that the 410’s bezel is obnoxious, and I am worried about the bulk. However, I do like the custom workout options, and the virtual racer feature. That being said does the 220 have a pace/racer feature? Sorry if that has already been answered. Plus I do like the colors/slim design of the 10. The 220 combines these, however it is the most pricey. I am a very serious runner and that calendar with the workouts looks quite valuable. Price limit: 250$ (and this is pushing it)

    ~Please Respond,

    ~Renee`

    • It (FR220) has “Pace Alerts”, which I showed a bit above – basically alerts that you can set a high/low watermark for and it’ll beep at you if your pace is above/below that. It’s not a Virtual Partner in that it won’t tell you how far ahead/behind you are. It’s basically just like a coach yelling at you to go faster or slower.

  137. Angi

    I was noticing the data from your run was from the 620. Does the 220 also have the training effect number or is that a result of the VO2 max measurement. What other differences are there in what you see online from an uploaded workout between the 220 and 620?

    Thank you for answering the question and sorry if it was already addressed.

  138. Lauren

    So which would you recommend? This (220) or the 210?

  139. Hi, the link above for the 220 isn’t working. Is that just because it’s not formally for sale yet? Thanks!

  140. Marko

    Hi,

    Many of you is asking for an all-black or black-gray FR220 version … well, me too! Can anybody confirm that the colours are fixed and there will be no all-black or black-gray FR220 version? I’m asking because I’m buying my first running (+ basic cycling) watch and I definitely want it to be a day-to-day watch, too … FR220 seams to be an logical best-buy, but since they are “colourful”, they are simply out of the question … even if the features are really great.

    Oh, and what is your previous experience regarding the pricing after new releases? Is it to be expected for FR210 price to be significantly reduced when FR220 is going to be generally available? If I could get FR210 for $150 (in Europe!) I’d definitely go with FR210 …

    Thanks!

    • The FR210 price has already been dropping, so I wouldn’t expect too much more dropping beyond where it is today (at least in the states). Europe pricing is always wonky.

    • Michael

      Totally agree with the colours. I am so keen on the 220 but if there isnt a black or black/grey version released I will have to go with Suunto or perhaps wait for the price reduction on the 210 here in Australia.

      We can only hope Garmin are producing a neutral colour as we speak. I hope common sense prevails…

    • Michael

      And would like to add, apart from the bright red on the face of the watch, what annoys me even more is the top right red button. Fine for working out, but tacky as an all day watch which what Im also looking for.

  141. Sigurdur Kiernan

    Nice looking GPS device. I´m a ultra runner and my races are up to +30 hours. I bought the 310XT because of the battery life and upgraded to Garmin Fenix when that was not enough for a 7 day stage run. Any chance they’re working on really increasing battery life for long distance runners?

  142. Taylor Harris

    The Chicago Garmin store on the Magnificent Mile has a pre-production version of the 620 in stock if anyone wants to play with it and happens to be in the city.

    They guess that we are 4 weeks out from launch but that they would have said the same thing 6 weeks ago.

  143. rosko

    I really don’t get the idea of somebody using a GPS watch like this for there day to day watch. They are not the most suitable watch for wearing about as you have to keep charging them, also no matter what colour they come in they are not the most aesthetically designed of watches, you could spend 20 $$ on watch & it would probably look better & you wouldn’t need to worry about damaging it. I know some sports watches are seen as fashion items but i can’t see these catching on.

    • Dom

      I wouldn’t wear one every day, but today I’m wearing a 610 all day because I cycled to work, managed to sneak a quick lunchtime run in, and will cycle home later. One watch rather than two simplifies my day. Doesn’t need charging any more often than it would if it were sitting on my bedside table between sessions.

    • Jack

      Rosko–for me, it’s just the convenience factor. I love watches, and completely agree that no sports watch is going to be my preferred choice from an aesthetic perspective. But I’m a busy person, and I’m often squeezing a run in before or after work, and sometimes during “lunch.” Switching watches just becomes a time consuming hassle, so having a running watch that draws as little attention as possible to itself is a significant bonus.

    • deeddawg

      Speaking as someone wearing my 610 as an everyday watch, here are my reasons. I don’t presume that they apply to anyone but me, but for the curious:

      I typically run four out of five weekdays. Some weeks I’m travelling and run after work, uploading my data the next day. Rest of the time I’m in the office and run at lunchtime, uploading data between meetings in the afternoon.

      It’s just a lot easier to keep up with one watch. As for damage, I put an invisible shield watch protector on the face when I got it two years ago and my 610 is fine.

      I don’t understand you concern about charging? The 610 battery life is the same whether it’s on my wrist of sitting with my running gear.

    • Bob

      Do you wear your $20 watch to bed. I never did, so now instead of just putting my watch down on the bed side table, I connect it to the charger. The extra 2 seconds is well worth not having to juggle two watches or worry about damaging my GPS watch while carrying it in my gym bag.

      As for the aesthetics, though not a Rolex by any means, the 610 is subdued enough that it goes mostly unnoticed. As these new models are even smaller, they be even better if it weren’t for the chosen colors.

    • rosko

      ok i see your points, if you run to work there is the convenience factor of not having to wear 2 watches, all the same i would rather have the inconvenience, after all you have to change the rest of your running gear, but that is really just my personnel opinion. In terms of the current design it sort of reminds me of go faster stripes on a hot hatch, I can see the annoyance of not having an option of subtlety here.

  144. J.Griffin

    Well some interesting points regarding wearing a Garmin sports watch 24/7. I for one most likely wouldn’t wear it to the office, except maybe on casual days, after hours & on weekends. I’ve always hated simply not being able to see the current time-of-day on my FR-305 especially on race day. I’m already somewhat used to having to use 2 watches if I’m working out after work etc. I’m a bit of a watch nut, but would prefer to simplified the choices a bit.

    I’ve already stated not really liking the current 220/620 color choices, however they look better than my brick FR-305. But I’m real concerned about the 220/620 view ability ie. font sizes.

    My FR-305 let me down during this last w/e marathon, it lost satellite connection twice. Not sure if it was the watch fault or some other factor. Needless to say, my times & splits are garbage. Not real happy about that!!

  145. Chris Koboldt

    Question:
    Do the watches themselves (220/620) have an internal accelerometer, AND the HRM-Run transmitter has an internal accelerometer?

    If so, I must echo a previous commenter, noting that the internal hardware for the 620 is strikingly similar to the 910xt, without the barometric sensor, and adding in the wi-fi/BT capability.

    Here’s to hoping they integrate a legit cycling mode that will pair with the speed/cadence sensor.

    My 310XT is trucking along just fine, but the addition of wi-fi and bluetooth really make me consider jumping at the 620.

    Regarding the HRM-Run, I’ve had longstanding frustrations with any and all Garmin HR straps (and crap data, even using all DCR’s advice), but I hold out hope that this latest version will work well. If nothing else, hopefully the accelerometer data will be usable (although it’s actual usefulness is currently dubious).

    • Yes, both units have an internal accelerometer. You can get cadence information from either unit without a footpod. Based on what I’ve seen, the cadence data from the accelerometer is quite solid and matches with footpod cadence fairly well.

      As for the HRM-Run, they noted they’ve done some recent work above and beyond what the HRM3 had as far as things like spikes/dropout reduction.

    • Aben

      I would think cadence is easy to get form arm or chest. I have big question marks about getting speed/distance from any accelerometer not in a foot pod (becuase a foot has to most distinct acceleration/deceleration that can be thus best measured)

    • Chris Koboldt

      Thanks Ray. Given the promise of a true cycling mode down the road (including GSC10 compatibility), I’m sold on the 620. Clever Training here I come.

    • I just want to be really clear that Garmin hasn’t commited/promised to adding a cycling. They’ve stated it’s not for the initial firmware release, but was a post-launch item if/when they do it.

      Do I think they’ll add it? Yeah, likely. Probably sooner rather than later.

      And that doesn’t tackle the GSC-10 piece either.

      I just don’t want anyone disappointed 6 months from now if it’s not there.

      I appreciate the support!

  146. Erica M.

    I don’t know why people say the FR305 can’t display time of day when it will. It’s one of the data fields you can set and I have had it on my main screen for years. But, I can’t wait for the FR220 to come out. My FR305 feels so bulky and heavy especially after wearing the FR10 which is now too basic for my needs that I’ve gone back to using my FR305 (for now).

    • People are referring to it as a day to day watch (as in, wear to the office/grocery store/meetings/etc..). The ‘Time’ attribute can be set for almost all watches (except, oddly enough, the FR10).

    • J.Griffin

      Exactly or simply need to know the time w/o having to turn the watch on even if you do have it as an field option.

  147. ron

    Hello
    I want to buy the white 620
    I’m just afraid not to get dirty fast
    Is it easy to clean it?
    Is it possible to replace a strip below?

  148. John Craft

    I “backordered” a 620 @ REI using a store credit and was just notified that the backorder is on hold. The 620 and 220 aren’t listed @ rei.com anymore. Are there any known delays from Garmin on delivery?

  149. Richard

    Sorry, if this question has been posted already, I didn’t went through all the posts…:
    do you know which type the new HRM strap is?
    I have the 610 and both times I gave the chest strap a chance, I had bloody wounds just after a few kilometers. A girl I know – so with a totaly different chest shape – had exactly the same problem. I’m now using my girlfriend’s 210 strap which works fine, but for the 620 this is no option, since I’m keen on the accelerometer thingy.
    So, btw, am I the only one reporting these problems withthe strap?

    Thanks for your great reviews BTW ;-)

  150. jd

    Recognizing that the data fields may change, I’m surprised Average Lap isn’t there, at least for the 620.

    I’ve found it really useful for race pacing on my 910, especially at the HM and marathon distances. You can turn off auto lap, hit the lap button at each mile marker, and then pace by the Avg. Lap field knowing that it’ll match the pace calculated from your official time — even if you aren’t running perfect tangents, or if the GPS is a little bit long or short.

    Any thoughts on Avg. Lap making it into the release firmware?

    • Chris

      I believe the data field your speaking of is Lap Pace (which is listed), as it shows the average pace for the lap you are currently running (with auto lap on or off). That is the field I most commonly use in training and racing as well, as opposed the oft jumpier “instantaneous” pace.

    • jd

      Thanks, Chris. Lap Pace is nice for the reason you give, but Average Lap is a bit different and useful in a different way.

      Instead of the average pace across laps, it’s the average of the lap times. It updates every time you record a new lap.

    • Chris

      My mistake.

    • Chris

      Would there be a great difference between the Average Pace field (over the whole run) and Average Lap field (average of the lap paces)? Do you like that it only refreshes once per lap? I could that being a benefit, preventing me from checking the watch constantly.

    • Yes, a bit of a difference. I’ll use my run last night to illustrate. In my case I was doing intervals at 6:10/mile for one mile. I always have the Lap Pace field on. In this case I start my lap at the begining of the lap (interval) and try and keep my Lap Pace as close to 6:10/mile.

      Then, I press lap at the end of the 1-mile segment and promptly die on the ground.

      During this ground-time (which lasts for between 2:00), my pace is significantly slower than 6:10/mile (generally walking).

      So if I had used Lap Average, then it would be including these laps as well – which means my pace while running would be significantly higher than the 6:10/mile I’d be targeting for that specific lap (perhaps 7:15/mile or so).

      Make sense?

  151. jd

    How it works depends on whether Auto Lap is on or off.

    If Auto Lap is on, then the Average Lap field will be identical to the Average Pace field whenever you’re exactly finishing/starting a lap. Otherwise, Average Lap will just show whatever your Average Pace was at the end of your last lap. I don’t actually use it this way, though I see what you mean about checking your watch a lot.

    It becomes useful in a novel way once you turn Auto Lap off and hit the lap button whenever you pass a mile marker in a race. Say the watch thinks you’ve gone 10.1 miles when you pass the 10-mile mark. (Maybe you actually have, by not running perfect tangents, or maybe not. Doesn’t matter.) If 60 minutes have passed since the start, Average Pace will show 5:56, but Average Lap will show 6:00.

    Average Lap is useful here because at the end of the day, it’s the official clock that matters.

    • Chris

      Thank jd. I might just have to try that (with my 310) at my next half. Perhaps the fine folks at Garmin will add that field back in.

    • Chris

      It seems I was confusing what is (or was) an Average Lap Time field with what I thought was an Average Lap Pace field.

  152. Mark

    Fantastic review & information :)

    I want one…

    I’m a runner & paddler and was going to hold off upgrading my 610 until a garmin came out with paddle stroke support. It seems like that is more likely in the 910 range and even though the 620 is now ‘properly’ waterproof.

    Any sense of whether a firmware upgrade will add paddle support to the 920 or am I better off being patient and waiting for the new 910 ?

    Thanks
    Mark

  153. Mark Qwerty

    Fantastic review & information :)

    I want one…

    I’m a runner & paddler and was going to hold off upgrading my 610 until a garmin came out with paddle stroke support. It seems like that is more likely in the 910 range and even though the 620 is now ‘properly’ waterproof.

    Any sense of whether a firmware upgrade will add paddle support to the 920 or am I better off being patient and waiting for the new 910 ?

    Thanks
    Mark

  154. deeddawg

    Ray,

    Thank you for all the info you post, you are a huge asset to the community.

    Maybe I’m getting old, but while part of me is all “oh cool!” regarding the 620, I’m left without a real compelling reason why I’d upgrade from my 610 given my use case. Especially without a non-colorful option as I do tend to wear my 610 most weekdays.

    Question abut the wifi: how does it handle multiple wifi environments? Work, home, hotel, etc? Seems it’d be fine for those who don’t travel much, but not as useful for those who do. Are we limited to the USB option then, or is the full upload/download function available through pairing with a phone? Perhaps I missed it in your preview, but I’m not clear on the differences or limitations are between the different connection methods.

    I look forward to your full review upon release. The lack of a non-running mode and lack of an all black or black/gray model is a significant barrier IMHO, do convey that to Garmin please.

    Thanks

  155. Ilan

    Hi,

    Can WiFi be turned off on the FR620? I like the idea of using it for connectivity, but I don’t want it on the whole time I am wearing the watch (because of the radiation).

    Thanks!

  156. Paul Stennal

    A Question:
    Do these support GLONASS? If not, I might as well keep using my phone that has it.
    GLONASS makes a huge difference here in Scandinavia….

  157. Ilan

    I know it was just announced yesterday, but do you have any thoughts about how the new Adidas miCoach Smart Watch will compare to these Garmin watches? It would be nice to not have to wear a heart rate strap, but the Garmin watches seem to provide more information. Will you be doing a review of the new Adidas watch?

    • Adam

      I was wondering the same thing. Adidas has MIO HR mechanism.

    • Yes, I spent a fair bit of time talking to Adidas today about the units in extreme detail. Have a good grasp on them. I should have a unit within a week or so. But I’ll have some initial thoughts based on the conversations and demos up on Monday.

    • Ilan

      That sounds great. I get the impression that the features of the Adidas Smart Watch are more comparable to the FR220 than the FR620, but with the added benefit of the HR sensor on your wrist. It would be nice to have the added information the HRM-Run strap can provide, but if the Adidas HR sensor is accurate, that might be preferable for the convenience and comfort. I’m also curious about how the Adidas miCoach training plans stack up to what the Garmin watches can do. I look forward to your review(s)!

  158. Matthew

    i wonder if in future the internal accelerometer could be used to measure activity like a fitbit? That would be a great addition to an everyday watch – could work in the background while set to time mode.

    • Eli

      Could be a great addition and maybe integrate with the recovery advisor to let you know if you’re doing too much

      But imagine the revolts that would happen if it didn’t come in all black ;)

  159. jakk

    Hi.
    When are you going to do a full test on 620? I am very curious on how good the max o2 and recovery things work. Is it as good as lab testing with a tube in mouth? Or is it slot less accurate, and how good is recovery advisor on telling how long you should wait between excersices? Is it just to follow what the clock says and you get the perfect progression?

    • I talk about it a bit more in the FAQ at the end of the post, but in short – once the final firmware is released, my review will follow within a couple days.

  160. Thanks for the informative preview. I just discovered your site and really appreciate all the time you put in to give all this info. Also, thanks for the discount! I ordered the 220 thru CT.

    Will my HR monitor strap from the 305 will work with the 220, no need to get the new strap? Aside from it being a little too big (I “trap” it under my sports bra band), it works fine and I haven’t had chafing issues.

    And will the 220 measure cadence with that setup? Someone from Garmin CS initially told me that you would need the foot pod to get cadence data but it seems like the accelerometer is within the watch itself.

    I find it interesting that so many people are clamoring for a neutral color. I was thrilled that the 220/ 620 aren’t all black. ;) I got the purple & white. And count me in the camp that’s really disappointed about the lack of “back to start” function. Other than that, the 220 seems like it has everything I want.

    • Yup, your strap from the 305 will work just fine with the FR220 – both are ANT+, so no problems there.

      Yes, the FR220 measures cadence from the internal system. I’m finding it pretty close to footpod – not perfect, but within 1SPM (i.e 88 vs 89) for an average run, and trending within 1-2SPM at any point in time (i.e 86-87 vs 88).

      And for those that have asked, I’m not seeing any issues yet in keeping white/purple one clean.

  161. Skye

    Hi,

    Just wondering, if you can go for a run, stop the timer, but the hrm will still record to capture the full calories burnt?

    Thanks

    • The calories are only captured while the timer is running (with either GPS on or GPS off). This is true of all Garmin devices (and actually, every GPS/running watch I know of except the Motoactv).

  162. Paul Teini

    Can this watch be shared between two people? My wife is interested in occasionally running with the watch, and I wonder what that will do to the data history. Do you have any general tips for sharing a single GPS watch? Thanks!

    • It can be shared, however, there isn’t a way to specify user profiles. So the best way is to simply manually upload the files to your own Garmin Connect account. You can easily create separate Garmin Connect accounts (it’s free), and then just login to your account and then when you select to upload, simply chose the activity (it shows date/time) that’s yours.

  163. Aben

    Ray,

    My main question mark is the accuracy of accelerometers in the watch or on the chest belt as compared to a footpod. A foot makes a very distinct accelerate-deccelerate movement. Wrist/chest does not. In the chest example you could run on a treadmill with almost no chest movement…

    Can you share your initial inputs on this? (or only after the main review is out?)

    Does the watch even accept a footpod?

    Lastly, any chance you cut a clever training type deal for us Europeans? I am concerned with the taxes importing from the states from CT

    • Remember, the HRM-Run isn’t measuring pace/distance – but rather, just movement related metrics such as cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.

      Both watches can pair without issue to a footpod, and footpod data will override the internal wrist data. Again, the HRM-Run does NOT provide pace/distance data.

      As for a CT-type deal for Europeans. It’s something I’ve talked with CT about (in terms of some sort of European operation), as well as a few others. It’s probably not going to be a short-term thing to resolve – simply since I have so many other items on my plate right now that it’s tough to add that one as well. Sorry!

    • Real

      I asked Garmin re foot pod specifically and although it will work with 620 I’m told you cannot use while also operating the HRM-Run. So if one I unhappy w watch accelerometer accuracy there could be the issue that if you use foot pod, you must do so w/o the HRM-Run. :-( I’m keen to hear about watch w/o GPS accuracy :-). BTW…let me add a BIG thank you to Ray for doing all this. What a great resource!

  164. Aben

    OK that makes a lot of sense, I would still have concerns of accuracy of wrist compared to foot, can you share the accuracy of the ‘watchpod’ for lack of better name?

  165. JoAnneS

    “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.”

    I am assuming from the above that the watch will still spit out a usable VO2Max estimate even if the activity is not runnig, i.e., I am cycling instead?

  166. Lars Modig

    Hi Ray,

    Reading this tread, the main point I got from it is a big disappointment on that the “Back to start” feature is gone. Do you think it possible to forward this info to the developers so we get it in an a software update?

    I tried to reach boot customer care in US and in Sweden where I live, but from US I got no reply, and from Sweden they just give a link how I could ordered it (for the double price then in US…). So if that is the customer care I think I’ll wait for the Finish (Suunto or Polar) watch with wifi… Sadly the 620 rely looked nice.

    /Lars

    • The developers are definitely aware of the trends here, so no worries there.

      I don’t foresee that being at the top of the list to be honest, perhaps further down the road.

  167. Great stuff… any news on release date? I am hoping I can get one for or after the MCM Washington marathon next week but have seen it may be put back until 1 Nov…

  168. Jessica C

    Complete newbie here, looking to buy my first watchable not GPS competent. I’ve been using an app on my phone,but we are moving to Japan soon and are not planning on using our cell phones. I saw in another review that you took a watch to China with no problems. Am I correct in assuming that this would work on the island of Okinawa?

    • Rodrigo Valle

      Well, the only places on earth where you will have problems using a GPS watch are near the North and South poles…. You’re safe.

    • Yeah, it’s all via the many satellites that cover the earth pretty thoroughly. I’ve used my Garmin 305 and 610 across the US, in Canada, several countries in Europe and in Japan. The only place you’re actually likely to have a problem is in big cities. The taller buildings in parts of San Francisco and NYC have messed with my reception a few times.

    • Chris

      Yes, big cities can be a pain for GPS. My favourite running routes around Hong Kong Island are pretty poor. One GPS track around Hong Kong Park had me running over two major roads and right though the middle of the Bank of China building! In fact, the only reason I use GPS now, is to get the temperature recorded in Garmin Connect.

      Thanks

      Chris

  169. Chris Koboldt

    Placed my order with CT over the weekend. And now the waiting… :)

  170. J.Griffin

    It would be interesting to know, what percentage of 220 vs. 620 are being pre-purchased, as well as after the release. Seems like the 620 might be overkill for a lot of runners, not to mention the steeper price-tag. Can’t hardly wait for DC review & buyer’s feedback, just hope Garmin didn’t misfire. I’m willing to be somewhat patience and not jump the gun.

    • Roughly 7:1 in favor of the FR220 over the FR620, based on the tiny slice of data I see.

    • Interesting. I would have thought there would be more 620 orders. Maybe those will come when cycling mode and other potential 620 only features are announced.

      On a different note, I asked clever training about the percent of black/blue vs white/orange a sales. They said a rough guess would be 65% black/blue & 35% orange/white.

      I will make my choice of the 620 once cycle mode is confirmed.

      I have a suggestion for Garmin about the need/demand for a discrete color option:

      DC Rainmaker Black/Black Special Edition

      It could be special ordered / maybe more expensive (with profits going to a charity) / perhaps a limited edition / something fun to do.

      If it happens put me first in line.

      I think the made a 610 came in a special edition.

      Just a thought! :-)

  171. Oregon Duck

    Any word on whether or not the 620 will feature a pace smoothing function. I made the mistake of buying the Nike GPS watch that lacks it. Worse GPS watch ever. The price lured me in. I had an older model Garmin that had pace smoothing. Really helps out when the GPS signal is lost to prevent big jumps in pace. Any word yet DC Rainmaker?

    JB

  172. Chris

    Ray,

    How accurate is the internal accelerometer (same or better than ANT+ footpod)?

    The reason I ask it that I rely on footpod for accurate pace/distance as many of the places that I run in Hong Kong, GPS is pretty poor.

    Thanks

    Chris

  173. Jospeh Kablinsky

    Any update on whether or not they support GLONASS? If not, that would be a dealbreaker….

    • I’ll go back and double-check on it, I haven’t heard back yet on that item.

      That said, out of curiosity – why is it a deal breaker?

    • Jospeh Kablinsky

      Hi Rainmaker. I’m replying to my own post, didn’t see how to reply to your specific post, sorry.

      The thing is that is that GPS+GLONASS is so much more accurate here in Sweden than GPS only.
      I allready have GPS+GLONASS on my phone, so using for example Runkeeper on my phone is more accurate than the Garmin 610 that I tested.
      I think it is especially big difference here on the northern hemisphere.
      I’d really like to get a GPS watch for running (much easier to check my wrist), but I would not like to sacrifice “GPS” accuracy.

  174. Adam

    Is there any indication when 620 can be available in Europe?

    Mid November?

  175. Brody

    1 question for you.

    First, great review as usual.

    I have looked over your site for months and have been on the fence about getting a GPS watch. Tried TomTom’s new one and returned it. Been using RunKeeper on my phone for over a year. Finally decided on the Garmin 610. Came to your site to look over your review of it once more. Bang! I see your first look and it made me pause, for about a month now.

    My question, can all the features on the 620 be too much and take away from it for newbies? I’m good with technology and all the features on the 620 excite me. Im interested on how it might help me evaluate and improve my running. But though life I’ve learned sometimes KISS, keep it so simple, is the best policy.

    I have future aspirations for tri’s but that’s couple years off. Might move into biking next summer though.

    Look foward to your or others thoughts.

  176. Rafal

    Thanks for the work, it is really helpful. I am facing a decision 220 vs 620. Ironically, my problem is touch screen in 620. Having really bad experience with bezel in 610 I would prefer to stay away from this issue in the future, however, I like the idea of having additional 620 features and ready to extra for it. So my question is how good is touch screen. You mentioned it is water resistant etc. Have you really tested it? how it works in bad weather conditions? Will appreciate you answer!

    • The FR610 or FR410? The FR410 has the bezel and is a nightmare. The FR610 has a full touch screen and I find it fine (I actually can’t remember anyone complaining about it, so that’s interesting). In any case, it works pretty much the same as the FR610, and that includes water. I’ve had no problems on rainy runs with it.

    • Rafal

      Sorry, I messed up the numbers…I have 405 and it is a nightmare.

  177. sonny sandhu

    Is the Garmin 620/220 still expected this friday 10/25

  178. Nigeria Forde

    I’ve been following the comments and it seems a disappointment if the watch isn’t out Friday 10/25. The place I ordered from promised it and overnight shipping for Saturday. At this point if I don’t get it – I will purchase another model. I sold my old HRM watch to buy this one and it’s been almost 2 weeks…..very frustrating.

    • Eli

      If you have been following the comments then what made you so sure that 10/25 was the release date? There hasn’t been anything to suggest a known hard set release date.

    • It won’t be here by this Friday (or Saturday), or even Monday. That I can promise you. The firmware isn’t final, and pre-built units still need to be updated with final firmware once final at the factory before shipping to Olathe, where they then get re-distributed to other distributors/retailers. If you bought through a major reseller, then you can cutout the distributor step (but everyone goes via Olathe, except intl). I outlined how this process all works in my Garmin HQ visit post: link to dcrainmaker.com (if you’re curious).

      Unfortunately, retailers set dates via a variety of methods, and none are really accurate. The official date is Q4 (which extends to Dec 21st). I explain a bit more how this works in the FAQ section.

    • Nigeria Forde

      Hi Eli! I was never ‘so sure’…. as stated the retailer promised they would have it….so as disappointing as it may be – they have offered me an additional discount – making the wait (however long) worth it! Thanks:)

  179. Chris

    Big disappointment that Bluetooth Smart (BLE) heart rate monitors and cadence sensors aren’t supported. The hardware is there, Garmin is just so hung-up on ANT+. I’m using a TomTom Multisport right now, but the software feels a little unpolished. I’d like to move to something a little more solid like the 660, but it seems the TomTom is the only unit on the market right now that supports BLE telemetry. It’s great to be able to use my Polar H7 strap and rock from the gym, to a run with the TomTom , to a ride with Strava on my phone, all on the same device. I know there are BLE/ANT+ straps, but no Polar GymLink then.

  180. Pete

    The CleverTraining code doesn’t work? Is that just a pre-order issue or do they hold back for awhile?

    • I just tried the code, and it seems to work for me. You must add the code to your cart and then it’ll show the discount for your total cart price (down below the item listing).

      Thanks for the support!

  181. Chip Blanchard

    Read and searched as best as I could: Does the 220 support configuration from the Mac/PC like the TRT2.0? I have to have vibration and waterproof, and the config from computer is a strong nice-to-have. I see that the 220 has the first two.

    I have the TRT2.0. I want to love it, and when I get the satellites I do. I returned my original to the fantastic Timex support, and the new one they sent gets the sats pretty quickly – Well, most of the time, which makes me nervous come race day.

    I also have an Edge 800. It gets satellites from the basement while on the rollers….

    • No, there’s no unit configuration like the TRT2. You can use both Mac and PC of course.

      The exportable configuration line refers to the ability to copy the Settings config file, but you can’t edit it with any Garmin provided tools.

  182. simon

    There are few things I like better than buying more fitness tech and I was excited about these new watches – but as we get nearer the release date for the 620 I’m struggling to see a real reason to upgrade from the 610.

    -I like the new look but would prefer an all black version.
    -Like the idea of a extra HRM-Run data, but have a footpod so already have cadence
    -fully waterproof (just like a £10 casio watch !)
    -Wifi is a bonus but limited as you can’t upload directly to strava, and I suspect it will struggle to a hotel wifi hotspot (authorization) ?
    -Only have an iphone4 so bluetooth not an advantage and even then no upload direct to 3rd party sites

    for me the big negatives would be:
    -losing ant+ uploads which is now working great from my iphone/ipad direct to strava etc
    -losing ant scale support (big fail IMO)
    -no cadence sensor support
    -no back to start navigation (just in case!)

    Same thing happened with the edge800 to 810….no real reason to upgrade.
    I’ll hang back and wait to see what garmin do with future firmware updates.

    one last thing Ray, are garmin planning on replacement velcro straps for these – much prefer this on my 620, easier to fit over the top of cold weather wear.

  183. DCR: Have you heard if the Wahoo Fitness iPhone app will be able to download from the 620 via bluetooth?

    • No, it won’t. The API/connectivity is closed on the Bluetooth side, so it has to happen directly to the Garmin Connect app.

    • Ah.. Thank you DCR for the lighting fast response!!! AMAZING!!!

      A bit limiting for the 620… So much that I like but appears to be a bit more restrictive with respect to 3rd party apps. I use Wahoo to send my data to several third party apps. Very clean. Again, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  184. indio22

    Thanks for the info great site.

    I am happy these new Garmin watches finally appear to have a more normal watch body/band design, particular where the band attaches to the watch body via pivot points with no curved housing extension. Some of the other GPS watches have a housing that extends outward from the main watch body, curving partly around the wrist. I dislike that design, as it tends to dig into my wrist over the course of a run, and provides a general poor fit, because it can’t shape to the individual wrist, due to the hard plastic.

    The extended curved housing is the thing I like least about my 415 model (other than the touch bezel). When running, I typically end up either cinching the 415 down too tight to prevent movement, or leaving it loose and continually pushing it upwards on my arm, away from digging into my wrist bone. I want to be comfortable while running, and I feel these new 220/620 model designs will contribute to comfort.

    On the other hand – the colors. The available colors remind me of those “Swatch” products from years ago. I don’t care for the colors, and would prefer a more understated grey/black similar to a typical watch. Clearly color choice is important to many consumers of products. And as a minimalist runner without flashy gear that I see used by some other runners – I prefer a black watch. Hopefully Garmin will increase color options at some point, and also add that cycling software option.

  185. jeff

    The local sports shop that I ordered the 220 from called me yesterday to say Garmin expects them to have the first stock 21 to 25 Nov. Looks like I still just have a chance of having it for the Cambodian 1/2.

  186. Nigeria Forde

    That’s what the place I ordered from said too. It’s been two weeks already but they even gave me an additional discount as a resut (by not disclosing the back order status)….they even upgraded me to free overnight fed ex…I am hoping for Saturday. As an alternative I’ve ordered the 610 because I have been lost without my old watch (which I sold) to buy the new one. If it comes I can return or re-sell one of them. Good luck Jeff!

    • Eli

      If you’re responding to Jeff, he said Nov 21-25, not October. So a month from now. Maybe that was a long estimate and it will take half as long as that, who knows. But doesn’t seem like any source is saying the next few days

    • Nigeria Forde

      Yes, this is true. I guess it will be me and the 610 (it was my second choice) but many of my friends using it are very happy and have no plans to update. Maybe it’s meant to be:)

  187. Paul

    Roadrunnersports is still telling me October 28th :(

    • nigeria

      That’s where my order was placed too….Did they give you the additional % off. If not I’d ask….Originally when I ordered it – they did not disclose the back order etc…In fact they promised me – that’s how I got more $ off the price. Maybe it will work for you too. Good luck!

    • Paul

      I’m in the VIP program so I already got that off. Did you get even more?

    • nigeria

      Paul, yes this was in addition to the VIP discount.

    • dcv2002apv2005

      Looks like they updated to Nov 4th. Got an email today for 20% off VIP stuff. Wondering if this is applicable to the 220/620….

  188. swimfit

    Just wondering if the FR620 capabilities in the water ie swimmers how it rates and if it tracks hr or laps or strokes and distance similar to the garmin swim
    what functions does it have for this

  189. Michael

    Great resource for information regarding these products. I am very interested in the 220 as it definitely suits my needs and would be a great update from the Suunto Quest (no gps) Unfortunately there are two conditions that will convince me to purchase the watch.

    First, DC Rainmakers final review, which I assume or hope will be very positive. But we would all agree with that one.

    Second, and this is a BIG issue for me and I know it’s been mentioned numerous times before. The COLOURS! I have become custom to wearing the Suunto Quest as an all day watch and the 220 would be also suited for this purpose given its size. But unfortunately I will not be purchasing the 220 until a neutral colour has been released. I am sure there will probably be other options before then, so Garmin you have lost a customer here. Don’t get me wrong, the colour is not an issue if your just using it for workouts but I do not want to be carrying around two watches and as I said, have become very comfortable wearing the Quest on a daily basis.

  190. This is an awesome website. Great review. – I already own the Wahoo Blue HR strap. I am getting myself the FR 620 but I was wondering if I need the bundle or can I use the strap I already have? Do you know anything about this?

    • Chris Koboldt

      Based on what Ray’s written, it looks as your Blue HR strap will not pair with the 620. Any Ant+ strap should pair just fine, but only the new HRM-Run strap will give you the new Running Dynamics metrics (coming from the accelerometer that Garmin added to the HR transmitter pod).

    • As Chris noted, no, it won’t work. The unit doesn’t accept Bluetooth Smart sensors (such as HR straps), only connectivity to phones. So you’ll need an ANT+ strap. Given the price differential, I’d go with the HRM-Run versus buying it later at $90 (it’s $50 bundled). You can find a standard ANT+ strap starting at about $30ish.

      I’m finding the HRM-Run definitely has improved a bit compared to the HRM3 as far as spikes/dropouts go (which they noted to me they were working on, and I’m pretty consistently seeing that work paying off).

  191. Ilko

    Hi DC,

    First of all great review and great website!!
    I know this question is partly raised before, but I did not have time to go through ALL comments… I have seen people asking between the 620 and the 910, which also applies to me.
    I am a triathlete and use an Edge800 on the bike and a Polar 725 for running. I am not a good swimmer, so when swimming I am mainly focused on technique and less on statistics. So for me personally any watch that is waterproof and has a laptimer will do. I use the Edge a lot on the bike, as I commute as well. I also like to take it when I need to go from A to B, so the maps and navigation are key for me.

    Taking this in mind, I do like the running specific functions on the 620 a lot and I think that would mean more to me that using the 910, which has a lot of bike functions that overlap with the Edge. The only thing is that having one device is perfect for races of course. From your experience what would you recommend? Is the 620 that much better for running than the 910?

    • If you’re a triathlete I’d recommend going with the FR910XT over the FR620. Now, true that you do aleady have an Edge 800 for the bike, which in my opinion is a better bike unit than the 910XT. But, you’re not getting swim details today.

      That said, since you don’t care about the swim data and have cycling done, I’d go cheaper for the run – perhaps the FR220 instead of the FR620.

  192. Aubrey

    I found your site a couple of days ago when beginning my search for my first running watch. I have read practically every post since. I enjoy your balanced and thorough reviews. I also appreciate your humor and am impressed at how quick, kind and patient you are in answering questions, especially repeated ones! I hope not to do that to you. That being said, I am hoping you can answer some questions I still have. (Since I wrote a lot, I “highlighted” questions with *** and separated them from their paragraph to help them stand out.)

    I do not think I need an extremely fancy (or expensive) watch. I am mostly interested in working on improving my pacing and having a record of my runs for simple trend analysis. After this pre-review, I really like sound of the new Garmin FR 220. It probably is more than enough for my interests/needs, but I’m not entirely sure.

    My first reservation with the 220 is the battery life. I am fairly new to endurance running (completed my first official marathon <2 wks ago) but I'm already far outrunning my iPhone's battery when continuously running apps and would like more accurate, stable current pace info. I have my sights on Ultras (unlikely to go beyond 12hr/50 mile races though). I have thought about the 310xt based on The Girl's love of it and 20 hr battery, but it is huge (and ugly)! I've seen in comments on how some Ultra folks recharge watches during a run.

    ***Do you think the 220 would be able to be recharged on the fly in an Ultra? If so, do you have a recommendation on a battery pack? (Would said battery pack charge my phone too in an emergency?)***

    Also, I saw where you said it has 6 wks in watch mode, but being completely new to tech, I don’t know if using the non-GPS functions still counted as watch mode.

    ***Does using a footpod with it to still record data eat the battery at the same rate as with GPS on? If not, do you know how long it might last that way?***

    Second, I noticed on the Garmin site that the 620 has 200 hrs worth of activity data history, but the 220 has 1,000 laps of history. I do not really know what that means.

    ***Will I need to download information more often with the 220 or something?***

    ***Do you think I’m being too short-sighted with the 220 and will quickly outgrow it as I continue to grow as an endurance athlete?***

    (Subjective, I know.) I am perfectly fine making an investment on a necessary piece of equipment (but I don’t want to pay for a bunch of features I don’t need). I have seriously considered the 620 because of the wifi and Virtual Partner features, but I’m not sure what I'd do with the VO2Max and other dynamics right now or that is worth the extra money. I have considered the 910xt but I’m not sure the 20 hr battery alone (I’m definitely not a multi-sport athlete) is worth the extra money. I have even considered the Fenix and Suunto watches but while I consider myself primarily a trail runner, I live in the flat, fairly tame Midwest and will likely race close-by, so elevation and fancy navigation is probably not too important or worth the cost.

    I appreciate your input.

    • Hi Aubrey-

      RE: Charging while on go

      I’m not seeing that to be the case in the current beta firmware, but things might change by release.

      RE: 6 wks watch mode

      Non-watch functions like time aren’t included in that, so you’re fine there.

      RE: Footpod data

      I don’t know offhand how long it’ll last in GPS-mode with footpod on recording data. I’ll try and test at some point before the review.

      RE: History

      No, these devices have craptons of storage on them, you have no problems running out anytime soon (hundreds of hours as noted).

      RE: Outgrowing

      Yes and no. The only challenge I’d see with the FR220 for you is trail running. Because of the fact that the FR220 uses Smart Recording and doesn’t allow you to switch to 1-second recording like the FR620, you might lose some data in switchback situations.

      Beyond that, you may also want to consider the Ambit 2/2s as a viable option for trail running too.

      Enjoy!

    • Nate Thompson

      Just want to confirm, in one of the comparison tables you show both the 220 and 620 as having 1-second and smart recording intervals. However, in your response to this post you mention that the 220 only does smart recording. Can you confirm which is correct?

    • That’s correct. I’ve updated the table to reflect the current reality of that. :-/

  193. dcv2002apv2005

    HRM-Run question. I had the 610 briefly. I was one of the first guinea pigs as I picked it up at the Boston Marathon 2011 expo. I returned it 3 months later. When I did use it, it came with the premium HR strap which I (and others) have found to chew up your skin right under where the HR “module” attached to the strap.

    With the HR strap I have with the 305, I’ve had no problems. Have you found any problems with the HRM-Run strap with regards to chafing?

  194. Chris

    Hi,

    If I understand correctly, the FR620 still supports recording of HR R-R for Firstbeat Athlete analysis software?

    Is there a user menu configuration for switching on HR R-R recording? The FR610 does not have this option, and relies on Firstbeat Athlete to send a FIT message to do the configuration.

    I am hoping that there is a user option for this, otherwise Firstbeat Athlete won’t be able to send the configuration message due to the lack of ANT+ PC comms on the FR620.

    Otherwise, I guess there will have to be a new compatible version of Athlete.

    Thanks

    Chris

  195. Joe

    Does any ant+ hrm ready brands will work with of this units, or do we have to buy a garmin one?

    Thank you

    • Any ANT+ HRM. Though, obviously, only the Runniny Dynamics portion on the FR620 will work with the HRM-Run (you’ll still get regular HR on the FR620 though with any ANT+ strap).

  196. The Kreyos Meteor features a variety of built-in activity trackers that allow you to compile data and share it any way you want…with whomever you want.

  197. Mike

    For those interested, Garmin’s UK retail distributor with one month exclusivity is fanfaring an on-sale date of 1 November.

    • Adam

      Hi Mike,

      I am in UK and I am looking to buy 620 for a month now. Any link or any info where to buy would be fantastic!

    • Mike

      Hi Adam – Their UK retailer is Sweatshop. Not sure if it’s showing on their website yet but I’ve spoken with the local store and I’ll be picking mine up next Friday.

    • Mike

      All of their stores will have them. Look out for their flagship London store on their website.

    • Adam

      Hi Mike, I am sure you are right.

      It might be that people in the shop (stratford) weren’t informed.
      have you reserved yours or you are going just to pop by on Friday? Hoping they’ll have enough stock.

      Anyhow great news. I was almost sure it won’t get in UK before december.

  198. Adam

    Thanks Mike,

    You are life saver!
    Can you tell me which shop did you visit? I am in London.

  199. sonny sandhu

    Road Runner Sports just updated there website. Before today they said they would mail out on Oct. 28th. This is there new update Get first dibs! Pre-order now for shipment on Nov 4, 2013

  200. Adam

    I just visited Sweatshop and they told me they are yet not sure about the exact date. They advise that it should be on their website when they get more info…

    I assume there is no point trying in other branches..

    • Mike

      Direct quote from one of their Facebook posts: “We’re counting down until Sweatshop gets the exclusive launch of this brilliant bit of kit! The Garmin Forerunner 220 and 620 GPS watches will be available from the 1st of November. Check out the video and put the date in your diaries it is going to be BIG!”

    • matt

      i hope this is only a UK exclusive period. lol. their website says from nov 1st

    • Adam

      I am sure you are right Mike. People in this shop (stratford) might not be well informed.

      Which fb site is this? I couldn’t find it on the main one.

    • Adam

      Nevermind I just saw it on their website.

      Feeling excited. :)

    • Mike

      You’ll like it. A LOT. I had a play with one in the US a couple of weeks ago. It’s a real nice piece of kit.

    • Adam

      I am sure I will. :)
      Going to check on Friday if they’ll have them in shops.