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Garmin Forerunner 220 In-Depth Review


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


Here we are, after having removed the plastic stuff:


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


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


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


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


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


And then snapped in:


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


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


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

Size Comparisons & Weights:

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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



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



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

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


Whereas the older FR210 came in at 52g:


Running Functionality and Features:


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

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

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

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

Here we are, ready to go:


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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



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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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




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

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



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

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




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

Treadmill Running & Internal Accelerometer:


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


From there you can search for the footpod:


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


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

Workout Creation & Training Plans:

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Here you can see them in the Calendar View:


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



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


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


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


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

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

Cycling Functionality:


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

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


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

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

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

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

Use as a day to day watch, backlight:


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

ANT+ Weight Scale Connectivity:


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

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

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

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



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

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


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

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


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


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


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

Live Tracking & Mobile Phone Upload Functionality:


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

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

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

Computer (USB) Upload Functionality:

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

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


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


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


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

Garmin Connect Online:

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


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


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

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


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


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

3rd Party Site Compatibility:

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

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

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

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


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

Firmware Updating:


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Bugs and Miscellaneous:


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

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

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

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

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

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

– [New] In software version 2.20, if using a footpod (optional), the footpod will OVERRIDE the GPS for distance/pace outdoors, which will likely result in incorrect pace. I’d highly suggest disabling the footpod while outdoors if you have one. [Update: This has been fixed, but instead, you can’t use the footpod for instant-pace outdoors with the GPS on.]

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

Pros and Cons:


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


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


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

Comparison Tables:

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

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 21st, 2015 @ 1:43 amNew Window
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2010SEPT 16, 2013APR 12, 2011SEPT 16, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 2010OCT 31, 2013APR 15, 2011OCT 31, 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, Bluetooth SmartANT+ WirelessUSB, WiFi, Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX750 MetersIPX750 meters
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours10 hours8 Hours10 hours
Recording IntervalSmartSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1-second & smart1-second & Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYes, 7 daysNoYes, 7 days
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)Barely (Speed mode only)YesBarely (Speed mode only)
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYes
Strava segments 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
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoYesNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoYesNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)No
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
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
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesNoYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
PC ApplicationGTCGarmin ExpressGTC/ANT AgentGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidGarmin FitiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYes
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

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

Final Thoughts:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AccessoryManufacturerStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programClever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programB&H Photo LinkMore Info
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated August 16th, 2016 @ 5:50 am
Garmin 220 Replacement Band (Purple/White, Black/Red) - Compatible with FR220/FR620Garmin$25N/ALinkN/A
Garmin 620 Replacement Bands (White/Orange, Black/Blue) - Compatible with FR220/FR620Garmin$25N/ALinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1Garmin$37.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2Garmin$69.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3Garmin$50LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-RunGarmin$99.00LinkLinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)Garmin$28.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)Garmin$45LinkLinkLink
Garmin Approach S6 Watch Band (Orange, Black, White) - Compatible with FR220/FR620Garmin$25N/ALinkN/A
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin FR220 Charging/Data Sync Cable (Extra)Garmin$25LinkLinkN/A

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

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

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  1. Jay

    Great review. In comparison to the 620 review, it looks like there are a whole lot more color screen shots here. Is that just a difference in camera work, or are there more color screens in the 220 vs the 620?

    • It’s just the camera. 😉

      Though, I think it looks like the color-line trim setting was set to off on my FR620, whereas the FR220 had it set to on. This just means the lines separating the data fields are colored as opposed to black.

    • Lynn

      Great in-depth review—how does the 220 compare with the Tom-Tom? I want the HR component and own a Polar H7 sensor/strap- would the Garmin be compatible? Would using another brand sensor limit any of the 220’s functions?


    • The TomTom Runner generally has less functionality at present than the FR220. But, it’s also cheaper. The Garmin is not compatible with the H7, as it only supports ANT+ sensors, and not Bluetooth Smart sensor.

      TomTom is the only watch-unit on the market as of today that supports Bluetooth Smart HR straps.

    • Ian Keith

      Happy New Year and thanks for all of your great advice. I got a FR220 from Santa based on your very comprehensive review (couldn’t see why I needed 620).

      Going through the set up and frustrated that having downloaded the Garmin Connect App I can’t get my IPad Mini and the 220 to recognise each other via Bluetooth. The App doesn’t list the 220 as an option but I don’t think that is the issue as believe I should be able to pair the two from the settings menu in any case. From there Bluetooth just whirs around “searching” endlessly with no result.

      Grateful if anyone has a fix for this or the bad news that the devices aren’t compatible. Don’t know if it makes any difference but I am in London, UK.


    • Thanks.

      See this post here on the Garmin Forums where some folks are having iPad Mini problems: link to forums.garmin.com

      In the meantime, I’d highly suggest opening a case with Garmin support. Otherwise, they won’t know the extent of the problem (and, they might just be able to troubleshoot/fix yours).


    • Colleen Musielak

      Great review! One question, do you have to have your phone with you on your run for people to be able to track you?

    • Yes, it must be on you for the Bluetooth connection to remain connected.

    • Christine Castillo

      I bought this product after reviewing your review on it and that everything seemed great. I have had several problems with it. I attempted to run on the treadmill with it and it was VERY inaccurate with my distance. Yes, I did turn the GPS off. I actually quit my run and went outdoors so that I could have an accurate workout stored on it. My main annoyance with this watch is a regular occurance that I keep having. I run outdoors around my neighborhood a lot and the map is all over the place. It will say that I swam straight up a canal the short way home instead of me running a big circle around the canal. I have contacted Garmin regarding this issue and received a pathetic reply from them stating that they are aware of this issue with the 220 and that they are working on it. Well that was a month ago and they still have no updates to correct it and it is VERY aggravating. I previously had the cheaper model the 110 and had zero issues with it. Almost want to return this one. Moving from their $130 model to the $280 model and not being happy with it and liking the cheaper model better is not what I expected with this purchase.

    • SteinE

      Great review, thanks!
      I`m in for a new GPS watch these days and can`t really decide which one is the best for me. I ski a lot in the winter, nordic skiing. In the summer I ride both road bike and MTB. I have read yours and other reviews on Suunto Ambit2 S, Garmin 220/620 and Polar RC3. I think none of them as a perfect match, as the all lack cycling functions. Good functionality towards running and skiing is most important though. A big issue for me is to be able to use the watch as daily watch. What would you recommend for me? I guess it`ll take some time before the new Polar V800 is avaliable…

    • Given you’re sport profile, I think the Ambit 2S is probably the better bet for you. You can customize it better for the fairly diverse set of sports you’re doing. You may also want to actually look at the Ambit 2R as well, which would save you some cash and pretty much get the same level of customization.

    • ingrid

      Thanks for the review. I have set the watch to show pace and distance in km but on garmin connect and on my iphone it still shows miles. where do i change this?

    • You can change the settings within the iPhone app, under Settings > Units.

    • Curt

      Great review as always.

      I love the FR220; haze zero complains on the HW. Love the watch

      But I think one thing is understated in your review: the Garmin Connect Website is terrible. You do mention is has some issues, but I think it is understated. Of the fitness tracking websites Ive used, Garmin Connect is the worst. The new “Modern” UI is full of bugs. Calendars cannot be reliably sent to the watch (one of the features I bought it for). Garmin support told me to just send one workout at a time. Also; the reports are buggy; the “4 week” report shows a blank bar, missing an entire week of data if you set first day of week to Sunday. Garmin express that xfers data from the web to the watch is also buggy. Ive had to remove it and re-install it 3 times to get workouts to send to the watch.

      The Garmin Connect SW is so bad, Im seriously considering sending back the excellent watch. The watch is excellent but the Web sw is a huge part of the experience.

    • Yeah, the review was written prior to the new modern UI (about 4-5 months prior). And I agree, the modern UI generally is slow and buggy.

      That said, I’d counter that functionality wise GC is still leagues ahead of any other site from a watch maker specifically, though Suunto is pretty good for the basics.

    • Gingerneil

      I don’t use GC at all (well, apart from custom workouts which work fine for me) . I use the Android app to get the data off the watch and into Sporttracks.mobi
      Even them, I could ditch the app and just use the file import direct from the watch – but I like the BT function rather than wires
      Don’t dump the hardware just because of the software.

    • Kelly McClure

      Hi and thanks for what you do. Your reviews are the best. Question- what is your experience with the auto-pause feature of the 220? When I tried to use it, it just kept pausing and un-pausing in rapid succession although I was exceeding pre-determined pause pace. Tried it at default pace (20:00) and it did same. Seems to work fine if just used in the stop-only mode, but I’d sure like to use auto-pause to walk through water stops and such. Thanks for any input you have on this topic.

    • When I’ve heard of other folks with rapid on/off type issues, it tends to be because they had a wonky satellite lock. I’d try doing a full reset on the unit to see if that clears up things.

    • Jerry

      When did this unit come out last year?

      Do you expect the new version to come out this year or early next year?


    • Yes, it came out just a year ago (started shipping basically the first week of November 2013). Thus, I wouldn’t expect a new device anytime soon. Garmin typically operates on 2-year release cycles. Though, we’re seeing that accelerate slightly with many other newer fitness vendors going to 1-year release cycles.


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


  2. Jeff Francis

    Awesome review. I can’t wait to get mine. Just one question: how stable was the instant pacing? (I know that you said that the 10’s was a big improvement over past iterations. Does the 220 keep that improvement)

    • It’s pretty good. The unit displays in 5-second increments (i.e. 7:05, 7:10, etc…), sorta like the FR10 does. I’m going to get out and get a video of it in the next day or so (for both watches) showing instant pace.

    • Ok, just went out and shot a quick video showing instant pace on the FR220 (as well, on the FR620 in that review). You can view it in the running section just after the size comparisons.

    • Mathew Boice

      Take care on the 5’s! The article is excellent but i think this is an area to be careful with. The 5 second rounding leaves you guessing your lap times and typically running quicker (may not always be what you are wanting to do right?) and already I am finding this very annoying….pace for 4:05….then have the watch flutter between 3:55 and 4:10, finish your KM and find you ran 3:57…..ummm. My previous was the 610 which estimated to second (i believe) and now I am thinking to have to ditch the 220 already in favor the 620…which has SMART or 1 second….grrrghhhhhhh I have only had the darn thing a week! The rounding on intervals means averaging….so if you have un-even splits to do…the guess work rises and rises….Hope this helps

    • BruceL

      One thing I’m considering is going back in time 40 or so years (for Australia) and adopting imperial units. At least that way the smoothing at 5s/mile equates to about 3s/km!

    • Dean

      I like to go with the average lap pace, which does go down to the nearest second and keeps me on pace rather than the live pace which obviously drops in poor GPS zones.

      Just a general tidbit but I found it far more useful

  3. ben

    so buying this

  4. Ilan

    Great review as usual! Does the FR220 have any advantages over the FR620, or is it basically a FR620 minus a few features?

  5. MJ

    I’m getting this for Christmas. Thanks for the great review 🙂

  6. julie

    Hello, thanks for your review !
    I’m looking for a running GPS with training workout like intervals but you tell us that the forerunner 220 doesn’t indicate if we are above or below the limits. So how can you do to adapt the workout ? Is the forerunner 610 do that ? (I’m actually hesitating between the two). (Excuse me for my English ….I’m french)


    • It doesn’t show you on the alert itself, rather, it shows you on a workout page that is shown during the workout, which shows you how much time left in that particular workout section and the target for that section.

  7. Kai

    Ray, thanks for the great reviews they are just the best ones out there.
    i have 3 questions, currently i am using 310xt and cinsidering the FR220 or FR620.
    Most of my runs i use 3 fields (pace/cadence/lap time), but sometimes i want to add HR to list
    1. do you know why garmin limited the number of fields on FR220 / would be 4 fields readable?
    2. can i set my own HR/Speed zones? & will HR zone show on my custom zones?
    3. there is no HR graph? Right?
    4. do understand why day watch is 6weeks compared to fr620 where i read it is 10 weeks?

    Thanks for the great work!


  8. Richard

    Hello, Thanks for the Great review.

    I have one Question:
    Is it possible to do the Upload/connect via Smartphone , if the Smartphone has Bluetooth 2.0?

    Greetings from Austria

  9. David Russell

    The only thing missing for my purposes when compared to the 620, is Virtual Partner. I find that very handy keeping me on pace when doing intervals. Is there another function/way Ray or others use to stay on track in this regard?

    • You can use the Pace Alerts (High/Low). It looks like another firmware update was released last night, so I’ll check and see on tonight’s run if it’s more stable that past runs.

  10. loshko

    Hi Ray,

    Great review as always, it’s a perfect read for my morning coffee. Have you done size comparisons between the 620/220 and Garmin Swim and how did the running watches fare?


  11. oneup

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for the review !

    Coming from a 405, I’m not sure of what I’m losing (virtual partner and “back to home”, touch-sensitive bezel), but I’m pretty impatient of what I will gain (viber, upload through bluetooth, …)
    From your point of view, switching from a 405 to a 220 would be an upgrade or a downgrade ?

    By the way, is the satellite population is done via bluetooth or via USB ? (I tought it was WIFI/USB for 620 and USB only for 220)


    • It’s an upgrade in some areas (i.e. connectivity via BT), but a downgrade in others (Virtual Partner). It’s indifferent for transfers to desktop depending on if you liked the ANT+ transfers over USB transfers.

      For me personally, because I dislike the touch bezel, so I’d go with the FR220 and sacrifice some of the other features.

  12. Carlos Nóbrega

    you think I should buy the 220 ​​instead of 610? My biggest hesitation is the cycling mode in 610 … you think in future can be added to the 220 ​​one the cycling mode ? thanks

  13. Nelson Shishito

    Very good review. I have a question, does forerunner 220 has the power off button ? To me it’s a very useful feature since I only exercise 2 times a week.

    • Yes, you can just hold down the upper left (light) button and it’ll ask you if you want to shut it off. But keep in mind, in standby (with the watch face still on) mode it’ll last 6 weeks.

  14. Reis


    Every time I’m undecided over which the clock gps to buy (or FR220 Ambit 2S?

    If the main activity that will be used is the race, sometimes also ride my bike and also practice rowing.

    So far I have used forerruner 10 and I am pleased, although he feels the lack of HRM strap.

    The price difference between FR220 and Ambit 2S is not very big, so if you have one with the FR220 watch much smaller, with Ambit would have many more functions.

    And now my main question? In terms of accuracy is that both are good and are equivalent?

    If I can help thanked.

    thank you

    I apologize for my English, it is the google translator

  15. Patrice

    Hi Ray
    Excellent ! Tks for the job 😉
    What is the difference between smart recording and 1s recording… and what about GPS accuracy ?

    Hard to make a choice between 220/620…

    • Smart Recording means it records every 4-7 seconds typically (sometimes more, sometimes slightly less) – just based on changes to speed/direction/HR/etc…

      For most practical purposes you’ll see no impact on accuracy (you can see that above in the images).

    • Reis

      Thanks DC RAINMAKER

    • John

      If you ever run trails with switchbacks, you will see a huge difference between smart recording and 1 second recording. For straight-line urban running through Paris, not so much.

    • It really depends actually. In theory it triggers the track points quicker. In most cases what you’ll see is that the track will look worse, but the actual distance recorded on the file will be correct.

  16. Jackson

    Thank you for another detailed review. I think a “con” that ought to be considered is the paltry list of data fields. I have a Forerunner 410 with 35 fields compared to the 13 in the 220. That’s a considerable amount if information not available to the end runner. I might be crazy but I couldn’t buy the 220 because of the loss of virtual pacer and last lap fields among others. I would recommend this as a “con” for consideration

    • I understand what you’re saying. However, at that price point ($150-$250) it’s pretty much the norm for a reduced data field set on GPS watches. Whereas the FR410 was really a $350-$400 watch (upon launch starting with the FR405) that’s just been discontinued and then sold at highly reduced rates (down to $150) to get rid of inventory.

    • Helena

      I agree. I have a 310XT, which is admittedly bulkier and uglier, and not able to use as a day-to-day watch but it has 4 data fields, and way more of them too (and also 20 hours battery life with GPS). I like average speed and lap speed instead of average pace and lap pace for example, and am really surprised that those doesn’t appear to be options here. I know the 310XT caters to a different market, but it’s about the same price.

    • Jane B

      I think the limited data fields are a major con too. I’m loving everything on the 220, but the loss of the elevation field for display is throwing me a loop. Can’t decide how badly I will miss it!

    • Paul

      Garmin must have agreed, elevation field added in release 2.80

  17. Gaspard

    pretty deep reviews of both 220 and 620, congrats for the great work done there and for being the first over the internet too!

    I have a similar question than above:

    I do own a nike GPS watch from tomtom, and it clearly appears that the instant pace is awfully bad without the pod (talking about 1min/km error sometime), and as a consequence, long interval workouts are quite messy because of this wrong displayed information….

    What about the 220? I sometime practice with owners of 610 without footpod, and it seems that there instant pace is correct vs mine. Does the 220 use the internal accelerometer to have even better instant metrics, or is it using a good/better GPSalgorythm to estimate instant pace?

    I’d love to hear a little more about this instant pace stuff 🙂

    Thanks for the good work!

    • Hi Gaspard-

      I just added in a instant pace video. As you can see, it’s pretty smooth (very much like the FR10).

    • Gaspard

      Thanks Ray,

      My concern is about the accuracy of this pace. Based on your experience, I guess you know that you can pace yourself @ 15 km/h during 2-3 minutes (or even more I guess 🙂 ) very accurately. Does the 220 reflect this pace instantly and accurately?

      On my experience, both tomtom running and nike gps watch take 100 to 200 m before reflecting a correct and almost accurate instant pace

    • Instant pace is fairly straight forward, and depends on how long it takes to stabilize (or ramp, depending on the situation). In the case of the FR220/FR620 it’s very stable while I’m stable, and responds pretty quickly when I stop (showing declining ramp).

      For going from zero to say 15KPH (like a short sprint), you’ll likely see about 5-10 seconds before it’s fully at speed.

    • Gaspard

      Thx again,

      that was the last thing I needed to hear before ordering that tiny little stuff to replace the “not so bad” nike GPS I have been using for 18 monthes now.

      Let me know next time you wanna practice next to suzanne lenglen track, i’ll be very glad talking about technology with you 😉

  18. Don van D

    Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaanta Claus is coming to town!
    My town 😉

    Thanks for another great review! Reading it with pleasure everytime.

  19. Marty

    Hi Ray, another world class review. I work as a coach at Life Time Fitness and we are installing Freemotion indoor bikes with power meters (Stages) at most of the clubs across the nation. The equipment feature on my 910XT works great with these power consoles — but if I try to synch the bike as I normally would, it drops out (“multiple power meters detected”). I would recommend that Garmin please get the equipment mode back in all of their newer GPS watches/devices — or am I missing something? Thanks and keep up the great work.

  20. Anne

    I sometimes struggle to read what’s on the screen of my 310xt, as the contrast isn’t great. Is the display on the 220 and 620 clearer/easier to read for those of us who are long-sighted and need glasses for reading?

    • The FR220/FR620 have a bit wider and thicker digits than past Garmin watches, so it’s definitely a fair bit easier to read. You can see this in some of the photos above, especially for example, the end-of-run photos.

  21. Brody

    Great review, Thanks.

    Quick question:

    Does the bundled 220 come with the new HRM as well? I know it would not be able to take advantage of the new dynamics, but you stated in the 620 review that the new strap had the cleanest HR data you had seen to date on any strap. Just trying to figure out if I decide on the 220 if the bundled version with the strap is worth it.


    • No, the FR220 bundle doesn’t include an HRM-Run. I don’t know however if that strap includes the firmware enhancements related to the smoothness that you see in the HRM-Run. They did note at Interbike that the plan was to continue to work on strap fixes/enhancements.

  22. Don van D

    Is there any news when the BLE connection to an (i)Phone app will be availlable? So uploading via USB won’t be neccesary.
    Really hate it go sit behind a computer to upload. Got spoiled by iphone app probably 🙂

    • When I talked with them over the weekend they anticipated it being out early this week. It had been submitted to Apple so it’s purely in their hands.

    • Gaspard

      And what is Garmin position vis a vis Android?
      i know that only few devices are BLE compatible, but that still makes a few. do they have a Android version in the pipe?

    • I know it’s in the pipe, especially given 4.3 support of BLE devices, but I don’t think an exact timeline has been defined.

    • Don van D

      Any news on the Garmin Connect app connectivity yet?

    • For iPhone, it’s out. For Android, no news from the folks I’ve been asking. Someone noted that support said January for Android. But honestly, I generally put low level of confidence in answers from support. I’m continuing to ping there but not getting much clarity.

  23. Arjan

    Guessing my HRM strap coming with the EDGE 800 should function fine with the Forerunner 220?

  24. Lieke

    I’m still in doubt whether to buy the FR220 or the FR610 (not the 620). The difference in price is only €10 (in a Dutch webshop). I really like FR220’s ability to connect to my smartphone.
    How would you compare these two watches?

    • That’s tough to compare. One has more data fields to choose from (FR610), as well as can display four fields per screen. It also can connect to ANT+ bike speed/cadence sensors (if that matters to you).

      Personally, I’d let it hinge on those two aspects above. If those don’t matter to you, then I’d go FR220. If they do, then I’d go FR610.

    • Lieke


      I’ve suddenly realized that I’m assuming that “available data fields” means that these are the data that are available for display on the watch itself. Meaning: more data are available on Garmin Connect. This is probably a totally stupid question, but is my assumption correct? Is it possible, for example, to see your lap HR on GC with the FR220 (though it’s not on the list of available data fields)?
      I don’t have too many data I want to see during my run, but afterwards I’d like to analyse as much as possible (geek!).

      Thanks again!!

  25. Alessandro

    Do you have any idea on when it will be available in Europe?

  26. John

    Thanks for another great review. Can you upload works via an Ipad? I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 so I know that won’t work but also have an Ipad 3 which I believe has Bluetooth 4.0.

    • Once the updated app is released, yes, you can use an iPad (any ones which have BT4, like the iPad 3).

    • Alasdair

      I have an iPad mini (1st gen) and I can’t get it to even see my FR 220 let alone connected to the Garmin Connect app. The app, while it does have their images, doesn’t list the FR 220 or 620 as options to connect under My Devices; it only lists the Edge 510 and 810. So I’m not sure what’s going on there, because the iPad is listed as a supported device on the App Store.

      I thought there might be an issue with the Bluetooth on my FR 220 because my girlfriend’s iPhone 4s (running a version of iOS 6) and my MacBook Air can’t see it. However the one device that can see it is my LG Nexus 4 which, of course, isn’t supported. Oh the irony

    • You should open up the App Store and double-check for updates. If it’s not showing the FR220/FR620 as an option, then you currently have the older version of the app and need to get it updated.

    • Allasdair

      I only downloaded the app for the first time yesterday. Under Settings > About, the build number is 1.3. It isn’t really an iPad app, just an iPhone one that runs blown up on an iPad. Regardless, I can’t get the FR 220 to even be seen by any Apple devices in the first place.

    • As a side note, the FR220/FR620 won’t show up in the Apple Settings Control panel, only within the GC Mobile app.

      Just to be clear, when you go to: My Device > Add New Devices > List of devices – you should see the Edge 510/810, and the FR220/FR620, both in name and pics.

      Once that’s done, you’ll need to go on the FR220/FR620 and go into the pairing mode in the Bluetooth settings area.

      if you’ve done all that, then I’d definitely ring up Garmin Support to try and understand what it’s not working.

    • Alasdair

      Called Garmin and the guy wasn’t much help (didn’t sound terribly interested either maybe because he didn’t have a answer). Told me to delete, reboot and reinstall which I had already done. He also said to try deleting the app, clearing the cache and then reboot and reinstall. I didn’t try this because clearing the cache takes some hackery and really shouldn’t be necessary.

      I did get it to work on my GF’s iPhone 4s so I’m going to guess that the iPad mini just isn’t fully supported.

  27. Tabby

    I am trying to decide whether to wait for this- some websites say UK launch date is 1st December or go for the 610 which is £50 cheaper. And I could have it now. Is this worth that much more than the 610? And as a non iphone user is it likely to work with an ordinary smartphone for uploads?

    • HighlandPlodder


      Sweatshop.co.uk are now selling the 620 and 220, only with the HRM though…. Just ordered the 220 and it should be here in 3 days

  28. Tabby

    PS- Thnks for the review

  29. Pavel

    Can i show avg pace from last lap (just ended with autolap or manual) in a “Lap banner”?

  30. scott

    Thanks for the detailed review. I’m thinking about upgrading from my fr70. The 70 has been a GREAT watch but there are certain features like vibration alerts, a decent backlight, etc that are making me consider upgrading . I’ve haven’t tried a gps watch in over ten years so i’m a little worried about the accuracy compared to my fr70. Do you think the 220 would be at least as accurate as the fr70? Also, if I wear a foot pod with the 220, will it automatically take over the speed distance calculations if I would lose the gps signal during my runs or would I have to make the decision on which to use beforehand?

    • Scott

      I forgot to add two questions. The loss of virtual partner from the fr70 is a big negative for me. Is this something that could be easily changed in a firmware update? Also, is there a quick way to access the clock during a run? Thanks!

    • The FR70 is based on the footpod accuracy, which can if correctly calibrated be spot on. Whereas the FR220 will use GPS, which in my experience is consistently more accurate than a footpod. Meaning that footpods accuracy is awesome if you’re keeping it calibrated. But footpod accuracy goes down if it’s not calibrated, and/or depending on the person – variations in running style.

      The footpod will automatically pickup if you lose GPS signal.

  31. Ray, thanks for the great review. I hope you don’t mind some questions, mostly related to the FR210.

    1. Does the 220 still ask you shortly after enabling satellites if you want to use it indoors? My 210 does this to me a lot.

    2. Can you have the audio alert for laps and such, but not for button presses?

    3. When you’ve finished a lap and it shows you the previous lap time, does it show you the lap number reasonably large? The lap number on that banner on the 210 is TINY.

    4. Can you go between timer and clock mode with one button press? On the 210 it’s always two presses if you have the lap timer enabled.

    Thanks! Hopefully down the road they’ll release it in another color. I’m not liking the loud red.

    • 1) No, it’s not like that anymore. It waits a long time (really long time) before questioning where it is.

      2) Yes, within the Settings > Sounds menu, you can enable separately: Key Tones (button presses), and Alert Tones (notifications)

      3) It’s fairly large. I think I have a photo up there somewhere showing a lap, if not, I know the FR620 review has a photo and it’s identical there.

      4) No, you’ll need to iterate up/down to the clock. In theory, it should never be more than two button presses though.

    • Thanks, Ray! All great news. This should take care of all my annoyances from the 210 and give me what I loved from my 205. Even on the 205 I didn’t really use four data fields.

  32. Ryan

    Thanks for the fantastic review Ray. Placed my order for the 220 on Clevertraining.com yesterday. Hopefully it arrives in the next few weeks!

  33. Rodrigo Valle

    Hi DCR,
    Amazing review, as always. Thank you!

    One question I don’t seem to find on the review, though:
    – When using auto-lap, what exactly shows up in the screen when you complete each lap?
    – Is it a fixed set of metrics, or can it be configured?
    – Can you set sound/vibrate/backlight for an auto-lap notification?

    Rodrigo Valle

    PS: I would buy a 220 from your links, but I cannot find one for Europe… I’m in Portugal.

    • 1) Just the lap time. Garmin had previewed the ability to configure the lap banner screen, but that didn’t appear to make the current firmware. I’ll try and find out what the plan is there.

      2) Regarding sound/vibrate/etc.., yes, you can set it to automatically illuminate/vibrate/beep only upon lap notifications (aka alerts).

  34. Sorry, one more question. Can the PR functionality be disabled? It looks like that would be pretty useless, and annoying.

    • It cannot be disabled. But it only pops-up at the end of the run after the completion screen, and goes away after 3 seconds per PR displayed. Typically you’re not going to get a lot of PR’s per run.

  35. m

    Hi Ray,

    Any hint on what Garmin is working on next? 910xt successor maybe?


  36. Sharon

    Great review as always. I have 2 sensory questions about the 220. First, how strong is the vibration alarm in the 220? Can it be felt through a long sleeve shirt or best be felt directly on the wrist? Second, how difficult is it to see the screen if one is wearing polarized sunglasses? Does the polarization interfere with visualization of the face of the watch? I really like the new way the watchband connects to the face of the watch. Much less bulky and much less likely to pop the pins when strapped tightly to a small wrist as happened in the 610.

    • It’s strong enough to be felt through a long sleeve shirt, but probably not a full-on heavy coat.

      I’ve had no issues seeing the screen in bright sun (with or without sunglasses).

  37. Mark

    Re: BT 4.0/LE.
    If one were looking at new android phones, what should one be looking at, outside the Samsung G4 and Note2/3? Bluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR? Something else?

    These #20 watches are making me want to upgrade from my 405!

  38. Helen

    Bravo! Thanks for another great review. I vote for The Girl to be an official super model for all sports watch reviews from now on.

    Question. I have always hated internal accelerometer due to inaccuracies, so I will continue to use a foot pod. When running outside with GPS on, and GPS becomes unavailable (i.e. in a tunnel,), would foot pod take over and override the accelerometer?

    • It takes over automatically for pace/distance. My normal running route has a number of tunnels and one particularly long 1/3rd of a mile section under a convention center of sorts that causes loss of GPS signal.

  39. Tommy617

    REI just told me they don’t expect it to ship until Nov 22nd… This is the 3rd push-back date. It’s getting cold in Boston, speed it up! (pun intended)

    • Jill

      REI just cancelled my pre-order because it was pending for more than 30 days. Kind of defeats the purpose of a preorder. Now I have to reorder it and go to the back of the line!

    • Tommy617

      Jill, I think they send you a warning and then you tell them you want to keep the order active. The customer service reps on the phone have always been helpful. You should give them a call and explain. Good luck!

  40. Hampton

    Ray did you vote Republican or Democrat in the last election?

  41. joonbug

    Any idea on when the initial pre-orders will be fulfilled? I’ve gotten 4 different responses from CleverTraining and I don’t know if i will have it for a race next weekend.

    and as always, awesome review!

    • When is a really complex question. It depends on a lot of people answering the question correctly. It starts with whomever owns manufacturing of the units in Taiwan. Which then moves to distribution, and when those units will arrive in Olathe (for US/CAN), or one of the other few global distribution centers. From there, that date is communicated to regional sales managers within Garmin, Date Y. Those managers then determine how long it’ll take for quantity X (which may vary) to get from Olathe to the retailer. That could be overnight…or it might not be. Once that’s done, it depends on the retailer determining how quickly they can turn it around. In most cases, the same day.

      Now, the real key here is actually the ‘Quantity X’ part and ‘Date Y’ part. Garmin will often change what X is, and they do it quite evenly across retailers. So ‘like’ retailers all get the same quantity. i.e. all major online companies get exactly the same number of units – regardless of how many they may have on backorder. Same goes for running shops in a given region – all the same time and quantity.

      Ultimately, the retailers are the ones left trying to hand throw tiny darts at a moving helicopter (with downdraft). Some retailers are honest and conservative and update as soon as they know better (I generally find Clever Training in that camp, but there are other good ones), some retailers will play games with dates and availability to get you to purchase, knowing full well they can’t fulfill. I think the comments over the past few posts have shown which are which…

      Anyway…just a bit of insight into how it works. The short version is: Nobody knows (for short term), and anybody who says they know is quite frankly making stuff up.

    • Joonbug

      Thanks so much for the insight! I just can’t wait to get the darn thing already.

  42. AdamAnt

    Hey Ray great review as always. Can the 220 and 620 use an Ant+ stick from another Garmin to upload to Garmin Connect or is it only through Bluetooth and the USB cable? Thanks again for the time you put into these reviews.

  43. Dino

    Great reviews as always! Do you recommend the 620 over the 220 for Ironman Triathletes? Thanks.

    • Honestly, neither. I’d recommend the FR310XT/910XT for triathletes (or see the Suunto Ambit 2/2s), they are multisport watches, whereas the FR220/620 are running-specific watches.

  44. Wait a minute… so the phone upload function only works with Iphone and not Android? I didn’t realize that. 🙁 I already pre-ordered mine based on being able to upload with Bluetooth because I’ve had lots of problems with my 305 uploading via the USB. I didn’t get that tidbit from the Garmin site info. Darn.

    • Currently, yes. The challenge to date has been Android platform support for BLE without re-inventing the wheel for every handset. That’s pretty much been solved over the past 30-60 days. Now you’ll start to see companies spending dev hours on it.

  45. dragos

    with fr 210 i have a problem with wrist band, it broke after one year, and could’nt be repaired. the wristbands for 220 could be replaced ? will garmin offer wrist bands for 220, separately, for sale ?

    • Yes, they already offer replacement wrist bands for sale within the accessories section for the FR220/FR620.

      The FR220/FR620 wrist bands are fully removable (unlike the FR210). You can see the little screw to undo it within the photos.

  46. jeffp

    Sad to see we have to display 3 fields and not 1 or 2. As the eyesight fades.( the 405 does).
    Is the main field and lowest field of the 3 bigger than those on the 210 or fr10 ?

    • The middle field on the threesome is slightly bigger. Fwiw, in workout mode you’ve got two fields (so bigger), as well as HR mode (two fields, bigger).

    • Hey JeffP-

      I just wanted to circle back and make one correction here (already corrected in the review). You can indeed change it to either 1, 2, or 3 data fields. I missed the ‘off’ option as a data field menu. When you select ‘off’, it’ll reduce it to 2 data fields, Do it again for another field, and it’ll reduce it to one data field. Thus, you’re able to choose between 1-3 fields per page. And the fields definitely get bigger as you change the number of fields. Enjoy!

    • jeffp

      Fantastic, I tested it on a rough boat ride with only the speed field selected. Huge clear 10mm digits.
      Thanks Ray.

  47. Tom

    They were selling the 220 and the 620 at the New York City Marathon Expo. I bought a 220 on Saturday and wore it in the race Sunday. I like it!

  48. JM Fox

    Not sure whether this makes sense, but this watch is “single user” only, isn’t it?
    I guess I have to enter some user settings, like weight and height, but can only do that for one user?

    • It’s just one user. There’s unfortunately no GPS watch on the market that I’m aware of that’s multi-user. Mostly because they want you to buy another watch. 😉

      That said, the only information you’re going to get from that specific set of configurable settings of data is calories.

  49. Are you going to nemo33 to run your waterproof test? Seeing your globetrotter habit that wouldn’t be surprising. 33m might still be a coincidence 🙂

  50. Reinier

    Great review Ray!.
    the only keeping me from buying this watch is the problem you mentioned about the pace alerts. can you let us know if the new firmware fixes this?

    • Good news there. Right before I headed out for a run the FR620 (yes, I realize this is the FR220 review) alerted me to a new firmware update (2.30). After applying that I used alerts on tonight’s run – things were very good, no problems any more.

      I suspect we’ll see a similar update shortly to the FR220, thus, I suspect that’ll be a quickly resolved issue.

    • phoros

      Ray, any news about 2.30 update for 220? Or have I missed sth?

      I’ve got soft 2.20 & gps 2.80 and it’s very unreliable package for the moment. I have several issues with gps accuracy, custom workouts, etc. I know these are early stage diseases but they are really annoying and make trainings difficult: it’s always a lottery – I never know I’ll have a run recorded more o less properly and I rarely do. I’m missing my old FR10 accuracy and reliability right now…

    • Nothing new. Have you opened up a support case though on those issues?

    • phoros

      You mean a proper thread in Garmin Forums or sth else? I’ll gladly do what’s necessary to help with sorting things out. I like the watch.

    • No, I mean opening up a support case with Garmin (the forums aren’t generally monitored by Garmin support employees).

      Thus, either calling or e-mailing. I highly recommend calling, it tends to have the highest levels of success.

    • phoros

      Thanks a lot, Ray. I’ll call them on Monday – I bet they’re still having a holiday break here in Poland. PS. Do you sleep sometimes? 🙂 Unless you’re thousands miles from Paris…

  51. Ruben

    Hi Ray!!

    Thank you for the great review!

    Now I´m in doubt between:

    – FR610
    – FR220
    – TRT2

    I can get them for the same price, so could you please help me with my choice? (mainly for running)

    • John Doe

      610 for sure.

      It was the last gen high end running watch. Even the FR220 doesn’t have all the features because it is only a mid-range running watch,

      TNT2 is definitely outclassed by 610.

  52. Omar A.

    Hi Ray,
    Great review as always. I really like workout feature, but I use Training Peaks as my central platform to track metrics, food, etc. Is it possible to get the Garmin workout plans and upload them to Training Peaks ?

    • You can upload your workouts from the FR220 (or any other watch from Garmin) to TP, but I’m not aware of any way to move the GC plans from GC to TP.

      Fwiw, I use TP as my primary run log.

  53. John Doe

    Can you use the HR-Run strap from 620 with the 220? Will it gives more accurate HR result that you saw in 620 review?

    • Yes, no problem there. Most of my time was spent using the HRM-Run with the FR220. You won’t get Running Dynamics data, but you’ll get clean HR data. 🙂

    • Amy

      Is the HRM that comes with the 220 bundle, the same one that comes in the 620??

    • No, the HRM in the FR220 is more akin to the HRM3 – it looks identical to that of the FR620 – just without the little runner icon and thus without Running Dynamics.

    • Amy

      Have you tried the HRM3 yet? I didn’t see you review it so I was wondering whether or not I should get the 220 bundle then or just get the watch and maybe buy the HRM-Run to get cleaner HR data. What do you think? I’ve never worn a HRM strap before, are they even comfortable?

      Also, looking at the available data fields on the 620 and 220… even though, the 220 doesn’t have as many available data field options, are they still present when you upload to Garmin Connect? Would I be able to see that information once I upload? Or does the watch not even collect that data. I think that’s my main deciding factor now.

  54. Michael

    DC could you please clarify. When you use the foot-pod and gps at the same time, they are both recording the information or does the foot-pod only record once the gps signal is lost?

    • The footpod will record cadence, but unless you drop out of GPS signal coverage (i.e. tunnel), it’ll use GPS pace. Once you go into a tunnel it’ll seamlessly transition to the footpod. Upon exiting, it’ll seamlessly go back to GPS.

    • David

      Does this work the same way on the 910xt? I have one of those and i´m thinking och getting a footpod. But not if i loose the gps-pacing.

    • Well, the FR220 doesn’t 100% need a footpod. In my case with tunnel running with either the FR220 or FR620, I just use the wrist-based calculations. It’s not quite perfect at super-high/low speeds outside my normal, but it works fine for most tunnels and gets me close enough.

      That all said, yes, that’s the way it works in current software with the FR220 (like the FR910XT).

  55. EuroBike: Zap.

    I’ve warned you before. It’s really that simple. You’ve now joined the club of one for people who get comments deleted on the blog.

  56. Something someone said earlier in the comments has been bugging me. Why don’t any of the Garmins have the ability to enter in a distance, say 26.2 miles, and have the watch tell you on the fly your predicted finish time based on your current average pace? All the runner tracking apps do that when you’re watching a friend race a marathon…

    And one more question – my Android phone is 3 years old (HTC Thunderbolt). IF an Android app is released for the 220, would an older phone like that be compatible? Sorry to ask a dumb question but I’m not very phone-savvy.

    • I’d agree. It’s one of my favorite features on the Magellan Switch/Switch-Up.

      No, if your phone is three years old, it’s pre-BT4 on the Android side. On the iPhone side the first was the iPhone 4s, which came out just two years ago last month – and they were the first to support it. There was a Motorola phone around then that had a BT4 chipset, but no support for BLE devices.

  57. Heather

    Hi and thanks for the review! I have a nike gps sportwatch currently that I use for running. The pace feature is almost always off so I was looking to get the garmin 220. In your review you mention that you have to have an iPhone to use the wireless upload feature. I have a samsung galaxy s4. Is that phone not supported? Would I have to plug in my watch each time to upload since I don’t have an iPhone? Thanks!

  58. Bryan

    I don’t think you need to hear this again, but the thoroughness of your reviews is really quite mind blowing!
    I had preordered the 220 for my wife’s birthday and have been waiting for this review to cancel my order or not; I’m so sold on the 220 for her, and for me (soon). So really, I’m just saying “Thank you!”

  59. Brandon

    Been reading for years, but this is the first watch I’ve personally purchased while being a reader (my wife gifted me a 410 a few years ago on her own). I just have to say, your reviews are amazing and so helpful. Plus, the depth really speaks to the gadget geek in me, whether or not I’m interested in a particular product. We bought two 220s at Clever Training using the link. Thanks for all your work.

  60. KDC

    Ray! Noticed something HUGE on on of your pictures.. The screenshot of the “player” function on Garmin Connect looks extremely similar to mine..as in it displays SPEED for runs and not PACE. I’ve contacted garmin about this but to no avail. Could you please inform me how to change this on the player? Or is this a coding problem on their part?

  61. ken


    Awesome review. Thank you! My birthday is coming up, and the wife had just emailed me to ask what I want. I sent her this link, and specified that she go thru clever to save 10%. (She was incredulous set how detailed your review was. “Omg. Did you read that whole thing?!” To which I replied: “Twice!”)

    Can you confirm these two accessories will work w the 220?

    Viiiia ant + / BLE HR strap
    Wahoo fitness ant+ foot pod

    And, on the software side, do I have to go thru Garmin Connect website to upload a run to Strava, or can the watch ( or my iPhone 5) do that?

    • Yup, it’ll work with the ANT+ side of the Viiiiva, and then no problems with the ANT+ footpod.

      For software, you have a few options. You can upload to GC and then use one a few different websites to Sync to Strava (CopyMySports.com or Tapiriik are two that come to mind).

      Or, you can plug it in and just upload the raw file straight to Strava.

      Thanks for the support via Clever Training!

  62. SR

    The 610 is now going very cheap in the uk, Chepaer than the the 220 infact, given the choice between the 610 and the 220 which would you have?

    • John Doe

      610 for sure. Last generation high end running watch model still have more features than the new mid model running watch. For example, 610 has 4 data fields instead of 3 on 220.

    • Rafa Borges

      Regarding John Doe’s reply, I strongly disagree. First, the features that the 610 model offers that are not present on the 220, will not appeal most users. As you can read here, most of them are present on the 220, including pre-defined workouts. Second, the last FR610 firmware release was more than a year ago, while the 220 model will surely receive updates and, maybe, new features. Of course, this is valid only if If money is not a constraint here.

  63. Sara

    I have been reading your website and dreaming of my first GPS watch for a few years. I’m putting it on my Christmas list.
    I really want the virtual partner feature. I think the other features on the 620 would be fun, but for a average runner is it over kill?
    Would you spend the extra for the 620 just to have the virtual partner? Do you think it would be missed in the long run?
    Also what is the average life span of a garmin GPS watch? Will it last 10 years or just 2 or 3 years.
    Thanks for your advice.

    • John Doe

      Spending extra for just the Virtual Partner feature is definitely not worth it considering that the 220 has a Pacing feature that mimic this ability. You can also gauge your progress through viewing your pace, time and distance.

      Garmin GPS watches last a long time. Eventually you will have to change the lithium battery because they will no longer hold a charge. Other than that, if you don’t abuse it, it can last for 10 years.

      What exactly is a “average runner”? You have to assess your definition and requirement personally in order to determine if the 220 or 620 is more suited to your need. If budget isn’t a constrain, definitely spur on the higher end model. Features you might not want now might be useful down the line as your training becomes more complex and your requirement change.

    • I’d suggest that for 95% of runners out there, the FR220 is sufficient (I previously said the same about the FR210 btw). And, since the FR220 has a much greater feature set than the FR210, and more customization – I’m still in that camp.

      I personally would not spend the extra for just VP. I do however find the WiFi uploads rather nice though, and for me, it’s the 4-data fields that’s the biggie, but that’s just because I train by those four metrics.

      As for the lifespan, it’s hard to know. You can still go to the starting line of most major US marathons and see plenty of people with FR305’s, which came out 6-7 years ago (when they got them is variable).

    • Madison Ellingson

      My 305 just hit the can and so I am in the market for a new Garmin. You are right.. mine lasted about 10 years! I am trying to decide the best watch for me and this comment really helped. I am in the same boat with the virtual partner mode. I really like that for races but am hesitant to buy the 620 just for this feature.

      would you say that the 220 is still a good fit for 95% of runners? I am really stuck on which watch to get. I am looking to run a 3hr marathon in the fall and need to get a watch asap! 🙂

  64. David

    Thanks very much for a great review and also for the previous one for the 620.
    Now the only piece of the puzzle that is missing is a review for the Adidas watch. Any idea if and when that will be out ?

    • Yup, they’ve already started shipping. And as you probably noticed in some of the pics above, I’ve got one as well. I’m working through items for a review. It’ll be pre-Thanksgiving. Either the end of next week, or the end of the week after. Just balancing a ton of reviews converging in on these next 2-3 weeks.

      That gives them some time to sort out some concerns I’m seeing though with the unit.

    • Yeah, I went from a FR205, bought in 2006, to a FR210 in 2010. I’m definitely getting the FR220 (of course via your Clever Training link), mostly because it fixes all of my annoyances from the FR210 and gets me back some of the functionality I miss from the FR205 that the FR210 lacks.

  65. Chip

    Hi Ray,

    Looks like you’ve (appropriately) taken down the page for the “pre-review” of the220/620. I’d posted a question regarding how well (or not) the actual workouts pair with planned workouts in GC. For example, if I plan a workout, download it to the 220, do the workout, upload back to GC, is there any correlation showing what I’d planned vs. how well I did? Does the compare function come into play?

    You mentioned you might try something out, but the page went down.

    Thanks again for such great reviews, I just purchased my 3rd item based on them (Edge 800, FR220, and Swim).

    • Yup, I closed comments there (the page is still there however).

      And yup, I tested it out for ya. In short, nothing happens. They both show up on my calendar (planned and completed), but there’s no function that looks at how well I did nor if I did it at all.

  66. MK

    Despite the extensive reviews here on the blog, I am still having hard time to decide whether I shall wait for the 220 to become available at places that ship to my location at a reasonable cost, or grab the POLAR RCX5 Tour de France Premium Edition (together with HR strap, CS speed sensor and s3+ stride sensor) for 265 EUR, which I believe is great deal, isn’t it?

    Would you say that this polar lacks anything feature & quality-wise compared to the 220?

    Thank you for you input.

  67. carlos nobrega

    I think using a second 220 charging, and with some trickery, it is possible to make a stand for the stem …

  68. Jackson

    FYSA: Garmin Connect iphone app with support for the 220 and 620 is now downloadable (updatable) from the Apple App Store

  69. Marko

    I see that many of you is planning to get a brand new FR 220 … well, I’m interested in buying a used FR 210 … if anyone is selling, please let me know on mkobal -at- gmail.com

  70. CLM

    I see that you had some concerns with the acclerometer when using on the treadmill, as far as pacing accuracy. How about distance on the treadmill? Did that seem to record accurately?

  71. Will B

    Is Bluetooth connectivity unique to i / smartphones or will it work with a USB 4.0 dongle through Garmin Connect, thus avoiding the need to dig out the cable to sync. data?

  72. Pringles

    Thanks for the excellent review. I have some questions regarding the new internal accelerometer. I run in places with occasional tunnels. Am I correct to say that with the new internal accelerometer, I can save my money on buying a new footpod (old one was broken) ? Cadence is not so important for me.

    • Yes, it automatically switches over to the the wrist internal accelerometer while in a tunnel. As noted, I saw variance in paces with that method at speeds significantly outside of my normal running speed. But while in range of my normal running speeds I saw it work fairly well going in and out of tunnels.

  73. Andrew

    I really hope that the 220 gets the ‘Virtual Partner’ feature in an update.
    I’ve been really dubious about the pace alerts being able to stay on it (sensitive) as you run as with the internal accelerometer feature. Both of which are always good after the run (download) but poor giving the instant / at the time (on the run) information.
    I’ll stick with the footpod but still want to see VP added.

    Come on people throw your request in here and maybe Garmin will consider it.

    • While I’d love to see VP added to the FR220 – I can pretty much guarantee you it won’t happen. It’s really for the simple reason that it would undercut the FR620 too much for them. Once you take away VP, you’ve really only got WiFi and 4-data fields left.

      I’m not trying to be a Debbie-downer, but rather, suggested that efforts be focused on other areas that they are more willing to budge on.

      Remember that the pace alerts are based on GPS and not the acellerometer, unless you’re indoors on a treadmill, in which case pace alerts are sorta silly since the treadmill tells you how fast your going and you control that.

      As for pace stability, check out the video I included in the review which shows it as far more stable that past watches.

  74. Would you mind posting a comment to let us know if/ when Garmin releases an Android app for the Bluetooth connectivity? As you stated above, my old phone won’t be compatible, but… maybe then it will be time for a new phone. 🙂 I’m subscribed to the comments on both the 620 and 220 reviews so I can stay up-to-date.

    I am really hoping that they update with a back-to-start function for both the 220 and 620. Til then I’ll be using my 305 when hiking or running an unfamiliar area. Do you think there’s a chance? That’s a rarely used feature but it provides some peace of mind.

    Thanks again for doing these reviews. They are so thorough. And for arranging the 10% off at CT! 🙂

    • I’ll definitely drop a note here when the Android app comes out. I’ve pushed for a date, but haven’t gotten any answer on that question yet.

      As I believe noted by someone up above – the iPhone app did get released earlier today with compatibility for the FR220/FR620.

      Thanks for the support through CT!

  75. Ronnie

    Could you advise which Garmin Heart Rate Strap is best suit the FR220? Is there any size option when buying a Heart Rate Strap? Or it just only free size fits all runners say from 40 Kg to 100Kg?
    Noticed there is a Bundle option when ordering FR220 from Clever Training. What else is included in the bundle other than the watch itself?

    • The HR strap is all-fitting. It fits me and my wife (she’s 5’2″ tall) just fine. It adjusts easily. I wouldn’t think a 100kg running would have any problems with it. Or, put differently, I’ve yet to hear anyone say that the Garmin strap doesn’t work for them, on any review.

      The strap that’s included is a variant of the HRM3, it’s not the HRM-Run.

      The bundle is simply the watch as seen above + the HR strap. That’s all. 🙂

    • @ Rainmaker, that surprises me that the strap is small enough to fit your wife. I am 5’10” and mine (the OSFA one that came with the Garmin 305) is too large by about an inch. (My chest measurement is 29″ where the HR strap lies). One of the Garmin reps told me the 220 and 620 straps are sized and might fit better.

  76. Will B

    Is the addition of a cycling mode (all i want is the ability to differentiate between activities) a likely firmware update? I guess if enough people badger them they’ll do it.

  77. Ray, another great review – thank you. I’ve read both 620 and 220 and am slightly over excited 🙂

    One thing that would be really useful for all device reviews is a dimension for text size, particularly in running mode comparing the size where different numbers of simultaneous data fields are chosen. I would guess I’m not alone in text size becoming an increasingly significant issue as my sight deteriorates.

    As an illustration I currently have an FR60 which is capable of displaying 1,2 or 3 data fields whilst running. I no longer use 3 data fields as I can no longer read the text when running. I use 2 fields and switch between pages to see the data I want. Unfortunately, on the FR60, displaying only 1 data field uses the same text size as 2 fields, but with more white space …

    Just vertical height of text in millimetres would be perfect. Paranoia dictates that I apologise in case I’ve missed this data in your reviews 🙂

    • It’s something I’ve been meaning to do, just haven’t quite added it in yet. The challenge is that in some ways it also comes down to display and thickness of the letters, making it easier to view (or not view).

    • J.Griffin

      Even some side by sides would be a little more helpful. Like it has been said before, seems strange that there is so much wasted space around the bezel area. Would have been nice to have some larger displays, and even font/point options would be handy.

  78. I was thinking about your notes about the accelerometer when running this AM. 90% of my runs are with my Doberman and I hold her leash in my left hand. My left arm therefore stays close to me and has a minimal swing. I wonder if I wear the watch on that hand will it fool the accelerometer? I was just thinking of that because of you mentioning that seeing inaccuracies might be a “you” thing.

  79. Dan

    Hi. I think Garmin 220 bigger competitor would be Polar RC3 (same price range).
    Which one do you advise to buy and why?
    Garmin 220 have the same HR features (statistic and training table) of the Polar RC3?
    i’m so indecisive :/…

  80. HammerTime


    I just bought the Polar RC3 a week ago and have been using it a couple of times for running.

    Two major concerns about the Polar RC3 are:

    1) The sound notification for every lap is very very low, even when set to “Very Loud”. This is apparently a known problem, that I wasn’t aware of. That a pretty important feature to me, so thats really a downside 🙁

    2) When a lap is recorded, i.e. 1km, you are not able to stop/end the training session before the lap recording is over, which takes a couple of seconds. That’s quite annoying if you want to stop/end your training session at exactly 1km or what the distance might be.

    So now I’m really thinking of switching to FR220 and hopefully get my money back….

  81. Will B

    Thats useful to know as I was thinking that the RC3 has a few feature at that price point that i like, namely the cycling and ‘back to home’ features and the Micro-usb. The 220 though does have the satellite pre-population which is a big plus point, and a seemingly better UI

  82. Chris Whyte

    A few comments/questions:

    1. Has anybody received any updates on mail order units yet? I pre-ordered pretty early from Clever Training after returning the TomTom watch, so I’m looking forward to this coming.

    2. I’m not sure that I really understand the benefit of the virtual partner function that some folks really seem to value. I’m somewhat new to this, but if I wanted to run a half marathon in two hours, can’t I simply calculate the pace required (9:09/mile) and monitor my total event average pace on the watch throughout the run, rather than watching the instant pace. If I’m below 9:09, I know I’m on track to meet my goal. If I’m above 9:09, I know I need to pick it up a little. Maybe I’m missing something here.

    3. I saw this question, but was not clear on the answer. Is there an easy way to use this watch, or other watches, with two people? Can you just manually upload the data into different accounts each time, or would it be much better to just get two different watches? It seems like they could set up two different profiles as a software feature.

    • 2. Yup, you can absolutely do that. 😉 The VP thing basically tells you just how far ahead/behind. It can be motivating in certain situations to know that you’re “only” 300ft behind desired pace and to try and ‘catch up’ to that person.

      3. Yup, you can just use the watch and upload to separate accounts. The Girl and I have been using the FR220 and FR620 on alternating days for the past month. That’s exactly how we do it. We don’t worry about the calories (well, she doesn’t as she doesn’t change it). That’s honestly the only difference when multi-user-ing it.

  83. Wow, the automatic switching to the internal accelerometer when GPS signal is lost is another big advantage over my FR210 that I hadn’t thought about. This could fix the issues of running across the Queensboro Bridge in the NY Marathon, where I’ve always lost my signal, having to mentally compensate from that point on because the data is off. I wonder also how well this would work in a race in an area like Lower Manhattan, where I always get an extremely erratic GPS signal, making my results useless.

  84. mike

    Would love to know if theFR220 pace function is the SAME as the FR10 im using now? (i find that fine) or if it is even better?

  85. StuT

    Just a quick thank you for your reviews, I’m going to be ordering my first gps watch soon and your reviews have been a huge help. Have settled on an FR220 thanks you your reviews and saved myself £140 as I had almost convinced myself I NEEDED the 620 with the new HRM run, where as your review has made me realise I don’t at all. So thank you!

  86. Alison

    Thanks for an awesome review!! I am also now leaning towards the 220 instead of the 620 as I really don’t think I will get a lot out of the extra data provided by the 620 (I am only a beginner!). It looks like the benefit of the “virtual partner” while not exactly the same can be provided by Interval training so I am happy with that.

    I would also prefer to have 4 fields on the screen (e.g., Distance/time/pace/HR) but from your review it sounded like I can set 3 fields on one screen and then set another field on a second screen (so my heart rate info and zones could be on a second screen). How easy is it to switch back and forth between these two screens on the run? I know with my current HRM that when I switch between each screen I have to scroll through each of them, is the 220 able to go back and forth or if I scroll to the next screen do I then need to scroll through a number of other screens to get back to the first screen??

    • Correct, you can set separate screens and what you described is exactly what I do (since I use the same metrics). I just stick one piece on the other one. To change screens simply press either the up or down button on the left side. That easy.

      You can turn off the other screens (i.e. HR screen or clock).

  87. Michael

    DC in your opinion, does the 220 and 620 feel or look cheap or would you say they are quality built watches? Yet to see any here in Australia but read a quick review by one of your other readers stating the watch felt and looked on the cheap side.

    • I don’t think it feels cheap. It just feels light. No doubt, it’ll “feel” cheap compared to something like the Tactix or Fenix, but those are 2x as heavy (and twice as thick).

      As for cheap, that award would go to a certain $99 action cam I unboxed today. I’m pretty sure I almost broke it just unboxing it.

  88. Dave

    Love these reviews – I am fairly new to running, as i only i have only run one “race” and run about 3 times a week. Having read previous reviews I was leaning towards getting the FR10 over the FR210, but am now rethinking. Is a watch like this overkill for someone who just likes to go out for a run, as opposed someone who sets up a training plan to meet goals? I guess what i am really looking for is what is the real value of this over the FR10?

    • The key value over the FR10 is primarily that you can run indoors with it and can pair to a HR strap.

      The ancillary benefits are customization of display screens, displaying more data per screen, and Bluetooth Smart connectivity for instant uploads to Garmin Connect. Plus all the things you mentioned like training plans, workouts, and intervals.

  89. Hannah

    Also, looking at the available data fields on the 620 and 220… even though, the 220 doesn’t have as many available data field options, are they still present when you upload to Garmin Connect? Would I be able to see that information once I upload? Or does the watch not even collect that data. I think that’s my main deciding factor now.

  90. Pam

    You mentioned that the satellite cache is loaded for a week using Bluetooth and your phone. If you’re using Android and can’t link to the watch yet, is there any issue with getting connected to satellite?

  91. Joe Scardino

    Hey. Thanks for the reviews. I go crazy trying to decide which one of these to get. So I decided to just pull the trigger and not worry if saving 50 dollars is good or not. My local running store ordered me a HR220. A question i had is can i customize what the displays show. Meaning, can I have 3 fields showing, and decide what they are such as HR, Distance, Time?

    Thanks, Joe

  92. Terri

    This may be the dumbest question ever, but can the HRM be used for the days I am in the gym stength training?

  93. lacey b

    How about android connectivity? Anything in the making?

  94. Mike

    Quick general question about the reviews. Do you ever include what GPS chip is in the watch i.e. SiRFstarIV.

    I would assume that the newer watches have the newer chip, but I know some of the older models have the older chip.

    Does it make any difference?

    • I do when noted. Garmin hasn’t disclosed the chipset for most of their units (brand new models) in the last 2 years. Which jives with them hinting that it’s a bit more in-house than it used to be with the SiRFStar’s (sorta logical for a GPS company).

  95. Dino

    Do you think either the 220 or 620 is worth the update if I am a triathlete who currently uses my 310xt for running and edge 510 for biking? Thanks.

  96. Clare kirby

    Great review. I am looking at getting my first gps watch. I have a polar hrm but want to be able to track distance, pace and hr at the same time. I thought the 220 would be a good starting point, what do you think?

    Also I have a samsung galaxy s2 but can I still record data via my PC using the USB connection to the garmin connect website for training plans

  97. Stijn

    Thanks for the detailed review.

    I still have a couple of questions though:
    – Is Bluetooth Smart uploading to a laptop possible? If not, do you think this will be added in the future?

    – Can you charge the 220/620 while tracking an activity, which was possible on the 610? I wouldn’t use this a lot, but it would be nice to have in those rare occasions.

    – There was some confusion about the 1s and smart recording. Was this removed/not included to differentiate with the higher end watches, or do you think this will be added in a firmware update?

  98. Ray, this thread is incredibly busy, and rightly so, excuse me if I repost a slightly re-worded version of my question posted a few days ago which you possibly missed:

    “One thing that would be really useful for all device reviews is a dimension for text size in running mode comparing the size where different numbers of simultaneous data fields are chosen. I would guess I’m not alone in text size becoming an increasingly significant issue as my sight deteriorates.

    As an illustration I currently have an FR60 which is capable of displaying 1,2 or 3 data fields, per page, whilst running. I no longer use 3 data fields as I can no longer read the text when running. I use 2 fields and switch between pages to see the data I want. Unfortunately, on the FR60, displaying only 1 data field uses the same text size as 2 fields, but with more white space …

    Just vertical height of text in millimetres – for each number of fields displayed – would be perfect. Paranoia dictates that I apologise in case I’ve missed this data in your reviews :)”

  99. matt

    Looks like a very promising option as an entry-level GPS watch – couldn’t buy it because of the lack of an elevation data field though. This is a must for someone not living or choosing to run on flat terrain.

    • HighlandPlodder


      If it helps, although there’s no elevation data field on the watch, it is added to the Garmin Connect site once you upload your data.

  100. HighlandPlodder

    **** Possible Bug ****

    I’m not sure if this is a bug or not, can others test this for me please and report back ?

    Creating a training calander and then syncing via Garmin Connect web site works, but if I make changes to it or even delete it then the sync doesn’t carry over to the FR220.
    I’m stuck with 2 weeks worth of training dates / data on the watch which I can’t remove or alter.
    Unlike the workouts screen, which allows me to delete a workout, the calander screen doesn’t have this..


  101. Barbara

    I have been thoroughly reading these reviews to decide if I want the 620 or 220. I like the idea of the 620, but I am a new runner and wonder if it’s not worth my while spending the money on it. At the same time whichever one I get will be an investment and I will use it for years. What I get now will have to be good enough for the long-term coz I ain’t spending that much money again for a long time, in which case I wonder if I shouldn’t just splurge on the 620 and enjoy those fancy features (running metrics) as my running ability and goals improve… I really cannot decide.
    Why did you say you’d prefer the 220 aside from the 4 data fields? And how is the touch-screen on the 620?
    Do you have any recommendations for the entry-level runner setting sights on half-marathons and eventually marathons? I would greatly appreciate some advise to help me choose… Thanks!!!

    • Barbara

      I meant to also ask about the physical/ user-interfaces of each watch, if either is preferable? I’m really looking at all angles to try and make a decision… Thanks again!

  102. Will B

    I am a new GPS user, but experienced and competitive runner and bought the 220 and am thoroughly happy with it. IMO 2 x 3 data screens are more than enough for your needs whilst you are running and think you would struggle to make use of the 4 screens whilst running. FWIW most of my running is off-road and prefer to go with what feels right, although keeping an eye on lap pace is handy to keep my speed up. Although you get an alert and big screen view every lap anyway.

    IMO you can only usefully view 2 fields whilst running. I do the analysis afterwards through Garmin Connect but even them I’m not too analytical.

    The user interface is good – I’m assuming they’ll be an identical root structure for the navigation in both models for common features.

    As the review says, for 95% of runners the 220 is fine. I was tempted to go for the 620 at checkout, but figured the price difference is a pair of shoes / waterproof jacket / headtorch / physio. The main draw was that I could afford it and thought I wanted the ‘best and latest’ – that was the only draw.

    My main buying criteria were small size and satellite pre-population, therefore I’m more than happy with my purchase.

    • Brian

      Hi Will – as Ray is off on one his (many) travels a.t.m. I wondered if you could clarify – in the original review Ray said 2 data screens each with a fixed 3 fields, but subsequently it looks like that’s changed? (firmware update?) to 2 data screens with either 1, 2 or 3 fields? CHEERS.

    • Sorry, yeah, the option was there to set a given data field to ‘Off’, subsequently decreasing the number of metrics per page to either 1 or 2 (you can still keep three of course as well).

      So yup, you can do 1, 2, or 3 fields per page, for the two customizable pages.

      Personally I have no problems with the three fields, but my eyesight is better than most.

    • Barbara

      Thank you for the thoughts. While the 620 metrics are interesting, the 220 has A LOT of awesome features that my FR10 does not have, and which I am super excited about. So I might lean towards the 220, + it’ll take me longer to save for the 620 and I don’t know how long I can wait!

    • jeffp

      Does the character size get bigger as you reduce the number of fields from 3 to 2 to 1 ?
      Or is there just more white space ?

    • Yes, they get bigger. You can see this in some of the photos above where I have 2 data fields (like the HR data page), versus three.

  103. Perry

    Do you know what increments you can adjust the Run/Walk intervals in? 1 sec, 5 sec, or 30 sec?

  104. Don van D

    Hi Ray,
    Can you give an estimate when the transfer by BLE to the updated app part will be availlable? This part will the dealbreaker for me between the Suunto Ambit 2S and the Garmin FR 220.
    Looking forward to your reply 😉

    Regards, Don

    • The app is available now (as of Thursday).

      I’ve tested the FR620 side of things and it looks pretty good (I’ve had my coach follow along on all my workouts). I’ll be putting that in the review later this week. I’ll be doing the FR220 side as well then.

    • Don van D

      Thanks for your swift reply! I’ll keep an eye on it. As if i wasn’t already. Haha!

  105. Bernice

    my Garmin 305 just died on me after 3 years of use (loved it!). do you know if my heartrate monitor strap will be compatible with the 220?

  106. Mark

    Does the BT upload only work with the Garmin app, or is this capability something 3rd party publishers like MapMyFitness / Strava can take advantage of?

  107. Will B

    Is BLE update still exclusive to iPhone, it says Smartphone on their website, surely that’s misleading?

    Also are the firmware updates on a different cycle in the US to the rest of the world? No update eluding to BLE came up through the sync. process last night. I’m on 2.20 in the UK

    • BLE was already in the FR220, it was just a matter of the app being released. In the case of the iPhone, that was last week – so it’s simply a case of grabbing the app. I don’t have any idea of Android timelines (I’ve asked).

  108. Joe W

    I picked up the FR220 at the New York marathon expo based on your review and I’m not regretting it – it’s a super running watch.

    As it didn’t come with a wall charger in the box, just wondering if it’s safe to plug the usb cable into an iphone charger or should I buy the garmin wall charger to be safe?


  109. Dave R

    Great site, Ray. Your passion for what you do is apparent and appreciated.

    I’m guessing that the 220 has become your mid-range running watch recommendation, but I’m just wondering: Why not the 310XT since it’s now about $60 cheaper and, from what I can tell, has more features? Is there something that makes the 220 a better running watch than the 310XT?

    Another reason I ask is because your wife has the 310XT on her list of gear she uses, and she says she loves it as a running watch. I assume she’s had access to the watches you test, but she’s still using the 310XT…or is she?

    Thanks again,

    • The biggest reason to not use the FR310XT is simply the size. As you note, it definitely has more features. I’ve found however that most folks who are looking at the FR220 as a watch (like the FR210 before it), tend to favor form over additional functionality.

      As for The Girl, she’s used the FR220 and FR620. Currently she’s using a spare test FR220, but she’s waiting for her FR620 to come in. So she’s going to update her post once it comes in.

  110. Harald

    for Germans:
    just got the info from my store in Hamburg today that they received their shipment
    during lunch I went there and now I am proud owner of a 220 (brain said: no 620 needed)

    whew – can´t wait to get home from work and try it out!

  111. Dave R

    So, would you say that if form and size aren’t a factor, you’d choose the 310XT over the 220?

    • It depends on what you want to do with it. If you’re just running, then, no, I’d probably go with the FR220 instead. If however, your cycling or doing a triathlon, then the FR310XT makes the most sense.

    • Marilyn

      Hi Dave,
      I had the same question, and ended up pulling the trigger on the 310XT. $90 cheaper than the 220 here in Canada was the deal breaker for me. Don’t think the size/weight will be too much of a factor, as I’m used to running with an iPhone strapped to my arm.

  112. Damian

    Hello, thanks for your review and all that job you’re doing.
    Did you do any test that could show how quick the watch is while changing pace.
    When I’m running constant pace and immidiately rush up how long does it takes to see a constant pace after change the pace. (sorry for my english, I’m not quite good in it)

    • The video in the review shows constant pace and then stopping immediately.

    • Dave R

      Hi, Marilyn,

      I had the chance to use a 310XT the other day for a triathlon and the size was not a problem. I thought it would bother me on the swim, but I didn’t even notice it was there. For the run, no problem, and it is very light. I also like the size of the data fields (although I don’t know if they’re larger than the data fields on the 220; I used three data fields). It does look big and bulky, but it doesn’t feel that way. And the 20-hour battery life is nice (although I have no intention of getting anywhere near that in one event!).

      I do, however, trust Ray, and if he thinks the 220 is a better running watch, I’m inclined to believe him. But as you say, the 310XT is now considerably cheaper (and getting less-expensive by the week).

      I also like that with the 310XT, you can upload data to your computer (and transfer updates) using the ANT+ stick. I don’t think you can do that with the 220.


  113. Leon

    Awesome review and very in-depth. Your review convinced my wife and I to go with the Garmin 220 as her next running watch. The GPS features, accelerometer, and connectivity with our Android phones seems like a significant advantage over other watches, one that Polar has yet to match (last I checked they only have an iPhone app). Unfortunately the 220 won’t arrive before her Thanksgiving half but she’s looking forward to it nonetheless. We got it from clever training using your coupon code. Not only was the discount helpful, but in general it’s just hard to find many etailers allowing you to preorder the watch. Thanks a bunch and keep the reviews coming.

    • Thanks for the support!

      Do keep in mind though that at this point, Garmin is like Polar and only has the iPhone app out. There isn’t yet an established timeline for the Android app unfortunately.

    • Leon

      Ah, I stand corrected. I saw the Garmin Connect app in the Play Store and assumed compatibility. After some digging it seems the hangup is with Bluetooth LE on Android and the fact it wasn’t standardized across devices. For instance my Galaxy S4 had it, but it was a custom Samsung implementation that I doubt the Garmin developers want to support. Android 4.3 solves this by including a standard Bluetooth LE protocol for all devices that have the necessary Bluetooth chip. The downside is 4.3 is rather new and only on a few devices, the S4 being one of them, but I am optimistic now that Bluetooth LE is finally standardized across the platform Garmin will eventually support Android, especially with the 220/620.

      Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Even though it makes me pause due to the lack of Android support (for now), I still can’t imagine a better running watch for the time being so I’m sticking with it.

  114. jeffp

    Ray, do you mark updates to review with the word “Update”+”:” in the text or might you just add a line or change a specification ?
    Do we have to re-read every line of the review every few days ?

  115. AG

    Very good review.
    Is it possible to connect USB cable into AC adaptor (IE:Apple) to a standard wall outlet for charging battery.
    I understand that you did’nt know when the forerrunner 220 will be available in Canada.

    • Harald

      the 220 charges with any of my USB power supplies, be it Nokia or my old HTC ones.
      It charges when connected to my HP laptop, it charges when connected to the laptop dockingstation.
      So the Apple should work, too (didn´t Ray mention it above, too?).

      Exception: I have a mobile power supply (Nokia DC-16), which is perfect for charging our Nokia Lumia 800+920 – but it doesn´t charge the FR220.
      Too bad, no charging “on the move” with that mobile power supply. Will check with one of my China mobile power supplies at home.

    • Correct. The USB specification inherently knows how to draw power, so you can mix and match to your hearts content. The one caveat is some high-power devices (i.e. iPad or tablets) sometimes require higher amperage plug adapters, and thus won’t charge fast (or at all) without them. For those, it doesn’t hurt the device (i.e. iPad) to use a lower one, it just may not charge and will only provide power for current-use.

      For watches, it’s not really a concern though.

  116. Jeff Yeager

    Great review. I have been anticipating this watch and review since I first read about it here. I ordered one 3 weeks ago from Clevertraining. It was est. mid Nov. So I checked status with them last week and they said it would be sent mid Nov. Checked again today and they now say they don’t have an order for me! I also ordered a GoPro today and they informed me that wouldn’t arrive till December. I appreciate the discount but the poor service almost doesn’t make up for it. Back to Amazon. Sorry to rant. Just was so excited to get my hands on this watch.

    • Jeff Yeager

      I just wanted to give an update on my post. Shortly after posting this Ray jumped all over at trying to help me out and get to the bottom of my lost order with CleverTraining. For someone who offers a free service and provides so much useful information, I can’t say enough great things about him. He went out of his way to help me with all that he has going on. CleverTraining is looking into this now and said my order will ship when the watch arrives. I will never figure out how Ray is able to do it all. Thanks!

  117. jeffp

    When i asked Garmin OZ customer help line today if the watch has started to be shipped to resellers with in OZ, i was told ” Sorry , the new 620/220 has not been released yet , its still in firmware testing at the factory”, “. it will be late week 3 or mid week 4 november at best..”
    When i told them watches are now in some stores in the US and Germany they said they did not think that was correct but that Taiwan controls international shipping priorities for Garmin devices.

  118. Ronnie

    Could you please point out the differences among Heart Rate Straps HRM2, HRM3 and HRM-Run?

    • Brandon

      Got my 220 last week, an upgrade from a 410 for me. So here’s the differences that I can see from the HRM2 and HRM3, and from what I’ve read, the HRM-run:

      HRM2 – Old soft-strap style many people probably are familiar with. In my experience has lots of drop-outs and problems (could be my watch as well, but I’ve had pretty major issues with multiple strap bundles and my 410)

      HRM3 – Uses the new strap design that the HRM-run uses. It has 3 contact points that a printed label on the strap tells you to wet before each run, including one that from what I can tell seems to use your body to ground any friction static from cloth rubbing the front of the strap (my best guess). It’s a little bit wider and in my limited use feels a bit more comfortable. The snap-on module looks the same as the HRM2–the only difference is that it says “HRM3” on the back (useful to know as it’s the only way to tell them apart). From my limited use, the new design does a great job minimizing drop-outs and spiking. In fact I haven’t had any. It’s definitely a great upgrade from the HRM2.

      HRM-run – I’ve only read about this one, but it appears to use the same strap as the HRM3. The difference seems to be in the snap-on module. It has a little runner icon on the front and contains the sensors to pick up the new running dynamics measurements. From what I can tell, it seems that the differences in the new HRM-run are in the module alone, and that the straps (and their improvements in terms of dropping out, etc) are the same.

  119. Roland

    Forerunner 220 or 610 as the price is the same (A$299) at my local store. I am more of a beginner/intermediate runner who really do not need a 610/620 but given the price tag, which one do you think is more viable?

    • Bart

      Exactly the same question.. … First feeling seems me to go for the 220 because better battery , more garantue for firmware updates, waterproof … Here in belgium 610 same price as 220 and the 210 is now dropped to 70% of the price of the 220 … Somebody some ideas ?

  120. Brandon

    As I commented before, I have a 220 on order, and am really looking forward to it. I’m an Android user, so I’m looking forward to the integration. I know they are waiting for 4.3 for the BLE support, but it would be nice if they could follow FitBit’s lead and work with one of the major phone manufacturers to find a workaround. FitBit worked with Samsung to bring BLE syncing to the GS3 and GS4. Not ideal for the Android community as a whole, but it does cover a healthy segment.

    Anyway, for those interested, you can do a form of live-tracking right now using your phone. One that my wife and I use every time we run is Glympse (we use it for much more as well, telling people when we’ll arrive at their location, etc). You “share” your location for a specified amount of time with people you select from your contacts. You can email them and/or send a text. They see you on a map either within the app on their phone (cross-platform) or within a mobile browser. It’s a great little service. It makes the need for live-tracking on the 220 a bit redundant in our case, but the GPS on my wife’s phone is pretty spotty, so she’s looking forward to it. Me, I just like having everything integrated into GC.

    Maybe this app (btw, no affiliation or anything, just a happy user) can ease the pain for other Android users itching for live-tracking to arrive.

  121. LB

    Thanks for your excellent work on these reviews. My question is regarding instant pace. In the 3 videos showing instant pace for the FR10, FR220 and Suunto Ambit 2S, the instant pace increases and decreases by 5 seconds each time while tracking minutes per mile. At what interval do these three watches report when tracking minutes per kilometre? Is it 1 second at a time or still 5 seconds? Thanks.

  122. One more note of thanks for an excellent review. Now I’m on the hook for two of these… Daughter number two just turned 15, and Dad needs a watch, too! 🙂

  123. CW

    It looks like Clever Training is starting to ship these units, I got my shipping confirmation e-mail on my 220 with HRM this afternoon. The down side is I just started with Plantar Fasciitis (right foot) last weekend after overdoing it. Hopefully I caught it early and I can test out the 220 on a short run this weekend, if this week of ice, night splint, and stretching is successful.

    • Brandon

      I also got my shipment notice from CT tonight, but my wife hasn’t yet (for the purple unit). We ordered within minutes of each other on 10/30. From what I’m seeing in the comments, it seems some people really like the purple unit. Will be interesting to see how far apart ours arrive.

  124. Michael

    Has anyone seen the 220 in Australian stores yet?

    • jeffp

      My retail store called Garmin OZ just now. “The 220 WILL make it to shops/backorders with in 10 days”…. “The 620 will miss November at this stage due to demand”.

  125. Nicole

    DC, I’ve been considering a GPS watch for about 6 months, the length I’ve been running. I have my phone app but hate taking my phone on a run. This is an awesome review but I have a interesting question. REI is going to have an Amazing sale (160.00 for watch and HR) on the FR210 and I was wondering if the FR220 is really worth the extra money or are the upgrades something as a new runner I probably wouldn’t miss? If yes, what are those things that you think are worth the extra cost? Also, is there something coming out in the next 6months from any manufactor that maybe I should wait for all the way around? I currently just run. Thanks!

    • I’d expect we’ll likely see some running watches in the spring from companies that haven’t released anything in the past 6-8 months.

      Of course, that’s just announcements, you never really know when they’ll hit availability.

  126. Jane B

    I got mine from my local running store in Houston, TX on Tuesday. Thanks for the great review.

  127. Dominic

    Fantastic review as ever, thanks.
    Are the 220 and 620 compatible with .wkt files?
    I’ve been using them on my 305 for years and as Tony says,
    they’re grrreat!

  128. Barbara

    I know this is a long shot, but does anyone perhaps know when the 620 and 220 might arrive in the UAE? I live in Dubai. Just wondering since I know it’s been released elsewhere and people are receiving theirs…
    I’ve never purchased anything online and I’m sure it’ll be very expensive to ship to the UAE from other countries. + I’d rather check both models in-store to see if that helps my decision between the two.

    • Greg


      I am in Kuwait and want to buy one as soon as it turns up here.
      Decathlon Kuwait (not sure if you have a DEcathlon in Dubai) has one on their system (priced at 105KWD) and they say it should arrive in December.
      GoSport only offer Polar watches.

    • Barbara

      Oh, great, thanks for the reply. I didn’t know about Decathlon, I checked and there is one in Dubai, I’ll give them a call. I’ve been checking with Adventure HQ, they’ve placed an order but have absolutely no idea when they’ll receive stock. They only told me it hasn’t reached the UAE yet
      I really want one before Christmas!!!

    • Barbara

      Oh and thanks for the price, I’ve been looking for an idea of how much it’ll cost here. I hope the 105KWD is including the HRM?

    • Greg

      not sure, but I guess it will come with the strap as it is on the system under ‘heart monitors’, not ‘gps watches’.

      Keep me posted please – I really want one too. IF it takes ages I may order online when they are available and have it shipped to Kuwait, but would prefer to get it from a local store (in case I need to return it).

    • Greg

      i guess it will come with the strap.

      Keep me posted please, I really want one too.

      Worse comes to worst, I will order online and have it shipped to Kuwait (it will be much cheaper online), but would prefer a local store, in case I need to return it.

    • There are two versions of the FR220 (well, actually, four versions). One with the HR strap, and one without the HR strap (HRM3), for each color combination. Each package has a different SKU, so you’ll want to validate which one you order.

    • Barbara

      Hi, Greg. Do you have any update from Decathlon? The Decathlon in Dubai doesn’t even have on their system, they say they don’t have any on order.
      I’ve been calling Adventure HQ weekly for updates. They have them (220 and 620) on order but no idea when they’ll arrive in the UAE. Christmas is approaching and I’m really disappointed to not even have an idea of when they’re coming.
      I’m toying with the idea of ordering online, because I REALLY want it for Christmas, but I’m nervous about having it shipped from another country… Thanks!

    • Greg

      Hi Barbara,
      I decided to buy on Amazon and ordered 2 days ago from the usa to my friends Aramex account. Should be here in Kuwait within 2 weeks.
      I went for the FR10, though. It is my first gps watch and it will do and as much as i love the 220 i want to wait for all the inaccuracy bugs to be ironed out and then get one next year. The orange fr10 looks good too and is much cheaper (no HR though).
      The 220 is nowhere to be found here anyway. Decathlon only has 110 and 210. GoSport offer Polar watches but way overpriced and Nike Store has Nike watches.

    • Barbara

      Oh okay. I bought the FR10 here in Dubai about 6 months ago. Also my 1st GPS watch, and it’s really great, I’ve had no problems with it all. The 220 will be a nice step up for me (adding the HR and custom training plans) and a little something to spoil myself with for Christmas 🙂

  129. Jenny

    Great review. I currently have the 210 which has worked fine for me the past 2 years, I am looking to upgrade though and one thing that I didn’t see any questions on, and if I missed it, I apologize, there’s a lot of info here. 🙂

    I run/walk and is it possible on this watch to have both the run/walk interval set but also see what my mile splits are? With the 210 it only shows the time/distance/pace per interval so I’ve been using my iPhone with Nike+ to see my mile splits.

    So long story short with the 220 is there the capability to see both?

    • Yes, run/walk interval is separate from the auto-lap. So you can auto-lap and still do run-walk intervals. Think of the R/W piece more like alerts than auto-lap (or manual lap).

      Note that the unit doesn’t specify splits for those separate portions (run vs walk), unless you manually set a lap as it beeps.

  130. David

    I looking forward to buying this but it still doesn’t seem to be in Canada. MEC, Amazon.ca, Running Room…no one seems to have it in stock yet. Has anyone picked this up in Canada yet?

  131. Sarah S.

    Thanks for the review! This is my first time at your site and my first time purchasing a GPS watch. Your review is incredibly helpful and really informed my decision. I am a “new” runner (going at it for almost a year) and am tired of carrying my phone around, so I am in the market for a watch. I was going to buy the 210 until I saw that the 220 is coming out. Is it already available in the US? Amazon says the purple version isn’t available until December. I’m excited to give it a try and am hoping that it is a good investment (the reviews on Amazon of the 210 are a bit all over the place with a variety of different problems). Did you find that the color displays were helpful in any way?

    I also plan on purchasing the HRM to more accurately track calories burned. I have read some reviews that say the strap rubs into your skin and is uncomfortable. Do you find that to be a problem (I know you mentioned the comfort of the HRM somewhere in the review)?

    Thanks again for the info and easy “readability,” especially for someone new to the running world, which can be very intimidating.

  132. Jill

    I ordered the purple 220 from REI recently and the status had been showing up on backorder, but just moved to “In Progress”. I also noticed that on their site, it no longer shows they are in backorder status if you add them to your cart. Sounds like I will be getting a nice delivery soon! Also, thank you DC Rainmaker for your thorough reviews. You helped me tremendously in choosing a new Garmin.

  133. Jonathan

    The VO2max estimate and recovery monitoring features of the 620 sound interesting, but both only require heart rate variability data that should be available from the 220 or any other heart rate monitor. Are you aware of any third party software or app that can take .fit files and make the same estimates? It really doesn’t make sense that the analyses are tied to the specific hardware.

  134. mike

    Just got my FR220 and ran with it for the first time. Nice and light! Big question, since I have a new Galaxy Note 3, I tried to pair multiple times, until i read here no android support yet!!! Disappointing, question is, do the GPS satellites only preload via Bluetooth? or USB as well? If USB where are they grabbing the geography from? (your location).

    So far I like the watch, the tones are definitely louder than the FR10 and the vibration helps too. Hopefully they will address Android support VERY VERY soon.

  135. Ryan

    Hey everyone,

    Received my Forerunner 220 from CleverTraining this past week. I love almost everything about it. However, it has one fatal flaw. The wrist band is simply not big enough. I have fairly big wrists but not huge by any means. It is as if they made the side of the strap with the clasp on it too short. The non clasp side is too long. The watch buckles fine and fits, but the clasps sits off to one side underneath my wrist. It should be in the center. Because of this, the watch continuously rotates off center. I can crank it down but that is obviously not comfortable.

    Anyone know where I can purchase a larger band? I’m assuming maybe any band would work?

  136. Ryan


    I want to note – I received an official reply from Garmin support that the bluetooth function is not “functional” yet. Though the watch pairs, the update to the app that lets you transfer data won’t be ready for several weeks. This seems like a product launch fail IMO. Great watch, terrible planning.

    • Ryan

      Sorry – let me add that this comment pertains to the iPhone – NOT Android. I always knew the Android implementation would be delayed.

    • No, it works just fine with the iPhone. My wife and I have been using it. Just grab the Garmin Connect Mobile app from the app store and follow the directions within the app. Takes a few seconds and good to go.

      No idea why their support is confused.

  137. Ryan

    I initially thought this as well. However, mine will not transfer data. It connects perfectly fine. I deleted the app and re-installed it. No luck. It even tried disabling the auto transfer feature and simply dragging my activities down to prompt a refresh. Still no luck. I went over to the Forerunner 220 forum and other users were having the exact same issue. That is when I e-mailed support. This was all day Saturday and Sunday. I will keep trying. Maybe it was just a glitch due to new units going out.

    • Interesting, funny you mention the uploads. I actually noticed that since Friday as well. I thought it was just bad reception (travelling internationally), though it still seemed odd. No problems on live tracking, but uploading was having issues (Twitter was also having issues). I’ll check with them today and see if it was a backend problem (i.e. a server issue) or an app issue. I know I had runs upload last week that way earlier in the week.

    • Ryan

      Thanks Ray. All in all this thing is a beast and I’m really happy. Just need to get the band thing worked out. I’m sure the upload issue will work itself out.

  138. Dave

    I’d like to pick one up this week. Where can I get it? Everyplace I’ve checked is indicating early December shipping.

  139. Cathy

    Thank you so much for this review! I am sick to death of my Garmin Forerunner 210 freezing, not working, taking a crap on my runs that I just ordered this 220 today. It’s great to know that you liked it. Your reviews are invaluable, really! Thanks so much!

    • Cathy, have you considered resetting your 210? I am sick of mine for functionality reasons, but it works as it always did. You can also completely reinstall the firmware on it. I’ve done this before by downloading the firmware, reformatting the 210, then copying the firmware to the 210 and restarting it. Do some serious research on this procedure if you decide to do it, so as to not risk screwing up your 210.

    • Cathy

      Hi Ken, thanks for the advice, but this is the third 210 in 8 months to fail or seize up on me. One was so frozen I couldn’t get it to reset for anything, not even after plugging it in. The other ones had problems with just totally erratic heart / gps readings or wouldn’t pair with my HRM for the love of god or anything else. I tried resetting the first one, twice and called Garmin. They basically said the computer inside of it was probably corrupted/corroded and needed to be replaced which meant I needed to mail it away for a few weeks and have it sent back to me. I just couldn’t deal with it. So I bought another one and then that one failed and then the one after that. I’m just done with that particular model. I just got the 220 though and it looks great, though my box didn’t come with the owners manual, just the quick start for some reason. Took me a bit to figure out how to pair my HRM. Anyway, here’s hoping this one lasts for more than 6 months!

  140. Jackie

    Very nice reviews on the 620 & 220. I’m ready to upgrade, I still regularly use my 205 & 305 though their batteries are starting to get long in the tooth.

    You mentioned you’re familiar with Strava and have answered a couple questions about Strava & 3rd party apps in these comments.

    I think I understand from your comments, that the Strava mobile App (I use an iPhone) will not access the Forerunner’s live data via BT, correct? Do you think they’d add something like this, or is it not possible. Who would I have to inundate with email (Strava? or Garmin?) add this functionality?

    Assuming I don’t have a computer handy, can the Forerunner’s data collected via the BT/Garmin App on a device be uploaded to Strava via the device?


    • They could add it. Strava’s been asking since back in January with the Edge 510/810 – as have other apps. Garmin hasn’t been answering though, nor making it easier for apps.

      You can use apps like CopyMySports.com and others to sync the data to Strava though behind the scenes.

  141. Hi,
    First of all, really great post! I’m just missing one thing and that is a photo of the HRM. I was under the impression that it would look just as my 620, but I saw a pic on a website where it looked like a HRM that I used to have on my old 305? Got a bit worried there! Can you spread some light?

    • Brandon

      Got my 220 last week, an upgrade from a 410. The HRM is indeed new, well, at least the strap is. I think it’s identical to the new HRM-run strap, in that it has a new third contact to get wet, a new logo, and the contacts are different. The module is the same shape and size as any other Garmin soft-strap module. I did confirm that the 220 module says “HRM3” on the back, while my 410 says “HRM2”. So it’s definitely an upgrade. Obviously the major difference between the 620 and 220 HRM is that the 220 doesn’t do running dynamics. They physical difference between the two appears to be that the 620 has a little runner icon on the front.

      Anyway, the HRM is definitely an upgrade from the older soft-strap. And I can confirm that for the 3 runs I’ve used it on, it’s solid. They appear to have worked out the dropping out/spiking issues with the new design. With my 410 soft-strap it was unbearable.

  142. Mark

    Hi, fantastic review.

    Are you able to indicate what the maximum lap limit per activity is for the FR220? I currently have the FR10 and the “almost undocumented feature” of a 50 lap limit per activity means I can’t use it for some ultra marathons that I participate in.


  143. Laura

    Hi Ray (and readers),

    Thank you for another excellent review – totally invaluable information and advice. I’d like to buy the 220 (and have birthday money burning a hole in my pocket!) but am in the UK and stock looks non existent over here for some time. My aunt is travelling to The States soon for business, and has kindly offered to pick one up for on her trip. Could anyone advise a store that is likely to have them in stock around the 1st December? Trying to track down stock via Google but having no luck.


    • Lela Pin

      Laura, the REI stores (www.rei.com) has them in stock today (Nov 30). The San Francisco one had about a half dozen PURPLE/WHITE FR 220s today but only ONE FR 620 (White/Orange) in stock. Neither had the HR monitor. REI members get a 10% dividend on purchases, so while no one generally discount new Garmin Forerunners, this is one way to get it at a slight discount. The REI website can tell you which stores have them in stock.

      Good luck!

  144. Diane K

    I may have missed this but does the FR220 HRM work in the water? I hate having to switch devices for multisport training. Thanks for your great review.

  145. Laura

    Hi Ray (and readers),

    Thank you for another excellent review – totally invaluable information and advice. I’d like to buy the 220 (and have birthday money burning a hole in my pocket!) but am in the UK and stock looks non existent over here for some time. My aunt is travelling to The States soon for business, and has kindly offered to pick one up for on her trip. Could anyone advise a store that is likely to have them in stock around the 1st December? Trying to track down stock via the internet but having no luck.


    • The US is a pretty big place, so you’ll likely want to narrow it down to a particular city and try local running shops. You can try online retailers, but honestly any orders placed with basically anyone at this point puts you into December for fulfillment.

    • Paul

      Laura, I am in UK too and have ordered from Heart Monitors USA with delivery to family in US. They show delivery estimates at point of order. If she’s in hotel for more than a couple of days that might work. It’s Also £60 cheaper in US

  146. Jo

    Got the 220 and HRM3 today. Nice watch, especially the quick GPS fix, the weight and the new wristband.
    But… the Connect App (iOS) is unusable! Instead of syncing the history, it is (re-) downloading the whole activity history at every startup. Furthermore BLE upload is not working despite showing that the 220 is connected/paired…

    • Tamas

      I found that the following workaround makes Bluetooth syncing work again:

      link to forums.garmin.com

      Ok, here is what I had to do to get it working again. I’ve tested it a few times and successfully downloaded three activities.
      Open the Garmin Connect App and go to my device.
      Click on the “i” icon in the top right hand corner and choose “Remove a Device”
      Remove the Forerunner 220.
      Closed the Garmin Connect App and made sure it wasn’t running in the background.
      Turn off the forerunner using the power/backlight button.
      Turn on the forerunner.
      Open the Garmin Connect App and Add a new Device/pair the forerunner.

    • Jane B

      Hey Tamas – I posted that workaround on the garmin forum…I’m glad it worked for someone else too! Good to know it wasn’t a problem/fix just isolated to me.

    • Tamas

      Indeed it did. I didn’t think of trying to turn the watch off and on as well (I think that is the key part of the workaround). Thanks for figuring it out.

    • oneup

      seems to be ok for me too ! I will try again today, but thank you for the workaround 😉

    • Jo

      It works, thanks guys!
      I tried it severals times before but this time I also got a new pairing code and now it works…

  147. For those curious, I got confirmation today that the HRM3’s shipping with the FR220’s do have the additional software update that the HRM-Run has around reducing spikes/dropouts (where I’m seeing really solid results with the HRM-Run).

    In fact, all HRM3’s made after July 2013 now have this software change. It makes it identical to the HRM-Run excluding the Running Dynamics stuff. There’s not a way to update older straps (HRM3 or otherwise). Nor is there any part number visible difference between an HRM3 shipped pre-July and one now.

    Hope this helps!

  148. Kevski

    On sale in Australia; seen both the 220 and 620 on sale in Rebel Sports Dandenong, Melbourne on the 19th of November.

  149. Nathan

    I didn’t see if you mentioned anywhere whether this has a glass face or plastic. I have broken garmins in the past fairly easily and am hoping that would move to plastic for the non touchscreen models. I work outdoors and have cheap timex watches with plastic screens that take a beating and may get a few scratches but never actually break.

  150. David Pearce

    I have recently purchased a FR220 and seem to be having an issue with the charging. The watch is clipped in to the charger and plugged in 🙂 – but does not appear to bee charging. Should the battery indicator be flashing when charging?

    Many thanks for the great review!

  151. Kaitlyn

    I’ve been running with the 220 for the past week, and have an issue where my cadence graphs all show an oscillation between 117-122 steps/min and 170-184 steps/min every 10 seconds or so, and it ends up telling me my average cadence is about 150. Any thoughts on why that is happening? My first thought was maybe when I look at my watch, holding my arm in front of me, it registers a lower cadence…but I promise you I’m not looking at my watch every 10 seconds. Don’t know what else it could be.

  152. jove

    as I am new to GPS watches I have a stupid question: Does FR220 (or any other GPS watch in general) have stopwatch (press button to start, press button to stop + be able to split laps) and countdown features that work without GPS and without actually running? (think cooking eggs 🙂
    Thanks for great reviews.

    • Harald

      the 220 can of course “count up” without GPS. And you can manually split via one of the buttons, or you can autosplit (e.g. every minute)

      no count down as far as I am aware

  153. Ray, is there no more RSS feeds for comments? I used to subscribe to those posts I commented on. Thanks.

  154. Lucho Parra

    Great review, thanks.
    I find exceedingly inconvenient, mostly non-sensical, having to bring my PC/laptop everywhere with me while out there while traveling merely for the purpose of being able of transferring my workouts to Garmin Connect immediately after a ride or run. I like to have a quick and fast workout analysis in my phone app after the workout while having my recovery nutrition and coffee. Thus, I opted to get the Edge 510 which allows me to harness the Bluetooth transferring capability of my phone. Running with this unit/Edge on a wristhand has been ok but yet not tremendously confortable. Now I am considering buying a Garmin running watch but don’t seem to find the one that would allow me, without the pre-requisite of getting a new phone (with >=4.0 Bluetooth), uploading (via 3.0 Bluetooth) my run workouts to the Garmin Connect app in my phone.
    There is no way I’ll plan to buy a new smart phone at this point. Is there any Garmin running watch I might be missing for consideration? Or, am I left with no option but having to bring my laptop everywhere and all the time with me? Isn’t there an alternative to having to spend the 20+ minutes to find a coffee shop where I can plug and turn on the computer, log in to Garming Connect, etc, etc. to merely upload my workouts before heading home?

    • You could pickup the Garmin FR610, along with the Wahoo Fitness adapter and accomplish it that way: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Alternatively, you could pickup the FR620 and do WiFi uploading instead using your phone as a connection point (if you have that plan).

      That said, honestly, every device out there going forward that does Bluetooth will be doing Bluetooth Smart.

  155. miles

    Does the lap banner really only show you one field – lap time? I have a 110 and it shows lap distance, lap time and lap pace (I understand I can have all these on a custom data page, but it just feels weird not to have it on the lap banner)…

  156. Kimberly

    This review was amazing! So helpful to me in understanding how to use my new device. Thank you so much for the time, effort, detail you put into this.

  157. Damian

    Is there any possibility to have pace on watch measured by foot pod while runing outdoors with GPS on. In manual there is written that while runing outdors with foot pod the cadence gets from foot pod while the pace and distance gets from GPS.
    What is the precision of pace while runing with foot pod while GPS is off (runing indoors). Is it also like with GPS 0,5 min/km?

  158. Emma

    Is it worth me getting the 220 if I want to use it for pacing alerts? You’ve said it’s quite finicky compared to other models. Which is the best for pacing alerts?

    • I found the pacing alerts issue has been resolved with the latest firmware within the FR620, and since they largely share the same firmware, I suspect it may be resolved in the FR220 – I just haven’t had a chance to re-test it there – hoping to do that next week when I get back.

  159. Gabriellos

    What do you mean when you say that HR zone can be displayed as % max? Do you have a picture of this? If this function is easy to use I´ll buy the watch right away!

    Thank you for an excellent review!

  160. I called Clever Training this AM – ordered 10/18 and wasn’t in the 1st batch of units sent out. Sounds like I didn’t make the cut for the 2nd batch either – I was told “early December” for a likely ship date for their next order. 🙁 I’m going to cancel my pre-order and get it from REI – they are in-stock there and I’m tired of waiting, especially considering CT charged my credit card. I don’t like that practice and they didn’t say they were pre-charging when I checked out. Hope they enjoyed my $225 for the past month.

    • Hi Maureen, thanks for the support anyway. Just to clarify, they do list as the first line of the description that credit cards are pre-charged.

      Going forward they’re mid-stream on switching the backend system and are looking to change that practice.

      Finally, if you’d like to still support the site via REI, you can do that with the links below. You won’t save 10% immediately like at Clever, but you’ll get it back later with your REI rebate:

      REI Garmin FR620 w/o HRM-Run: link to bit.ly
      REI Garmin FR620 w/HRM-Run: link to bit.ly

      And, for the Garmin 220:

      REI Garmin FR220 w/o HR Strap: link to bit.ly
      REI Garmin FR220 w/HR Strap: link to bit.ly

      Appreciate it!

  161. Billy Ehrenberg

    Hi Ray,

    I’m from the UK and was wondering if you have any recommendations for discounts on this side of the pond? Sales tax is 20% over here!



    • I wish I did. Obviously, the discount still applies, you just have to deal with the import taxes, so depending on the country it can be a wash. Fwiw, if you come down and run the Florence Marathon with me Sunday, I see that they have them at the expo and about 15% off. 😉

  162. Robert Canavan

    I join the chorus in praising your work on the most extensive, impartial reviews I’ve come across. I only have the lowly iPhone 4 and can not avail myself of the BLE connectivity, will this prohibit me from being able to pre-load the satellites positions. Also if you connect via USB will the weather data be visible on the summary report on Garmin Connect? Thanks again for your work!

  163. Ken

    I’m a long time runner, but new to GPS watch technology. I’ve been running with Endomondo on my phone. Are these watches really any better or should I just stick with Endomondo on my phone? I’ve been going crazy looking at reviews and the like, and your review of the 220 was amazing. I think I’m sold on that one.
    Do you need to buy the heart rate strap to get good data? ie will it still do a heart rate and calorie count without the strap? Thanks for your time, sorry for the many questions.

    • Generally speaking, dedicated GPS devices tend to be more accurate than phone GPS units, but it depends quite a bit on exactly which phone (since they all vary a lot in chipsets), as well as exactly which app (apps are a bigger thing actually).

      It will not measure heart rate without a heart rate strap. It will give you a calorie guesstimate though.

  164. Amedeo

    Hi Ray,
    I have a TRT, bought thanks to your review.
    What has FR20 more than TRT?
    Do you suggest me this in place of TRT?

    I’m not interested in BT (I have an old Android phone).

    As a plus, according to what I read in your review, FR220 has:
    – better workouts setting (in TRT I cannot create complex interval workouts)
    – fast gps fix
    – cadence (and I hope pace by accelerometer will be improved)
    – pace by footpod works only when gps is off (or without keeping signal)

    As cons:
    – less info on the screen in autolap
    – less screens and data for screen

  165. Amedeo

    obviously, thanks a lot for your blog and great reviews 😉

  166. Aubrey

    I just spoke to Clever Training and they have pushed back shipping again! They are saying mid-December now…Can’t Garmin keep up with the orders? Waiting a couple weeks I could handle. Waiting a couple months with no end in sight seems ridiculous. Not too happy right now.

    • Rick B.

      Aubrey, if this helps…REI had the 220s in stock as of Thursday and was shipping them immediately.
      I have one (black and red) that I ordered Thursday and is scheduled to arrive in Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday via FedEx.

    • Aubrey

      Thanks, Rick B., I was about to cancel my order and do as you suggested, but I have suddenly received a shipping notification!

      It was shortly after the mass email went out to those who have ordered stating that our ship dates were based on when we ordered and not on the current posted shipping time frame. However, when I was on the phone with them yesterday, the man I was speaking to was very clear (he knew my order date and my original shipping time) about my ship date being set back. They must have changed their mind.

      I am pleased they corrected the situation. If I had been given the explanation from the mass email with the assurance of receiving my watch at the original time frame, I wouldn’t have complained or been upset. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t complained though.

    • An unexpectedly larger number of certain SKU’s came in within the last batch. It looks like things may clear out faster than anticipated, but CT is being cautious as usual until either units arrive at their CT warehouse or shipment (with tracking) from Olathe to CT occurs with a complete pack-list.

      Again, thanks all for the support!

    • The same thing happened to me. I called on Thursday and the person at CT told me mine had been pushed back to mid-December. But before I could cancel my order and order from REI (who still have some in-stock), I got a shipping notification on Friday. Woohoo!

  167. Hank

    This may be a silly and very non-technical question to ask as my first on the 220, but does Garmin have any plans to release the 220 in any cool guy colors? Black is boring and I’m not sure I can go purple. Why such a limited palette?

    Thanks to your review, I’ve changed my Christmas wish from the 10 to the 220 and will order through CT. But I still want a cool color. 🙂

    • There’s been a lot of requests for more subdued colors, though mostly on the FR620. I think we may eventually see some, as that would follow the Garmin standard pattern of additional colors. But I definitely wouldn’t expect that to be before Christmas.

      Fwiw, I actually don’t like the FR220 red coloring that much, it seems a bit dated looking. I’d almost prefer to wear the purple coloring, which looks quite nice.

  168. Berto

    Thank you for your very in-depth review.
    You mentioned the AutoLap capability of the FR220 and how it can be set according to lap distances. I will be upgrading from my FR 405, which had an AutoLap function that could be set for a GPS-located “position”, a function I have found quite useful.
    Does the FR 220 have this function?
    Thank you.

  169. Guy lubovitch

    Just a note, regarding the comparison between 620/220. for anyone who is running over 50k a week and sometimes over 80k. i think it would make more sense to buy the 620. after all we buy a new watch every 2-3 years and the 150$ is not a huge differenence.

    what do you think ?

  170. Todd

    Thank you for all of the fantastic reviews through the years! I pre ordered through CT last month and received it today! Discount+no tax+no shipping fee+supporting the site is a good deal.
    Thanks again!

  171. Robert Canavan

    Your well done reviews in no small part pushed me over the edge to purchase the 220. So far so good. Unfortunately, with the few bad comments of availability from the web, I found it in a local REI. Being a member, I’ll get just about 10% back at the end of the year. As Sheldon would say, I feel I’ve broken the social contract. Will I be able to make up in some way by linking through your site in any future purchase from Amazon? Or is there another method to for me to use to hold up my end.

    • Hi Robert, no worries. You can definitely support the site easily through Amazon, be it sports stuff or socks. Just simply click the big Amazon logo on the upper right of the page, and then use Amazon as usual.

      Also, here’s a list of some of the other ways to support the site (including REI): link to dcrainmaker.com

  172. melanie

    great review !! thanks

    will the watch be compatible with the heart rate strap i bought with my 405 watch from costco two tears ago?

  173. Robert Canavan

    I believe any ANT+ strap will work. I’m using the one I bought for my FR60. I get the same BPM from the 220 as the FR60, but different calorie figures. Not sure why.

  174. David

    Thanks again Ray for the time and effort you put into the review. After a morning run today I picked up the 220 and thought I’d give it a quick test this afternoon by doing a short 3km run. It was a run I had previously measured out using a web app.

    At the end of the run the 220 showed a distance of 2.98km which I’m certain is more accurate to begin with but the point is it more or less matched what I knew to be the distance. But when I uploaded the run into Garmin Connect, it showed my distance as being only 1.8km. Any idea why?

    • David

      Disregard the above question. I deleted the activity and then re-uploaded it. The distance and avg pace are now correct in Garmin Connect.

  175. Sorry if this has been discussed, but how exactly does that satellite pre-population on the FR220 work via USB? What do you have to do to get them loaded?

  176. jeffp

    Got my 220 today at Bicknells in Bendigo. They only got sent 220s ( to fill my order) , no 620s.
    $349 AUS for the 220/RHM bundle.
    Watch was at 100% charge ( so no waiting before i can play).
    If you register your serial number on line or for insurancxe be carefull the digit 5 and 6 are VERY similar. I had to do a 8x mag to make sure.
    Firmware is 2.20 . Niether Garmin Exp Fit or WebUpdater offer a FW update…. any hints or has it been pulled ?

  177. Chris Sutton

    Hi Rainmaker. Thanks for your brilliant review – I can’t believe how much detail you go into!

    I wonder if you can help with a comparison question?….I currently use (and really like!) my Garmin FR410, but I am thinking of getting a new Garmin for Xmas. Is it possible to give me a quick comparison of how the FR220 (and FR620) compare to the FR410? Would I be gaining/losing much if I switch to one of the new models?

    Thanks ever so much.

    Kind regards.


  178. Ed

    I’ve got what might be a dumb question. I got my 220 today and won’t have a chance to run with it for a few days. So I went through the menus an jumped on the treadmill to try the accelerometer. It doesn’t show me moving at all.

    Do I need a few outdoor runs to calibrate this?

  179. Tad

    Does it make sense to purchase the 220 at $249 or the 610 for $219 through CT right now? Thoughts? Training for the Boise 70.3

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

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

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

      Just my two cents…

    • Tad

      Thanks for the help I bought the 220 already and received it yesterday and I am in love with it won’t be switching. My wife loved the fact that she can track me. Bought it through CT thanks for your amazing reviews and help Ray. Will I be seeing you in Boise next summer?

    • I loved Boise – though…I did not terribly much love that water temperature…

  180. jeffp

    Well went for 2x 2.0 km runs.
    GPS took a good 20 to 40 seconds to go green.
    With him and foot pod. On the return trip I set the pace alarm to 4:20 to 4:40.
    The watch feels good , light and stays put unlike the 405. The flat screen does create sun ‘blings’ and may need to be tilted.
    The band is firm yet ‘sticky’ enough to hold on to your wrist but can also be hard to get the band loop holder on the free end of the strap. I think some blokes with big wrists may run out of holes in the band.
    Pace and cadence are nice and stable on the screen but it was very hard to keep the pace between the alarm thresholds . I think it’s buggy.
    The red “too fast’ ring gets lost on the red graphic on the face. The black ‘ too slow’ ring gets lost in the black screen edge. I hope we can choose a contrasting color one day.
    Having the same beep for lap, too fast and too slow is a bother… I was beeping and had showing numbers on the screen all the way home.

    Strangely the footpod calibration did not change from 100.0 as I expected ??

    The decimal point in the auto lap field and the foot pod calibration is impossible to see.
    There also does not look to be any indication on GC if the pace was from the footpod, accelerometer or gps. I’ll look on a .fit file another time.

    • jeffp says “can also be hard to get the band loop holder on the free end of the strap”. I found that as well, due to the three little “nubs” on the band loop that hook into the free end of the strap. My solution was to flip over the band loop (so the Garmin name is on the underside). This puts the “nubs” underneath where they still connect with the strap (so the loop doesn’t slide around) but they don’t interfere with slipping the free end in and out. (IMHO this “nubs underneath” approach would be a better design.)

  181. Betsey

    runBunny question:
    Looks to me like maybe the strap could be detached, flipped over, re-attached and still work? (Buckle would need some fiddling). This would provide a white strap. I’d jump on it if only all that money could look prettier. (not all that bad as is tho’)

    Q2: you mention several other mid-range runner watches. Any of these equal or trump FR220 in your opinion? (there was one with an all black rim upon which I couldn’t make out a brand name).

    As has been said, I also thank you for all this work!

  182. Awesome explanation from Garmin support on how the 220 and 620 pre-populate satellites:

    At this time there is no indication from the watch or application that the data downloaded to the watch. To be specific here are the scenarios where the watch will be loaded with the satellite data:

    – USB – connecting to the data cable which is plugged into your computer’s USB port and having Garmin Express Fit recognize the device should be enough to facilitate a satellite data update
    – WiFi – Pressing the Connect button on the Forerunner 620 to check for files will facilitate a satellite data update
    – BLE/Phone app – Connecting to the phone app should be enough to facilitate a satellite data update (We currently support the iPhone 4S and above at this time)

    The above only occurs when the data is either not present on the watch or when the data on the watch is expired. Updating through your computer downloads 7 days worth of data and downloading via Bluetooth downloads 3 days worth of data.

  183. Chris Sutton

    Hi Ray

    Any chance you could let me have some brief thoughts on how you think the new FR220 compares to my current FR410? Would I be gaining/losing much if I switch? I like the idea of the colour touchscreen, but would I lose functionality?

    Thanks for your help. Will be using your Amazon links in future. 🙂


    • JeffP

      @Chris, The 220 is not touchscreen, the 620 is.

    • Hi Chris. It depends.

      You lose the Virtual Partner, and the ability to have four fields per screen (three is max on FR220). You’d also lose bike sensor support/mode.

      Now, for the gains. You’d get a much cleaner screen. You’d also gain the Bluetooth phone connectivity, so you could download workouts on the fly, and upload workouts to Garmin Connect from your phone. You also gain much faster satellite reception with the satellite caching.

      You’d have Virtual Pacer instead of Virtual Partner, so that’s a bit of a downer in comparison, but in my opinion not the end of the world.

      I think in general, it’s a step up – even if you’re losing a few features. As noted by JeffP, the FR220 is not a touch screen, that’s just the FR620.

      Hope this helps!

    • Chris Sutton

      Great. Thanks for the advice, Ray. Keep up the good work! 🙂 Do you know if anyone out there writes as good reviews about road bikes as you do on gadgets?

    • I’m not aware of anything unfortunately. Generally for bike stuff I’ll poke at both CyclingTips.com and BikeRadar.

  184. Tom

    I am moving from the 210 to the 220 and have a question about initiating an indoor/treadmill run. With the 210 and footpod, I waited until the watch asked if I wanted to run inside. If I understand correctly, on the 220, I must turn off GPS, and then simply start my run. Is this correct?

    Thank you for your incredibly detailed reviews.

  185. Stephen

    As always, most excellent review! I have used the Garmin 301, two 305’s (water damage craps them out), and currently the Nike + (water resistance). I find the Nike + to be constantly short on the distance compared to running partners with their Garmins. So, after reading this review, my new 220 will be delivered today!!

    Thanks again for the awesome work on these!

  186. Jordi

    Can you confirm if the FR220 and FR620 feature of the Spanish language, and if you can change it in settings?

    Thanks ever so much.

    Kind regards.

    • Hi Jordi-

      I’m travelling at the moment and didn’t take a FR220 with me. That said, the FR620 does have Spanish on it (just checked), and I’d be blown away if the FR220 didn’t have Spanish, since it’s on all other Garmin devices.

      I suspect another reader might be able to triple-check just in case though.


    • David

      I can confirm the FR220 does have a Spanish language option.

  187. Terry Andrews

    I live in the UK and am interested in this model, however with HRM it is £249, so is there any difference in the US model and am I able to buy it via the link you provide to be delivered in the UK and finally would it work out cheaper (incl postage, which is free from the UK supplier)?

    May I also complement you on your thorough and excellent review.


  188. Hi All-

    Just as a quick update for those who ordered FR220’s/FR620’s through Clever Training.

    As of an hour ago, here’s the current status:

    All Red/Black HR bundles are now fully fulfilled – there’s also a small number available in-stock
    Other other FR220 colors/variants are really close to being fulfilled in upcoming shipments

    All Orange/White HR bundles are now fully fulfilled – there’s a mediun number available in-stock of those
    All other FR620 colors/variants are still a bit backordered

    They got in a ton of units today, and many of you should be receiving shipping notices today (if you haven’t already). As always, first-in, first out. So the oldest orders get priority.

    They’ll be sending another e-mail update on Friday with status, likely based on what quantities they expect to receive from Garmin in the next shipment. If you haven’t received any e-mail updates (or order confirmations), it means the e-mails are likely getting caught in span filters. The e-mails are sent from sales@clevertraining.com.

    Finally, as noted above, you can always ring them up (or e-mail) with any questions. As a partner with them, if you ever have any issues with them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (the contact form goes straight to my inbox). I hold them accountable, and thus far they’ve resolved most issues near immediately for anyone whose reached out to me (usually in just minutes). They’re good folks who want to make sure folks are happy. So if something slips through the cracks, again, feel free to ping me to get it straightened out.

    Thanks for the support!

    • John

      I saw that clevertraining had the 220 bundle in stock and ordered. I waited to cancel my RRS order until I got shipping confirmation from CT, a minute after I got the shipping notice from CT I also got one from RRS. I’m guessing many of the stores got plenty of inventory today.

  189. Robert C

    Been using the 220 for about a week now. I find the sat pick up super fast and the distance spot on. But I have big concerns about the calorie calculation. I’m using the HR strap from my FR60 and get a good BPM count, but what I think must be way low calorie numbers. Example after a 8.78 mile run I get a calorie count of 541 calories. If I use a standard calorie calculator, it should be more like 1031. Any idea what gives? Garmin doesn’t respond.

    • Have you entered in your height/weight/etc…?

    • Robert C

      Sure did. It gives me the higher( more correct) Calorie count if I don’t use the HR strap. I know that including the HR in calorie calculation gives a more individual result, but off by 4 or 5 hundred calories?

    • Betsey

      Robert – is your “standard calorie calculator” based on heartbeats per minute? I’d think heartrate per minute would be the best estimate for calories consumed. OTOH calories are a heat count, aren’t they (energy burned)? But heartrate probably better estimate than speed, footsteps, distance — since ‘they’ say that for increasing heart health using aerobic exercise, heartbeat per minute needs to be in a certain zone for at least 20 mins.

    • Betsey

      oops. Should have waited for DCR to reply – didn’t realize this was almost the end of the thread. 🙁

    • Robert C

      Nutritional or food calories is a unit of energy defined as the amount of energy needed to raise one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. It is most often expressed in human nutrition as the amount of energy needed to move a given weight a given distance, weight/distance. The addition of factors like heart rate, Usually by 10% or less, up or down. Heart rate alone is a poor predictor of calorie burn. HR measurement has more value, as you mention, in assessing aerobic health. A whole different kettle of fish. That measurement by the 220, HR, HR%, Min, Max Rate, I find spot on. I just take umbrage to it’s use in determining calorie expenditure. I think the algorithm used might be in need of a nudge.

  190. Ordered 220 10/18 from CT, got ship notice Friday, and received it yesterday. I was impressed that they used 2 day USPS shipping (the post office got the pkg Monday). I am thankful to have had the 220 for my run today! I did not think it would make it to CA that fast. 🙂

    Today, I pretended I was DC Rainmaker, and wore my 305 and the 220 together and got 3.0 miles with the 305 and 3.1 with the 220. I know that the 305 always reports my distances the same, so I’m curious if the 220 will always be a little shorter, or if it will vary.

    I did notice that the 305 didn’t give me HR data today. Is that because pairing the HR strap with the 220 unpairs the 305, or is it just a fluke? Does anyone know?

    So far, I like the 220 – it’s comfortable, looks nice, I like the vibrate alerts, and the USB upload was speedy and didn’t crash (my 305 often crashes). I am just a little sad that I may be a little slower than I thought! 🙂

    I’m eagerly awaiting the “GPS units on a stick” test, although I guess the 305 will not be included…

  191. jeffp

    For the real fast runners , the watch tops out at 0.15 min/km ( 236.9 km/h)
    Its the first GPS that had worked on a plane (oops).

  192. Pat

    Hi Ray – I hummed and hahed (not sure how you spell that one) and went against your advise you gave earlier to the earlier poster, sorry; but decided to go for the FR610 at the discounted price – 190 Euros versus 249 euro for the FR220.
    Just looking at the specs, the FR610 looks a lot better, and really uploading to my computer first and then seeing it on the phone, isn’t that big a deal to me.

    The look is more modern and slimmer with the new range;but that colour on the bezel of the new X20 range, a bit cheap looking, and I wear my watches for everything.
    My poor old FR60 is finally packing up (strap) so I would miss the bike specs that the 610 has and the 220 hasn’t, when I forget to charge my Edge 705 and need something to do my bike stuff.

    • Laura

      Hi – does anyone know if the 220 will be in South Africa this year? all the shops seem to have only the 210 and 610 still. I want to buy the 220 for Christmas.
      On the other hand my sister lives in Connecticut and is coming over to South Africa on Dec 26 – am I better to get her to buy it for me in the US and bring it over? is there availability in the US? What happens if there’s any fault with the watch – will Garmin SA take care of it?

  193. jeffp

    Something I don’t like about the 220 is the way sweat and oils stand out on the super flat screen.
    During a run last night after tea I must have got some oil or butter on my watch and with the nylon hot weather running gear I had on could not wipe it clean. The marks show as silver streeks that are difficult to see past in some night and very bright conditions.
    Sweat also dryes into obvious shapes on it during a long run that I have to rewet / lick during a run to remove.
    I never thought of this as a selection criteria after 8 years of using a polar 200rs with its convex plastic screen.

  194. ingerennt

    This review is awesome, thanks a lot. For many years I collect my running datas on nikeplus. Is there a possibilty to load the datas from the FR220 to nike+ ?
    Thanks in advance and sorry for my bad english

  195. Mflagler

    I am new to fitness watches and looking to get a new watch torn between the 610 and 220? Looks like the 610 offers more ? But the 220 is newer ? What’s the best choice

    • Mflagler

      Can you use any garmin heart rate monitor ? Or do I have to buy the one shown with the watch The garmin220 that is. Thank you ! P

    • Yes, you can use any HR strap as long as it has the ANT+ logo on it (all Garmin straps do).

      As for the FR610 vs FR220…

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

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

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

      Just my two cents…

  196. LOVE the FR220. Fixes all of my annoyances of the FR210 and gives me back some of what I miss from my FR205.

  197. Ed

    I didn’t realize the 220 did cadence info. But, low and behold I log onto garmin connect and there it is. Pleasant surprise on a great product. I’ve been running with it for a week and haven’t found a downside yet.

  198. James

    to upload garmin to nike plus:
    link to awsmithson.com

  199. Francisco

    Thank you very much for your great review. I bought the 220 two weeks ago, and so far had two bad experiences:

    1) I ran a 5k last week. At the end of the run, the watch measured 5.6k — clearly off.

    2) I ran my first full marathon yesterday. The watch consistently over-estimated the distance and speed. At the end of the marathon, it recorded 28.91 miles!

    I emailed Garmin support. Any idea of what might be happening here? The software is up to date.

    Thanks so much,


  200. Mflagler

    So do I have to buy the heart rate monitor shown with the garmin220 or can I use other HRM provided by garmin ? Also do I need to get the foot pod ?

    • No, you can use any other Garmin ANT+ HR strap (that’s all Garmin straps at this point).

      You do not need to get the footpod, the unit will produce cadence data (fairly accurate), and do pace data on a treadmill (not as accurate).

  201. jeffp

    I did a AIMS sanctioned half today with the 220 and foot pod. Even with 3 km of ducking and weaving the watch was 980 m short. Others watches beeped at the marking signs, my 220 slipped about 45m per km .
    I have not done a long run without the pod but didn’t think it could pull the stats down that evenly each km.
    The calibration is still 100.0. Does it auto calibrate as mentioned either in this or the 620 review ?

    • It should be auto-calibrating, but something seems off in both the 620 (2.30) and 220 (2.20). Garmin support is looking into it.

      If it’s showing 100.0, then it didn’t auto-calibrate.

    • Francisco

      Thanks Rainmaker and Jeffp for your answers. I will look into the calibration issue. On my marathon. I ran in 3:32. No way I would have run 28.9 miles in that time!

      I was using a footpod, and the GPS. I am so upset that I am thinking about returning my watch today. Oh well, Francisco

    • In short, in the meantime, just disable the footpod until they sort out the 2.20 (FR220) & 2.30 (FR620) firmware issues there.

    • Francisco

      I have the 2.2 firmware on my 220. Any idea when the new firmware is going to be released?

      I have now disabled the footpod in the meantime to see if that was messing up the GPS reception.


    • No idea. But I’ll poke this week as people will be back in the office.

  202. JeffY

    Finally got my FR220. Love the watch. Just what I was looking for in a running watch. Only issue I am experiencing is syncing with my phone via Bluetooth. It connects to phone and app ok, but won’t upload run data to phone/app. I have tried everything including removing device and repairing it. I even tried hard reset of watch. It worked the very first time but won’t work now. I have to use USB cable 🙁 I emailed support. Waiting to hear back but this is hopefully a bug that will be fixed in next firmware release.

    • Brooke

      I have had this exact same problem. Have you found out anything?
      This is one of my favorite, and one of the most useful of features of the watch so I really hope this problem is resolved.
      DC, do you know about this and have some advice?

    • I wish I had some suggestions beyond what was posted above. When mine got all hung-up back a while ago I just reset things a bit and it was all happy again (removed pairing on both watch and phone and re-did).

    • JeffY

      Sorry posted this under wrong reply. Here it is again:

      Here is Garmin’s response. They apparently are aware of it but don’t seem to have a solution yet. I tried this but have not gone for a run yet to see if it fixed it. Worth a shot.

      Garmin: I will be glad to assist you. Since your automatic upload is not working, we will want to verify that you are running the latest software version on your Forerunner 220. To resolve this issue I strongly recommend updating your unit’s software.

      To update your unit to the latest software, you need to use the Garmin WebUpdater program. You can install and run WebUpdater any time that you need to update your unit. WebUpdater lets you connect with our server, download, and install the latest updates for your GPS unit.

      To view the installation instructions, please click the link below:

      link to garmin.com

      If it states that you already have the latest software, please reinstall this.

    • Brooke

      Mine is still not uploading to my phone after the firmware update and after disconnecting and re-pairing the phone/watch. I have sent an email to support as well. Is yours working yet? If so what did you do to fix it? Any further news DC?

  203. Ray, any idea what’s in the FR220 2.30 firmware update? I’m always curious about additions. Right now, all I can think of is a quick way to jump back to the main screen when you’re in settings. Like click and hold of the back button. Not keeping my hopes up, though.

    • Strange, I’m not seeing 2.30 being offered yet on mine.

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean that it’s out. Just if you know what was coming.

    • jeffp

      Sorry all.
      My 220 is few 2.20 not 2.30.
      As Ken said we have not seen an update for the 220.

    • JeffY

      Here is Garmin’s response. They apparently are aware of it but don’t seem to have a solution yet. I tried this but have not gone for a run yet to see if it fixed it. Worth a shot.

      Garmin: I will be glad to assist you. Since your automatic upload is not working, we will want to verify that you are running the latest software version on your Forerunner 220. To resolve this issue I strongly recommend updating your unit’s software.

      To update your unit to the latest software, you need to use the Garmin WebUpdater program. You can install and run WebUpdater any time that you need to update your unit. WebUpdater lets you connect with our server, download, and install the latest updates for your GPS unit.

      To view the installation instructions, please click the link below:

      link to garmin.com

      If it states that you already have the latest software, please reinstall this.

  204. John

    Hi Ray. Thanks for another awesome review. I just got my 220 last weekend and I’m loving it, but I have a couple of questions. First, how do I preload satellite locations over USB? Second, is there any way (or any plans to include in future firmware updates) to add in my fitness level, VO2 Max, etc?


    • Here was a great post up above on how to pre-cache the satellite info, provided from Garmin Support:

      “At this time there is no indication from the watch or application that the data downloaded to the watch. To be specific here are the scenarios where the watch will be loaded with the satellite data:

      – USB – connecting to the data cable which is plugged into your computer’s USB port and having Garmin Express Fit recognize the device should be enough to facilitate a satellite data update
      – WiFi – Pressing the Connect button on the Forerunner 620 to check for files will facilitate a satellite data update
      – BLE/Phone app – Connecting to the phone app should be enough to facilitate a satellite data update (We currently support the iPhone 4S and above at this time)

      The above only occurs when the data is either not present on the watch or when the data on the watch is expired. Updating through your computer downloads 7 days worth of data and downloading via Bluetooth downloads 3 days worth of data.”

      There is no way to pre-cache the other metrics.

  205. Tom_dew

    Hi, just purchased FR220 but not tested while running for the moment. It looks really great compared to the 410 I tested months ago !

    I have a question about alarm clock, how to customize system to only be alerted by vibration an alarm clock ?

    I tried to desactivate “Key Tones” (button presses) and “Alert Tones” (notifications), but the alarm clock continue to bip and vibrate…

    I read in a Ray comments (FR620 review) that it’s maybe possible to only use vibration for alarm clock… I hope it’s still possible after firmware evolution !

    Any idea ?

    I would like to thanks Ray for the amazing reviews!