• Amazon.com

Garmin Forerunner 15 GPS Watch & Daily Activity Monitor In-Depth Review


In keeping with the popular trend of adding activity monitoring to devices, back in April Garmin announced their latest running watch – the Forerunner 15 (FR15).  This would take their popular FR10 budget-focused GPS running watch and then combine it with the Vivofit activity monitor.  Effectively the FR10 and the Vivofit had a baby, and that baby was called the FR15.

I’ve been testing it for the past month on all assortment of runs, rides, and just a lot of walking around – getting to understand how it all works.  And now, I’m ready to give you the low-down.

To be clear, Garmin sent me over a FR15 to start testing with until retail availability.  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Olathe, KS, in the next few days and going out and getting my own via regular retail channels.  That’s just the way I roll.

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



The FR15 comes in a bunch of colorful flavors and then two sizes and once further, two packaging contents.  But essentially everything boils down to one thing: With or without the heart rate strap.

So, for the purposes of this unboxing the unit has the heart rate strap.  If you buy it without the strap, then you’ll simply lack the strap in your box. The unit itself is identical, so if you add a heart rate strap later (or, if you already have an ANT+ strap), then it’s all still good.


After removing the plastic you’ll basically find four things: The Garmin FR15 watch, the USB charging cable, a pile of paper stuffs, and then the heart rate strap.


The heart rate strap (if you bought that package) is Garmin’s classic plastic strap, officially the HRM1.  It’s been around the block for some time, but generally works just fine.


Next you’ve got the USB charger.  This is how you’ll download your workouts as well as charge the unit.  You can plug it into any USB port you’ll find on the planet (USB ports ‘request’ the power they need, so there’s no problems as long as it fits in the hole).


Then you’ve got the paper manuals.  After you finish this post you won’t need them.


And last but not least there’s the watch itself.


And here’s the back of things along with the strap.



Now that it’s unboxed, let’s talk about size.

Size & Weight Comparisons:

When it comes to size, the FR15 is actually offered in two sizes: Small and Large. Unofficially it’s Men’s and Women’s, whereby the colors roughly align to what either gender might be most comfortable wearing.

In my case, I was sent a blue ‘large’ FR15 to try out.  The good news is that the FR10 and FR15 share the same outer shell (both sizes), so while I didn’t have the smaller sized FR15 with me, I am able to show you exactly how big it is, since the FR10 is exactly the same as the FR15 (small FR10 = Small FR15, and large FR10 = large FR15).  Make sense?  Good.


Above you’ll see how it compares to other budget and mid-range running watches.  From left to right: TomTom Runner/Multisport, Suunto Ambit2 R, Timex Run Trainer 2.0, Garmin FR220, Garmin FR15/10 (Large), Garmin FR15/10 (Small), Garmin FR70.

And here’s the thickness:


Looking at just the small and large variants of the watch, you’ll see the screen is shrunk slightly, as well as the outer shell:


The depth however does not change at all:


Looking at weights, I was curious if the FR15 added any more weight than the FR10.  Turns out, it’s exactly the same:



The smaller size is a fair bit lighter however:


Overall the FR15 in the small size is pretty much the smallest (dimension-wise) GPS running watch on the market.

Color Selection/Options


(Updated/New Section)

As noted earlier, the FR15 comes in a variety of flavors.  These are basically two camps – large and small.  Ostensibly the smaller colors are more womanly, and the larger colors more manly.  But there are no hard rules and even the most manly of men can rock the purple.

To understand the size differences, here’s the two FR15 sizes right next to each other.  Again, functionality wise both are identical.


First, here’s the two larger colors, red and blue:


Next, we’ve got the three smaller colors: Purple, teal, and olive (green).


And again, all five colors here:


Ok, fashion show over.  Onto using the little thing.

Running Outdoors:


Before we dive into the running side, a brief note on battery life.  The FR15 got a bit of a battery upgrade from the FR10.  The older watch used to only get 4-5 hours in active GPS mode, which often wasn’t enough to finish a marathon for many in the target audience of the watch.  The FR15 now however gets 8 hours of active GPS time.  In non-GPS mode it’ll get up to 5 weeks for activity tracker/standby/watch mode.  Obviously, if you use it 4 hours a week in exercise, then you’ll cut down the overall battery life to about two weeks.  The battery icon is displayed at all times on the left side of the watch as seen above.

Now that we’re outside and ready to run things are pretty simple.  You’ll go ahead and tap the blue button (upper right corner) to start GPS search.  This will also initiate the unit looking for the previously paired heart rate strap and footpod.  In the event it can’t find its past friend, it’ll get all promiscuous and find a new partner to hookup with.

While it’s doing that it’ll be looking for GPS signal.  Now the FR15 isn’t quite as smart with caching as some of the newer GPS devices – likely because it’s built on the same GPS chipset as the FR10.  So you won’t usually get 1-2 second load times.  Instead, it’ll generally be in the 10-30 second range.


Here’s a short video showing this from my run last night:

Just for random comparison – I also shot two other videos right before/after this one with two other watches, the FR620 and the Polar V800, simply for comparison.

Once you’ve got GPS signal you’re ready to roll.  Simply press the blue button again to start the recording/activity.  From here it’ll switch into one of your two display pages.


The FR15 mirrors the FR10 when it comes to display pages.  A display page is simply a screen that shows you some run metrics, such as pace, speed, distance, time, calories, etc…

The FR15 follows a bit of the Panera Bread “Pick Two” model.  Meaning, you can pick two paired metrics for a screen, and you’ve got two screens to work with.


Here’s the available ‘Pick two’ options:


Note, for the pace/speed metric you can choose whether to display “Average Pace/Speed”, “Current-Instant Pace/Speed” or “Lap Pace/Speed”.  It’s a bit of a global setting though, so you can’t mix and match and have one page be average pace and the other page be instant pace.


In addition, you also get one further page (for a total of three) that’s dedicated to showing your heart rate (top) and heart rate zone (bottom):


And lastly, you get the usual time/date page shown during the run (time of day).

Those pages will all update continuously during the run.  As is common in most watches you can also create laps.  Laps are often used to mark chunks of a workout (such as warm-up and cool-down), as well as used to split-up mile/kilometer markers.

The FR15 allows you to enable autolap for every 1-mile or every 1-kilometer (no alternative configuration).  Alternatively, you can simply enable the manual lap-key which turns the lower left key into the lap button:


These laps will then appear in your Garmin Connect activity file afterwards:


The FR15 has a few options to help you pace during a race or training (aside from just looking at the pace).  The first is the ability to configure walk/run alerts.  This is very popular in certain marathon training programs where you run a set period of time (i.e. 10 minutes), and then you walk a preset period of time (i.e. 1 minute).

These alerts on the FR15 are time-based only and allow you to first specify a run-time (minutes & seconds):


Then, you’ll specify a walk-time (minutes & seconds):


During the activity, the unit will simply alert you automatically every time you hit the threshold for walking or running.


Next you’ve got Virtual Pacer.  Virtual Pacer simply tells the unit that you want to set/keep a known pace – such as 7:30/mile.


As part of this it’ll actually add a new data page for you.


It’ll then alert you when you stray too far from that:


Note that this is different than Virtual Partner found on some of the higher end Garmin units.  In Virtual Partner it’ll also tell you how far ahead/behind a given pace goal you are.  Whereas Virtual Pacer doesn’t really have any memory – it’s simply a moment in time thing.

In my testing I’ve found that the Virtual Pacer piece gives you about 10-20 seconds of being off-pace before it alarms, assuming you stray more than about 5-10 sec/mile off pace.

Next we’ve got heart rate alerts.  These alerts are tied to either a specific heart rate zone (i.e. Zone 2), or tied to a specific range (i.e. 139-149bpm).  You can select what it is that you want to tie them to:


You can also configure only a high-alert, or only a low-alert.  It’s actually more flexible than I would have expected.


Then, while running (with a heart rate strap), the unit will automatically chirp at you if you stray above/below that zone.  Remember that you generally want to set a reasonable range for a heart rate zone, because your HR will usually fluctuate a little bit with terrain.  For example, most people have no less than 3-5BPM per HR zone, with most zone’s ranges being about 5-10BPM.

Last but not least the unit supports Auto Pause. This means that if you do a lot of city running you can configure it to automatically pause the unit when you slow down for a stoplight.


Next when I look at GPS accuracy I’ve seen no issues with the unit after the last 3-4 weeks.  It’s consistently in the same ballpark as every other GPS device I’m using.  Here’s a few random end of run photos:



When we look at instant-pace, it’s also very solid.  In fact, it follows the same fairly smoothed instant-pace that we saw with the FR10 that so many people have come to like (as it reduces GPS jumpiness).  To demonstrate that I’ve included two videos below.

The first is what it looks like starting from a standstill at the beginning of an interval set I was doing.  It shows me picking up speed and leveling off pretty quickly after I make a turn off the slightly downhill bridge:

And the second video shows me coming to a stop from steady-state running and how quickly it reacts:

Finally, if you’d like to look at the GPS tracks, here’s some from last night comparing the three units I had with me.  All ended up with a final distance within .03 miles.  For those unfamiliar with GPS accuracy – that’s pretty darn good actually, especially for a city route with numerous underpasses/bridges and tall buildings.

Garmin FR15 GPS Track File
Garmin FR620 GPS Track File
Polar V800 GPS Track File

When it comes time to pause or stop the workout you’ll use the same blue button again to do so.  If you need to pause for a bathroom break/etc, you can simply scroll down to resume to start right back up again and keep the same activity.


Or, you can press ‘Save’ to go ahead and save the activity so that it’ll upload later to Garmin connect.  It’s here that it’ll show you a small history of the run:


The unit tracks a handful of common PR’s (Personal Records) for common running distances from 1-mile up to a full marathon.  If you break one of these records during a run you’ll get notified:


Now, one thing I really like is that you can revert back to a previous record in the event that the record you just set isn’t valid.  For example, when I was driving one day the watch accidentally got bumped on.  In doing so, it recorded new PR’s for all my categories.  As much as I’d like to throw down some of these times, it skews things quite a bit.


But the unit includes the option to both clear a PR, as well as to revert to the previous PR.  Very nicely done:


Speaking of which, the unit stores about 5-7 of your most recent runs (full history), which you can view in the History menu.  It’ll automatically delete/overwrite older runs.


Once you plug your unit in via USB to your computer, that data will be sent up to Garmin Connect for you to look at online.  But I’ll dive into that a few sections from now – so hang tight there!

Treadmills & The Footpod:

The FR15 builds on top of the FR10 by adding in support for treadmills via a footpod.  The FR10 didn’t support any ANT+ devices, nor the footpod, thus you weren’t able to get pace or distance indoors on a treadmill.

With the addition of the footpod you can now get that on your watch, as well as get cadence information recorded too.

To pair the footpod to the FR15 you’ll simply put the footpod near the unit when you turn it on to search for GPS:


After that, it’s paired.  The FR15 will automatically calibrate the footpod via GPS.  In talking with Garmin, they recommend you run no less than about 300m to ensure proper calibration – but it’s better to run a bit more (all outdoors with good GPS coverage).  It’s usually best for GPS based calibration to try and choose a relatively straight route, simply so you aren’t making a ton of turns and impacting the accuracy.

Note that footpod accuracy is impacted by placement.  So if you happen to move it around on your shoe (or change shoes) you’ll want to go out for another run to ensure it’s calibrated.  The FR15 is “continuously calibrating” the footpod while running outside, according to my discussions with Garmin.

When it comes to cadence, the FR15 will record cadence from the footpod (both indoors and outside).  It will not however display that cadence as a data field on the watch itself.  Instead, that’s only visible on Garmin Connect (or any other compatible 3rd party site) afterwards, like below:


Note that I think the addition of the footpod support is pretty cool.  But I’m also a little bit suspect here.  That’s because I’d expect that the accelerometer within the FR15 could likely record pace/distance on a treadmill with reasonable accuracy (like the FR220/FR620 does) without needing a separate footpod.  I suspect this is likely simply an upsell maneuver, but it’s a little bit odd given that Garmin has discussed adding calibration support to the Vivofit for running.  Thus meaning that a cheaper product would actually work better indoors than the more expensive product.  Albeit, the Vivofit lacks any of the pace displays.

Gym Activities:


When it comes to indoor activities with the GPS off, the Garmin FR15 will still give you calorie burn data as long as you have a heart rate strap connected.

This means that if you’re doing a weight machine workout, or on a spin bike, or just doing the sideways shuffle with your BFF (and your HR strap is still on), it’ll still capture calorie data.

The below was from a super-easy spin on a bike, the high end Garmin Edge 810 with a power meter measured just slightly higher calories, but still in range of being the difference of a gummy bear or two.


When it comes to which of the many different calorie burn methods that Garmin uses on their different devices, the FR15 will basically match that of the Vivofit.  Which means they use their own internal algorithm rather than the FirstBeat algorithm that’s licensed for some of the higher-end devices.

In my testing, I’m finding that the two algorithms are generally in the same ballpark – within about 10-15% of one another.  However, there will likely be cases on an individual basis where sometimes it’s closer and sometimes it’s further.

Ultimately, when it comes to calories no device on the market is ‘perfect’.  Not Garmin, not Polar, not Suunto, nor Nike.  It’s really an estimate.  And there are a slew of companies that all claim to have the best engineers or the best physiologists on staff and that their respective algorithms are the best in the world.

And you know what?  For the most part, the different algorithms from different companies usually end up being roughly the same.  One company might weight one specific condition differently than another, but ultimately I find time and time again that it’s all a wash.  Focus on the big picture things, and not trying to have the calories within exactly single-digit (or even the tens).



The FR15 does not have a cycling mode, however, you can change the display to show your current activity in speed terms of either MPH or KPH.  To do this you’ll go into the data fields option and change to ‘Speed’ instead of ‘Pace’:


Once in this mode you’ll see speed in values such as 15MPH or 20KPH.


When using a bike, you can wear it on your  wrist, or you can go ahead and put it on a bike mount.  Garmin makes a simple one for about $9 that works fairly well (for any watch really, Garmin or otherwise):


When you complete the activity do note that it’ll show up in Garmin Connect as a ‘Run’, and not a ‘Bike’ ride.  It’s an easy change though; just select the drop-down box for activity type and change it to ‘Cycling’ (or, any other sport you want).


With that, you’re good to go.  Note that if you use it for cycling you may want to clear the PR’s that you might have set while cycling, since the unit doesn’t track them separately (see the end of the running section above for how to do that).

Note that the FR15 does NOT connect to the ANT+ Speed & Cadence sensor, nor to any ANT+ power meter.  I definitely don’t expect Garmin to add support there, since even on their $250 FR220 it’s not supported.  It also won’t connect to any Bluetooth sensors, since it doesn’t have a Bluetooth chipset within it.

Activity Monitoring & Step Tracking:


The FR15 includes a built-in activity monitor, which counts steps throughout the course of the day.  This makes it just like a FitBit or Nike FuelBand, keeping track of activity outside your runs.  The unit and logic is based on the Vivofit, and as a general rule you can use many of the same assumptions that the Vivofit does within the FR15.

When it comes to display, the unit will always display the steps on the front of the watch-face (again, this is GPS-off 24×7 mode).  Below the steps is a progress bar towards your daily goal:


In addition, you can press the little feet icon button (lower left) to change the display to show other activity metrics.  For example, the next screen will be your daily goal and remaining steps towards it.  The daily goal is automatically generated by Garmin Connect based on trending over the past few days.  If you miss a target it’ll slowly lower you down, and if you exceed a target it’ll slowly increase the daily goal:


In addition the unit will show you the estimated step-distance for the day (in either miles or kilometers).  This will be inclusive of any runs you may have completed that day as well:


Finally, pressing the button one last time will take you to calories burned – which is inclusive of your baseline calories.  So, you’ll see this number rise over the course of the day even if you’re sitting watching the World Cup:


The unit will stay on whatever screen you’ve left it on.  If you press it once further it just brings you back to a simple date screen, showing the current date:


Like the Vivofit, the FR15 aims to keep you moving.  Thus, if you haven’t moved at least 200 steps in the last 1 hour, it’ll go ahead and chirp (lightly) at you and display ‘Move!’ on the screen:


To clear this, you’ll go ahead and walk about 200 steps.  After walking the required distance you’ll hear a faint chirp and it’ll go back to the steps field.

Note that you can turn off any of the beeps/alarms/etc through the system settings if you’d like:


From a step counter perspective, here’s some numbers showing how accuracy looked like over a bunch of random dates where I wore multiple units at once:

Garmin FR15 Activity Tracker Data

DateGarmin FR15FitBit ZipWithings Pulse
June 11th 14,570 15,610 14,847
June 10th 14,067 15,752 12,099
June 9th 3,511 4,065 3,720
June 7th 27,766 29,194 26,751
June 6th 5,195 6,058 5,250
June 4th 3,039 3,236 2,900
June 3rd 4,614 5,664 4,747
June 2nd 3,173 3,312 2,880

Now, there’s an important thing that I need to point out, which relates to activities that track well and don’t track well.  As noted the FR15 is a wrist based tracker, and thus like every other activity tracker on the planet it depends on accelerometer movement to determine steps.  Internally it’s constantly trying to decide whether every single movement you make is a step, or just you doing something odd with your hands.


To that end, I think people need to realize that no two companies will be alike in their algorithms there – and that honestly most are pretty similar.  And further, it’s more complex for wrist based trackers than clip (waist) ones.  For example, wrist-based trackers won’t work well if you’re pushing a shopping cart or mowing the lawn.  And it’s plausible depending on how you wash the dishes, it might incorrectly pickup that.

But the thing is – I don’t tend to find that makes that grand of impact at the end of the day.  If you’ve got a goal like 8,000 steps or 10,000 steps – having an extra 100 steps washing the dishes isn’t make or break (no matter the manufacturer).  Sure, you could log an extra 1,000 steps in Costco on a Saturday and perhaps not get it accounted for (tip: push the cart with your other arm).  Thus, you’ll have to decide if that tradeoff is worth it.

My overall point is: No activity tracker is absolute to the exact step perfect – not FitBit, not Garmin, not Nike.  You should be looking at the bigger picture, and not focusing on a slew of smaller edge scenarios (like holding a shopping basket in a gas station convenience store).

Garmin Express (Desktop):

In order to synchronize data (both fitness activities as well as daily steps), you’ll need to install Garmin Express on your computer.  The application supports both Mac and PC, and is quick and easy to get installed.

Once installed go ahead and open Garmin Express, and then connect your FR15 to your computer:


This will open up a window asking you if you’d like to setup the FR15 within Garmin Express:


Assuming you press ‘Continue’, then it’ll go ahead and ask you to link up with a Garmin Connect account.  This is definitely required if you want to view any of the data that you’re capturing (especially the daily steps).  In my case I already had an account, so I just linked it to that.  If this is your first Garmin device, you’ll need to create an account (it’s free, and only takes a second).


Interestingly, for those that happen to have both a Vivofit and a FR15, it’ll ask you which one to take the step data from:


At this point, you’re ready to go!


By default anytime you’ve connected your FR15 to your computer and Garmin Express is open it’ll automatically sync to Garmin Express.  You can also just manually press that ‘Sync Now’ button too.  Though, honestly, it’ll already have done that for you.


And in the event there’s a new firmware update, you’d see it show up within Garmin Express.  For example, later this summer Garmin is planning to release a firmware update for the FR15 that will enable it to complete sleep tracking.  So you’ll be able to simply connect it to Garmin Express and have it update to gain that functionality.

Now that it’s plugged in and sync’ing to Garmin Connect online, let’s dive into that.

Garmin Connect Online:

Garmin Connect is Garmin’s free online training log and activity/steps log site.  It started in the GPS activity world, so much of the focus is there, but with the introduction of Vivofit back in February it expanded to include steps and sleep tracking, as well as some of the social aspects.

It received a user interface overhaul in February as part of that update, and as such looks a bit different these days.  Some users are still on the older version of Garmin Connect, but Vivofit and FR15 users automatically get the new version (simply because all the step-related activity isn’t there in the old version).

Once you’ve logged in you’ll be brought to this main dashboard.


The dashboard has a bunch of pods that you can drag around and customize.  For example you can see some of the reports at the bottom, as well as a pod showing one of my recent runs that I can click on to expand out.  You’ll see the leaderboard standing for my Garmin ‘Connections’ (which are kinda like Friends on a social media platform like Facebook/Twitter/etc…).

If I click on the ‘Steps’ pod I’ll be brought to more detail about my steps that day.  For example, here’s today…err..yesterday.

You’ll see that I far exceeded my goal steps of 6,493 (damn straight I did!), and then you’ll see the actual distance.  In this case, The Girl and I happened to go out for a long evening walk around the city, which bumped the numbers.  Further, along the way I earned a badge – the 500,000 Step Badge.  Meaning I’ve walked 500,000 steps with the unit (or rather, Vivofit + the FR15 in my case).


Down below you’ll see a breakout of my steps.  I walked a bit around 9-10AM to a meeting, and then was mostly working from 10-7PM, with a few brief spurts of steps around lunch time.

If I look at step trends over time (a link just below my screenshot above), I can pull up reports based on different timeframes.  And, I can change those to be calories or other activity-driven reports.



Within the social aspects I can follow certain people and then as a result I’ll see their activities and steps, or can mix and match what I want to see:


Changing the focus to activities all of my GPS and non-GPS runs will show up in the activities window.  From there I can select one to open fully and check out the details on.  I’ve gone ahead and shared this activity if you’d like to poke around.

In this case, a bit of a brick interval/tempo run from last night.  Starting with the top portion you’ll see the summary information along the left, and a map on the right. I can change the map provider to Bing or Google, and then also change whether it’s map view or a satellite view.


As I slide down the page I get to pace and timing details on the left, and then the post-calculated elevation data.  This is done after the fact online.

On the right side it’ll flag any Garmin Segments I’ve crossed.  These are not Strava segments, but rather Garmin’s variant instead.  Essentially you can compete against people on what are usually short route segments (often less than a mile, but sometimes up to a few miles).


Further down the left side is my lap data.  In this case I left auto-lap on, so it’s just showing my lap splits.  While on the right side you can see a graph of my paces.

Last but not least we’ll get weather pulled automatically from a nearby source and then you’ll see an elevation graph along with a heart rate graph.  You can go ahead and zoom in on both of these if you’d like within the site and examine them more closely.


Going back up quickly to Segments, I figured I’d briefly cover it since it’s Garmin’s newest ‘thing’.  Like almost all the Segments you’ll find in the city of Paris, they were created by me.  In this case I created this one 3 weeks ago, and, as of now it’s still populating the leaderboards.  I assume it might complete in the future, or, it might not.  It seems to be a common complaint right now on Segment leaderboards neither updating nor completing.  As I kinda like to harp on – the Segments feature will never catch on if this sort of stuff isn’t fixed.


Finally, note that Garmin Connect does include Training Plans for most running race distances, as well as triathlons and some cycling plans.  The plans are at various skill levels and different intensities.  These plans can be added to your online Garmin Connect calendar.

However, it’s important to note that the FR15 won’t actually walk you through those plans on the device itself.  So it’d be more of a paper thing.  Still, given they’re free and most of them are actually pretty good – it’s something to consider.


Last but not least, note that you can download and use Garmin Connect Mobile on your iOS or Andoid device.  This is Garmin’s mobile version of the site.  From the app it’ll pull data from the online site, but not directly from the phone to your FR15.  That’s because your FR15 doesn’t have any Bluetooth capability in it to talk to the phone.  So you first have to plug it in to your computer per above to see the data on the mobile device.  Nonetheless, still an option to check up on things.

20140611_235757000_iOS 20140611_235744000_iOS

Overall, I suspect most FR15 users will find Garmin Connect perfectly suitable.  As most advanced users will point out, it’s not the most detailed training analysis platform on the planet, but, for I’m guessing 95% of the population it works just fine.

For everyone else (like me), I can simply take the .FIT file from the unit and upload it to any fitness log site of my choosing (i.e. Strava, MapMyFitness, TrainingPeaks, Sport Tracks, etc…).  They’re all fully compliant with the fitness activity data.

Note however that at this time there still isn’t compatibility with the daily step activity data with any other sites.  The oft-requested and once rumored MyFitnessPal still hasn’t shown up.  Perhaps though with the first two of the direct sync partnerships finally being unveiled this past week, we’ll see MyFitnessPal and others pop-up soon.



As I’ve been doing on all reviews over the past year or so, I’ve been including a section on bugs and/or issues that I’ve seen within my timeframe using the unit.  Do remember that  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 considered a bug. In the case of the FR15, such bugs fall into one of two categories: The device, and the platform (app/site).

In the case of the device, things are really solid – I haven’t actually seen anything in a lot of runs, a few rides, and four weeks of step data.  So from a device standpoint, I’ve got no complaints at all – the device itself works spot-on for me.

In the case of the platform, Garmin Connect v2 (Modern) has come a fair ways since the initial Vivofit launch in February.  There are still some oddities (like the Segments feature I noted earlier), but from a pure FR15-specific bug perspective I’m not running into much.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean I like the new Garmin Connect.  It just means that I put up with it and that from a technical standpoint it does what it says – even if I don’t necessarily like how it does it.

Product Comparison Tables:

The FR15 makes things a bit tricky in that I actually have two separate categories in the product comparison tool – one for GPS units, and one for activity trackers.  While the GPS unit category already had line-items for 24×7 activity tracking, I did need to expand activity monitor product type slightly to accommodate it.  That said, it’s still two distinct product types for the meantime, thus there are two charts at play.

The first from the GPS product category is the FR10, FR15 and FR220.  I went with just showing Garmin-only units on this chart to show the progression of features more easily.  Of course, you can always make your own charts with any products in the product comparison tool here.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:21 am New Window
Product Announcement DateAUG 28, 2012May 5, 2014SEPT 16, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateSEP 2012May/June 2014OCT 31, 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSBUSB, Bluetooth Smart
Waterproofing50 meters50 meters50 Meters
Battery Life (GPS)5 Hours8 hours10 hours
Backlight GreatnessOKOKGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesNo
MusicGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Can control phone musicNoNo
Has music storage and playbacknONo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoNoYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Designed for cyclingBarelyBARELY (SPEED MODE ONLY)Barely (Speed mode only)
Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)NoYesYes (also has internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNo
Race PredictorNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNo
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Designed for swimmingNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)NO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)No (protected though just fine)
Record HR underwaterN/AN/ANo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Designed for triathlonNoNoNo
Multisport modeN/AN/ANo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeaturePace AlertsPace AlertsNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNo
Back to startNoNoNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Altimeter TypeNoneNoneGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)noNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
PC ApplicationGTCGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin Connect MobileGarmin Connect MobileiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 220
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Next, looking at the activity tracker category I went with the Vivofit, FR15, and Polar Loop.  All three of which support heart rate tracking during an activity.  Again, you can always mix and match your own products via the comparison table tool.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 27th, 2016 @ 5:04 am New Window
Body PlacementWristWristWrist
Data Transfer TypeUSBBluetooth Smart/ANT+Bluetooth Smart & USB
Bluetooth to PhoneNoYesYes
Has GPS built-inYesNoNo
Waterproofing50m50 Meters20 meters
Battery Life5 Weeks1 Year5-7 days
Battery TypeRechargeableCR1632USB Rechargeable
WatchGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Displays timeYesYesYes
Has time alarmsYesNoNo
Has smart sleep alarmsNo
NotificationsGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Smartphone NotificationsNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Workout guidance/coachingPartiallyNoNo
DataGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Step CounterYesYesYes
Stairs ClimbedNoNoNo
Distance WalkedYesYesApp Only (Added in update)
Calories BurnedYesYesYes
Sleep MetricsYesYesYes
24x7 HR MetricsNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Skin TemperatureNoNoNo
Heart RateYes (with HR Strap)Yes (with HR Strap)Yes (with HR Strap)
Optical Heart RateNo
Can re-broadcast Heart Rate dataNoNoNo
Skin PerspirationNoNoNo
Cycling SensorsYes via GPSNoNo
Action Camera ControlNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Web ApplicationYesYesYes
PC ApplicationYesYesYes
Mac ApplicationYesYesYes
Phone AppsiOS/AndroidAndroid/iOSiOS/Android
Ability to export/sync settings from computer/phoneNoYesYes
PlatformGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
3rd parties can access data via APIYesYesYes
Ability to export your data out of platformFitness: Yes, Steps/Sleep: NoYesYes
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin VivofitPolar Loop
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

And remember, you can always mix and match your own products via the comparison table tool.



It’s funny, I find that in general (no matter the brand) the products with the fewest features tend to do the best in my reviews.  Likely because those product teams can really nail those features and ensure they ‘just work’.  The more complex the product the more features and the more ways to screw up.

With the original FR10, it was the simplest product Garmin has really released in the fitness space – and it was enormously popular.  With the FR15, they simply took the FR10 and plunked a Vivofit into it.  Essentially taking another simple product and merging the two together.  With that, I’ve found it’s incredibly simple and has a really high ‘just works’ factor.

The only significant mistake I believe Garmin has made here is that they didn’t put Bluetooth into the unit.  Given that virtually all activity trackers these days sync via Bluetooth to your phone, the Garmin FR15 sorta stands apart as the lonely one without it.  It’s also a bit suspect that they aren’t including wrist-based pace while on a treadmill given the unit should be quite capable of it (instead of forcing you to buy a footpod).  And while I initially had complaints about skipping the sleep tracking functionality, Garmin has committed that will be added in a FR15 firmware update later this summer.

So while there are things I wish the FR15 had – like Bluetooth sync to my phone, if one understands those limitations up front there’s few things for me to poke apart.  And, if you understand that this isn’t a $400-$500 GPS watch, then your expectations will likely be met.  Which, in some ways goes back to the opening paragraph in this section: The more features that Garmin adds the higher the likelihood that there could be bugs.  With such a simple product I’ve run into virtually no bugs – and it’s great.

Thus, if you’re looking for an entry level GPS running watch that can also be used as an activity monitor this is the best one on the market today (albeit, it’s the only one on the market today).  And if you’re looking for an entry level running watch (and don’t care about the activity tracker piece), then this is still a very solid choice and would be among my top recommendations, especially given how few (virtually none) complaints I see from people on the running side of the FR10 (precursor to the FR15).

With that – thanks for reading!

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

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

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

Garmin FR15 (without HR strap)
Garmin FR15 (with HR strap)

(Note: There are a slew of colors available, simply select them from the dropdown on the site)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the FR15 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.

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.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. Egon

    Nice replacement for my Garmin 10. Thanks for the solid review.

    • Christine

      I’ve had the Garmin FR15 for one week now. I ran with it outside for the first time yesterday and I absolutely loved seeing my pace and distance. It really pushed me. But, here is my concern: I am not certain it is accurately counting my calories burned in a day. Even with a 4 mile run, and hitting 10 – 11,000 steps, I only burn 1600 calories. Does that sound right? I am a 50 year old female….. But, really?

    • Christine

      Sorry, I’m new to this and think I just replied to Egon when actually, anyone can help.

    • George

      Christine, Garmin uses a new measurement for counting calories. It looks at your heart rate plus age plus weight now, as opposed to how they did it in the past (basically, activity and weight and speed).
      I got a Garmin Forerunner 910xt, and my “calories-burned” just plummeted.
      It’s hard to see because that means fewer Twinkies after a workout for me. However, it makes sense because, as you get in shape, your weight will go down, your heart rate will decrease with similar exertion, and you’ll have to work a little harder and a little longer to get the same benefit. And that will be recognized in your heart rate more than anything else.
      It’s another little nudge to get us moving more.
      Which I need….

      (ALSO: Highest marks to dcrainmaker! Your reviews are absolutely amazing and much, much appreciated!!!)

    • Aaron

      I have had the watch for about two weeks. I started a run/walk program. I can set the intervals just fine BUT the alert volume is not very load versus the Garmin Forerunner 205. Am I stuck with the barely audible beep or is there a way to turn up the volume or a firmware update coming? I am looking at trading it in for a 220 because it has the vibration alert. But don’t want to spend the extra money. Any help on the alert volume on Garmin 15 and/or the volume/vibration alert on the 220 would be great. Thanks.

    • Jim

      Actually, you likely burned closer to 400 calories. The 100 calories/mile is a rough estimate but not too far off for most people. A Syracuse study found that men burned an average of 124 calories while running, and women burned 105 so maybe the 100/mile is a bit low.

  2. Joneil

    Quite happy with the Fenix 2 I picked up a month ago (thanks to your awesome in-depth review of course) and I’ve been hooked at everything you publish. Keep up the good work!

    • Jay

      I have a Fenix 2 as well and I’m thinking this Forerunner 15 would do everything I need in probably a smaller package. I don’t see the Fenix 2 on the comparison roller, though. :(

    • Sorry! Yeah, didn’t think to put the Fenix2 on there since it’s 2-3 times the price of the FR15, so most folks aren’t usually comparing the two together.

  3. Leo

    Am I wrong, or is this now the cheapest Garmin that has both GPS and HR?

  4. Jerzy Trzebiatowski

    I wonder if the activity monitor functions will be added in fr220/620 and fenix2. All of them have hardware needed to make it work. Have you heard about such possibilty from garmin?

    • In talking with Garmin, it sounds like to implement activity monitoring in those watches would be very difficult as the underlying low-power hardware mode isn’t really there to do 24×7 activity monitoring.

    • argh… that’s a pity! i would really like to see the activity function at the fenix 2.

      otherwise i find the FR15 quite cool – apart from the design. sure, it is designed as a entry sports watch, though it would be nice to see something like this in the more “premium” range. would really like to have a small, stylish sports watch, which also does activity tracking (as a secondary device).

  5. Michael

    Garmin FR15: To recharge the watch, I use the black USB cable with an ac adapter. I plug into the wall, bypassing need to charge via a pc or laptop.

  6. chris

    thanks for the review.. If interested in an activity tracker.. would you recommend this over the vivofit or polor?
    ??The biggest difference is the BT?

    thanks for all your reviews..

    • It really depends. It’s a full-watch (+ a GPS watch), so if you’re just looking for an activity tracker I’d probably stick with just an activity tracker (purely due to size and the BT sync).

      So if you don’t need run tracking, I’d go with the Vivofit or Polar Loop.

    • Gus Brecher

      I am looking at the FR15, polar loop and vivofit2. If you want to do indoor training you need the heartrate monitor on these, and the FR15 bundle comes in at about the same price as the other two once you have purchased the HRM. Seems like it is a no-brainer then to go for the FR15 as you get the additional functionality for no extra cost.

  7. John

    Thanks this solid review – as always !

    Though I still hesitate between FR15 and Tomtom runner cardio, considering that with the foodpod it’s about the same price.

    How (in)confortable is the garmin HR strap ?
    Which website between tomtom and garmin do you prefer ?

    • The strap is so-so comfortable. It was the original classic strap and most people find the new premium more comfortable (though, up till last summer, people would say that the new strap was less reliable).

      From a website standpoint there’s no comparison. As I note in my TomTom review, it’s pretty much horrible (TomTom website). However, both watches save to .FIT format, so you can use anything you’d like (free or otherwise).

    • i have no experience with garmins old HR strap, though have had several from other companies (which basically were all the same in my opinion). and the new HR strap version is much (!) more comfortable. i really would not switch back to the old hard plastic strap.

    • giorgitd

      Maybe I should try a soft strap, but I’ve never noticed discomfort from the ‘classic’ strap at all. Maybe any strap discomfort is overwhelmed by the discomfort in my quads/glutes/etc while I’m training!

    • Alfie

      I’ve utilized both straps and didn’t find the hard strap uncomfortable although the soft strap has a little nicer feel against the body but once you are running it doesn’t really matter much.

  8. rd

    Do you think there is any chance for Garmin to add the option to select a HR+Pace display page?

    • Hmm, I’d agree it’d be nice and I’d prefer it as well over the current config. I’ll poke around.

    • Haitz

      Very good review as usual…
      It would be nice to have the avility to modify the info of the display, combining the available info as user wants. Can you check with garmin if they are going to implement it in future updates?

    • Denis

      Yup! that’s what I usually take care about: HR + Pace.
      Ray, that would be really nice if you could push this to Garmin dev team.

    • I’ll bring it up, though I suspect they’d counter that for more customization one should look at the FR220. Said differently they don’t want to canibilize sales there.

  9. Lars

    Thanks as always for the review!
    How long does the battery last if the FR15 is used everyday? If one uses the given time ratio (840 h activity monitoring : 8 h GPS usage) and predicts three 1-hr-workouts per week one gets about 3 weeks before charging?

    • Battery life is always a bit hard once you pull in daily activity monitoring. For me I’ve been using it a bit more in sport more (60-90min per day on weekdays, 2-3hrs per day on weekends), plus daily activity mode. So I’ve been charging it slightly more than the average bear.

      But, you indirectly bring up a good point in that the battery life was increased with the FR15 from the FR10, where it was much smaller (4-5hrs at best) for GPS mode.

    • Franjo

      Can You also find out what once when battery dies? Is there some way to replace it?
      Thank You.

  10. I have used a Nike+ Sportwatch (that I think is about dead), and I liked the way the USB plug was part of the wrist strap. What can you tell me about connecting the FR15 to my laptop. Seems like a cord/plug/adapter is needed. Do you have any photos showing this connection? I suppose it’s not much of a bother, but I’m just unfamiliar with the set up.

    • Hi Paul-

      You can see a photo at the start of the “Garmin Express” section: link to dcrainmaker.com

      The FR15 simply snaps into the USB charger (seen in the unboxing section) and then it’s a standard USB plug into the computer.

      While Nike and a few other companies played around with the integrated charging port a few years ago (like a teenage phase), I think most have found it doesn’t really pan out well (in scale) long term. It was very prone to corrosion, as well as simply breaking off.

  11. Jim

    Two minor things to note.

    1) with battery life in the comparison table, the 8hrs for the Fr15 is with GPS on. It’s actually weeks using the basic activity tracking. It’s not like it needs to be charged every day.
    2) the goal display. On the vivofit you get the number of steps above or below your goal. On the fr15, it’s always just your goal for that day (i.e always 10,000 steps) (I’ve heard this from other fr15 users, so I don’t think it just me)

    • Correct. On #2, I thought it was kinda weird as well that on the FR15 it doesn’t simply just count down your goal. I don’t much care what my goal number is, rather, I simply want to know how many steps are left to it.

  12. Chris

    Looks like a solid entry product from Garmin. I’m wondering about the data/connectivity though (particularly in line with the other recents posts about autosync (and 3rd party software). I’ve been using a Forerunner 405 for years with Sport Tracks – the data doesn’t go to Garmin Connect, it just gets saved on my hard drive and imported into Sport Tracks (IIRC Garmin Connect wasn’t great when I looked). This, though, looks as if the data goes automatically (and ?solely) to Garmin Connect and would then have to be extracted from there, rather than from your own computer – is this correct ? (and if so, is this worrying about having to buy into the system and not just the watch). I’ve probably missed a bit over the last 4-5 years, but prefer to “own” my own data if possible. Thanks for the blog, Chris

    • Tim Grose

      It’s basically a USB device so when you plug it in to charge/upload to a computer you can see all your runs (in FIT files) and so decide so save/upload those elsewhere.

      So in that sense it is a lot more “open” than the ANT devices like your 405 (and also 310/410/910). All Garmin’s latest running watches (so also 620/220) are also USB. I very much doubt we will see ANT ones again.

    • Chris

      Thanks – always difficult to follow the ins and outs of connections without using the device, but that sounds reassuring,


  13. Chris

    Thanks !

    One thing : it seems a little heavy / bulky compared to fitness trackers in the market. Would you wear it all day long ?

    • I’ve worn it all day long for the past month, like any watch, you get used to it for the most part. But no doubt it’s bigger than most activity trackers – so it’s a bit of a tradeoff.

    • Chris, at 35 grams the FR15 comes in 11 grams heavier than my Vivofit – not a biggie. Feels pretty slim sitting on the wrist too. For everyday use in an office environment (shirt, jacket sort of thing) the Vivofit looks less out of place.

    • Jim

      I’ve worn a vivofit, with and without an FR10, and then switched to an FR15 the day I could get it, and IMHO, the FR10/FR15 is more comfortable to me than the vivofit. (when it comes to size/weight/etc)

      But I’m also a long time “watch” guy and wore something like a Timex “ironman” watch for many years. The only thing I’d change with the FR15 when it comes to wearability, is for garmin to offer a nylon/velcro band as they do for other GPS watches, as the band is plastic like about every wrist based tracker on the market, and the inside does get sweaty!

  14. MikeDozer

    I hope they will let us have screen with Time/HR and Time/Cadence combination. Than, this watch will be perfect.

  15. Gabriele lo faro

    Dear Dc rainmaker
    I’m close to buy the fr15 as my first gps device and heart monitor too. Could be possible and usefull a wtek sensor instead of the strap?thank s a lot.
    Gabriele from italy

  16. Bill-B

    Garmin FR220 vs FR15 for the casual runner? Is the 220 really adding features that one would miss that is not a hard core tracking nut?

    • It depends a bit. For example, for me the data screen configuration isn’t quite enough on the FR15 to use as my day to day watch. For my wife, she says she could almost get away with the fields provided if she could just customize which two items are paired together (as opposed to having preset pairings).

      Beyond that, it’s going to come down to things like custom workouts and training plans, live tracking, and Bluetooth smart uploading.

  17. Jeff K

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the great review! Awesome sauce as usual. My wife is a perceived effort runner and I’m trying to get her a little more into metrics. I bought her the Tomtom Runner yesterday because of the great deal, but I’m tempted to get her the FR15 too and then return the one she doesn’t want. For someone like my “girl”, the tradeoffs I see are:
    – Can it upload to phone? Here the Tomtom is the clear winner. (she has an iphone 5)
    – Are you interested in an activity tracker? She’s never tried one, but I think she would be interested. Then the FR15 is the winner.
    – Using the treadmill? I can only hope Tomtom will get better here (given your observations in the review) because I can’t see my wife using the footpod for the FR15
    – Comfort? I’m worried that your girl had issues with comfort of the Tomtom. My wife has VERY skinny arms. Was that just with the cardio version?

    Am I missing anything for the seasoned runner who desperately needs a just-works factor to get interested in metrics?

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Jeff-

      Yeah, it’s tough, the TomTom Runner is such a good deal through the end of the week it’s crazy. But, some of the tradeoffs are complex. I’m still surprised that TomTom hasn’t simply enabled an activity tracker mode. It’d be relatively easily, and I’ve confirmed with them that their chipset/unit can do a lower-power mode.

      For comfort, The Girl (mine) found she much preferred the FR10/FR15 to the TomTom from a comfort standpoint. There’s actually no difference between the Cardio and non-cardio from a physical site/fit standpoint. Identical watch structure/pod, simply one has a blank back and one has a little sensor in it.

  18. I love your in-depth reviews. It was your review of the FR220 that answered all my questions and convinced me to buy one, which by the way I (and my boyfriend who steals it for his runs) am loving! I’ve been waiting to hear about the FR15 ever since you gave us that sneak preview. Thank you for taking the time to give us such a good look at what this watch can do. I love the added activity tracker, it kinda makes me want one to add to my collection, but I think I’ll be able to hold off…

    Thanks once again for the review!

  19. Honestly, I can’t see the appeal of going for the FR10 at this point for casual use, since doubling battery life without increasing size or weight means that there’s a far higher chance that the watch will be ready for a run if you forget to plug it in. For only $35 more, all the extra stuff you get (that doesn’t make it harder to use as a running watch) seems more than worth it.

    • I completely agree. I also think that Garmin would be wise to slightly lower the price of the FR10.

      When the FR10 first came out it was basically at a premium of $30 on top of the glut of cheap sub-$99 GPS watches (Soleus, Timex Marathon GPS, New Balance, etc…). Some of those watches have shifted down into the $70-$90 range as a common price, thus the gap is now $50-60. If I were Garmin, I’d simply lower the FR10 price to $99 to better compete there that attract more people into the standalone GPS market (vs losing them to the cell phone or $70 GPS units). Just my two cents…

    • Tim Grose

      Somebody on the Garmin forums was reporting that in his country (somewhere in continental Europe I think) that they were offering the FR10 for under half the price of the FR15.

    • Yeah, I remember this. I thought it was in the UK though, but may be wrong. Either way I remember it was a pretty sweet deal.

    • Tim Grose

      This post link to forums.garmin.com
      So maybe not Europe!
      I see in the UK, the FR10 is down to under £70 with the FR15 around £120 so getting close to half price.

    • reina

      Very happy with my FR10. My ideal watch would tell me time of day when running – maybe when pausing – and would have a better gps . I don’t think I need to replace my FR 10 with a FR 15 , as for these two things they are the same .

  20. Sarah C.

    Do you know if the HR straps are waterproof enough to wear while lap swimming? So could you, say, put on the HR strap, leave the watch on the side of the pool, and have your lap swimming recorded as part of the day’s activity/calorie count? Thanks for this (as usual) awesome review.

    • Jim

      When you’re in water, the range of Ant+ is inches, IIRC, and even if you have the watch on your arm, it probably won’t work.

    • Sarah C.

      Thanks, Jim. Bummer on that.

    • Jim’s correct. The Strap itself is definitely waterproof (most triathletes wear them below during the swim).

      One thing I have tested recently is the Scosche and Mio Link optical HR while swimming, which if you wear directly next to your Garmin watch will record the HR data.


    how about the f15 strap design as compared to f10 strap issues?

    • Jim

      What were the issues with the FR10 strap? I think the FR15 has the exact same band as the FR10.

    • As far as I can tell, it’s the exact same band. But, I don’t remember any widespread issues.

      I know I’ve seen a handful of people, but I suspect that the FR10 has outsold just about every Garmin GPS watch (at least up til the 220/620, but I’m guessing then too). So based on a pure numbers game you’d see more people breaking straps (pretty much every watch ever I’ve heard of someone breaking a strap).

  22. Turn The Damn Cranks

    Can you turn activity tracking off to increase battery life? I’ve already got a Fitbit and have no interest in swapping my daily watch for a digital version. So turning off the activity tracking would be a big plus from where I sit. Can’t imagine I’m alone in this view either.

    • Tim Grose

      Yes you can turn off activity tracking but not going to make a great deal of difference to battery life as GPS usage in normal runs is the “killer”….

      Personally I quite like this device has 2 modes. I would not be interested in just an activity tracker but since I have in this, it is kind of fun to see how many miles I cover just walking about in the day. More than I thought in fact.

  23. Markus Korsholm Kristensen

    this is perfect for my needs, but I’m not buying it cause its incredibly ugly

  24. alex

    Hey Ray

    thanks for the review. Its always good suff to read.

    A question about the training plans offered from garmin: on my account, i cannot see any cycling plans – shure there are for running and triathlon. Do you know if there are any restrictions? I do have shurely enough devices (FR910XT, FR620, Fenix2, EDGE 1000).

    A note to your edge review: they calculate older times for the segments. But I think, they do it as a low priority job. In my recently created segment, 2014s times show up after a few minutes. Olders after a few days.

    But back to the FR15: Do you know, if there is a way to syncronize the watch during ANT (like the 910xt)? In my opinion, I dont want to clip on the watch to the computer every day (can lower battery life) but I certainly want to see the activity stats on GC.

    Thanks, guy!

    • No sync via ANT+ like the FR910XT. Garmin has moved away from that model for the most part because it led to increased support costs. While they sync with ANT+ with the Vivofit, it’s largely a secondary solution since most folks will simply sync with the phone.

  25. Tim Grose

    Unless I have missed something you can only download by plugging into a computer. Would not be too bothered about the battery life degrading. Have had nearly all the Forerunners over the years and some “died” but don’t recall any due to the battery going or that the life became really low.

  26. Ed

    I recall that there is a significant difference in the accuracy of calorie burn estimates derived from HRM and non-HRM (e.g. accelerometer) data. So in regards to the FR15:

    – does the FR15’s ‘activity tracking’ mode make use of (and record) heart rate data outside of an activity to calculate calorie consumption, assuming a heart rate monitor is connected?

    – assuming I wanted to collect data heart rate data over an extended period of time (~12 hours) but wasn’t concerned with GPS information, would this require an ‘activity’ to be started, or will the ‘activity monitor’ mode record the HRM data in a way that is accessible to the end user (e.g. through Garmin Connect as an XML download)?


    • No recording of heart rate data outside of a specific activity (GPS or non-GPS, but still in an activity).

      So yup, if you wanted to record HR for a long period, you’d just start an activity with GPS off but activity on. I’m guessing you’ll go quite the distance (easily 12hrs+). From there it’d simply save the file as a .FIT file, and on Garmin Connect you can export it to TCX/CSV.

    • Brian

      What if I want to use this primarily as an activity tracker (GPS off, step counting on, decent battery life), and simply be able to display the heart rate from my HRM without recording it. Will it do that?

    • No, unfortunately not.

  27. Scott Paul Roberts

    I have been looking at the FR-15 since your opening post. I almost have my wife talked into getting me this watch for Fathers Day.

    Your post should seal the deal!

    I enjoy all your posts. My wife tolerates some of my incessant reading of your blog.
    But ever once in while she can’t help but enjoy reading together with me about your picnics in Paris and your travels abroad.
    Thank you for all your work, I’m getting a GPS watch! Whoopty whoop as Ray would say.

  28. Luz

    Really bummed this only has the option to view either overall avg pace, instant, or lap. Wish the data fields were more like FR410 were you could switch between Overall Distance, pace , time and then switch to Lap distance pace time. Debating whether to return the product since I find it useful to have those options, the colors and appearance is the only plus for me. Will they ever update this?

    • Lots of people asked for it with the FR10, and never quite got it (though, lap pace was added to the FR10 post-initial release)

      On one hand I understand their business logic of the upsell to the higher end watches (i.e. FR220). On the flip side, with watches like the TomTom Runner priced at or below the FR15, I think the competition is increasing in this segment.

  29. Stephen

    Hi Ray,

    Really appreciate all your detailed reviews. You are without a doubt the best information source for endurance training technology products. Regarding the FR15, do you think the small green/black watch will fit a male wrist? It appears that Garmin may have created that color scheme for males with smaller wrists that might prefer the smaller profile watch. Thanks for your input.

    • For me, the smaller model actually does (just barely) fit my wrists. But then again, my wrists are pretty small.

    • Jeff

      I am literally wearing the men’s small version right now and am glad I chose this over the large. I have wrists on the smaller side and have confirmed through various sources (Ray being one of them, and the other Garmin) you only lost text size not any lines.

      Go with the small if you are on the fence, I love mine so far!

  30. Jay M

    I’m starting to hate “additional features coming later”. How do you feel most companies deliver on this promise?

    • I think in general within the sports tech world most companies actually do deliver on that promise. Where I think people tend to get confused/mislead is when a company talks about ‘potentially’ adding something, and people automatically translate that to “will absolutely do it, and will do it immediately’.

    • Jim

      Ray, this could be a reference to “call notification” on the Fitbit Force

    • True, though, I think in the FitBit Force’s case that was a very rare circumstance where the entire product was recalled (and, would be the largest sports tech device recall ever).

      I have no doubt once they release an updated Force, it’ll likely be there at launch, and probably be there for older gen users. Fwiw, call notification there was actually rolled out to some beta users.

    • Jay M

      Actually, I’m waiting on buying a couple things from Wahoo and Magellon. They have promised some Android functionality. I can’t stand Apple, but it seems 3rd parties are delivering more content to them, even though they supply apps to both platforms.

  31. Alfie

    Great review Ray! It lacks some of the features that I want in my running watch (will be getting the 220 for Father’s Day). But, I love it for the fact that it has the activity tracking in conjunction with the fully functional running watch so for me, it would make a great secondary watch, using it daily for tracking activities and using it for my business trips when I don’t need a custom workout plan. I will definitely look at adding this later on!

  32. Kim

    Can you shed some ‘light’ on the backlight of the Forerunner 15? I currently wear a timex HealthTracker and I LOVE the indiglo. This isn’t a make or break feature for me, but rather the only question I have that you didn’t hit on.


    • Yup, like Jim says it’s totally readable at night (did a number of night runs). You can tap the upper left button and it’ll turn on for about 10 seconds before automatically turning back off again.

      The entire screen is backlight, so it’s not just a little light in the corner like some cheap stopwatches. It’s not quite as bright as something like a 910XT, but again, completely viewable.

  33. Jim

    I’ll say the back light isn’t as bright as an indigo watch, but very readable in the dark….

  34. Nathan

    Does anyone know if the FR220 now auto calibrates a foot pod in the same way as the FR15?

    • My understanding is that it does at a high level (GPS based) – but I’ll get some clarification for the exact GPS calibration methods across the different watches.

    • Nathan

      Great – thanks Ray. Normally I’d always use GPS on my FR220 but it would be great to know that for the occasional indoor run my pace as reported from the foot pod is correct without me having to worry about calibrating it manually.

  35. Ray, I understand that you can keep in the watch up to 7 workouts and then you need to download your data. How many days of “activity tracking” can you store?

  36. Elina

    Thank you for the great review! I love the idea of combining activity tracker with sports watch and I’m seriously considering buying FR 15 as my first GPS sports watch. It is not ideal for me, as I very rarely go out for a run and am more of a cycling person, and I attend the gym 5 days a week on average (alternating between indoor cycling and functional training). I don’t feel that I would end up using the custom routes for cycling much either, but I do want to track the cycling speed and HR and at the same time I would like to have something relatively small to wear during my workouts at the gym.
    So after reading reviews for other Garmin devices (e.g. Edge 500), I have concluded that FR 15 is probably the the best option for me at the moment, although it is possible that I’m missing something important here? I’m not really experienced with sports watches, so if you have some advice on the subject, I would greatly appreciate it!

    • That’s tough. It sounds like you probably wouldn’t use it for much more than calories though while indoors (which is somewhat normal). While outdoors it’ll work for what you’re looking for.

  37. NR

    Thanks for your hard-worked review.

    I do not need an activity tracker. My primary goal is road running to keep my-self fit and improve health parameters. It seems to me that Forerunner 310XT has similar capability as far as measuring running parameters goes but packs more battery life and better navigational features within same price range. Only thing it lacks, is an internal accelerometer but again cadence is not necessary for me. So would you think 310XT will be better option than Forerunner 15 in terms of of ruggedness, reliability and accuracy ?
    Which foot-pod do you suggest for using in treadmill with 310XT / 15 for measuring distance ?
    From my past experience with Suunto, Casio watches, I have found that plastic / silicon strap breaks after 1-1.5 yrs of use. It would be impossible to find strap for Garmin in India, where I stay. Is it possible to store an extra strap each for Garmin & Scosche Rhythm Smart+ , or do these deteriorate with time even if not used ?

    Thanks again for your unputdownable reviews and travelogues.

    • Absolutely. The FR310XT is a far more capable watch than the FR15 is.

      As for a footpod, just go with the Garmin footpod (small one). On the FR310XT, I haven’t heard of anyone breaking the actual watch silicon strap portion yet. But if you do, you can buy an extra FR310XT strap for reasonably cheap. They hold up fine though.

  38. John

    Does the Garmin FR 15 work with the Mio Link? Thanks.

  39. Emma

    Thank you for all your brilliant reviews, very very helpful. I am currently in the market for my first (budget) GPS watch with the goal of running the Comrades Ultra Marathon (89km) next year. I have never run further than 21km, so I feel it will probably take me 11-12h to run this beast. I have narrowed it down to either the Garmin FR15 or the Nike+ watch. For the actual marathon I like the idea of the included foot pod with the Nike+ as the battery life in GPS mode is only 9h, whereas the FR15 is 8h. I have no interest in the activity monitor (FR15) but prefer the smaller design of the watch (I am put off by the ill-fitting strap of the Nike+ (as on your fiance)). What do you recommend?

    • HI Emma-

      Honestly…neither. Here’s why.

      For running that event you’re going to want a record of it (as you noted), but neither of those watches will deliver in that category. I’d look at something that’s able to go a bit farther. If budget is of primary concern, you can pickup the trusty little orange Garmin FR310XT – which while it might seem bulky I promise after about 1 run you’ll forget it’s there. Plus, the battery will go about 18 or so hours.

  40. Ray

    I just purchased the FR 15 and wish I had read the review first. You have provided a great deal of information here and I thank you for that. I tried it out today for the first time on a 6 mile walk and it was quite interesting to see the results on Garmin Connect. I have a Mac and it took me awhile to figure out why I could not view anything in the Garmin Connect Modern view… Thankfully I resolved that. I just ordered the bike mount as I wanted to get a unit that would record both bike and walking, sadly my running days are over, and thought this might suffice. I use my iPhone to record walks and rides, but that does kill the battery so I was looking for an alternative. Your comments on the way to set it up for biking were helpful. I do have a fitbit and will be interesting to see how they compare recording the steps taken. Again, thanks for a great review and I look forward to reading some of your other posts.

  41. Tyrell

    Hey Ray,
    The FR15 was almost a winner for me. It’s just UGLY OMG lol, but here is my question. Does the FR15 use the footpod for cadence or distance/pace? The reason I asked is because I am trying to use it as a reference point to calabrate my Adidas SpeedCell on Android. I did a test with the FR15 with Footpod, Adidas Speedcell with GPS and MiCoach GPS only (another phone). My results were FR15 1.17, SpeedCell 1.22 and Micoach 1.17. Every time I repeat the test with different millage the Micoach app with GPS only and FR15 match but the Speedcell is always off. Should I worry about the difference? I keep calibrating the footpod but it stills seems off.

    • It uses it for cadence both inside and outside, and for distance inside and when no GPS outside.

      That’s a little bit more than I’d normally like to see after calibration (I aim for about .02 per mile or less), but not horrible (not sure if you’re miles or KM).

  42. Brooke

    Thanks for the review. Has anyone used the FR15 for tracking distance in pool?

  43. I take it there are or will not be any sleep-based alarms(post-firmware update)? Or possibility of having that?

    i.e. my Jawbone will awaken me within a certain range from the time I set based on my sleep patterns/movements.

  44. Brooke

    The product description mentions it can handle water up to 5 meters though…False advertising

    • Sure, it can handle the water depth just fine (it’s actually 50-meters, or 5ATM). It just doesn’t mean it’ll track swim metrics (for that, look at the Garmin Swim watch).

  45. Brooke

    Thanks. So if I swim for 30 minutes it will tell me I did x number of miles. right? or are you saying it’s just waterproof up to 5m.

    • No, if you swim for 30 minutes, it won’t really tell you much. It may think you walked .10 miles, or it may think you walked 1 mile. It’s really hard to say, since it was designed to capture walking – and so when used on your wrist in the pool it’s not really going to know what to do with that.

      I’m saying that it’s simply waterproofed to 50 meters (aka 5ATM). Which means you can submerge the device up to that depth without killing it.

      If you’re looking for a watch that tells you how far you’ve swam in the pool, the Garmin Swim is what you want: link to dcrainmaker.com

  46. Brooke

    Awesome! Thanks for clarifying, seriously. Have a good one

  47. Mr Nofish

    “especially given how few (virtually none) complaints I see from people on the running side of the FR10 (precursor to the FR15).”

    It’s like the Edge 200, have you ever heard anyone complain about it? Not me.

    And to me it’s basically wasted money: it does not do anything that I want from a GPS bike computer, and yet anytime I hear someone talking about it they’re super happy. Expectations, I guess.

  48. Ann Walker

    Does anyone know if the alarms can be used to remind you when you’ve been sedentary too long. I have a vivofit and I like it but it’s easy to not notice the visual “you’ve been sitting too long indicator”. I can remind myself with a phone app but I as wondering if this device already that idea built in? Ideally I’d like to be nagged while sitting for >= 20 minutes.

    • Tyrell


      It will give you a single beep and display move on the watch as well. The beep is very subtle, so it may go unnoticed; however the Move! will give you a better heads up but of course you have to look at it. Basically it does, but don’t really count on it. Vibrating would have been so much better but also make it so much more expensive in terms of money and battery life.

  49. Jim

    As of today, Garmin Connect (the web version at least), allows you to link to MFP for calorie in/out info for the FR15 and Vivofit. The link to MyFitnessPal has been request since the vivofit first came out.

  50. Konami

    I have a Garmin heart rate belt that I used previously with a Forerunner 305. Should I be able to use this with the Forerunner 15? (I don’t know whether belts / transmitters are dedicated to a unique receiver, whether they have a limited life and I would be better of to buy a new one, etc.)

  51. Ray

    Tried my Garmin Forerunner 15 with the Heart Rate Monitor that came with it. Started out ok and got to a heartbeat of 94 BPS. Just hung there and then dropped. Tried to reestablish the connection but no luck. Finished that ride. Waited a bit and tried again. This time I made sure it was paired, the heart was showing …. Started off ok but as before as soon as it hit 94 it hung there no matter how fast or hard I peddled. It was connected as the pulse rate dropped down as I slowed down considerably and finally went back to 60 when I sat down. Have contacted Garmin and waiting to see what they say.

  52. William Tate

    Great review. I am really torn on what watch to get. I am going to run my first 5K soon. I’ve been training for a bit with the C25K app. I have really been wanting a watch for running though. I’d also like to be able to track off road mud runs too. I have been trying to decide between Forerunner 15, or the 220. It seems like all the features I really need are in the 15, but I do like some of the added things the 220 does. I like being able to sync the data without having to connect to a usb cord.
    I do have larger wrists, I wonder if one is more comfortable then the other. I do like the price of the 12 vs the 220 for sure haha. I just don’t know if I can justify spending the extra money for the 220.
    Do you think the 15 is more what I should start off with? I mean at some point I suppose I could always upgrade to the 220 or something else eventually. Being just a beginner runner, the 15 just might suit me best.

    • Tyrell

      The major difference I believe, and I am sure Ray will correct me on this is the ability to sync data and workouts via Bluetooth smart and live tracking. Besides that they both do the same as far as running. The 220 has more features like interval training you can program on the watch itself. If you only care about how far and how long you run then the 220 maybe a bit overkill. They both can use a footpod and HRM. The FR15 has the plus of activity tracking whereas the 220 doesn’t. I think the FR15 is perfect for your situation because it also helps with motivation (opinion) of course lol.

    • William Tate

      Looks like my wife went ahead and bought the 220 for me :) I guess that solves that! Thanks for the reply.

  53. Alyse

    Thanks for such an informative and thorough review. I’ll be using this post when I set my new FR15 up tonight!

    As someone that used to be primarily a treadmill runner and is now working on running outside more now that I’ve got the Marine Corp 10K on my calendar, I’m curious if there’s anyway to use the FR15 for a treadmill run without the footpod? I know it has the accelerometer but if I try to start a run and don’t have a footpod to pair it to, will it capture any data or am I better off just leaving it in activity tracker mode and using the HRM to at least try and get calorie data? I’d love to not buy a footpod but given that DC summers are ungodly muggy, I still want the option to wimp out and use a treadmill every now and then.

    I’m so surprised they didn’t set it up for the accelerometer to track treadmill/track runs. My husband uses a FR220 and his has is really pretty accurate. That seems like it would have been such a simple add to this device.

    • Unfortunately you’re in a bit of a pickle there without a footpod, since it won’t record your distance on the treadmill as an activity file, but rather just as generic steps.

      I suspect the reason they didn’t include accelerometer support is probably ‘business reasons’ (read: force people to higher end units). :/

  54. Alain


    First and above all, thank you for the incredible job you are doing here.

    51 yo, leaving near Marseilles. Just sharing here my experience in health monitoring.

    After a very serious problem, doctors told me to walk as much as possible to recover.
    First i get me a fitbit One.I make a rapid walk everyday, using a Zephyr HXM bluetooth HR paired to Endomondo on my smartphone, and another walk in the evening to top my 10000 steps fitbit goal when not too tired.

    I will get me a Forerunner 15 very soon thanks to your review.

    P.S : great job on the TV . We need to have a Rainmaker show more often :)

  55. Josh

    Just had my first run with this watch and it performed beautifully. Why is there no auto scroll and do you think they will add it?

  56. George

    Really really nice job on the review!!

  57. George S

    Great review!! Thanks! Has anyone run into an issue where the FR 15 will detect the heart rate monitor but not display or read your heart rate? I have a heart rate monitor that came with my old FR 305, and it works with the 305, but seems to be having issues with my brand new FR 15. Any suggestions? Thanks so much in advance!

    • Ray

      I purchased the HR Monitor with the FR 15 and have had nothing but problems with the connection. Wearing it in front on a bike resulted in dropped HR after a minute of so. Called support and they suggested wearing the monitor on side or back when biking. Tried it again and it was better but there were several instances when it dropped real low for about 6 minutes and then returned to approximate range prior to drop. The last time I tried it on the bike, the rate dropped to 70s and was intermittent. Tried walking with it and I had similar results with lows going into the 40s and 30s and back up to the 90s. Way to inconsistent so I am calling support again on Monday and will probably return it.

    • Any chance you can swap out the heart rate strap battery? It sounds like a bad battery (which, I know, should be new, but sometimes wonky things can happen in storage of the straps).

    • George S.

      I tried swapping the battery, but no change. found a forum where others were having similar issues , but no resolution as of yet there. am going to try a newer soft strap on tuesday. Will update afterwards. Thanks!

    • George S.

      Received a new soft strap HR monitor (Garmin) today, and it worked great! Recorded HR , no lapses. Issue must have been with my original HR monitor that came with my forerunner 305, 8 years ago! That strap worked with the 305, but not with my FR 15.

  58. Kev. S

    I have a HRM that came with my FR 410 – is this likely to work with the FR 15, not a deal breaker but would be nice to reuse?

  59. Felix

    Amazingly detailed review. Thank you so much.

    Can you please explain to me what happens if I continue to use my Vivofit for step and sleep tracking and use the FR 15 for activity tracking only (I mean to change devices before starting the activity)?
    Will the steps counted during the activity be added seemlessly to the Vivofit data or not? Will Garmin Connect add the steps from both devices?

    As soon as the FR 15 starts sleep tracking I guess I will switch devices altogether.

    • No, the steps in that case will be Vivofit only. The FR15 will (or should anyway) just act like any other Garmin Forerunner watch.

    • Felix

      Do I understand you correctly that the moment I switch the FR15 from step counting mode to activity monitoring it will NOT count my steps? I would have suspected to monitor my activity and still counting steps. 10000 steps each day would be hard to achieve if that were the case.

    • As far as Garmin Connect is concerned, correct. Unless something has changed in the last little bit – GC requires you to ‘pick one’ master activity tracker. This is the same as FitBit and others.

  60. Mark

    I just received the FR15, thanks for the review :)

    However, I have some troubles with Garmin Connect installation, crashes before the end. Anyone experiencing this issue ?

  61. Mike Frost

    Re. the footpod – is it possible to force the unit to use the footpod to deliver the live pace data when running outside (i.e. GPS just records route info, with the real-time pace info from the footpod)? Personally, I find a calibrated footpod as accurate as GPS (if not more so) and deriving pace from the footpod is more responsive than GPS…I note that Garmin say the footpod is ‘continually calibrated’ by the GPS, although it seems odd to calibrate the footpod using something that has its own errors – what’s wrong with calibrating using a known distance as per the FR50 / 60 / 70? Far more reliable to use a known distance, surely? Also, allowing the user to manually calibrate the footpod allows for slightly different calibration values to be used depending on intended pace / footwear / etc. At least if you calibrate it yourself you know where any errors are likely to lie – ‘continuous calibration’ sounds a bit too black box…you’d end up not knowing if the pace shown was over- or under-estimated, whereas with manual calibration you can control this….

    • The pace for outside comes from GPS, unless the GPS speed is 0. There isn’t a way to tell it to use the footpod for the speed source.

      I suspect the reason they do the continual calibration is that the vast majority of people (especially folks buying the FR15), won’t want to go to a track to manually calibrate it. Thus, with GPS it’s constantly calibrating – thus ensuring that if you wear different shoes/paces/etc, you’ll be more accurate.

      In this case, I suspect that ‘continually calibrating’, is actually what the other Garmin watches do, which is basically just filling up ‘pace buckets’ for calibration values at different pace ranges.

  62. Sam

    Does the FR15 continue to record your daily steps while also recording a GPS run outdoors? If not, it seems pretty useless as an activity/step tracker since it will miss counting a huge chunk of your daily steps.

  63. Arthur

    I have a 4-year-old FR210, and it usually takes more than 15 minutes to find the satellites. It never took less than a minute, but it is worse now. The firmware is up to date, and the watch is fully charged and at rest for five minutes before I start my run. Is the GPS chipset any better in the FR15? (I was sorry to see your comment that the chipset is probably the same as in the FR10, as I should think GPS should have improved in two years.) I have a fried with both a FR910 and a FR305, and she says the FR910 finds satellites much faster. That suggests the GPS is not the same from Garmin watch to watch. Is the 910 simply a better watch? Or diid GPS evolve between the models? On the FR210, the pace when I set it for instantaneous really bounces around. I guess it is using “smart” sampling. Is the FR15 going to any different from the FR210? Thanks for the review, and for giving me a chance to ask my questions.

    • I’d be willing to bet if you do a full reset on your FR210 that it’ll fix the satellite issues. That often solves it by telling the watch to reset the satellite cache, as it sounds like it has a bad unit cached in there.

    • Arthur

      You are right. Thank you. Now the search time is less than two minutes.

      I had to search to find the procedure to do the full reset, as the manual simply says to turn the watch off an on. Google to the rescue. Is there a better manual for the FR210?

      I am still interested in knowing if the GPS chipset has changed in four years. My first GPS was a Timex Bodylink System Speed-Distance GPS that I got in 2007.was separate from the watch, so I know things changed begtween 2007 and 2010.My guess is the GPS in the FR15 is not significantly different from my FR 210. Correct?

    • That’s unfortunately the full/only manual.

      As for GPS chipsets, they’ve changed a ton since then. Most newer watches on the market get satellite coverage between 3 and 20 seconds.

      The FR15 is a bit of an exception because it’s based on the same GPS chipset as the FR10, which is about 2 years old, but I think that was actually an older chipset.

    • Arthur

      By accident, I found your October 2010 review of trhe FR210. It was very helpful — partly because it talked about the different Garmin watches, including the FR10, which it appears was already out. It sounds like if I just want a “runner’s watch” the GPS capability of the FR15 is probably no better than my FR210.

      A limitation with both watches is having only one screen with three things displayed. I wear my Timex 30-lap watch on my other arm, which means I can have the time and pulse rate at the same time. I was given a heart-rate monitor strap that works on my FR210, but I cannot figure out how to get the pulse rate to be displayed during a run. Please share the button sequence (the manual is again useless, and all I see in your 2010 reort is a picture showing it is possible).

      Having a second watch with a running time might be useful when you are showing how long it takes a watch the flock in to the satelite.

    • Arthur

      Problem solved.

      A friend pointed me to a Garmin support page that told me there was a more recent version of the FR210 manual than the one I had (by a couple of years). It told me I can switch “pages” during a run to go between time of day, elapsed time during a run (plus distance and pace), and heart rate (plus distance and pace). This morning I tested it, and it worked fine. I had the Garmin set to the heart-rate page and my Timex on the other arm had the elapsed time.

  64. Mike Besser

    Great reviews. I am considering the Garmin FR15 for my 12-yr daughter who is taking a keen interest in cross-country and tracking her training stats. The basic features are perfect. My only hesitation is that she really does not use a computer/laptop … but only her iPhone. Have you found a good GPS watch that can be uploaded easily to in iPhone app? She loves using the Nike app … but she does not want to have to carry her phone on every run.

    • The best bet there would be the TomTom Runner (price drops to $150 on Tuesday, plus DCR 10% discount), or the more expensive FR220, which does sync with your phone.

  65. Jeremy

    Thanks for your very detailed review of the Forerunner 15. After the XT 910, I wanted a slightly less complex and bulky watch with more battery life when not in GPS mode and so far the Forerunner 15 has been a good purchase. The only 2 comments (and questions !) I have are that I cannot seem to be able to display:

    a) the current lap time (shows overall exercise time and the lap time when I hit the lap button but not the current lap time). I noticed in our review that you had the watch displaying the lap time (3rd picture under the Running Outdoors section). How did you achieve this ?

    b) once I have completed my race or workout and I have hit “Save”, nothing appears under History. I can only see the Fitness data (steps and calories, in my case showing nil results as I have disabled the Activity Tracker). Of course I can see the data online on Garmin Connect but nothing on the watch itself. Again, is this normal ? A bit of a bummer considering it’s nice to be able to review / compare data with your mates straight after crossing the finish line or completing a solid workout.

    I have studied the manual, watch settings and forums at length and didn’t quite find any clarification, hope you can point me in the right direction. Thanks again for your amazing reviews and keep up the training. Jeremy

    • A) Have you changed it to show your Lap Pace instead?

      B) Hmm, that’s strange. Should definitely show under history and then under ‘Today’ (or whatever day you’re looking for. :-/

    • Steve

      I’m having the same issue. One poster on the garmin forums indicates it is a bug and a futre software update will fix it.

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • Hayden

      I have the same issue. If you turn on Activity tracker then the Runs option in the History menu will show your saved runs. When Activity tracker is turned off the Runs option acts like the Daily Steps option. I emailed Garmin and the reply I received said that it would be fixed in a future software update. Basically, until they update the software you can see your saved runs on your watch if you leave Activity tracker on.

  66. Sariann

    Thanks for your awesome reviews!
    I thought the FR15 was going to be the one for me- I’m headed off on a trans-american cycle trip this autumn and this seemed like a great way to track our route, as well as replace my fitness tracker I’m currently using to train for the ride. Then I saw that there’s no BT connectivity, which will be an issue when I only have access to my iPhone for 2 months! Is there a watch that you think can perform the same functions with BT connectivity and an app? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately not without spending a whole lot more. From a watch with BT standpoint you’ve got the TomTom series starting at about $150, and then you’ve got the Garmin FR220 starting at $250. But neither provide activity monitoring.

    • Jim

      Will there be someone in the support car that has a PC? That way you can still sync every day. And you can see your data on an iPhone once your sync…

    • Sariann

      We’re going solo, so no support car. I think I’ve settled on a huge upgrade from the FR15, and am going with the FR620. With the new software update, it’ll support a cadence and speed sensor, and the new HR sensor system will be awesome for training. Thanks again for all the awesome reviews, they’ve been a great help!

  67. Nip

    Does one have to hook up the FR15 to a computer every day for syncing daily runs? Or does it have an internal memory which would remember your last few runs thus allowing you to sync every few days?

    Thanks for the in-depth review!

    • It can remember 5-7 runs, and 30 days of activity data (daily activity tracking).

    • Jim

      Yes, RM that is true. And you can also review the last 6 days (plus today) in the activity tracker history. I do wish they added Step records to the “records” displayed on the Fr15 though…. (best day, at least!)

  68. Dean Dillman

    I am confused. Under Swimming, you have “No” for the 15 and “No(protected though just fine)”
    Under Waterproofing you have 50 Meters for the 15 and 50M for the 220.

    So here are my questions. Isn’t 50M the same as 50 meters? (I tried to Google it but wasn’t finding the answer) If so, then why different in the safe for swimming categories. I am asking because I just ordered the 15 for my wife and the 220 for me. We like to go to the pool and want to know if it is safe to use them.

    • I went ahead and made the wording match (50 Meters vs 50M). 50M is simply an abbreviation for 50 meters.

      Same goes for the wording on being protected. Simply a case of me entering in the products manually slightly differently over time (years). I try and normalize it every once in a while.

      In short, any of those three products are perfectly fine to use in a pool while swimming.

    • Dean

      Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

  69. Tomas

    I live in Argentina, does this watch tracks satellites as well as FR220 while running????
    The blog is great, and reviews really useful !!!!

  70. Philip

    I used the FR10 for almost a year and apart from no HR facility and short battery life (5hr max) quite enjoyed the watch. Until the wrist strap simply fell off one day whilst running. I googled and found that there was quite a lot of similar complaints from other runners. It seems as if the mechanism Garmin uses to fix the wrist strap to the watch (FR10) was not so great. I am now very keen on buying the FR15 as it solves the short comings I experienced with the FR10, however, it seems as if the FR15 uses the same technology in fixing the wrist strap to the watch. Can you please confirm if this is true and also if anyone has had similar problems with the FR15 wirst strap that were picked up on the FR10.Great reviews – thanx!!!

    • Doug

      I think there will be a lot of disgruntled FR15 users in a couple of years when the wrist strap breaks.

      While not comparing apples with apples… both my silicon strapped Casio and Timex which were both used as day-on-day watches had the strap break around 2 years. It is not possible to get replacement straps and thus I have two perfectly functioning watches only I can’t wear them. NR made a similar comment in post #88.

      Paying $150 for a watch which you can’t wear? Maybe Garmin see that as a disposable amount of money?

      For Garmin it wouldn’t be too hard to make the strap replaceable? Why not make a feature of it with coloured wrist straps?

    • Jim

      The strap is replaceable. It’s the same strap as for the Fr10. About $20 US.

  71. Jennifer Clodfelter

    I’m a recent Garmin 15 user and noticed the following: I synced the device in the middle of the day and later in the same day. After the second syncing that day, on one of the graphs it showed the steps as of the first syncing that day, but another chart showed the total steps/mileage for the entire day. I would have expected that all charts would have been updated after the second syncing. Is this the way it is supposed to work or am I missing something?

  72. Henry Collet

    Is there a way to reduce the footpod promiscuity? I have one, and ran with my friend and his FR15. It picked up my footpod and now has unrequited love for it. He doesn’t have a footpod and hence it’s throwing things out. Try as we can, there doesn’t seem to be a well to tell the FR15 to just let go and move on; there’s plenty of more pods in the sea.


  73. Madeleine

    DCRainmaker, thank you for your detailed reviews. So helpful. I have been using a Polar FT7 for a 1.5 years & have absolutely loved it. It helped me track workouts and estimate calories and I lost 35 pounds and got back into shape. This year I got into cycling,running and fitness walking and got tired of draining my phone battery with MapMyRun, Endomodo, etc. I started investigating GPS watches. I had also been considering an activity monitor as well. The Forerunner 15 seemed like the perfect watch. NOT SO FAR. I know you said that calorie burn is typically within 10-20% difference range…I’m not having that experience. At low intensities (I use a treadmill desk and walk 4-5 hours a day at 1-1.3mph) the Garmin (with HR strap) is about 50% off (65 cal v about 110 cal for Polar for an hour’s walk). At high intensities it is 50% too high – example: cycling yesterday with HR strap for 42 minutes: Polar 458 cal, Garmin 1002!) I’ve done that ride dozens of times, and there’s NO WAY it burns 1000 cal. So, I’ve searched Garmin FAQ…no help. Double checked user profile – it was fine. DCRainmaker or others, any insight? I may have to return the watch if I can’t get it resolved. I really was hoping this would give me the benefits of the Polar, activity monitoring, and tracking/mapping outdoor workouts. Thoughts? The mapping function, distance, etc works beautifully. If its a matter of upgrading the watch to a higher end model to get better workout calorie estimates, I’d rather have that and eschew activity tracking. I’m not a triathlete and not a “serious” runner, but given how I track my calorie intake on MyFitnessPal and so forth, I need a reasonable approximation of calories to ensure I maintain my weight, etc. Thanks for any insight y’all can provide.

    • Calorie burn is always a tricky thing. The FR15 went with a slightly ‘cheaper’ algorithm than many of Garmin’s higher end watches (likely to save on licensing costs). I’d agree the Polar number for the desk sounds more likely, as does the cycling number (though, Polar perhaps a bit low there depending on your weight/effort). Unfortunately there’s little you can do if you’ve already changed the weight/age/gender pieces on the FR15. :-/

    • Ray

      I find this interesting as I did get the 15 with the HR monitor so I could get a good approximation of the calories I burn either walking or riding. I have used cyclemeter / walkmeter on my iPhone for years and used the app to calculate the calories burned. I tried other apps and most always come up with a different result, hence the purchase of the HR monitor with the 15. I figured this would give a truer reading. Unfortunately, as I posted above, the HR monitor did not function. Garmin was good enough to replace the HR monitor with the latest version, but I have just received it and have not tried it yet.

      I did do a 38 mile 3 hour 5 minute ride the other day and the 15, without the HR monitor calculated that I burned at 3,987 which I know is impossible given my age and the speed I ride. For the fun of it, I went to several sites that offer calculators to estimate the calories burned whilst cycling. The figures ranged from a high of 1,890 to a low of 1,648 with a few in the middle of the range. Even my limited test shows the watch over calculating by more than 50%.

      As you mentioned, the algorithm used by Garmin, which I have no idea how they calculate calories burned, obviously is inaccurate and cannot be trusted. I do realize there are two components to determining calories burned. There is the base rate which the body normally burns just by being alive. Then there is the rate burned by the increased activity of the exercise. One would assume that the calculations we see from the watch and on the calculators take this into consideration. There is a good site, Fitness Partner, that will calculate how many calories you burn per minute for 222 different activities from sleep to any of the other 221 categories. That shows me burning 1648 calories for the ride or 8.9 calories per minute.

      I guess all we can do is write Garmin support and register our concerns about the accuracy of the measurements provided by the FR 15.

    • Ray

      Just received a reply from Garmin, which clarifies the seemingly incorrect calorie calculation. As noted the 15 is designed as a running / walking watch and thus all calculations are done as if the activity is one of those. I did try today with the HR Monitor on and the calorie calculation again(1,943) was way off despite what the support person says. I checked the miles, time, etc. on several sites and for biking and most showed a figure around 840. I then went to a running calculator and entered the same data and the calculations were almost identical to the 1,943 figure. I can only assume that the watch will always calculate calories as if you are running or walking and not any other activity. I have written back to them for a clarification.

    • Carla

      Hi all – great review Rainmaker – thanks heaps!

      After reading your review – I just got this watch and the Scosche ANT+ HR monitor and I’m really enjoying them! But just a few questions about 2 niggles I’ve had

      1) When exercising – HR is registeringwell and reflects what my previous HR monitor used to do on the same track etc except that the calorie count is way out (under)- it seems to be based on either steps/distance and not related at all to my heart rate and so completely inaccurate. Eg today I took 20mins to go up a steep, rocky 1.13km hill at av 170bmp – and calorie count showed was only 75Cal whereas coming on a 2.05km track down the hill, also taking 20mins but with av 150bpm – it calculated 132 – essentially double the distance, double the calories – so clearly calorie count is based on distances or steps and not on intensity – which hugely defeats the point…!

      (my daily activity tracking is on – is this maybe why? Should this be deactivated during a HR monitored workout?. Is there any way to change this/software update planned so that calorie count when the watch is paired with a HRmonitor is based on HR as I’d be a lot more reflective of what’s going on?)

      2) Also – I’d like to be able to view time and HR(bmp) in the same display – this does not seem to be available as an option – is this the case or is there any way to do this otherwise?



    • Carla

      Just wondering if anybody had a similar experience to mine above/knows anything about this as it seems a pretty major inaccuracy for those looking to use it to calculate daily energy expenditure…and hopefully it’s either something simple I’m doing wrong or something they can fix with a software update


  74. MIke

    Thanks for the review!

    Am just wondering if everything in terms of data is compatible with the strava.com logging system. A few colleagues of mine use it and im wondering if this works with it?

    And by the sounds of things you can’t connect it with ANT+ cycling receptors or anything outside of shoe pod and heart rate monitor, is that correct? And is there any chance of further updates to allow it?

    • Yup, no problems with Strava – fully compatible.

      And correct, no cycling sensor support unfortunately. I definitely wouldn’t expect Garmin to add it, since they haven’t added it to their FR220 watch that’s $100 more. And they just recently added it to their $399 FR620 watch after a lot of pulling teeth and waiting 9 months…

  75. Kathy Townsend

    Deciding between the Forerunner 15 and 220. Does the 220 also track gym activities with the gps turned off with a hrm on? The forerunner 15 would be perfect for my needs but I really wish it would sync to my phone. That may be a deal breaker.

  76. ultan


    i’m pretty sure i’m going to order this watch. i was just wondering about taking it swimming in openwater and the article you have about placing a garmin watch in your swimming hat. will that work with this model? have you used it? can the strap be removed?

    thanks and great review.

    • Yes, it works. The strap can’t be easily removed – but I didn’t have any issues there. I actually used it for a swim a little while back, worked just fine.

  77. Artem

    Thank you for the review. Is there an option to switch between miles/km?

  78. Tom

    Fantastic review that has caused me to take the plunge after years of debating. This is forced on me also by the unreliability of smart phones to track.
    It was a tough choice between this or a Garmin 200 as I use mainly for biking however I do 3-4 runs a week so it will serve a purpose.

    Many thanks again for the review.

    Any idea when the sleep update is being released?


  79. Chris Furner

    Any idea if this device will support data transfer via ANT+ USB sticks?

    • No, it doesn’t support ANT+ transfer – and I wouldn’t expect Garmin to add it either as they’ve moved away from it for all newer devices.

  80. James Elling

    Hi DC, love your site definitely a go to everyday!

    I bought an FR15 the other week for run commuting through London. I’ve been finding that the GPS satellite selection can take as long as 8mins! Any ideas why this might be the case?

    I’m outside when I press start and keep totally still as I find any movement slows it down further!

    Has this problem been reported elsewhere?



    • That’s definitely far too long. If you haven’t updated your firmware, definitely do that. Failing that, try a soft-reset of the FR15, which should clear the satellite database and refresh it.

    • James Elling

      Thanks DC.

      I tried the reset (holding top left button for 15 secs?). Still no better this morning for my run. Would a built up area be the cause? All firmware is up to date.

      Considering sending back at this rate.

      Thanks again for your help!


  81. Txerra

    Hi !

    Can I configure the device for running 10 minutes in a heart rate zone 3, and walk 1 in a heart rate zone 1?

    This run/walk feature is in a loop (10 run – 1 walk – 10 run – 1 walk…. till I finish the workout)?

    Thank you

  82. Melissa

    Love your reviews – thank you for taking the time to write them!

    I sit at a desk all day and am interested in the FR15 more so from an activity tracker (to force me to get up and move during the day) rather than a running watch (my FR610 keeps me happy for running!). I’m a loyal Garmin girl, so if the small price difference doesn’t really matter to me, which would you recommend for activity tracking – FR15 or the Vivofit? Does the Vivofit have any advantages over the FR15 other than being smaller and cheaper?


  83. Melissa

    I sit at a desk all day and am interested in the FR15 more so from an activity tracker (to force me to get up and move during the day) rather than a running watch (my FR610 keeps me happy for running!). I’m a loyal Garmin girl, so if the small price difference doesn’t really matter to me, which would you recommend for activity tracking – FR15 or the Vivofit? Does the Vivofit have any advantages over the FR15 other than being smaller and cheaper?

    Thanks for all of your awesome reviews!

  84. Edorta

    Really nice review.
    Do you know if it is possible to replace the battery once it has fully discharged.?

  85. Hofmeyr

    Hi DC.

    Mailing you all the way from South Africa..Great reviews!

    I’ve recently taking up mountain biking as a sport to get my cardio levels up as I don’t enjoy running that much..I do Work out in the gym and hit the spinning bike daily..Do you think the Garmin FR15 would be suitable for my lifestyle as it can be worn as a day to day watch as well.It’s sort of the only reason why I don’t want a bike specific computer like the edge 500/510.. The FR15 has HR and GPS.. Just scared that because it’s not a bike specific watch id run into some issues with it later on and would regret not waiting buying a Tom Tom Multi-Sports Cardio (Not released in SA yet) or save up more cash for 910XT which at the end of the day has a lot of features which i don’t think I’ll ever use + It’s not really a day to day watch..

    Thanks for all the great reviews!

    • The FR15 is overall a pretty good fit, but I wonder if you’re also doing a fair bit of cycling if you’ll find more value in something like the FR310XT, which can be more easily mounted onto a handlebar using the quick release kit.

  86. rajo

    I am looking for a replacement for my broken 210 and still have a working foot pod and heart rate strap. I can buy the FR15 for about the same price as the FR 210. The ability to use the 15 for swimming and some of the other features makes the FR15 appear to be the better choice. My question is for runners how is the 210 better than 15?

    • The singular reason someone would order the FR220 over the FR15 is for the little interval feature. But honestly, I’d just memorize your intervals instead as the FR15 is a far better watch otherwise.

  87. Heath

    Since this device is USB, is it possible to use a USB to micro-USB cable and connect it to a smartphone for data download?

    Also, is it acceptable or recommended to charge via a USB wall adapter or does it have to be PC?

    • It depends on the device/phone. This post is most applicable: link to dcrainmaker.com

      The FR15 falls in the same camp as the Garmin Edge devices in those examples, with the notable exception that activity (steps) data will require a PC/Mac and/or Surface Pro device to upload (not Android/iOS based).

  88. Txerra

    Hi again

    One question, why intervals ( run / walk ) are of 10 minutes and 30 seconds as max? this is not useful ….

    Thank you

  89. Chris

    So, unless I need all of the additional sensors I would think the FR10 is still a good option for an entry level GPS unit? It appears to have better GPS acquisition and it’s also $40 cheaper than the FR15. Am I reading that correctly?

    • I’d agree – though no note that the FR10 doesn’t have daily (step/etc) activity tracking.

    • sissi

      thanks, thats something i wanted to find out too. beginner runner, twice a week, only need tracking distqnce, pace, route. if fr10 is not outdated, i will buy this instead. plus fr10 has one more color ;l

  90. Jim

    While many here are coming from a different GPS watch and are looking at one that also happens to track daily steps, I come from a different perspective. I started with the vivofit, and see the FR15 as the vivofit plus the other functions (GPS, etc).

    I’ve had an issue with the Fr15, almost since day one, and reported it to Garmin support, but in a number of exchanges with them, I don’t think I’ve even found anyone that even understand the problem.

    In the activity tracker/daily steps mode, there is a concept of a “daily step goal”. (How many steps you try to get each day, with the progress bar shown on the Fr15). And there are two ways to set this goal:

    1), make it a fixed number (say 10k steps/day)

    2) set it as an “auto step goal). When first set up, it sets your daily step goal at 7500 steps, and based on how well you been hitting your goal, your goal increases or decreases (if you meet your “auto goal”, the following day your goal is increased by a few hundred steps)

    #1 and #2 both work fine on the vivofit, and with my testing of a vivofit (on a second GC account, it appears that this “auto step goal” is actually calculated on the vivofit (the vivofit will show the new goal prior or a sync).

    #1 works on the FR15, but “auto step goal” doesn’t change with the Fr15. When I first reported this to garmin, my goal was “stuck” at about 7700 steps/day for a couple weeks. I tried doing a hard reset on the FR15, and my “auto step goal” has been stuck at 7500 ever since (and I’ve consistently been beating that goal by 2000 or 5000 steps. As an interesting note, if I look at my daily step history on the FR15, it does show my goal changing, but it’s like it figures that out at the end of the day, as “today” is always 7500 steps, and when scrolling through the display on the fr15, “Goal” is always 7500, and the progress bar is always based on 7500 steps.

    I know a few other people that are having the same problem, and have contracted garmin support by phone, but again, nothing.

    Anyone here having this issue? Even if you haven’t noticed it, you might see it happens to you too. Is your GC dashboard set for auto-step goal, and is your daily goal changing?

    Thanks in adavnce

    • Michael

      Hi Jim
      From day one on the FR15 I went on Garmin express and changed the goal to 10,000 steps. The only place it can be changed is in Garmin express( connect) When I often exceed 10,0000 steps it prompts “a new record” ( any record being set…. Is of course “new”).

    • Jim

      But there is the other option of “auto step goal” (not setting a specific goal). That’s what’s not working for me. I’d changed to a fixed goal (9500 steps/day) after getting nothing back from Garmin support on the “stuck auto goal”, and the Garmin folks emailed me to say that the reason Auto step goal didn’t work was because “auto step goal” was off! (it had been on up till that day.. :( )

    • Jim

      In fact, if you go to the same place your set your goal to 10,000, you’ll see a “switch” for auto step goal. If you turn that on, you’ll be started at 7500 steps/day, and for me, never changes as it should (and as it does with the vivofit)

    • Carla

      Perhaps there are bugs or something in certain watches…? Mine step goal started at 7500 then adjusts day to day based on my activity level (eg today my goal has been set automatically by the watch at 8339)

      All I did when the watch was new was turn activity tracker on and I’ve changed nothing in Garmin express – unsure if that helps you guys above, but perhaps it’s a problem with the watch/software itself?

      Has anyone noticed the poor calculation of calories when using a heart rate monitor (as per my query a few posts above? It seems pretty misleading to say that the watch will work with a HR monitor, count calories etc – but whether or not you have a HR monitor on it just calculates your calories burnt by using steps taken/distance – totally ignoring whether those steps are taken on a downhill/uphill which makes a huge difference to HR/calorie burn – feel a bit cheated… as I’m left having to guess calories burnt during a workout from my past knowledge through using my previous polar watch which wasn’t what I thought I was getting and certainly not ideal

      I’ve asked garmin a week ago and nobody has bothered replying…getting a little upset…

  91. Felix

    I bought a FR15 after reading this splendid review and now the watch is driving me mad.

    Every time a sync via PC the watch crashes and freezes 5 to 10 minutes after severing the USB-connection.

    It just keeps showing the time at the moment of the crash.

    I got a replacement watch, but this one has the same problem. Somehow I think it has something to do with the USB-driver on my Win 8.1 64bit.

    Does anybody had similar problems? The Garmin support is singularily bad taking ages to even send a prefrabricated answer …

    • If you can ring via phone, it’s far better than e-mail support. For two reasons: First, it costs Garmin more – and thus tends to cause resolution quicker because it drives home the point that something is broken. And second it gets a human on the hook immediately to solve your problem.

    • Felix

      My thoughts exactly. Already called them twice. They had no idea though and only exchanged the watch for a new one, which now lies frozen on my desk as well. :/ I was hoping, I wasn’t the only one. Being alone usally is not a good sign in terms of probability of solving something fast.

    • Felix

      Just a quick follow up. The watch (the second FR15 in a row that is) is crashing on one computer and it is loosing the ability to get a GPS-fix after syncing on my second PC and it wil sync data only by syncing it twice. Never on the first try. It will not work regardless if the firewall/AV are active or not.

      I have restarted the watch about 5 times a day. Only to restore core functions. Ridiculous.

      I will sell the watch and try to find some other watch that combines activity tracking and sports. :(

    • Chris Furner

      That is so odd. My wife’s watch has been solid, stability-wise, since she got it. Only issue we ever had was getting it un-paired to my HRM and paired to hers.

    • Felix

      Lucky you. The watch has really been a pain since I got it. Tried so many things with it. I’m really in doubt wether to buy Garmin again.

  92. Chris Furner

    Does anyone know how to change the HRM that is paired to this watch? My wife’s somehow picked up my HRM and now I cannot get it to forget mine so I can pair her watch to her HRM. I would like to find a way to do it without totally resetting the watch.

    • Simply go into another room/place and put yours on next to it and then turn it back on. It’ll give up trying to find the other one after a few seconds and instead find yours.

      Consider sticking hers in the Microwave (don’t turn it on), which blocks the signal very well.

  93. Txerra

    If it’s ant+ it must detect it. I Think it has not memoroy where ant+ devices are stored.

  94. Anthony

    I’ve had my FR15 for about a month now. It works great for runs, but also gets me off my butt during the day. The simple “move” really does help through the day.

    Last night, I fell asleep with it on and working just fine. With that, today it stopped reading steps and won’t find a satellite (doesn’t even get a partial bar). I tried to turn it off, it says “Goodbye” on the screen, but never goes off fully. The time and calories feature are working.

    Since I save my data to both Garmin Connect and Strava I was going to master reset it – but cannot find instruction. I tried to instructions for FR10 but it didn’t work. My battery is pretty charged, but I’m at a loss. I cannot find any trouble shooting for it on the Garmin site. With an evening run a few hours away, I’m concerned.

    Anybody gave any ideas?

    • Felix

      Hi Anthony. Welcome to the club. I a twisted way I’m happy that I’m not the only one. I experience exactly the same. Watch works but “not even a partial bar” when trying to get a GPS fix.

      The “solution” is to press the lights button for about 10-15 seconds. Then the watch powers down. Switch it on again and it works. For me it’ll work until the next sync only though.

    • Anthony

      Thanks Felix. That worked. However I am a bit concerned now that this will continue to occur. Although the “fix” you stated was quick and easy, its a bit annoying if it has to be done after every sync.

      How long has this been happening to you?

    • Felix

      Glad to be of help. I hope you have better luck with the product.

      This has been happening since I got the watch. On one computer it freezes after sync, on the other it just looses GPS functionality. Happens even to the exchanged watch I got from support.

      Very strange.

    • Jim

      What are you running on the PCs? (windows, etc?). Also, are you running anything special for USB drives? (the fr15 looks like a drive when plugged in)

      I had a problem with another device that looked like a USB drive to a PC, and what was happening, is that the PC thought something on the device was corrupt and the PC itself kept trying to “fix” the file on the “drive” (but that messed up the device!)

    • Mr Nofish

      I think most Garmin devices are abstracted as mass memory unit (disk drives). That is done on purpose as it makes easy to perform operations like fetching activities, uploading stuff etc. The unit can be then manipulated with any program, without the need of something proprietary like e.g. iTunes for the iPod.

      From time to time Windows will ask to check if anything is alright with the unit by launching its own built-in disk scanning utility (chkdsk). There is nothing wrong with that.

      If you take care to eject the unit every time you disconnect it (or, shut down the computer before disconnecting it), those checks should always come up clean.

      Otherwise, some minor corruption might crop up (and be fixed). It’s better to let those check runs because otherwise the unit might start malfunctioning if the file system gets corrupted.

  95. Felix

    Hi Jim. Thanks for your input. I’m not running anything special that I’m aware of. One computer runs on Win 8.1 the other on Win 7.

    The scenario you are describing would explain what I’m seeing, but I can’t think of any software that would do this.

    • Jim

      I know the first place I’d look would be the logs of any anti-virus SW you have running, to see if it might have “silently” fixed a “problem” on a USB drive for you (it could be a setting to do it silently). I know with the FR15, there is an AUTORUN file, and IIRC, the very first time I plugged in the FR15, I was given an option as to what to do with that “drive” by windows itself (it defaulted to just open “file explorer”) (I’m on windows 8.1.)

    • Felix

      Checked the log. Nothing in there though.

    • Mr Nofish

      Jim, that’s default Windows behavior from I don’t even remember when …95 maybe?

      Nothing to worry about. It can be disabled if you find it annoying.

    • Jim

      Actually, there were no USB drives in Win95. Win7/Win8 (maybe Vista) got real strict on USB drives, as the Autorun could plant stuff on the PC. USB support really just came about with XP….

    • Mr Nofish

      Nevermind then, somehow the way you wrote that comment misled me into thinking you never saw that dialog before.

    • Jim

      No problem! I’ve seen the dialog before, but I was thinking the person with the issue hadn’t. I started on a PC with 64k of memory back in the 80’s!

  96. Anthony

    Jim – I honestly cannot answer for sure. However, I have an Edge 705 and have not had any problem like this. If I am not mistaken, it comes up like a drive.

  97. GraceP

    Hi, thanks for the review! It was super helpful! I actually purchased one after doing some research. I just had a question though, I am trying to figure out how to just use the heart rate monitor for indoor gym workouts.


    • Yup, just simply turn off the GPS while indoors – that’s all you need to go. So while it’s searching tap the top right button which will then ask you if you want to go into indoor mode (GPS off).

    • GraceP

      I am not getting that option. So when I have the heart rate monitor on and push the top right button it will recognize the HRM and then start looking for location and then it will just go to the next screen where you choose start or cancel. I am not getting the option to turn GPS off.

    • iacedrom

      It should be the lower button on the right (at the point where the device is looking for satellites).

    • Sorry, yup. Was on plane when I wrote upper button with a unit in hand. Good catch.

  98. LadyBambam

    Hello! Was looking for a bit of help now that I’ve bought my Forerunner 15 and taken it for it’s first cycle. I am a 218lb 5’4″ female. Been exercising and using my fitness pal for a while and decided to take the plunge and get a good heart rate monitor to try and get a more accurate calorie burn than what MFP and Strava were estimating for me, especially as I’ve been using a rebounder and it’s very hard to find how to estimate an accurate burn.

    Went for a cycle today with the FR15 and the new premium soft strap. Did 12.9 miles in 1h10m with an average HR of 175bpm and a max of 191bpm. Garmin has decided this equates to a 2065 calorie burn! This seems like a serious over estimate, MFP estimates 735. I did change the activity on connect to cycling (which reduced the burn by nearly 1000 calories). Do you have any clue what’s gone wrong? I wonder if I have set my Max HR too low. Using online calculators I went for 179bpm but am at a loss really. Any ideas would be much appreciated!

    • Mr Nofish

      I wouldn’t get too fixated on the exact amount of calories spent: no system is accurate. I haven’t been running regularly for years now but I can tell you Strava significantly overestimates energy for cycling. I wouldn’t use the cycling calorie estimation either as the energy rates are very different.

      The most accurate calculations I’ve seen come from the FirstBeat algorithms that are only built in on the higher end Garmin units because of the licensing cost. You will find mention of all this in other comments to this post as well.

      Re: Max HR. Most formulas used by calculators are reliable “on average”, meaning that your max can be 20+ beats per minute higher or lower. The only way to determine *your* max is to look for it; this however is an exhausting and in some cases can even be risky.

      In my experience rebounding is often associated with excessive cuts in calorie intake, those are only sustainable up to a point, so you might have to rethink your approach to dieting there. BTW, if you can tell the difference between water weight and actual weight (this is actually harder for women because of the cycle), it might be more accurate to figure out your monthly calorie balance by looking at the weight you’ve lost.

      1g of fat is equal to 9 kcal, so basically if you’ve lost 500g over a month, your balance was likely around 500*9 = 4500 kcal. A pound is 453 grams, so 453*9 = 4077 kcal

      If you tried to estimate your total calorie intake you’d need a pretty accurate food log. And for calorie expense, you would need to figure out your basal metabolic rate and activity level/energy usage for the rest of the day, when you’re not exercising. If you’re already doing that, you can still use the results of the above calculation to check that you’re on the right track.

      Hope this helps.

    • Ray

      Unfortunately, the FR15 is designed as a running / walking watch and will not calculate calories for cycling correctly. As you noted, it way overstates the calories burned. The reason is that it is using your pace along with other data to calculate calories. Thus it is calculating as if you ran the 12.9 miles at a 5.25 per mile pace. I wrote support several times and finally got an answer that made sense… basically it is not a multi sport watch and will only accurately calculate running / walking. You can, however, use the data downloaded to Garmin Connect to get a fairly accurate calorie burned figure. The following site offers a variety of calculators as well as the formulas used to do the calculations. I did a bit of research and these do seem to be the most accurate. I still use my iPhone with CycleMeter connected to Scosche HR monitor you wear on your arm. It is both Ant + and Bluetooth so I can connect to several devices whilst cycling. The figures from the below linked calculators give me the same results + or – a few calories as CycleMeter and using the data from the Garmin FR 15. You can get a lot of other valuable information from the variety of calculators.. You can even calculate net vs gross calories burned. Give it a try I was going to try the free trial from FirstBeat but it is a Windows app and I use a Mac. Would have been interesting to see how that compared to what I am getting.

      link to shapesense.com

    • Carla

      Hi, Lady Bam Bam – related to your problem, but also as an answer to my issue above (172 I think?)

      After 2 unanswered emails – I was just on the phone to Garmin for an hour trying to explain what the issue with the watch was – (essentially during exercise when the watch is paired with the HR monitor, why it doesn’t use HR data at all to calculate calorie burn – ie why when you’re cycling your calorie burn is way too high – as it thinks you’re sprinting and for me running up a really steep hill is hugely underestimated (as it thinks I’m going for a stroll on the beach) – It is completely ignoring the HR monitor leading to huge over or underestimates unless you’re walking or running on a dead flat surface (pretty limiting if you ask me!) – This could be either leading people to think they’re burning way more than they actually are and frustrating their efforts to maintain/lose weight or dangerous if people are already on a significant calorie deficit and they’re getting told that they’ve burnt 100’s less then they actually have – could lead to serious calorie deficit, ketosis, sickness and a lot of confusion and frustration there also!

      I was so frustrated with them, they didn’t understand the problem, then tried to explain to me how calorie burn is not related to distance but to intensity which can be measured with HR (yes I know! that’s my point!) but then couldn’t explain to me why then they were selling a watch that they marketed as an exercise watch ‘compatible with HR monitor that you can use to track distance, HR and calories burnt’ when clearly it doesn’t estimate calories burnt with any reasonable accuracy – mayaswell got a basic pedometer or $80 activity tracker!

      I requested that they considered releasing a software update that would mean that when the watch was in ‘exercise’ mode and paired with a HR, that calorie burn be calculated as simply as taking the average HR, and calculating calories burnt based on that HR level over the time measured (taking into account user age, gender, weight – there are many datasets with this information already estimated and there are various equations used to estimate calories burnt when you have this information) – it’d be a pretty basic software update

      This would be way more accurate than continuing the let the watch calculate calories burnt based on distance/steps as it does during the day to measure your daily ‘goings about’. This seemed to stump them and is probably unlikely – but I think it’s really disappointing as many of us bought the watch thinking we were somewhat getting a ‘two in one’ device where we’d have something to track daily movement but a reasonable exercise watch which, yes – though focused on running – would, when paired with a HR monitor, give a reasonable calorie burn based on intensity of any training while in exercise mode.

      If this rings true with anybody else out there and you are also frustrated – why don’t you please let garmin know as if enough of us complain and voice our disappointment with the product and essentially being quite mislead as to what it was capable of doing, then perhaps the software update will become more likely. I never would have bought the watch and am sure many of you wouldn’t have if it said ‘Calorie-burn during exercise mode will be based on how many steps as if you’re travelling on a flat path’ – useless!

      Hoped this has helped some out there understand why their calorie burn is all over the place, despite forking out for good HR straps!

    • Andy

      I wonder if you try to do the exercise with GPS off. I have been doing this with an indoor bike and it seems to be tracking my calories from the HR monitor. Just a thought.

  99. haley

    So when you go for a bike ride, does the watch tell you how far in miles you have gone?

  100. Gail

    Thank you for an excellent review! I’ve been very happy with my Forerunner 10, with one exception — the battery life. I’m a slow runner, 67 yo female, and the battery died during my marathon plus on a couple of longer runs. I think I will replace it with the 15 to overcome this annoyance.

  101. Kevin

    This is great blog, thanks!

    I’m in the market for an activity tracker. I have a Garmin 405CX presently. I also use Linux (ubuntu) exclusively and, although getting the data off of Garmin devices in linux is imperfect, it has proven possible with the right combination of Garmin product and linux software installation elbow grease.

    I’ve gathered from the comments that there is relatively easy access to the FIT files on the FR15 via USB. To confirm, is that correct?

    Regardless, I’ve not read anywhere whether the FIT files contain the step data or, if not, whether there is an easy way to access the step data without requiring Windows or a Mac and a Garmin Connect account. Of course, its the daily activity data that distinguishes the FR 15 from your basic GPS exercise watch and it would be shame if I couldn’t get to it.

    Would you, or anyone else following this fantastic thread, know about direct access to the activity data on the FR15?

    • Yup, correct for fitness data. Just simple USB mass storage device – no drivers needed. The challenge as you guessed is getting the step-data up, which requires Garmin Express. So while the data is sitting right there on the watch, I’m not aware of any other way beyond Garmin Express to get the data to Garmin Connect.

      Additionally, getting firmware updated would also be a bit trickier (not impossible, since folks often post the .GCD file here and there to grab the updates from, which wouldn’t require anything more than USB access).

  102. Kjetil

    Thanks for the great review!

    This watch was almost perfect for me, though its missing a few things imo. Price is great though.
    The 220/620 with activity tracker would be just perfect..

  103. Paul K

    Great review, thank you

  104. Atanas Danev

    Is there another activity Tracking and GPS device, that is better than Forerunner 15?

  105. Jennifer

    So do you like the Nike + watch better or the FR15? I use Nike + now on my phone to track my runs.

  106. Hello, could you please confirm that FR15 shows current lap time when configured to display average lap pace? I had a FR10 with the same configuration capabilities regarding pace/speed but no current lap time were available.

    Thanks and sorry for my english.

    • slaentbjorn

      I am also wondering if the watch can display current lap time and/or current lap distance?

    • Hmm, I’m trying to figure out how exactly I got that to display actually now that I try again (love that I actually have a photo of it though!). I think it’s only showing in auto lap and not manually lap, but sitting here at the airport and don’t have an easy way to trigger the autolap at the moment. Will try again in the next day or so. Sorry!

    • Frank Jones

      I’m almost certain you can’t display current lap time on the FR15. The picture in the review looks like it’s saying just over 10 ( miles?) have been run in a little over 12 minutes which makes it seem that it is displaying current lap time, however, a closer look at the time suggests it is 1 hour and 12 mins for 10 miles which fits in with the display showing total run time. The hours are displayed in relatively tiny numbers! (Ray, I’d really appreciate it if you could confirm that.) Anyway, come on Garmin, lots of people want to be able to display current lap time and it would be dead easy for you to do this in a firmware update so how about making us all happy please?

    • Frank Jones

      I’m almost certain you can’t display current lap time on the FR15. The picture in the review looks like it’s saying just over 10 ( miles?) have been run in a little over 12 minutes which makes it seem that it is displaying current lap time, however, a closer look at the time suggests it is 1 hour and 12 mins for 10 miles which fits in with the display showing total run time. The hours are displayed in relatively tiny numbers! (Ray, I’d really appreciate it if you could confirm that.) Anyway, come on Garmin, lots of people want to be able to display current lap time and it would be easy for you to do this in a firmware update so how about making us all happy please?

    • Frank Jones

      I’m sure you can’t display current lap time on the FR15. The picture in the review looks like it’s saying just over 10 ( miles?) have been run in a little over 12 minutes which makes it seem that it is displaying current lap time, however, a closer look at the time suggests it is 1 hour and 12 mins for 10 miles which fits in with the display showing total run time. The hours are displayed in relatively tiny numbers! (Ray, I’d really appreciate it if you could confirm that.) Anyway, come on Garmin, lots of people want to be able to display current lap time and it would be easy for you to do this in a firmware update so how about making us all happy please?

    • Frank Jones

      I’m sure you can’t display current lap time on the FR15. The picture in the review looks like it’s saying just over 10 ( miles?) have been run in a little over 12 minutes which makes it seem that it is displaying current lap time, however, a closer look at the time suggests it is 1 hour and 12 mins for 10 miles which fits in with the display showing total run time. The hours are displayed in relatively tiny numbers! (Ray, I’d really appreciate it if you could confirm that.)

    • Frank Jones

      Aarghh! Stupid phone was telling me this comment failed to post so I tried again, and again. Turns out the comments were posting fine all the time. Sorry about the repetition.

  107. I bought the FR 15 partially based on your review. I wanted a simple exercise watch and also an activity tracker. I bought the watch and a soft heart rate band separately. I really like the new HR band – very comfortable. The watch performs fine with one exception. I take it off overnight and when I pick it up to put it on, it has already recorded between 300-600 calories. What’s up with that? I don’t need it to be super accurate, but it seems wrong just out of the gate. Any ideas? (Also, thanks for your great reviews. I always read your site when I’m in the market for a new watch.)

    • Jim

      What you’re seeing first thing in the AM are the calories based on your BMR. The difference between 300-600 is probably due to what time (how long since midnight) you first look at it.

  108. Ray

    Your BMR is the the amount of calories that you burn while you are at complete rest and not digesting any food. In other words, BMR represents the amount of calories your body must burn to simply keep itself alive without accomplishing anything. You also have to be aware of Gross calories burned and Net calories burned. Most exercise apps and watches will report Gross calories burned, which includes your BMR. To get a better estimate of calories burned during a particular exercise, you need to subtract your BMR for the activity duration from the Gross calories to get the actual calories you burn during exercise.

  109. Mercedes

    Hey there! Do you know if this uploads well to Strava for cycling? I want to find a good GPS for running/cycling that will upload well to Strava. If you don’t think this is a good match, what other watches would you suggest? I’m also not trying to spend too too much unfortunately /:

    Appreciate the help!!

  110. Andy

    I just got this, it is awesome, thanks for the great review! One question, I am not a fan of the skinny band (width wise), do you know if the garmin swim watch or fr70 band would fit? Or any other wider band?

  111. Barbara Linde

    Thanks for the detailed post. I did a quick glance and will get into more of the details on this later, but I was just wondering if the FR 15 and 220 are waterproof or water resistant up to 50m? thanks Barb

  112. Adam

    Does your OS recognize this as an external bulk storage device when you connect it to your PC, thus enabling manual uploading to Strava etc? I run Linux, but my other Garmin devices have worked fine for manual uploading, even when I couldn’t get the opensource version of Garminconnect to work. This is not the case with Suunto, which 1. doesn’t seem to recognize the watch as a simple external drive with data that can be manually extracted/deleted (even when connected to a Windows OS, I have to do everything through Moveslink/Movescount, which annoys me, no direct interface with the device’s storage and 2. requires Moveslink to access many of the higher-order settings for the watch itself (understandable given how difficult it is to configure complex settings with four buttons and a tiny screen, but quite annoying for non Windows/Apple users). All I really need are reliable pace, distance, chronograph, autolap, a 7+h battery, and easy manual uploading to my PC/online log. This looks like it fits the bill! Thanks as always for the great work.

  113. Dmd64

    Great info. Question does the gps work in Western European counties?

    • Felix

      Sure it does. Whyever not? ;)

    • It depends. I find the highest level of success with GPS when the country name stats with letters of GPS. For example, Portugal starts with a ‘P’ – so you’re good there. Same with Sweden, being ‘S’. But if you look at Germany – that’s a bit of a gray area. The reason is that while Germany in English is a ‘G’ and would normally be safe, spoken/written in German it’s Deutschland, and thus a ‘D’, which is definitely no mans land. Very similiar with Spain for example, since that’s ‘Espana’. Thus, do be careful when planning trips.


    • Felix

      Rainmaker is only making fun of you of course.

      The G in GPS stands for “global”. Works mostly all over the world because of that. Only over the poles the GPS coverage is rather poor. But I guess there are only few sportsmen up/down there. ;)

    • I am. :) It happens on only 3hrs of sleep….

  114. JayGear

    Thanks for your review! Is there any way to get the FR15 to auto scroll through the info pages (Time/Distance, Pace/Calories and HR/HR Zone)?

    I find it annoying to have to keep pressing the button to view different stats while running.


  115. Otis

    Hello thank you for detailed review. I was disappointed to see that I cant see my running cadence in real time via the screen. Do you think Garmin can/will add this functionality via software update in future?

  116. Becky Walsh

    I love your site and reviews by the way! I have a question that I hope you can help with regarding GPS watches. This might sound crazy but I’m a hiker and walker, not a runner, but I love all the info I have been getting from MapMyHike when my husband and I go around the country to various locations to hike. But battery power sucks. And so does carrying the cell phone around. And a two hour hike is about all I can record. We are headed to the mountains in October and plan on some 6-10 excursions. I’d like to find a reasonably priced GPS watch that would do the following.

    (1) fast reliable GPS that would map my hiking route and record the elevation, pace, and distance with splits for each mile.
    (2) allow me to download the info every hike when I get back home each evening and see it on a map and keep that info indefinitely.
    (3) auto pause. so that I don’t have to press stop and start repeatedly.
    (4) I’d like to be able to see on the watch face distance, pace, time together.
    (5)bluetooth syncing with my computer (is a want, but not a must)
    (6) I want to be able to sync it to MapMyFitness and some of the other social sites.
    (7) And lastly price… of course I’d like not to spend more than I have to, but I want a quality product.

    Walking (and possibly biking eventually) will the be the only sports I would use it for. No swimming .

    Any suggestion would be truly greatly appreciated.!!! Thank you!>

  117. Becky Walsh

    oops also meant to say that I’d like to know if there is a way to recharge any of the GPS watches during a hike, or say midway while you rest before you head back down the trail? We usually take a 30 min break before heading back down the mountain.

  118. Massimiliano

    Hi, I got the Forerunner15 since 2 weeks and I like it as a “easy on the go” GPS watch during my business travels to use beside the 620.

    The watch works fine and gives you the data you need, however I think the calories data is not taking care of the heart beats even if you wear the HRM strap.

    I got always over-estimation of calories from the 15 compared to the 620, so I think the 15 do not take consideration of the data got from the HRM.

    Do you have the same feeling?

    • Carla

      Hi Massimiliano

      I wrote a bit about this on post 255 – it does’t use your HR at all to caculate calories, it either uses steps or distance (unsure which) – so it is completely inaccurate (bit annoyed, their advertising material indicated that it worked with an HR and calculated calories, leading us customers to think that it would give a reasonably accurate calorie burn calc during exercise, but no – it’s a real shame, as I had a HR monitor already and just wanted an daily activity tracker/step counter to keep me from sitting too long during the day and believed that I was buying a ‘two-in-one’ so to speak that I would be able to use for both, but it’s hopeless if you need to know what you’re burning during exercise

      (join me in complaining! – maybe if there’s enough of us, they may do something about it! It’d be a reasonably basic update)



  119. Jonah

    First off, I want to thank you for your detailed reviews. I have a question on what watch you’d reccomend me… Im digging the gr 15, as I am looking for something good for budget purposes. I’ve never had a gps watch but I want one for the upcoming XC season. I just ran a 7.5 mile race with my rival/friend (in xc, your best friend is your worst enemy) and I had no idea what mile I was on. I have a hard time focusing when I run, so ill work on that but I need something to alert me every mile. I don’t want anything too perplexing or that I won’t use (i.e. I think heart rate is useless), but I want to be able to see my history on the watch, and perhaps ill get into having it mapped out on the computer if I find that useful. I want to keep track of records and it be light weight and easy to use when racing 2 miles or 5k. I like having a calorie count of my walking around but thats not necessary. I want it to look nice and be wearable all day, and if I end up with the fr 15 I need to know if its too bulky. It looks nice in the pics, but my wrist is about. 6 inches around (I’m 13) so I don’t know about the large or the small. Ive currently been wearing a non-gps timex iron man triatholon wr100m with the plastic strap and i wear it sinched down to the second notch so its kinda loose and i push it up almost to the middle of my arm. I like to bike but running is priority (ill get a seperate device for biking if i have to). Ostensibly, the gr 220 and the nike are the best to choose from according to my friends, but after my own research, I like the gr 15. Note Im not running crazy distances like half marathons… Yet, but i want to be able to expand my athletic prowess and interests without outgrowing my watch.

    I also looked into the garmin 305-310, the 220, nike, new balance nx 950, and the timex run trainer 2.0. I hope you can find some consistency in what I’ve looked at and make a good recommendation.

  120. Art

    I see that now the FR210 and FR15 are roughly the same price. Is there any reason to buy the 210 instead of the FR15?

  121. Denis

    Question: Does FR15 support scosche rhythm+ HRM? Thanks for the indepth review!

    • Jonah

      Yes, and from what I’ve heard, they make a great combination, actually
      dcrainmaker did a giveaway once I think with them together.
      link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Carla

      Hi Denis

      They do ‘work’ together and you’ll be able to see your HR during and get all your HR data at the end etc but it will not give you an accurate calorie burn based on your HR, it will still only calculate it based on steps/distance – so if you’re doing hills or hoping it’ll still be able to calculate your calorie burn while riding/working out other than walking/running on the flat, then it’s completely inaccurate – so just be aware if that’s an important feature for you

      (as it was for me, hence the disappointment/anger with it – as I thought the garmin advertisement material was pretty misleading by saying it could be paired with an HR monitor and calculate calories..sort of leads to a reasonable and fair assumption that it did this together with the HR monitor, but nope – just counts your steps and works off that)



    • Denis

      Hi Carla,

      I got the same calories count problem with my FR610 paired with Scosche Rhythm+.

      I got my rhythm+ before June 1st this year. Later DCRainMaker announced that Scosche have found the problem in pairing with Garmin and are exchanging Rhythm+ units free of charge for new new ones with the updated firmware. I just bought a new one and now calorie count is OK for me.

    • Carla

      Oh wow – thanks Denis,

      I’ll look into that – the lady I spoke to at Garmin did seem to indicate though that the FR15 was calculating ‘correctly’ and that it wasn’t designed to calculate calories burned from HR…but she took a long time to understand the issue and to find that ‘information’ out – so I suspect she didn’t have much of an idea what she was talking about.

      I guess the question is whether anybody reading this, uses another HR monitor with the FR15 and gets a reasonably calorie burn that they think is based off the HR are not off steps/distance.

      (DCRainmaker – are you able to please please add anything to this discussion if you know…?)



    • The FR15 does indeed use heart rate to calculate calories. However, it does this with a slightly different algorithm than some of the Garmin watches – which is likely where the Garmin person got confused.

      With the FR15 Garmin developed their own algortithm (same as the Vivofit actually). This is differnt than most of their higher end watches (i.e. a FR220) that use the FirstBeat algorithms, which are licensed from FirstBeat.

      In general, FirstBeat tends to be more accurate. By the same token, for me, I found the resultant calorie values pretty darn similiar. For most people they end up being about the same. Though, I have seen a few people here and there that aren’t (and off considerably).

      Of course, in terms of calorie expenditure there’s not really a 100% right answer. Every company (Garmin/Polar/Suunto/etc…) claims to be correct, and all have really smart people working on it. Assuming you’ve configured things like age/gender/etc, then there’s a chance you fall into one of the edge cases (each company has them) that result in wonky values.

      As for the Scosche, if you are using that, you should be fine assuming you bought after June 1st. The easiest way to tell is that on a Garmin device it’ll show crazy-low values (like 10 calories for 10 miles of running). Alternatively, in the event you still have the box there’s a green sticker/dot on the bottom that indicates an updated unit. If not, you can simply contact Scosche support and they’ll ship you out a new one, pretty easy.

  122. Mountainrun

    I am considering bying Garmin Forerunner 15 for use outdoor on mountain trails.
    Does the watch have a mode to show on display the coordinates of your current location (longitude/latitude)?
    I don’t see a reason why this would not be possible given it already has a GPS!
    Surely this would be useless 99% of the time but could be a life-saver in certain circumstances.

  123. Set

    Hi I have just got one after reading your review . Thanks.
    I have put in on charge before its first use and after 4hours it is still charging. Is this normal? How long do I leave it on charge for?

    • Jim

      When you take it out of the cable, what does it show the battery level to be? It doesn’t change it’s display when it’s in the charger and fully charged.

  124. set

    Hi Jim. Thanks.
    I took it out of the cable as I needed to come to work and the battery shows it is not full . Have 2 bars instead of 3 I guess. I thought it would stop flashing when fully charged like most mobile phones. Mind you this is my first GPS watch and I have been running for 2 years. I will have to put it back on charge overnight when I get in later tonight.

    • Gail

      Hi Set — I don’t have a 15 yet, but on the 10, it does stop flashing when fully charged. I would think the 15 would be the same.

  125. set

    Hi Gail. Thanks.
    I managed to charge it for another 3 and half hours. That is a total of 7 and half hours so far and it is still charging. I hope by tomorrow it will be fully charged. How long did it take to fully charge your 10 before the first use?

    • Jim

      Gails right The fr15 is like the fr10 in that the battery indicator does stop flashing when it’s full. I never noticed that before, but it’s probably because I rarely charge it to full charge. I plug it in for maybe 15 minutes when I’m at the computer. You can set it up and use it even before it’s got a full charge, and then just charge it overnight to see if that shows it as full..

    • Gail

      I was trying to remember how long it took, and I’m a little vague on that — sorry. But if I deplete mine almost all the way with a long run, it does take a long time to fully charge — like 3 to 4 hours, I think. Jim’s idea to charge it overnight is good – I’ve done that a lot. Possibly the 15 would take longer to charge because the battery life is longer? That’s just a guess – I have no idea if there’s a correlation!

  126. set

    Ok. Thank you Gail and Jim. Will see. If by tomorrow it is still not charged up I will have to take it back.

  127. Just as a heads up to folks, Garmin released a firmware update today for the FR15: link to www8.garmin.com

    Changes made from version 2.30 to 2.40:
    Fixed an issue where the automatically generated steps goal could get stuck on one value.
    Fixed an issue that could cause the watch to stop counting steps.
    Fixed an issue where runs in history were not displayed correctly if activity tracking was disabled.
    Fixed an issue that caused the move alert tone to sound even when alert tones were disabled.
    Fixed an issue where the watch would fail to connect to an older version of the HR monitor.
    Fixed an issue where movements shown on the Garmin Connect sleep graph could be exaggerated.
    Changed the battery icon to stop animating when the battery is fully charged.
    Updated translations.

    Whats strange is that it shows a July 29th date, but I don’t remember or see any mention of it prior to today. So I think it’s just a wrong date (happens quite a bit for some reason with Garmin).

    • Jim

      I knew there was an update coming (per Garmin support), but wasn’t this also the update where Garmin was to add “sleep tracking”? Your point about the sleep graph being exaggerated would only apply if the FR15 could track sleep! :)

  128. set

    Hi Gail and Jim.
    Problem solved. Spoke to a colleague who has an FR10 and he told me that sometimes a laptop is not powerful enough to recharge certain devices. So I bought a 2.1 A Dual USB (it is basically a plug with a USB connection at the side). Thanks again!

    • Jim

      As a side note, Garmin just issued their 2.40 firmware yesterday. Per the release notes:

      “Changed the battery icon to stop animating when the battery is fully charged.’

    • Gail

      Glad you found a solution! Also make sure you update the firmware per Jim’s comment. That could be the problem right there. Thanks, Jim!

  129. Jonah

    I hate to be a bother, but I’m seriously depending on a reply to my first comment to get a watch. I’m definitely new to gps watches so please do check my comment to see if you can tell what I’m looking for. Thanks so much

    • Mr Nofish

      Sounds like you’re expecting someone else to pick a watch for you: hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works. If you have a specific question, then ask it: be concise and go straight to the point. If not, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of the various devices, and how well they might fit to your needs and wants: you can’t reasonably expect otherwise. Good luck.

    • Jonah

      Thanks for telling me that, I ended up with the 220 and it’s great!

  130. Manfred

    How about the 7 activity history stated on the Garmin FR 15 specs. Does it mean just 7 activities may be stored. I usually does not take the computer with me to vacation where i might do record every day one activity (running, cycling, hiking) – it would not matter about the specific setting for a mode to that activities. But if the watch is full after 7 activities it is useless for such purpose. Can you check what happens if you are going to record more than 7 activities.. Is there a limit of how many data may be stored (7*8h would be logical).

  131. Samantha

    I’m having a problem with syncing, and I apologize if this was already addressed. I’ve been trying to get this to work for two hours and I’m just stuck. I plugged my watch into my Mac as usual, and it came up with all the messages that the data was synced and in Garmin Connect. But when I went to Garmin Connect there was nothing there. It didn’t sync any data. After trying a reboot of my computer and the watch it eventually uploaded my step total, but there is no break down and it also did not sync my run from tonight. Now that it’s a new day, it seems like the watch no longer thinks the step data from yesterday nor the run are ‘new’ so it won’t sync it. Has anyone had this problem? I posted on the Garmin Forums and sent an e-mail to Garmin Support, but I never seen helpful responses on the forums and I’d like to have this fixed before next week. If anyone has any insight it would be incredibly helpful.

    • Kristina

      I’m having the same problem and it’s really frustrating. It uploaded my very first run properly, but now Garmin connect won’t recognize any of my GPS activities as a run. It just sees them as steps. My watch (FR-15) says that it’s a run…..I have no idea what’s changed in my settings.

    • Kristina

      I think I may have figured it out after a few hours of a lot of frustration. There is a Garmin Communicator Plugin that you need to activate. Just google it or go here: link to www8.garmin.com

      Once you download it, you need to activate it so that it works all the time (just doing it for the one webpage won’t work). If you’re using Chrome, type in the address bar: chrome://plugins, find the Garmin Communicator Plugin and select “always allow.”

      or go here: link to support.garmin.com and follow the directions to always allow plugins for whatever internet program you’re using.

      I needed to reboot after doing this for it to take affect.

      I was able to upload my past runs in Garmin connect. With your watch connected, just go to the activities page and select import. Go to your Garmin Device, open the ACTIVITIES folder and select any of the .FIT files. Continue to do that for all of the files that you want uploaded. I could view all of the details of the workout as normal after that.

      I haven’t tested whether or not it will work after a run automatically yet, but I’m very happy to not have lost all of my data and hopefully, at the very least, I have a work around. Hope this helps! Feel free to contact me if my directions weren’t clear.

  132. JM

    so let me get this right, I can use the FR15 to track calories in classes such as Bootcamp,TRX, barbell as long as the GPS is off is the correct?

  133. I owned a Forerunner 210 and used it for running and cycling, unfortunately was stolen recently. Wondering if the Forerunner 15 would be a good replacement? I mainly just want a simple setup that can upload to Strava, has HR compatibility and strong battery life. Would you recommend the 15 or another Forerunner? Thanks!

    • Definitely a solid option for a FR210 upgrade. In many ways, the only thing the FR15 doesn’t have that the FR210 does is the interval mode. Beyond that, it has tons more features.

  134. romain

    Hi, my girlfirend just offered me this watch for my birthday. It’s really a good device, and it follows me in every run i do. Very nice and complete review for this product, Also many explainations of the options that were not in the instruction manual, maybe the only bad thing with this watch. I know better how to use it now.
    Thanks from France,

  135. Is there any way to turn off the search for heart rate straps and footpods? This morning I went for a run with the other half and my hear rate and cadence showed up on her activity (and on mine). Failing that, is there any way to remove the heart rate and cadence data from an activity in Garmin Connect?

  136. Joanne

    i was almost going to buy the FR15 but i want to check if this watch best suits my indoor workouts. I do mainly crossfit training and having a watch that can be program for internal training, and measure heart rate (therefore measuring calories burnt) is crucial. i’m not keen to wear another HRM on me(and i appreciate if Garmin feels this is the best way to mointor heart rate).
    As for outdoor workouts i’m mainly just doing running(no intervals or laps, and i don’t observe cadence or any stats like that)

    Is there a better beginner watch that the FR15 that can suits my needs for indoor and outdoor running requirements? I do like the activity level monitoring/step count in the FR15 but this feature is not a show-stopper.


    • Tyrell

      If Crossfit is primary, I wouldn’t recommend the FR15, but if it’s running then the fr15 is pretty good. The problem I had with the FR15 is the true versatility. On paper it seems like you can use it for just about anything, but in reality the watch is focused on walking and running. With Crossfit your heart rate will spike and slow down a lot to which the accuracy of calories burn probably won’t match your performance. I recommend the polar loop for Crossfit and use a phone app with running if possible. I guess it’s all about your primary focus.

    • Joanne

      Hi Tyrell. thanks for the response. I take it that the Polar Loop doesn’t have GPS?

    • Tyrell

      That is correct. If they did “man” would that be a device worth buying. The polar V800 is pretty much everything a fitness enthusiast would want; however at a very high cost ($450). Depending on how much you run and the amount of accuracy required will depend on how important a running “watch” would be of an importance. I feel phones do a very decent job if your running for fitness and not competition.

  137. Mark R

    FYI – Clever didn’t accept your discount code. They lost the sale to Amazon, and you didn’t get the credit you deserve for an excellent review.

    • Thanks Mark-

      As noted in the summary and on the sidebar, there’s a handful of products (7) where the manufacturer (Garmin) requests the coupon code doesn’t work for. However, you can still save the 10% as well as support the blog simply by using the VIP program instead. Only takes a moment and also benefits Girls on the Run.

      Appreciate trying though!

  138. Sara

    Your review was great. And to see that Garmin had fixed the history not showing if activity tracker turned off. I mainly want to see distance and time. Unfortunately my FR15 shows distance but then on the hour reverts back to zero to start another hour. The full time shows on Garmin connect. I contacted Garmin re was it a setting issue and they told me to do a master reset but that made no difference. Do you have any ideas? Is it a setting that I have done – would really appreciate your help as i have a 42km trail run in a few weeks and would like to see a continuous time!

    • Gail

      Sara, are you sure it is reverting to zero? I don’t have the 15, I have the10, but when it gets to 1 hour, the 1 is VERY small to the left of the minutes and seconds. It might easily be missed unless you look closely. Just a possibility for you to double-check.

    • Sara

      Thanks very much Gail I will check.

  139. Why does it have to be so UGLY?? Looks like a £5 watch.

    Also no bluetooth. Garmin, you’re not even trying.

    • Mr Nofish

      I don’t like the looks either, but Ray pointed out clearly that it’s basically an upgraded FR10, so it shoulnd’t come as a surprise they look almost exactly the same.

      BTW if it looked sexy and had BT, plus the activity tracking stuff while retaining the price point, who would buy the 220 ?

  140. pts

    i’ve been thinkin’ about buying a GPS watch for my running..narrowed down to 2 model/brand, Garmin Forerunner 15 & Nike+ Sportwatch GPS (both within my price range) but don’t which one is good to buy !! any suggestions ? thks in advance…..

  141. CJ

    Ray – awesome review, much appreciated. I’ve been burned by previous Garmin chest straps and am wary of buying the bundle for the FR15. Will a Polar chest strap work with the FR15? And if so, which one? Thank you!

  142. CY

    FR10 /FR15 does not have the same chipset

    FR10 / FR15 is the same as the battery capacity

    But FR15 takes longer because the FR15 is a low-power consumption chipset

    FR15/220/620 ‘s GPS update file same M426 and same VER.

  143. Erin Bentrim

    Are the run/walk intervals preset? The forerunner 10 only allows 30 second increments. I’m looking for one that allows more flexibility with the run/walk and perhaps provide 15 second intervals. Thanks!

  144. Jacinthe Laberge

    Hi, I just bought a Garmin Forerunner 15 and I love it! I thought for sure I would be able to transfer data from my Garmin watch to my mini iPad, as I do not have a PC. Is there any Garmin or other attachment I can buy that would allow me to do this? Thank you very much in advance. I find your reviews extremely helpful!

    • Unfortunately not. The iOS devices won’t mount the FR15, even using something like the USB camera connection. Out of luck there. :(

    • Jacinthe Laberge

      Oh no. I should have done a better research! Thanks anyways! I just might trade my iPad for a tablet

    • Jim

      More research may be needed. The FR15 only works with windows or mac PCs Maybe one on the Windows surface things, but it’s got to be able to run Garmin Express. No Ant+ or BT with the FR15. You got to plug it in to a PC that knows it on the USB level!

  145. Jacinthe Laberge

    Thank you Jim! I now realize my mistake! I should have inquired before purchasing the FR 15. Should have done a little research. Thanks again!

  146. d grant

    So how do I actually use it at the gym? Do I just turn off the gps and press ‘run’

  147. John

    i want to use this watch to measure my kitesurfing speed and record the path i traveled. wondering if FR15 and Connect can display the speed along the route i traveled? Will it display max speed on the watch during my run/cycle exercise?

    I also like to record my path on flight. will it display the speed right ‘cos airplane speed is much higher than bicycle speed!

  148. Kim

    Hello, Do you know when the sleep tracker will be available as an update?

  149. Kathy

    I’ve got the Forerunner 15 and am enjoying using it. The battery indicator has disappeared though which is very frustrating considering the battery life isn’t that long. I saw another comment from someone with the same issue and it occurred after they upgraded to version 2.4. I couldn’t access the responses so not sure if this is a recognised issue or something I should be worried about. Mine is also version 2.4. Is this related? Will I get my battery indicator back? Thanks.

    • Jim

      It seems (from what I heard back fro Garmin) that if the battery indicator disappers, it means the FR15 has a full charge. If you wait (or use GPS for an hour), the battery indicator comes back, possibly with the top segment off…

  150. Emily

    Thanks for the in-depth reviews on the various options out there. I went with the FR 15 based on your tests and so far, I like it.

    I use it to track regular activity and steps as well as walks/biking (commute). I like the interface of Garmin Connect. It’s fine as far as those go and it does have the sleep feature now. I plug in my to bed and rise times and it graphs the moments during those phases. It is not, however, an analysis of sleep quality, just a graph of movement during the sleeping phase.

    Overall, excellent entry range watch for a casual active person like myself.

    So, a nice thank you from Dijon, France for your time and precision in reviewing products :)

  151. pts

    bought F15….great watch but i didn’t see any sleep tracking option…its only allowed me to set my sleep-time at garmin connect !! not so ideal…….and anyone know what is Lap Key ?

  152. Carla

    Does anybody know whether you are supposed to be given any heart rate data per split when you upload your workout in the Garmin Connect. I get pace, distance and Cal’s burnt per split but no max HR or av HR data over the lap (horribly inaccurate Cal’s mind you as they don’t use your HR to calc calories burnt, unless you turn the GPS off and then it seems to get a lot better, but so frustrating and misleading as per their literature, I thought I was buying a watch that would track your location and use your HR to calc cals at the same time – but alas no apparently it will only reasonably do one or the other, not both).

    It’s frustrating to only be able to get max HR and av HR for the workout as a whole and not by lap as it doesn’t give you much info to work off in understanding your HR during intervals/over the actual training section of your workout (excl warm up and down) – or is there a way I don’t know about?

    I’ve been waiting for a response from garmin on my queries since late June/Early July now – service is absolutely horrendous. Really disappointed I bought this watch – it does so little compared to my my 6 year old polar (only a mid-range, around $300 at the time – think it’s about $100 now!), I regret my original idea of ‘upgrading’ the watch, thinking I would pretty much get what my polar was able to do with added GPS, daily step counter – so far from it :-(

    • On Garmin Connect, simply click on the ‘Splits’ tab at the top.

      Here’s a direct link to a FR15 workout of mine, showing them: link to connect.garmin.com

      (As for Garmin support, it looks like you’re down in Australia, which is indeed horrendous there for you. It’s an issue I’ve brought up multiple times to them, and will also be bringing up again in two weeks with their executive team again. I don’t know why the US Garmin support is so great, and the AUS/NZ support so horrid. EMEA support varies between so-so to good.)

  153. Carla

    Thanks for the response rainmaker – I wasn’t able to view your link – it just directed me to a login window, but when I click that tab, The column headings that I get are:

    Split Time Moving Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace Calories

    …no HR information…

    Yeah – I’m really disappointed with the watch – shocking calorie calulation, completely ignoring HR unless GPS is turned off and then not being able to give HR information by split, means I essentially have no information that is useful for anything! When they do finally get back to me, I’ll be asking for a refund due to complete misrepresentation about what the watch can do.

    Scosche have been excellent, they even sent out a new HR sensor in case this was all related to their side of things (didn’t change anything) – is their HR sensor compatible with Polar?

    Thanks for all the work you do (though I’m not so sure I agree with you that this is a good watch!)

    • I’d really look at calling them instead of e-mail (that’s advice I give for any company to be honest).

      That said, it does work and does record HR just fine. I’m not sure why the link isn’t working, see this variant here: link to connect.garmin.com – and then click Splits.

      Else, here’s a screenshot of it: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Note the scrollbar at the bottom, and there’s additional HR stats to the right of that as well.

      I will point out that it almost sounds like you have a FR10 and not a FR15, though, I can’t imagine that being the case.

    • Carla

      Thanks again for the response rainmaker

      I definitely have already called them, the 1st time I got somebody who could barely speak english, who after much explanation, seemed to grasp the concept and agreed with me that the amount of calories calculated should increase with an increased average HR over a set time, irrespective of distance travelled/steps taken – but then couldn’t explain why mine didn’t do so, and wasn’t sure if the watch was supposed to do use HR or distance/steps in it’s calcs. First she said the HR feature was only so during/after the workout you could review your HR for ‘health reasons’ and was not involved with Cal calcs, but then she said contradicted that in the same conversation, saying the algorithm should take it into account, but the algorithm wasn’t one of the best (compared to the more expensive watches available)

      She just kept saying over an over that it was ‘designed to be a running watch, they all have different algorithms, it won’t take into account that I’m going up/down a hill’ – which seems a ridiculous and useless explanation as to why my watch will say I’ve burned double the calories hiking at 150bmp (2km downhill) compared to 175bmp (1km uphill) both taking 20 min – it seems glaringly obvious that something is really wrong not just mildly inaccurate. Took an hour to try to get her to understand the issue and get a half-sensical answer out of her and eventually I gave up as it was clear she knew nothing about the product, what it was/was not supposed to do and very little about exercise/HR/Cal burn in general!

      It gets much more accurate when GPS is turned off but then that defeats the point of having a watch with GPS and half of the information when GPS is off didn’t upload into connect properly – so each workout I have to make a choice over which features I have to lose which is a pretty poor scenario in my opinion!

      The second call, they just said they’d have somebody call me back and never did (and yeah, about 6 unanswered emails)

      I looked again at my workout history – most showed the HR data/split as per your screen shot – only a few don’t show that info and only provide the HR data for the overall workout(weird!) and these were the ones I was looking at when I raised this question – so, thanks for making me look again – it seems that it’s a feature that sometimes works right for me…sort of handy that it works sometimes I guess…

      Anyway, thanks again for your help and advice – still hate the watch and don’t think it actually does what it says it should, but appreciate your time in responding :-)

    • Carla

      Hi DC Rainmaker

      I’ve got onto Garmin (Australia) today and they’ve advised me that the FR15 is definitely only designed to calculate calories based off steps and doesn’t use the HR in the algorithm. They’ve said that no Garmin watch uses HR data in calculating cals burned, only steps and or speed/cadence monitors.

      Seems very strange and I can’t imagine this is correct…Just thought you may like to bring this up as a question/issue in your upcoming meeting with them as this is the advice we’re being given and it’s so frustrating.

      I’m in the process of trying to get a refund on the watch and would not be recommending Garmin to any of my friends/clients.

      Regards – C

    • Sigh, they suck. And are so wrong. The rest of the Garmin Support desks actually point users on a daily basis to my calorie calc page here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Can you either post here, or via e-mail (contact form), the case ID number? I’m going to use it as an example.

    • Carla

      Hi DC,

      Just confirming, I’ve sent you 2 emails via the ‘contact’ page – I would love to send you the full email background so you can forward my history to your contact and see if they can ‘please explain’, (both explain my issue and their total lack of service! If you’d find that useful, please let me know how to best do that)

      Regards – C

    • Thanks Carla-

      Got them both and responded back to you with next steps. Thanks!

  154. Christine

    I have just joined a facebook running group and entered a 100 day challenge where I need to report my weekly runs. I have never used any type of device or app before so I wanted to understand these before I purchased a device. I would like to say a huge thank you for your easy to understand review. I’m sure I will re-visit this often as I get used to using my new toy

    Cheers, Christine.

  155. Gail

    Help!! Battery Life. I replaced my 10 with a 15, mainly to get the longer battery life. Today on a long run I got the “battery depleted screen” after 4 1/2 hours. I know from the 10 that it will keep going a little longer after that, but not much. I don’t see how it will make it to 8 hours. Do I have a faulty watch? My marathon is in two weeks — I was sure hoping I would have a watch that would go the distance with me!

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • I’d do another charge of the unit fully, and then leave it outside on a deck/grass/garden after starting the GPS/timer and see how long it goes till it dies. Just to determine if it was a one-off case, or if it’s a bigger issue. If it dies again in that 4-5 hour range, then definitely ring up Garmin to get it swapped out.

    • Gail

      Thanks so much, I will try that after charging. It was fully charged when I started. Add to that, I bought my hubby one, too, and his lasted just slightly longer than mine — less that a half hour. This led him to grumble, “I bet they just put the same battery in the 15 hoping only a few would even notice.” lol

      Thanks again, Ray — you are so knowledgeable and such a help!!

    • Jim

      after reading Gail’s first post, I decided to try it with a fully charged FR15. After 4 hrs and 18 minutes with GPS on, the battery indicator on the FR15 shows it’s empty (It could have been that way for some time, but I just saw it). I’m on the latest firmware. I’ll keep going until the Fr15 says it’s shutting down, but I really doubt it will last another 4 hours. I don’t think this is a random issue….

    • Jim

      at just about 5hrs, I got the screen that gail mentioned. Maybe when they did initial testing it was 10hrs of GPS, but FW changes for GPS now drain the battery much faster?

    • Gail

      Thanks for your comment and test, Jim. I’ve started my test this morning with both watches fully charged. We are on the latest firmware, also. In addition, yesterday I was using both the run/walk option and the auto pause. Conceivably, these could drain the battery faster, but how much would be attributed to that? I’m sure that would be hard to tell. I don’t really care about the auto pause, although it was interesting to use, but I love my run/walk beeps, so want enough battery life to have those and still last through my marathon.

    • Jim

      I wasn’t using auto pause or run/walk. Just turned on GPS to see how long the battery lasted. (the 5 hours recorded my slowest pace ever, however – My pace was something like 2 hours a mile! :) )

  156. Gail

    Results of my test: With the run/ walk option running, but the auto pause turned off, it got to 4:45 before the low battery screen appeared. Then, surprisingly to me, it got to 5:55 before the battery completely died, so it did go over an hour after the low battery warning.

    My husband’s (no options running) was at 6:12 when the low battery screen appeared and went to 7:20 before dying completely, so just over an hour, also.

    Interesting to have the two watches to compare. I’m attributing his longer battery life to not using the run/walk option, so probably we don’t have a complaint. I’ll make it through the marathon, unless something disastrous happens, and then I won’t care so much about my time anyway. :-)

    Good to know that you get slightly over an hour more after the low battery screen shows up.

    • Jim

      Garmin claims “UP TO” 8hrs with GPS, so your husband’s numbers seem within range. I’ll have to try again and see how long it goes after the warning screen pops up. Up until now, I’ve never used GPS more than 90 minutes at a time (except for testing), so it’s not an issue for me.. But it is nice to know when it maxes out!

    • Peter

      Same problem here. I just purchased the watch to use it for both running and cycling. Today I did a 5+ hour ride on the bike, and the battery screen appeared already after 4 hours and 56 minutes. A bit disappointing… I will do a few more tests, but if it stays like this, I am thinking of returning it.

  157. David

    Hello Ray.

    Your pages are very helpful. I have one question about activity monitoring memory. How often it has to be synchronized, if I don’t want to lost data of daily activity (when watch isn’t used for running activity often). I would like to buy it for my wife as a gift, but every day connecting to PC can be annoying for her. Thank you for answer.

  158. Ryon

    Any word on when sleep tracking will added? You mentioned by this summer however this summer has come and gone.

    • I’ve been told it’s there (just asked the folks), however I don’t have a FR15 with me on this trip to validate/confirm.

    • Jim

      It’s there, but it starts/stops based on your configured sleep times. From the GC dashboard, in the morning you can adjust last night’s actual sleep times using the sleep widget. I haven’t found any way to enter or exist sleep mode on the FR15 itself.

  159. Panagiotis

    I bought the FR15 earlier this week, and I have only used it as an activity tracker up to today. I have been reading the manual, but discovered it is woefully inadequate. Most of the functions are poorly explained, or not at all. And I wouldn’t want counter-intuitive experiments messing up my runs.

    When I connected the watch to the PC, it tried to perform 3 updates. Two of those seem to have installed, but the third (Time Zone Map or stg like that) constantly fails because of low space (that is what is reported). Has anyone else encountered this?

    Runner friends of mine have been touting Garmin equipment, but up until now I have been having issues…

    • For the time zone update (which isn’t critical), try completing the other two updates first and then plugging it back in to get the last update. If still out of space, go ahead and delete/remove a few of the older activities in the ‘Activities’ folder.

  160. Tonci

    Great rewiew indeed!
    Could you please advise how can I use it during the indoor training? I want to check out my hartbeats intensity. Do I have to pres start as for the running? What happens when the watsh is searching for the GPS signal?
    Thanks in advance and all the best from Croatia,

  161. Jack Schreibman

    I have been reading your helpful reviews and wanted your opinion. I am a pretty serious runner. I have a marathon coming up and I run around 1500 miles year. My Garmin 305 is dying a very slow and painful death and I am trying to decide what Garmin I should get next. I think it is between the 220 and 15. I wanted to see what your advice would be? Thank you for your help!

    • Jim

      It seems that the FR15 has a GPS battery life of 6-7 hours with GPS on for the whole time (garmin states “up to” 8 hours), with some saying more like 5-6 hours. The FR15 does have the activity tracking which may be something useful for the days you aren’t doing a marithon

  162. Jack Schreibman

    Thanks Jim! Is 220 worth the extra money over the 15?

    • Jim

      For me, the FR15 is perfect, but I use the GPS for at most 90 mins at a time, and love the step tracking part of it. Never used a 220, as for me doing a maraton would take 2-3 days! :)

  163. Jack

    Thansk Jim. Has anyone tried the 220 and the 15?

    • Mr Nofish

      None of them. But from what Ray wrote, the only reasons to go with the 220 are live tracking, wireless connectivity and some advanced features.

      Between the 15 and the 220 – if I did structured training (that the FR15 doesn’t really support IIRC besides basic intervals), didn’t mind the heftier price tag, I’d buy the 220. Personally I find the 15 looks a bit ugly/cheap.

      BUT – I skimmed the Polar M400 in-depth review and I’d advise you to do the same. Unless you already own the ANT+ band and/or pod, the M400 looks very compelling from here, it’s got plenty of features, at a lower price point than the 220, while retaining activity tracking as the FR15.

  164. pablo garces

    A couple of things…

    First, two quick/easy questions for Ray or whoever owns the FR15 and knows the answer:

    1. Can you create custom workouts in Garmin Connect and transfer them to the watch? or the only structured workout possible is the on-unit run/walk feature?

    2. can you set a number of repetitions in the run/walk feature?

    Second (the reason for the questions above): I’m looking for a watch for my wife (I’m the tech guy at home!!!) which should have the following features, listed by importance:

    1. outdoor running focus (with gps + hr monitoring) – other sports a plus, but not required
    2. ability to follow structured workouts (created either on unit or transferred from watch website like Garmin Connect) – nothing too fancy: i.e. warm-up + 3x (X min run at X%MaxHR – Y min run at Y%MaxHR) + cooldown
    3. certain customisation of screens viewable while running (paired metrics screens available on FR15 is enough, although the more the better…)
    4. wireless sync (wifi or bluetooth or both)
    5. activity tracker
    6. vibration alerts (she listens to music while running and sound alerts for intervals are not very efficient in that situation)

    I thought this would be easy to find at a reasonable price but, unless I am missing something, only Polar V800, out of the whole Garmin-Polar-Suunto-TomTom watch range, fulfils all of the above “simple” features. Is this right????

    So, as my budget is below the V800 price tag, I guess my first option is the new M400 (although no vibration alerts, why not???). Also I do not like (regarding the M400) being one of the first to buy a product and paying for being sort of a beta tester). FR 15 would be my second choice, and maybe the first, but only if able to follow workouts created in Garmin Connect (bye bye to wifi sync) and FR 220 would be the third (more expensive and no activity tracker)

    Anyone’s views on whether I’m making the right choice?

    • 1) No, the FR15 doesn’t support custom workouts
      2) No, it just keeps on going

      Looking at your list, as you noted the M400 checks all the boxes except vibration. And, the price is only $10 more than the FR15. I wouldn’t worry as much on bugs there (first because I didn’t see many), and second because it’s basically just a V800 with a bunch of things removed, rather than a whole new watch.

  165. Evan

    Hello! The basic FR-10 served me pretty well for the past year-ish (since my first half marathon) but now I’m finding that its battery life (when in GPS mode) is not going to work for my 5-hour full marathon goal this fall. I did two 16-mile training runs so far, at about mid-11s pace, so just over 3 hours … and the battery was down to its last bar by the end of both runs, despite fully charging it overnight both times. Garmin advertised 5 hours by I’m getting 3.5 maximum. :( So here’s my question: I see that the FR-15 is advertised for 8 hours; what’s the real-world expectation — will I get 5:00-5:30 out of it? Not very useful if it can’t pace my full marathon effort. I considered the TomTom Runner but saw a lot of negative reviews. A better watch ($200+) is inaccessible to my wallet. Thank you.

    • Gail

      Evan, I actually just replaced my FR-10 with the 15 for the same reason, and now I’m disappointed with the battery life on the 15. I am a slower runner than you (female, 68 yo, marathon coming up in 1 week). Anyway, on my last long run, I got the low battery screen at about 4 1/2 hours. I was SO upset, I wrote here and Ray suggested I do another test, fully charged to see exactly how long it lasted. My results: at 4:45 I got the “low battery screen” and at 5:55 the battery was completely dead. I am currently in an email conversation with Garmin where they asked several questions on exactly how I was using it. I’m waiting for their reply. I should add that my husband tested his at the same time and got better results — “low battery screen” at 6:12 and completely dead at 7:20. One difference — I use the walk/run feature on mine — possibly all that beeping could drain the battery faster.

      One thing I found out — even after you get the low battery screen, it looks like you have about an hour more of battery life — I thought it was much less than that.

  166. Evan

    Thanks Gail. Decided to upgrade to the 15. I my marathon time is 7 hours then I’ll have bigger problems to worry about than my wristwatch. :)

    • Evan

      I wore the 15 for my first marathon (Nov. 16). Finished in 5:30 (hey, I finished and never had to stop/walk!) …. the watch had plenty of battery life left in it. Only issue (before that day) was the watch wasn’t properly saving my run history. I called them and they said I had to update the firmware. Apparently a “bad batch” was shipped out by mistake. The update was easy and fixed the problem. Now I’m considering running a 50K in 2015, which should take me around 6:30. I’ll be very impressed if the watch lasts for that!

    • Awesome, huge congrats Evan on the first marathon! And, even better that the battery lasted. Nice!

    • Gail

      Congratulations on your marathon, Evan! Great accomplishment! Somewhere in here I posted that Garmin did replace my 15, and I’m getting much better results now (although not 8 hours). Run that 50K!

  167. slittle

    will this fr 15 work with a polar or sigma hard plastic hrm strap? thank you.

  168. Nikki Strooh

    I need to decide between the Garmin FR15 or the Polar RCX3 running watch. Which one would you recommend? My concern with the Polar is that the GPS comes separate and is not part of the watch. Would appreciate any advice, thanks.

  169. Kevin kelly

    Really love these reviews. Trying to find a gps and hr watch that will show cumulative triathlon time while also showing hr and mile pace during the run portion of the race.
    Will this watch do that.

    • The FR15 probably isn’t a great tri watch, but, if you want to effectively use it to track total time it will definitely do that as well as instant pace during the run (and HR).

  170. Cforest


    Two questions from a beginner:

    1. What is the best practice for turning FR 15 off? Does it make sense to turn the device off manually after a workout, or it’s better wait till it is turned off automatically when no GPS is available?

    2. Since I am not using a footpod, is it somehow possible to turn searching footpod off to get rid of the corresponding blinking icon?



    • cforest

      First of all, I beg your pardon for strange questions above. Now, after playing with FR 15 for a while, everything is clear. Second, just wanted to say that you are doing a great job with this review. Thank you very much.

  171. veny armanno

    hi, great review – many thanks.
    one thing i’m wondering: i’ve been using a vivofit for a few months now, and one of my major sports other than running & gym is boxing. i have just purchased an fr15, which i use for day to day & running, but it’s too bulky for boxing & boxing training, whereas the vivofit is fine to wear under a wrap and glove.
    what i really want to do is keep track of the time and cals used in boxing, using the vivofit, but then also have that vivofit data merged with the rest of the day’s fr15 data/steps/calories etc. i.e. that would give me a single point to look at my activities in a day, even though i’ve switched between two devices. i haven’t quite figured out how best to do this – would you have any advice or thoughts?
    many thanks! veny

  172. daniel

    OMG, I can’t believe the indepth review AND subsequent comments. Just can’t get through it all and don’t understand it all either. I run and I ride. I’m not too fussed about counting my daily steps or evaluating my sleep. I do want time/date, an alarm, stopwatch, GPS, heart rate, heart rate training zones, bluetooth ideally, strava compatability to download/track, running functions but ideally also cycling functions – so, what product would I be happy with????

    • Given those requirements, it might be best to check out the TomTom Runner, since it has Bluetooth Smart support. The FR15 would work perfectly fine as well though, minus the Bluetooth sync.

  173. Shane

    Hi Ray, if you were to recommend a GPS watch between the FR15 vs the Tom Tom Runner then which one would you advice?
    I am a social runner, racing a max distance of a half marathon. I am undecided between which watch to get? The Garmin FR 15 or the Tom Tom Runner.

    • It really just depends on what you want. They’re very similar in a lot of ways. If you want activity tracking, then the FR15 is best, if you don’t care about that and want immediate phone sync, then the TomTom is best. From a pure running standpoint, the TomTom has a bit more customization – but for most people it won’t matter too much.

  174. David Watson

    Many thank for your excellent review. I bought the Forerunner 110 last November and thought it was a very good watch. I do most of my road running in the City of London and I was surprised at how easily I was able to get a signal. However, after 59 runs the watch died suddenly and the shop where I bought it contacted Garmin who agreed an exchange. I was told the Forerunner 110 was no longer being made so they gave me the equivalent, the Forerunner 15. I was not so impressed by the appearance but there were also a number of performance problems. I wrote to Garmin twice about it but didn’t get a reply so I thought I would list them here:
    – If the 110 lost satellite contact it beeped and then automatically reconnected. It didn’t happen much but it always worked. When the 15 looses satellite contact it not only doesn’t beep, which means that you can go some way before you realise the distance isn’t changing (although the time doesn’t stop!) but the 15 also doesn’t automatically reconnect. This means you have to stop and reset the watch and the result to that point is completely wrong. I find this is a big problem and am currently looking for a non Garmin watch which has the characteristics of the old 110. It means that a run is not properly recorded and the results are invalid, very frustrating and in the first ten runs it happened about 50% of the time.
    – Unlike the 110 the 15 doesn’t display all the information on one screen. This is also a nuisance as at first when I changed screens again the watch stopped and had to be reset. I therefore avoid changing screens to ensure that I don’t accidently loose contact.
    – When at first I tried to get a satellite connection on the 15 it found the satellites quickly, faster than the 110. However, as time has gone on I can now wait a long time before a connection is made. Even with a full bar, suggesting it has a full connection, it can take a long time before connection is confirmed and I can start running.
    – The final major problem is accuracy. I run the same route all the time and have a pretty good idea of the pace I set. However, some times the pace per km can be up to a minute out which I know is wrong. It calls into question the overall accuracy. It seems to correct itself in the final result but it doesn’t seem right.
    I found the booklet which came with the watch too brief and, like most instruction manuals, never addresses the problems encountered. In my experience to date the 15 is definitely an inferior product to the 110 and Garmin seem to have Microsoft syndrome; constantly updating a previously good product with one of increasingly poorer performance until it eventually gets so bad it has to be reinvented to make a workable product. Very disappointed and I think I will look elsewhere for my next watch.

  175. Arthur Snoke

    The Garmin 210 and 220 are in the same lineage as the 110. I think Garmin just gave you the cheapest current watch. I have the 210, and had a problem with time to locate satellites, but dcrainmaker told me to do a total rest and it is now doen to 2 minutes. Your problem with variation in pace is probably related to the “smart sampling” algorithm, which seems to sample every few seconds and varies considerably. I see that too but I prefer that setting to the average pace for the lap. I wear my Timex (no gps) on one arm and monitor the cumalitive run time during a run (I walk sometime, but do not want to count that) and have my 210 set on heart rate. The 210 does not allow me to have “time outs” for more than 5 minutes.

  176. Matthew Bailey

    Trying to decide what watch to buy to replace a Forerunner 305.

    My biggest worry/concern with the Forerunner 15 is the limitation of only being able to store 7 activities. Seems odd that Garmin specify this as number of activities and not by number of laps which other watches do.

    Most the time I can get to my computer to upload the runs, but there are times when I am traveling when I can’t get to the computer where the 7 activity limitation will be an issue.

    Only options seems to be to go for the older Forerunner 110 or spending alot more money on the Forerunner 220.

    I understand that Garmin want the Forerunner 10/15 to be lower specification, but shame they can’t specify them as a lower number of laps, rather than a number of activities.

  177. Dave

    I have been using the Forerunner 15 for about 2 months now. I have a GPS that i wonder if anyone has come across and found a fix: Locating GPS …. it is taking, at times up to 15 minutes to locate. I am in LasVegas and today was 3 miles into my run before it locked in. Anyway to fix that, is a “reboot” needed or when it gets stuck when searching any tricks? Thanks

    • MikeJ

      Are you trying to get a gps fix while you are in motion? I had a 201 that took longer to get a lock if I was moving (it was slow anyway, just slower when moving).

    • Jim

      With the FR15, I’ve never had it take longer than a minute to get a GPS fix. But I always stand still where the sky is open when I start GPS.

    • Rusek

      I had the same problem. I live in Poznan, Poland and FR15 sometimes took up to 10 minute to get a fix. 2 days ago I reset watch to factory settings – now I get fix in 20-30 seconds.

  178. Marrero J

    Thanks for the review, i bought a FR15 after reading it. This is my first GPS watch but i have been looking at GPS watches and Activity trackers for over a year. I think this Watch was made for people like me, originally i wanted a GPS watch to help me train for my timed 2 mile runs but i did not want to spend a lot of money for something that would be helpful on my runs but I would have to recharge every week vs. every 5 years. i wanted a fitness tracker but then i figured i would still have to wear my old Sport watch whenever i wanted to keep track of my pace or my 2 mile run time and it would not have anything to help me train with intervals or pace. This watch is great for running, the GPS is WAY more accurate than apps on my phone and the HRM is a plus, and once i’m done training i get the benefit of the step counter and “MOVE” alerts.

    • Jim

      I’m not a runner (a bad ankle injury a few years back), but a walker. I originally had a vivofit and got a FR10 for walking (I do about 3 miles every morning at sunrise), and walk 5ks on a regular basis. Before that, I’d use “MapMyWalk” on phone. When the FR15 came out, I returned the Fr10, and left the vivofit at home. The GPS side of it is nice for people like me – it doesn’t do everything the more expensive watches do, but that’s ok with me. If you run a normal route, I’d suggest you explore the “segment” aspects of GC. You can set up a segment for your normal course(s), and when you sync, you’ll get the info for that segment, along with your stats for other times on that segment. Even if you set up a segment today, it will go back and list the other times you crossed that segment (but your history may take a day or two to appear).

  179. Michelle

    Thanks for the review!

    I can’t decide whether to go for the F15 or the F220. This will be the first running watch that I own. I want this for running rather than daily steps (I’m unlikely to wear it all day), and I already have a Garmin 810 for cycling. My main need is to track pace, distance, time and HR (hence not going for the F10 due to lack of HR monitoring)… I’m quite new to running and tend to do 10-15km’s, and I just want something that I can link up to strava (rather than using my iphone) to keep the me motivated!

    The whole focus on daily steps is actually turning me off the F15. I also like the idea of automatic synchronisation of the F220. But, are there any other considerations (based on my need) to push me to either model? The F220 seems a little bigger than the F15 perhaps?


    • Tyrell

      If you do not care about the 24/7 tracking data then there is no big reason to pick the FR15. If you have the funds and running is your main goal then go with the FR220.

  180. daniel

    The more I’ve read the more I’m leaning towards TomTom. And lower end Garmins look terrible. Can someone confirm for me that you can EASILY autosync to STRAVA with a TomTom? From my understanding both TomTom and Suunto now upload to Strava??

  181. Rusek

    Can somebody tell me how to disable ANT+ sensors? I made a run last sunday () and it picked someone else HR strap. I would like to turn ANT+ on or off when i want.

  182. Chris

    Looks like this was previously asked with no answer – so I apologize for asking again.

    My kids all have FR15’s but share the same heart rate strap – how do I “unpair” the heart rate strap from the other kids watches? Right now, all of their watches see whichever kid has the heart rate monitor on :-(

  183. Chris

    Garmin support finally got back to me and said “Once an Ant+ device is paired with the Forerunner 15 – it is impossible to remove it” – that stinks royally…

    • Rusek

      You can try to master reset. On the other hand it will probably pair when You get it near HR strap again. I called Garmin yesterday – no way to shut down ANT+. They don’t also know why after pairing with HR strap and running without it, watch connects to any HR strap nearby. Small but very annoying issue. :( Maybe DC Rainmaker could talk to them about that?

    • Chris

      I can’t figure out how to master reset. If you hold in the bottom left button when you turn back on the power, it goes to a diagnostics menu, but I can’t figure out how to reset it..

    • Rusek

      Same procedure as for FR10 – look at Garmin support page.

  184. Nuno Mota

    I had been delaying for years my fitness watch purchase.

    I had previously bought a Vivofit for my mother and that was it. The moment the forerunner 15 came out with step count I decided this was probably the best price/quality GPS watch I could have. The step count is a plus. You don’t get in shape with it but it helps you track your daily life activity.

    The only downfall is perhaps the missing BT4. That would be very neat. The moment Garmin releases one Forerunner ~15 with BT4 I might be in again for a new GPS watch.

    BTW, timezone is also a neat feature. I didn’t know it had that feature. Apparently Forerunner 10 also has it. I still don’t know how it works exactly, but it works better than my Android clock. Did a trip to Spain a couple of weeks ago and the watch simply synced the timezone. Came back to Portugal and voila, synced again.

  185. I am looking for a GPS Forerunner sportwatch. I want the watch to count my steps like vivofit band. As far as I can see Forerunner 15 is the only watch in current lineup that has this feature or I am wrong? I prefer more expensive Forerunner 220 over 15, but 220 can’t count steps.

    Does Garmin plan to implement this feature in future firmware updates?

  186. Marrero J

    UPDATE: I returned the fr15. I liked it as my first running watch and i used it everyday for step tracking and 4 or 5 times a week for the gps run mode or indoor calorie tracking. however i did not like having to plug it in to my computer to sync multiple times a day and manually enter my estimated sleep times everyday.

    I am now looking at the polar M400 or the fitbit surge that has been recently announced. My concern with the m400 is that it does not have a built in heartrate monitor like the fitbit will and my concern with the fitbit is that the GPS will not be as accurate and it only last 9 days on activity tracking mode (im guessing less than half that in GPS mode.

    Will we get a review of the surge on DCrainmaker.com?

  187. Samantha

    If price wise about the same, which is a better option between FR610 and FR15 if I aim to train for my first FM?

    Thanks for your reply

    • It would depend a bit if you plan to finish in under the battery life of the FR15. In general, I’d recommend getting the FR15 for more entry-level runners, versus the FR610 has more customization.

  188. debbie

    Hello – after much research I’m almost sold on this watch :)
    After reading your fab review just hoping if you could clarify.

    Is the calculation for calories burned for activity monitoring throughout the day (without HR on) different from the calculation of calories burnt during exercise with the HR monitor on.??

    many thanks.

  189. debbie

    Great – appreciate the quick response and your in depth knowledge of so many products. I’ve been busy perusing your website all week!

    Thanks again.

  190. Jaime Moreno

    Can i use the charger of an EDGE 500 to charge the FR15? Would be nice to be able to charge the device without having to plug it into a PC or Laptop.

  191. Emily

    I’d like to make the switch from my old Nike+ SportBand, which I never really loved or found to be very accurate, to a GPS watch for running. While I like and am used to Nike products, I realize their GPS watch is a bit outdated at this point. I’ve been looking into the Garmin 15, 210, or 220. I don’t want to spend a lot because I’m not sure how much I’d used all of the extra features, but coming from a basic SportBand maybe I don’t really know what I’m missing! I generally run half-marathons but am training for my first marathon next year. Which watch (and not necessarily Garmin) would you recommend in the low-moderate price range?

    Thanks for the help!

  192. Megan

    I’ve been using the FR15 for the past 2 weeks and will likely return it. I run intervals and can’t hear the beep alerting me that it’s time to walk/run. My running buddy uses the FR10 and the volume is louder. Is there any way to increase the volume on the FR15? Do you know how the volume of alerts compares on the FR10, FR15, and Polar M400? I know this is a weird question but the walk/run feature is important to me.
    Thanks for the superb reviews!

  193. Lora Fox

    A couple suggestions, in case you talk with Garmin – I think these could be done with a firmware update. Could the date show the day of the week, as well as the day of the month? E.g. “Monday 17 Nov,” instead of just “17 Nov”. Also, could it have a timer that counts down, for example, to have a beep pattern to prompt a sprint every 5 mins? And when the timer is on, and you scroll to the “time of day” screen,” could it keep the total time showing on the bottom?

    Those are a few features that I miss from my regular Timex watch. Other than those points that,it seems to work pretty well as an everyday and running watch.

  194. Janet

    Another battery issue… got a 15 to help with a marathon training in 7 hours tops–batterytops–battery died at 6:50. If Gail is still on here, would like to know the outcome of her dealing with Garmin.

    • Gail

      Hi Janet — After sending the results of my testing to Garmin, they did replace my 15. I immediately tested it, and was able to get about an hour more with the run/walk notification running, and about the same as you, 7:40, without it running. My conclusion: I don’t think there are any 15s out there that really get 8 hours of battery life. It’s kind of false advertising on Garmin’s part, although they are careful to say “up to 8 hours of battery life”. If you keep it, I would clean the contacts just before your marathon and leave it on the charger all night. Both of those seem to help a little.

  195. Stefan T.

    Hi there – I am thinking about buying a Forerunner 15 (small) for my daughter – she’s got a 5.5 inch wrist – would the small Forerunner 15 fit her or would it still be too big?
    The Vivofit with the small wristband would fit, but she’d prefer the Forerunner 15…

    Any info’s appreciated!

  196. Gilles

    I had issues in the past with the Garmin wrist strap. I had to replace it every 6 months as they tear apart eventually. Garmin is happy to send me a new one free each time, which is fine, but I’m getting tired to have to do that all the time in the past few years. Have you had any similar issue? Does the wrist strap of the new model look solid?


    • lah

      I also had a problem with the wrist strap ripping off from the watch face. They replaced it but I received quite a lecture about not having my original box and receipt. I am putting my new box and receipt in a very safe place.

  197. Carlos

    I have just bougth this 15 device. I made a mistake in settings: gender, heigth, weight, lenguaje… How can I reset and introduce correct data?
    I Will apreciate your support.

  198. lyn

    I am new to running recently and a friend has the garmin 210….I don’t want anything too fancy and technical as I’m not a tech head. Looking at garmin 210,f10,f15 and I’m getting all boggle eyed and now don’t know. Do you have any basic info comparing these or any advice. Really just needing pace distance and overall time to be shown at this time…looking at doing a half marathon by middle of 2015, doing about 14 for a long run now. Love you in depth reviews

    • I’d narrow it down to the FR15, or the Polar M400 actually. Both are solid, and both are what you’re probably looking for.

      Fwiw, the FR15 is on sale right now for $139, so that helps, but the Polar M400 is just a bit more at $179 with tons more functionality.

      Finally, if you’re looking to save more, than go with the FR10 over the others, at $99US. Keep in mind there’s no heart rate on the FR10, nor activity tracking like on the M400 or FR15.

  199. Jim

    During the cycling off season I like to mix in a few runs and looking for an good basic gps watch that can be used indoors and outdoors as well as wear as an every day watch. Which would you recommend the 210 or the 15. Both are good prices. Thanks

  200. Becca

    My son is a HS cross country runner (freshman running varsity) and is looking for a “GPS, plug-in, running watch, preferably a Garmin” Would a FR15 or 210 be a good fit? Both are available in our area for $139.99 with the 210 having the HRM included. Any recommendation would be helpful–we’re kind of out of our element here.