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Garmin Forerunner 620 In-Depth Review

Garmin FR620 Front Shot

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

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

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

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin provided both beta and final production FR620’s, with this review being written on the basis of the final production hardware + software (some photos were taken during the software beta period of course).  As always, in the next little bit I’ll be sending them back to Garmin and then going out and getting my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). Simple as that. Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints. If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon or Clever Training links from this page to help support future reviews.

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

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


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

Garmin FR620 In box

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

Garmin FR620 In box

Garmin FR620 Unboxed

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

Garmin FR620 Unboxed

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

Garmin FR620 Unboxed Parts

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

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

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

Garmin FR620 Charging Clip

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

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

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

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

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

Garmin HRM-Run Strap

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

Garmin FR620 Instructions

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

Size Comparisons & Weights:

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

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

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

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

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

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

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

Garmin FR620 Size Comparison

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

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

The most noticeable aspect (aside from weight) though is really thickness.  In particular though towards the base of the unit.  You can see how the first bit of the FR610 (silver) watch band as it leaves the display is still a portion of the unit and added bulk, whereas the FR620 doesn’t have any of that extra bulk.

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

Garmin FR620 FR610 Size Comparison

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

Garmin FR620 on wrist

Garmin FR620 on wrist

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

Garmin FR620 on small womens wrist

Garmin FR620 on small womens wrist

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

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

Garmin FR620 Weight

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

Garmin FR610 Weight

Garmin FR610 Weight

Running Functionality and Features:

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Timeout

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

Garmin FR620 Main Pages

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

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

Garmin FR620 While Running

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

Garmin FR620 While Running

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

Garmin FR620 Display Fields

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

Garmin FR620 Data Fields

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

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

Many people ask about pace stability while using GPS.  Below is a short video I took while running with the unit.  I’m not wearing any footpod, this is pure GPS pace.  I ran for a short distance and then abruptly stopped, so you could see the short delay until the unit shows zero (stopped).  The pace number is shown in minutes/mile

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

Garmin FR620 Miles & Kilometers

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

Garmin FR620 Auto Lap

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

When it comes to alerting you’ve got a few options.  You can create alerts on a number of metrics such as time, distance, calories, cadence, or pace.  In the case of pace or cadence, these are typically defined as high/low alerts, where you set a high value and/or a low value (both or individual) and then the unit alerts based upon crossing that threshold:

Garmin FR620 Pace Alerts

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

Garmin FR620 Run/Walk Alerts

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

Garmin FR620 Virtual Partner

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

Garmin FR620 Virtual Partner

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Save Run

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

Garmin FR620 PR Records

Garmin FR620 PR Records

Garmin FR620 PR Records

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

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

Garmin FR620 Run Summary

Garmin FR620 Lap Summary

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

Looking at GPS accuracy, I’ve seen good stuff with the FR620.  It’s in line with a bunch of other GPS units I’ve paired it up against, always relatively close to each other.  Given the accuracy of GPS technology in the consumer space, you’ll almost never get the same measurement from two units (even two like units), but in these cases you see very similar numbers across the board:

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

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

Garmin FR620 Accuracy Comparison

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

New FR620 Running Dynamics Metrics:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Ground Contact Time Charts

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

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Cadence

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

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Vetical Oscillation

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

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

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics on Garmin Connect

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

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

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

Ground Contact Time:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Ground Contact Time on Garmin Connect

Vertical Oscillation:

Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Vertical Oscillation on Garmin Connect


Garmin FR620 Running Dynamics Cadence on Garmin Connect

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

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

Garmin FR620 Heart Rate on Garmin Connect

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Heart Rate on Garmin Connect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 VO2Max Detection

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

Garmin FR620 VO2Max Detection

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

Garmin Connect Dashboard VO2Max

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Race Predictor

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Recovery Check

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

Garmin FR620 Recovery Time

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

Garmin FR620 Recovery Time

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

Treadmill Running & Internal Accelerometer:

A lot of treadmills

The Garmin FR620 includes an internal accelerometer (in the watch) which enables the unit to measure both pace and cadence without the need for an external footpod (as most watches previously required).

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

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

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

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

Garmn FR620 on treadmill

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

Garmn FR620 on treadmill

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

Garmn FR620 on treadmill Cadence Data

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

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

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

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

Garmn FR620 on treadmill Cadence Data with HRM-Run

Garmn FR610 on treadmill Cadence Data with HRM-Run

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

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

Garmin Footpod

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

Garmin Footpod enablement with FR620

Garmin Footpod enablement with FR620

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

Garmin Footpod Calibration with FR620

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

Workout Creation & Training Plans:

The FR620 supports the ability to create manual workouts that you’ll follow on your device and be prompted for each step of the workout.  These workouts can have a variety of targets (such as pace, cadence, heart rate and speed), and can have preset durations such as time, distance or just simply pressing the lap button.

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

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

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

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

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

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

Garmin Connect Send to Device workouts

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

Garmin Connect Send to Device Training Calendar

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

Garmin FR620 Training Calendar Workout

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

Garmin FR620 Workout Structure

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

Garmin Connect Training Plans

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

Garmin Connect Training Plans - Marathon

Here you can see the calendar view:

Garmin Connect Calendar View

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

Garmin FR620 Training Calendar Feature

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

Garmin Connect Workout Screens on FR620

If you exceed a threshold, it’ll alert you immediately, like the below.  Though strangely, it doesn’t actually tell you whether you were high or low – just simply that you were out of bounds for that portion of the workout. (To clarify: It always shows you the view above, but when the pop-up alert happens as seen below, it doesn’t say “High/Low” there).

Garmin Connect Workout Screens on FR620

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

Cycling Functionality:

Garmin FR620 while cycling

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

It does however contain the ability to switch the display metric from pace (usually displayed as minutes/mile or minutes/kilometer) to speed (i.e. MPH/KPH).  You can do this via the the Settings > Activity Settings > Data Screens menu, and then within one of your data pages you can select the data field you want to change and change it to Speed.

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

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

Garmin FR620 while cycling change mode

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

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

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

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

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

For users that need these functions, the better choice would be the Fenix/Tactix watch form-factor lineup, rather than the running-specific watches.  The Fenix watches focus on navigation, running, and exceedingly long battery life (upwards of 55 hours).  They do lack however areas such as training plans, interval, and workout functions.  Though, they do contain a cycling mode with full support for ANT+ speed/cadence sensors.  Alternatively, the Suunto Ambit 2/2s are good choices in the navigation department, though lack the same training plans and workout functions (and kinda-sorta-barely has an interval function).  But, the Ambit 2/2s do make for much better triathlon watches than the FR220/FR620.

Use as a day to day watch, backlight:

Garmin FR620 and FR220 at night

(The FR220 at left, the FR620 at right)

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

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

Garmin FR620 lock screen

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

Garmin FR620 Time Alerts

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

Garmin FR620 Display Invert

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

Garmin FR620 Backlight Settings

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

Garmin FR620 Backlight Modes

ANT+ Weight Scale Connectivity:

Garmin FR620 ANT+ Weight Scales

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

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

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

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


Garmin FR620 Waterproofing

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

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

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

Live Tracking & Mobile Phone Upload Functionality:

Garmin FR620 Bluetooth Enablement

The Garmin FR620 includes the ability to connect via Bluetooth Smart to your mobile phone to upload workouts immediately upon completion, as well as to provide streaming live tracking of your run to family and friends.  You can share out the link automatically via e-mail or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  This of course does require your phone be present with you the entire run for live tracking during the run.

We first saw this technology in the Garmin Edge 510 and Edge 810 last January.  In that case however, the units used older Bluetooth chips which meant compatibility with older phones.  With Bluetooth Smart being used here in the FR620, you’ll need an iPhone 4s or newer in order to take advantage of the uploads and connectivity.  At this time, Android is not supported.  Again, Android is not supported today.  This is largely because the Android Bluetooth Smart story/support has been a complete cluster until recently (notably, Android OS version 4.3).  Thus, it’s really only been the last couple of months that we’ve see that hit handsets, and even now for example, Samsung users in the US on AT&T only got it last week.  Remember that Bluetooth Smart is a subset of Bluetooth 4.0.  So it’s not only a case of ensuring your phone physically contains a Bluetooth 4.0 chipset, but also that the handset is running Android 4.3.  And of course, beyond that, getting the app to support it (which, it doesn’t today).

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

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


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


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

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

Garmin FR620 Livetracking App

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

Garmin FR620 Livetracking App

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

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


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

Garmin FR620 Livetracking Site

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

Garmin FR620 Livetracking on iPhone Garmin FR620 Livetracking on iPhone

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking

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

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking Mile Splits

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

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

Garmin FR620 Live Tracking End

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

Garmin FR620 Mobile App Uploads Garmin FR620 Mobile App Uploads Enablement

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

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

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

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

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

WiFi Connectivity Functionality:

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

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

Garmin FIT Express

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

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620

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

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

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

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

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

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi

Garmin FIT Express with Garmin FR620 configuration of Wifi manual network

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

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi networks

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

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi networks

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

Garmin Fit Express FR620 WiFi Upload Configuration

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

Garmin FR620 WiFi Uploading

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

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

Garmin FR620 Searching for WiFi

Garmin FR620 Transferring on WiFi

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

Computer (USB) Upload Functionality:

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

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

Garmin FR620 USB Upload

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

Garmin FR620 USB Upload to Garmin Connect

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

Garmin FR620 USB Upload to Garmin Connect Picker

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

Garmin Connect Online:

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

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

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Overview

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

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Overview Page Charts

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

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

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Running Dynamics Charts

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

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Splits Charts

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

Garmin FR620 on Garmin Connect Player View

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

3rd Party Site Compatibility:

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 FIT Files on USB

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

Firmware Updating:

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating

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

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating Installing

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

Garmin FR620 Firmware Updating Installed

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

Bugs and Miscellaneous:

Garmin FR620 Bugs

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

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

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

The pace alerts (high/low alerts) seem overly sensitive to trigger, though I need to re-validate this after the Saturday firmware update (no release notes) [Update: Nov 6th – This appears to be fixed for me in the 2.30 FW release.]

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

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

Pros and Cons:

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


– GPS accuracy seems to be quite good, unit finds satellites very quickly with pre-caching
– Incredibly lightweight for a GPS watch (or any unit)
– Waterproof to 50m (finally!)
– WiFi uploads are awesome, with Bluetooth a good substitute when required


– Not convinced the treadmill (internal accelerometer) paces are accurate at all pace ranges
– No cycling, navigation, weight scale functionality
– Some people dislike the color choices offered

Comparison Tables:

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

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:21 am New Window
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2010SEPT 16, 2013APR 12, 2011SEPT 16, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 2010OCT 31, 2013APR 15, 2011OCT 31, 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, Bluetooth SmartANT+ WirelessUSB, WiFi, Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX750 MetersIPX750 meters
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours10 hours8 Hours10 hours
Recording IntervalSmartSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1-second & smart1-second & Smart
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 Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)Barely (Speed mode only)YesBarely (Speed mode only)
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYes (also has internal accelerometer)YesYes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoYes
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNoYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoYes
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoYes
Run/Walk ModeNoYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for swimmingNoNo (protected though just fine)NoNo (protected though just fine)
Record HR underwaterNoNoNoNo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Auto Start/StopNoYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesNoYes
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
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
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 210Garmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 620
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

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

Final Thoughts:

Garmin FR620 Backplate

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

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

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

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

Found this review useful? Or just want to save a bundle? Here’s how!

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

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

Garmin FR620 – Orange/White with HRM-Run [without HR strap]
Garmin FR620 – Blue/Black with HRM-Run [without HR strap]

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

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

ProductStreet PriceAmazonClever Training - Save with the VIP program
2013 Recommendations: Running GPS Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches
2014 Winter Recommendations: Running Watches
Garmin 220 Replacement Band (Purple/White, Black/Red) - Compatible with FR220/FR620
Garmin 620 Replacement Bands (White/Orange, Black/Blue) - Compatible with FR220/FR620
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)
Garmin Approach S6 Watch Band (Orange, Black, White) - Compatible with FR220/FR620
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Garmin FR620 Charging/Data Cradle Magnetic

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. mike_c

    liked the review very informative. I have a 305 that needs to be replaced I really like the new running dynamics features on the 620 but I’m going to have to hold off though until it gets the virtual racer feature. I use the virtual racer feature almost daily on my 305.

    • Chris

      I could be mistaken, but I do not think the 305 has the virtual racer feature (where you can race against a prior run/effort), but rather it simply has the virtual partner feature (where you set a given pace for the virtual partner). The 620 has the same virtual partner functionality as the 305.

      Product Comparison Calculator

      Mentioned somewhere in the comments above, the virtual racer feature is rumored to be coming to the 620 at some point in the future.

    • chaussa

      The 305 has the virtual racer, ie you can run against yourself on a workout that you performed earlier. This is really useful and it is not supported on FR 620, hence my great disapointment…Setting a given pace is completely different and actually useless as you can already do it thanks to traning programs (also available on FR305) and it does not take into account where you run (hills..) . I just hope Garmin will quickly provide a SW update to have virtual racer, otherwise I’ll sell my FR620…

    • The FR305 allows you to run against a past workout, just I don’t believe it allows you to run against one from Garmin Connect.

      In any event, I don’t expect to see Garmin add Virtual Racer support to the FR620.

  2. mike_c

    you are right the 305 has the virtual partner feature but it works like the virtual racer. you have to take a previous run save that run in courses then do course with virtual partner turned on. It’s to hilly where I live to run a static pace

  3. David

    Ray, I love your website.
    I’ve decided that I would like to qualify for Boston next fall (2015). I was curious if you think the race predictor would at least give me some guidance along the way. I’m planning at this point in time to run 2 more “A” race half marathons, Fall 2014, Spring 2015. Then train for the qualifying marathon most of next year. I need to shave about 9 minutes off my half marathon time for a calculated BQ marathon. I think I can do 4 minutes per race on the two half marathons. Then I think I will probably get another 5-6 minutes of marathon time improvement between spring and fall of 2015. In my mind, I like my plan except for the very limited actual race performance feedback. Even if the numbers are wrong, but they show improvement which translates into actual performance improvements, it would be worth it.
    From the sound of it, it actually can calculate the times even off less than max effort runs, correct?
    Just out of curiosity is there any application/web-service that can do the same thing from .FIT files? I have a 910XT. I don’t need a new watch. But this does have a couple of features that I would like.

  4. Lawrence

    Hi, i am not able to get my VO2 max after 2 runs. How should i do it?

  5. JC

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks so much for you excellent review. Based on what i learned here I bought a 620 in November and used it to help achieve a big marathon PR in January.

    Have you began using running dynamics data much? I looked at my GCT and cadence and calculated that my stance phase is 80% of my gait cycle. That’s pretty bad but i’m old and slow so i looked at your data (above) and you seem to spend 77% of your gait in stance.

    I think this has to be wrong – have you looked at this?

  6. dvhart

    With Android support added I thought I struck gold. I grabbed a 620 for myself, the data junkie, and a 220 for my better half. WHAT A COMPLETE DISASTER. Firmware updates failed 2 on each device until finally taking (both are now on 2.60). Each struggled to pair over bluetooth, but ultimate the 620 paired with both our Nexus 4 (4.4.2) phones and the 220 would only pair with hers. Neither would re-connect after the initial pairing. Despite setting up wifi in Garmin Express (for two APs, one WPA on channel 1, the other WEP, both with bgn radios), whenever I press the sync button on the 620, it flashes a message that I need to setup wifi in Garmin Express. The “manual” said to connect the 620 and follow the onscreen instructions to setup wifi – I haven’t seen any such instructions. Reading above, I’ve tried resetting, I’ve tried clearing user data, I’ve remove the device from Garmin Express, I’ve removed the Garmin Express application (Mac) and reinstalled it (that solved a hung sync issue), and even did a “factory” reset on the 620 (which isn’t really, as it stays at firmware 2.60, and doesn’t go back to the factory 2.30). Very disappointed and considering sending them both back as non-functional. Open to suggestions on what else to try (short of buying new phones, changing carriers, different laptops or operating systems in order to use a watch). Yeah… 5 hours in, the snark is showing… sorry. 😉

  7. lin

    Any chance of you doing a 620 firmware update accuracy test much like you did for the 610, “Garmin FR610 Accuracy Firmware Fix Results”?

    While I haven’t really noticed any difference across the GPS firmware updates so far, I think it would be interesting to see how it actually compares when tested since the interwebs are full of peeps complaining about 620 accuracy issues. Again, I haven’t had anything out of the ordinary when compared to my 610, but am curious if the firmware updates have actually changed anything.

    I would imagine you have to update both firmwares (unit and GPS) for comparison.

    • It’s been on my list for a while, but work travel has continued to put a dent in my plans there (I basically have to dedicate an entire weekend to doing all the tests in one fell swoop).

      That said, I use the FR620 against virtually every unit on the market and coming onto the market and really don’t have any issues or see anything out of the ordinary. No doubt, there are some folks with issues – but in most cases if they just swap out the unit they’re good to go. Any consumer electronics device has a return rate (generally between 3-7%), and generally, only people who have a problem post about it.

    • TheBlackKite

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks to a tweet from ConnectStats I found this page which is pretty interesting.
      What do you think about this? I’m really surprised here.
      link to fellrnr.com

    • Peter

      Hi, I have one week with my 620 and have the following issues:

      – running on Margaret Island more than two laps: link to connect.garmin.com
      look at the second half of the last lap, significantly wrong – but the worst is the elevation data (between -35 and 125 meter with 277 meter elevation gain on a completelety flat island (Strava shows 21 meter elevation for this run: link to strava.com)

      – running near the lake Balaton and having someone else’s activity data for exactly the same place – also significant elevation difference
      my run: link to connect.garmin.com (10,6K – 165 m elevation gain !!!)
      activity on the same place with 910XT: link to connect.garmin.com (4×10,6K – 90 m elevation gain)
      so my measurement is almost 8x more for the same distance…)
      just to imagine how flat is this way, Strava shows for this activity 0 m elevation: link to strava.com

      (I always imported Garmin’s FIT file into Strava)
      (Elevation correction is disabled now in Garmin Connect to show the original data from the FIT file)

      So what do you think, may I expect some changes or shall I simle return this item?


    • Lin

      Busy.. work travel… what? All I’m hearing is excuses! 😉

    • Lin

      I’ve seen the fellrnr site. My personal experience with the 610, and 620 do not remotely agree with his findings. I can confidently say the same for my running buddies (who have 10, 610, 220, and 620s). On the same run, we usually differ just a bit, but that is expected. Sometimes we even get the same values.

      I agree with Rainmaker in that if you feel you have a bad unit, swap it out and you’re usually fine. My buddy actually swapped out three 620s before he got a keeper. Apparently, his shop got a bad batch.

    • I’ve commented a few times on the FELLRNR data, here’s probably my most in-depth response: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Peter – As for elevation data, the FR620 doesn’t record barometric altimeter data, but rather GPS data. Try switching the little elevation toggle at the bottom left side of Garmin Connect and see if that improves things. Whereas the FR910XT does record such data.

    • Peter

      Thanks Ray for that technical info!
      But does it mean, that 620 for it’s high price is allowed to give me totally false and therefore useless elevation data? I wouldn’t keep on asking if this was 10-20% incorrect, but it’s 800%!!!
      I got the same data from 620 running on a flat surfice as I did in Jerusalem running always up or down the same distance (160-180 meter during 10k). Is this really the normal function of a top level Garmin? Really disappointed.

    • Strava is doing elevation correction, which is why you get 0m. It’s post-processing, just like Garmin Connect (and most other training sites) do if you check the box. I see on your FR620 activity you have it set as disabled for some reason (it should be disabled).

      On the unit itself, the FR620 uses a GPS based altimeter, which means it doesn’t have a sensor inside to measure elevation, but rather attempts to calculate it from GPS. Sometimes that works, most times it’s not terribly great. This is the same as most units on the market.

      The FR910XT meanwhile has a barometric altimeter, which means you generally get more accurate data (not always, most mostly). This tends to be included in units that are tri-specific, or cycling specific.

      Thus, ensuring the elevation correction is enabled is really your best bet.

    • Simon

      I read Peter’s comment (#1951) to be more about the inaccuracy of the GROUND track of the final lap, than about the elevation error. It seems that the 620 was struggling to accurately determine its overall position, which read out secondarily as an error in altitude. Basically, it does not know where it is.

      More importantly, it seems to LOSE track of its position after being locked for a period of time (as this is happening at the end, not the beginning, of a run). I have had this happen, too. I contacted Garmin support on this, we conversed about firmware version (2.6.0), but then it went cold. My challenge is that the glitch is consistently inconsistent – most of the time it is on the money. Every now and again, it is off, and off by a lot. (Worst case was during mile 13 of a half…!) Any thoughts on this?

    • The ground tracks all look near identical to me on the marathon one.

      If you’re seeing issues with GPS accuracy, and you’re on the latest firmware and have done a full reset, then I’d ask Garmin to swap it out as the unit is probably defective.

    • Peter

      Thanks Ray for the detailed info!
      (I know that Strava works with correction, and just wanted to show how flat that surfice is.)

      I set Garmin Connect as disabled was especially to show my concerns. I will change this to enabled, but unfortunately that shows still too much (maybe because of the totally failed data from the watch?).
      Before purchasing the watch last week I usually ran with Runtastic (Android) and that gave me much realistic elevation results! That’s why I guessed that a top watch will give even better results, but unfortunately it is the opposite so far… 🙁

      In the meantime I also found your article about Understanding Sport Device GPS Elevation Issues (link to dcrainmaker.com) – will go through it soon.

      I like the watch for many reasons, but I feel, that this difference in elevation is far too much to be happy with it.

  8. Chad

    Any update on why the 620 will not connect to Wifi?

    The first try it always says the connection failed. Then hit the button again and it will most likely connect and say it is transferring but then it will say the transfer failed even though it sends the file.

    This is very annoying. The connection to mobile still works fine though.


    • Peter

      I can see the the same on my one, it says transfer completed (1 file failed) – although it is not failed, the activity uploded successfully to Garmin Connect. (However I have never managed to upload an activity to the phone via Bluetooth – unfortunately it doesn’t work).

    • Chad


      Did the transfer used to work without saying it failed? Mine all worked for about 2 months before any issues started. Now you never know if it will work or not.


  9. Peter

    Sorry I don’t have that long experiences, since my watch is only one week old 🙂 – and currently I see this message while transferring.
    (I really miss the bluetooth upload to the phone especially now, while not at home and need a computer with Garmin Express to set up a new wifi network.)

  10. carnage

    Hi Rainmaker,
    Could you clarify please, does the 620 have the “Resume Later” feature of the Fenix 2?
    I’m interested because I sometimes commute by running to the train station, jumping on and running at the far end, then all that in reverse coming hone. My current 220 doesn’t allow me to resume, if I don’t reset after the first “hop” but instead just restart again it takes the train journey into account too, but obviously resetting means I end up with 2 activities instead of 1.
    Much appreciated, great reviews!!

  11. Dimitris

    Is any problem with Garmin’s elevation data? When I am connected to Garmin Connect the elevation data that I received are as follow:

    Elevation Gain: -0 m
    Elevation Loss: -0 m
    Min Elevation: -9.979 m
    Max Elevation: -0 m

    However in the chart the data appeared to be completely different with max elevation appeared to be 13.000 meters 🙂 I Use the Forerunner 620 and the elevation corrections are enabled.

  12. Dimitris

    Is any problem with Garmin’s elevation data? When I am connected to Garmin Connect the elevation data that I received are as follow:

    Elevation Gain: -0 m
    Elevation Loss: -0 m
    Min Elevation: -9.979 m
    Max Elevation: -0 m

    However in the chart the data appeared to be completely different with max elevation appeared to be 13.000 meters 🙂 I Use the Forerunner 620 and the elevation corrections are enabled

  13. Dimitris

    You can also see the activity here in order to have a more accurate understanding:

    link to connect.garmin.com

  14. Paul

    One thing that my wife discovered with the FR620 – there is a reasonably powerful magnet in the cradle which if placed on top of a laptop can wreck the hard drive.

    This was a valuable lesson in having a recent backup!

  15. Tobbe

    I bought the Forerunner 620 last December and I absolutely love the watch. I also bought one for my wife as well last month. I’m just not sold on the Garmin software/app. It just does not come across as being very user friendly or intuitive to use. Just wanted to see what others are using. As of now it does not seem like we have a lot of choices. With the amount of runners out there you would think that there would be an abundance of options available. I would definitely pay for a great app if it existed.

    Thank you of all you great reviews…

  16. SportTracks has both an online app and a PC app you can install on Windows. All Garmin are supported, including the running metrics info. Google it, or read Ray’s review on this website.

  17. Koen

    More a generic comment on the 620/220. As my followers (supporting troops) loved the way live tracking works, their only difficulty was that the pace was in mile. Is it also possible to change this to kilometer somehow? If so, how?

    • Tim Grose

      I am fairly sure there is a settings option on the Live Track web page link that allows you to change units as well as the map background provider.

  18. rltprivat

    Hi Ray,
    Any news/preview-date on your final review of Polar V800? – Eagerly waiting for your judgement/experiences:
    I am sure many other FR 620 early adopters do (also) have an eye on what’s coming up from Polar’s side – Since there is no sign that Garmin will come up with FR 620-bicycle features within reasonable time (‘anytime in spring’ might be too late, as soon as Polar can deliver, I would guess ….)
    thnx for your efforts, Reinhard

  19. Ray,


    There are currently multiple threads on the Garmin 620 Forum page concerning the current pace field on the 620, or more accurately, the inaccuracy of the current pace field.

    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com

    When I contacted Garmin, I was told I that I was the first person that has ever complained about this problem and I should factory reset my phone, I do so, and it did not correct the problem.

    I bought this watch when it was first released and it worked well, this problem arose after a software update several months ago and has not been corrected.

    Ray, I know you are a busy man, but can you test this? You are the only person I know of that has both the intelligence and the equipment to test, document and articulate this problem.


    • Hi Chris-

      Yup, I use the FR620 about every other day, and haven’t seen the issue with it being too smooth. I use it for everything from 200m sprints to 23 mile runs. That said, while there are many threads on it, a lot of those threads are the same people. And even some of those threads have others saying they aren’t seeing the issue at all. And ultimately, as I often note – the only people who go to product support forums are people who are having an issue.

      I’m not saying you aren’t seeing something, but rather, it’s just not something that I’m seeing. I’d push Garmin (phone is best) to simply swap out your unit. It’s still definitely within warranty.


    • Thank You Sir!

      Thanks for helping me out. I thought everyone was having a problem…

      Here is an example of what I am talking about, the when you compare the HR to the pace it looks like a comparison of a sine wave and square wave.

      So your intervals do not look like this?

      link to connect.garmin.com

    • No, very-instant on mine. See here: link to connect.garmin.com

      First chunk was a bunch of strider type stuff, and then mile repeats after that.

    • I was doing a flat 10:00 min/mile pace and doing .25 mile pickups at 8:00 min.

      I don’t accelerate like a sports car, but this indicates that it took me almost 2 minutes to get up to speed.

    • Mixuli

      Hi all, I have had this issue with over smooth current pace. When I changed the settings from smart recording to every second recording, the watch started to response faster. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better.

  20. Aaron Blair

    Great, great, great review. I came across your blog through this review, and I think it’s amazing. Every single post is well written, and the website’s really well designed.

    Well done, honestly.

    I just bought the FR620 w/HRM through your link. Enjoy your well-earned cut, I can’t wait to get it thanks to this review!

  21. James Breen

    Hi DC,

    So I’ve been using the 620 for over 4 months now with HRM. All in all, I love it. Occasionally, the watch goes crazy during a run and randomly starts beeping really fast and turing on and off frantically. Not sure what that’s all about.

    Anyway, I ran Boston last week and decided not to use the HRM during the race. However, the running dynamics still gave me cadence and stride length. I thought you had to be wearing the HRM for these stats to be recorded. Do you know why this occurred? I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks in advance.

    • The unit itself (not the HR strap) includes the ability to get cadence (as well as pace indoors and/or in a tunnel). The strap also includes cadence as well.

      Congrats on Boston!

    • James Breen

      Did not know that! Thanks again …. I know you are quite busy so I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.

  22. lumi

    With the last update my 620 is slower in getting the GPS signal (before the update usually it took 30 seconds, now 2-3 minutes) anyone else has the same problem?

  23. Peter

    Yes, same problem over here. Also random rebooting.

  24. Bleuette

    Garmin´s call back all Forerunner FR 620 now!

    Hi Ray,

    first to be sure you ´ll read my post here an give me your bank accout.

    I´ve read about your accident in water, while you are testing Polar V800 .

    So you kept attention to the watch instead of paying attention where you feet step in water. IMVHO the injury and all the trouble most likely would not have happened to you without watch-testing but only swimming in the ocean. The bill for saving your live was about 2300 Us dollar. I cannot take away all the pain you had, but I wish to send you one Euro (or two 😉 ) to get paid you lifesaving bill . One Euro is little or nothing and doesn´t hurt /ache/ail me but is my heart wish to help you (and keep you independed by the way).

    So Ray please please shut up , give no comment to my post here. Just do me the big favour and give me any bank account nummer ( in Switzerland maybe or elsewhere) msoI can send you my 1 Euro for your life saving bill. I would feel better afterwards.

    Ray, please shut up, “forget the pain , give me the baby.”

    Herzallerliebste Grüße! Please get well soon. I bey you pardon for the fake in the headline.

    All those who believe in telekinetics raise my right arm now!

  25. Harmless Harm

    I really wanted to like this product. Garmin offered another swap, which to me is not adequate solution. The second 620 was working fine for few weeks… Lost trust in Garmin, especially since my edge 510 is also instable (sensors drop-offs, wrong Normalized Power calculation, keep on beeping phone connected/disconnected to name a few). Local retailer mitigated, and I will get money back for 620. Will switch to non Garmin product, for sure.
    Will drop-off this 620 forum.

  26. Bleuette

    Hi folks,

    is there an possibility to turn off alarm for vibration and tone while running?

    When I warm up and especially I cool down after a long run I cannot keep cadence so high and and I wish to stop alert.

    With my Polar RS 800 I had 3 Zones with different alarm and I was able to switch to another zone or stop alert totally by pressing buttons, without stop measuring, going to menu and change cadence or take of alarm.

    I would be glad to read how do you manage stopping alarm on your FR 620??

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Herzlichst !

    Bleuette Naomi

  27. Alissa

    Anyone else use their 620 for track repeats? I’ve been using mine instead of just timing them because I can preload my workout and I don’t have to bring a note with my plan/splits. However, over the last few the accuracy has tanked! Through March to first half of April – great and almost dead on with the track. The last few weeks my mileage is off .1mi per mile repeat compared to the track. When I upload it and look at the GPS map it shows me cutting across the football field all over the place!! I’m not sure if this corresponds to a recent software update or just my personal watch in general. Any thoughts? Should I try a resetting it?

  28. mike jones

    After a heart attack scare at such a young age, mid 20s, i decided to take my health into my own hands. I went for and love the top end garmin 620 gps watch definitely worth the $450, is aesthetically pleasing than others on the market, and improves/measures my running and I have lost 40lbs. I enjoy waking up every morning for a run and I notice I sleep much better at night when I do. Incorporating diet as well with weight training I am a whole new person and I feel great. Couldn’t do it w/o the garmin though. Thanks!

  29. Markus

    Hi Ray,
    do you know if Garmin is still planning to add Cycling mode to 620? Garmin said this some months ago (I think I read it in one of your posts), but since then I´ve never heard a confirmation or an update on this.

  30. Mike

    I tried purchasing a Forerunner 620 from Clever Training. When I put your code in, I get the following: “THAT COUPON CAN ONLY BE USED ON SELECTED PRODUCTS. NONE OF THE ALLOWED PRODUCTS ARE IN YOUR SHOPPING CART. (DCR10AKG)” Is the 10% discount no longer available?

    • Hi Mike-

      Sorry for the troubles. We just did a bit of a soft-launch on a new VIP program that retains the DCR 10% discount. The whole process is quick and painless and you’ll still get the discount. Here’s the details: link to dcrainmaker.com

      We’re working through a few kinks, mostly on my end in ensuring all the links are cleaned up so that folks like yourself don’t get tangled. But, using the above you can be quickly on your way.

      Thanks for supporting the site!

    • Chris

      As a clarifying question, as a DCR reader, by using your link to the VIP program, will the cost always remain $4.99/yr, or is that price just a short-term promotion? Said otherwise, if I wait a few months to sign up for VIP (a la, until I place my next order), will I still get the $4.99/yr price? Thanks!

    • It’ll remain $4.99 (baring something outside of my/CT’s control). Thanks for the support!

    • J.Griffin

      Uggh – for the record I’m not a big fan of memberships, loyalty cards etc. especially if there are fees involved ie. REI w/ delayed rewards. Is this a one time fee, or is it on an annual update?

    • I understand. It’s currently planned as an annual fee. Note that unlike other programs (such as REI), there are no delayed rewards. Once you sign-up you’ll get your personal coupon code and from there it’s basically just like before where you’ll receive your 10% off your cart immediately.

  31. So any experience with the longevity of the FR620/FR220 straps? I’m thinking of upgrading but I am concerned because I have gone through a couple of the standard rubber straps on my current 305. Luckily I was able to get a velcro strap for my 305, which is working well, but not sure if that is an option for the FR620/FR220 models.

    • I haven’t heard of any issues yet with straps on the 220/620 breaking from anyone yet (nor the pins). The good news is that if 1-2 years down the road yours is a bit rough, you can easily get a new one for $25. The rubber is a fair bit thicker and less pliable than the older 305 straps.

  32. lumi

    Now that temperatures are getting higher my heart rate is higher and I’ve seen that measured VO2Max is lower (45 vs 47). I wonder if “physiologically” higher temperatures make VO2Max decrease or if it’s just a “bug” in the way the 620 approximates VO2Max. What do you think?

  33. runtech

    I just tried purchasing the FR620 at clever training. The discount code is not working, please advice

    • Hi Runtech-

      The general discount code won’t work on the FR620 (a change as of last week). However, you can quickly grab a personal discount code that will work via the VIP club. You’ll still save 10% on everything at Clever Training (including the FR620), and you’ll still support the site (as well as the charity Girls on the Run). Here’s how: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Appreciate the support!

  34. Hilton

    Hi DC,

    Absolutely love the site. Found it looking into the Polar V800, but looks like I’ll be getting the 620 for my ‘The Girls’ birthday.

    Was wondering how easy it is to share between 2 people.
    This isn’t a long term option for us mind you, but I want to make my final decision on whether I purchase a 620 for myself or the V800 after ‘field testing’ her birthday present 😉

    • It depends on ‘easy’.

      It’s easy to swap back and forth for things like distance, time, laps, etc… And even semi-easy to upload to different accounts if you have two PC’s.

      However, things that don’t translate well are:

      1) Calories (would have to change user info each time)
      2) Treadmill mode (it learns each person as you run outside, saving that learning for inside)
      3) VO2Max, Recovery Time, and Recovery Advisor – all of these would get out of whack.

      Now, that said, I don’t actually care what values it gives me for 1-3 above after each of my run. So, for some it won’t make a difference. The Girl and I could (and do actually) share our FR620’s from time to time if one or the other forgets to charge theirs. But I also recognize that for some people, those three things are fairly valuable.

  35. Chad

    So, the biggest issue I have is that my 620 has problems transferring data over Wifi.

    It always fails the first try, then the second try it finishes transferring and says, “1 file failed”. I am assuming this is the satellite data that is being sent to the watch that fails because the workout data is uploaded but the watch takes forever now to get satellites. It used to get satellites in a few seconds and now it takes about 5 minutes.

    Any ideas?

    • Peter

      Exactly the same problem over here. Delay in getting satellites started since last upgrade.

    • Adrian UK

      Exactly same problem. Takes forever to find GPS and numerous probs transferring by Wi fi. Didn’t think it would be just me having the prob. Will ring garmin when I find time.

    • Chad

      What do you think Garmin will do about it if you contact them? A new unit wouldn’t solve the issue. Is there something else you think can fix it?

    • Well, a new unit might solve it. But, contacting them also might solve it because I suspect they’ll help you troubleshoot wifi compatibility issues.

    • Martin

      I too had this issue with my 620 not picking up satellites. However I had turned off my auto wifi upload, turned it back on and now back to 3 seconds to find gps lock.

    • Chad

      Looks like firmware 2.70 just came out and it says it fixes the failed satellite data file being sent to the watch!!! Hope it works,

  36. Steve

    Wow!! Over 2000 comments!

    Ray – if you haven’t seen this:

    link to fellrnr.com

    I suspect you might find it interesting – some “Ray” level testing.

    I found it because my 620 is just bonkers when it comes to GPS and current pace accuracy – the worst GPS watch I’ve ever owned. (Not looking for support here – I’m on the forums and have a support ticket.)

    I feel bad returning it to Clever Training as it is not their fault. The hope of new firmware springs eternal I guess.

    One other fun thing I noticed. We have the same VO2max. In the review you have a screen shot with predicted race times based on your VO2max. My screen has the exact same times.

    However, I would guess that I’ve taken at least 15 more laps around the sun than you. I’m pretty sure Garmin would do well to factor age into those predictions, as VO2max based performance predictions do vary with age. I guess they’ve applied the same level of critical detail to this as the GPS accuracy thing.

    Oh well. Time to get a watch from some younger company that has some spit and vinegar in their blood and isn’t riding on their name I think.

    • Hugo

      I have read the article “GPS Accuracy of Garmin, Polar, and other Running Watches” and it seems reasonably true.

      But I would like to hear Ray’s opinion about this, taking into account the excellent analysis he makes.

      Thanks in advance.

    • I’ve commented a few times on it.

      I think FELLRNR’s data stuff is cool. I think it’s interesting. I’m impressed with his dedication to it. But it’s just a single segment on a single route he takes…over and over again. So while one could debate academically on that, I’m not sure that says anything more than his single unit on a single route repeated.

      I test across a wide variety of routes and circumstances, not one single route. I also test against multiple devices at the same time, thus allowing me to see that if it’s a transient issue (such as radio interference), it might (or might not) show up across all devices. I did that for the better part of two months worth of runs in a lot of places. And since release I’m using it as my daily watch in comparison with whatever other watches I’m also testing at the time for other reviews. I simply don’t see much of a difference between the units I test (typical 1-2%…at most).

      He’s testing a single route repetitively, which has different value.

      When I do accuracy tests I try and cover a wide range of scenarios, just like a wide range of runners buy these units. Be it treeless areas, narrow streets with tall buildings (cities), or forests. I’m focusing on the entirety of the run, as well as the mile by mile splits.

      As for the FR620, there are no doubt people that have issues. But there’s also a heck of a lot of people that don’t (I’d guess the majority, if not vast majority). Even looking at the Garmin Forum threads on it, if you were distill down the number of unique respondents per thread, how many would that be? Then compare that to how many units shipped? I’d guess they’ve shipped probably close to 100K or so units easily (semi-educated guess). Don’t get me wrong, there are clearly certain units with issues – no doubt. But for better or worse, none of the units I’ve got through normal retail channels are showing those. And virtually all of my runs are automatically published to Strava for folks to analyze.

      Just things to keep in perspective…

    • Hugo

      I totally agree with you.
      The fact of always being the same test route doesn’t help too much.
      Maybe some day we could see a different kind of test for accuracy.

      Thanks a lot for you answer and thanks a lot to your good job in this blog (I have started running a few months ago and after I found this blog I’m more excited and I’ll probably buy a watch to improve my performance).

    • I’ve done some accuracy tests in the past across usually 4 scenarios (track, open straight lines, wooded, and wandering variable). The challenge is that it takes about a full day to do them all. I’d hoped to do them earlier this year, but things have always gotten in the way of being able to dedicate an entire Saturday or Sunday to it.

  37. Hey, just wondering if I buy Forerunner 620 watch only, can I use the function of HRM later on? Is there any device that can connect to 620. The reason is I don’t want to buy full HRM because it cost a lot of money so I am planning to buy watch only first. Please advice. Thank you.

    • Steve


      If you purchase the watch now you could certainly purchase the HR strap later. Or another device, such as the Mio Link, if you wanted a wrist based HR device.

    • sal

      I have a Mio Link and am considering to buy the FR620.
      Question: With that combination I can not use the “running dynamics” (cadence, vertical osc and ground contact), right?

    • Almost correct. You’ll still get Cadence from the wrist itself, so that piece will show up – but not Vertical Oscillation nor Ground Contact. Further, Recovery Adviser, VO2Max Estimates and Recovery Time estimates may be incorrect, as it depends on heart rate variability which the Mio Link generates but basically fakes/estimates the number.

  38. Hi! I LOVED your review so much that I got the 620 yesterday – it’s my 1st GPS watch! I’m excited to get it up and running…it’s the 2.50 version; however, it cannot find a satellite. Do other people have a difficult time finding a satellite at first? The video in this review made it look easy. Even the date and time are off and there isn’t a way to adjust it – keeps saying to connect to satellite, but nothing happens. What am I supposed to do?

    • Chad

      Take it outside and turn it on. It may take about 5 – 7 minutes the first time to get satellites. When that is done the time and date will adjust automatically depending on your location. Let me know if you have issues.

    • Additionally, you can update the firmware by plugin it into the computer and downloading Garmin Express. In doing so you’ll ensure you have an up to date copy of they satellite cache.

  39. Hi Ray,

    Thank you for the detailed reviews. I’ve been running for three years (mostly 10ks and halfs), and I’m thinking about investing in a GPS watch. I’m torn between the FR220 and the FR620. I’m currently running with just GPS tracking on my phone, so I don’t really know what I like/don’t like in a watch. The FR220 hits all the basic data/functions I’m looking for, but I’m drawn toward the FR620’s running dynamics metrics. For a relatively new runner, is the extra $200 (I would need to purchase the HRM as well) worth it to get the running dynamics and the recovery advisor? Do you personally use these metrics? I am working on increasing my cadence, but do I really need the watch to track it when I can count my steps myself? Also, should I hold out a few more months for a new model or will the FR620 and FR220 be the most up-to-date versions for a while? Thanks!

    • Chad

      The running dynamics are awesome if you love data like I do. The cadence, vertical osc and ground contact are great. The recovery advisor isn’t too bad. The VO2 max is great too. I would spend the extra and get the 620.

    • Thanks Chad! It’s good to know the extra data is useful.

    • To offer an opposing view (Hi Chad!), I’d personally say that the Running Dynamics features aren’t terribly actionable, and for a newer runner – I wouldn’t worry about them. As Chad noted though, to each their own!

      I suspect you’ll be happy with either watch. And there’s nothing coming out new-running watch anytime soon. Garmin is pretty much done in that category for a while.

    • Thanks! I think I will go for the FR220.

  40. James C.

    What kind of speculation do you feel the next version of the Garmin Forerunner 620 would have (tweaks, design changes-if any, software/hardware improvements,….)?

    • I think you’re about 18 months away from a new FR620 at the earliest. Thus, a bit too early to say. Likely though it’d include activity tracker features as well as smart watch functionality (text alerts, etc…).

  41. Aben

    I haven’t been following the 1000s of discussion messages so some questions on my 620:
    1. have they come out with the bike fW upgrade? (I think it was promised Q1….)
    2. does android already have all the features of ios (live tracking?)
    3. have people been returning the 620 or exchanging for the Fenix2?

    • 1) It was promised as “Spring 2014”, which extends to June 20th. I confirmed with them a couple days ago that it’s on track for “Spring 2014”. I should have more to share with regards to implementation in the next week or two.
      2) Yes, has everything now.
      3) I don’t see too many folks going from FR620 to Fenix2, unless they were triathletes and/or ultra runners.

  42. Lars Ejaas

    I have used my Forerunner 620 for 3 weeks or so – running most days with the odd day off.However, the recovery advisor have been telling me that recovery is great EVERY single day. Even the day after a half marathon where I felt completely wasted – plus on a morning run where I started getting a bad cold during the day??? What does it take to get a different reading? Some days the recovery: Great honestly feel rather sarcastic!

    • Yeah, it’s the same for most people. I don’t think I’ve still ever seen a ‘Poor’ rating, and I think I’ve only heard of one person getting a ‘Poor’ rating. I suspect they must have gotten run over by a bus, then dropped from an airplane without a parachute, then told to run a marathon. Perhaps then it showed ‘poor’. Just a guess..

    • Luke

      I got poor once: for the marathon half of Disney’s Goofy Challenge.

      And it was right…

      But yes, I get great more often than not; have gotten fair a couple of times.

    • Yikes, so apparently it takes running a marathon and a half-marathon back to back…

    • JD

      I managed to get a “Poor” rating last weekend, when I decided to run 7.5 miles, then stop (mid-long run) and set the watch up for some interval training on the hilly part of my normal long run. Other than that, I am usually always good.

  43. Wow Ray, these keep getting better. I’ve definitely made some purchases based on the good info here.

    My first reaction, seeing this watch, was that Garmin has really made their GPS watches look better. Things have come a long way from the heyday of the 305. This is a neat looking watch in its own right, not to mention the brilliant tech within.

  44. guido

    Is there a replacement strap available for the HRM? Shelling out $99.00 when the strap elastic gets tired seems a bit much…

  45. This is a great review, excellent job! However with the current state of the Firmware new buyers should be warned about the many bugs. I bought my watch based to some extent on this review and right now like many others I am very unsatisfied with the stability of the watch, hope Garmin starts taking things seriously soon:

    link to forums.garmin.com!

  46. Real

    FR620 & Footpod Battery Life: Finally did my experiment. I taped a footpod to a slowed down fan (at full speed things didn’t work[?] cadence and speed went to 0!) and ran the thing for 12 hours. I did not use HRM strap of course. My goal was to see how long I could use this set up in an ultra setting as the 10 hours is not enough and the Fenix GPS polling every 60 seconds is not enough accuracy for me. I’m perfectly happy to use a footpod in an ultra setting but needed to be sure it would work >20 hours. When I asked Garmin what I could expect they said this was not tested but maybe 2X to 3X which means 20 to 30 hours. Although maybe good enough, I was disappointed with the answer as I expected much better. Anyway, my fan was simulating a 36KPH run with a cadence of 160… after 12 hours of operation only 15% of battery life was used. Assuming things are linear that translates to 80 hours. So, I’m comfortable that I could run w/o Heart rate monitor for up to 50+ hours with a footpod. If I’ve missed something please let me know. my runs are finally getting longer that I’ll now test this on long trail runs in the next month to see how it compares to the “fan experiment”.

    • That’s a really cool solution to testing (now wishes I had a bit fan).

      The only item that could impact things a little bit though to be aware of is that I suspect the FR620 was staying still. So the accelerometer may not have been engaged. I wouldn’t think that’d make much of a difference in battery life (compared to say taping it to the fan). But something to think about.

    • Real

      Thx… I did have it on “1 sec” record mode as opposed to “Smart” mode. I’m hoping that that at least draws a bit more power than Smart mode – which I could revert to. Indeed the internal accelerometer was not activated but I’m hoping the more relevant current draw is from the handling of it’s data. And, in my case the date being handled is from the footpod data. I think it will all work out and 80 hours is substantial. I had been thinking of getting a Fenix 2 for bigger battery (I just retired from a tech job and joined a sports store for fun!! and discounts!) for extended battery life but the 60 second GPS polling is not good enough for me. Now, I know that if I go that route, the Fenix 2 battery handling a footpod should give me well in excess of 100 hours… good for a “major” ultra or a remote stage race ultra… thx a million for you help along the way!

  47. Kevin

    Thank you for the thorough review of this product. I have been making due with my trusty Garmin 305 since 2009, but it is getting a little slow and finicky in uploading to Garmin Connect. I just ordered my 620 through Clever Training with the VIP discount. Keep up the good work. Any suggestions on additional tips and tricks for the 620?

    • Thanks for the support via Clever Training!

      When you get it, be sure you update the firmware. A new update just came out yesterday in fact. Plus, hopefully another one shortly for bike mode.

    • bLEUETTE

      UPS! After updating to version 2.70 there is only English as language and no other one to choose. So I´ve lost the German language. It´s a pity.

      ´n Lachen und `n Knuff!
      Bleuette Naomi

  48. Stu

    I’m not getting weather info on my Garmin connect. Anybody else having the same issues? Sorry if this has been discussed already. Btw on the garmin connect I wonder why when I compare different runs why it doesn’t show the pace comparisons?
    Holy cow, I sound like a whiner!

  49. Brian Thompson

    Hi Ray,
    Despite your excellent reviews I am still struggling with the decision to go Garmin 620 or 220. I had a Garmin 620 for a week and liked it but returned it when I discovered my father-in-law can get it for me at cost. Unfortunately for me that has lead to some indecision on my part. The touch-screen was a mixed-bag for me. I found it to be un-responsive at times and worried about hitting the wrong selection (like deleting a run). I got a bit better at using the touch-screen after a week, but it left me wondering if the 220 is easier to navigate the menu’s with in your opinion. I have not seen one. Also with respect to the build quality I have previously had buttons pop off my Garmin F-60, so I worry about silly things like that with a “mid-range” watch. Finally- future functions might be lacking in the 220 vs the 620 right? My main concern id the hope for navigation to be added.

  50. Bramati


    What a great review !

    I am a cyclist and use the Garmin Edge 810 and I am very happy with that.

    I also run (not as much as I cycle) and now I am thinking to buy the FR620.

    Are the chest HRM straps compatible ?

    Can I use both the FR620 and the Edge 810 while cycling ?

    Thank You.

    • Yes, you can use the chest strap with both, and do so concurrently (I do it all the time).

    • Bramati

      So I can by the FR620 without the chest strap ?
      Isn’t there a accelerometer or something in the FR620 chest strap ?


    • Ian Blackburn

      Yes you can but you won’t get all the running dynamics data with a standard HR strap

    • ekutter

      With the regular strap you won’t get the vertical oscillation and ground contact time but you will still get cadence from the watch itself and I believe you will still get VO2 Max estimates and recovery information. And nobody really knows what to do with the vertical oscillation yet. The numbers were interesting to look at for a couple weeks but now I don’t pay any attention to them.

    • Bramati

      OK. Thank you for the advice.

      Just one more question : is it possible to program 2 profiles in the watch ?
      So I can both use it for me and my wife ?

      If yes, I think I will buy one without the cheststrap : saves me 100 Euro.

      Enjoy your sporty weekend.

    • No, only one user profile.

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

      1) Inaccuracy indoors on a treadmill
      2) All of the VO2Max, Recovery Advisor, Recovery Check features will be off
      3) Calories would likely be off as well, since your weight/age/gender are different.

    • Bramati


      Thats too bad…..

  51. Ciao, First sorry for my terrible English.
    I’m a quiet happy owner of a FR620
    a question and a problem

    – Problem:. I send my 620 2 times at the support for big problem whit distance veritable. never solved. my 610 is more reliable

    – Question:. there is a program where i can interpret the garmin run? i used for many years Polar Personal Trainer, and garmin online or gamin Trainig center are terrible, is impossible for example open only a section and investigate a time average etc for selected section. …

    Sorry again for my terrible English
    Thanks a lot

  52. Oscar P

    Thanks for the review Ray. Got a FR620 last week (wish I could support the site buying within Canada) and I’m pretty happy with it so far. Everything seems to be working the way it should.

    I’m really interested in the dynamics data. On my last workout – link to connect.garmin.com – I focused on running with a higher cadence than usual. Looking at data, I saw improvements on ground contact time and vertical oscillation as a consequence of that higher cadence, which I guess makes sense. My run felt good which is the most important to me but it is definitely interesting to see the metrics and experiment with. Sometimes a little tweak in your technique can throw out very different results and now I think I have the data to correlate with what I think I’m doing.

    It will be interesting when there are more people out there producing this data and when serious studies start making their way to the sports community.

  53. Arthur

    What would we have to do for my wife and I to share a single Garmin 620, each to show our own PRs, VO2, goals, etc.?

    Would we each have to have a separate Garmin Connect Account?

    Would we have to make changes (age, sex, perhaps more) on the 620 every time we ran? Or would we do that on the 620? Or on both?



    • Unfortunately. there isn’t a way to do it. Realistically if you changed that information every time on the unit (the only place to change it), you’d only be getting valid calorie info. Stuff like recovery check, PR’s, etc… depend on a timelines of data points, which would be scattered between two runners.

      VO2Max would work, but it wouldn’t trend properly.

  54. mike_c

    since upgrading to 2.7 I can not connect to my pc I have to reinstall the drivers and Garmin communicator plug in each time i connect to my PC.
    any one else have this issue or fix for it

  55. ChrisAylott

    Hi, bought the 620 a couple of weeks ago largely off your great review. A few immediate questions:-

    – I get an error message every time I try to upgrade the firmware to v2.7. I’ve installed everything correctly and I see the progress bar get to 100%, but then at the very last second I get the error message. Anyone else having this issue?

    – I live in Shanghai. When I upload my runs, the map is off by about 2 blocks, i.e. the GPS tracks the run correctly throughout, it’s just when it overlays the map it’s the identical 2 blocks off throughout. I did have this problem in Shanghai with Nike Running App for several years, but Nike seemed to fix it about 3-4 months ago. Other countries are fine (I’m regularly in London and New York and the tracking is perfect there for both Nike and Garmin). Maybe just a “China issue”!

    – Do I need to calibrate the footpod (Garmin’s own brand)? I get markedly different distances/paces when I have footpod connected compared to when not. I am referring to outside GPS runs here. If I benchmark to my Nike App (which I know from previous tests is running very accurately in terms of GPS), the Garmin footpod has me at 10.6km when I should be on 10.0km. Now 0.6k difference over 10k may not sound much, but it annoys me. Interestingly, when I turn footpod off, the Garmin and Nike are within 20meters of each other…

    any thoughts appreciated.

    • ChrisAylott

      OK, so on my first point above I have just been reading some Garmin forums and others have also had this issue of Firmware Updates not being able to be updated. The workaround was to use the Garmin WebUpdater. Unfortunately, this is also not working for me – I get an error message “access denied”. Does anyone know if there is some sort of “update lock” on the watch itself that I need to switch off first before my laptop can install the firmware update over USB? This is all very confusing.

    • ChrisAylott

      First point now resolved. I’d forgotten that my company has disabled our laptops from writing to external drives. Obviously, the update was not getting from laptop to watch. Have now used my better half’s personal MacBook and all is in order.

  56. Clara


    Thanks for the fantastic in-depth reviews! I’m new to running and I currently use a podcast to structure my 5k training. I’m signed up for a 20k at the end of the year and I’ll need a sports watch to help me structure my training post 5k. I’m torn between this and the 220. My question is how useful you think the extra features really are with the 620 for novice runners? I am a bit of a geek who loves statistics and I was thinking that a good running watch would help make me into a better runner long term. I’m happy to invest the money if it’s worth it, but I don’t want to throw it away unnecessarily!

    Thanks for your time!

    • Ian Blackburn

      I know that there are some mixed thoughts on the usefulness of running dynamics but as a newish runner myself (since the start of the year) I have found it encouraging to see them gradually improve for me. In particular cadence is very key for me, as a new runner my cadence was very low, just by concentrating on that has really helped for longer distances at better pace. Feel free to browse my stats here if you wish link to connect.garmin.com

      My only comment about the 620 is that I moved to triathlon training and so changed it for a Fenix2 which works just the same for running but has multi sport support too — perhaps worth bearing that in mind if it could be a possibility.

    • Chad

      I agree the dynamics are awesome if you love data like I do. It has changed my running tremendously having insight into the cadence and oscillation. I love it

  57. Simon P

    On Garmin Australia Facebook Page

    PRODUCT UPDATE: Forerunner 620
    Garmin is excited to announce several new features to the Forerunner 620 through a free software update. Two new activity profiles – “Race” and “Ride” – now make it easy to switch between activities, viewing the fields you want to see. With the “Ride” profile, support for cycling speed and pedaling cadence via Garmin speed and cadence sensors has been added. The new “Race” profile allows user to set up different data fields or settings for races vs training runs. When using these new profiles, activities are automatically categorised as running or cycling when uploaded to Garmin Connect. To get these new features, update your device software free of charge using Garmin Express.

    Checked not live yet 🙁

    • Russ Shupe

      I got this quote from the administrator (BB1975) of the Garmin forums – looks like a few more days to go provided no problems come up:

      “The update that will bring in these added features at this time is scheduled to be released the week of June 9th pending no additional issues are discovered during our testing process.”

  58. bruno

    Fantástica analise, realy good! thank you.

  59. Courtney Wendel

    Hello! I just want to thank you so much for your reviews! My friend just bought me this watch, and I keep coming back to your site to figure out what all it can do. (Your review of the 220 was also used in deciding to get me this watch, PS.) I just want to thank you so much for how in depth you get. For me, this watch is simple enough that I can just ‘go for a run’ and not have to spend hours trying to figure that out. But you also go into the more complex aspects that I will need to take the time to learn but make this watch really cool. I told my friend many times that I hate getting technology as gifts because it can be really hard to figure out, but coming here and looking through your pictures is so helpful! I actually have only gone to the Garmin site once, and then decided that you do a better job at explaining things.

    So anywho, thanks for being awesome. 🙂

    -Non-Tech Savvy Chick in Alaska

    • Courtney Wendel

      PS, I have a Samsung S5 and I was able to connect my 620 and my phone together without any problems. Not sure if this is the issue you were talking about with the bluetooth versions (ya, not really sure what all that meant but I had already connected them so I assumed it wasn’t referring to my Android).

    • Yeah, the S5 is a pretty safe unit BLE-wise all things considered.

      Glad the review was helpful! Enjoy!

  60. ante

    hi can a 220 count steps like 15 or vivofit?

  61. ante

    thx for quic answer but 15 is not aveailable in my country for now and i think that it is not going to be aveailable for long time…only what they have is tactix, 220, 620 ane vivofit?

    • In that case I’d go with the FR220. It won’t track steps (like the Vivofit), but will work indoors on a treadmill (without a footpod), as well as outdoors with GPS.

    • ante

      hey i get in touch with the store where the 110 is bought and they said me that the 15 is available so what do you think should i go for 15 or 220? i planned to use for indoor and daily watch to count steps and hrm when i am in the gym on treadmill or bike i dont run outdoor so much maybe i will with the new watch…btw i am powerlifter so running isn¨t my passion. thx for quick answering and for help.

    • Go with the FR15, as it’ll count steps d a daily activity monitor.

  62. ante

    can 220 measure steps in distance? if you walk a mile if that count?

  63. ante

    in the end i give an extra money and bought fenix 2 this is just the best watch i have ever seen…i shall start running right now outdoor…thx fo everything

  64. aga

    any new info about “(Update: Garmin has confirmed that in ‘Spring 2014′, the unit will receive a firmware update that enables a cycling mode with support for the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor. Remember that ‘spring’ does technically go well into June.)” There is no update yet, am i right?

  65. Mike

    Is it just me or has this watch increased in price (now that the bugs have been sorted)? When I first started following this post I swear it was $399 CDN, but went to purchase and saw it is now $500. That is a lot of dough for a watch that will last only a few years (technologically and durability-wise).

  66. Oscar P

    That makes sense – 450 USD is about 490.90 CAN dollars as of today so that’s in the ballpark. Sadly most goods in Canada are always more expensive.

  67. LB

    I ordered mine from MEC back in Nov. 2013. It cost $476.00 plus 13% tax including the HR monitor. Since then the price has increased to $500.00 plus tax. I don’t know why.

  68. Oscar P

    Probably because of the exchange rate: link to xe.com

  69. Will R

    Have any test been conducted to determine the accuracy of the internal accelerometer compared to HRM-RUN strap for cadence? I ask because I would like to move from chest strap to the mio heart rate monitor, but do not want to give up cadence values during running. If you do not swing your arms enough while running does the 620 fail to detect each step, or is ground contact also factored into this when only using the internal accelerometer?

    Thank you

    • Yes, I included that (graphs/accuracy) somewhere on that. In short, it’s very accurate compared to a footpod. The place where it’ll differ briefly is if you go to drink from a water bottle and/or if on a treadmill you hold the sides.

      The actual arm swing amount doesn’t matter much.

    • Leibo

      Does this mean that I can view cadence on the watch’s home screen workout using the HRM strap? Garmin seems to want me to believe the strap is required for cadence.

    • Yup. You can do that by simply adding the cadence screen (no HRM-RUN required).

  70. Buttonwood

    Tremendously helpful. Thank you for the time and thoughtfulness; both evident throughout. Thank you.

  71. flowism

    I can’t remember how I stumbled across your page, but I’m glad I did!
    Very impressive, and informative review!
    Love my FR620!

  72. Oriol Jiménez

    Just a note on Fr220 vs FR620, I think that 620 has the ability to record data every second, and 220 only has the “smart”, for me this is important if you are competing for a segment record on strava for example, specially if it’s a short segment. The fr220 can go off like 3 or more seconds.

  73. Desmond

    I may have missed or misunderstood somewhere along the write up so please forgive me if I did. While I understand that hrm run is required for the three running dynamics is it also needed for vo2 max estimates, recovery time/advisor, and race predictor? Or can any hrm (not run) work as well?
    I’m about to pull the trigger for a unit and to save a few dollars I thought of getting just the watch and without the hrm run. I will use an older hrm which came with my edge 500. I just wanted to know what features I’ll be missing without it.

  74. Randius

    I am not sure if anyone has encountered this but after I had scheduled a training plan, downloaded the activities onto the 620, chose the workout for the day, went for a run then upload the data, it (or the website) failed to recognise that the run was supposed to be a scheduled activity with predetermined name, and instead created a new untitled one. Although I won’t say it is a major issue but I fully expected the data to be uploaded accurately. Is there a way to merge the activities together or manually editing the scheduled run is the only way out? TIA

    • Oscar P

      I don’t believe it is supposed to work the way you are expecting. You download “Workouts” not activities. Then you perform the workout and record an activity which you download to GC. And as far as I know GC doesn’t have an option to name an activity by itself. It will always come up as Untitled until you rename it.

  75. jonhoffm

    I did my best to comb through the 2000+ comments, and did not see an answer to the following:

    Regarding alerts – Ray notes that the screen does not indicate whether the alert is triggered due to being faster than target pace or slower, that you would hear the alert and check the screen to see your pace.

    Having an RCX5, the audio alerts are different based on whether you are running faster than target (3 decending tones) or slower (two rising tones). Does the 620 have different tones or vibration patterns for faster/slower than target?

  76. Soramon

    Do you think the new firmware with cycling mode will come out this week? It is Friday already and there is still no word from garmin

    • I asked for clarification yesterday afternoon/evening if things were still on track. At the time it was still a bit TBD. I suspect I’ll hear this morning (probably stating the obvious) whether it gets pushed to early next week or not. Either way, I’ll drop a comment here as soon as I know.

    • Soramon

      Thanks… Hopefully there is good news soon

    • Dolan Halbrook

      Garmin is running out of spring… boy I’d like a cycling mode before the season is over.

    • Brandon

      The suspense is killing me. Especially since I am getting a new bike this week and will be increasing my miles riding.

  77. lumi

    I’ve a FR 620. I’ve just read Fenix 2 review and I wonder why should anyone buy a 620 anymore. It’s the same price with the same running features, but it adds cycling/swimming/multisport mode, navigation features and barometric altimeter. The only thing that seems to be missing in Fenix2 is Wifi.

    I think that if Garmin doesn’t add new “distinctive” features to 620 or doesn’t decrease the price of the unit they will have problems in selling it.

    Ray, what do you think about this?

    • In short, it’s size.

      In long, it’s also other areas like a clearer display for some plus WiFi, plus concurrent Bluetooth and ANT+. For me, as a running watch I prefer the FR620.

      If you’re not a triathlete (or using it for triathlete purposes), then the significant bulk and style of the Fenix2 isn’t terribly appealing to a lot of people.

      Just my two cents…

    • Lumi

      Thank you very much for your reply Ray, your opinion is very clear, 620 is designed for runners. But I’m a runner and I would like to have basic navigation functionality in order to plan my long runs (like the 405 that I had before 620) and a barometer for some hill training. I would use it rarely but i miss this functions. I think that Garmin product lines are not easy to understand, and they are risking a lot because in the market we are seeing disrupting technologies that will change the market itself (eg smart watches, google glasses and wearable devices in general). Garmin situation is very similar to nokia one in mobile market before iphone and android revolution in my opinion. They have good products with a lot of features but they miss some semplicity and a clear positioning.

    • Reep

      FWIW, I am a runner and biker, and bought the Fenix 2 as a training watch. My intent was/is to consider the 220 or 620 for racing. I have done a lot of runs with the Fenix 2 now and would say Rainmaker is right in that you do somewhat get used to the bulk, which is substantial. But, I have some competitive half marathons coming up in the fall and am not sure I want this thing hanging off my wrist while trying to keep up 6:20 for 13 miles. For training it isn’t a problem, but for racing I think it could be distracting. Also, even though the watch is big, the display is not as clear as the 620/220 so it may be a bit harder to read on the fly for the far-sighted.

  78. McLovin

    So I’ve been shopping around for a while for the “ultimate” activity tracker. I run, swim, bike but also want something I can wear all the time to track sleep and pedometry/steps/stairs, etc… Asking too much?

    For a while I was looking at the Vivofit and also the Basis B1 but both of these have some key limitations. Today I’ve been looking at the Garmin FR15 which is like a Vivofit and FR10 mixed together – almost perfect… except it looks hideous! I love the look of the 620 but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t really do 24/7 activity tracking. It has an 3 axis accelerometer so would it be too much to ask to get it to do this as well?!

  79. Hi there, by far the best product reviews I seen on the internet. Well done.

    I know you have a 2013 best GPS watches list, but we’re in mid June 2014 right now and I need a recommendation between the Garmin FR620 and the Polar V800.

    I run, play football (soccer) and do high-intensity DVD workouts ( e.g. INSANITY: THE ASYLUM and P90X3).



  80. Oriol Jiménez

    Hi again! Just received my 620 with the HRM-run, I’ve two questions, I’ve a Garmin footpod pedometer, should I use it? Will add accuracy?

    The second question: what if I go for a run, and the watch tells me that I need 64 hours to recover, then after 48 hours I pick my edge 500 and I go for a ride, and then after 72 hours after the original running I go for a run again. IMHO the watch is going to detect that I’m not fully recovered and it thinks that I should be, and then lower my vo2max or something like this? I don’t know If I had explain my self well, my English is not so good.

    Thanks for your reviews, the best ones on the net by far.

    • Are you asking whether the 620 will detect whether you “cheated” and snicked it a workout before advised full recovery? Good point.

    • Oriol Jiménez

      yes 🙂

    • Nadia S

      I’m a triathlete & use the 620 just for running (I prefer my bike & run data to be separate files for better analysis). Seems the recovery advisor is based solely on HR. The recovery time is a suggestion only, it won’t dock you points if you ride between runs or run before you’re “recovered.”

  81. Angela

    Hi there! I’m thinking of buying the FR620. Has anyone had issues with the white staining? Any info helpful. Does anyone know if Garmin are planning on changing the colors available? Thanks

    • Nadia S

      I’ve used the white 620 as my daily watch since November. Through swimming, biking, running, hiking, mowing, and even tinkering in the garage the white strap has dulled just a bit, the only staining I’ve had is behind the buckle where the band overlaps. Seem the orange on the backside of the band rubs onto the white but the only time it’s noticeable is when I take it off. Everything else I’ve been able to wash off with some mild soap (and I’ve been pretty lazy about doing that!).

    • Nick

      I’ve had no issues wit staining, per se. However, I had my 620 for 2 months and it had certainly yellowed on the band. I had to send it into Garmin for repair and they sent me a new one. It stunned me how much whiter the new one was.

    • Fwiw, The Girl has had a white/orange one since around December and I haven’t seen any discoloration to it yet.

  82. Soramon

    Still no sign of the new firmware… I already ordered the speed and cadence sensor in anticipation of the cycling mode

    • As of late last night, it’s still coming by the end of ‘Spring’…

    • gsten

      The long awaited update with 3 Activity Profiles (race/run/ride) for the 620 is now downloading via Garmin Express. Can´t wait to try it out! Enjoy…

    • Dolan Halbrook

      Woot! Could have used it for my bike race last night, but better late than never!

    • aga

      HI, I have old version of Garmin Express – it’s Garmin Express Fit for Mac 10.6.8. I did a few days ago update – and i have software version 2.7 on my Garmin and no info in Garmin Express Fit that there is such update for race/run/ride.
      What version is it? and how it’s visible on Garmin exactly.. where in settings do you have this option?

    • Dolan Halbrook

      I’m using Garmin Express Fit 2.0. The update came when I clicked on the circular arrows icon (“Refresh”) next to the “i”. It updated to the 620 firmware 2.80.

    • Dolan Halbrook

      Here’s a screenshot: link to tinypic.com

    • aga

      thank you .. in my case my last update is 2.7 and it’s communicate that no “nothing to transfer” . i checked it also via garmin connect (web version) and I have status “your devide is up to date” and version 2.7 🙁
      I really don’t know why it works like this in my case 🙁

    • aga

      now it works when i clicked “wifi” transfer on Garmin.. while it was connected only via usb didn’t work
      thank you for help!

  83. Raymond B

    Wow… I am really on the fence about which watch is best “right now”. I have had the V800 with HRM since May 22nd. I have run quite a bit with it including a Marathon. I just received at 620 with HRM and had my first run with it tonight. I wore one on each wrist.

    My initial thoughts:
    Display on the V800 trumps the 620 in a pretty big way. But I don’t find the display on the 620 unreadable (note I have 49 year old eyes and wear multi-focal glasses), I do wish you could reverse the coloring on the 620 like you can on the V800.

    I was a Garmin 610 user and have a 510 for my bike. So using Garmin Connect was natural, even the “modern” version is fine with me. I do find however that there are a few little tidbits of info I get from Flow that I can’t seem to easily get from Connect.

    I really like being able to configure the V800 via Flow, screens, profiles, settings etc.

    The 620 watch band seems easier to put on my wrist and of course overall the 620 feels lighter, but maybe a bit cheaper like it might not wear as well as the V800. But.. my 610 held up like a champ so I am sure I am just worrying about nothing.

    Vibration and Sound Alerts are much better on the 620. The vibration is longer and the multi-tone alert manages to get my attention on the 620 much better then the quick little buzz and beep you get on the V800.

    I don’t want to wear either device full time, so activity tracking is not important to me. And frankly I am ONLY a runner and have a 510 for cycling. So the Tri aspect of the V800 again really means nothing for my needs.

    The charging clip on the V800 in my opinion is much better then the 620. The fact that it clips to the watch and makes a real positive connection is nice. Now the 620 is not horrible though and is much better then the charge solution I had with the 610, but again I like the clip.

    The V800 HRM strap does not irritate me or chafe. My old 610 HRM caused me major irritation after numerous days of use. Not sure if I will have the same problem with this new strap with the HRM3 and the 620 or not.

    Now… some of the key features that are making me debate choosing the 620 over the V800:

    Number ONE!!! Data Exportability!!! Getting my runs/rides out to Strava, Runkeeper, SmashRun etc. is very important and of course I can do that with the Garmin. Sure Polar says they will deliver export around September.. but who knows for sure.

    I really prefer a foot pod for instant pace and cadence info. Garmin has the footpod support screwed up right now, but apparently there will be a firmware update any day now to address and make it work like the 610 use to with the foot pod. The V800 also has foot pod issues and not sure when they will be addressed. In the mean time the accelerometer usage for cadence on the 620 seemed to work o.k. on my run tonight. Having that option is nice.

    Live tracking!!! This is a pretty important wish list feature, not so much on short runs but the long ones are typically just me. Giving my Wife info about wear I am would be awesome. I do it with the 510 on long bike rides now and love it. Could Polar eventually do it… sure but again when?

    The extra run dynamics stuff with the 620 HRM is interesting. Do I have a clue what it all means or what to do with the data? No… but its cool non the less. The race predictor stuff on the 620 is also interesting.

    I have a 510 for cycling with speed and cadence sensors. Do I want to mess with tracking in both Flow and GC?? Not really. Would I consider a complete switch to Polar when their Bike GPS/Computer comes out? Maybe.. its just another big “When”? And then again… no data export would make it a show stopper.

    So after all this… I am looking for opinions. Right now probably the major sticking point with V800 OVER the 620 would be the display…. it is so much nicer, but as the 620 seemed to be plenty readable even with a 9pm run tonight (it was still light out) I don’t think I would let that make decision.

    My thought is sell my current V800 and run with the 620 the rest of the year. I have the Bix 7, Air Force Marathon and Indianapolis Monument Marathon plus a number of smaller races yet this year. If Polar really does get all the features promised for the V800 in play and gets Flow out of Beta with data exporting available, I could consider selling the 620 and doing a Blue V800 later. I guess in the end, I would love to be on only one platform and just want the best option until the end of the year. And sure, if Polar delivers with Flow and the V800, it would put them in good shape to get my money on a V650 for the bike, getting me back to one platform.

    Thanks for taking the time to do the long read.


    • DietmarH

      Hi Raymond,

      Interesting to read your thoughts and opinion on comparing the V800 and the FR620.
      I totally agree with your thoughts and your findings.

      All together (plus a bunch of other missing details the hardware could deliver but currently doesn’t – and doesn’t appear on the known list of things going to be implemented by Polar) was the reason for me returning the V800 (though I love the hardware) and continue running with the FR620.

      Reconsidering the V800 when polar has delivered (or might have incorporated all of the features I’d like to see there in a … V810)…

  84. tomwc

    Can anyone comment on the quality of either the internal cadence sensor or the footpod cadence sensor for rates in the 10-45 range? If the sensor maintains accuracy in this lower range my thought was that I could use this as a stroke rate sensor in a rowing shell.

    • MTJ

      Don’t know about the footpod yet, but I’ve tested the internal sensor through slow walking paces. Here’s a direct translation from my training diary:

      “It turned out that the lowest cadence my armswings reliably could register lay around 102/103/104 spm – about normal ‘go down to town’-speed. When I walked with around 100 steps per minute (‘slow stroll’) the watch hickuped and showed zero now and then”

      I’m rather sure there is a definite low cutoff limit, but it also is a matter of ‘jerkiness’ – speed of the arm direction reversal. Artificially jerking my arms with a quick movement I could go as low as 99 spm for awhile.

  85. omer

    Nice Review,
    Do you know how the cadence is calculated while running indoors with a foot pod and hrm run? Does the 620 use the foot pod or the hrm run to calculate cadence?

  86. Luke

    I assume now that the firmwear has been updated with the cycling functionality a mini-review is forthcoming? I ask because I’m recovering from a broken clavicle (so won’t be able to bike for a couple weeks), and am wondering if the new and improved firmwear will replace my Edge 500?
    Currently I’m a very beginner triathlete (but a pretty serious runner). I have the Edge 500 and FR620, but for races I’m planning on wearing the watch the entire time (so I don’t forget it at a transition), and figured I could just switch from biking to running in transition on the watch. Longest race upcoming is a half ironman, so one concern is battery power.
    As always, we await your great insight!

  87. Dolan Halbrook

    I rode with the 620 today: link to strava.com

    The display was legible as long as the sun didn’t hit it directly. Overall, it worked well enough. I was able to flip back to the time of day screen just fine using the watch button, but oddly enough I was NOT able to rotate through the displays (time/lap time/HR) by touching the screen as you can when you’re running. Perhaps this is by design (for safety)? In any case I found it pretty irritating as I had no way of accessing my current heart rate.

    Otherwise, everything saved as expected. If it truly has the limitation of a single screen in bike mode I’ll show HR zone on it, but that’s kind of a bummer. Hopefully it’s just a firmware oversight.

    Anyone else seeing the same thing?

    • Luke Martinez

      Hi Dolan,

      I experienced the same thing with the data screens when I was out for a ride yesterday. It looks like the default setting was set to the “off” status for the other screens. If you go to your data screen settings, then select screen 2, 3, etc., then tap the wrench icon on the bottom right of the screen where you can pick data fields it will let you toggle the setting to “on.” From there you should be good to view them on your rides.

      Hope that helps

    • Dolan Halbrook

      Luke, thanks so much! I just enabled the other screens and lo and behold, there they are!

      Now if Garmin could just allow a direct sync to Strava … but one thing at a time.

  88. Pedro Manzana

    Help: I am planning to buy a 620. What are the user experiences with running in forest. Does the gps work good? Do you get reliable speed data?


  89. Ted Howe


    Thanks so much for your reviews.

    I cracked the screen on my Forerunner 610 last year (I left it on my handlebar mount when I flipped the bike upside down to change a flat… one of those things you only do ONCE 🙂 and it finally gave up the ghost this morning – no response at all from the touch screen.

    Lucky for me that the new 620 firmware was released this week adding back in cycling mode.

    I clicked through your link and just ordered from Amazon… my little bit of support for your site!

    Thanks again!

  90. Dr C.

    I was really looking forward to getting hold of and using my Garmin 620 and used Garmin Training Center to upload workouts. I previously owned a forerunner 405 and a forerunner 610; however, I have been disappointed so far for the following reasons:
    1. I like to upload workouts to 610 and have the opportunity to pick from many workouts while traveling. Unfortunately there is a limit of 10 workouts on the 620, no more can be uploaded.
    2. OK, the advantage of the 620 is that you can upload from the iphone via bluetooth. I happen to have an iphone so in principle I could store the workouts on my Garmin Connect (web-based) edit them with the iphone and upload them to my watch. Unfortunately, the Garmin Connect web based `workout creator’ doesn’t work properly with the iphone. In addition even if this worked if would also mean there would be roaming charges to access the internet.
    3. You can’t edit the workouts from the watch itself – previously with my fr610 I could just tweak the workouts from the watch itself. I often do this if I want to tweak my pace on an interval session (if I am feeling good / bad for instance).
    4. There is no real cycling mode. Yes the latest firm ware has a cycle mode; however, you cannot upload a cycling `workout’ from Garmin Connect: it just doesn’t appear.
    5. I used to use the training paces in my profile on Garmin Training Center to adjust training paces throughout the year. For example, pace 1 could be warm-up, pace 2 could be steady, pace 3 could be 10 k pace. Throughout the year, as I improved I would just have to change the pace of these and my workout would be automatically adjusted – rather than me having to change the workout paces for every interval.

    There are some advantages; such as the WiFi linkage and bluetooth functionality as well as the HRM features; but for the moment the fr610 with Garmin Training Center is a much better option for me.
    Hopefully, Garmin will fix these issues in later firmware releases and updates to Garmin Connect.

  91. NOR

    Would you be able to Connect the 620 to a powermeter after the update?

  92. William Summer

    Has anyone had trouble getting the screws off the HRM battery cover? I’ve tried but they seem to be to small and/or tightly screwed in to budge.

  93. Ray, your reviews are out of this world, seriously dude, keep it up.

    Question: Does the built-in accelerometer spare the need for an extra footpod?



    • It does, though, sometimes accuracy can be questionable.

    • Adrian UK

      I’m about to go on a business trip where only treadmill running will be possible. I’ve thought about taking my 620 (which I love), but with accuracy issues etc, I really can’t see why the watch is preferential than just reading the treadmill data?

    • The primary reason being to track it later in various logs. For example, for me I upload the data so a coach can view it.

  94. Stu

    The updates look great for the 620! The only problem I have is that when I try to download it to the watch it will not follow through. I attached it directly to my computer. Any thoughts on what I can do to make it work. Thanks,

  95. Laurent

    last software version 2.8 (as of June 18, 2014) for forerunner 620 says
    – Added support for automatic calibration of the foot pod by GPS

    I have search litterature on this but couldn’t find any. Do you have any clue on how this is done?

  96. Taylor Harris

    Not sure if the 2.80 update fixed it or not but I have noticed that my Garmin 620 is having issues recording pace and distance. Somehow it still plots location and elevation. Here is an activity recorded with 2 devices. There is 1 second of difference in the files but over 1/2 of a mile in distance.

    620 – link to connect.garmin.com
    Garmin Fit App – link to connect.garmin.com

    And here is one from my first 14er with junked out data. Super excited about this one. Note the timing chart – link to connect.garmin.com

    • Chad

      I have noticed that since the 2.80 update my pace is horribly incorrect. Now, my current pace will change every few seconds by a lot. It will show 8:50 then two seconds later show 10:10, then go to 9:15, then jump to 11:15. This all happens within about 10 seconds. The overall pace, distance etc.. is all fine but the current pace feature is now horrible.

      Anyone else see this or know how to fix it? I use that feature mostly in races but it needs to be fixed.


    • aga

      Same problem. Previously it was also changing quite often but in smaller range..let’s say between 4:30 to 7:00… now it really goes from 3:00 to 11:00 or more

    • There’s a post in the Garmin Forums about this (if I’m understanding it correctly) and Garmin came on and noted that the temporary fix while they fix it is to change mode to bike and then back to run (after turning on the unit from a cold boot). Details here: link to forums.garmin.com (and a bit further down the thread by the same Garmin employee)

    • Chad

      Great. Thanks for the link. As long as they are aware and working on it that is good enough for me. I know how those things work and give them some slack 🙂

    • Taylor Harris

      Updated to 2.80 yesterday. Did a short run today to test the firmware update. The 610 is still not recording distance correctly.

      610: link to connect.garmin.com
      iPhone app: link to connect.garmin.com

    • You’ll need to unlock the activity so others can view it.

    • Taylor Harris

      Sorry about that. Unlocked now…

    • It looks like you have Smart Recording enabled on your FR620. Turn it to 1-second recording and that should help out, as it’s skipping chunks of your route.

  97. JAO

    The 2.80 firmware update broke my ability to upload over Wifi. Anyone else experience this?

  98. Josh

    Ray, are you still recommending waiting a minute or so before beginning a Run once the gps signal has been acquired? Or has any update corrected this issue?

  99. Jonathan

    I start and stop my watch often when I work out, but often I forget to restart it, is there a way to alert me after every 10 seconds until I restart it?

  100. Josh

    My apologies if this is a silly question, but I’d love feedback from Ray and others. I now have 2 runs under my belt with my new blue/black 620. The distance has been spot on based on measurements with my previous devices. The pace has been pretty darn close as well, although I wish it would not hop around as much. During two points in my run today, with 3-6 story buildings next to me, the watch went into auto pause for a brief second, and when it came back, the pace started at roughly 3/min mile before returning to my run pace of 7-8min miles. Normal behavior for a gps watch of this caliber?

    • Tall buildings can cause issues for many GPS devices (Garmin or otherwise). Many times the units can track the line fairly well, but they’re doing so even through loss of satellite. The challenge there is that it may be dropping the signal temporarily only to pick it back up. So while the line looks good post-run (and distance is good), in realtime it means that it drops below the Auto Pause threshold temporarily, causing the issue.

      There isn’t much you’re going to be able to do there to be honest (other than turning off auto-pause).

  101. Annemarie Staley

    Thanks for the in-depth review, lots of great info! Can you add the new cycling function to your review? I’m interested in learning more about it.

  102. Josh

    Ray, one addl question re auto pause. Note that on my 10k run today the pace, distance, HRM-RUN dynamics all worked great. there has been one issue common to all the runs however; I walk out my door after picking up the signal, wait about 30 seconds, then press the button and start. immediately the watch goes into auto pause for maybe 5 seconds then starts again. today I thought id outsmart the watch and begin running first for a couple seconds. apparently im not as smart as I thought as it didn’t work. any ideas?

  103. Panndorah

    Hi – Thanks for the great review. I am still deciding between the FR 220 and FR 620, but I have a question that applies to both. I want to use this watch primarily for running; however, I want to be able to use it in triathlons as well (I don’t want a huge multisport watch though). Is it possible to start the FR220 or 620 at the beginning of a race and then start the pace timer during the run while keeping the elapsed time on the screen. Basically, I want elapsed time showing the entire time and a new time and pace screen specific to the run all on one screen. It seems reasonable, but I just want to confirm before I purchase one of these.

  104. Mike

    I am having the same issue. Start running and it pauses stop my run then delete the 2 second run and start it again same issue it pauses. I then power it off restart wait until the satilites are connected. That fixes it for me

  105. Mike C

    Do you think the 620 will eventually have the ability to pair with devices that only have Bluetooth smart?

  106. Scott

    Nicely detailed analysis of the product and features. Here is what I would like to know, does anyone question the validity of the claims Garmin makes related to these run parameters?! Does Garmin offer any science validation to their claims?

    DC, you mention the VO2 Max reading of 57, versus your true test of 63.6…that is a 11% difference. That is weighing 180 pounds, but having a scale weigh you in at 160 pounds! The Garmin video calls it an accurate test, I find that rather insulting. Call it what is it, a guide, but for them to claim it as accurate is false.

    Since a lot of people look to you for tech advice, I recommend to seek out some answers from experts. I am not talking about a running coach who says these parameters are important, that’s obvious. Rather, a running bio-mechanist who can speak to the efficacy of this product giving GCT and displacement information from the upper chest (HR strap). I am not sure the potential buyers understand the limitations, and how Garmin seems to make some misleading claims.

  107. Mick Minahan

    Hi, great review, you’ve sold it for me! 🙂 Now I’m just wondering is there a more recent discount code to use on the Clever Training site, I tried the one supplied above and it says expired. 🙁

    Thanks for the help!


    • Hi Mick-

      You can still save 10% off all Clever Training purchases (including the FR620) via the VIP program. Certain products as requested by manufacturers require it. It’s quick and easy to sign-up though. Details here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Thanks for the support!

    • Mick Minahan

      Hey, cheers for the heads up! Thanks for all the reviews too, very informative. The Girl, hahaha!


    • Mick Minahan

      One more question if you don’t mind my friend?
      I’m going to order the watch and have it sent out to me on an oil platform I’m on for the next few weeks. I like the way it works for indoors on treadmills as well (a necessity in my line of work), but to set it up do I need to get an outdoor run too, or can I just set it up on a treadmill and work away with it like that for the next few weeks before I get back to land?
      Thanks again for your help!


    • Yes, you can use it on a treadmill without GPS by tapping the GPS icon at the top, which will allow you to turn it off. Note that you’ll want to get in some outdoor runs first though, to ensure that it calibrates first.

  108. Jonas

    Hi, would you say the FR620 is fitted for sports like cross-country skiing? Great review by the way.

  109. Jan Edén

    Thx for your informing review. Your page are the nr 1 source of information to me. A question about Garmin 620. Does the device have any function to lock the screen under exercise?. I have noticed when I’m running I never by incident press any buttons, but when I’m doing weightlifting or crossfit I’m pressing buttons constantly and thus the device goes into paus etc. On the 610 I recall that there was a function to lock the screen.

  110. Josh

    Anyone else out there finding that current pace can get temperamental and jump 30seconds to 1 minute every few paces? Had this happen on a run this weekend, while in a different state that my home, however satellite acquisition was normal. Lap pace and all other dynamics worked perfectly fine.

  111. guido

    Has anyone else encountered problems with treadmill pace/distance recording? I had no trouble recording treadmill workouts all winter, but did my first two indoor runs in a couple of months (pesky thunderstorms…) and the 620 would not record my distance covered or pace either time. It “may” be related to the upgrade to the latest firmware, the most recent run was certainly after I upgraded, but I’m not entirely sure about the first time…


  112. MagicDude4Eva

    I got myself the FR620 and am a bit frustrated with the various issues, but the most painful one right now is the number navigation clicks it takes to turn GPS off for treadmill runs.

    Is there no quicker way? I also found that the watch randomly seems to turn GPS on (perhaps a random reboot when I am not paying attention).

  113. Chris

    Great review, learned a lot about a watch Ive been wearing since January.
    Looks like I’ll need a foot pod come winter for the treadmill. I was just
    ignoring the treadmill data and tracking manually last winter.

    My question is, initially it was connecting via wifi easily, then after about a month stopped working. I reread your section on setup a couple times and redownloaded express fit, but it doesnt seem to launch the program
    to continue the setup. I found the program file in my computer drive and tried to run it from there, no luck.

    Has anyone had this happen where the wifi works xfer initially but then watch cannot find network??

    • Laurent

      Hi Chris,

      You said you use “express Fit”… is it just a typo, because the current soft to setup the WiFi is Garmin Express. both can be found but the last is the good one.

      Also, for other who might have had the same issue, here is the link for WiFi assistance on FR620:
      link to forums.garmin.com

      I was using channel 13 on my WiFi box and this is not supported by the FR620.

    • Actually, Garmin Express Fit was the original name of the FR620-specific software used to configure WiFi on the FR620. Since February however, they’ve moved over to Garmin Express, which is used across all devices (Fitness and otherwise).

      Thus, I’d definitely switch over to using Garmin Express, as you may be getting some issues with the older Express Fit talking to newer FR620 firmware versions designed to use Garmin Express.

  114. LB

    Firmware Version 2.90 is now available for download.

  115. Josh

    Wanted to comment on some positive feedback for my watch:

    1) Garmin still hasn’t corrected the glitch where auto pause goes off at the beginning of an outdoor run. Doesn’t happen on TM runs, but as soon as i take off on an outdoor run it goes into autopause for about 3 seconds then starts working again. strange.
    2) my Treadmill was set at 09:05/mi for first mile today, 620 picked it up as 08:52/mi,
    3) the next 3 miles Treadmill was set at 08:34/mi. 620 picked it up as 08:34, 08:34, 08:36.
    4) calorie burn much more accurate with this watch than my old 305 (now closer to 110 cal per mile vs 130-140, or maybe I’m just becoming a more efficient runner)
    5) when in doubt read Ray’s details above. Much more efficient than the manual, and with illustrations.

  116. MagicDude4Eva

    I think the thread on Garmin forum (link to forums.garmin.com) about random reboots is quite a big issue ever since firmware 2.90 was introduced. Had so far 3 reboots in 4 days.

  117. mike

    any update on when Courses will be coming to FR620

  118. Dolan Halbrook

    I just want to note two things:

    The firmware 2.90 upgrade completely reset my watch, so I’ve slowly had to get it back to where it was before.

    Secondly, it only seems to pick up *one* “Bike Sensor”, which in the case of both a separate cadence and speed sensor appears to only be the latter.

  119. RescueGnome

    I just bought the 620 and I downloaded the Garmin Connect app to my iPad. I’m having issues with the app and the watch connecting Bluetooth, any help will be appreciated. Also you said you used the watch in the shower and saltwater, can I use the HR strap in saltwater too? I do a lot of snorkeling and diving.

    • I’d talk with Garmin support about issues with the app.

      As for the strap, yes, you can go in salt water with it – but it won’t transmit in the water, as the signal doesn’t go more than 1-2″.

  120. emily

    what if you were on the treadmill. would it still show you the distance even though you technically stayed in same place?

    • Laurent

      Hi Emily,

      Yes. If you disable the GPS it will use the internal accelerometer to calculate your distance.
      The internal accelerometer needs a few outdoor runs to calibrate itself to your running style and then it will give you an “accurate” distance when running indoor.

      that’s the theory for accuracy…see Josh post #2237.

      I also had a 330m difference on a 5k run. First km was spot on but then I accelerated the speed by 0.5 km/h every km and the gap grew bigger at each acceleration.

  121. Ted D

    Thanks for the great reviews and continued effort to keep us informed. Any news/updates/feature requests to add stationary alerts to Garmin Connect Mobile? I am intrigued by the feature provided by the Road ID app, but I’d prefer to leave the phone GPS off during the ride.
    -Ted D

    • Sorry, can you clarify what you mean on ‘stationary alerts’ to GCM? You mean to those tracking (friends) that you haven’t moved in a while?

      If so, I haven’t heard anything like that from the Garmin camp.

    • Ted D

      Sorry for the lack of clarity. Yes, you have it correct. An alert (e-mail) would be sent to those tracking that I haven’t moved in ‘x’ number of minutes. A count down timer that lets the rider/runner cancel the alert if it is not an emergency would be a needed feature (fix a flat, top off water bottles, etc).

      -Ted D

  122. Drew

    Thanks for the in-depth review.
    After reading you review along with dozens of others I decided to take the risk and drop the dough for the 620 instead of the Fenix2 (which my wife has) or the 220.

    I am very happy with this purchase. My decision to purchase wasn’t really swayed by the idea of a touch screen, but after using the interface, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The most convenient features on the 620 have been the ability to view 4 fields of data, but also to program up to four screens. I can have all my race data on one screen (pace, cadence, distance, time elapsed) then with a single touch (great feature of the touch screen) switch to another customized screen with anything else I want on it (with one, two, three or four fields of data displayed).

    The only issue I have experienced was syncing my wifi, but it turns out the express app has some difficulties syncing wifi on a Mac – had to do it on a windows platform. Got that figured out and now it works flawlessly.

    I would recommend the 620 over the 220 to anyone who thinks the aesthetics, wifi, four fields of data (vs the 220s three) and the additional metrics are worth the additional cash. I though it was, and I’m glad I went with the 620.

    Thanks again for the detailed review. Your info really did help me in making my decision.

  123. Laurent

    Hi Ray,

    Do you think Footpod can really improve distance calculation on treadmill?

    I use the internal accelerometer and even after a few outdoor runs it still can’t give me a somewhat accurate distance.
    today the watch was off by 600m on a 5K run. I started at pace 6:30 for warmup than did my 5K at pace 5:37….when reading my watch during the effort it kept saying my pace was between 6:10 and 6:30….

    • MarkMcD

      I am skeptical of the footpod as well. I wore a footpod on a certain pair of shoes for about 40 miles of outdoor running to calibrate it. Then I wore it on my treadmill at home (I never moved the footpod). I set the treadmill to 8mph and ran for an hour. My footpod said I ran 9.12 miles. I did not run 9.12 miles, I would definitely have felt that different a pace. I would be willing to believe my treadmill is off a bit, but my internal effort meter knows I was not going that fast.

    • Keep in mind the treadmill could actually be incorrectly calibrated and not impact your pace. Meaning, it thinks it’s going faster than it is (or slower than it is). Demonstrating how off treadmills can be across a wide range of random locales is actually on my fun ‘to do’ list. 🙂

    • Laurent

      Thanks Ray…You have a Fun List that help us a lot so thx for that again and Happy Birthday ( I think it is around this date that “The girl is making you a nice cake 🙂 )…

      Anyway I think I will try the footpod, It might hopefully help for run in the forest too …the 620 is doing a terrible job here too, I lost 700 meters on a 10K run and the pace displayed on the watch was a bit erratic.

      thx a ton for all your reviews

    • Yeah, it’ll definitely help in the forest. That’s tough for almost all GPS units still, depending on how fast you’re going and how much change in direction you have.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

    • Laurent

      thank you….have fun in the Alpes, so to say

  124. Connor G

    Good Afternoon Ray,

    When uploading from watch to phone is the most recent data the only data transferred? I recently connected my phone and watch after multiple days and multiple runs and the only run that uploaded to the app (and subsequently the online account) was the most recent run.

    Is there away to ensure uploading of all data to the app, or must you connect to the app after each run, or perhaps connect via wifi to upload multiple runs?

    Long time reader, we even exchanged a few emails a while back and all your help has been overly appreciated. Hope your weekend is going well!

    Thanks in advance whether you can help or not. I appreciate your time.


    • All un-uploaded data is uploaded upon connection. Runs already uploaded (via WiFi/USB or BT) are not re-uploaded. That can be after just one run, or 15 runs later.


  125. Dominic

    Hi Ray
    Where do you find time and patience to awnser all those questions ? Anyhow, thank you. One more ? Maybe you got this one already i don’t know there is just too many post. How is the wrist band durability so far with the 620 ? The band on my 610 broke down twice and i had to fix this with loctite and electric tape. Very nice on a 400$ watch (canadian price)
    Last point standing before i purchase this 620

    Best regards

    • Just one…me. 🙂

      I haven’t had any issues on the FR620. I assume your breakage on your FR610 was due to the pins. That was eventually fixed in those units, but totally change on the FR620 to be a double-sided screw-in system. Far stronger, and identical system on the Fenix/Fenix2/Tactix/D2 lineup, and I’ve heard no issues there.

      The core difference is basically that the pins are screwed into each other from both sides, and have an inner and outer shell, versus the tiny little pins on the FR610.


  126. Tami

    I am on my phone and can’t search previous comments for an answer, so I’m sorry if you’ve already addressed this.

    Do you know if Garmin has released the update to allow for the cycling function on this watch?

  127. Rex

    Thanks for providing such great reviews!!! I currently use a FR610 but am planning to upgrade to either the Fenix2 or the 620. I am mainly a runner though I occasionally do other activities as well (but not triathlons). Am leaning toward the Fenix2 due to: 1) longer batter life and 2) has so many more features available than the FR620. WIFI doesn’t mean much to me (at least as far as I know). Fenix2 doesn’t weigh that much more than the 610 so that isn’t much of an issue either. I guess my main questions are: 1) is the Fenix2 user friendly?, 2) Can someone who is becoming farsighted in their late 40s read it, and 3) is the software stable enough to handle long runs consistently. Thanks in advance for any advice others may have.

    • Thanks Rex-

      1) The Fenix2 is reasonably easy to operating once you get the hang of it. But, I think most would agree that the FR620 has a cleaner and easier to navigate interface.

      2) Visibility is and will always be the chief complaint of the Fenix2, so if readability is an issue – I’d probably go more towards something like the FR620.

      3) In general it seems to be on both. I have heard a few people running into some snags at the upper end of long-runs (i.e. 10 hours) – though, the Fenix team just released a firmware update today that they hope will address that issue.


  128. Joe Penny

    I bought this watch on the 7 June 2014 after faults with it confirmed by Garmin it was sent to them for to be checked. Returned it to Amazon for a replacement, this too was defective again checked by Garmin retuned it to Amazon for refund.

    I bought another FR 620 from Handtec July 17 it seems to be ok for one think the max speed is always incorrect and no answer to date from Garmin as to why?

    I also have a Suunto ambit2 bought on the 4 July no issues with this watch correct max speed and other functions checkout fine. Still waiting for Garmin’s explanation for the max speed issue being incorrect!

    Any one else seen this with the FR620 0r any other fitness watch???

    Regards Joe

  129. Greg

    Good Evening,
    First, I bought the 620 based on your review, and I love it. In your use, and in working out in general I guess, have you noticed the watch giving you lower Average HR? I’m not entirely sure its my fitness or the watch displaying off number, but its dropped by about 10 bpm on my workouts. No other analytics seemed to have changed that drastically. I’ve just changed the battery and will test it on the next few runs.

  130. Ashish Khanna

    now that it has a cycle mode, is it possible to have speed & cadence sensor as well as the heart rate monitor connected at the same time, while cycling.

    • Mark

      Hi Ashish,

      yes works fine, I have the HR Run and the Garmin GSC 10 Speed/ Cadence connected while cycling.


  131. Joe Penny

    on the first two units there was several faults including the max speed data field. On the unit that I have now I can find to date one fault the speed data field which is incorrect. I have had this issue on the Suunto Ambit2 only 3 or 4 times out of activities of over 50 + However, with the Garmin forerunner 620 I see this almost all of the time 99.7 percept. I ask has any one had this experience with any device and what is the cause if they know.

  132. MiLK_MaN

    I originally used a 910XT with a foot pod and calibration calculated with the garmin footpod calibration tool you had a write up about on this site.

    On having purchased a 620, and setting the calibration to the same, I can’t seem to get accurate results. One thing I was doing on the 910XT was ensuring GPS was off before commencing run, but haven’t been turning off the GPS when running on treadmill with the 620. Would this cause the accelerometer to be used over the footpod by any chance? I did a 12km run today with the last km running around 4:45/km for the last km but the watch recorded it over a minute/km too slow.

    Next indoor run I’ll be turning GPS off to observe the difference.

  133. Gabi

    Great review and post! I recently got the Garmin 620 and found your post very helpful! Always great to know how features I hadn’t yet discovered work! My only issue so far has been with not being able to transfer data via wifi – for some reason it doesn’t quite work on my mac.

  134. Collin

    Which metrics go into the VO2 Max and Recovery Advisor estimates?

    Will these work if using the watch for other activities, like cross country skiing or roller skiing, or will they completely throw everything off? If they do throw things off, is this a circumstance where you could use the new “Race” sport profile to separate things?

    • No, on the FR620 it’s really only designed for running from a VO2Max and Recovery Advisor perspective, as there’s a distance component in there.

  135. Andrea

    Is there any hope for Garmin to introduce the possibility of getting instant pace from the footpod, while calculating total distance from GPS? It is possible on the 610/310/910…

    • I haven’t heard about any specific plans there, but I think that’s a more reasonable request to be honest. I’ll ask at some of the upcoming shows here starting next week.

  136. Simon

    Twice in the past week, my 620 failed to connect with my HRM and foot pod (both ANT+). The first time I didn’t notice until I was looking at the run on connect and spotted there was no HR trace. When it happened again I noticed it on the watch (was looking for it) and had to do a hard reset to get the connections. Anyone else seen this? Related to the recent firmware update?

  137. Dan

    Thanks for the review. You’ve sold me a new Garmin yet again (I bought the 610 last year on your recommendation). I received my watch this week from Amazon.com (Sorry, I had to take advantage of their no-interest-for-six-month deal).

    Im glad I didnt find this review earlier as it looks like I’ve spared myself the annoyance of waiting on a preorder and enduring some bugs. My watch syncs over wi-fi flawlessly and it seems pretty accurate.

    Today was my first run using the FR620. I did a 4k interval (running the first two miles non-stop and then doing sprints for the last two) and I received a recovery recommendation of 72 hours. Have you or anyone here actually adhered to that recommendation? I have to admit that today was the first day I’ve run in about 72 hours (due to weather and work schedule) and I did improve my speed a little bit and it was a little easier than usual. Unfortunately I’m also addicted to running, so waiting 72 hours for my next run will be difficult (although I can offset it with some HIIT and Cycling). Also, does that recommendation mean not to do that particular workout again or to rest from running all together?

    Thanks again for your review!

    • Dan

      Never mind. I found the video that explains how the recovery adviser works. Looks like I’ll be able to take a short/light jog tomorrow or Monday. 🙂

    • MarkMcD

      I’ve found the recovery adviser to be the biggest POS part of this watch. I generally like the 620, but the VO2 max and recovery adviser simply stink. It gives me a vO2max of 69 and predicts a marathon time 15 minutes faster than I have ever done. And I have never once gotten the recovery adviser to give me a recovery time over 25 hours. I ran 23 miles and it gave me a recovery time of 16 hours. One day I did 14 miles with the last 12 at MP and it gave me 17 hours. Then when I did a 5 mile run 8 hours later my recovery time was 3 hours. It’s completely useless and stupid.

  138. Jesus Sanguinetti


    I’d like to know if any of you have experienced issues with the VO2 Max estimation. I have this watch from almost a year ago, completed all the required fields and followed instructions, the first value given was 42, after some workouts it came down to 40 and some time later to 39 and it has been there ALL the time. I have lost and gained weight, I have improved my cardio capacity which I can see in the rythm that I can hold and time that I can run, I have even seen a small reduction in my minimum heart rate but the watch keeps giving me a VO2 of 39. I reset the watch to factory values and went throug the whole process again, the result 39 again. I sent an email to Garmin support and their answer was pretty disappointing for such expensive products, they said “VO2 takes long time to be improved”.

    I would like to know your opinion about this.

    Best Regards

    • Keep in mind that VO2Max numbers generally don’t change a whole lot for most people, after initial training. So what Garmin is saying, is actually very true and very much completely normal. Just search the Interwebs about VO2Max testing and you’ll find that most people quickly plateau – even pro athletes.

      That said, a 39-40 VO2Max sounds pretty low in most cases. I’d be interesting to go to a gym/etc and have a VO2Max test done and see if you’re in the same ballpark there.

      At the end of the day though, as noted in the review and by many others in the comments – it’s just a number. It gives you a starting point for some athletic aerobic capacity from a ceiling standpoint, but things like running form efficiency can have a huge impact.

  139. Luc

    Hi Ray,

    I think that your readers should be aware that the latest firmware, 2.90, causes erratic reboots. As a software engineer, I’m emphatic to the situation, but what I find infuriating is that Garmin doesn’t admit to having a problem! If you have a way to convey a message to higher powers, please let Garmin know that this is not the way to treat a loyal community.

    • ekutter

      Not that reboots should ever be acceptable but I too was seeing these random reboots mid run after 2.9. I did a complete reset of the watch and haven’t had one since.

    • Luc

      Did a master reset, even replaced the HRM battery and it didn’t help. Maybe it’s an interaction between the firmware and a specific hardware problem, otherwise all users would be experiencing the issue.

  140. Aaron Blair

    Hey guys,

    I’m having a problem which I haven’t seen anybody talk about yet.

    I’m on software 2.90, and I BELIEVE this issue started upon upgrading to 2.90.

    The issue is that when trying to sync WiFi manually, I get a message “Connection failed. Press CONNECT key to try again”. Automatic sync fails silently.

    What I find even more interesting, is that when doing a monitor mode wifi capture on the current AP channel (or channel hopping), I see NO 802.11 frames coming from the watch, including probe requests, association requests, or anything. This suggests there’s nothing wrong with the wifi setup, but something wrong with the watch. It’s not even TRYING to connect to my network.

    I’ve tested using Open/WEP/WPA/WPA2, and channels 1, 6, and 11 (Australia) on the AP, all seeing the same results. I’ve also factory defaulted the watch, no change.

    This is really starting to annoy me, as I’ve currently got to sync using bluetooth (which I normally leave off on my phone and watch for battery saving/security).

    I’ve emailed garmin, and haven’t received a response for 14 days, and have recently posted on their FB page (with little hope of getting a response judging on the state of the page).

    If there’s anybody out there that knows what’s going on, please give me a hint, this is killing me!

    Is it possible that the watch is faulty, and the software update broke something that was working before?

    Thank you!

    • Navnit Ranjan

      Hi Ray,

      I have experienced same every time I try manual upload to my mobile, I am using Garmin connect android app. I have to turn bluetooth on and my watch connects to mobile via bluetooth and then it works.

      Never understand how wifi works, my understanding is I don’t need to switch bluetooth on till my phone and watch are in same network.


    • NK

      Hi Aaron, same problem here since update 2.90.Before update wifi worked well.
      I tested with 3 different AP’s. The watch can find the AP’s en gets an ip-address. In the AP the mac address of the garmin appears but…..no data packages. None.
      Changed channels en changed wpa etc.

      Also tried a complete reset but no luck. So the update broke a nice functionality.

      And no, we are not alone: link to bit.ly

      Hope Garmin can fix this and hope the update did not “fried” the wifi. And of course, if Garmin doesn’t response or fix this, I return the watch. But hope not because I really like it.

  141. Felix

    Hi Ray,

    I always search for product reviews before buying something. So, wanting a watch that can track my HR (I don’t mind the strap) and record different parameters – I’ve stumbled upon your blog which is amazing! all the info for a tech junkie like me, its awesome. Thank you for that and hope you can keep doing this!
    Now, I do have a few questions if you got the time.. 🙂
    – if you don’t have a cadence sensor for the bike, based on the watch+HR strap – is it enough to give you some info? like calories consumed.. or it wont work at all w/o a bike sensor (except speed)?
    – do you know (aprox.) when the next 620 replacement will arrive? I’m curious if it’s right next the corner then maybe I can wait a bit more.


  142. Navnit Ranjan

    Hi Felix,
    I am using fr620 without any bike sensor but I have HR strap. I noticed it do captures calories burnt + VO2 max+recovery advice.

    Here is link for my last weekend ride – link to connect.garmin.com


  143. Felix

    Hi Navnit,

    Thanks for the info! That solves one of the problems I had before buying the 620.
    Dose anyone know when the next watch release will take place? (aprox) as I do think it might be this year..

    Thanks again,

    • Luke

      There is strong supposition that the (probably named) 920 will be announced/released this fall.
      The 620 is less than a year old and won’t be replaced for a while.

    • There’s no chance of a FR620 being replaced anytime soon. It only came out earlier this year. Garmin typically has a 2-ish year cycle on running watches, this time it was almost 3 years.

  144. Jimmy g

    Hi everyone,

    Call me late to the party…. But how does the WIFI work? I have a f620 with the latest firmware update(2.90). In garmin express I loaded my wifi and pass code , but when I hit the Wifi button on the device, it reads,” go to garmin express” blah blah blah. Why is this happening? Note that post workout, I use the Bluetooth feature to load the workout to garmin connect via the iPhone app without any issues.
    Why is this wifi thing a mystery?

  145. Abdullah Al Hashem

    Thanks for known great reviews dear..
    I have bought FR620 after Polar FT80, same problem in both chest straps, after while the HRM keeps getting low counts and misses HR completely, tried to change position and it picks signal then disappears.
    swapped chest straps and didnt help either..

    Please help.

    • Nicholas Furnival

      Hi, Abdullah (and Ray),

      I can’t give you a solution but I’ve been having the same problem with the HRM on the 620. I changed the battery and the problems continued. Using soap on the sensors improves it but it’s weird that it’s just started this after I’ve owned it for six months problem free. Anyone know what’s going on?


      PS. Thanks for truly excellent reviews, Ray!

  146. Arturo Rangel

    Hi there, thanks for taking your time on doing all this awesome reviews, the only thing holding me now is one question…
    How long will the battery will last using the heart rate and all the info, plus the bluetooth to connect to the mobile and have live tracking?
    My marathon takes around 3:50 to 4:20 give or take will it last that long?


  147. Amauri

    Hi there. Are there any plans from GARMIN releasing na ANT+ support for Tanita BC1000 scales on FR620???
    Thanks in advance

  148. Aaron

    I think you do great reviews, so I figure you’re the perfect person to ask. I have been running for a few years now, but I have always avoided the Garmins because when I first tried running (and gave up on myself) about 10 years ago I had a Garmin Forerunner 201. I remember it being a brick on my wrist and sitting in a way that prevented me from bending my wrist while wearing it.

    Since I started running again in 2012, I have been using iPhone apps, and generally I love them. However, with my size, 300 lbs, my pace does not get much faster than 10:30min/miles for the half and full marathons I’ve done. This pace combined with the need for music while I run usually means my phone battery dies before the end of the race (or long training runs) leaving me without stats for the end of those runs. Because of that I’ve started researching Garmins again, and I have an opportunity to purchase either the 620 or the Fenix2 for the same price of $339.

    I keep telling myself I want to do a triathlon some day, but other than doing a little bike work I have not committed myself to it yet. Either way I am sure running will always be my primary fitness focus. Is there any reason I should go with the Fenix2 over the 620 in your opinion?

    Thanks again for sharing all of your insights.

  149. Arturo Rangel

    Coolio thanks for your reply, I saw it a lil bit to late now after checking all the messages posted about the battery, took me some time. You mentioned in one post that you tried with a footpad but the suunto one. Sometimes I have to do my trainings at the trademill so I depend 50% of the time for that, should I get the garmin footpod or the suunto one did you hear of any better accuracy?

  150. Drew

    After a 5K race last weekend, my coach told me to send him my post-race HR recovery. Basically, how fast it takes after a full on 5K run with my HR pegged at 163 bpm for my heart rate to return to normal. I know that when you end a workout (hit stop) on the 620, but before you save it, it continues to monitor your HR and when you get to your recovery HR (let’s say 120), it prompts you & then you hit stop. Is there a way to grab those few minutes of recovery data? My coach suggested that I just hit “next lap” at the finish & then stop it when my HR gets to 120, but that screws up all my actual race data.

    Is there any way to preserve my true race data, but still get my recovery HR data after the race?

    • No, once you hit stop, it stops recording.

      But, since my coach often requests similar things, here’s what I do: Simply stop the activity, save it, and then start a new one. You can do it all within 2-4 seconds if you press quick enough. Then just upload both, one as the race and one as the cooldown/recovery.

    • Drew

      That’s what I figured. And I had thought about doing the stop-save-start too. I’ll practice that before my race this weekend to try & get it down to your 2-4 second estimate!

      Thanks for the quick reply.

    • Drew

      Ray…the stop-save-start method worked better than I planned. It gave me an accurate measure of my 5K on Saturday (a new PR BTW), and seperated the “cool down” into a new activity. Thanks for the advice & keep up the great work!

    • Awesome, great to hear! And congrats on the PR!

    • John Chalikias

      Hi Drew and Ray,
      actually when you hit stop button FR620 continues to record your hr data until you save your activity and it’s saved on your activity data file. I use a software from firstbeat (firstbeat athlete) in order to analyze my training. There I can see my recovery hr usually about 2 minutes after hitting stop button. I have to do it manually (hr when press stop button minus hr after 2 mins) but it works.
      Hope that helps.

    • John Chalikias

      Hi Drew and Ray,
      when you hit stop button FR620 continues to record your hr data until you save your activity and it’s saved on your activity data file. I use a software from firstbeat (firstbeat athlete) in order to analyze my training. There I can see my recovery hr usually about 2 minutes after hitting stop button. I have to do it manually (hr when press stop button minus hr after 2 mins) but it works.
      Hope that helps.

    • ekutter

      Interesting. I wonder if using the first beat software opens a back door that causes the 620 to continue recording the data. Looking at the raw .FIT data file, my 620 isn’t recording any HR data after the stop other than the single RECOVERY_HR record. Nor does it record any such data between a stop and then a start in the middle of a file.

    • John Chalikias

      Hi ekutter,
      i had to enable R-R recording.
      Have a look at link to firstbeat.com

  151. RoRo DaRoadRunner


    Extremely great review. Will the old HRM/Strat from the Garmin 405 work with the Garmin620? I know that you may not have access to all the new dynamics, but will it at minimal capture your HR, etc…


  152. hakkinen

    My battery remained 45% after 2.45hr run with HRM connected. It drained a lot.

  153. Ben B.

    I have a garmin 620, and it keeps dropping out in the middle of my runs. It seems to pick back up, but today I had it “lose” an 18.2 mile run. Firmware stability seems to degrade over time.

    Any recommendations for a competitor? I do quite like the running dynamics, but I really can’t stand the “loses whole runs” feature.

    Any recommendations to fix its stability? That would be nice too.

    • Have you tried ringing up Garmin support? A unit flat-out dropping satellite mid-run isn’t normal (nor is losing whole runs). It almost sounds like the file system might be corrupted a bit. Either way, a quick call to Garmin support ought to either swap the unit out or get a fix sorted out.

    • Lumi

      Ray are you still using FR620 as your main running watch? If so, don’t you have reboots during activities? Which firmware version are you using?

    • Yup, unless I’m testing something else, it’s my default (just headed out the door with it right now or a run). No reboots, using the latest public firmware.

    • ekutter

      I had the rebooting during work out’s issue just after 2.9 was released several weeks ago. I did a full reset (cleared all settings and user data). I haven’t had a single issue since.

  154. Jagadeesh P

    Can I setup multiple simultaneous alerts on FR620: like a run/walk alert with a cadence/heart rate alert? My FR610 does not allow me to do it.

  155. Claire

    Great review…very in depth and gave me a great understanding of what this watch is capable of. I’ve been thinking about purchasing the 620 however I was wondering how often Garmin comes out with new watches. Does it make sense to wait for the updated 620 seeing this one came out last year?
    Thanks for taking the time!

  156. David Hendrickson

    Ray, any idea why the 10% coupon would not work on Clever Training for the 620 with HR bundle? I tried several times tonight and the Clever Training site says the code DCR10WHP is not valid. Price was full retail at 449.99.

    • Karl

      Pretty sure it’s a website update issue as Ray said in the Polar V800 page.

    • David Hendrickson

      Thanks….hopefully fixed soon so I can get my new watch!

    • Hi David (and Karl)-

      It looks like as of now the 10% off issue for products is working again (just tried it on the V800).

      Now, the catch here is actually that the FR620 along with 6 other Garmin products don’t permit the specific 10% coupon code (per request of Garmin). All other Clever Training non-sale products work as normal. But fear not, you can still get the DCR 10% discount simply via the VIP program instead. It only takes a moment to sign-up and then you’re good go. Here’s all the details: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Again, I definitely appreciate the support!

  157. Steve Fitz

    Does anyone have suggestions on how to make the touch screen react quicker? Need some advice from the crowd. Does your watch react with a simple tap or some other way to tap? I cannot just tap the main or back menu and have it react. In almost all cases I have to press on it for 5 seconds to get a reaction or in a number of cases no reaction. I tap slowly, quickly, above it and below it a little and it just sits there doing nothing.

    Once I am finally in the menu things move faster but sometimes I still have to hold it for 5 seconds for it to react. The lock is off so that is not it. Is it me or the watch?

    • Chad

      No issues here. Mine reacts immediately with any touch, swipe or tap.

    • Drew

      Mine is pretty responsive. I have to touch it deliberately though. If I just quickly tap it too fast, it won;t pick it up, but I like that becasue it reduces/eliminates accidental taps. But what you are describing is not normal. I would try giving Garmin a call. It could be as simple as a hard reset, or they may need to send you a new device.

  158. Luc

    Screen responsiveness – it may need calibration.

  159. Mario


    My FR620 has twice now rebooted mid run. I noticed because I saw the Garmin startup screen before it went back to the usual data screen. The first time I stopped and started a new activity, seemingly losing no data. The second time I just kept running and at the end of my run, I lost the activity. I could not upload it either through WiFi (error transferring the file) or via USB.

    Has anyone else experienced similar issues? Garmin support suggested to reset the watch and to see if it helps, but I already did it after the first time the problem arose.

  160. Chad

    Activity Upload FAIL!

    My watch says it transferred my activities but they do not show up in Garmin Connect. Is this happening to anyone else? This is the first time this has happened. Thanks

    • Chad

      Also, how can you resend activites to upload them again? The FR610 had that option but the 620 does not.

    • Drew

      Apparently it’s an issue that started last night or this morning. I uploaded my run from this morning & it is not showing in my dsahboard. Ironically, right after the workout was uploaded it was transferred over to TrainingPeaks with no problem. So the data is most likely in GC, just not showing in the dashboard right now.

    • Chad

      Thanks Drew. I see the data in TP as well but not in GC. Hopefully it will show it soon.

    • Luke

      Interesting that it is showing up in TP (I assume you have TP set up to pull directly from GC). I use tapriik to sort everything and neither my TP nor Strava have yesterday’s workout…

    • Drew

      Yes, I have the GC to TP auto sync set up. My run yesterday went into both just fine around 3PM EST. My run this morning at 6AM EST synced just fine, but never showed up in GC. When I clicked over to TP, it was right there.

      Like I said, the data is in GC. The glitch has to be in it showing on the dashboard.

    • Correct, via the backend GC to TP process that uses a totally different process than what Tapiriik does. Said differently, the TP process is ‘supported/authorized’, whereas the Tapiriik process is more of a ‘not-so-authorized’ solution, which in this case happens to depend on the front end site working properly.

    • Navnit Ranjan

      Hi Ray,

      I used my FR620 for ride yesterday and noticed my activity available in Strava but missing in Garmin connect even after 24 hr.
      I expected vice versa, as data flow from Garmin to Strava, can’t understand any activities in Strava but missing in Garmin Connect.