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Garmin Forerunner 920XT In-Depth Review


Last month just ahead of the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, Garmin announced their latest triathlon watch – the FR920XT.  At the time I wrote a relatively long first look at the watch, but now I’ve had a solid month under my belt using the final watch and firmware.  In doing so I’ve been able to beat the crap out of it and see where it shines…and where it might need some more polish.

The FR920XT brings together in one unit a slew of new features found on many recent Garmin devices across the health and fitness landscape.  For example, it adds in Live Tracking that started on the Edge series, more swim functionality found in the Garmin Swim and Fenix2, Running Dynamics that started in the FR620, and finally activity and sleep tracking from the Vivo lineup of activity monitors.  But, these are really just small tidbits of what is without question the most full featured multisport watch on the market (if not most full featured watch of any type out there today).

To be clear, I’ve been using a FR920XT provided by Garmin to test with (final production unit).  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Kansas in the next little bit 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 FR920XT comes in two box flavors and two unit colors.  You can purchase the unit with the HRM-RUN heart rate strap, or without it.  And then both of those are offered in either Blue/Black, and Red/White.  I’ll discuss the HRM-RUN later on.

To start, here’s the box of the HRM-RUN bundle:



After cracking it open you’ve got these five basic piles: The USB charging clip, the watch itself, the HRM-RUN strap, some paper stuffs, and the HRM-RUN transmitter model that snaps into the strap:


And again, without the plastic bags:


Starting with the charging cable, it allows you to plug into any USB port on the planet to charge the FR920XT.  The other end snaps into the FR920XT.  It’s incredibly secure and requires pressing of a side button to remove.  Thus, it’s somewhat ironic that given this high level of snap security that it doesn’t permit you to charge the device in the middle of an activity (such as an ultra run or super-long ride).  When you add USB power to the FR920XT mid-activity, it’ll instantly end the activity and begin full charging.  This is a bit of a disappointment.


Next is the HRM-RUN strap.  This includes both the strap and the transmitter module.  I’ve had good luck with the HRM-RUN strap and lack of drops/spikes.  The strap is no different than the HRM-RUN straps found with the FR620 or the Fenix2.  The presence of the little runner icon means it’s the HRM-RUN strap, versus just a regular strap.  The regular straps are unable to transmit Vertical Oscillation or Ground Contact Time, as they don’t have the accelerometer inside that the HRM-RUN has.



Next is some paper quick start guides and manuals.  You won’t really need them after reading this post:


And finally, we’ve got the watch itself.  Again, but the end of this post you’ll be sick of photos of the FR920XT:




Let’s move onto how it compares in physical dimensions to other units.

Size & Weight Comparisons:

When it comes to size, the FR920XT is notably slimmer than past models.  It’s roughly the same thickness as the Garmin FR620 running watch.


At the same time, the display colors are also increased over the FR620.  While the FR620 included colors according to Garmin marketing, in reality it was pretty washed out.  The FR920XT on the other hand is much crisper and brighter:



Speaking of wrists, here’s a look at how it compares on The Girl’s wrist, who is quite petite at 5’2″ tall:

IMG_0606 IMG_0609

Here’s a comparison to the FR910XT – the previous generation:


And finally, when looking at the Fenix2 (and Fenix2 Special Edition) – here’s how those compare:


Next, to compare it to other watches in the same markets (or just past Garmin watches), here’s a full lineup.

From left to right: FR920XT, FR910XT, Fenix2, Ambit3, Ambit2, Ambit2S, Polar V800, Polar M400, Polar RC3, Garmin FR620.


And here’s the thickness shown.  In this case the roller was kept level, so the depth between the surface and the watches shows you height:


Zooming in on just the higher end multisport watches (Left to right: Garmin FR920XT, Garmin FR910XT, Garmin Fenix2, Suunto Ambit3, Polar V800):


Finally, looking at weight of the watch – it’s quite light.  The FR920XT comes in at 61.6g, which is even lighter than the older running only FR610:


The Polar V800 comes in at 80.8g:


The Suunto Ambit3 at 86.0g:


And finally, the Fenix2 at 85.6g:


Now with everything all compared, let’s get onto using it.

Initial Setup & Configuration:

To start the software side, you’ll open up Garmin Express and get it added to your account:


From there you can choose to create a Garmin Connect account, or link it to an existing one.  You’ll use this Garmin Connect account to upload workouts to the service, which can then be sent to other services including Strava, Training Peaks, and Sport Tracks – all automatically.  But I’ll talk more about the Auto Sync piece later on in the Garmin Connect section.


Next, in the event you already have a Vivo product like the Vivosmart or Vivofit, you’ll need to choose which device to use for your daily steps.


Next, you’ll be asked to setup WiFi networks.  You can attach to up to 7 WiFi networks, as long as they don’t have some sort of ‘I agree’ type page, like Starbucks or some airport WiFi hotspots.  Home and office ones almost never do, so you’re setting up both easily there.


You can also specify a preferred network.  Additionally, it’ll show you the MAC address in the event you do MAC filtering on your routers/WiFi hotspots.


Finally, you’ll want to ensure the software checks for updates and grabs them, this is especially true earlier on in the product cycle where things might iterate quickly with bug fixes.

You can see below there are two updates available, so I’ll just go ahead and click ‘Install All’ to get things underway.


Next, you’ll go ahead and unplug your device, which will allow the install to finish:


The whole process only takes a moment to complete.  With everything set, it’s time to head on outside.


Now that we’ve got it all configured, we’ll start with running and go through the run-specific items.  Note of course that there are many features that are applicable to all sports that I’ve covered elsewhere in the review.  For this section I’m just focused on the run-specific items.

To begin, like all sports you’ll go ahead and power change from standby mode to sport mode.  In doing so you’ll then choose the sport, in our case an Outdoor Run:


This will enable the GPS.  The FR920XT uses satellite caching to speed up satellite acquisition time.  In general, it’s going to take about 3-7 seconds for it to find satellites, often less.  This satellite cache is valid for 7 days, and is refreshed each time you connect your FR920XT to your phone, computer, or WiFi.

With that ready, you can begin your run by pressing the start/enter button.  This will begin the timer and start recording.

At this point the unit will start showing you pace and distance from GPS.  To get a feel for how quickly the unit will respond to changes in pace, I’ve put together the following video that shows me running along at a steady pace, then stopping within the width of a crosswalk, and then resuming running again.

It’s pretty quick to respond.  You’ll notice that the pace is rounded to the nearest :05 seconds, which is common on most of Garmin’s newer running watches.  This is to make the pace a bit smoother.  In reality, all GPS watches do smoothing, so while it may seem annoying to some – one way or another the pace is going to get smoothed.  Either with or without you knowing about it.  For me, I don’t find this too big an issue.  When I’m doing intervals timed to sets that are less than 5-seconds in definition, such as 6:22/mile, I simply use the ‘Lap Pace’ option instead.  Problem solved!

The FR920XT adds the Running Dynamics found on the FR620 & Fenix2 watches.  Running Dynamics include three components: Vertical Oscillation, Ground Contact Time, and Cadence.  In this case, the first two – VO & GCT – are only available using the HRM-RUN strap.  Whereas while cadence can some from the HRM-RUN strap, it’ll also come from the watch itself.

These metrics are shown on a specific Running Dynamics page.  After uploading a run, this data is available to plot on Garmin Connect (you can see a sample run here).  You’ll notice the most definition when doing something like an interval run that has clear pace changes in it.


While this data is interesting, in using it over the past year, I haven’t actually found much training value out of it.  I suspect that most users stop looking at the numbers after the first week or two.

In addition to Running Dynamics, you’ll get Running VO2Max.  This is updated following the completion of each run:


It’ll take a number of runs for this number to even out, so don’t judge too harshly after just the first few runs.  The VO2Max number is then used to calculate race predictions.  These race predictions are simply done by looking up your VO2Max combined with gender and age, to known ‘best case’ results.  This means this is somewhat of a best case scenario, and doesn’t mean you have actually done the training to complete – for example – a marathon at that pace/time.


Still, I find that once my VO2Max number stabilizes, the race predictor numbers are very close to my PR’s.  It won’t be perfect for everyone, but it’s certainly interesting.

Next we have two recovery related metrics.  The first metric will show up about 10 minutes into your run, and let you know how well recovered you are from your previous run.  This will give you a ‘Good’, ‘Fair’, etc… type metric that you could use to potentially change your workout.

The second metric is the actual recovery time following completion of the workout.  For this metric it’ll give you hours until your next hard workout.  For triathletes of course, these numbers can be a bit tricky because you might do a hard run one day, and then a hard bike the next.


I tend to take these numbers with a solid boulder sized grain of salt.  Also, note that while none of the recovery/VO2Max pieces require the HRM-RUN strap, they don’t work as well with optical HR straps from 3rd party vendors.  See my section on that later on to get more clarity there.

When it comes to mid-run related functionality, there’s a ton of features found on the FR920XT.  In general, everything you’ll have used in past Garmin watches is present here, for example:

Auto Pause: This will automatically pause the watch when you stop running.  It’s ideal for city running, but I personally keep it off.  If you do enable it, you may want to tweak the configuration a bit to get better results.

Auto Scroll: This will change your data pages automatically every few seconds.  I prefer though to just control them myself.

Auto Lap: This will automatically create laps at a preset distance, such as 1-mile.  I use this mostly on long runs where I don’t have any other structure in my run.  But for shorter runs, I’ll turn this off so I can manually break up the structure of my run.  You can always manually lap at any time by pressing the lap button.

Alerts: These can be used to notify you when you go above/below certain thresholds like distance, time, heart rate, cadence, etc…

Run/Walk Mode: This mode will allow you to create a Run/Walk routine that’s often used in beginner marathon attempts to have you run for a certain time/distance and then walk for a certain time/distance – repeating over and over until 26.2 miles of misery is complete.

All of these options are available in other sport modes, except Run/Walk.

For one last FR920XT specific new feature we have the Metronome.  The Metronome enables you to have the unit automatically beep or buzz to a specific running cadence.  Running at certain higher cadences has long been used as a way to increase turnover and generally improve efficiency.  The fastest of elite/pro runners will have extremely high running turnover.  A running cadence of 180rpm is generally considered a good baseline (90rpm per leg).

Within the FR920XT you can specify the exact running cadence (with both legs combined, as beats per minute which is equated to rpm) and then the unit can be configured to beep/buzz every other beat, or in increments up to every sixth beat.  Note however that this will impact battery life a fair bit in my experience.


For me, I went with every fourth beat, which is basically one leg every two steps.  I find it a nice balance.


Now, I also find that it’s a bit tough to hear the beeps in the city at rush hour, so the vibration makes it super easy to just match the buzz to the foot hitting the ground.


Finally, the FR920T gains the ability to show PR’s on the unit.  PR’s are ‘Personal Records’ for a variety of items from longest run to fastest one-mile time.  Upon the completion of each run it’ll let you know if you’ve triggered any PR’s during that run:


These PR’s will also show up on Garmin Connect as well, so you can validate them there too.



The FR920XT supports a cycling mode that allows you to track bike-specific metrics. In the cycling mode you’ll see speed instead of pace, thus it’ll show up at MPH or KPH.  Further, you can access power meter metrics from ANT+ power meters, and speed/cadence/combo sensors from ANT+ devices there as well.


The FR920XT is able to clip into the standard Garmin Edge series quarter-turn bike mounts that are so popular these days.  Both Garmin and many 3rd party companies make these mounts, and some bikes even have mounts built into them.  However, that does require the FR920XT quick release kit.  The quick release kit is a add-on that slides into the backplate of the FR920XT to allow it to mount directly to quarter turn mounts.

It also contains a separate plate that you then attach your watch straps to, so that you can quickly turn it from watch to bike computer.  Below, are a slew of pictures of the kit.

When it comes to power meter metrics the FR920XT has all the same metrics as the Edge 1000 does – so it includes advanced power sensor metrics around everything from left/right balance to pedal smoothness.  It also has one metric the Edge 1000 doesn’t have – which is Cycling VO2Max.

For this metric it computes your VO2Max value using cycling specific algorithms, in conjunction with a power meter (which is required).  These algorithms will update your cycling VO2Max after each ride:


I noticed it’s a bit low for me, but each time I ride it appears to increase slightly.  I asked Garmin about that and they said it’ll take a number of rides to stabilize, as it ‘learns’ you.  I’ve seen this on the running side as well, where it’s just now finally getting close to the VO2Max numbers that I get on my FR620 (as well as the ones that I’ve been tested against).

When it comes to sensors, the FR920XT supports two major cycling types of sensors.  The first is power meters.  Within this it supports ANT+ power meters, from any vendor including Garmin but also Quarq, PowerTap, SRM, Stages and so on.  It does not support Bluetooth Smart power meters though.


Next, it also supports ANT+ Speed sensors, ANT+ Cadence sensors, and ANT+ Speed/Cadence combo sensors.  Garmin themselves had units in each of those categories – but there are many other companies making ANT+ speed/cadence sensors, including some like Trek & Giant that insert directly into the bike frame itself.


Note that like power meters, the FR920XT does not support Bluetooth Smart speed/cadence sensors, only ANT+.  Many of the speed/cadence sensors though coming onto the market are dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, so it’ll support those just fine.

Beyond these bike-specific items noted in this section – the rest of the features I’ve covered in other sections.  So routing for example is applicable whether in bike or run mode, just as Live Tracking or structured workouts are as well.

Swimming (Openwater):


The FR920XT contains two different swim-specific modes: Openwater and pool.  For this first section, I’ll cover openwater.  The next will be for pool swimming.

Openwater swimming is simply the swimming in any body of water that doesn’t have lane lines.  Be it a river, ocean, lake, or pond (or, I suppose this crazy big pool in Chile).  In these settings the watch uses a special openwater mode that allows it to determine your pace, distance and location.

It’s important to understand though that this is a tricky affair.  Each time the watch goes underwater during your swim stroke it loses GPS signal.  For the 1 second or so that it’s above the water it regains it, but usually with low accuracy.  It might be off by 5 meters or 100 meters.  This process repeats every stroke.  The openwater swim mode software however takes all these potentially inaccurate data points and starts to create a picture of where you’re going.  That picture tends to be a bit smoothed in order to normalize the craziness of GPS data captured during swimming.


As such, I find that for most openwater swim sessions, you won’t often have exact accuracy.  Within 10% or so is the name of the game.  If you want exact accuracy then the swim cap method is the way to go.  But for most people putting it on the wrist is just fine.  I’ve included my openwater swim GPS accuracy numbers in the GPS accuracy section a bit lower.

While in openwater swim mode the unit will show your distance in yards/meters and then miles/kilometers.  It’ll also show you stroke information as well as pace.


Now, the FR920XT does actually allow you to complete Live Tracking in openwater swim mode.  In my earlier testing there was a bug that produced incorrect data tracks (it looked like I was swimming drunk).  My understanding from Garmin is that bug has been addressed in yesterday’s firmware update.  Still, the concept is pretty cool.  I just set my phone inside my swim buoy and then it’ll actually keep the connection alive and transmit my location via cellular services:


I won’t re-write my entire post on it, but you can read about it here.  Alternatively, you can watch a video I put together on it below:

Overall, like past openwater swim devices the accuracy is generally acceptable for most purposes – albeit not perfect.  For those looking for perfection the best bet is to sacrifice stroke information/metrics and place the unit in your swimcap.

One final note is that the pins on the FR920XT are greatly improved over previous watches.  It uses a similar pin system to that of the Fenix2 and FR620/FR220, which uses dual sets of screws that tighten into each other on both band portions.  This means that unlike some older multisport units, it’s highly unlikely the band pins will break on the unit.  Note however that I haven’t yet had a chance to try out the quick release kit.  That is still pending release from Garmin.

Swimming (Pool):


The next swimming related mode is for pools.  It doesn’t matter if the pool is inside or outside, it’s the same mode.  In the pool mode the unit doesn’t use GPS, but rather uses an internal accelerometer to detect each time you reach the end of the length of the pool.  It uses the same accelerometers to detect strokes and stroke types.

To begin, you’ll select the ‘Pool Swim’ mode from the available activity profiles:


Because the unit simply tracks each time you complete a length, it needs to know how big your pool is.  To set that you’ll press: Settings > Activity Settings > Pool Size, and then specify a pool size.  You can choose from a number of common pool sizes, or just select your own.


By default it’ll save your last pool size, so it’s not something you need to change unless you go to a different sized pool.

At this point you can begin swimming after hitting start.  It’ll automatically count your laps, lengths and pace for you.


The FR920XT also introduces a new swim rest timer as well.  This allows you to better time intervals by showing you your resting time and interval time on one handy screen:


You’ll use the ‘Lap’ button to toggle between swimming and resting.  You’d usually do this at the end of the lane.

While swimming it’s easiest to just twist your wrist slightly when you push off the wall to see your current pace.  You can specify all the usual data fields such as pace, time and distance.  You can also create alerts for set distances, such as 500y/500m, or time alerts.

Note that while there is a metronome mode for running, it’s not available in the swimming mode.  I asked Garmin about it, and they said that in their testing it resulted in a poor user experience.  Likely simply because of the downside of dealing with it being on your wrist versus some of the swim metronomes being in your swim cap.

As for the heart rate strap, it won’t transmit more than an inch or two underwater, so you won’t get heart rate while swimming.  The FR920XT does not permit pairing to any HR strap within the pool mode.  It does however permit connectivity to a heart rate strap in openwater swim mode.  In this case, you’d have to use a HR device that’s within an inch or two of your wrist – such as the Mio Link.  I tested this with mixed success, you can read more about that here.

The FR920XT contains the swim drill mode, which allows you to complete drills and then specify a total yardage/distance at the end of the drill section.  This is useful when you do something like a kickboard drill, which wouldn’t accurately be captured by the watch due to lack of stroking.


All of this data is then available afterwards on Garmin Connect.  It’ll show your sets as well as your individual swim lengths:



In the event you have miscounted lengths, Garmin Connect doesn’t offer a way to fix it.  However, 3rd party sites like Sport Tracks do allow you to fix lengths on your swim.  As does this site here, which will fix the file and then allow you to re-upload it to Garmin Connect.

In my experience I’ve found no issues with swimming accuracy and the FR920XT.  Though, that’s also generally the case for almost every swimming watch I test.  It was par for the course with other units I wore at the same time.  This is likely because I understand fairly well how these devices work and know how to get the best results from them.

So if you haven’t swam with a watch that measures distance it might take a bit of tweaking to your normal routine to get accurate results.  Here’s a few things to consider that should help you dramatically improve swim accuracy:

– The unit is measuring movement, and thus extra and unexpected movement will cause inaccurate results
– If you randomly stop in the middle of the lane, the unit will assume you’ve reached the wall and complete the length
– If you don’t pause the unit and run to the bathroom, the unit will likely assume you’re still swimming
– If you don’t pause the unit at the wall and then have an animated conversation with your lane mate, the unit will not understand the YMCA song movements and assume you’re doing something like swimming
– Swimming in crowded pools can be a challenge.  But I assure you it’s not worse than mine, which I’ve counted up to 19 people in my lane at once.  The key here is that if you accelerate to pass people, try and make it slightly smooth – versus outright stopping after a pass.  Obviously, I recognize that initial acceleration to pass is required, but try and smooth the deceleration after the takeover.
– Stroke recognition can be tricky. I only swim freestyle, so I can’t really comment on other strokes.
– For the most accurate results, give a firm push off at the start of each length.  It doesn’t matter whether you do a flip (tumble) turn, or an open (no flip) turn.  Just do it with conviction.

All of this is likely common sense, and also completely expected by those using such devices for the past 3-4 years, but nonetheless I find it worth noting to those who might be new to swim watches.  The most important thing to remember is that extra and unexpected motion is your enemy.  The second most important thing is do push off the wall like you mean it.  No wimpy pushes.  Remember those two and you can usually get perfect results.

Indoor Training – Bike Trainers/Running Treadmills/Gyms:


The FR920XT allows you to track workouts indoors.  By default it includes both an indoor cycling and indoor running mode.  In the case of the indoor cycling it will allow you to track speed and distance on a trainer in conjunction with an ANT+ Speed or Speed/Cadence sensor (or a trainer that transmits those metrics).

Many trainers now such as the Wahoo KICKR, PowerBeam Pro, and Tacx Smart trainers can output ANT+ directly, which the FR920XT can pick up and record:


But for those without electronic trainers, then you’ll just need the $35-$50 ANT+ sensors (see sensor section here).

For running indoors on a treadmill, the FR920XT will actually utilize wrist based detection (called WDR) to determine your pace and distance.  This is calibrated automatically during your outdoor runs with GPS.  Historically when I’ve tested the accuracy of this it varies wildly by device and sometimes just week to week in terms of recent runs and calibration efforts.

Take this run I did last night on a treadmill.  In this case my workout was a 10 minute warm-up, then a 5 minute build in pace before 90 seconds of recovery and then starting a simple 4x800m interval set.  The pace was set and controlled by the treadmill.


Now obviously I can’t say with 100% certainty that the treadmill was precisely accurate.  But I can however state that the paces shown by the FR920XT were not accurate.  I’ve run enough to know the difference between a 7:30/mile pace and a 6:00/mile pace.  In my case, the FR920XT was showing my paces as significantly too slow.  Though, the paces were quite smooth, whereas sometimes I see significant variations in these modes – so that’s  a nice improvement.

You’ll also note that because it’s wrist based, that it’s fully impacted by non-running wrist movements.  For example at the ~15 minute marker I used the same wrist/hand as my watch to change the treadmill pace.  This resulted in that dropout you see.  Whereas for the rest of the run I used my other hand.

Here’s a simple chart showing the paces for each section by what the treadmill reported, and what the Garmin reported:

Garmin FR920XT Treadmill Data

Description:Time Slot:Treadmill KPH:Treadmill MPHTreadmill Min/Mile:Garmin Pace MPH
Starting treadmill00:00 - 02:00VariableVariableVariableVariable
Warm-up02:00 - 10:0013 KPH8.1 MPH7:43/mile8:29/mile
Build10:00 - 15:0014 KPH8.7 MPH7:11/mile7:32/mile
Recovery15:00 - 17:005 KPH3.1 MPH19:20/mile17:12/mile
Interval #1 Work~16:30 - ~19:4015 KPH9.3 MPH6:27/mile7:06/mile
Interval #1 Rest~19:40 - ~21:205 KPH3.1 MPH19:20/mile15:37/mile
Interval #2 Work~21:20 - ~24:3015 KPH9.3 MPH6:27/mile7:08/mile
Interval #2 Rest~24:30 - ~26:005 KPH3.1 MPH19:20/mile16:00/mile
Interval #3 Work~26:00 - ~29:1015 KPH9.3 MPH6:27/mile7:13/mile
Interval #3 Rest~29:10 - ~30:405 KPH3.1 MPH19:20/mile16:40/mile
Interval #4 Work~30:40 - ~33:5015 KPH9.3 MPH6:27/mile7:04/mile
Interval #4 Rest~33:50 - ~37:005 KPH to 0 KPH3.1 MPH to 0 MPHVariableVariable

In some cases the pace was off significantly, and in others it was just off by less.  I wouldn’t worry too much about the walking sections, since that’s more heavily impacted by how long the ramp is.  I tried to ensure that the times for the work effort sections were only started once up to speed.

Now this level of accuracy shouldn’t really come as any surprise to most readers.  It’s largely the same on many devices (Garmin or otherwise).  Some devices are slightly more accurate, and some are slightly worse.  For some people it works better, and others not so much.

You can improve the accuracy of pace indoors by picking up a footpod.  Pairing to an ANT+ footpod traditionally produces near perfect results with Garmin devices in my experience – and is the best way to get accurate pace/distance data indoors recorded on your Garmin.

Finally, when it comes to regular gym cardio workouts (non-bike/run), the FR920XT can track the calories burned and heart rate metrics.  The best way to do this is to simply create a new activity profile within the watch that uses the ‘Strength’ default activity profile.


This will then use heart rate to determine calorie burn.  It won’t track specific movements like pull ups or weight lifting, but it will track the calorie burn during those activities.


Above you can see a core workout of sorts that I did using this profile.  It’s nice as no distance is reported by the watch (at least, it wasn’t during this workout).

Multisport and Custom Modes:


Perhaps core to the FR920XT is the fact that it’s a multisport watch.  Specifically this means that you can change sport types as part of a single cohesive activity.  As a result if you’re doing a triathlon you can go from swim to bike to run, without having to end the activity and start a new one.  This is different than a simple watch that can do both run and bike, but not as a single activity (for example, the Garmin FR620).

The FR920XT supports two ways of doing multisport events.  The first is via fixed multisport modes where the order and sports involved are known ahead of time.  For example, in a triathlon it’s swim-bike-run.  Within that you can enable transition times as well (aka T1/T2).

The second method is a free-form multisport mode where you simply change from sport to sport on demand, using the mode button.  This is best for training brick sessions where you may repeat sports numerous times, or in unpredictable order.

For most though, you’ll just use the generic triathlon mode:


In this mode it’ll iterate through Swim/T1/Bike/T2/Run, recording each segment as you go along.  Afterwards, on Garmin Connect there is a new multisport view, which will show your entire activity, as well as the individual segments that make it up:


You can also create your own multisport mode with set sport profiles.  Within this you can choose any other individual sport profiles on the watch (standard or custom) to string them together as a multisport profile.  The most obvious example would be a Duathlon:


But, you could just as easily make up your own sports such as Windsurfing, Weight Room and Wallyball into a multisport profile of your own.

Live Tracking:

Garmin introduced the Live Tracking service nearly two years ago as part of the Edge 510 and Edge 810 units.  This service was extended to the FR220 and FR620, as well as the Fenix2 watches.  The platform enables you to connect to your cell phone and transmit your location to a website that allows friends and family to follow you.  The primary reason to use this method over a generic phone app is that the GPS component is offloaded to the FR920XT, saving significant battery on your phone.  The second reason to use it is that the vast majority of phone apps won’t transmit sensor data such as heart rate/cadence/power, whereas the Garmin Live Tracking service does.  The service is free, so there’s no added cost.

Of course, you will need to bring your phone with you.  So this typically isn’t an issue on the bike, but some folks don’t enjoy having a phone on the run.  And, for those curious – it does actually work while swimming, provided your phone is above water.

To begin a Live Tracking session you’ll need to have first paired your phone to the FR920XT.  Next, on the FR920XT you’ll go into the LiveTrack option on the app.  From there you can give the activity a title, as well as select the recipients.  You can choose to send out the link onto Twitter or Facebook (as well as via e-mail).


The ‘Extend Sharing’ option is rather useful, as it ensures the session stays visible for 24 hours after you’ve ended the activity.  Otherwise the recipient may not know you’ve finished and instead just get some nebulous information that might imply you got hit by a car or something.

From a friend standpoint, here’s what they’ll see (on the desktop, there is also a mobile phone view).  They’ll see your current position as a blue dot, and then when finished as a red ‘Stop’ icon.  Along the bottom they’ll see your ANT+ metrics, as well as pace/speed and elevation.  These metrics include heart rate, cadence (run/bike), and power meters (bike).


Up in the corner they can toggle between average pace and average speed, as well as showing time, distance and elevation gain.


Meanwhile, at the bottom they can change the map from Bing to Goggle (or Baidu), as well as the language and whether the distances and paces are shown in Statute/Statute UK, or Metric.  Up top in the left side they can swap between map and satellite view.


Finally, they can click on a mile marker to look at splits.  For running these are shown every 1MI (or 1KM if in metric mode), and for cycling these are shown every 5MI/5KM.


Note that these splits do NOT align to any button pressing you do.  That doesn’t show up here.  It’s just autolap for the online folks.  Don’t worry though, it doesn’t impact the splits/laps/intervals you set on your watch for yourself.

Overall, I’m finding quite good success with the Live Tracking and have used it a number of times without any issues.  You will note in the images that there is some slight GPS track smoothing that is applied that isn’t on the native files you’ll upload yourself after the activity.  Don’t worry too much about that, it’s simply to minimize how much data is used on your data plan.

For those curious about swimming and Live Tracking with the FR920XT –  I wrote an entire post about it here.  Note that while I did see a bug with Live Tracking and swimming tracks, my understanding is that the bug has since been fixed in the 2.50 firmware update.  I haven’t been able to retest that since the release was only yesterday.


The FR920XT includes some limited navigation and routing capabilities.  These capabilities include the ability to follow a ‘Course’ that is effectively a breadcrumb style trail.  This course does not include features like roads, lakes or rivers, but rather just a line to follow.  In this case, a purple line.

In order to utilize this you’ll need to create the course ahead of time on Garmin Connect.  It’s here you can simply press the mouse on various points in the map to create a course:


Once that’s done, you’ll send it over to the watch to execute.  Upon pulling it up on the watch you’ll get the estimated time to completion, as well as distance to completion.


The unit will show you a map of your planned route, and as you run it will also show you where you are:


Unlike previous units, the map redraw is incredibly quick.  Further, it’ll also display your on-unit saved waypoints on any and all routes you do.  Saving these waypoints is quick and easy, and you can give them customized names:


(Post-Review Update: This next section regarding zooming has now been addressed via firmware update – the unit now has a zoom option.)

Now, this sounds great, but there’s a number of limitations.  First is that you can’t change the zoom level.  While running (at speed) the unit will automatically zoom in to .3-Mile zoom.  Well, at least that’s the scale noted on the screen.  In reality, it’s actually higher up than that.  In any event, this isn’t quite zoomed in enough to figure out complex intersections or trails.

Second, making matters worse is that when you stop running it zooms out to show the entire route.  Since there is no roads/rivers/etc on the map, this gives you even less context in the zoomed out view.  In my opinion the behavior should be the opposite – zoom in when stopped – since you’re likely trying to figure out where to go.


Again, there is no method to manually zoom in (Update: There is now).  It would seem to me this could easily be accomplished via a long-hold on the up/down buttons, just like the Fenix series supports long holds for various secondary functions.  In fact, so does the FR920XT.  When using the VIRB for example, you long-hold the mode button to access a special menu.

But the limitations don’t end there.  For example, you can’t drop older .TCX or .GPX course files onto the FR920XT and have it automatically use them (such as those from RideWithGPS, or from older Garmin units).  That’s because Garmin wasn’t able to include a parser for those on the unit itself.  This means for those you’ll have to first convert them in Garmin Training Center and then send them to the FR920XT from that software.  It’s not the end of the world, but it doesn’t make it convenient.  Note however that the FR920XT does not support waypoints sent from software, only those created on the device itself.

Ultimately, the way it stands right now I wouldn’t recommend the FR920XT if you’re looking to use it for complex course following/routing, or if that’s going to be the primary purpose of the watch.  For that there are much more suitable options on the market such as the Fenix2 or Ambit series watches.  In discussing it a bit more with Garmin this morning, they do note that options are still on the table for how to improve the experience.

Workout Creation, Intervals, Training Calendar:

The FR920XT supports a number of ways that you can pre-create structured workouts, as well as create impromptu intervals.  Finally, it supports the ability to assign specific workouts to certain days and have those available on the watch.

To begin, we’ll create a structured workout for an upcoming interval run.  The easiest way to do that is on Garmin Connect, within the workout creator.


Once in that you’ll go ahead and drag and drop to create all your steps, such as the below workout:


With that set, you have two options. The first is to pull it from your phone (though that’s coming in an upcoming Garmin Connect Mobile app update), and the second is to push it via USB.  To do that, select ‘Send to Device’ and then select your FR920XT:


It’ll take a second and then it’ll be all set.

Alternatively you can add it to your Training Calendar for a specific day.  When you do this, it’ll then show up on the watch within the Training Calendar option.  You’ll need to send a range of workouts to the device however, so don’t forget to do that.


Note that the training calendar can also be populated by a slew of training schedules that Garmin has put together for a ton of events:


With that all set, on the device itself you’ll go into Training and then into Workouts.  Alternatively, if you use the Training Calendar you can just select the workout by choosing the appropriate day:


With the workout selected you can review the steps:


Once you’ve started the workout it’ll begin each step by giving you a full-screen description of the next step and the targets associated with it.


During the execution of each step it’ll show you a special screen that tells you the specific target as well a your pace/HR/cadence/etc against that target.  This is a new data screen that shows up:


In the event you stray from the target goal (high or low), it’ll give you a notification as such on the screen as well as audio/visual alerts.

Structured workouts such as these are ideal when you have a complex workout that’s more than just a basic interval.  However, it can be overkill for simply executing a basic repeating interval.

An interval workout within the confines of most devices is a workout that has four core components: A warm-up, a work effort, a recovery effort (and some number of repeats), and a cool-down.  Those components then must have the ability to set a target (such as pace).  The FR920XT allows you to create simple intervals that have all of those components along with targets for each segment, including durations.

You can create an interval workout in the same Training area:


Just like the structured workouts it’ll walk you through each step until completion.

Now, if both of these workouts sound complex, you can also simply define targets/alerts.  These targets could be just a simple pace target or heart rate zone.  If you stray from these it’ll alert you to get back on plan:


Lastly, there is Virtual Partner.  This isn’t actually a training component per se, but rather just a screen you can enable on any run/ride.  It allows you to specify a desired pace and it’ll show you how far ahead or behind you are of that desired pace.

This is best used in races where you are trying to pace very smoothly over the course of the run.  If you slow down it’ll tell you how far (in distance, such as feet/miles), as well as how far behind in time.

Activity & Sleep Tracker Functionality:

In line with virtually all new watches and bands coming onto the market these days, the FR920XT carries with it activity tracker functionality.  This means it’ll count your steps and sleep over the course of the day.  This information is then periodically synchronized with your phone for upload to Garmin Connect as well as integration with some 3rd party apps, such as MyFitnessPal.

Steps are shown in a few places, the first is the main ‘home’ screen that is displayed on your watch 24×7 in standby mode.  You’ll see the current steps in the lower left corner:


Next, if you press the down button once, you’ll get a activity monitoring specific screen that shows you total steps for the day, progress towards your goal steps, calories burned, and miles (or kilometers) walked:


By default the goal is dynamic, automatically shifting slowly to edge you on to walk a bit more.  It’s designed so that a single ultra-high step day doesn’t dramatically sway the goal the next day.  Alternatively, you can just set a specific step goal if you’d like.

Below that (and on the home screen) you’ll see your ‘Move Alert’, which is a red bar that lets you know when you need to move.  The different chunks indicate how long you’ve been inactive.  After approximately one hour it’ll give you a vibration/beep (if enabled) telling you that you’ve been lazy too long.

Next you’ve got the ability to track sleep with the FR920XT.  Like other Garmin sleep tracking capable devices, it requires that you manually enable the sleep mode when you’re ready, as well as turn it off when you awake.  You’ll do this by just pressing down once to the activity tracker page, and then pressing enter. Once within that mode, it’ll show you a little icon that lets you know you’re in sleep mode. Upon waking up you’ll want to remember to exit sleep mode by doing the same steps again.  Note that you cannot pair a HR strap during sleep mode, only during workout activities.  Similarly, you can’t pair a HR strap in regular step activity tracking mode (day watch mode).

All of this information (steps and sleep) is then fed up to Garmin Connect via your mobile app (or desktop upload).  From both the mobile app as well as the desktop you can view both sleep and activity details.  The main ‘Steps’ page shows you daily summaries of how active you were by the hour:


You’ll also get detailed information on total calories burned, steps, your current average daily steps, as well as your goal for that specific day.

You can select the ‘Breakdown’ tab to get a bit of a charted version of your activity that day:


If you tracked sleep, you’ll see that displayed on the sleep tab:


As you can see, it’s just a case of showing how active in movement you were, and doesn’t show anything like the type/phase of sleep.  So in general, I don’t find this very valuable compared to some other devices like the Basis watches.  Thus, I tend not to wear it sleeping (I also find it a bit bulky sleeping).

Both daily activity and sleep tracking produce longer term graphs as well, for example here’s my step activity over the past 30 days:


With the Garmin devices (like the Fitbit), you will need to choose a single ‘Activity Monitor’ device to use.  Meaning that if you own both a FR920XT and a Vivofit/Vivosmart, only a single device can contribute step data at once.  You can select that within Garmin Connect in your dashboard however.

Note that in the event you’re travelling and changing time zones, you’ll get a little icon displayed on the day in question, which indicates a time zone change occurred.  Your steps will increase even across time zones (you won’t lose steps if going ‘back in time’), however the graph will overwrite any hours that were ‘re-done’.  So if you flew back 5 hours in time zone shifts, and then you re-lived 1PM to 5PM, it’ll overwrite the graphical displays of those hours, but it won’t overwrite the total steps for the day.


Finally, Garmin has established a partnership with MyFitnessPal, which enables you to sync calories and step data between the services.  This means you can track food within MyFitnessPal, and then it’ll show the total calories consumed within Garmin Connect.  Inversely, on MyFitnessPal, it’ll show calories burned via Garmin devices, including the Garmin FR920XT.  This can be setup from the same ‘Steps’ page by just clicking the ‘Calories In/Out’ tab seen in some of the screenshots above.

Smart Watch Functionality:


The FR920XT includes the ability to display smart watch notifications on your device from your mobile phone.  At present that includes Android and iOS.  You can find a full list of compatible phones here from Garmin’s site.

These alerts are configured on your mobile device ahead of time, and involve using the systems native notification center ties.  For example, on iOS devices the notifications would be configured using the Notification Center component of your phone.  This is where you can enable apps such as Twitter, E-Mail, and even Words with Friends to display notifications on your Garmin device.

Next, these notifications are displayed in real-time on your FR920XT – both in standby mode and in sport mode.  Actually, often times I’ll surprisingly find the watch buzzes just ahead of the phone itself for incoming text messages.  It’ll show you the application/function responsible for the notification as the top line, and then show you the first line of the notification.

However, you can then select the notification to get the full details displayed:


You cannot however respond to the notification, such as composing a text message reply or answering a call.  Look at it as simply being read-only.  You an also access the missed notifications menu while in standby by just pressing the down button twice:


Here you can dive into specific notifications just like above.

Note that you can select whether you want notifications displayed on your device in either workout mode, standby mode, or both:


You can also configure whether or not it beeps or vibrates (or both).  I personally just set it to vibrate only.

Now when the notification piece works, it works quite well and is rather handy.  But I’ve found that like the Vivosmart, that after a few days the watch and phone seem to forget about each other.  This invariably requires me to either reboot the FR920XT, the Garmin Connect Mobile app, or flip the phone to airplane mode and back.

I don’t have a clear enough understanding of whether or not this is a Garmin issue (either their app or their device), or an Apple issue (hardware or software).  Though, it seems to have occurred on both my iPhone 5s and iPhone 6.  On the flip side, the random loss of Bluetooth Smart pairings is something I’ve seen with other activity trackers from other companies as well.

Use as a day watch:


When it comes to using the watch as a day to day timepiece, the FR920XT works fairly well.  I’ve been wearing it daily for the past month – both in the office in my day job, as well as during workouts and airports alike.  Now to begin there’s no getting around the size of the watch.  Nor the colors Garmin has selected. It is what it is.

But, if you don’t mind wearing it around the clock then it works great as a watch – including all the smart watch and activity tracker functions noted in those sections.  Beyond that it also has base time functions, functions which will expand as Connect IQ (next section) allows 3rd parties to build new watch faces.


In the meantime though, the watch will show you the time day of (using either 12/24h formats), the day of the week, and the date.  Further it’ll show you connectivity to your phone via the Bluetooth icon, and battery status.  Finally by default it’ll also show you many steps you’ve taken and the inactivity bar below all that.


You can set a single daily alarm.  Unlike some watches, the alarm cannot be configured though for certain days of the week, nor is there multiple alarms.


The alarm will follow the same settings that you have configured for alerts, which means you can select either vibrate only or audible alerts + vibrate.


Garmin states that the watch should get about 30 days of battery life in this standby watch mode with notifications enabled.  My experience says you’re going to get about 3-5 days at best in this mode.  I don’t see myself as having a significant amount of Bluetooth notifications either.  Perhaps once per hour on average it’ll buzz about something.  Despite the battery life claims, it doesn’t bother me a huge amount – but it is something to be aware of.

Finally, note that the unit does have a bright and crisp backlight.  This backlight can be set to automatically turn off after a few seconds of being left alone, or, can be set to “Stay on”.


In general, I set mine to stay on when doing activities at night.

Garmin Connect IQ (Apps):


Roughly a week prior to the Garmin FR920XT announcement, Garmin announced Connect IQ.  This platforms allows 3rd party developers to develop apps for supported Garmin devices.  The Garmin FR920XT will be the first device to take advantage of the platform however, upon launch early next year.  While my other post describes in more detail the concept, the key item to know is that the unit will support all four modes of apps within Connect IQ.  These modes are:

Apps: Full blown multi-level/interactive apps
Custom Data Fields: The ability to create custom data fields that you can add to any data page
Widgets: The ability to create basic screens that pull data from other sources
Watch Faces: The ability to create customized watch faces, from a picture of your bike to something more data oriented.

The real power for the FR920XT will be the ability to support sensor types that aren’t traditionally supported by Garmin.  For example, I’d expect that someone like BSX to look at adding in support for their sensor via a simple app.  The same could be true of anything from hydration sensors to aerohelmet position sensors.  It might also be able to bridge the gap on features that didn’t make the cut for the FR920XT such as weight scale support and the fitness equipment (gym machines) profile.

I won’t re-hash all the Connect IQ functionality/components here, for that simply read my Connect IQ post for all the details.  Note that the Connect IQ app store doesn’t launch until January, so you won’t see that functionality quite yet on the FR920XT.  However, developers can already download the SDK and utilize the emulator to get started.  Once it releases on the FR920XT I’ll come back and update this section with how it works and some examples of cool 3rd party apps.

Garmin Connect (online/web/mobile):


The FR920XT allows you to sync directly to your mobile phone using Bluetooth Smart.  This allows you to upload workouts from wherever you are, without the need for a PC.  That combined with Garmin’s Auto Sync options, means that your workout will automatically be uploaded to sites like Strava and Training Peaks mere seconds after you save the workout on the device.

This can be accomplished not only via Bluetooth Smart to your phone, but also via WiFi networks that are pre-saved onto the device.  And of course, via USB to your computer.

In addition to uploading completed workouts, the device will use the phone to transfer step data (activity monitoring) and sleep data to Garmin Connect.  Once on Garmin Connect, you can view the workout data.  You can also view activity and sleep data, though I cover those within those sections.

The workout data can be sync’d as noted automatically to a variety of sites, including Training Peaks, Strava, Sport Tracks, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo (all via Auto Sync).  But, for those sites that don’t support that yet, you can also just upload the native .FIT files that are sitting on the device itself.  These are accessible by just plugging the device in via USB and opening up the ‘Activities’ folder.  The FR920XT has ~10.3MB of free usable memory, which means that using the average 100KB an hour (at most), you can store about 103 hours of activity data.

Virtually every site on the planet that does sport data will support .FIT files.  In the highly unlikely case it doesn’t support .FIT files, you can use one of the tools listed here to convert them.

Ultimately, Garmin Connect is a great site for those just getting in online training logs.  In fact, it’s probably the best of the manufacturer provided sites out there.  But no doubt more advanced athletes will use other, typically paid, options for their training logs.

Battery Life & UltraTrac:

The FR920XT extends the battery life over the FR910XT in two ways.  First, is simply just straight up by having longer battery life in the same scenarios as the FR910XT.  For this you get a slight increase to 24 hours (from 20 hours).  But it also can dramatically extend the GPS battery life through a mode called ‘UltraTrac’, which gets some 40 hours of GPS-on battery life.

GPS-on at 1-second rate: 24 hours
GPS-on at variable UltraTrac rate: Up to 40 hours.
GLONASS enabled: About a 20% reduction in battery life

The 920XT UltraTrac mode is both similar and different to how it works on other Garmin devices.  It’s similar in that it reduces the GPS polling interval.  However it’s different in that unlike other devices it’s not a set one point per 60-seconds.  Rather, it’s a slightly variable rate that effectively works out to be 15-20 seconds of GPS on time, and about 45 seconds of GPS off time.

This means that it wouldn’t be ideal for very fast moving sports where you are constantly changing directions.  It’s much better for either slowly moving activities (like hiking), or activities where the route doesn’t shift much (such as cycling on really long/straight roads).

Ultimately, if you’re looking for the highest levels of GPS accuracy, UltraTrac isn’t it.  But if you’re trying to eek out more than 24 hours of GPS-on performance, it’s your best bet.

Note that I prefer to use GLONASS to get what appears to be more accurate tracks.  But it will take a hit of about 20% on GPS-on battery life.  Personally, that’s fine since I’m not doing any activities anywhere near 24-40 hours.

Note that because of the fact that I’ve been using the device almost 24×7, I haven’t been able to do any pure GPS-on till it dies testing.  That’ll come actually after I publish and then I’ll go back and add it in here.  I had hoped to have an additional device to test that with by now – but that hasn’t happened.

Next, beyond GPS-on battery life you also have standby battery life.  Officially these are spec’d as follows:

Watch-only mode with activity tracking & activity alerts enabled: 30 days
Watch-only mode with activity tracking enabled: 33 days
Watch-only mod with neither of the above enabled: 4 months

Now, in my experience – I don’t get anywhere near these numbers.  In general, I’m seeing about 3-5 days of normal 24×7 activity tracking with it paired to my phone for Bluetooth Smart alerts (about 1 alert per hour).  But, I just don’t see how I’d be able to get anywhere near 30 days when I can’t make it more than a few days.  Perhaps others will have other experiences.

Satellite Accuracy:


The FR920XT contains new GLONASS satellite capabilities, which are typically used in conjunction with existing satellite systems to improve GPS reception.  In my testing, the FR920XT consistently performs as the most accurate Garmin GPS device I’ve seen, and certainly on par and usually better than other brands with recent models.


Now, when it comes to GPS accuracy I tend to take a fairly practical viewpoint.  I’m generally looking at how well a unit tracks compared to where I went, as well as the total distances seen between different units.  Generally speaking I’m running/riding with 2-5 other GPS devices at the same time.  I feel this is pretty important – comparing two different runs, even on the same route, will result in differences due to environmental factors and simple things like body placement.  Which, is also important to consider.  You can get different results between the left and right wrists, depending on how your body impacts GPS reception.  In most cases, it’s negligible, but in edge cases it could be more overt.

When looking at GPS accuracy and tracks on a map – you must be sure to be in satellite mode and not map mode.  Maps don’t always align with reality, while satellites are much closer.  A map might have you running in the water whereas the satellite will show you on a river path.

Finally, do recognize the limitations of consumer grade GPS, which is generally specified as +/-3M.  By default the FR920XT does NOT have GLONASS turned on, so you’ll want to enable that via: Settings button > Settings menu item > System > GLONASS = ON.  Note it will have a slight impact on battery, but not significant.

All that said, I’ve seen consistently impressive results when it comes to GPS accuracy with GLONASS enabled.  Here’s a data sheet of distances recorded by two or more devices.  Obviously, with only two devices in some cases, it’s hard to know who was right – but as you can see, in almost all those cases the two devices were nearly identical.  For cases where I had a third device, I included that.

Garmin FR920XT GPS Accuracy Data

Activity NameFR920XT Distance (Mi)Ambit3 Distance (Mi)Other
River Run7.437.44-
Ferry Loop Bike Ride26.1026.1526.04 (Edge 1000)
Rainforest Mountain Run8.128.108.03 (Bia Watch)
Auckland Sunset Ride13.5613.5813.55 (Edge 1000
Final Malta OW Swim0.950.85.91 (Swimcap)
Blue Lagoon OW Swim0.540.51.48 (Swimcap)
Partial Bay OW SwimFroze0.82.83 (Swimcap)
Point to Point OW Swim1.251.21(Missed button)
Quick Lunch OW Swim0.440.40.39 (Swimcap)
Evening OW Swim1.281.151.16 (Swimcap)
Evening Ride20.3920.42-
Canal Run6.536.54-
Louvre Mile Repeats7.737.74-
Part Peripherique Run9.549.64-
Parisian Tri - Swim0.510.51-
Parisian Tri - Bike8.298.29-
Parisian Tri - Run3.103.13-

(Note: Indoor trainer sessions are not included, or cases where I only had a single device on me.  The single swim where the device distance counting portion froze, Garmin believes they have that fixed in 2.50 firmware.)

For those that are curious, here’s a package of all my swim/bike/runs over the past few weeks (Note: Coming within the next 24 hours…).  Most of secondary files from the Suunto Ambit3, Garmin Edge, or Bia Watch along with it to compare against.

Altimeter Accuracy (Elevation):


The FR920XT contains a barometric altimeter, which in theory means that it would be able to track your elevation gains and losses more accurately, as well as your exact elevation more accurately.  This is different than many running watches that just use GPS based altimeters, which while having improved significantly in recent years – still aren’t quite as precise.

But Garmin has made some changes in how the latest multisport device establishes initial elevation.  Previously, with every other Garmin sport/fitness device ever made the unit would get a reading of the elevation from GPS first, allowing it to establish the initial GPS elevation to a rough degree.  From there, the barometric altimeter would kick in and more precisely hone in on the exact elevation.

Unfortunately, the first step is skipped in the case of the FR920XT.  This means that it attempts to determine the elevation using only the barometric altimeter.  The problem is this takes forever – and even when it does decide where you are, it’s inaccurate.  In case you’re looking for a more clear definition of ‘forever’, it’s at least an hour after you’ve turned the device on and are ready to run/ride/etc…

For example, take a look at this pancake flat run I did.  What you see is that the elevation slowly decreases, where the altimeter is attempting to adjust over the course of the hour run:


And, it still doesn’t get the elevation right either.

Next, this run I did from virtually sea level (perhaps at a starting elevation of 10-15ft), up a mountain and back down again.  Note that despite starting and ending in the exact same place, it shows two different locations.  Not only that, it shows me 17 meters below sea level:


If you compare to to the Suunto Ambit3 on the same route, the Ambit3 nailed the starting position straight up, and then only exhibited minimal drift that would be expected due to shifting weather, also ending in the same spot.  Meanwhile, you can see the FR920XT started and ended in the wrong spots (data compared using this tool):


Now compounding this problem is that there isn’t actually any way to calibrate the altimeter or manually override it.  I asked Garmin why they’re doing it this way versus the previous method, and they noted the following:

How long it takes for the elevation in real-time to “correct” itself is mostly a function of how far off the initial elevation is, which is a function of the local barometric pressure.  If the local pressure due to current weather conditions is far off from “base pressure” average, then the initial elevation estimate will be a ways off and it takes the watch a while to correct this error.  We have been discussing ways to improve the initial elevation estimate based on the pressure and speed up the correction, but nothing is planned in the short term.”

Which, may be true.  But at the same time from a user perspective the current method is the worst I’ve seen in a barometric altimeter device.  So I’m not exactly sure the grass is greener on this side.  I checked in again this morning, and they noted that “all options are still on the table” as far as changes they might make to how it works.

Now some folks have seemed to find a tricky little workout to setting the elevation, which is to go ahead and save a waypoint at the current location with the correct altitude.  Obviously, that requires you know the correct attitude, which is no doubt potentially a big ask.

Sensors & Accessories:


The FR920XT is compatible with numerous sensors, both Garmin branded and 3rd party.  For sensor connectivity, the FR920XT utilizes ANT+, which is a low power wireless protocol.  It’s similar to Bluetooth Smart, though more widely used within the cycling community than Bluetooth Smart.  Like previous Garmin products, the FR920XT supports ANT+ sensors only, be it from Garmin or 3rd parties.

It does not support Bluetooth Smart sensors (or Bluetooth Legacy), nor Polar W.I.N.D. sensors, analog sensors, or Nike sensors.

Below is a quick compatibility table of products and sensors that I’ve tested and/or have ANT+ certification for compatibility with the FR920XT:

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save with the VIP programClever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 16th, 2018 @ 10:46 am
2014 Winter Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
2015 Giveaway Extravaganza
2016 Recommendations: Triathlon
2016 Winter Recommendations: Swimming
2017 Recommendations: Swimming
2018 Recommendations: Swimming
Left/Right Capable Bike Computers
4iiii's Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart HR Strap & Bridge$79.00LinkLink
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar Mount$25LinkN/A
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount$37LinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run$99.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00LinkLink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin Cadence-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39LinkLink
Garmin Solar Charging Kit$71.00LinkLink
Garmin Speed & Cadence ANT+ Sensor bundle (magnet-less)$69LinkLink
Garmin Speed-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39LinkLink
Garmin Vector$1499LinkLinkLink
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)$38.00LinkLink
Timex ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap)$48.00LinkLink
Timex ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$51.00N/AN/A
Timex ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor$50.00LinkLink

It should be noted that the FR920XT also doesn’t support two sensor types previously supported on past Garmin multisport devices.  That would be the weight scale as well as fitness equipment profile (gym equipment).  The weight scale previously allowed you to connect to what was a handful of ANT+ wireless weight scales for uploading weight data.  Meanwhile, the fitness equipment profile enabled some gym equipment like treadmills and spin bikes to transmit data directly to the watch.

Garmin has previously said that the number of users using these functions was just too small to justify future development.  And, that’s probably very true.  With WiFi being the primary and most relevant way to get weight scale data to the internet, it just makes more sense than routing it through your watch, then through your phone, just to get to the same place.

That said, while Garmin isn’t providing such connectivity, I suspect we’ll see it provided by 3rd parties using Garmin Connect IQ coming up early next year.  That’s already true in the case of Moxy, a 3rd party sensor using the Muscle Oxygen sensor.  Virtually all of the Connect IQ demo’s that Garmin has used utilize this protocol.  This is an example of where Garmin isn’t natively supporting the Muscle Oxygen sensor type, but is allowing 3rd parties to do so.

Said differently: I suspect that if the software API’s allow for it, we’ll see a weight scale and fitness equipment app pretty quickly after Connect IQ release.

Heart Rate Straps & Optical HR Sensors:


I just wanted to very briefly touch on this but in its own section – since I see lots of questions about it.  First, the FR920XT is compatible with optical HR sensors from companies like Scosche and Mio.  It will pair to those sensors just fine.

However, there are some limitations there.  First is that optical sensors on the market today largely ‘guesstimate’ heart rate variability (HRV/RR).  Heart rate variability has nothing to do with your actual heart rate.  Rather, it’s measuring a different metric.  Sometimes that guess is spot-on, and sometimes it’s way off.  It’s simply a limitation of the technology today.  Will it improve down the road?  Absolutely.  But it’s not there today.

The result of that limitation on heart rate variability is that’s how advanced watches like the Garmin FR920XT, as well as Polar and Suunto determine recovery information.  They utilize algorithms (in Garmin’s case, from a company called FirstBeat) to understand the variability information, and from that they can tell you if you’re recovered or not.  For conventional chest straps, this is easy.  But again, in optical, not so much.

As a result, if you use an optical HR sensor, here’s the impact of it on the FR920XT:

– Recovery Advisor: May have non-accurate values
– Recovery Time: May have non-accurate numbers
– VO2Max: May have non-accurate numbers
– Vertical Oscillation & Ground Contact Time: Not shown at all, requires HRM-RUN
– Calories: May be impacted, usually pretty accurate, but still can be impacted

There is no impact however on straight up heart rate recording (your beats per minute – i.e. 140bpm).  The FR920XT simply displays and records the values from your heart rate sensor for those pieces.

Finally, what about not using the HRM-RUN strap and using another company’s strap – like the Wahoo TICKR or 4iiii’s Viiiiva (or even the older Garmin HR straps)?  Well, in that case all ANT+ straps do transmit heart rate variability (HRV/RR), so instead you’re only looking at a few features that will be impacted.  Here’s how those work out:

– Recovery Advisor: Works normally!
– Recovery Time: Works normally!
– VO2Max: Works normally!
– Vertical Oscillation & Ground Contact Time: Not shown, requires HRM-RUN
– Calories: Works normally!

As you can see, the only thing impacted here is VO & GCT.  Note that you’ll still get running cadence, because the FR920XT can provide that from three places: The Wrist, the HRM-RUN, and a Footpod.  As long as you have one of those three, you’re good.  And since obviously you’ll still have the watch on your wrist while running you’ll still get cadence.

Further, note that some have asked about the Wahoo TICKR X & TICKR RUN.  Neither of those straps transmit Running Dynamic metrics to the FR920XT – or any other watch.  They only transmit similar running efficiency information to the Wahoo Fitness app.  Additionally, that strap won’t work in terms of saving swims with the FR920XT either, unless you manually merge the data with 3rd party (non-Garmin) tools afterwards.

Finally, you can use the product comparison calculator to determine which heart rate strap makes the most sense for you.  For me personally, after I finish this review process, I’ll go back to using the Scosche RHYTM+ optical band, simply because I don’t value GCT & VO all that much, but do prefer the optical non-chest HR strap.

Garmin VIRB Action Camera integration:


The Garmin FR920XT adds in VIRB action camera support.  This means that the Garmin, via ANT+, can control the VIRB action camera.  This control includes both taking a photo as well as video.

You’ll start by pairing your VIRB action camera through the sensors menu:


Once you’ve done so it’ll add a new VIRB-specific screen to your workout pages.  This screen will show you the recording time of the VIRB, and whether or not it’s recording:


By default the unit will automatically start and stop recording based on when you start and stop your activity using the buttons on the watch.  When you start the watch, it starts the recording.  And the same for stopping.


However, you can also long-hold the lower left button down to manually control the VIRB – such as to take a photo.


The system works fairly similar to that of how the Fenix and other devices control the VIRB, so this isn’t new territory for Garmin.

Data Fields & Pages:

The FR920XT can be customized a number of ways with different data fields and screens.  Each activity profile can have its own set of saved data pages (data screens), with each data page having up to four data fields (1, 2, 3, or 4 fields per page).  The size of the fonts increase with less data fields, and decreases with more data fields per page.

The fields available are generally consistent across activity profiles, though some are obviously sport specific – such as power meters for bikes are only available in the cycling fields.

You can have four fully customized data pages/screens per activity profile.  You can then additionally have the following data pages enabled or disabled: Clock, Map, Virtual Partner, Running Dynamics (Run Only), Drill Log (Pool Only).  Additionally there are context-enabled pages for Courses (following) and Workouts (when in a structured workout, such as an interval workout).  Finally, there’s the Metronome page and VIRB pages, available when those features are enabled.

Here are the data fields available to you:

Garmin FR920XT Data Fields - Part 1

Power Meter Fields (Bike Only)Power Meter Fields (Bike Only)Swimming OnlySwimmingHeart Rate FieldsRunning Dynamics (Running Only)
PowerBalanceAverage Stroke RateLast Length SWOLFHeart RateVertical Oscillation
Work3s Avg. BalanceInterval Stroke RateRest TimerAverage HRAvg. Vertical Oscillation
Power to Weight10s Avg. BalanceLast Length Stroke RateRepeat OnHR ZoneLap Vertical Oscillation
3s Avg. Power30s Avg. BalanceInterval Stroke TypeAverage PaceTraining EffectGround Contact Time
10s Avg. PowerAverage BalanceLast Length Stroke TypeInterval PaceHR %Max.Avg. Ground Contact Time
Average PowerLap BalanceLast Length StrokesInterval Distance%HRRLap Ground Contact Time
Lap PowerIntesnsity FactorAverage Strokes/LengthLast Length PaceAverage HR %Max.Cadence
Last Lap PowerTraining Stress ScoreInterval Strokes/LengthAverage %HRRAverage Cadence
Max. PowerNormalized PowerLengthsLap HRLap Cadence
Max. Lap PowerLap Normalized PowerInterval LengthsLap %HRR
Power ZoneLast Lap Normalized PowerAverage SWOLFLap HR %Max
Time in Zone%FTPInterval SWOLFTime in Zone
Pedal Smoothness
Torque Effectiveness

Garmin FR920XT Data Fields - Part 2

Timer FieldsDistance FieldsPace FieldsSpeed FieldsCadence FieldsElevation FieldsOther FieldsCourses
TimerDistancePaceSpeedCadenceElevationCaloriesDistance Remaining
Lap TimeLap DistanceAverage PaceAverage SpeedAverage CadenceTotal AscentHeadingEstimted Finish Time
Last Lap TimeLast Lap DistanceLap PaceLap SpeedLap CadenceTotal DescentLapsTime Ahead/Behind
Average Lap TimeLast Lap PaceLast Lap SpeedLast Lap CadenceGradeSunrise
Elapsed TimeMaximum SpeedSunset
30s Avg Vertical SpeedTime of day
Vertical Speed

Finally, you can create numerous activity profiles, both as individual sports (for example, your own Wind Surfing profile), or tie them together to make multisport profiles.  In total you can have up to 10 individual sport activity profiles, and up to 5 multisport activity profiles.

Comparison Charts:

Before we wrap things up I’ve put together the comparison charts of all the features of the FR920XT and FR910XT, compared to the Garmin Fenix2, with the Suunto Ambit 3 and Polar V800 (closest competitors).  You can of course create your own comparison tables using this link with any of the products I’ve previously reviewed/looked at, such as adding in other watches:

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated September 13th, 2018 @ 1:33 amNew Window
Product Announcement DateOct 1st, 2014OCT 4, 2011Feb 20, 2014Jan 6th, 2014July 10th, 2014
Actual Availability/Shipping DateEarly Oct 2014JAN-APR 2012March 2014May 2014Sept 2014
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiANT+ WirelessUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB & Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 50mYes - 50mYes - 30mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)UP TO 40HRS IN GPS20 Hours50 HoursUp to 50 hoursUp to 200 Hours
Recording Interval1s or Smart1s or Smart1S to Variable1sVariable
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerGreatNoYesSorta, predictive but not cached.Yes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGoodGreat
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesNoNoNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesNoNoYesMinimal
MusicGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Can control phone musicNoNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYesVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesNoYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesNoYesNoNo
Group trackingNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYesNPNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoYesNo
Crash detectionNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)With HRM-TRI or HRM-RUNNoYesNoNo
Running PowerWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYesNoYesYesYes
Race PredictorYesNoYesYes, via Race PaceNo
Recovery AdvisorYesNoYesYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYes (Added June 13th, 2014)Yes, via timersNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Designed for swimmingYesYesYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYesYesYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterWith HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIMNoNoWith Certain Polar StrapsYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYesYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesNoYesNoYes
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNoNoYesNo
Change pool sizeYesYesYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths17M/18Y TO 150Y/M20m/22y to 100y/m18m/20y to 150y/m20M/Y to 250 m/y15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYesYesYes
Can change yards to metersYesYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsYesYesYesN/ANo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Designed for triathlonYesYesYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesYesBarely
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYes (Added June 13th, 2014)YesNo
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYesYesNo
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesNoNoNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesNoYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoYesNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoYesNoNo
Weather Display (live data)YesNoNoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesNoYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startYesYesYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesNoYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticGPSMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)NoNo (can control VIRB though)no (but can control GoPro)No
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoYesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoYesNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesYesNoYesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGTC/ANT AgentGarmin ExpressPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacMoveslink Agent
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectPolar FlowSuunto Movescount
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 920XTGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix2/Fenix2 SEPolar V800Suunto Ambit3 Peak
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.  And again, remember you can create your own charts easily here with any product you’d like.

Bugs and other imperfect notables:

As I’ve been doing on all reviews over the past year or two, 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.  For example, not having weight scale support isn’t a bug.  It’s a design decision Garmin has made.  Whereas Bluetooth connectivity failing to work consistently is more of a bug.

Here’s what I’ve found as my main issues:

– Elevation Accuracy: As noted within the elevation section, the device is simply taking too long to acclimate to the baseline elevation. Response to elevation changes during an activity is immediate, but the calibration is what’s taking an unacceptable amount of time, thus skewing the elevation profiles. (Update: For me, I see this issue as now resolved through a firmware update earlier this year (2015))

– Loss of connectivity to phone: While this hardly seems specific to the FR920XT from my testing (seeing it both on Garmin and non-Garmin devices), it is nonetheless annoying.  Not a showstopper, but just annoying that every few days I have to reset the connection to the phone.

– Courses: While not a specific bug per se, as is designed today, I don’t believe courses are usable for the majority of non-obvious road routes.  In cases where there are clear intersections with minimal choices you can use it with success.  However, in complex dense forest situations or even more complex urban situations – the lack of of zoom option makes it impossible to get the directions right. (Update: The ability to zoom was added in a firmware update, which now resolves this issue for me)

Now, for most triathletes these aren’t likely complete showstopper issues.  The vast majority of users don’t actually use courses.  And while having to reset the phone connection is annoying, I find that it’s kinda par for the course for many devices out there.  Elevation accuracy is really the big ticket one though.  No doubt most online apps re-write the elevation data anyway, but it’s still problematic that it just doesn’t give me accurate elevation data to begin each activity.

Obviously you’ll have to decide whether these bugs (or ‘by design’ in some cases) are an issue to you personally.  Everyone is different.  I do think there’s hope to fix both elevation and courses.  The phone connectivity piece may be more challenging though as I suspect there’s some dependencies there on the phone OS platforms that make this less reliable than fitness device manufactures want.

Again, this doesn’t mean this is all the bugs out there.  These are just the ones I saw during my use.  As a single person I can’t possible test every possible feature in every possible combination to reproduce every possible scenario.  Sure, I’d love to – but companies have entire teams of testers and they still miss things.  So I do the best I can to note what I’ve seen above.  If you have bugs, please post them to the Garmin Forums, or report them to Garmin.  That’s the correct channel to get them fixed.



Overall, the FR920XT is the best multisport watch in the market with the most features.  It’s also the watch that has the most potential for really cool 3rd party apps with upcoming Connect IQ enablement.  What’s core to understand is that by itself the FR920XT doesn’t contain any shockingly new major functionality.  Rather, Garmin has just plucked out all of the new features from numerous devices since the FR910XT was released three years ago.  They grabbed the Running Dynamics from the FR620 series, the additional pool options from the Garmin Swim, the Live Tracking from the Edge 510 & 810, and the activity tracking from the Vivo series.  The FR920XT just unites everything under one device roof.

Well, almost everything.  There are a few areas that are lacking in the FR920XT found in past Forerunner multisport devices, such as weight scale & fitness equipment support.  Also missing from the Edge 510/810/1000 is Di2 support and Garmin Segments. As well as better elevation calibration options and better course support.  Hopefully though future updates can address those.

While the FR920XT isn’t perfect, it is the most capable device out there for the multisport athlete.  It may not however be the most capable device for the hiking or outdoors enthusiast.  For that I’d look at other devices that have better support for courses, routing and altimeter data – such as the Garmin Fenix2 series or the Suunto Ambit 2/3 series.

As for whether it’ll stay on my wrist, that’ll depend.  I tend to be more of a single-device person except for racing.  I prefer smaller watches for running (like the FR620), as well as the Garmin Edge for cycling, and my favored little Garmin Swim for swimming.  Which isn’t to take away from the FR920XT, as it has nothing to do with the device but just my personal preference is more sport specific.  If I were to choose a single triathlon watch for a race (which I often do), there’s no doubt that it’d be the FR920XT at this point.  Between the consolidation of new features from other devices, plus the minor adds of additional completely new features like the Metronome – it’s hard to beat.

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 will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, 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 (or less) US shipping as well.

Garmin FR920XT without HR strap (Blue or red)
Garmin FR920XT bundle with HRM-RUN heart rate strap (simply select from dropdown)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the FR920XT or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

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

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training - Save with the VIP programClever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 16th, 2018 @ 10:46 am
2014 Winter Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
2015 Giveaway Extravaganza
2016 Recommendations: Triathlon
2016 Winter Recommendations: Swimming
2017 Recommendations: Swimming
2018 Recommendations: Swimming
Left/Right Capable Bike Computers
4iiii's Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart HR Strap & Bridge$79.00LinkLink
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar Mount$25LinkN/A
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount$37LinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run$99.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00LinkLink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin Cadence-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39LinkLink
Garmin Solar Charging Kit$71.00LinkLink
Garmin Speed & Cadence ANT+ Sensor bundle (magnet-less)$69LinkLink
Garmin Speed-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39LinkLink
Garmin Vector$1499LinkLinkLink
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)$38.00LinkLink
Timex ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap)$48.00LinkLink
Timex ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$51.00N/AN/A
Timex ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor$50.00LinkLink

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.

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  1. Tm

    … ray did you test the quality of heart rate data? today i made a short test between garmin, polar and wahoo and found REALLY BIG DIFFERENCES. polar was best, garmin middle and wahoo worst by far. i never thought that there such big differences …

    • Yes, I compared data from the HRM-RUN to other devices, there was virtually no differences. I’ve never seen nor seen anyone report issues with the HRM-RUN strap in terms of data quality (unless they were having a spiking issue). Nor have I see any variation with Wahoo either.

      You’d probably have to outline a bit of your test procedure and data collection. Keep in mind that for chest based straps, especially in the fall/winter you’ll want to ensure a bit of sweat/water/etc, per the instructions to get accurate results – especially if a test was short and only a few minutes long.

    • Tom

      … just 10 minutes with three straps the same time – data recording with wahoo fitness app.
      here is the link: link to workupload.com

    • (Moved over to the Wahoo TICKR post since it’s more an issue there for those wanting to follow along…)

    • luke

      Great review – perhaps I missed this, but does the HR monitor work on the swim? (aka waterproof)

    • Peter van Stralen

      Hi, thanks for the great review.
      Currently I’m using the FR310XT for rowing. It does all that I want from it, except for one thing; It doesn’t record my (rowing) strokes per minute, which is very important in improving my technique and speed.
      Since the 920 XT can record strokes per minute during swimming I was wondering if it could do the same during rowing. The actual strokes in swimming and rowing are slightly different.
      Do you have any information on that, or do you know of any sport swatch that is suited for the rowing sport?

    • It doesn’t today, and to my understanding Garmin isn’t giving access to the accelerometer within Connect IQ.

    • Sam

      I believe the Concept PM4 and PM5 can connect to the 920XT directly for stroke analysis with Rowing mode selected but I haven’t tried it yet as my gym only has PM3.

    • The 920xt doesn’t support the fitness equipment profile so it can’t connect to exercise equipment like the 910xt using built in functionality. Someone could write a connect iq app to give the watch that functionality.

      The PM5 doesn’t currently broadcast over Ant+ so no chance of working now but they said they plan to add it later.

    • Martha

      Is there any further word from Garmin regarding fixing the elevation accuracy ? This would be a reason not to purchase for me – I mostly ride a bike and use that feature a great deal.

  2. milkywaye

    great review!.. now .. give me your watch while i am waiting for mine to be delivered (and in return I will eat 20cupcakes a week)

  3. Bert

    Cool! Seems like I’ll be on the fence for some time on this one. Really wanted to upgrade my 910XT, but as I travel a lot the courses feature is important to me. The redraw times on the 910XT are a pain, but in the end there is at least manual zoom… The lack of that on the 920XT is really a deal-breaker for me.

    • avi

      I feel the same way. The other added features I like but if courses is not fixed I’d rather stay with the 910. Hopeful that garmin will come around though.

    • Zaheer

      I fully agree. I do a lot of trail running in areas I am not familiar with and this, along with the altitude accuracy is vital.

  4. Elizabeth

    Do you have any pictures of what the watch looks like on a tiny women wrist?

  5. Is there any particular reason that Garmin hasn’t added more in depth mapping to high end units like the 920xt? I mean it seems like those features could have been ported over from the Garmin Edge Touring much the same way a lot of the “new” features came from other existing Garmin lines.

    • The resolution just isn’t high enough on these small screens at this point to get good mapping. If you had a screen like the Motoactv, it’d be different (since they had maps), but obviously that’s a ginormous hit on battery life.

      The Fenix series does support some very super-basic maps, but the value there is pretty minimal.

    • You sure that’s the reason? Maps work fine with the display of the leikr, the main issue is they are very CPU intensive to draw so the watch would need a faster CPU and battery life would take a major hit (faster CPU would take more power and the extra CPU use). This dynamic may change with the popularity of smart watches as they will encourage development of faster and lower power processors to power these watches. (Smart phones have pushed the development of the high end arm cortex a processors but the watch uses much lower powered chips link to anandtech.com )

    • But the Leikr only gets 5hrs of battery life. The FR920XT starts at 24 hours, and goes up to 40 hours.

      Even the Motoactv got better battery life than the Leikr.

    • That’s my point, designing the watch to have full maps would make the battery life much worse. (Would need a faster cpu which would be utilized much more

  6. Chris Portman

    Don’t expect any shipments until the first week of December – even if you ordered direct on October 1st.

    • I asked about that this morning. Not actually true. Production resumed, and shipments have gone out. For example, folks at a triathlon in Australia this weekend could pickup units.

      It sounds like units might start floating out to retailers within the next week, we’ll see. Obviously, the halting of production to address a waterproofing issue that came up slowed things.

    • Gary P

      Hi Ray
      Thanks for the great review.

      If there was a recognised issue with the waterproofing on the 2 front buttons that Garmin corrected before mass production, what happens to people who already have units that i’m guessing still potentially have this problem?

      I got my 920XT from Wiggle in the UK on 07/10. So i guess my unit was an original before this issue was corrected. Do i wait and see if my unit has waterproofing issues and then contact Garmin or should i contact them for a newer unit in a few months time when the backorder situation has cleared?

    • Chris Portman

      I spoke with Garmin on the status of my October 1st order today and they said the earliest would be the first week of December ;( not happy

    • Remember garmin can’t favor their own store over other retailers so that doesn’t mean much

    • Nate Thompson

      This is good news… hoping to see some movement on my REI order before the end of the month!

    • Raul

      Thanks Ray! Great review. Just to comment to the community that my Amazon order is estimated December 1… got a race on Dec 14… so I´m crossing fingers. Cheers

    • Christian J

      Garmin will replace these units free of charge – check out here:
      link to forums.garmin.com

  7. Duane

    Thanks for your review! Do you know if the Connect IQ SDK will let users find solutions for the problems you mentioned above? Such as designing an app which would feature more precise maps and the ability to zoom in/out? Or tweaking the way altitude data is recorded?

    • Altitude data would be tough. The actual track itself for altitude is fine, just the offset is incorrect due to the slow calibration.

      As for the map zooming, I’m not sure if the SDK exactly would permit that, but, I suspect one could work around it – heck, even draw ones own maps, as a plain old application. But again, I haven’t dived into it from a dev standpoint to know the limitations there. Also keeping in mind they’re evolving the SDK between the different beta releases.

    • Anders

      Are you shure that the issue is slow calibration, or is it just that the air pressure is changing during your excersise?

    • Note, for example, that in the case of the rainforest run, it starts the run at -40m (approx), and ends it still almost -20m. Meanwhile, the Ambit3 started it at the proper elevation and ended it at the same elevation.

      I’ll have to add in the overlayed comparison graph, it’s kinda neat.

    • MattB

      Is it possible to switch to using GPS based elevation in Garmin Connect, or is that worse than the dodgy barometric data from the 920XT?

    • Yes, you can still toggle the little switch on GC.

  8. Brody

    ITS HERE!!! Thanks so much!!!! Now to get home, cook some dinner, get a beverage, and get lost in the review.

  9. Hugo

    I’d change my Garmin Fenix2 for this one in a heartbeat.
    How do you see this compared with the Fenix2?

    Nice work

  10. Peter

    Hi Ray, thank you for your review and especially for a measured distance comparison in accuracy section. The accuracy is No. 1 to me.
    I have two questions:

    1) Do you have any information about current 920XT shipping situation?

    2) Did you ever have any problems with forgetting bluetooth pairing between iPhone and Ambit3?

    Thank you

    • 1) The FR920XT is shipping, just in highly limited quantities, and mostly just to a handful of races right now.

      2) Occasionally, but not nearly as much as with the FR920XT. The other thing though is that the Ambit3 will only get notifications if the Suunto App is running in the background.

  11. Linus Franklin

    Great review. Too bad they dropped the Ant+ fitness equient linking. It’s one of the features I love in the FR610, captures all of my spin metrics from the Schwinn MPower. Also, a bummer about the barometer accuracy.

  12. amit

    Great review. Seems well also for daily use.
    Cant wait for my 40 birthday wish.

  13. Allan


    I noticed your comment about getting near-perfect results on a treadmill with a footpod. For some reason, my pace and distance are always understated with this configuration — no matter which watch I use, and no matter how often I calibrate the footpod outdoors with a GPS. Putting the footpod in different shoelaces also doesn’t help.

    Any idea what causes this? Is it common? Do I just have bad running form on a treadmill or something? I’m using the Garmin footpod.

    • You may want to ensure you’re running at a 1% incline on a treadmill, which better mimics the outdoors. Though, there are still some slight differences that may just be compounded from a running style standpoint. The other thing is to ensure you get a good long 800m or more calibration on a track (versus via GPS). Ideally at your mid-point running pace, so something like a long run is best.

    • Is the wrist based detection (WDR) for the 920XT essentially the same thing as the accelerometer for the 220? If so, then for both units, a footpod will yield more consistent results indoors, correct?

  14. Well I already have mine on order, the extra connectivity options and activity tracking, and daily watch modes look like an upgrade from my 910xt. Swim intervals are also a major plus.

    The courses functionality is a bit disappointing, I do a confusing 42 mile bike ride every year between 32 pools swimming a lap in each one, using courses helps rather than following the 100+ turn queue sheet. I’ve had altitude problems with my 910 usually the elevation differences are accurate enough but it has listed me below sea level a number of times.

    The one other thing I would have loved to see would have been the ski lift mode from the fenix 2.

  15. Peter

    I also wish Garmin would start delivering in normal quantities, because I have ordered mine on the 16th of October when the expected delivery date was the end of October, which is now changed to beginning of December… (Belgium) But great review as always.

    About the initial elevation problem: I wonder if – like back in the Edge 500 – saving a waypoint with known elevation on the watch would also result in future activities starting near that point to be automatically elevation calibrated?

  16. Inigo

    Thanks for your great review!
    Swimming (Pool) section: who is this really nice swimmer in the picture? Is he a professional swimmer? Photoshop?

  17. Thanks for the great review!

    How does the 920XT perform in tunnels?

    With my current 310XT I get very high spikes when I run under a tunnel from approximate 25 meters long:
    link to netjukebox.nl

  18. Rob

    So for custom activities, let’s say I create a “walking” profile. When I am finished with the activity and I upload it to Garmin Connect via Bluetooth will it automatically map it as a walking activity or will it remain as “other” like with the Fenix 2? Thanks in advance and I love the review!

    • It’ll be ‘Other’, unless it’s one of the default ones.

    • Olu

      Why does it matter Rob? You’re going to get the watch anyway 😉 lol!

    • Rob

      The problem I have with how Garmin handles this is that now that they are syncing up with other platforms (Strava, Sporttracks.mobi, and Trainingpeaks) is that the activity then gets sent to those other platforms as “other”. So you then have to go back into all your accounts and still edit them. I was hoping you could map a custom activity to a GC activity so it always uploaded correctly similar to how Suunto handles it. Kind of ruins the fun of bluetooth uploads if we still need to go in and edit things. For those of us who mostly walk and hike this would be huge.

    • Glenn

      I totally agree with Rob. It should not be any big problem to solve since Garmin have options from roller ski to hiking to choose in Garmin Connect.

    • npat

      i hope garmin fixes this. really liking their new products but i just love the suunto movescount way of allowing a user to choose from a lot of custom activities.

    • Nannette

      This bothers me as well! 🙁

  19. Isn’t it sort of weird that Garmin continue to go to the expense and complexity of including a barometric altimeter when it clearly seems to provide a worse user experience with less accuracy than just using GPS altitude? It was true in the 910XT and I guess remains true in the 920XT as well.

    • Trent

      The reason to use a barometric altimeter over GPS altitude is that Barometric altitude is actually more accurate. Implementation of it in the watch may be a whole different story though. GPS accuracy in the vertical plane is really not that great. This is especially true when compared to the horizontal plane. There is a reason that we still don’t use GPS altitude for very much in the aviation wold and that is an industry that accurate altitude readings are a safety of life issue.

    • morey000

      Barometric altimeters can easily be off hundreds of feet due to weather, and change hundreds of feet during the day. That said, they’re much better at recording when you’ve ascended 10 feet, than GPS based altitude. GPS altitude is more *accurate* but less *precise*.

    • Trent

      I can’t speak for altimeter implementations in watches but on aircraft barometric altimeters have to be accurate to within 75 feet. However, you are right in that weather can change the readings of an altimeter. That is why when you fly with one you need to set a local setting. For example, setting 29.92 inches of mercury. That local setting could change during day for a variety of reasons. Without that local setting the accuracy of the altitude could be off dramatically. However, it will have no impact on the precision of the reading. GPS altitude has greater inaccuracies in the altitude reading due to the generally poor satellite geometries in the vertical plane. This is because the GPS receiver can’t see the satellite through the earth and just the ones above the horizon. GPS altitude on the other hand is not greatly impacted by local weather like barometric altitude is based altitude above a sphere in the database that approximates the earth. The problem is that earth is not a sphere and the baseline sphere that the altitude is based on can be off from the actual surface altitudes by hundreds of feet. That is before you add in the inherent difficulties in the precision of GPS altitude. This link has more info on the topic….way more than you probably want to know. link to ozreport.com

    • Martin R.

      If only the watch knew current/actual QNH setting, then the altitude reading could be precise regardless the weather. In aviation, pilots get this information from an ATC. I can get it from an app, so maybe Connect IQ developers will come up with something.

    • Rob

      “The problem is that earth is not a sphere and the baseline sphere that the altitude is based on can be off from the actual surface altitudes by hundreds of feet” A bit misleading. GPS height is indeed based on a geometric shape which is the WGS84 reference ellipsoid (not a sphere).

      The more accurate but irregular global approximation of MSL is the geoid. This differs from the ellipsoid – sometimes above, sometimes below. Any respectable consumer GPS applies the corrections to the ellipsoid height based on a specific model of the geoid.

      Over the UK I would expect the geoid model to be good to a few metres.

      But, as you say, other factors mean GPS elevation to be the weak element of a 3D position and also deteriorates faster than horizontal accuracy under poor conditions.

    • Rob

      Indeed. If you take a barometric based device and walk up and down the stairs at home or even repeatedly shift your device from floor to ceiling you will see the elevation change. This is a sensitivity and repeatability you generally don’t get from GPS elevation.

    • Shouldn’t the garmin app the watch is normally paired to be able to give that info to the watch?

    • Mike

      The reason virtually all altimeter watches use barometric pressure instead of GPS as the main method of measuring altitude is a very simple one: it uses no extra battery power. Using the GPS function will drain your battery in a matter of hours, the barometer/altimeter won’t. Yes, you must regularly (re)set the watch to a known altitude, and yes, you will see the “altitude” change when the weather changes, but you won’t be draining your battery in the process. (Some altimeter based multi-function watches (Suunto, I believe) have a memory feature that holds the altitude after 15 minutes of inactivity so resetting isn’t always necessary.)

  20. Midpackbiped

    Why does Garmin have such heinously bad designers? The watch looks superb in terms of features, but I’d never wear it in business settings.

    • Well, that’s is not a business watch, but endurance sport watch.

    • funkright

      Why not? It makes a statement that you ‘care’ about yourself/health and this would probably reflect in the work or business you’d put forth. I’ve started many conversation and a few friendships under the guise of discussing what was sitting on my wrist.

  21. Cristina

    apologies if you covered this and I missed it. I understand that you need the HRM-RUN transmitter to get all the additional metrics (cadence, oscillation,…), but can you snap that transmitter into a Polar strap and still get all those metrics? Or do you need the HRM-RUN transmitter AND the strap that comes with it?

    (I ask because I seem to have a skln allergy to something used in the transmitters for the older Garmin straps, so I’ve always had to use the Polar)

    • No problem using the HRM-RUN Transmitter snapped into one of the Polar straps, and getting all Running Metrics. Enjoy!

    • milkywaye

      Thanks is exactly what I currently do with my HRM-RUN / FR620

    • Chris

      Can you use any polar strap or must you use a particular one?

    • I think they are all the same (the new straps from polar say they work with all old polar sensors which means the snaps and distance between them should work for garmin too. “Polar Heart Rate Sensor Soft Strap” on amazon shows up as ~$16 and make sure you get the right size. Seems like there are multiple colors now: link to polar.com

      Also going by the pics it looks like the newer polar soft straps are like the old garmin strap, at least the electrode looks the same. Anyone see one in person?

  22. david

    in your opinion, is it worth upgrading from the 910xt to the 920xt?

  23. Drew W

    I see Virtual Partner & Virtual Racer mentioned in the feature table & a brief mention about Virtual Partner at the end of the workout section. What’s the difference between the two? Are those being kept the same as they were in other Garmin watches? Did they add the feature to set a target race time (i.e. a 3:30 marathon) & have it pace you against that?

    • Maelstrom


      Comming from the Owner’s manual : “Your Virtual Partner is a training tool designed to help you meet your goals. you can customize the Virtual Partner to train (run, bike, other) at a target speed or pace.” So, I think it works like it did on the 910XT.

      Plus, you can now set a Training target : “The training target feature works with the Virtual Partner feature so you can train toward a set distance, distance and time, distance and pace, or distance and speed goal. This feature can be used with the running, cycling, and other single sport activity profiles (excludes swimming). During your training activity, the device gives you real-time feedback about how close you are to achieving your training target.”

      So, yes, you can set the Virtual Partner to tell you how you are in your “Marathon in 3:30” target (by the way, I noticed a screen bug in using this feature : if your time target is longer than an hour, the zone is too small to print the hours part of your estimated time. I mean, that if your goal for your marathon is 3:30:00, you won’t see the “3”, but only the minutes and seconds of your estimated time.

      Finally, I think there is still the old Virtual Racer feature on the 920XT (but no more called Virtual Racer) : you can run against a past activity or against a course from someone else you downloaded from Garmin (or any other tool, if it can produce a .fit file). I didn’t test this feature, so I won’t tell you anymore about it (you can download the 920XT manual on the Garmin Web site to learn more, anymay).


  24. Patrick

    Thank you for an excellent review and for all you do for us!

    You mentioned some people have found a tricky little workout to setting the elevation by using waypoints and knowing the correct altitude. Does this fix the issue for just the current activity? In other words, would i need to create a waypoint and set the altitude before each activity to get accurate altitude information?

  25. David

    Quick clarification – doing pool swims, can you set an actual timer for rests? Meaning not just displaying the rest time on the wall, but having the watch buzz to tell you to start again?

    I’m thinking like with running intervals where you don’t have to push any buttons, you stop when you get to the wall, it counts the rest until you’re supposed to start and when you push off it starts another swim length.

  26. Chris

    Any whispering of plans to add support for the edge remote, as they did with the 810 and 510? I think it’s a kinda ridiculous accessory, but I could see it being useful when wearing the watch on my wrist on the bike.

    Thanks for the review! I’ll probably be ordering one of these from clever training soon.

  27. Sam Baldwin

    Ray – great review, as always!

    Quick question: you mention the need for a footpod to get accurate data on a treadmill. I was under the impression that the HRM Run would serve as the foodpod sensor, rather than the watch itself. Is the footpod required for accurate measurements on a treadmill vs. the WDR functionality?

    • The HRM-RUN only transmits: Cadence, Vertical Oscillation, and Ground Contact Time

      In general though, I’d try out the WDR (wrist) functionality first – perhaps you’ll have better success, as some people seem to have better luck that others when it comes to WDR. One important thing to do though is to wear it on the same wrist when outside during runs versus when inside on a treadmill.

    • Sam Baldwin

      Sounds good. Most of what I do is outdoor, and I’d rather be able to sell off the foot pod to help pay for the 920 if itis not needed! I’ll try the WDR first before passing judgement though.

      Thanks, Ray!

  28. Long Run Nick

    Ray, again a super job. Thanks. Ordered from CT on 1 October. Keep up the great work. You are appreciated. Thank The Girl for the use of her wrist

  29. Nick

    I own an edge 510 and a vivofit. I was thinking to sell my vivofit and get vivosmart. Now with the new 920xt I’m thinking to sell both edge 510 and vivofit!
    I am considering of the above because with the 920xt I will have more battery life as an activity tracker comparing with the vivosmart.
    My primary sport is cycling.
    Then occasionally running, swimming and hiking.
    What’s your advice?

    • Gabriel Eguia

      i’ve mentioned this before but i prefer a big screen for metrics.

      riding with my fenix 2 and looking at the data is a pain.

      i think you’ll miss the edge.

  30. morey000

    I see in the satellite accuracy table (amazingly close between the watches!)- you noted that during one of your swims, the watch FROZE. Was that the only time it froze?

    • It was the only time. In that instance the device itself didn’t freeze – but rather the distance counting did. Kinda odd.

      I noted it to Garmin a few weeks ago, and they sent me a note back today saying they introduced some fixes in 2.50 which they think might solve what I saw. Otherwise, I never saw any other freezes of the unit.

    • JC

      My FR620 starts up every time in bike mode after an upload with the speed/distance frozen. It either reads 0 or some low speed and doesn’t change. It works fine after power-off reset. I have been assuming this is a bug awaiting a FW update. It could be that it isn’t logging/receiving/parsing GPS time but i haven’t reported it to Garmin yet.

    • Fwiw, they released a beta FR620 firmware update lats week: link to www8.garmin.com

  31. Troy


    I think this was maybe addressed b4, but does this unit have a function for indoor rower/concept D?… just thinking for my future purchase perhaps:)..

    If not, can a ” generic ” mode be set up?


    • To directly connect to the rower? The PM4 for the concept2 rower supports the ANT+FE profile and a proprietary extension to the FE profile that transfers over private ANT which they seem to be willing to share under a NDA. This means a Connect IQ app could be written to interface with the rower if someone wanted to write an app. (I’m tempted to look into it but that means upgrading my PM3)

    • Also you should post here so they know there is demand: link to c2forum.com

  32. Nancy

    Fantastic Review, can’t wait to see it up close and personal.

    Does the bundle come with the quick release kit for mounting onto the bike directly?

  33. EB

    Have you heard any rumours from the people at Runscribe about if they plan to use Connect IQ to receive any device specific metrics? One of the early reach targets was the addition of live ANT+. Can’t see why they couldn’t transmit a bit of private too eg. Live impact force.

    Have you played with the connect IQ developer kit? I joined the ANT developer network and did a bit. Very much more desgned for pros and rubbish for amateur tinkerers. I binned the idea. I’d hope Connect IQ would be better. Suonto’s version is much more user friendly than ANT, albeit a walled garden and ridiculously basic. Being able to code something more detailed is actually something that would make consider upgrading. I’ve ideas that just aren’t possible with an Ambit.

    • Did you post a comment on the runscribe kickstart page so they know there is demand?

      What did you expect connect iq to be? Its a low power watch and garmin. So the watch has limited computing functionality and need to save power to have too high an abstraction level. Garmin doesn’t have the developer resources google, MS, or Apple have. I personally hate duck typing and would rather have a java/c# style language over javascript 🙁

      Hopefully Garmin will have a central library of shared code to make it possible for people to share libraries

  34. Patrick Myers

    Ray, great review as always. Specifically on the swimming screens, in your shots it looks like the screen is black background with white lettering. Is there a way to flip that?

    I know that such a display on the Fenix2 caused a lot of complaints and the SE edition was the response. While I can deal with the white-on-black screen on my Fenix2 while running or biking, reading it in the pool – normally, but especially if I’m swimming at night with a lot of glare-causing underwater pool lights – is impossible. Even in your picture with full sunlight, it looks like it could be hard to read.

    I assume Garmin has stuck with white-on-black for swimming mode and black-on-white for resting mode? Thanks again for the great review!

  35. Marcel

    Ray, Many thanks for the superb review

    I own both the 910 and the Fenix2. In general, I find the latter to be the better watch – but it does not support a triathlon with a pool swim, followed by outdoor bike and run sections. The 910 does support that (which is why I kept it as a backup – for that one annual event I do)

    How about the 920? Does it support triathlons with a pool swim?



    • Yes, the FR920XT supports the pool as part of a multisport profile (unlike the Fenix2 today as you noted).

    • Beatrix Cser

      Hi! I am very disappointed about the swim funktion of the 920. I can not take lap times without rest time. I was supposed to swim a 2000 m test today, where I would need the lap time after every 500 to see if I am slower. But I can´t find how to this. I had 910 before and it wash`t any problem. And, not just that but it counts wrong all the time, the set was 80 length but it counted only 67, so no chance that I just sit down and add the times of the 25 meters to get each of the 500. Do you have any solution to this? Thank you very much for your answer.
      ps: I run the Paris marathon last Sundey and went swimming in Paris, that was quite a memory with 19 people bathing (not really swimming) in one 25 m lane…:D

    • When you create a lap it’ll do this (press the button). Or, you can also create a distance-based alert.

      It’s pretty rare that folks have swim problems with the 920XT if the 910XT worked for them. Sometimes, when someone is new to swimming watches it takes a bit of time to understand the ‘tricks’ to them’.

      That said, Parisian swimming pools (I realize this was a different day), are definitely among the hardest for units to track. Though I tend to have good luck.

    • Beatrix Cser

      Ok, I understand that it does not count the lengths right, this is not my biggest issue And Ilive in Sweden otherwise 🙂

      Which button would you press while swimming if you would like to swim a max test of 2000 m without stopping to see your 500 meters?
      Because if I press BACK button, it changest to `rest`( so I got the `rest`time for that 500 meter and the watch does not count under this time) , if I press ENTER it stops.
      Is there any way to do this? So just a simple stop which funktion without the rest time, what I need.

      Thank you very much again!! 🙂

    • Olu

      Beatrix, the 920xt counts laps perfectly if you understand what it’s looking for.

      For your type of set 2 options
      1. Press the back button twice (instead of once)
      2. Use software after the workout (i.e. Sports tracks, Training Peaks) to evaluate portions of your swim. With these software solutions you can select ANY portion of your swim and determine the pace.

  36. Gabriel Eguia


    I thought you had commented on a heart rate band that worked underwater.

    Do you have comments on that with the swim? what is the variance from the Garmin calorie estimate versus actual?

  37. Luke

    Great review! I had the Fenix 2 and had to sell it because my Nickel allergy flared up from the charging nodes on the back of the watch. Do you know if the charging nodes on the back of the 920xt are made of the same material or stick out as far as the Fenix 2? Not sure if you have come across this before so if you don’t know that’s fine. Thanks.

  38. al

    Great review!! Quick question. The Heart rate monitor that comes with 910xt bundle and 920 are totally different based on your review? Thanks

  39. Dana

    Can “The Girl” wear it without a wristband underneath, and not have it bruise her styloid as the 910XT is prone to do?

  40. Antonio

    Hi Ray!

    I just seen your In-Depth Review of Garmin 920XT!
    I also believe that is the most complete multisport watch of ever but, as usual as all Garmin devices, it is not able to works at 100% of their functionality!
    My Fenix2 works horribly wrong and Garmin can not solve the problems! There are thousands of people on Garmin forum that complains about!

    I’m for SUUNTO forever!

    Congratulations for your work!

    Best Regards

  41. Russ

    Can you upload cycling data to Strava?

  42. neil rosson

    I’m happy that gps tracking seems accurate. Tick many boxes but a few let downs. The ultra trac is a bit of a disappointment, was hopping they would have a dynamic tracking system that altered dependant of your speed. Would actually be more useful to people who do ultra distance imo as tend to hike up hills run down. Also no charging in use. But really courses & elevation are the big deal-breakers for me, I hope they can fix this but i suspect they won’t bother going by past Garmin models. They could drop all those features like running dynamics for better more useful working features imo. I’m now starting to wonder what the next big release for a watch will be next spring (Polar Garmin Ambit)& is it worth holding out? surely will not be anything as ugly.

  43. Brian

    Thanks for the review!

    Do runs count as “steps” for the activity tracking? What about a bike ride-is that added in somehow?


    • Maelstrom


      Yes, steps comming from running activity are added to the total steps.

      I can’t answer for the bike ride, as I didn’t ride with my 920XT. And also because I don’t well understand what you mean 😉

    • 1) Yes they do.
      2) For a bike ride, they aren’t counted in for steps, but would show under calories.

    • Gav

      When you are doing a bike ride does the activity counter deliberately stop counting steps for the duration of the bike activity – or does is still pick up wobbles and vibrations as steps (like the vivofit sometimes does)? Thanks.

    • Tim Grose

      It seems to behave like the Vivofit in this regard.

    • Brent

      I just did my first ride tonight and was suprised to see that the hour I was riding it was registering steps. So it looks like the vivofit behavior is confirmed. I was also suprised to see the distance of my bike ride appearing in the distance walked field afterwards. Do we know if these are things items that could be fixed or are they going to be considered expected behavior.

  44. peggy

    Thanks DC Rainmaker once again for the in depth review. Appreciate it a lot. Just in time to purchase as Xmas gift for a fitness geek. 🙂 Your review had been a must read for me before any purchase. Sincere Thanks

  45. Niklas

    Hi Ray! Thanks for a great review. I have a couple of questions.
    1) Which coordinate systems and map datums are supported in the 920?

    2) When it comes to navigation, does 920 only have the same basic navigation features as the 910?

    3) You obviously found much poorer battery time on the 920, compared to what was stated by Garmin. Does this mean that you would rekommend a seperate activity tracker (like vivofit/vivosmart) and have the 920 as a pure training watch (like 910)?

  46. Mike

    Hi Ray

    I have had to send my 920 back due to the lap button now working after a couple of weeks, I know of another person with the same issue and a mate whose start/stop button has stopped working. Is this a known issue they are dealing with and could it be as a result of the change in button type from the 910?

  47. Greg


    I have to chime in about the elevation correction or lack thereof. What you’re seeing is nothing more than barometric pressure drift.

    I actually looked it up and that day in Paris (10/7/14) in the evening the pressure changed from 29.68 in to 29.72 in during the hour of your workout based on historical data. Paris, at 35 m elevation should have a nominal air pressure of 29.77 in which means there was a low pressure front moving through slowly during the day in Paris.

    Now, 29.68 would be equal to about 186 ft above sea level while 29.72 would be 155 ft so there should be about a 30 ft drop in elevation during your run. I’ve seen this all the time with Polar units, Polar even had a quick linear correction fix for this drift built into Polar Personal Trainer 5 where you could apply a linear correctino to your entire workout assuming that your start and end pints were the same.

    While I notice that your run has more than 30 ft of elevation drop, I don’t think it’s a simple problem with a simple solution.

    • The problem is the starting elevation is never right. Had it been just drift to to weather, that’s fine. But keep in mind the Ambit3 doesn’t have that problem, nor any other Garmin watch I’ve seen or tested (or used at the same time, such as the Edge series).

  48. EricS

    So the 920xt is $50 more than the 620 but has a whole lot more functionality. Besides not liking rectangular shaped watches, why would someone buy a 620 over a 920xt? Maybe there’ll be a price drop but for now it doesn’t make sense to me.
    Nice review. Very thorough.

  49. Nina

    Thanks for the great review. Would you wear the 920 and rhythm+ on the same wrist, or would that cause spikes? Sometimes I get odd spikes with the rhythm+ when wearing long sleeves and watch on the same hand.

  50. As usual you did a fantastic job on the review.
    Some questions that I was not fully clear. If the watch is connected to my WiFi at home, will it upload workouts as soon as I walk through my door automatically? Or do I need to trigger this or even worse can it not upload workouts via WiFi?
    As a windows phone user (they are just the best), any word on when there will be a windows phone support?
    Developing the interface for the ANT+ scales, how difficult is that to program….

    • If not in standby mode, and just finished an activity – it’ll just do it automatically. If already in standby mode, you’ll just need to long-hold mode to tell it to connect to WiFi.

      I haven’t heard of any plans for Windows Phone support.

  51. Maxim

    Great review, as always!
    Took me a while to realise what ‘some’ cadence can:

    Whereas while cadence can some from the HRM-RUN strap, it’ll also come from the watch itself.

    The only missing feature is Shimano Di2 integration… and less geeky design, say, like Fenix2. Hope there would be pure black strap without funny blue inserts, and a Special Edition without any coloured inserts.

  52. Grzesiek

    With passing years getting accustomed to your reviews, forgetting to notice how crazy detailed they are.
    Thank Ray.
    I don’t like the screen getting smaller, there is a lot of room for bigger one on the face of the watch. Not sure how much more battery bigger screen would drain. (looking at new Samsung I think there is a chance it is not that much).
    They very conservative about optical HR – don’t know what to think about it.
    Really like they kept the tactile switches – dont enjoy touchscreen when exhausted.
    Like your idea about keeping different devices for different activities.
    On other subject, will you do review of the Samsung Gear S?

  53. MikeDozer

    Is it possible to connect 920xt to PC via cable and edit waypoints like it was in FR305?

  54. Hans


    regarding the elevation ‘issue’.
    What do you mean with it takes up to one hour to stabalise after starting the watch?
    a) after booting the watch it takes up to one hour to get a correct reading
    b) even with the watch active as day to day watch, it takes one hour after starting the activity to get a correct reading

    does this influence the total elevation values a lot or is it just the accuracy of the actual altitude that is concerned?

    thanks for this fantastic review, still hesitating to change my 910 for this 920.

    • A) Correct
      B) Basically same as A.

      It affects the starting elevation point, which, can in turn affect your total ascent/descent. The actual tracking of elevation seems quite good from a relative standpoint.

  55. Caballo Negro


    Thanks for outstanding review as allays, it helped me to make up my mind. 🙂


  56. Hans

    For the courses problem the waypoints:
    I started working on a little tool to convert a tcx file with a course and waypoints to a fit file understandable by a garmin watch. (for the moment I only have a 910 to test with and it is still very aplha code :))

    If someone is interested in this (or testing it 🙂 leave a reply here or send me a mail to fitcoursetool at gmail dot com

    • Once you get things cooking, I’d be happy to add it to the tools list: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Tim Grose

      Unfortunately the 920 does not support course points at the moment so not sure how this would work. Regular locations do appear on the course map though but even at the 0.3M scale are hard to see.

    • Hans

      I was thinking about writing a custom datafield for it too.

      No idea if it is possible to add data fields when doing a course?

      I’ve taken a glance at the sdk, it looks not too difficult at first sight to do something, to make it do what I want is still uncertain 🙂

  57. matt steele

    Rainmaker – does the 920XT still rely on a chest strap – please can you advise from your experience if these big companys such as garmin & polar should go with watches without the strap now?

  58. Daniel

    “The FR920XT does not permit pairing to any HR strap within the pool mode”

    do you know why is that ? and do you think there is a way of 3rd party app will enable that ? i think it is a useful function.

  59. Ondra

    I like FR920XT, but I like more design of Fenix 2. When I see actual progress in Garmin devices, I am really looking forward to Fenix 3. When it is slimmer with better or even color display, there is nothing to think about but go and buy it :o)

  60. gasteropod

    The backlight can be set to automatically turn off after a few seconds. When set in this mode does it light up when the watch auto laps? My 910XT does this which is perfect, but the 620 does not and is really annoying since I then cannot see my split pace in the dark. I am hoping they kept the 910XT behaviour rather than the 620 behaviour?

    • Tim Grose

      There is a backlight mode Keys/Alerts and so the backlight will come on in those situations.
      I just set my backlight timeout to “Stays On” then you can see the display whenever you want. After all unless you are planning to run/bike all night and onto the next morning there is plenty of battery life!

    • Piotr

      My 620 DOES light up during auto laps. Do you have selected Keys/Alerts as triggers of backlight?

    • gasteropod

      Thanks Piotr! I did not know about this. I’ll check it out. How have I missed this for so long.

    • gasteropod

      How have I never seen this before. That is perfect. I can remember setting the timeout but never saw that option. I wonder if it could have been introduced in a firmware update at some point.

    • Piotr

      Happy I helped =) I have 620 only for a month, so I maybe it has indeed been introduced at some point in an update.

  61. Adam

    well, the altimeter is a big bummer right now, regardless if there is workaround or not – it just should work like in older devices. The navigation is also a big bummer. It looks like they focused on triathlon watch and navigation is just secondary add on. Hopefully both will change with some future firmwares… Until then, it’s no buy for me.

  62. luc

    Any plan in the near future for synchro between GC and google fit?

  63. Kirk

    Hi Ray, great review!
    My Forerunner 310XT shows with a 4-field display in the stopwatch data field after an hour only the hours and minutes, not seconds. Is that with the 920XT also the case?

    • Greg

      I had the same question on the 920XT Preview article. It shows a small hour next to the minute and seconds in 4 field display mode. I think someone even posted a photo of it. Looks usable and way better than the 910XT.

    • Tim Grose

      I think the basic reason is they don’t believe a device exists yet to record it properly. The Mio Link I have tried but same as Ray has noted the results are a bit hit and miss. That said why it is enabled in OWS mode am not sure, maybe it was not meant to be.

    • Tim Grose

      Sorry wrong reply about swim and HRM. Was me on Garmin forums that posted pic of little h in h:mm:ss times. Even works if h gets into double figures.

  64. Bill Murray

    Hi Ray. Great review. Has garmin given any indication either way as to wether they may release a version of this watch in future with optical hrm integrated?

    • I wouldn’t expect anything anytime soon. I expect companies like Garmin (and Polar/Suunto) will continue to watch the optical market carefully, but all is not perfect there yet, and it’s tough for larger companies like these to release products that don’t work with a portion of the market – even if 5%. For whatever reason, people are more willing to give fitness bands (like the Microsoft Band, or potentially the FitBit Charge HR/Surge) a pass on accuracy there.

      I’ll continue to be pretty hard on companies that release optical devices that don’t actually work (at least, don’t work on me).

  65. James Dunn

    Hey guys,

    Quick question re. the synching between training peaks and garmin connect – if you have a coach who uploads workouts to TP can you synch these to GC automatically and then synch them to the watch? So if my coach uses training peaks can I set everything up to automatically transfer the workout onto the watch? Or does the workout need to be specified in the GC style to work as a workout guide on the watch?


  66. Peter V.


    Thanks for the great review. Love it.

    You mention that the optical heart rate sensors largely ‘guesstimate’ heart rate variability (HRV/RR). They measure every heart beat, so the can also record the time between each beat or not? Maybe I do not understand it correct. Seems to me more like a software issue than hardware issue.

    Can you provide more info on this?


    • MattB

      Hi Peter – I will try to answer that from a medical point of view, but the TL;DR version is that the sensors measure different things to arrive at an overall measure of heart rate, so it is a technical limitation.

      Chest straps measure an ECG, or the electrical activity of the heart as it beats, hence their positioning on the chest, just like a hospital ECG machine’s pads. The wave you see on an ECG monitor has various peaks and troughs labelled ‘P’ through to ‘T’, with ‘R’ being the peak of the main wave, corresponding to the ventricular (main chambers) cardiac muscle depolarisation & contraction which ejects the blood from the heart into the main arteries. The chest strap counts the number of R peaks to give heart rate. The R-R interval is the time between successive ‘R’ peaks, and R-R variability is the variation in this R-R interval over multiple beats, which can be affected by many different factors.

      Optical sensors measure blood flow rate at a point distant to the heart (think of the finger-probe in hospitals), so they count heart rate by each ‘pulse’ of increased flow (although technically they are actually measuring pulse rate, which is not necessarily always the same as heart rate, though it should be in healthy subjects). However, they can’t record any of the heart’s electrical activity data, thus at best can only ‘guess-timate’ when the ‘R’ peak occurred in relation to the pulse of increased blood flow. Even a small (as little as 2%) error in this estimated timing will then royally screw up any further calculations that are based on the faulty data. In the future the technology may be improved to find a work-around, or it may not. For now optical R-R measurement definitely doesn’t correlate well enough with ECG-type measurements to calculate HRV data.

      Sorry if that was crazily technical!

    • How is it that Ithlete claims their finger sensor can measure HRV well? link to myithlete.com

      Just marketing? Thanks

    • MattB

      From the linked page, with my highlights:
      “How does the ithlete Finger Sensor work?
      The ithlete HRV finger sensor works in the same way as the pulse monitors often seen in hospital emergency departments.

      An infra-red light is sent through the tip of the finger with a sensor on the other side which measures changes in the amount of light received. As the heart beats blood is sent around the body, with each beat the blood density is the finger changes and it is these changes that are recorded by the finger sensor.

      As with all ithlete heart rate variability measurements this information is processed to present you with a daily HRV number and personalised training recommendations.”

      Reading down the review list you will find a few comments like these:

      It works. I’ve noticed my HRV is higher with this device. …. even with those minor issues, it is much more convenient than the chest strap.”

      I’m happy with this product:
      – I always take 3 or more measurements, they are often almost equal… but sometimes they differ up to 20 HRV points!”

      Ithlete are playing a little fast and loose with the marketing language: calculated does not equal measured. The sensor physically cannot measure HRV, as the only way to measure that is by ECG. They can, however, perform calculations to estimate it based on blood flow measurement, within some (unspecified) degree of accuracy as I described in my first post.

      Think of it like this – I could measure your weight, power output, road gradient and bike gearing, and from that calculate (an estimation of) your “speed”. But unless I actually *measure* your speed then that “speed” number is probably not 100% accurate (due to other unmeasured factors like air resistance, tyre grip, energy losses due to friction etc). It is quite possible that my calculated value would be “good enough”, depending on how bothered you are about absolute accuracy, which is determined by your reason for wanting to know your speed.

      This is not to say that a finger-probe Ithlete is a complete waste of time – as you’ll see from the vast majority of the reviews, people find it way more convenient that the chest strap (which is presumably accurate, given it is actually measuring HRV), and therefore are using it every day as a routine rather than for a few days then quitting because it’s too much of a faff. One hopes that the calculated HRV data is “good enough” for the end purpose of deciding on recovery times, but the first quoted review shows that it is at least slightly off from the actual chest strap measured HRV.

    • Peter V.

      Thanks for the explanation. Although I still don’t understand it really good. Maybe this is not the correct place for discuss this.

      A chest belt only measure’s the electrical signal which makes the heart beat or not?

      If I understand you correct, you say that the increased blood flow is not always at the same time interval after the heart beat? So the increased blood flow can be 0,30 seconds after one heart beat and after the next 0,33 seconds for example?

    • MattB

      Yep that’s exactly right Peter. The blood flow is influenced by other changeable variables, like volume of blood ejected, blood vessel diameter, positioning of the flow sensor etc.

      I’ll give an extreme example: a serious condition called pericardial effusion (fluid trapped between the sac that contains the heart, and the heart itself) can cause a knock-on effect called ‘pulsus paradoxus’, where the fluid in the sac compresses the heart chambers, causing them not to fill with blood properly during every beat of the heart. In this situation, some beats will happen when the chambers are full, and some when they are relatively empty. The ’empty’ beats mean very little blood is ejected in to the bloodstream on those beats, and essentially the bloodflow pulse at the distant site (eg finger) never happens on those beats. In this disease the heart rate recorded by ECG is might be 160bpm, and the blood flow measured pulse rate around 80bpm. Obviously using the latter to calculate R-R variation would be massively inaccurate. Though to be fair, you aren’t going to be running marathons with a pericardial effusion either!

      Anyway, that probably is far enough off-topic, sorry if I have been more confusing than helpful!

    • Olu

      Good lord, I feel like I’m back in my 2nd year of med school! Great conversation and nailed the reason why optical sensors will never be as reliable as a chest strap. For a healthy person, they’ll be close and great for instant pulse, but I’d never trust it for beat to beat (r-r) variability.

    • Peter V.

      Thanks a lot. I understand it now 😀 😀 very helpful.

    • Chris C.

      Thanks Matt for the brilliant input and for the clear and detailed explanation

    • Another vote for a fantastic explanation Matt – many thanks!

  67. Niclas

    Good review. I still question the future market for fitness watches though. Im very frustrated by the reviews on the so called smartwatches today. The reviews on those so far just states “has optical hrm” without testing the darn thing. Could you do a quick test or follow up of the newest smartwatches on market today? LG G watch R and the new Galaxy S watch with 3G for example. Both claim to be for sports and have optical hrm.

    Do you ever think a company like Garmin will use apple health platform or android wear platform on their watches? I think Garmin should also consider implementing apps with their own technology on those platforms or buy a company like wahoo if the want to stay competitive in the next few years.

    • I’ll continue to poke at the smart wathes, but I don’t have a specific review planned at the moment. Might just put something around general thoughts or the like.

      Note that Garmin does support Apple Health from Bluetooth Smart connect devices, including the FR920XT. It sends me steps/sleep/etc. to Apple Health.

    • Olu

      My GC still doesn’t have the option to send sleep to Apple Health. Is sleep enabled once you get the 920xt?

    • Oops, sorry, meant: Steps, Calories, Walk+Run Distance. Not yet sleep for GC.

  68. Sunshine

    Great review. The 910xt works with the garmin express-software too?!

  69. Jon

    Hi, In the VO2 max cycling mode option it appears that you need to actually go for a ride. I have no power meter on my bike, but I do on my turbo (CycleOps Power Beam Pro). Can the metrics from the turbo (watts, speed, distance, cadence) be uploaded to the 920 to achieve VO2?

    • The PowerBeam Pro can transmit power* via ANT+, which can be paired to the FR920XT. From there that should work, though, I can’t remember if I got a VO2Max number while on a trainer. I believe so.

      *Note: There was a short few month time when some PowerBeam units went out without standard ANT+ transmission of power. If you stumble into that, you can hit up CycleOps and they’ll swap/upgrade your unit for you.

  70. Josh

    Ray, this may be a simple yes or no response or perhaps a more drawn out answer. If I own a 620 that performs perfectly, and am only a runner, is there any logical reason not to upgrade to the newer technology of the 920? (30 miles per week road and treadmill combined).
    I would venture to say it’s reasonable to simply wait for the 630 (if that is the name of the next iteration) to come out which will hopefully have the brighter screen and other technological improvements over the 620. But, Your opinion is very valued, and knowing I could get a good price aftermarket on my 620 leaves the cost factor out of the decision. Thanks and have a great weekend.

    • If you’re perfectly happy with the FR620, then no, honestly I wouldn’t. Over the FR620, from a runners perspective the core new features are the daily activity/sleep tracking, as well as the Metronome. Beyond that though, it’s pretty similar.

      I also wouldn’t expect a FR630 anytime soon. Garmin is pretty consistent with 2 (or 3) year product cycles, and the FR620 came out roughly this time last year.

    • Josh

      The new screen is in all honesty the only attraction. I already know I move enough and don’t sleep enough, don’t need a watch to tell me that :). And I sure as heck don’t want to get text msgs on my phone while running. Cadence is a steady 175-180 without a metronome. But that screen sure is pretty, almost as good as my trusty old 305! Thanks agin Ray.

    • Ivan

      I would say that gps accuracy is the single most important feature in a gps watch. The 620 probably has the worst gps accuracy on the market (have had 3 of them myself before I gave up) and the 920 seems to have the best. Thats a pretty big difference imo!

    • Ivan

      And besides from much improved GPS accuracy . Bigger/sharper/more colorful screen, Battery life and Metrome….just to mention a few.

    • Tim Grose

      If cost is not an issue get one! I often go out with a 620 on one wrist and 920 on other. More things to look at then 🙂 I would say GPS accuracy is more consistent on a 920 but as Ray noted in his review you always need to be aware of the accuracy you might expect in a consumer GPS device like this.

    • Jeff

      There’s also the possibility of support via app for the forthcoming BSX sensor.

    • Jeff

      And navigation. Obviously problematic in its current implementation, but it could be much better with a zoom added. I’ve never used a watch with navigation, but I really do see the appeal. I run a lot while traveling, and it’s easy to get lost. It would also make it easier to do things like scout a race course.

    • Tim Grose

      Taking a location at your hotel/car/house etc etc and/or using Back to Start will generally avoid you getting lost far better than a course if you are just nipping out for a run in an unfamiliar location. Its nice to know where I need to get back to is say “2 miles away over in that general direction”. The “problem” I find with courses is that you have spend time and effort setting one up before you head out. They were really originally designed for real time pacing on say a race “course” but it seems not many people use them for that.

    • Jeff

      For a quick run, sure. But if you want to do a long run, if you want to ensure that you hit certain landmarks, or (most commonly for me) if you’re trying to get to a track, then courses make a lot of sense. Also, the time and effort I’m willing to put into setting a course up is generally proportional to the length and/or importance of the run I’m doing. Not saying it’s a crucial feature, but it’s definitely something I’d use 20 or so times a year. If it saves me from getting lost even once or twice, that’s pretty nice.

    • Zaheer

      I use my navigation extensively. Especially the breadcrumbs feature while exploring mountains Ive never run before. The zoom feature is a big bummer though and the main reason I don’t yet have a 920 (altitude accuracy as well).

  71. Outstanding review as always. Can’t swim, don’t own a bike, but I do run slow. Patiently waiting for my preorder from Clever Training.

  72. Tim R

    Ray, can you please comment on the accuracy without GLONASS enabled and especially about the accuracy in Ultratrac mode? I’m wondering about the watch’s viability for a 100 mile ultra.

  73. Luyi_pr

    Great review as always… Even though I prefer the looks of my Polar V800, it will never match the 920XT in features (even if Polar ever completes the promised updates). I think I’ll be a Garmin convert pretty soon! Thanks Ray.

  74. Mario Bauer

    great review – as always!!!
    I just ordered one 🙂

  75. Trimaster

    Nice Review DC,
    on the comparing list anyhow are two typo … V800 has on unit intervall features. And there is a “virtual race info” called ideal tempo. Running index is showing a racetime prediction for different distances. Just shown in a different way.

  76. raf

    hi ray

    just to confirm as i can’t read it in the review.
    during live tracking, ANT+ data are transmitted as well.
    there is no restriction as in the FENIX series where ANT+ and Bluetooth can’t work both at the same

  77. Olu

    Excellent review as always. Eagerly awaiting this watches arrival. I ordered it October 1st through the Clever Training VIP program. I’m a bit disappointed with your battery life, but since I workout almost every day, I wasn’t expecting the watch to last an entire week without a charge anyway.

    As is, the watch is nearly perfect for my needs. It would be nice if Garmin cleans up the courses function and allows charging during an activity. While not a requirement for me, it seems to be the achilles heel of the watch at this moment.

  78. Bynxytri

    Cant wait to get one had mine on order for over a month

  79. Hugin

    “The VO2Max number is then used to calculate race predictions. These race predictions are simply done by looking up your VO2Max combined with gender and age, to known ‘best case’ results”

    It was established, after much work, that in the case of a FR620 the lookup table is a straight VO2Max –> Predictions, without going through any age or gender filters. Do you have inside information from Garmin that the FR920XT has a more
    advanced implementation?

    _Thread: What are your FR620 VO2 max estimates / race prediction times?_
    link to forums.garmin.com

    • Interesting, I hadn’t seen that on the FR620 – since it rather clearly states that gender/age is used (and something I’ve discussed previously). I’ll go back to them and see what’s up there and on the 920XT if different.

    • Maelstrom


      I think Gender / Age are only used for VO2Max calculation. I don’t think it is used for the look up table (I mean : Garmin assumes that two people having a V02Max of 56 ml/mn/kg would race at the same pace, even if one of them is a young guy and the other a mature woman).

      That is the conclusion fouded in this thread : link to forums.garmin.com

      This is true at least for the FR620 (and, what I can add, is that the Race Prediction values were the same on my Fenix 2 and are the same on my new FR920, at least for the VO2Max values concerning me).


    • Tim Grose

      From what have seen so far the 920 works exactly the same way.
      VO2 Max already has a weight element thrown in so can see logic in the race prediction lookups being gender independent. After all elite male VO2 max readings tend to be in the 80s and women 70s and obviously men run quicker….

    • VO2max calculations come from firstbeat doing the heavy lifting:
      link to firstbeat.com
      Garmin just adds a simple table lookup to get race predictions

  80. Gjore

    I actually use the courses feature often even on my 310xt!
    It’s pretty useful for me when I’m running/hiking around new places, whether is a new town or even on trails up in the mountains.
    I can agree that sometimes its hard to decide which street to catch because of the resolution of the course but with one or few tries you will be on the right course and is good enough to see what you want and run where you want!

    • Adam

      I agree with You, on both my 305 and 310 I did the same and it worked like charm – it still does.
      But the problem with 920 is not the resolution, but the lack of zooming (only 0.3m / 500m) and kind of strange autozooming (zoom in while moving, zoom out while stopped) with zero manual zooming capability. So, considering those two, Ray is right that navigating through predefined route is pretty useless (much much less functional than on 305/310 forerunners).

    • Tim Grose

      Would not say it is useless as I have followed a few running courses OK not been on before with the 0.3M scale. Far from ideal I agree though.

  81. Excellent review (as always). Was a pleasure to read it.

  82. Steven Weber

    Is there a quick release kit available for it yet?

    • Not yet. I still don’t even have one.

    • Whenever you do get the quick release kit, it would be very interesting to see pictures of it on your wrist with the QR kit. I’m wondering how far up from your wrist it pushes it and what that does to it’s function as a day to day watch. Thanks much as always for your detailed reviews!

    • No doubt, I’ll definitely post a note here (for people that subscribe to comments) as well as post photos into one or more of the sections above once I get the quick release kit.

      It is sorta funny to me Garmin hasn’t shipped them yet given it’s the easiest thing to make/build (could have been done last summer), and that it’s the one thing triathletes actually care about accessory-wise.

  83. Mark Skelton

    Just a thought for Ray or anyone else really, do what know what sort of market demand there is for these watches?
    Clearly those of us on here with pre-orders with CT etc are very keen…..but are we in the minority?
    How many units did Garmin move in the first 3 months of the 910xt or Fenix2 release?
    If units are starting to be shipped out then I can’t believe there are that many of us waiting……after all it’s no iPhone 6
    Am I being overly positive?

    • Garmin doesn’t release numbers, obviously. Looking at the numbers I see, the sales are roughly in line with the FR620 sales, more than the Fenix2 – but that was an easier production thing for Garmin because it was basically the same product as the Fenix1 with a new screen.

  84. Tommy

    I can only imagine at the next big marathon with 20,000 people with audible metronomes on. What a nightmare, I would go insane if I had to listen to someone’s ticking watch for 26 miles! I wonder how long before races start requiring them to be vibrate only?

  85. Kieran Kelly


    Great review as always.

    I am one of the lucky ones who managed to get the 920xt the day it came out.

    Have you tried using the 920xt with a Stages Power Meter yet?
    I cannot receive power or cadence when the watch is on my wrist, but it works when mounted on the handle bars. I don’t have this issue when using a Watt Bike.
    Another observation, I cannot connect to the stages power meter using the iOS Stages app via Bluetooth with the 920xt in close proximity. If I turn the 920xt off and re-launch the stages iOS app again I can connect to it ok.

    Thanks again.

    • Tim Grose

      Have you tried both wrists? Mine is a better on the right in this regard although have got a Rotor not a Stages. I am 1.95m tall so probably stretching the range more than most..

    • Kieran Kelly

      Tried left and right – same issue.
      I can take the 920xt off and hold it above my head to test the range and its OK – tested it on a turbo.

    • Tim Grose

      When you are on the turbo are you near WiFi signals? I’ve heard this can cause issues.

    • Honestly, if you’re having BLE issues as well – I’d investigate the Stages, it sounds like something may be funky on the transmission pod.

      I haven’t tested Stages with it yet (I’ve tested Vector, Verve, PowerTap, Tacx Vortex & Bushido).

    • leonid.yermakov@gmail.com

      910xt has the same issue and I was hopping 920xt would address it. It only works with Stages Power Meter when mounted on the bar, but looses connection when on either hand. Has anybody tried Stages with Fenix2?

    • I’d be pretty surprised if someone sees it on the FR920XT. They (Garmin) were very well aware of the issue and even had planned to release some guidance around it before backtracking. Also, it affected other units beyond Stages, including Vector, so I’d be guessing it’s been tweaked.

    • Frederic

      My 910XT wouldn’t work well with Stages. It dropped majority of packets. Took a while to figure out why but Stages support explains 910XT uses an “older 4-channel ANT+ chip stack, weaker connectivity to paired sensors”.
      link to support.stagescycling.com

      With Edge 510, it’s working like a charm.
      So when will 920XT be tested with Stages?

    • Josh

      I haven’t even been able to get my 920xt to detect the Stages meter. When I contacted Stages, they said they haven’t had a ton of time with the 920xt yet.

    • Have you by chance gone outside and picked up GPS yet? If not, I saw an odd issue where if fresh out of the box it won’t find any sensors until that’s done.

      Failing that, try and reboot the watch.

    • Hi Ray,
      I’m having the same problems with the connectivity of my 920xt and Stages power meter that others described from 1.5 years ago. Any word on solutions for the problem? I called both Garmin and Stages and each blamed the other (not surprising). The 920xt picks up the power meter when I strap it onto my top tube, but doesn’t work anywhere else. This is not a problem while I’m stuck riding inside for the winter, but when I get outside (and particularly in races), it would be nice to keep the watch on my wrist!
      Thanks and keep up the great work,

    • Matthias

      Same problem here! A stages Shimano Ultegra PM 6800 (Gen 2) is installed on the bike. Stable connections to both an Edge 800 mounted between the aerobars as well as to the IOS Stages app via bluetooth. On the contrary, signal loss on the 920XT happens all the time when wearing it on my arm, especially when I place my wrist on the aerobars. The signal somehow seems to become a little more stable if I place my arm near to the PM (very aerodynamic position though;-). I already repaired everything, changed the PM battery, ….

      No idea what to do next, but this way it’s somehow unusable for racing. Last olympic distance, average power of 40 watts;-) due to consistent dropouts. Any ideas left what to do?

    • Unfortunately there’s really little you can do. It’s purely a case of position changes that impacts folks (either arm, or location of unit).

      It sucks. You can try and contact Stages, but realistically they don’t have a solution for it (which tends to impact folks on triathlon bikes the most). Though it also seems to also impact wrist-based devices more than dedicated head units. Likely because your body absorbs more in that case than a standalone unit not mounted to your wrist.

  86. ash

    Excellent review as always….think I will be treating myself for xmas

  87. Charlie

    You list the Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10) as $35, but CleverTraining has it for $60 and Amazon for $49.95 (off your links)

  88. Captain Chris

    I have been wearing mine non-stop for just about a month and love it!

    I have seen the same issues, but I am sure they will get them worked out.

    I can run for an hour and never get above sea level.
    link to connect.garmin.com

    I correct the lost of connectivity to the phone issue by toggling off and back on the Bluetooth on my phone. This seems to happen if the phone and watch are separated, most of the time they reestablish connection, but every once and awhile they don’t.

    Courses = useless.

    Thanks for what you do Ray!

  89. Adam

    Have you had any issues with the HRM? I have had several of the newer ones and no matter how clean I keep it or what I do, it seems that after time it starts to drop out or get my HR way off. The old plastic strap still works spot on, but I’d like to be more comfortable.


  90. Øystein Barth-Heyerdahl

    Hi, Rayand great review. I live in Norway but I am right now in Paris. Are there any shops here with 920 in stock? I have tried Triathlon Store, but they could not help me. Do you know?
    Best regards

    • Maelstrom

      It’s been told on french forums few days ago that LePape (only physical shops in Paris, not online) had some units available. Not sure they still have one.

    • Hmm, I’ll walk behind the house tomorrow and see if Au Vieux Campeur has them, it’s only a block away.

    • I walked back to them. They have a single unit left in store. They close at 6:30pm. Just behind (up hill) the Maubert Metro one block.

    • Maelstrom

      . After that, they didn’t have units to sell, neither in shop nor online. The good new is (I just checked it before writing that) that there is at least one unit to be sold on the Web site. So, as the online shop and the physical shop share the same stock, it could be available in the shop to. By the way, there are plenty of Vieux Campeur in the Paris’ Quartier Latin. The one selling GPS is located at 28, rue des Écoles.

    • Maelstrom

      The beginning of my post is missing…

      I was just saying that I bought my 920xt at Le Vieux Campeur 2 weeks ago. After that, they didn’t have units to sell, neither in shop nor online…

    • Yup, that’s the one I just walked into. Only that specific address has the Garmin units.

  91. Jonas

    I know this is off topic – but any idea when GLONASS will be incorporated into a 620 replacement? late 2015, 2016?


    About the elevation, if I use the watch as a daily normal watch won’t will be always calibrating so in that way when I start the workout will give me the correct data?

  93. Stepan

    Dear Ray thanks for a detailed review.
    I am IM wannabe torn between V800 and 920xt. What would be your words of advise?
    Cheers Stepan

  94. ITB- Ironman

    hi dc..great Review.
    I own a suunto 6td with all pods.(foot pod/ cadence Pod…)
    are they compatible with the new 920x, for it says just “ant” and not “ant+”
    love to hear something….Thomas , Berlin- Germany

    • JoggWithoutAmbit

      I’m afraid not … only the last (small) footpod is ANT+ , the other were just ANT … but you should try … just with another ANT+-Watch (all Garmin FR) for sure.

    • Correct. Suunto never made any ANT+ pods except the running footpod (which is dual ANT+/Suunto ANT). The HR straps, GPS pods, bike pods, etc… are all Suunto-only.

  95. Mart

    Ray, you keep telling that there’s no systemic GPS accuracy problems with the new Mediatek GPS-chip based Garmins (Fenixes, 620 etc). When you saw my track, you suggested that my watch is faulty. I returned it and got it back yesterday.

    Here’s the track of the Fenix they sent me. You can see me running right over a shopping center, constantly hundreds of meters off for most of the track. Hint: I ran both ways on the same path.
    link to strava.com

    And now, here’s the same track, mapped with a Polar RC3 GPS, which is a Sirf unit. See the difference? link to strava.com

    It’s making me really curious. Why do you ignore these issues? 🙂 Because the issues are there, aren’t they? 🙂

    • Hi Mart-

      To begin, I’m not clear why this is on the FR920XT post, since it has nothing to do with it.

      As I’ve said many times before, I simply don’t have issues with the FR620 for myself or my wife. Virtually all of my FR620 runs are published on Strava. I’m sorry that you’re having issues, but I can’t really change that I’m not (on units not sent from Garmin, btw). Same goes for the Fenix2.

      It’s not a case of ignoring issues, I answer endless questions on it – like yours, and keep answering the same. I can’t make issues appear that I don’t have.

      Finally, as noted elsewhere, I think folks are barking up the wrong tree on the GPS chipset, as noted here – the FR920XT is also Mediatek, and whether the increased accuracy is due to GLONASS or the antenna design, I’m not sure, but nobody has complained yet about FR920XT accuracy.

      But again, this is the FR920XT post, not the Fenix2 or FR620 posts…

    • Mart

      It’s quite simple why my comment is here.

      In the previous 920 comment feed, we had a discussion where I suggested to pay greater attention to GPS accuracy issues, and brought the example of Fenixes, that according to your reviews, have no accuracy problems, yet the problems are widely reported by many users. I also showed my tracks on Strava that were crazy bad – which you admitted.

      The discussion concluded with you suggesting that my watch could be faulty, and I should return it. That I did. When I received a replacement, it appeared that the new watch was just as bad. Thus I wanted to post a followup to the earlier feed – but you had closed it and suggested that the discussion should continue here.

      So – here I am 🙂

      So basically, the GPS running watch landscape is pretty complicated right now:

      1) Garmin has the best workout features and 3rd party compatibility, yet lacks accuracy.
      2) Suunto has great accuracy and so-so compatibility but practically no workout features.
      3) Polar is mystically accurate and has OK workout features, yet sucks badly compatibility-wise.
      4) Timex is so ugly that I haven’t yet managed to force myself trying one 🙂

      Since my Fenix is useless for me (it works where there are no trees at all, but I only run in forest), I need to swap it. The question is if to give up workout features and have Suunto, or risk another accuracy disappointment with 920…. Help me out, dudes 🙂

    • Stepan

      Why is the accuracy of the route so important for you? No offense, I just need to understand your problem.

    • Olu

      @Mart. Did you read this review? There is a section on GPS accuracy and Ray says:

      “In my testing, the FR920XT consistently performs as the most accurate Garmin GPS device I’ve seen, and certainly on par and usually better than other brands with recent models.”

      I (like you), returned the Fenix2 (twice) for several reasons and GPS accuracy was one of them. I would think if you’ve had success with other watches on your routes, then the 920xt would be fine.

    • Mart

      Stepan, great question! I’m not that interested in the ‘route’ as such, but rather in distance/tempo. I do mainly weight lifting but maintain my cardiovascular/respiratory/stamina with 2-3 runs per week. I’m not aiming to be a much better runner but I’m very keen to quickly detect if my endurance is fading. For that, I of course compare avg HR with avg tempo. Thus, distance measurement must be quite OK, otherwise I will base my decisions on inaccurate information. Fenix can lie over +/- 10% in zigzag forest trails, rendering it absolutely useless for my purpose.

      Now, the other option is always a footpod. But there’re a couple of problems with that as well. Firstly, if I have paid 300-500 for a GPS watch, I expect GPS. It is possible, since 405CX and many older GPS watches have served me very well in that regard. Secondly, footpod is very accurate but not not that reliable. I would say that I have a problem with every 3rd run. If it hikes a tiny bit on the shoe, it can for example double the tempo.

      Olu, that’s the very question that I raised here. If Ray has somehow managed to escape the GPS problems that other people have had with 620 and Fenix, it’s possible that his luck continues with 920XT. I, on the other hand, am a mere mortal, and could end up with another dud 🙁

    • ekutter

      This is one reason why I try to buy devices like this from a local store like REI with an incredible return policy. If I get a bumm device, I take it back and REI gives me a brand new one on the spot, rather than a refurbished one from Garmin. Even a year or more after purchase (I think their official policy states 1 year).

      Garmin’s policy of sending back a refurbished model for exchanges is suspect since chances are the refurbished model was returned for the same issues you are seeing. I’m sure they can’t test well for the relatively small, but very annoying, GPS inaccuracies. Same for barometric pressure issues on the 910.

      So I suspect cases where people keep getting bad units is more a sign of the exchange process than a sign that a high percentage of total units are bad.

    • Mart

      Coherent thinking. Yeah, where did Garmin get the refurb they sent me…? 🙁

      Sadly, we don’t have such shops in Europe… Shops don’t want to know anything about your problems once they’ve made the sale – from then on you’re alone with the “global manufacturer warranty”… Suunto is much better in this regard: they actually send new replacements, in retail package.

      Garmin’s refurb replacement came in in a miserable state – in an old cardboard box, bubblewrap and paperwork peeking out from a broken corner…

    • The great thing with REI is many people return perfectly functioning devices which is great when it comes time to an attic/used gear sale.

    • Tim Grose

      Sounds as if your number one criteria is a watch that gives you good GPS accuracy and allows you to monitor average pace and average HR then don’t you already have the device you need?
      That said if you want to try the 920 then I can support Ray’s observations that GPS tracking on the 920 does seem to be pretty good for me as well. No consumer GPS device like we are discussing here will be perfect though and indeed your Polar RC3 example seems to start by jumping over some houses and trees to get back to an obvious path.

    • Stepan

      Mart, my understanding is, that you are looking for a solution how to keep an eye on your running fitness level during the time. It seem to me like a pretty common need. I am a triathlete and I also need to know if I am getting faster or not – in running, swimming and biking.
      I am regularily testing myslelf to know how does my fitness level change while on the aerobic (and later in the season on the anaerobic) treshold. I do this one in a mont.
      What I have learned is, that my fitness changes very slowly – few percent in a month is a big chage. Also have learned, that my current fitenss level is extremly dependant on various conditions, like temparature, wind, my current weight, type of warmup, time of the day, level of training stress, mood, etc.
      For the aerobic test runng part, I use one 800meters route, exactly marked with start and end + I use stopwatch on my GPS watch. I am exacty repeating the procedure to prepare myself for the test. I do not rely on GPS in the watch, since even the deviaton of 0,5% can hinder my test results.

    • Stepan

      PS: I forgot to mention, that I am maintaing same level of heart rate during the test run.

    • Mart

      Thanks for a great tip!

    • Mart, I feel your pain – I’m in same exact boat.
      I’m on my 2nd Fenix2 right now and it works terrible.

      Ran NYC marathon with 2 watches – Fenix2 and FR220. Fenix2 measured almost 44 kilometers and FR220 41.6km. What made my experience especially frustrating is the fact that I tried to run by certain pace – and at any given time two watches showed drastically different number. E.g. Fenix2 showed I was running 5:20m per km and FR220 was showing that I’m running with 5:55 per km – I had no idea if I need to slow down or speed up.

    • Russ

      I know this is a really late response, but I’m trying to figure out if this comment was accidentally funny or a clever joke. You said “I’m in same exact boat.” Carrying two GPS watches on a run is like carrying two chronometers to sea, and the old adage says:

      “Never go to sea with two chronometers; take one or three.”

      If you have no idea what I’m talking about read this:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

  96. Andres Altamirano

    Excellent Review! The monitor with the Guy Running is what delivers the info of running Dynamics or the strap also because I have a strap hrm 3 And I would like to know if it´s the same strap as in the 920.

    Thanks a Lot!

  97. Marcio Manique

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks again for the great review!

    When it will be available? I heard that Garmin has been facing issues with the first lot, I guess has been issues related to the water resistance.

    Just to mention that Courses are very important to me. I run with groups and with Courses I do not need to run with cue sheets. I have been using the Fenix 2, 910xt and 310xt. I have the FR620 but because it does not have courses I can not use it for the long runs. I also have the V800 and because I can not download routes has not been in use.

    • Tim Grose

      If courses, at least for the purposes of navigation only, are your key requirement in a device then I would stick to the devices you mentioned.

    • Here’s my most recent answer on when the units will be available: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Note: Fwiw, just confirmed with Clever Training they have a solid confirmed shipment coming in next week of 920XT’s. It won’t fill all of the backorder, but they’ll be getting weekly shipments so it shouldn’t take long to clear assuming shipped numbers maintain. Bundles will arrive prior to non-bundles.

  98. Chris C.


    Thanks very much for the detailed and d thorough review. Once again!
    I also admire the patience with which you answer questions even though the answers have already been given a couple of times.

    I can’t wait to support the site through some Europe-based partnership

    @Tim Grose
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us and supporting Ray. Your dedication and value add are really appreciated


  99. MH

    Thank you for the -as always- excellent review Ray!
    Do you know if it is possible to pair more than one ANT+ sensor of the same type (speed/cadence, foot pod, HRM)? I had a look at the 920xt manual and could not find that.
    I use a chest band and an optical HRM sensor, a few bike sensors and a couple of foot pods with specific calibrations. It all works great with IPBike on Android, but having this multiple sensor support on a watch would be really cool.

    • Yes, you can save a multitude of sensors of the same type. I have many HR straps saved, as well as power meters.

    • Richard L

      Are you saying you can pair multiple HRM straps with the 920XT or 910XT and just wear any one of them an the watch will pick up on the right one without pairing again? That would be great because, my default soft HRM is getting flaky and needs regular wash & dry cycles to keep HR correct. I can then use my older HRM why the main one is out drying…

    • Yup, exactly. You can pair a multitude of straps, and then whichever one you happen to wear at that time it’ll just see and start recording.

      In the event you’re friend borrows one and goes for a run with you, then it’ll simply ask you which strap to use (by default it’ll use the first one it sees until told otherwise). You can name the straps unique names as well.

  100. Rafael

    As always great review, Ray! One question: how do you compare the quality of materials used in the FR920 XT to the quality of materials used in the Polar V800?

    • The materials don’t bother me. I know some folks like to hammer on the “plastic” aspect of the FR620 (and to an extension, the FR920XT). But here’s the thing: Nobody has ever told me they actually broke one of these watches. And, on the flip side – the same is true of the V800* and Ambit3: I’ve never heard of anyone actually breaking anything from a physical standpoint.

      I’ve certainly heard of issues with other units and breakage, somewhat rarely a FR910XT, though, in almost all those cases the individual dropped it on concrete face-down.

      *I know some folks are seeing some odd sort of V800 battery expansion issue, but it’s not clear how really widespread that is. The interwebs tends to make issues bigger than they seem, merely because only people having the issue note it.

    • Rafael

      Exactly, I was curious about the quality of “plastic” used in the FR920XT. As long as is not an issue, then it doesn’t me bother too. Thanks for the answer, Ray.

    • Rafael

      I’m sorry Ray, but just one more question 🙂 Right now I’m deciding whether to buy the FR920XT or the Polar V800: does Garmin have any plan to update the 920XT regarding the HR in the water (pool mode)?

    • Tim Grose

      I think that is more dependent on the availability of hardware technology that is 920 compatible (i.e. ANT not Bluetooth Smart) that Garmin thinks actually works and I don’t believe anything actually exists at the moment. The Mio Link is maybe close but the results are “flaky” at best in my experience (and Ray’s from what I can recall) and obviously that is not a Garmin product anyway.

    • Rafael

      Thanks, Tim!

    • Richard L

      I would like to touch on an aspect of Garmin devices (& I am sure relevant to other brands) – their longevity.
      I live in the tropics where it is hot & humid all year round.
      I owned Garmins FR305, 310, 910XT, Fortrex 310/401s, eTrex 20, Vista HCx, … Not counting the car devices for years.

      The FR305 died (refused to turn on), the rubber/plastic straps on the FR305/910XT have broken off long ago – and the screws on them have frozen so tight that I needed special equipment to cut them off.

      The waterproofing on the Foretrexes are shot – any slight immersion in water other than a simple raise splash is sure to get inside! The rubber USB port covers are almost falling off, cracking at the section that flexes! Same for the eTrex Vista HCx. At least the velcro straps are still functional!

      Over the years, I have to evolve a maintenance procedure: Regularly dismantle the straps, wash them, oil the various screws…. However, unless I can replace the O-ring seals on the Foretrexes, they are no-longer considered water proof/resistant. Just have to remember to take them off my wrist when it is stronger than a light drizzle.

      When I consulted the local authorized Garmin distributor, they seems to be aware of the issue – but have no solutions other than they will sell you a replacement strap at exorbitant price but if they cannot get the screws off, you are SOL!

      This is one aspect of sports/outdoor Garmin products that I wish Garmin can do a better job.

  101. Fantastic review ! Thank you for the depth and detail of information.

    • Hello. To echo again, fantastic review.

      Any ideas when these will arrive in the UK. Any ideas would be appreciated as I rather naively sold my 910xt a week ago…. (Silly me) Thanks again. G.

  102. Matěj Novotný

    Great review.
    Before reading Your review, FR920 was ideal sport watches for me. Small and light package, long battery live, route navigation, 3rd part apps, all in one training functions. But now I am not sure. As primary brevet cyclist I need to charge it while in activity. For the most cases 24 h will be enougth, but on longer courses I simply cannot stop for 3 hours to charge my GPS. Also usable route navigation is crutial for me on long courses. I don’t need map in watches, there is my iPhone for this purpose.
    I believe that Garmin will fix strange route navigation behavior and elevation bug. But is impossibility to charge FR920 in ride also bug in their eyes or is it a feature? What do you think, Ray? Do you have some information from Garmin about this inconvenience?

    • The reason you’re not using an Edge is?

    • Matěj Novotný

      While my main goal is long bike rides I am also doing some other sports – biathlon, xc skiing, running etc.. Watch form factor is crucial for these other sports. I like to have just one device and I cannot spend money for two full featured GPS units – one for bike and one for each other.
      There is also technical difficulty with Edge lineup. It’s battery live is lower than with FR920. While all GPS watches uses contacts on body and some form of cradle, that means the unit remains waterproof while charging, Edge units uses USB mini connector. So charging or just manipulation with connector on Edge is dangerous in rain. Of course there is also danger of short circuit while charging of watches in heavy rain, but I can just turn charging off and leave watches in cradle.
      There are also some features which are not present on Edge units like GLONASS, 3rd part apps, BLE, activity monitor.

      FR920 would be perfect unit for me except charging, routing and altitude bugs.

  103. Anthony anicete

    Will the ticker x transfer all the run metrics metrics?

  104. Woll

    Wow that’s one ugly watch! It remains to be seen if they’ve really fixed the woeful gps acquisition times/and drop outs from previous models…

  105. Dan M

    Great review Ray, I cant wait to get my 920!

    When you are finished an activity (bike or run), do you have to manually switch the 920 back to activity tracking mode or watch only mode? Is there any automated way to do this?

  106. Gavin

    You mention above that the activity counter includes running steps but doesn’t add anything for cycling. Does it specifically stop the activity counter when you are cycling so as not to pick up vibrations/bumps as steps.

    • If in cycling mode, I believe it does (would have to double-check that, but I didn’t see anything obviously odd the last time I rode).

    • Olu

      Could you also check if steps are counted while swimming? Currently my Vivofit gives me anywhere from 2-3000 steps every 30 minutes of swimming. I’m going to miss those steps!

  107. Geoff

    Great review, as always! A quick question please about the phone notification to unit – does it work in the pool? I’d like to leave the phone at the end of the lane and be notified of missed calls on the watch.

  108. Dennis

    Hi Ray, thanks for the review, it’s great as always. Any word on a tri-bundle, like there is for the 910XT?

    Like most people here I’m not really impressed by the design and colors. I did find out that Garmin has green and blue colored bands for the 920XT. They can be found on the Garmin website. I figured the blue one would look good on the white/red unit. Makes it a great Dutch (or French) colored watch for daily use, and a little bit less feminine than the current red/white combination.

  109. Marten


    I currently own the FR310XT wich I use for running and cycling and I was already looking wich new one I wanted to buy until they released the 920XT I was doubting between the Fenix2 and Suunto Ambit3.

    Live tracking and all the features from previous Garmin models makes 920xt the favorite (although I like the design from Fenix2 and Suunto more)
    Only after reading your review I’m doubting because of the courses options, I use it a lot for long runs and rides and beside marathons I’m thinking about running more trails/ultra.

    Do you think they can/will improve with it a software update? I don’t mind the breadcrumb style courses but you need to zoom in sometimes.

  110. Hi Ray, great review as usual!
    Do you know if FR920XT works with Cycleops Powercal heart rate strap and will display power data from Powercal in cycling mode? Assuming it does, do I get any extra benefit from buying also Garmin HRM-RUN strap and using both while running/cycling? Thanks. Dmitri

  111. When you add USB power to the FR920XT mid-charge, it’ll instantly end the activity and begin full charging.

    That one line makes ‘upgrading’ from the 910 a pain in the ass for me, unless of course it can actually do the claimed 24 hours of gps. The 910 could supposedly do 20 and that was stretching the truth a bit.

  112. DJ

    Live-Tracking Question:

    Great review. Question about the above. Can you do live tracking as multi-sport? I have used it for the 510 and 620 and love it. The one thing I couldn’t figure is to do live tracking for the bike with 510 and run with 620 in a race with one following the order. Can u do live tracking at least with the bike and run portion (i doubt I would bring my phone is the water). If so how does it work, two seperate live trackings or is it rolled into one so once you finish the bike the run kicks in on thr same live tracking session? Maybe I missed it in the review.

    Awesome work did order it via CT with your link.

  113. Martin T

    Awesome review Ray, thanks.

    I really wanted to buy this unit (as I have the 910XT and it is rock solid) but after weighing up what I’d use it for (lots of cycling – don’t want to always have to carry a cycling computer around, running, swimming a little, hiking, snow shoe walking / skiing), the poor color choices, lack of a tri-bundle (???), poor supply (still can’t get hold of it anywhere) I decided to go for the Fenix 2 Performer Bundle and so far I’m really happy with my purchase, I think the Fenix is great looking watch and is hardly lacking in features in comparison.

    I also managed to find a Hiking orientated store that would match Amazon’s price and knock off 10%, so the price was great too.

  114. DJ

    Live-Tracking Question:
    Great review. Question about the above. Can you do live tracking as multi-sport? I have used it for the 510 and 620 and love it. The one thing I couldn’t figure is to do live tracking for the bike with 510 and run with 620 in a race with one following the order. Can u do live tracking at least with the bike and run portion (i doubt I would bring my phone is the water). If so how does it work, two seperate live trackings or is it rolled into one so once you finish the bike the run kicks in on thr same live tracking session? Maybe I missed it in the review.
    Awesome work did order it via CT with your link.

    • Tim Grose

      I’ve only done a LiveTrack from the Triathlon profile as a test (i,e. did not actually swim!) and it does seem to work. The current sport is indicated as an icon but the GPS track on the LiveTrack web page seems to roll into one page, I’ve done a run (albeit on a 620) where I started a Live Track when connected to phone but then left the phone at “base” as I set off on the run but when came back the LiveTrack was back filled. So I think you should be able to start a LiveTrack with phone connected, leave phone on bike, do swim and when get to the bike and the phone connects should carry on. The 510 and 620 probably does not work as the app does not really support being paired to multiple devices. Why don’t you just LiveTrack using the 620 as presume that will stay on your wrist throughout.

  115. Struan Lownie

    I think “When you add USB power to the FR920XT mid-charge, it’ll instantly end the activity and begin full charging.” should be “mid activity”

  116. Eric lagstein

    I have now done 5 runs with both my fenix2 and 920xt. The 920 is consistently a little slower then the fenix2. Of the last 5 runs which were all 5-7 miles, the 920 calculates longer by the following:


    Which is about 6-7 seconds per mile avg. on a 6 mile run that is :42 difference. That seems like a decent amount. No?

    Is this within Normal range. Any thoughts? I have files for all the runs in case your interested.

    • You’d need to ensure both devices are set to 1-second recording to begin comparisons (if you haven’t already). Then, you can use a tool like this (link to mygpsfiles.com) to drag the two tracks and see where they are different.

      As a general rule, .02miles per mile is about the max I’ll give a watch for differences (2%).

      Fwiw, tonight I had four GPS watches, all agree within .01 miles on 10.06 miles. Reasonably impressive actually.

    • Eric Lagstein

      Sorry for double posting, I didn’t think this came through.

      Both are set to 1 second recording

      I guess I will call Garmin 🙁

    • Tim Grose

      As I said above, I don’t think these differences are that unusual – I often see similar between 2 devices. Also using Ray’s benchmark of 0,02 miles per mile you would need to be seeing differences over 0.1 miles each time but you haven’t once.

      Are you wearing both devices on these runs and, if so, do you swop over which device you put on each wrist?

      If you wear 2 devices and say have auto mile laps on both then you can usually spot if things are deviating as result of some isolated “bad patches” or, much less likely, systematic error.

  117. Jennifer R Wolf

    Thank you for this in-depth review.

    Once comment about accuracy of pool lap data- I do open turns, and I have found much higher accuracy in lap counting when I touch the wall with the hand wearing the watch. When I do this, I get almost perfect lap counting data. I find this works better than “pushing off the wall with conviction.”

  118. Richard

    Great review. Any idea whether autolap by position will be brought back?

    Very useful on the 910 and the 310.


    • I’m trying to find my e-mail on it, but can’t, but I vaguely remember that one being in the camp of “they’re looking into it”, which is typically better than an outright “no plans” or “no comment on future plans” type answer.

    • Richard

      Thanks, that’s better than nothing I guess, but I’m definitely missing it.


  119. neil rosson

    Is there any specific reason why there are not more options for recording intervals? Seems odd you can’t select say 3 seconds or 5 seconds. Ultratrac like you say is not great for running but then you only have one other option 1 second. And tbh i still can’t understand how ultratrac is working, what is exactly ‘smart’ about it?

    • Tim Grose

      See my post link to forums.garmin.com for some info on how UltraTrac seems to work in practice. Why would you want other recording options? Every second, smart and UltraTrac covers all bases as far as I can see. They say there is a battery life saving using Smart over every second but I doubt it is that much in comparison to say GPS itself.

    • As for what ‘Smart’ is about, it’s basically that 3-7 second recording rate you’re asking for.

    • Olu

      Isn’t it a bit different in that smart recording records points every 3-7 seconds but still polls GPS every second? I thought this saves on file size, but doesn’t improve battery life significantly. I think the original poster is wondering why you can’t have the unit poll GPS every 5 seconds to save battery life.

    • Ahh, gotchya. Yeah, that’s true. And it is true that from that perspective Smart Recording is kinda useless.

      I do agree that the Suunto method of having three tiers is nice there. The Fenix2 has that as well, but then you lose sensor recording (whereas the 920XT nor Ambit doesn’t).

  120. Gianpaolo Racca

    Hi Ray and thanks for your work.
    I have a question: can you create complex workouts on the watch or only on GC and then transfer them to the 920? I had a look on a Fenix2 unit owned by a friend and it seems it can only modify existing workouts and not create new ones.

    Thanks again

    • No, you can’t modify the FR920XT. Indeed some other models allow this, but not the 920XT.

    • Gianpaolo Racca

      Let me understand it right because I didn understand completely your answer: no workout creation on the watch, I’m I right?


    • Zaheer

      That’s poor. My very old FR305 allows you to create custom workouts from the watch

    • Gianpaolo Racca

      Yeah I thought the same thing. My FR305 allows you to create wrkouts very easily. It’s a shame that Fenix2 and even 920 have lost this function.

    • Adam

      there are many features lost in between (say 310 to 920 era), which I find very strange. Since Garmin already had them figured out, why to removed them?? Like mentioned workouts, navigation options, virtual racer (ok, this one was brought back, but was missing is number of models in between) or instant paces smoothing (this was great on FR305 with 3 settings available: fast with ~3s avg, medium with ~5s avg and slow with ~7s avg – everybody happy). All this was working and was being used. Strange to cut off in newer models.

  121. Lutfi

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for an amazing review, as always. One question that I don’t believe was answered: does the 920xt have hydration / nutrition alerts (like I believe the 910 has)?

    Can’t wait to get mine – will probably wait till January once things have stabilized a little!

    • Nope, no hydration alerts (the 910XT didn’t have them either). What some did, including me though, is just repurpose general time alerts (or the Run/Walk alert) for it. That said, this is an easy one for Connect IQ (like ‘Hello World’ easy), so I suspect we’ll see it immediately.

    • Tim Grose

      Actually there are! I had not actually tried this (but now have and it works!) but under Activity Settings, Alerts, Add New, choose Custom and then you can setup a Time or Distance alert called one of Drink, Eat, Turn Around, Go Home or even Custom where you can type in your own alert name.

      The time/distance is “every” so I setup a Drink alert on 10 secs and it bleeps and displays a message every 10 secs. Clearly that is bit too often 🙂

    • Tim Grose

      And looking further there is an option to repeat or not. Nice…

    • Olu

      That’s cool Tim. Can you then set up 2 different time alerts (i.e. every 10 minutes drink, every 45 minutes eat?)

    • Lutfi

      Tim, I’m assuming you’re referring to the 910 in your comments?

      Olu, good question – would definitely like to have that!


    • Tim Grose

      No – the 920!
      Yes you can have any number of these and even more than one of the same type – I just did 2 Drink & 1 Eat as a test…

    • Olu

      Awesome! That’s good to know.

  122. Markus

    Did you also include older models of TACX? I have a 1,5 year old Vortex and a 3 year old Bushido. Both have ANT+ but you wrote in your other report that TACX seems to be ‘special’. The units do not pair with the FR910XT nor edge 500. Will I be lucky with FR920XT or will I have to wait for Connect IQ?

    • Tim Grose

      I’ve got a Genius and that does not connect directly with the 920 or any other Garmin for that matter. I suspect Connect IQ won’t help as if the Tacx is not broadcasting a signal that can be picked up no so amount of custom code on the 920 is going to help. That said don’t see this as a major problem for something you already own, when on the Tacx I can still connect to my HR, power meter, speed sensor as normal.

    • Unfortunately the non-Smart trainers don’t broadcast out the power signal. And they won’t be able to do a firmware update there either because they lack enough ANT channels on the chipset to do it (though, I’d argue they could update the desktop software to do it there…).

  123. Aleks

    I’m glad you brought up the footpod. I use one indoors for track running (I hate treadmills with a true passion) however my distance numbers always seem to be inaccurate. How often do I need to calibrate the footpod for accuracy?

  124. Sam C

    Thanks Ray, great review. Do you need to connect the 920xt via USB to a PC in order to download updates (or perhaps, when it is up and running, apps from GC IQ) or can this be done via wi-fi/bluetooth (i.e. in the same way as the Adidas Micoach Smart Run)?

    I currently have the smart run and will definitely look to upgrade having, after many years, returned to triathlon. However, I did really enjoy never having to connect a single cable in the entire time that I have had the smart run!

    • It’ll grab it from WiFi/USB (and I’m 95% sure BT too though I haven’t confirmed that on my unit), and then you can install it from there.

    • Tim Grose

      Not 100% sure either but don’t think software updates can come via Bluetooth. Would very very slow if they did and sometimes I need a couple of goes to upload an activity via the app as it is. Afraid with the 920 you are going to need the cable for charging although, apart from initial WiFi setup, you could do away with connection to a computer.

    • Sam C

      Thanks both. Wi-fi synchronisation was the greater concern. The ease and extent of synchronisation is an area in which the (much maligned) Smart Run appeared to be ahead of the curve. A year later, intrigued to see the extent to which other wi-fi capable devices have caught up/replicated this.

      Tim, quite right, the charging cable: I think we all want to know when a device comes out which does away with that!

  125. Be cautious wth these Garmin products, frankly the 910XT had too many issues.
    I used to be very happy about it, it fully lived up to DC’s review. And it still does.
    In the beginning there was some data recording and syncing issues, these got fixed eventually with new firmware and the new Garmin Express.
    However, 3 months ago I ran into the first issue with corrupt .fit files.
    And today, it trashed 2 weeks worth of workout data.
    Had I been the only one, then I would just have filed a regular support case, and left it with that.
    However, look at the link I posted, numerous customers have reported more or less the exact same issue I have experienced, first time back in 2013.
    Surely, it should have been fixed ages ago.
    Sorry Garmin, you ain’t gonna get my $449 for the new 920XT, only because of the issues with my 910XT, I love the features of the 920XT, had I not had these issues, I would most likely have ordered the 920 this month…
    link to forums.garmin.com

    • Stephane

      Yes, i must say that I have this problem on the 920 3 times since 2 weeks.
      So no sync is possible from Connect on my iphone, and not possible either by the Garmin Express.
      But in Garmin Express, it told you witch one cause you the trouble so, for bypassing this problem, I rap the .fit file directly from the 920 on usb device, export it to Strava and export from starve to garmin connect.
      It’s not the ideal but it works.
      After that, I remove the .Fit file from the device and Sync works back.


    • Olu

      While agree that Garmin does not stand out as much as it used to, IMO it still has the best products for athletes. Thanks for the link to a thread that’s almost a year old with a whopping 16 responses. If you feel your problem is a sign of Garmin products, then by all means save your money. However based on the data you’ve given us, this problem is about as widespread as Ebola in the U.S.

    • In general, if you’re having an issue – be it on the 910XT or the 920XT, or something else. It’s best to open a support case with Garmin. Without that, they won’t know there’s an issue, nor be able to judge how widespread an issue is, or pinpoint where the issue is coming from.

  126. Hi Ray,

    thank you for this great review.

    Is it possible to customize the lap pop-up display ? At the end of the lap i would be happy to know the time of the lap but also the average pace for my whole run for example.

    Thank you

    • Yup, you can customize two fields in the pop-up. I thought I had included a section within the Data Fields sub-section on it, but apparently it slipped my mind. I’ll add it in.

  127. Hello. To echo again – fantastic review.

    Any ideas when these will arrive in the UK and specifically at Wiggle – or did they forget to put their order in? Any ideas would be appreciated as I rather naively sold my 910xt a week ago…. Doh!!! Thanks again. G.

    • Geoff

      Hi Graeme
      Ive ordered from Humber Runner £400 with HRM estimate 24 nov
      Good luck

    • Graeme

      Geoff – that’s kind thank you. Sorry for all the repeats on my message 🙂

    • JR

      Had mine on order from wiggle since 5th Oct. Wiggle did mail me and say they were expecting to send it w/c 3rd Nov but still not received. TFN posted on Facebook they’re expecting stock from Garmin w/c 17th so guess they were delayed again so fingers crossed it’s next !

  128. SteveL

    I tried to use your Clever Training DC code to order this watch and it’s say no go for a discount. What am I missing?

  129. Nick Moss

    Hi Ray, Another great review. Where do you find the time?…

    Now that it is common for people to have more than one Bluetooth enabled Garmin device, (In my case, Edge 810 and 920XT) and since the GC app can only handle one connection at a time, do you know how we can prioritise the devices for connection to the GC App?

    Maybe if I explain what I want to have happen it might help to explain the problem. I want to wear the 920Xt as a daily watch, Activity Monitor, Running, Swimming etc with it connected to my phone. When I go for a ride, I want to head out to the garage and turn my Edge 810 on and have it “Steal” the app connection from the 920XT until the ride is complete and the 810 is turned off. Then in the absence of the 810 I want the connection to revert back to the 920XT. Big Ask?

    Currently the only way I can seem to get them to play nicely is to turn the 920XT off before turning the 810 on. Then when the 810 has connected to the app I turn the 920XT back on and since the app is already connected to the 810 the 920 will not connect. At the end of the ride I turn off the 810 but the 920XT will sadly not reconnect seamlessly. I then have to either restart the 920XT or the APP or both…

    Any Ideas or more efficient workarounds?

    • Tim Grose

      I’ve also got an Edge 810, 920 and 620 and have similar problem. Not sure there is an “answer”. As I use the 920 for most things, I let use the app and just upload the odd Edge ride via the cable. As the Edge is “normal” Bluetooth, it will tend to “win” if say both are connected and you want to do a LiveTrack. If it is uploading you want as well you could also always configure the 920 WiFi to use your phone’s personal hotspot.

  130. Harish Lakshman

    Hello Ray – Is “GPS Accuracy” a Data Field option you can set, like in 910xt, Fenix 2 etc.?

  131. Aristidis Kamvysis

    I am trying to check which of these 2 watches (920xt or Fenix2 SE) is the best for Stand Up Panddling (SUP).
    Any thoughts ?

  132. Dmitry

    Small note about sensors supported. I use 910xt for cross county skiing and rollerskiing. One of important parameters in that activity is srpm “straight length” almost similar to running dynamics but account number of pols performed by ski-poles. In order to gen this data I’ve simply attached my small food-pod to my pole with a dutch tape like follows: link to plus.google.com
    And it works like charm link to connect.garmin.com. Unfortunately garmin connect can not display running dynamics for other sports except running, so i’ve set activity to “running”, but keeps in mind that actually this is cross country (ski classics) roller ski activity.

  133. No matter what – I can’t wait to get my own 920 XT!

  134. Ben Hall

    Live Tracking – This is more of a question about the phone. Does it constantly send the updates to the server of at interval times? I am wondering about battery life for the phone. Also, if you loose you data connection will the stored info be transmitted after it reconnects?

    • Tim Grose

      The LiveTrack page seems to get updated every minute when I last checked so not a constant data stream no. Yes if you have lost data connection it does backfill when it regains one.

  135. Mal

    Great review! I love mine. Had it for about 2 weeks now. Just a quick question, do you know how to lock the buttons during activity? Especially useful in multisport mode so that the watch doesn’t think I’m in T2 when I’m actually still riding! Thank you!

  136. nelos

    Great review ,thx again
    What about r-r hrv ,this is my main factor, can i see this directly in my pc????

    • Tim Grose

      Firstbeat have a file you can install to enable this – principally for use with their Athlete software but since the data is then stored in the activity FIT file then, in theory, other suitable software could display it.

  137. Is there a field “gps accuracy” that acutally shows it in meters (like 910xt did)? I found that starting an activity (running) as soons as 920xt says it has established GPS signal leads to a terrible mess in the track (the first 10-20 sec).

  138. Still believe the inability to charge the 920XT on the fly and continue to record should be on your ‘bug’ list Ray. The 920 will charge on the cradle in diagnostic mode and display all test screens (it will even run the GPS test), so I believe it is only a firmware halt stopping the 920 from continuing to record a session with the charging clip attached. A marketing ploy to force multiday’ers and Ultra runners onto a fenix2 perhaps ?

    We saw the same behaviour in the very early days of the Edge 800 and fenix 1 from memory, but later updates gave us the ability to charge on the run/ride, especially on release of Garmin’s rebadged powdermonkey battery pack. I do hope for Garmin and loyal customer’s sake they do enable it, as you mention the 920 has one of the more robust and secure charging clips out, it can be easily worn on the wrist under the 920 for on the fly charging if it was possible ?

    With elevation on the 920, I have also experienced similar startup errors. I am often 150mtrs low – every time (I based at 602mtrs from Garmin handhelds, Suunto and topo maps, and a trig point near by). Never an issue on the 910 as a location was saved, set to 602mtrs, and starting from within about a 50mtr radius would recalibrate every time. Sure you can save a location on the 920 if you are lucky to get a value close, but currently (V2.30) there is no way of editing the elevation figure ! I am also yet to get the ‘elevation reference set’ message on the 920 like I did on the 910 and Edge units.

    920 Battery life – in testing I have only been able to get 17hrs in 1 sec mode (first production release), with all sensors off, no alerts, no audio, no backlight, no autosplitting, no Glonass, no BLE, no nothing except clear view of the sky, stationary, and 1 sec. (could get 20hrs in 1sec on the 910 when new).
    Same test, with smart recording, I was able to get 22hrs when the screen died, both times from a super fully charged state. Ok, it was an experiment of 1 unit, but it did surprise me that I haven’t seen the number 24 come up anywhere, and the inability to charge whilst recording did worry me for the 24hr event world.

    On track accuracy, I still can’t top the Ambit 1 for the ability to hug a twisty trail, true 1 sec sampling, the Ambit 2&3 and 920 still smooth more in my opinion looking extremely closely on the trail, (careful of web site filtering such as garmin connect as well).

    One more item that seems to be missing (again), is the HR graph field – ground hog day ? 😉

    I know from past experience Garmin will address most issues over time, it just frustrating when things go slightly backwards to take hopefully 3 steps forward.

    Love the display, super contrast, and easy to read.

    Thanks once again for your review.

    chilli (AUS)

    • Tri.Johnny

      17h of battery life?
      One of the main reasons I still wait for the 920. When the Polar does 15h, no need to pay that extra money for the Garmin.
      Does anyone else can confirm the 17h?
      Thx and keep on the good work Ray!

    • Tim Grose

      Chilli said he got 22 hours with smart recording which is recommended over every second for increased battery life. Interesting it saved 5 hours. I really don’t think charging on the move (or lack of) is a marketing ploy! All USB Forerunners (10/15/220/620) have the same limitation. Garmin Connect do not show the full GPS track resolution (as you noted) so not the best thing to use to test this.

    • Samir

      Hi DC Rainmaker,
      First off, LOVE the site. This article got me to go with 920xt which I love. Question: what happened to the comment that Adam Connor started and that showed this petition: link to change.org

      I’m planning to do a hundred miler later this year and the inability to charge on the go means the watch will not last as I doubt I’ll finish in less than 24 hours.

      While I don’t necessarily think it’s a marketing ploy, I do think it’s shady marketing on Garmin’s part to include a feature called utratrac and them imply you can get 40 hours. The feature is so inaccurate that it’s useless. I’ve been having an ongoing dialogue with Garmin about this. To their credit after quite a few email exchanges they had someone call me. There are hundreds of people on the web at this point that you can find complaining about this issue, which means there are probably thousands who have a similar problem. I’m not sure where this goes from here, but I got my watch from REI in the US meaning I can return it within a year. If I don’t hear some movement from Garmin I’ll likely return this watch (very sadly) and get a Suunto.

    • Samir

      Hi Again DC Rainmaker, so weird now I see the comment from Adam again!????

      Anywhoo…thanks for all your efforts!

    • Hi Samir,
      I simply haven’t had the time to work this as well as I should have- but here’s the plan. Pretty son I will make one last appeal for people to sign the petition and then I will attempt to get Garmin to look at it. To be honest it hadn’t gained the sort of traction I thought it would, but I also think it’s important that Garmin don’t get away with treating us like second class citizens just because we bought their product early…..

      Please get any mates to sign the petition and I’ll try to keep this thread informed about progress.

      Thank you.

    • Samir

      Definitely Adam. Thanks for getting the petition going…I suspect there are many many more folks out there (especially with ultraruning becoming more popular) but it’s hard to get them to see this info. I’m amazed you got us into the 150s!

  139. Hamster

    Do you think that it’s possible to make the 920xt an ANT+ to bluetooth bridge? Especially with connect IQ?

  140. Martin

    Hello Ray,

    Great review as always! I spend a couple of hours with this review and all the comments. Most questions are answered and the 920XT is on its way. I’m looking forward to get it in my hand and to replace my Ambit2 (btw: I had good experiences with the Ambit2 and am not sure if I’ll keep or sell it. But the feature I’m most interested in is the WIFI and BT sync. With my Ambit2 it was always a mess to connect it to a PC and upload the data to movescount. I got always failures during the sync).

    But I got some questions left on the 920XT.
    (1) During pool swimming, I understood that if I hit the lap button after an interval it’ll show a rest screen (white text on black background). There is also a swim rest timer. Does this timer count upwards or backwards?

    (2) The use of Vivofit and 920XT. I understood that I have to choose which one is my main activity tracker. But does that mean that the other device won’t show any data (neither on the device nor a GC)?
    If I chose Vivofit as main activity tracker and wear the 920XT during the whole day, the number of steps shown up on GC will be zero? If I wear both, the data will only come from the Vivifit?
    During a workout, do I have to wear both devices? If I wear only the 920XT will the number of steps and/or calories burned will be counted?

    (3) Are/ will the new cycling dynamics metrics (Seated/Standing Position, Power Phase, Platform Center Offset) also be part of the 920XT? How will e.g., the Power Phase look like? Only a number or a graphic like on an Edge (link to dcrainmaker.com)?

    (4) Tickr X and 920XT. You mentioned it in your review that it’s currently nut supported. But how likely do you think it will be to get this through Connect IQ? Wouldn’t it be quite easy for Wahoo to expand their business over BT smart by implementing such a “Wahoo-App” for the 920XT? Could there be something like the Ambit3-store-and-sync-later-swimming-mode be possible?
    I haven’t got an HRM-RUN right now. Do you think it’ll be worth to buy one or to wait until Wahoo (through Connect IQ) or Garmin (through a new HRM-SWIM – or whatever the name will be) solve this?

    Thanks in advance and keep up your great work!
    Would love to support your work – just hurry up with your European partner 🙂


    • Tim Grose

      1. Upwards (just verified)
      2. Will certainly show steps on both devices. It is just that on GC your Steps records will come from the device you select.
      3. Don’t see these fields on the device at the moment.
      4. Tickr X is both ANT and BLE I understand so maybe but if you are buying a 920 makes far more sense to also get the HRM-Run IMHO. Best HR strap ever had.

    • Martin

      Thanks Tim for your answers.

      (2) So I have to wear both devices during an activity to get steps counted in GC (from the vivofit)? (The double counting of calories is already fixed?)
      But as far as I understand from the ‘back in time’-section of Rays review, the 920XT (as well as the Vivofit) stores time-data. (In the step-graph in GC your steps are associated with a particular time). So it won’t be too difficult for Garmin to fil the gaps during a day (when you left your Vivofit at home, e.g. during an activity) with the time- and step-data from the 920XT.

    • Tim Grose

      I can see in GC that if I wear my 620 and 920 (which I often do) that I get given Steps for both in the Steps, Activities section of GC but also clear that only one device is used for the daily steps total – must be the 920. I suspect then that if the Vivofit is set as your activity tracking device you would need to wear it for the overall daily steps count to be “correct” even if you were also using a 920 in a run. I guess it could be possible to “fill in the gaps” but looks to me that the daily steps count in GC is just being synched from your device – hence the need to choose the one you want to use for this.

    • Martin

      Thanks Tim for verification.
      I just hope that Garmin (now that they published multiple activity trackers and users may purchase multiple devices – such as Vivofit and 920XT) has a plan on how to sync, overwrite and correct step- and calorie-data recorded with different devices. I mean changing the favorite activity tracker from Vivofit to 920XT, because I’m going to use the 920 for the next couple of hours, and setting everything back to Vivofit once completed, isn’t the easiest way.

  141. Billy Pappas

    Hey Ray!
    When you set up an activity profile is there anyway to have one that turns off GPS? I have a 310 and have a specific activity profile for when I am riding the trainer and find it annoying to go through the settings every time I hop on the trainer to shut off the GPS.
    Thanks! love the site!

    • Tim Grose

      Yes – they already is a Bike Indoor profile which has GPS off as standard. You can also create custom profiles and one of the options is GPS on or of.

  142. Glenn

    You have availability listed as October 2014. However, an update or addendum may be needed on the actual availability of the product. I ordered the FR920XT the morning it was released here in the US (Oct 1) and still have not received it. I sent an email asking when it would be shipped and was sent the following response on the availability yesterday:

    Dear Glenn,

    Thank you for contacting Garmin International. Unfortunately, the device is estimated to ship the first week in December. I apologize for the inconvenience, please let me know if you have any further questions.

    With Best Regards,
    Customer Care Specialist
    Garmin International

    • Ryanovelo

      This has been covered so many times. Please read through the comments on this thread. There are actually units out there now. Not many, but they’re out there. However, the vast majority of folks will receive their pre-ordered units this month or next. It just depends on where you live and who you ordered from. I ordered mine from Clevertraining and they are getting units from Garmin this week. However, nobody knows how many. I’ve also heard of people in UK already receiving units. The only thing you can do is wait. Anyone placing orders today is looking at a mid-December arrival.

    • Glenn

      Sorry I did not mean to be a bother on a well covered topic. I looked at the comments and did not notice anyone give a specific notice directly from Garmin that orders made on October 1st (the first day they were available for order directly from Garmin) were now delayed to the first week of December. If there was anyone like me that had hoped to use their new FR920XT for Ironman Cozumel at the end of the November it looks like we are out of luck. I live in a large US city and none of the triathlon shops nor running stores have the product in stock locally. I am sorry if this is old news to the forum, this is such a great place to get product info and I wanted to share my personal experience and communication with Garmin. Cannot wait to get mine and start using it.

    • Just as a minor update/clarification/etc…

      – Product was announced Oct 1st-
      – FR920XT was made available at Kona a week later, various people purchased
      – FR920XT was also concurrently shipped at a few seemingly random international locations that same weekend timeframe, I’m aware of no US stores that received batches then
      – Shortly thereafter, Garmin temporarily stopped production due to a waterproofing issue noted by two beta testers that received final production units.
      – FR920XT has been present at other random events in the US and elsewhere, including the Army 10 Miler, a tri in Australia, and a few other running events.
      – Units continue to pop up in random retailers internationally. For example, the store behind my home (in France) oddly enough had a unit this past weekend. It’d been there a while they said.
      – Units within the US are starting to arrive. Clever Training got a huge batch of them this week (arriving today I believe, shipping back out today too), though it won’t cover all pre-orders. They expect further batches each week, and will continue to send out weekly updates each Friday (US Eastern time).