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Garmin Forerunner 920XT In-Depth Review

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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.

Unboxing:

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:

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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:

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And again, without the plastic bags:

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

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

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

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

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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.

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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:

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

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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:

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The Polar V800 comes in at 80.8g:

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The Suunto Ambit3 at 86.0g:

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And finally, the Fenix2 at 85.6g:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Running:

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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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:

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

Cycling:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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):

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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):

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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).

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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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:

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(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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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With the workout selected you can review the steps:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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

Garmin Connect IQ (Apps):

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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):

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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:

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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.

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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):

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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:

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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:

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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):

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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:

IMG_0739

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 28th, 2019 @ 6:06 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$79.00
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar Mount$25
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount$37
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run$99.00
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00
Garmin Cadence-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39
Garmin Solar Charging Kit$71.00
Garmin Speed & Cadence ANT+ Sensor bundle (magnet-less)$69
Garmin Speed-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39
Garmin Vector$1499
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)$38.00
Timex ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap)$48.00
Timex ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$51.00
Timex ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor$50.00

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:

DSC_0379

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:

IMG_0666

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:

IMG_0640

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:

IMG_0658

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.

IMG_0660

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

IMG_0650

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
Price$249$399$399$449$499
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
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual
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
GeocachingNoNoYesNoNo
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.

Summary:

IMG_0814

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 28th, 2019 @ 6:06 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$79.00
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar Mount$25
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount$37
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-Run$99.00
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00
Garmin Cadence-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39
Garmin Solar Charging Kit$71.00
Garmin Speed & Cadence ANT+ Sensor bundle (magnet-less)$69
Garmin Speed-Only ANT+ Sensor (magnet-less)$39
Garmin Vector$1499
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)$38.00
Timex ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap)$48.00
Timex ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$51.00
Timex ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor$50.00

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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2,496 Comments

  1. lakyn Dyson

    Is there anyway to continuously track HR? I was unaware that it didn’t do this as part of the activity tracker…

    • No, unfortunately not. There’s no logic for background recording of HR in any of Garmin’s devices today. You can certainly start an indoor activity if you wanted to record HR (using a HR strap), but it’s basically just treated as a big workout.

  2. Nicole Unger

    My elevation profile for the last week is not working. It was fine up until after my tri. Now it shows elevation gain of over 22000 ft for every run. I updated the software on it as well. How can I fix this?

  3. Malcolm

    Just had the same problem. Call Garmin. They run a quick diagnostic on the phone (see photo of output screen) and if it’s the usual problem (I’ve had it with the 910 & 920) they will issue you with return instructions which will result in a replacement.

  4. Des

    Hi Ray,

    Great review as always and just to say thanks for all the helpful info.

    Herself very generously got me a new 920 as a birthday gift and everything’s working like a dream apart from my Macbook not recognising the USB charger / phone, (it’ll charge the watch but no recognition of the actual device nor on Garmin Express).

    The app on my iPhone works but not on the Mac. I had this issue previously with the Edge 800 and once it was replaced by Garmin it worked a treat.

    Have you seen this issue at all and if so was there any fix?

    Thanks,
    Des

  5. Andy Z

    What is the cheapest solution for someone that wants to track indoor swim metrics and record heart rate? It would be nice to have both results displayed in graphical format. I have a Mio Link and don’t mind wearing two watches. I don’t need all the fancy GPS stuff though.

    thank you

  6. Jay

    Which has better contrast/brightness and overall readability, the FR920XT or the Fenix3?

    I’m at that age where reading glasses are required, and that means for a watch of this type font size and, more than that, contrast and brightness matter. (I picked up the 225 and will be returning it for that reason. I have no problem at all reading everything on my BlackBerry, but the 225 brightness/contrast is just too faint.)

    Thanks !

  7. Alex Lima

    Hi, I have a suunto foodpod, would it work with the Garmin 920xt? Any specific I would need to do to setup?

    Thank you in advance.

    Alex

  8. Seth

    Just got this watch as a birthday present. Stuck with my old 310xt to get me through yesterday’s Paine to Pain Half Marathon (awesome trail race in Westchester, NY) but plan to break in the 920xt this week. A lot of improvements over the past 5 years or however long it’s been since the 310xt was current. I’m not one of those people that needs to upgrade all the time but this watch seems to finally be a real leap forward. This review, as always, is super helpful. Thanks.

    Also, that huge pool in Chile is just ridiculous. You’ve got to give yourself a lot of time if you plan to meet someone on the other side of the pool.

  9. Geo

    Thank you that is a great review.
    Is there a way to configure data screens/ fields on the 920XT (and the 910XT) on the computer? I am thinking, on a third party app or within Garmin Express/ Connect… and then “send” the profiles to the watch?

    Also, in pool swim mode there was the facility on the 910 to set a distance alert every 200 m but now the units are “lengths” so if you are switching between pool sizes a distance alert represents something different each time. (i.e. Eight lengths could be 160 m, 200 m, or 400 m in a 20, 25 or 50 m pool). Is there another way to get a distance alert in metres on 920?
    Many thanks.

    • No method to configure screens on computer unfortunately. We’re seeing Garmin make slow steps in that direction (i.e. the Vivo series for some things), but not yet all-in.

    • Geo

      Thank you Ray. At least I’m not missing something obvious.

    • Seth

      This is one of the things I’ve commented on to Garmin over the years going back several models. Seems like it would be easy enough to do. The way Apple let you arrange your iPhone apps through iTunes. The watch is great but the interface is annoying. There should be an easy way to control all the settings from the computer. (Note, it’s not just the data fields but all the settings. I’ve been going nuts trying to keep the heart rate zones and other settings consistent between the watch and Garmin Connect.

  10. Alex

    Thanks for the great reviews 🙂
    I’m so happy with my 920, but I’m wondering about buying a Tacx Vortex Smart…does it pair easily through Ant+? Searching on the web I’ve found several issues….

    Thanks

    • Yup, pairs no problem. I think some of the issues is that people don’t quite understand how to pair (power/speed/etc…). Though, I could also see interference being a challenge in indoor environments, especially since on a triathlon bike (what many 920XT users would be using) you’re quite a bit further forward on the bars and the Tacx is a bit further back (far) from the unit. I’d encourage folks that have issues like that while indoors to simply mount the 920XT on a pole/etc slightly offset to the right of your aerobars (i.e. on a stand like this: link to dcrainmaker.com)

    • Alex

      Really appreciate your quick answer…!
      I’m gonna use the Vortex Smart through TrainerRoad and pair the 920xt to record the workout…it’s gonna be my first turbotrainer so I hope that everything works flawlessly 🙂

      Anyway, the 920 it’s a really rock-solid piece of gear for training, the new 3.0 gps firmware seems to me to have smoothed even more the average running pace also in deep wooded area, the only thing that I can’t get is what Garmin is waiting to introduce the footpod options as on the Fenix….!

      ps. keep on, you’re doing a great job!

  11. Seba

    Excellent review, do you know if it’s possible to add more languages (as hebrew) to the FR920?. When in smartwatch mode and have an incoming message (in hebrew) the message is display but with unreadable characters and, obviously, cannot read it. Thanks!!

  12. Luke

    If I put my watch in my swim cap in bike mode for an open water swim, will it be able to record HR? I would wear the HR monitor under my wetsuit. Would it do damage to my HR monitor? What is I wear it backwards so the monitor is on my back on no submerged in water?
    Thanks, and thanks for all your reviews, they are the bible!

  13. Lasse Tobiasen

    Hi
    Thanks for a great and in depth review, which I have been reading on my Holiday in Thailand (I’m Danish).

    I’ve been doing some OW swims but get very poor GPS accuracy (like 2 times actual distance!), symptoms much like as reported in the link below.

    I have the watch on my wrist, previously with Glanoss off – but will try turning it on for my next swim.

    Any advice in relation to better accuracy during OW swimming?

    Thanks, Lasse

    link to forums.garmin.com

    • For openwater swims, did you try starting the swim with the watch above water for 2-5 seconds and started before you start swimming? And the same at the end of the swim?

      Also, I have GLONASS on my unit enabled, and 1-second recording also enabled.

  14. Rob

    Why does Garmin no longer support displaying distance in miles in open water swim mode? The 910 does that – after a few hundred yards it automatically switches to miles. Why would Garmin remove that funtion on the 920 (and on the Fenix 3)? Garmin – please put this feature back in!!!

    • Not looking off-hand if you can change it within the sport metric settings, but I suspect the reason is that most swimmers would use yards/meters rather than miles. Meaning, 1KM = 1,000 (rather than .66mi), and even a 1.2mi swim, most triathletes know the yardage for that by heart.

  15. Anyone else still having issues with total distance in running? I have done several races this year that have not recorded the distance, in fact every race I have done with the 920xt including 10ks and half Marathons. The latest being a half marathon being out .5 of a kilometre. Looking on Strava, other members with 920xts also seem to be short. I realize that distances for races are not calculating tight corners, but the 920xt seems out compared to my old 910xt.
    I am finding instant pace almost useless as it is all over the map even on wide open roads.
    I am also seeing the accelerometer for indoor running useless, not even close. Is there anyway of calibrating? or should I use my old foot pod?

  16. n8udd

    Hi Ray,

    Do you have any idea if the Strava Segments will be coming to the 920? I guess that being how they’re being added to the FR510, there shouldn’t be a hardware limitation, so I guess it’s down to Garmin?

  17. Jack

    I had good experience with my 920XT but recently experienced repeated “HRM connected” messages with the link between the sensor and watch coming and going. This took quite a bit of troubleshooting to rule out static electricity in tech short (wet everything), strap/sensor (bought a new one), watch memory (erased it), add-ins (took them out), general glitches (factor reset). Ultimately it was showing the issue extended to hrm-swim watch that pointed definitively to the ANT-reception by the watch being weak. Close proximity of watch to sensor would get it working. It seemed to perform worst on less than 100% charge, but didn’t do a lot of experiments. My watch was ~40 units beyond the initial run that has been recalled. Garmin replaced the unit.
    I figured I’d mention here as early adopters with sister units will be running out of 1 year warranty soon.

  18. Teriemer

    PACE FROM FOOTPOD is finally here for FR920XT. Check out beta 6.06 here: link to www8.garmin.com – I just did a quick test and it works. Thanks a million to Garmin for listening to their customers! Good work!

  19. Havelaar

    Just received my 920xt
    It seems that pairing the watch via bluetooth with my android phone with the garmin connect app is broken
    Should I send the watch back or is this a known issue to be resolved by an upcoming firmware update?
    Or does anyone know a workaround?

  20. Kluca

    I was wondering if anyone has had any issues with the 920XT power on/off button stop working after atleast 10months of use? I am on my fourth 910XT watch since the 910XT came out. Two were software issues and the last two have been faulty power on/off buttons that slowly became harder to use then stopped working altogether.

    Garmin customer service has kindly replaced the first three watches for all these problems and will do the same for the fourth watch.

    As a consistent amateur triathlete averaging 8-10hrs a week of training, I use the watch for approximately 4-6 total bike or run workouts a week. With the 920XT on the market for a year, I’d like to upgrade to the 920XT, but not if it is having similar 910XT issues I’ve previously experienced. Any insight regarding your own Garmin 920XT’s reliability for 10-12+ months time would be appreciated.

    • Grant

      Hi, I’ve had my 920xt since April 2015,i run 4-5 times a week plus some bike and swim sessions. I’ve not had it off my wrist since purchase except for charging, and it’s always been fine (that’s 24hrs a day everyday) it was 100%the right purchase for me and I have not has any regrets, best purchase ever(apart from the scorche HRM I bought with it which I’m equally happy with!)

  21. tommays56

    I had and early 920 that had the button recall issue and the second one has been flawless in this area

  22. tommays56

    One big issue that was just resolved in BETA .6.06 is you can get footpod instant pace while using GPS and it is in fact now INSTANT

    The only remaining issue with the watch is battery HUNGER if you use all the features as Garmin is still choosing to not let you charge on the go

    So IF you shut off most everything you can get 17 something hours and if you need to use navigation and all the many other features your down in the 12 hour area

  23. Mark

    Hi is it possible to set a timer in the 920xt for during an activity so it buzzes you as a reminder. For example every 30 secs during strength training or every 20 mins during a long run?

    Thanks in advance.

  24. Paul Voorend

    I understand that you can’t get heart rate with the HRM-Run, and forgive me if this has already been asked or if you have covered this in a previous comment (I haven’t read them all), but have you had any experience with the HRM-Tri Heart rate strap?

  25. Torsten

    Wahhhoooo! Obvisously Garmin has followed the requests from a lot of users: now it seems to be possible, to take the speed from a pod while GPS is active. Today 6.20 was released and the changelog claims:

    […]
    “Added support for using a footpod as the speed source while running.”
    […]

    In fact, when I step into the sensor-settings for the pod, there are two possible settings:

    Use as Speed Source
    a) Always
    b) Only when GPS if off

    Didn’t test it so far outside, but at least, it looks promising 🙂

  26. Rodrigo Valle Teixeira

    Hi Ray,
    Throughout the 920XT software history, open water swimming has been changed and improved constantly. Here’s what I get from Garmin’s site:

    v2.50 – Improve open water swim GPS track.
    v2.70 – Update Activity Tracking distance and calories in pool and open water swim profiles.
    v4.20 – Fixed an issue with distance calculation when open water swim is not the first sport in a multisport activity.
    v6.10 – Improved the distance algorithm for open water swim.

    So, I was wondering if you could put a v6.10 SW 920XT on the wrist on your next open water swim, and see how it currently compares against others (ambit3 for ex, and reference GPS on the saferswim).

    Cheers!
    Rodrigo

    • Torsten

      If it wasn’t already that cold in Germany, I’d do that 🙂 I’ve got a “standard-loop” in a local lake, but currently, it’s too cold and the track is not properly marked.

    • I actually used the FR920XT a bunch in October in Mexico for openwater swims, once a day for about a week. 🙂

      More to come as part of my HRM-TRI/SWIM strap review next week.

  27. Guillermo Guerini

    Just a reminder… the FR920XT will be on sale on CT this Friday!

  28. Chris

    I can’t find the answer to this anywhere, but the first notification that comes through on the 920xt shows up twice – if I don’t clear it and receive more messages they only show once – any ideas from anyone?

  29. Champ Phetiam

    what is the screen of the 920xt made out of? My 2 weeks old already have a scratch on it.

  30. John Bergquist

    Ray, do you know if Garmin has any plans to make an all-black version of the 920XT? That’s the one thing stopping me from getting this as my tri/du device and daily watch. Not very “professional” looking for office work.

    Thanks!

    • Paul

      While I love the watch, personally I would probably find it too big to wear as a daily, particularly since I also utilise the quick release bracket, which adds another 2-3mm of height. So I got myself a second watch to wear for my daily, which is the Garmin vivoactive. It does pretty much 90% of what the 920XT does, with the addition of tracking walking activities & a golf GPS!

      The only annoying thing about having 2 Garmin watches, is you can only have one set as the activity tracker.. so you will lose out on counting your steps on either of the devices, if you use both in one day.

      This is something I’d like to see Garmin fix.

    • Yup, they already have it. Albeit, you have to currently buy it as part of the 920XT Triathlon Bundle, but it’s there and all black!

    • Paul

      Wow thats cool. I think that if you are participating in Triathlons then it makes sense to get the Tri Bundle. I certainly wish I had got it originally, rather than spending more money on the quick release kit & Tri-specific HRM, both of which come in the bundle! And you can always get the multi-coloured accesory straps if you want to add some colour, or accessorise to your clothing 😀

  31. JaG

    Does 920XT have a 3-sec countdown for pool swim push-offs (like Garmin Swim)?
    It’s a very useful feature, and I can’t believe Garmin didn’t include it in 920xt, but I cannot find it in the menus

  32. I have tried contacting Garmin many times through many channels about the fact that the 910XT and the Fenix 3 can be charged while recording a run, and the 920XT can’t. Now the 920XT is basically the same hardware as the Fenix 3 so there doesn’t seem to be a technical issue with doing it.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the watch actually did last for 40 hours in UltraTrac mode but it doesn’t, and Garmin may be false advertising by claiming that it does.

    So I have started a petition to ask Garmin to add this feature back in. Please sign it if you own a 920XT, or if you won’t buy the 920XT until it has this feature-

    link to change.org

    Thanks for looking!

    • Torsten

      Hi Adam,

      Garmin has a form where you can put in feature requests/ideas. I submitted an idea a few weeks ago due to the fact, it was not possible to use a footpod along with activated GPS. However, I don’t if it was due to my post – they ended up in implementing this feature 😀
      link to www8.garmin.com

    • thanks for your suggestion Torsten. In case you think I’m just whinging- I have already

      1. posted here
      2. emailed Garmin USA support
      3. emailed Garmin Aus support
      4. used the feature request web form
      5. emailed the beta test software people at Garmin
      6. posted on Garmin forums
      7. called Garmin Aus support

      None of these things has resulted in a reply from Garmin other than to suggest a check to determine if the battery life meet their standards.

      The only thing we have left is to let them know about demand for this missing feature- I’m not going to give up!

      cheers

      Adam

    • Samir Shah

      Amazing Adam. I’ve posted in their forum for people to email their product idea requests. And I’m involved in an ongoing email exchange now about the unethical aspect of their marketing since ultratrac is useless.

      Here’s the links in case others want to send them an email:
      link to www8.garmin.com

      link to forums.garmin.com

      link to forums.garmin.com

      link to forums.garmin.com

  33. Somu

    Ray,

    I have been using 910XT for the last four years and it’s doing well. I am in a mood to switch to a newer watch for improved performance and also to reduce number of accessories. Only thing stopping me from going for 920XT is an expectation of a new version with optical HR built-in. Any idea if Garmin has shown any indication please?

    Regards,

    Somu.

    • Paul Voorend

      In my own opinion, I don’t think a heart rate monitor built into a wearable, would be as accurate as a strap on your chest. It wouldn’t be a feature I’d move to a new device for.

    • I don’t think that’s going to happen soon- the optical HRM is costly on battery energy. The unit would be enormous!

    • Somu

      I have been using Mio Link with 910 and the readings are comparable to chest strap I used earlier. Moreover, I think the technology will mature over time to be on such high end watches.

    • Somu

      Adam – I agree, it may not happen soon. But I will be highly surprized if Garmin doesn’t attempt it. Now that they have released in-house optical sensor Elevate, it makes sense to provide a built-in option for other watches also. Few years back they didn’t even have GPS built-in. I feel it’s just a matter of time.

    • Adam, here you go!
      link to dcrainmaker.com

      Garmin announced HR version of high end watches. Ray was already testing the unit when I asked this question. But probably he was bound NDA not to say anything about. I bought my Fenix 3 last week. Feel disappointed!

  34. RC Christensen

    What is the difference between the regular version and the EU version? The EU version is about $50 cheaper I see.

  35. Matthew Hall

    A friend and I just bought 920xts and have just gotten a couple workouts in on them. My question is about step tracking. This morning we did indoor cycling on computrainers. I followed up with a 2 mile run. She did not do the run. After the run, I was at just over 8,000 steps and she was at less than 2000 after riding and heading home. Seems to me my Garmin may have been recognizing pedals as steps. The 2 mile run would have been about 3200 steps ISH and an hour on the trainers would have been 5000 ish as well….these are very round #s but the ride was at 7:00 AM so I don’t see how the 8,000 possibly could have happened without the riding counting. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    • Annoyingly, all Garmin devices count steps while riding.

    • Mark

      Quick question around the Running Dynamics data screen. I’ve clicked enable on this but the data screen does not appear in the data screen options on my running screen, is there something I’m missing here? Does it only show when the HRM is connected and ready to go?

  36. JohnO

    Ray,

    Will the 920XT ever get an alarm update to allow for multiple alarms like weekday alarms? I believe the the 630 has this function. I like to use my watch as a wake up timer but hate setting it every day.

    Thank you,

    JohnO

  37. Kyle F

    Hi there – Fantastic review with amazing data, thank you so much for doing what you do. I do have a couple questions.. in the Satellite Accuracy portion of the review I noticed that you compare it to the Ambit 3 and that the numbers are relatively close to each other.

    I’m curious if you know which of the devices was actually closer to the “real” distance and also were both devices worn on the wrist or using the ‘swim cap method’? I’m mostly interested in the Open Water data as this seems to be the most difficult thing for these devices to do. Actually if you have any updated further recommendations on which device would be best for Swimming in general, Pool and OW, I would love to pick your brain on maybe the top 3. The Ambit3 S is pretty low on Amazon and I’m somewhat leading towards that. I tend to run with with my iPhone 5S in an armband using the Runkeeper app and so far so good. I don’t have much need, yet, for biking portions, but would like a device that can incorporate it in the future. Mainly swimming for me.

    • It’s hard to know the exact track that I swam, but the swim-cap has historically shown incredible accuracy at nailing the location (short of typical GPS obstruction issues, such as swimming under a bridge).

      Each of those numbers specifies where the unit was worn.

      On the aspect of overall OW swim accuracy on your wrist, I do find that more often than not the Ambit 2/3 series deliveries some of the best results out there.

  38. Lance

    Thank-you for the great review. Based on it I bought one and the watch and HRM work great but as winter has come and I started working on the indoor trainer more I have discovered that while the watch maintains a connection to my garmin Heart Rate Monitor during the workout but doesn’t actually record it. Is there a setting I can adjust to make it record Heart Rate data while in indoor bike mode?

  39. Lorenzo Zanetti

    Hi Ray,

    When do you expect the new 920? 930? to be released aproximately?

    I lost my watch and wanted to buy a new one but may be waiting for the new model or is there a way to find form garmin if somebody is using it as fa as I have the serial number and it is on my garmin connect?

    Thanks,

    Lorenzo

  40. Amer

    Can you set the device to vibrate at every distance interval, e.g. every mile? I’ve had a 310xt, and set it to beep and vibrate at every mile while running, so I know whenever I hit a new mile.

    Just received the 920xt as a Christmas gift. If I open the box, the retailer says I cannot return it. So I want to find out if 920xt has this key feature, before I decide to open the box.

    If anyone knows, I’d appreciate if you could let me know if it has this feature. Thanks!

    • Lance

      Yes. You can set alerts for Heart Rate, Run/Walk, Pace, Time ,Distance, Cadence, Calories, and custom alerts to tell you to eat, drink, go home, turn around or custom reminders. You can also set up virtual partners where it alerts if you are going to slow/fast etc.

  41. Hi
    Thanks for your review. After a 310 and 910, I bought a new 920, but I’m getting crazy: I’m not able to find the VO2Max value. You wrote here and here (link to dcrainmaker.com) that the HRM-RUN is NOT REQUIRED to get any VO2Max estimates so I could use any older Garmin strap: I had HRM3 of 910. Today I run for half hour and I saved the activity. But nothing: following the manual the VO2Max is in … > My Stats > VO2 Max but I’m not able to find this data and the Predicted Race Times from … > My Stats > Race Predictor.
    Where is my mistake? May be I have to run more time? Or I need HRM-RUN absolutely? Or the VO2Max is shown only after I saved the activity?
    Pls help me! I fathomed all internet…

  42. Hi
    Thanks for your review. After a 310 and 910, I bought a new 920, but I’m getting crazy: I’m not able to find the VO2Max value. You wrote here and here (link to dcrainmaker.com) that the HRM-RUN is NOT REQUIRED to get any VO2Max estimates so I could use any older Garmin strap: I had HRM3 of 910. Today I run for half hour and I saved the activity. But nothing: following the manual the VO2Max is in … > My Stats > VO2 Max but I’m not able to find this data and the Predicted Race Times from … > My Stats > Race Predictor.
    Where is my mistake? May be I have to run more time? Or I need HRM-RUN absolutely? Or the VO2Max is shown only after I saved the activity?
    Pls help me! I fathomed all internet…
    ps. have a good 2016!

  43. Tommays56

    You need to save the run for the watch to make the calulation

    Generally while saving it will alert you to various new speed and distance records as well as a new VO2 value

  44. Todd Beach

    Great review and write up. I love everything about this watch, with one exception, and maybe I’m missing it. How do you turn on the “vibration” feature at the running mile marker?

    Insight would be appreciated.

    -Todd

  45. Toni

    The only potential flaw I’ve found with my 920 is the apparent inability to charge it directly from a power source (non-USB). The 910 comes with an adaptor that allows you to plug the USB charging cable into a power socket – really handy if you are travelling without your computer/laptop. Do you know if the 910 adaptor would also work for the 920?

    • You can plug the FR920XT charging cable into any USB port on the planet, and you’ll be good to charge.

      The FR920XT however won’t let you run & charge at the same time unfortunately.

    • Toni

      Thanks Ray, and yes I understand that. But if I don’t have access to a USB port do you know if the 910 adaptor plug will work? I’m guessing you haven’t tried that?

    • Toni

      OK, I’ve followed this up with Garmin and the Australasian guys have come back and said that you can use the FR910xt Power Adapter on the FR920xt. So there you go – if you’ve got the 910, or had one, and still have the power adaptor that came with it, hold onto it so you can charge the 920 when you’re away from a USB port. Would have been nice if the 920 came with one but, ah well…

      Hope that helps someone 🙂

  46. Fantastic review – as they all are. I have a Polar RCX5 and today after my run left my GPS pod on top of my car, so it’s lost on the road somewhere, sadly flashing out its stationary position.
    Therefore, I came home and bit the bullet and decided to buy a Garmin to go with my Edge 520 which I use for cycling. I mostly run but do a bit of mountaineering as well and therefore was won over by the altimeter in the 920XT (I currently use an old Suunto Observer for climbing which doesn’t have GPS). Was a bit concerned by the expressed problems with the altimeter, but have these been fixed now?
    Also a bit concerned by talk of the size – I thought I could handle an extra 20g on my current Polar (with Polar GPS pod it’s actually a bit of an improvement after all) but I have freakishly small wrists…..

    • tommays56

      Coming from the RCX5 myself to the 920XT it was a big disappointment in the mountaineering/trail running department but is a very good road running watch

      I tried and Ambit 3 for a while and was not happy So ended up with the Fenix 3 as my trail watch i wont go into everything But the 920 really got shorted on features for the 50 dollar price difference

      1. Altimeter you can calibrate
      2.Barometer
      3.Compass
      4.100 Vs 1000 waypoints and a way to put then in as the 920 does NOT work with basecamp

      In all its a really big list

    • I’d say the altimeter issues have largely been fixed.

      But I’d also say that for the hiking/mountaineering folks – the Fenix3 is really a far better bet than the FR920XT.

    • Andrew Cotter

      Yes – having had it for a day, not sure if I have made the right purchase. Should probably have just bought a pure running watch but will see how we go on my next trip up a mountain. Cheers….

  47. Yanick

    Hi Ray,

    I was doing a new workout for the edge and have seen swimming workout. I have never notice this type before. Is it possible to know witch watch have the support? I like the idea of having structured workout something missing on the Garmin swim.

    Thanks

  48. Carlos

    Hi Ray,

    Do you know if the 920 will be receiving the new features found on the Fenix 3 (v6.50)?

    Cheers

  49. Deirdre Robbins

    Hi
    Love all the information. I am a age grouper triathlete and I use the Jeff Galloway for my runs. I can use the run walk for my regular runs but in the triathlon mode that does not seem to work. Is there a way around this or go I just have to switch back to run mode. I also noticed in the pool swim when I go to drill mode it ask for drill distance in meters and not yards as my set up is in yards. Is there a way to Change it to yards as I am just not that good at math especially in the middle of a workout It seems a bit too much to have to go to another screen to change it to drills and then have to select distance on top of that. Seems like a lot of extra work Love reading all you tips and hints they are great
    Deirdre

  50. Albert

    Hi,
    I just get the Garmin 920 XT. It’s a great watch i must and thanks for all your useful tips by the way!
    I was swimming this morning an i didn’t save my log drill and i discarded it i think…
    Any chance to get back somehow?
    Best regards.
    Albret

  51. Robert Nelson

    Have purchased the 920xt following good reviews here and elsewhere, to replace my 310XT. Much to my chagrin I have just found out that the filed on the 920xt cannot give “Distance to destination” or “Time to destination” – the 310Xt could. Garmin have confirmed that this feature is not available in the 310xt. As a keen kayaker I sue this feature extensively. Any advice please? RobNel

    • TOMMAYS56

      How are you telling it the location of the endpoint ?

      If you use a single waypoint it will show distance to go on one of the map screens BUT it is more limited then the Fenix 3

  52. Steffen

    Hey Ray, my upper button on the right side (Up-button) seems to be defekt. It won’t pop out again. Maybe you have a solution how to fix it? Thanks, Steffen

    • Make a bowl of warm soapy water (not scalding hot, just warm). Drop your unit in there for about 15-20 mins. Then press the button a few times under water. Usually it’ll unstick.

      Most times it’s just salt that dries and gets stuck (happens on many watches from time to time, including my Suunto Ambit3).

  53. James

    I have been trying to find out if there is now a way to charge during an extended race/training session. Any update to that? I have a 24 hour race this weekend and would like to have it all be one ride but as I have experienced and read on your review, once you sick it to charge, it automatically saves the current activity. Thanks for this great overall review.

    • No, no change there. Only the Fenix3 (and Epix, and FR230/235/630) allow charging while in an activity.

      (As far as current generation watches go)

    • TOMMAYS56

      I have never gotten past 17 hours with normal GPS on smart

      With a footpod and GPS OFF the watch will do pace and distance quite well and last the 24 hours BUT I have heard GC will not upload a file over 99,000 as 24 hours is 86400 on 1 second consider smart recording

      I have never tried ultratrack that long and it is not clear to me if the footpod will do pace and distance correctly

    • Samir

      Do a search on this page for change.org and you can sign a petition asking them to make the change so you can do this. Also in those comments is a way to suggest a product idea. Here are the ideas I suggested to help with battery life:

      1. Use programming and algorithms to get ultratrac to actually be worth using.

      2. Allow charging while tracking.

      3. Allow the screen to go dark while tracking.

      I’ve also been having an ongoing email exchange with them about this issue (literally 20+ emails so far) and they called me a couple of weeks ago where I chatted with a product support specialist. This was nice but their customer service is not coordinated well, so there has not been a promised follow-up. My last email to them resulted in someone else sending a form response. Part of my communication with them is that I feel their marketing is shady since they have a feature called ‘ultratrac’ implying someone doing a 24 hour + event (the typical end goal for people seeking ultras) would be able to use this watch.

      They only way they’d fix the 920 is if a lot of people complain. From my understanding, it would be a software change so it should be doable.

      I bought my watch at REI in the US where you can do returns within a year. I have a couple of months for them to respond before returning it and getting a Suunto. It’s unfortunate since I love the watch, but it maybe my only choice.

      Good luck on your race!

  54. David

    Ok. For a long time, I have had an issue where occasionally when I would plug in my 920XT to charge, the display would change to the “charging screen” but that screen would not update (either the time or the charge level). This persisted through multiple firmware versions. And Garmin eventually swapped my 920XT out, because they insisted that they could not duplicate the issue. Well, the new one did the exact same thing. I’ve exchanged emails several times with them. Today I get the following email:

    Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I’d be happy to help you with your Forerunner 920XT.

    After review the case we will not be resolving the issue of the device not showing the correct time when connected to the charger since the time corrects itself when no connected. The time is designed for when the device is being used.

    We will be closing this case at this time.

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with.

    With Best Regards,
    Debbie

    Customer Care Specialist
    Garmin International
    913-397-8200
    800-800-1020
    913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Debbie 5706
    http://www.garmin.com

    1. If the time is not intended to work on that screen, why put the time on the screen?
    2. I honestly don’t care about the time, I want the battery % to update. This is actually the only place you can see the %. How am I supposed to know when the watch is done charging?
    3. If this behavior is “by design” why have we wasted so many hours trying to figure it out, including replacing my watch?

    Ray, sorry to vent on your blog, but I figure you might want to toss this to your contacts at Garmin, as it is a really puzzling position that they have taken. (I have replied to the e-mail back to Garmin, but as they have indicated that they closed the ticket, I’m not sure if there is much more I can do with them.)

    • Grant

      David this seems a strange behaviour, not sure if it helps by when my 920xt is on charge

      1) the time updates
      2) the percentage charge increases as well. Additionally when using the watch I have the battery percentage displayed by using one of the Connect IQ watch faces (its called Actiface) that would solve that problem for you

    • Przemek

      The same happens to me about 90% of time when I charge device. Device freezes and I don’t know if it’s charged already or not.

    • David

      Just a quick follow-up. Garmin has re-opened my case but only to look into the charge % not updating.

      Well at least it’s a start.

      David

    • David

      Final follow-up. Garmin informed me that they will not attempt to fix the problem. But offered to upgrade me to a fenix 3. Received it in the mail yesterday. (Still quite a learning curve to work through thou.)

  55. Nicole Unger

    my watch froze on the charging screen at 100%. it wont connect to the computer or power outlet, and i can’t shut it off. any want to do a hard reset?

  56. Johnny

    I think I over charged my 920xt twice.. Will that damage the batteries or is there a special feature that automatically stops the charging once the bat is full?

  57. James

    I had posted on here asking about the battery life of the 920xt. That is not going to be fixed but I did find a way to combine the workouts from my 24+ hour MTB race this weekend. I used my Garmin 920XT for the first 145 miles/13 hours then used my 910XT for 16 miles/90 mins. while my 920XT recharged, then finished the final 100 miles/ 9 1/2 hours with the 920XT. http://www.gotoes.org will combine these .tcx workout files into one file.

    • Samir

      Amazing. Congrats on the race James! I suppose that’s the way to do it since Garmin’s not going to fix this issue 🙁 …use another device while you charge your 920xt and then combine the .tcx files. A few questions:

      1. What battery pack did you use to charge your 920xt? And I assume it took about 90 mins to charge it.

      2. How did you have your 920xt set up? Were you using any sensors?

      3. Why did you combine the .tcx files instead of the .fit files?

      Thank you for sharing!

    • James

      Thanks! That was BRUTAL! Just over 24 hours on a MTB and 264 miles. Sufferfest from hell but I got on the podium!
      Answer to Question 1: the race was a 16.4 mile loop so I would stop to refuel each lap in my camp/pit so when the battery started to warn LOW, I just switched from 920 to my 910. We had a generator set up for camp lights, heaters and such so I just plugged it in and charged it. Nothing crazy. One of the guys I was racing against, had the Garmin 520 that can be charged while in use. He used a portable battery charger to charge his during the race and that worked for him.
      2. I only used the HR monitor.
      3. this was my first try at this so I just chose .tcx files although one of them I had to resave because the first time I saved it as a fit file. I really don’t know the difference but I did realize that all 3 “workouts” that I combined, needed to be the same file type, i.e. tcx.

  58. Josh

    Ray, Currently 6 weeks out from my April marathon. Using the 230 with chest strap and really enjoying everything about the device. Finding it every bit as worthy (for running) as the A3 Sport I have retired. My next go will be learning to swim and conquering triathlons. My question is if you think a 930xt is potentially a device to be released in 2016? Not asking IF it will be, but whether it would be a reasonable release from Garmin considering the device’s age, especially with all of the other recent releases. Not interested in a F3 due to the weight and previous experience which I found to be just so so.
    Congrats on the upcoming addition, I have 3, being a dad is pure awesomeness!

  59. Unai

    Just bought this device for my first triathlon, it’s amazing!

    Now I have to get rid of my outdated Forerunner 10 and edge 500.

    Would you recommend keeping the edge 500 even if the 920xt covers all the functionalities? I don’t have tried yet the quick release kit (I do have it), but it doesn’t feel very comfortable.

    • Paul Voorend

      I have the quick release kit and it’s more then secure enough. I have used it in a number of triathlon events and training and it’s great. Secure enough to swim with, even with the extra height / profile on your wrist that the kit adds.

    • Tom S.

      I would keep the 500 for easier viewing of data during your ride without messing with the quick release. You don’t have to upload the 500 if you don’t want to just upload the data from the 920XT. Just an extra start button to press (and if your not going to upload you don’t even have to press stop as you come into T2. I’ve been using this method for a number of years.

  60. James D.

    I’ve used my 920 for about three months now. I mainly use the 920 for my swim, bike and street running or walking training. I used my 920 on two trail hikes, one observation is that for trail hikes the 920 was not as accurate in recording the distance or duration. Example, we hiked in an open trail that is not obstructed from a good GPS signal as far as I know. The distance recorded was .04, actual was 2 miles. Time recorded was .50, actual was 2 hours, 30 minutes. I do not go hiking much but just an observation for reviewers. For the pool swims-great, open water-like DC mentions the watch needs to be out of the water enough for a GPS signal, runs and walks-great. I love the watch for my multi sport activities but I thought I would share my experiences.

  61. Allison

    I have been hoping to buy the 920 for a while now and missed my chance with the sale around Thanksgiving. I keep looking for other sales with no luck but did notice that the EU version on Amazon is $390 compared to $449. I live in the US and was wondering if I would have any trouble with the EU version? I also wasn’t sure if the warranty would be voided. Thanks.

  62. Joe82

    Hi DC,

    thanks once more for a great review. Youre doing a great job. Though i’m just curious about GPS accuracy. Youre mentioning that you have used GLONASS to improve accuracy saying that it gave you very good accuracy results on top of GPS. The funny thing is that this other great review guy (fellrnr) is claiming right the opposite. link to fellrnr.com

    He’s saying that the 920xt is having generally poor GPS accuracy and by adding GLONASS it’s getting even worse. If you check the graphs there it seems like he’s right? I mean obviously there are always more opinions on how good GPS accuracy is on sportswatches but this seems like there are two completely different opinions on that? I would appreciate if you could bring some light in there as GPS accuracy is one of the most important arguments for buying the 920xt or not. Thank you!

  63. David

    Can the HRM-Run be used for gym workouts as well.

    Thanks

  64. Gerome

    Hey guys!

    Thanks to Ray, I noticed that FR920XT’s firmware version 6.10 “[a]dded support for using a footpod as the speed source while running.”

    Since (through reading the comments) I understand that some of you have a foot pod, I thought I’d ask you folks a few questions:

    1. Can you use a foot pod (and NOT the watch’s GPS) to record distance traveled, or are you only able to use the foot pod to record the pace/speed?

    2. Can you mix and match the pace/speed and distance traveled sources, i. e., both pace/speed and distance traveled from the GPS (default), pace/speed from the foot pod and distance traveled from the GPS, both pace/speed and distance traveled from the foot pod?

    3. If you head over to the FR920XT’s Settings > Sensors > Foot Pod, what options do you see there?

    Thanks a ton!

    • Gerome

      Has anyone checked whether you can set the distance source (and not just speed source) of the FR920XT to Foot Pod like you can in the fénix 3, yet?

      Thanks!

  65. Alvin

    DCR,
    thanks for a great review!
    Have a question for anyone on here – is there a way to turn off the smart notifications if you are not interested in reading/getting notifications on your 920XT?

    thanks,
    alvin

    • giorgitd

      Yup. I think that you navigate to Settings from the main page by pressing the lower LHS button. From there, I think that there is a ‘Notifications’ setting that allows an on/off toggle.

    • alvin

      Thanks. Found it under Bluetooth settings.
      -alvin

  66. giorgitd

    Wow! Well, I ran with both my 920xt and my FR305 today and the difference in pace reporting was pretty unbelievable. The 305 tracks down to the 0:01, while the 920xt rounds to 0:05 – that’s no biggie by itself. I’m pretty good at assessing my pace and that seemed to be well aligned with the 305. BUT the 920xt was just *wretched* in getting the pace right. Reporting too slow, then reporting too fast. It looked pretty awful by itself, depending on my ‘feel’, but in direct comparison with the 305? Pace on the 920xt is *useless*.

    But why? Pace is simply distance between time points divided by time (plus some math, but no other measurement other than ‘position at time 2 – position at time 1’ divided by ‘time 2 – time 1′. So, presuming that the 305 and 920xt can count seconds with equivalent accuracy, the difference is in the location precision (or the math/’smoothing’). There is no doubt that the 920xt has a longer time constant – it does some smoothing by averaging changes over time. As I saw clearly in comparison with the 305, going from a walk to 8:00/mi requires 0.25 mi / 0.4 km to ‘catch up’ for the 920xt. The 305 did the same ‘catching up’ rather quickly – less than 100 m. Why? This is combined with the odd rounding of pace on the 920xt to the nearest 0:05. Why? Is the GPS location so uncertain on the 920xt that the only way to get real time pace *at all* is the time smoothing and rounding? Is this to achieve better run time on one charge? This behavior is consistent with turning on GPS long enough to get an approximate location and turning off to save battery. At the next second, another insufficiently long GPS engagement of location for real accuracy. But the previous location is known (roughly). Take a few of these low accuracy locations (20?) and draw the most likely / smoothest course through them? So the trade off is better battery life with some uncertainty in course but *big* inaccuracy in pace/short duration location.

    Is that what’s going on? Because it’s obvious that *good* pace is possible (on the 305 and other previous generation devices) that have gigantic batteries (assuming, based on case volume) and short run time per charge – compared to the 920xt.

    I came from Polar to the 305 and *love* my 305, but am now on bike power, so moved to the 920xt (I’m a duathlete, so need the automatic event switching/transitions and power). But the 920xt pace is so awful as to be unuseful and potentially actionable with Garmin.

    Do others not care enough about rotten pace on the 920xt wrt the other (dang fine) features of that device? Or do others have a better experience with 920xt pace? Pretty unhappy here when my multi-past-generation 305 performs better in this important (to me) metric than my *very expensive*, *current generation* 920xt…

    • Gerome

      Hello Giorgi!

      I understand your frustration, believe me.

      From my fairly extensive research done on the subject (both in the field and on the internet), I would advise you, if you wish to get an accurate pace measurement, to pair a foot pod with your latest generation Garmin sports watch (including the FR920XT) and set its speed source to the foot pod, otherwise the results you’ll be getting are indeed suboptimal.

      I hope that helps.

      P. S.: I understand that you’d expect from a modern watch of the FR920XT’s caliber to perform adequately without attaching extra accessories, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.

    • If you’re seeing it take more than 10-15s to go from walking to running, then something is wrong with your unit. Simple as that.

      I and many others have uploaded videos showing instant paces from stop to start, and from increasing and decreasing pace. It doesn’t show that. I’ve got 3-4 FR920XT that I rotate through, and none of that issue, and they’re all bought at totally different times in different countries over the last 1.5 years

      Definitely hit up Garmin support, or try resetting the unit first. It’s not normal.

    • David

      I would say that my experience matches giorgitd’s. Change in pace reaction time is slow, unless it is “stopped” is one of the two paces. Then it seems to react much faster.

      There is a valley (transition from downhill to uphill) on one of my usual run routes, that also happens to be right at the 2 mile auto-lap. If I watch lap pace and instant pace as I bottom out and start up the hill, I can see that it takes well over 30 seconds for the instant pace to slow down to my new uphill speed.

      I also recently did an interval workout that had a mixture of 400m + 60sec rest, and 300m + 100m walking. I ran my paces based off timing to the 100m marks, but the instant pace was useless on the 300m + 100m data. But it was perfectly acceptable on the 400m + 60sec rest.

    • For the 300m/100m, was that on a track, or?

    • David

      Yes, it was on a track (and the 400’s as well). I should have probably hidden the elevation data since it is irrelevant in this situation. More interesting data about this run, from Garmin Connect:
      For the 400’s:
      Time Avg Pace “Best Pace”
      1:50.0 7:18 6:49
      1:48.7 7:22 6:48
      1:47.5 7:09 6:43
      1:48.9 7:24 7:22
      For the 300’s (same target pace):
      Time Avg Pace “Best Pace”
      1:18.5 6:59 7:00
      1:21.5 7:13 7:14
      1:21.0 7:16 7:18
      1:21.4 7:11 7:21

      Where Avg Pace is calculated as measured lap time/measured lap distance (and seems approximately correct).
      And “Best Pace” is the fastest pace recorded within the lap data of the fit file.
      As you can see, for the 300’s the “best pace” is actually slower than my average pace in every case. I’m not certain why that happened on the first one.

    • Not sure on best pace either. What I can say is that tracks are without question the trickiest things for GPS to get right, due to the near-constant turning nature of them.

      Still, even my usage on tracks I haven’t seen the crazy delays you’re seeing. It reacts very quickly and I can pace pretty easily by it (though in general on a track I just use 100m time splits).

      I’d be interested if you see delays on a straight road. Also, if turning on/off GLONASS would change anything.

    • David

      I totally understand the difficulties with the track. However, if it got the distance wrong, then the average pace would also be wrong. And again, it had no issues with the pace on the 400m intervals when I started from a stop. (I also did some 800s after the 300s that turned out fine, again with a stopped recovery instead of walking.)
      It’s not really causing me problems during the workout, as like you, I just pay attention to what the watch says at each 100m mark. But it is a bit frustrating to go back and look at the data and not be able to tell if I ran the 300m evenly, or was surging all over the place pace-wise.
      Garmin has swapped out my 920XT for a fenix 3, for reasons unrelated to this, which I have yet to use at the track. So I probably won’t have any more to add to this.
      If you would like to look at the data more closely, the prescribed workout was:
      2 miles easy (9:15-9:45)
      4 x (400m @ 1:46 + 60sec RBI)
      2:00 rest
      4 x (300m @ 1:20 + 100m recovery)
      2:00 rest
      4 x (800m @ 3:52 + 90sec RBI)
      2 miles easy (9:15-9:45)
      The Training Peaks file is here:
      link to tpks.ws

    • Colin

      Totally agree, the 920XT instantaneous pace is infuriating. I also found that a properly calibrated foot pod was a good move for me. Pacing data now updates in a more responsive way that I can actually use while running.

  67. Radim

    Will the Suunto Foot Pod Mini (Ant+) work with 920XT? It look exactly the same as Garmin but is about 25% cheaper.

  68. Adam

    Anyone have the problem where the watch gets caught in the endless reset cycle? Some people have solved it doing the factory reset (hold down power button to turn off, holding up and down arrows until beeps) but mine is not actually able to perform a factory reset since it never beeps. Just wondering if anyone had this problem and was able to resolve it. I have contacted Garmin Support but thought I would check here too.

  69. Julian Fabian

    Hi Ray – a big ‘thank you’ for your excellent, thorough review, as always. I only bought my 920XT a couple of months ago – a bargain at £258 which included Garmin’s HRM-Run, price matched by the friendly guys at Runners Needs, Kings Cross (London, UK) – and so far I’m very pleased with the accuracy of measurements, flexiblity of available data and durability of build, both in the pool and running on and off road.

  70. JohnO

    Ray,

    When doing custom workouts is it possible to change the workouts data field screen? It currently has 3 fields and I would prefer 4 so I can add Heart Rate info.

    Sorry if this has already been discussed but I cannot find it.

    Thank you,

  71. dick.z

    Good afternoon Ray,

    Yesterday I bought myself a 920XT (upgrade from the 620).

    My question: can I transfer my old PR’s (ran with the 620) to the 920XT. Probably I will never run this fast anymore ;-).

    Kind regards, Dick Zuman (the Netherlands, Amsterdam)

  72. antonio francese

    Hi,

    I upgraded from 910xt to 920xt and i got some interrogation for the pool swimming mode.
    With the 910xt, I was pressing on the “Lap” button in order to create intervalls (like when I run) after 200m 500m…… on a total of 1000m, for ex.

    Now, with the 920xt, pressing on the “lap” button counted the next swim as rest and i cannot create intervalls during my swim sessions.
    Does this function had totally been removed by Garmin ?

    Thanks

  73. seboricor

    Hello,
    Based on your (very goog) review, I bought this fantastic watch.
    It has always worked very well but since two months, the altimeter gives stupid informations (fw 6.20).
    I now live at -294 m and i am able to do 10000 m D+ per hour !!!!!
    It seems that other owners have the same problem but i don’t find any solution.
    Is there one ? or must a bring it back to Garmin ?
    Regards

  74. Alan

    Can this unit display real time heart rate while swimming? I thought only Polar units could, and that Ant+ didn’t work in the water.
    thanks

  75. Luke Moseley

    Ray, is it possible to have two 920XT watches in the house (me and my wife for example) that sync to different Garmin Connect ID’s (and then on to different TrainingPeaks accounts)? I have a 920XT and love it, I’d like to get my wife one but if it’s going to be a hassle for her/me to upload the data rather than just walking in the door I probably wouldn’t.

    Cheers for the great review and the excellent site.

  76. Mike

    I’m thinking of buying the 920xt. Right now I would get the Polar V800 for 300 € whereas the cheapest price for the 920t would be 390 €. Is the 920xt really worth the 90 € more I would have to spend?

  77. Will

    Hello

    Can you please post the setting you use on this watch like you did for the garmin 310.

  78. TOMMY LETTNER

    I’ve used Garmin Forerunners since inception – I’m a serious Ironman & one feature I really miss on 920 recently upgrading from 910 is the vibration intensity is too subtle for me – I rely on it in pool & ocean/open water – the 910 was awesome in ocean in Kona as swimming is not my forte & it enabled me to stay on pace vibrating every 500M!
    I’ve spoken/ written to Garmin several times about this particularly as they increased vibration intensity on Vivosmart so I thought could be done for 920???
    Otherwise I love 920 & agree with your in depth review!
    I was going to but Garmin Smart scale (currently using Tanita IM scale) but don’t like fact erases your data if u track sweat rate etc – too lack of athletic setting an issue so will hold off – I use MFP and have lost over 20 lbs by tracking calories/portion sizes – no dieting!
    Thanks for excellent reviews!

  79. julius tm

    I answer and have feedback from Garmin team Support due to “can’t charging when the watch still running issue” ( critical time when you are going to trail or ultra running, and using power bank ).

    answer from garmin team :

    Fenix 3: Units enters charge mode but continues recording activity
    Forerunner 310XT/910XT: Units enter charging mode but continue recording activity
    Forerunner 920XT: Unit saves current activity and enters charging mode

    This is not a feature on the Forerunner 920.

    I think this is decresing performa from 920 compare to previous type 910, how come the new product less than the previous one ? I know we can set to ultra running, but if the battery is still not enough.

  80. Still love your Site, is there an idependent lap Timer in multisport Mode? Let’s say I am in the Running Part of a Triathlon and want to capture Split time for the signposted Kilometers by Pressling a Button. If not, is there a watch capabable of that? Besides Polar?

  81. Andrea

    I can’t choose between 920xt and fenix 3, this seem more “bulky”. I mainly use bike…

    • John

      I am currently trying to decide between the two! Which one did you go for?

    • George

      Hi,
      It really depends what u r using it for. I personally am a regular Trail runner and an occasional swimmer.
      Since Trail runs can span over 24 hours I am inclined to switch from 920XT to 935XT, bec. u can re-charnge with powerbank in mid-activity.
      In General, for Garmin the rule is, that u get a more up-to-date device, when u opt for the newer one. Besides, the 935XT is lighter and smaller, therefore more convenient. It is basically an Phenix 5 and therefore encompasses all functionalities of 920XT and even more.

  82. Jean

    Has anyone tried to set HR Zones as a % FTP manually in this watch..? I have done it with a few of the dedicated cycling computers (510, 520) with no problems, but the watch doesn’t seem to want to allow me to set a zone above 100% for my anaerobic zones (e.g. 105%-120% of FTP) – if I select the first number as 1, then ’00’ is the only option that will follow and the up/down keys are effectively cut off. Hoping that another DCR reader has seen this before..?

    ITO review for potential buyers, I have had this for about a year now – swapped over from the Fenix2.

    Pros – Nice screen, very light, some of the User fields are pretty cool, works well to get a wetsuit over and in multisport mode, gives you immediate recognition as a triathlete if you ever wear it as a casual watch.

    Cons – Feels flimsy (the up/down arrows often get jammed in, so they don’t click. This persists for a few days, so now I’m scared to use the up arrow which is more prone, the lack of Nav is just stupid – there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to add waypoints in the Garmin PC software before hitting the trail rather than having to run up the mountain and manually tag the point and then come back.

    All in all, not bad.. but definitely not a gamechanger.

    • Generally speaking, when buttons stick/jam, it’s due to salt buildup (sweat, ocean water, etc…). Easy fix is place in bowl of warm soapy water for 10-15 mins. Then at end press buttons a bunch of times while in bowl. Rinse off, and done.

    • Jean

      Thanks Ray.. Will give it a try.

  83. shaun

    i’ve had the 920xt since December 15 and love it…however open water swims have never worked on the 920xt in terms of distance. I also had this problem with the Fenix 2 – maybe i am the lemon 😉

    920XT (w/ GLONASS activated)
    i went for an open water swim doing ‘laps’ between to headlands which was a real total distance of something between 1200-1300m – 920xt locked it in as 2764m!

    Fenix 2
    3,000m competition swim – laps around buoys clocked me in going a distance of 3985m…

    These both are way off…not in the standard 10%.

    Any comments?

    thanks 🙂

    • One tip to look at doing is when you start an openwater session, ensure you have the watch above the water and with good GPS coverage acquired. Then, when you press start, wait about 2-3 seconds before taking your first stroke (keeping the watch above the water). I’ve found this vastly improves the GPS track during the swim.

      Also, if you make a turn at a buoy, etc… – hold your watch-arm above the water for perhaps half a second longer during just one stroke. Nothing long, just like a slow practice stroke. It’s not really necessary, but I’ve found it can pretty significantly improve the track.

    • shaun

      Thanks mate – will definitely try this next time during open water swims.

      obviously this wont work in races 😉

      What’s your experience in races – do you have the same problem?

    • No issues in races for me in most cases.

      In a race, just start the timer 3 seconds before the gun. Of course, not all races will give a count-down, so that doesn’t always work. But, it might help.

      And depending on the size of a race, and your position in a pack, often times the situation gets crowded at buoys anyway, so holding an extra half a second at the turn is rarely a problem in a big race where the buoy is all hosed up anyway.

    • shaun

      Thanks for your quick replies mate – your site, reviews, advice and everything else you post is amazing – you are my go to for any questions and reviews!

      Keep up the awesome work!

  84. Alex

    Should my 1 minute HR Recovery show upon completion of my run? It does when I bike but can’t seem to get it to show after my runs. Is there a setting I am not seeing? Thank you.

    • Grant

      mine comes up if I stop the activity and then then leave it on the Resume/Save/Discard page while I stretch, not sure how long it takes to come up though I’m afraid

  85. alvin

    Hello all,
    Seems like default distance for Open Water Swim is in yards. Is there a way to change it to meters?

    thanks all,
    alvin

  86. Luigi

    Hi guys!
    (1st, tnx Ray for your excellent review!)
    So, I’ve been playing around for some weeks now since I got my 920xt: it’s mentioned in the characteristic that that it can control phone music play. I tried the manual and also a quite thorough web search but with no lack so far. I remember in my VivoActive was just a widget screen, but I’m not able to find it out on the watch and even on Connect IQ from the Android app. Am I just too dumb or is it still missing and will be added on a future firmware update?

  87. David Corke

    I am considering the 920TX and am trying to find out if it is possible to set a view with average pace and current pace visible at the same time. Or can it be done using two different views?

  88. Garmin added a lot of new functionalities to Fenix3, like music control, etc. Is there a reason why they didn’t add those features to the 920xt?

  89. abhishek

    UP TO 40HRS IN GPS ??? seriously. I tried it for my ultra races. it didn’t even last for 14 hours.

    • 40 hours is in ‘UltraTrac’ mode, which you have to specifically set as it reduces the GPS update rate significantly.

      But yeah, I don’t know anyone who’s got the full claimed 24 hours in regular mode.

  90. Luis Rojas

    Hey Ray! Do you know if the Garmin 920XT supports structured swim workout creation? I noticed that the FR735XT supports it.

    I currently own a 910XT, and have been seriously tempted over the 920XT – after seeing it on a friend 🙂 Which one do you like better? 920XT or 735XT?

    Thanks!

    Luis

    • Bailey

      It does now for pool swimming at least.

      Changes made from version 6.20 to 7.10:
      Added Connect IQ 1.2.6 SDK support.
      Improved pool swim distance algorithm.
      Added support for pool swim workouts.
      Added a Multisport Time data field.
      Fixed an issue in which the virtual partner pace could get set to 4:00/mile when switching between activity profiles.
      Fixed an issue in which a footpod could be used for speed and distance in the Bike Indoor profile.
      Various Activity Tracking improvements.
      Various improvements and bug fixes.

  91. David Corke

    I now have a 920XT and so far very good. But, pressing the three dots (bottom button on the left hand side) for the shortcut menu I only get three items, Connect to WiFi, Mute Smart Notifications and Lock Device. According to the manual there should be a heap more menu options. Advice please.

    • Bailey

      You seem to be holding the three dot button rather than pushing it. When you push the three dot button, you’ll get the message “Press ENTER to Unlock”. Push ENTER, you’ll get to a list of activity profiles. From this list, if you push the three dot button again you’ll get to the Menu options.

  92. David Corke

    I had a Forerunner 15 that synced with Mapmyfitness, but I cannot sync with my new Forerunner 920 XT. Help please

  93. David Corke

    In Garmin Connect / Settings / Account Information, it is confirmed that MapMyFitness has read permission. In Privacy Settings I have Who can see your profile and Who can see your new activity both set to “Everyone”.
    In MapMyFitness / Improve / Device connect I have “Connected to Connect”
    However, activities from my Garmin Forerunner 920TX which shows in Garmin Connect on my laptop and mobile phone do not appear in MapMyFitness.
    Can anyone help with advice on what else to do to get my activities into MapMyFitness. Thanks

  94. Amy Baldwin-Granger

    Hi Ray,

    One of my biggest disappointments with the 920xt is open water swim distrance units. In the 910xt, if miles are your default unit it measures and displays your open water swim in miles (feet until you got to 0.1 mile then it switchs over to miles, just like running).

    In the 920xt, if miles are your default unit, open water swims display and record in yards which is ridiculous. The 920xt performed this way through version 6.2. I just upgraded to version 7.1 – does anyone know if this upgrade addresses open water swim units at all? It looks like they fixed bugs with indoor swims but I really want the open water swim to work like the 910xt. I have no idea why they dropped that functionality in the first place when they designed the 920.

    Thank you!

  95. Structured Workouts now on 920XT

    It appears that you can now send and run structured workouts to the 920XT.

    As Ray has outlined, you create the Workout through Garmin Connect website. Here is the odd part — you still cannot send the workout through Express with your 920XT USB connected. You can do this through Garmin Connect Mobile on iOS (not sure if this works on Android).

    With your 920XT Bluetooth connected to Connect Mobile for iOS, open the Workout tab, then select the workout that you want to transfer. In the upper right corner, there is a send symbol, which sends the workout to your 920XT.

    Then on your 920XT, open the Training Menu, Select Workouts, choose your workout and press the play/enter button.

    This really extends the usefulness of the 920XT, and I’m glad that Garmin is supporting its best customers and not trying to force the change to a 735XT or Fenix 3.

    Good work Garmin!

    • Marc Tanguay

      Quick update – Can now send to 920XT from Connect through Express.

      Garmin has updated Connect to support sending Workouts through the Express app with your 920XT connected via USB.

      So either way — wired or wireless, now works.

      Forgot to mention in earlier post that these features appeared after the firmware update to version 7.10.

    • Robert Hesketh

      The only problem I had with sending workouts from windows garmin express to the 920XT via USB charging cable was I had to add https://*.garmin.com as a trusted site when using chrome.
      For chrome this is: link to productforums.google.com

      I still have a problem sending from my ios garmin application to watch using bluetooth.

      For internet explorer use:
      link to forums.garmin.com

      If you’re using Windows and Internet Explorer, you’ll need to add garmin.com to the list of trusted sites.
      In IE go to Tools > Internet Options > Security > Trusted Sites > Sites.
      Uncheck “require server verification.”
      Enter *.garmin.com, click Add, click OK. Close IE. Restart IE.

      Once you send the course, and before it transfers to the watch, you should see the .fit file here:
      C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Garmin\Devices\3638521116\NewFiles\

      After it transfers to your watch, it will be moved to:
      C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Garmin\Devices\3638521116\Workouts\
      Last edited by SEILOGRAMP; 01-19-2013 at 10:40 PM.

  96. Angus

    Hey Ray or anyone

    Is it just me or has the 7.1 update disabled the accelerometer/vibration device in the phone? Pool swim last friday – no problems.
    Installed update over weekend
    Pool swim this morning – not registering distance/push off & not vibrating with start/stop/lap

    Help!

    Thanks

    Angus

    • Frank

      Pool swim distance and interval recognition is really broken in 7.10 for me. This was never a problem for me with 6.20 and earlier. I like the new swim workouts feature but would much prefer accurate distance and intervals.

    • Bailey

      I did some pool swimming last weekend with 7.1, and it definitely vibrated when I start/stop/lap.

    • Chad

      I’m having trouble with swim distance since upgrading to 7.1. I used to go for weeks without the watch missing a lap, but today’s 1800m swim only registered 1500m.

  97. giorgitd

    Was interested to see the 920XT firmware change to 7.1 (from 6.2). I was hoping for some of the 735XT metrics, mostly FTP and LT. Disappointed. Nice to see Garmin continue to refine the 920XT, so hopeful for eventual addition of some of the 735XT features that are can be added by firmware modifications. Still, not including the FTP and LT now makes me think that it’s not in the cards.

  98. Jaime

    Ray/All,

    Do you have any feedback on how long will the battery last on a long course triathlon with HR monitors, 1 sec recording, GLONASS, Bike Speed/Cadence and Power, Bluetooth On, Activity Tracking On, Wi-Fi Off?

    I used it last year and I got the low battery alarm after about ~11hrs. Is that the expected nor for this configuration?

    Thanks,
    Jaime

    • Stepan

      [B]It lasted 16 hours and 4 minutes[/B]

      Setup info:
      Battery charged to 100% prior to test.
      Test ended when the watch powered off itself.

      Watches are 18 months old, firmware 7.10.
      Sensors used: GPS, ANT+ heart rate and ANT+ powermeter with cadence.
      ANT signal was simulated from my PC with SimulANT software.

      GPS set to Smart Recording
      GLONASS OFF
      WiFi OFF
      Activity tracking OFF
      Bluetooth OFF
      Backlight NOT USED
      Temperature around 10-15 Centigrades

  99. Margaret

    What setup would you recommend for the Garmin 920 on aero bars with a water bottle already attached (XLab Torpedo)? Trying to sort out all the options….

    Thanks!!

    • Marc Tanguay

      Hello Margaret,

      For the XLAB Torpedo, I use the Zipp Vuka BTA mount with the carbon holder for the Torpedo. I’ve tried almost every other solution, and this one has proven to be the most stable, most aero & clean, while providing an unobstructed view of your cycle computer.

      The mount is a standard Garmin Quarter turn, which will accept your 920XT with the Quick Release Kit. Plenty of room to operate for fast mounting. Its a bit pricier than other solutions, but it really works, is very well organized, and lets you hydrate and view your computer perfectly.

      Ray may have a link to CleverTraining or Amazon for all of the components.

  100. John

    Not sure if this has been answered so apologies in advance if it has but do you have any solutions for having a bike mount computer while also using a 920xt? During trips I don’t want to have to take my 920 off and on and ca’t really see the data while in the aero position. Not sure what you would recommend for the bike to see power/HR/MPH data while on the bike. Doesn’t need to be expensive gps but just ant comp to read the power and HR info. Hopefully that make sense. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  101. Mark

    I’ve used the 920 for about 15 months without any serious issues. I’ve recently added the Powertap P1 pedals to my setup (no Firmware upgrades yet).

    Since then I’ve had two instances where my 920 has crashed and formatted itself (therefore no error.log). In both cases I was following a course. Never happened following a course without P1s or using P1s without a course.

    Any ideas?

  102. Pete

    They say this will hold about 100 hours of data. I’m doing the JMT and expect to record about 150 hours. Since I won’t have wifi to upload to connect/strava, is there a way to transfer some of the data to my Android phone mid-hike to clear up some memory so it doesn’t overwrite the early data?
    Thanks!
    Pete

    • If you have the right cable adapter, for an Android phone you could offline the files temporarily. Typically the Garmin Connect app won’t sync properly unless you have internet connectivity (at least on iOS).

      See this older post: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Pete

      DC, thanks for the reply! I’m going to try the cable setup in a few minutes, but before I do, is there a way to use the garmin connect app over 3G or 4G Verizon cell service? Or do you have to have a WiFi connection? I tried to do that the other day, but couldn’t find any way to make it work. When I got home and my phone/920xt picked up my home WiFi, it transferred the data immediately. There is cell service in some spots on the JMT so that would be my first choice to get some of the early hike data off of my 920. If there has to be WiFi, then your cable idea would be my backup.
      thanks!

  103. Thomas Cotte

    Hi,

    has anybody also some strange elevations during transitions (swim -> bike)? mine shows 0m -> 681m, which of course makes the whole activity look a bit off…

    link to connect.garmin.com

    • There was an odd issue with this when the unit first came out, but I’m pretty sure it was long since fixed by a firmware update. :-/

    • Thomas Cotte

      🙁 it looks like its not entirely gone 🙁

      any way to fix that without breaking the whole “multisport” thingy? pretty sure downloading the faulty file, removing the first few points and reuploading it wont make it fit in my triathlon on garmin connect :S

    • I’m not aware of any apps that can fix multisport files. Plenty that can fix one-sport files easily (i.e. Golden Cheetah, Fitfilestools.com), but I think they’ll get tripped up on Multisport files. But you could give it a whirl.

    • Thomas Cotte

      easy fix: just edit the activity and set manually the elevation. the graph still looks stupid with the 600m+ jump in 1s, but at least the total elevation gain for the activity is more realistic.

      Thanks for the fast answers!

  104. Henrik

    Hi,
    Since upgrading to 7.10 I can’t get WiFi connection to work. In Express it tells me it can’t find any networks – trying to set credentials manually but still doesn’t work. (Trying with sending data by pressing the … button and then “Connect to WiFi”). The result is always “Can’t connect. Try again”.
    also noted that sometimes Express or the watch is adding netowrks by itself – suddenly I had two versions of my home network added.
    Any ideas ?? Factory default reset ? (I’d rather not do that but…)

  105. Phil

    Hi,
    I’m having issues tracking my steps on my 920xt during parts of my day, I often push my daughter in her pram and it does not record my steps due to my arms not swinging from side to side. Would a footpod help record my steps

    Cheers

    • Adam

      had the same issue (with FR230). You cant pair it with footpod outside of activity. What I do is I take off the watch from my wrist and put it in side pocket of my shorts. Records steps perfectly.

    • Phil

      Cheers Adam
      That’s great

  106. Luca

    Last Sunday I did a Triathlon Sprint with my 920xt and, for the second time this season, the watch was accidentaly stopped during the chaotic swim start.
    How long we have to wait till Garmin implements an autolock function that can be easily activated during a race?

  107. Alicia

    Helping a friend who isn’t very tech savvy…I have the 901xt and when I’m open water swimming, the watch displays in yards until I hit a certain distance (not sure, but I’m guessing around a half mile), then displays in miles. His 920xt never makes the switch to miles, no matter how far we swim (up to 2.4 miles), always displays in yards, which makes for some tough mental math in the middle of a lake. The watch is set to miles in Settings. Not sure what’s going on.

    • Amy Baldwin-Granger

      This open water swimming metric issue has caused me more frustration than anything! No one has answers either, it’s ridiculous. There is no reason why the 920 should have this problem when the 910 worked just fine. I contacted Garmin customer service multiple times & they were no help at all. I really don’t know who else to complain to.

  108. Joan Kligerman

    Can you tell me what the numbers mean in the top left corner? For example, if I ride for a while, I get a beep and the number 1 shows up in the top left corner. I ride awhile longer, I get a beep and the number 2 shows up in the top left corner. And so on and so on. These in no way correlate to mileage. Feel silly asking, but I can’t find anything on it! Thank you for any insight!

    • I believe you’re referring to the hours.

    • Joan Kligerman

      Well… I thought about that, but I was only out for 2 hours 15 minutes and the number went up to 5 in the top left corner. Thank you.

    • Jan Aniolek

      I am not sure but I think it is lap number, for running one lap is set to 1km by default – for biking one lap equals 5km I believe..

    • Grant

      I agree it’s the lap, I think default 5 miles for bike and 1 km for run

    • Paul

      Yes it’s definitely Lap Number. If you want to check the distance, then go into the Activity Settings of the Bike, then Laps. I can only assume it will be Miles or Km’s, based on your settings, but it’s probably 5 regardless of the units. If the number went up to 5 but didn’t see 6, then your total distance would’ve been somewhere between 25 and 30 km’s / miles??

  109. RW

    Hi DC and Great Contributors,

    Any feedback on the question below would be greatly appreciated.

    The auto lap feature is set up to lap every KM and the watch beeps every KM, which is great. The screen that briefly appears at the time of notification shows the lap number and in the top right, I believe it shows cumulative distance. Is there a way to show the lap pace on this notification screen? Or does the Lap Pace data need to be set up on another screen?

    Thanks!

  110. David Moulder

    I was wondering if you can help with a problem I have with my Garmin 920XT watch…the garmin vector power meter and the HR monitor when connected and when I am riding only intermittently show up on the display. It wasn’t always like this, it is as if the Bluetooth signal is too weak to get through continuously…do you know what the problem is and how to solve it?

  111. David Corke

    I have a Garmin 920XT and the Bluetooth seems to have got switched off.

    In the manual I should have Settings>Bluetooth>Status – to turn Bluetooth on and off.

    On the watch I have Settings>Bluetooth>Pair mobile device – needless to say this doesn’t work because it seems Bluetooth isn’t enabled.

    Am I looking in the wrong place / wrong menu? How can I sort this?

    • Paul

      The first option under Bluetooth should be Status? This gives you the On / Off function.

    • David Corke

      I know that Bluetooth should have Status to turn on and off, but I don’t seem to have this. The only option I have is Pair Mobile Device.
      Does Settings>Bluetooth appear in more than one place perhaps, with different options, depending on where you are. I have looked all over, but can only find Pair Mobile Device.

    • Paul

      Try doing a factory reset then. Just save any data off the watch, that you don’t want to lose.

  112. Hey folks, I have the 920xt and the HRM-Run. I love both products. Yesterday I went for a run in the treadmill (indoor) and I noticed I wasn’t getting any running dynamics data (cadence, distance, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc.) but I was getting the heart rate data correctly. I tried to reboot the 920xt, pair & unpair the strap… nothing seems to fix the issue. The battery level is “ok” and its running the version 6.60 (latest). The 920xt is also running the latest software 8.10. Any ideas??

  113. Frank Vieren

    Hi all,

    Why no support for the Varia Vision like the 735xt? I suppose the hw and sw platform has all capabilities on board to support it?

    Thanks,
    Frank

  114. Kevin

    Can the 920xt charge and record data at the same time? I’d like to use it on an upcoming 100mile foot race. I’m thinking I could charge it at aid stations or carry a usb stick battery and charge it while on the run. Any idea if this is possible to do multiple times during the race?

  115. Alfonso Aguirre

    Excellent review
    Using my FR920XT noted that after a run, splits are not registered in Garmin Connect, just the total distance despite have 1 mile distance Auto Lap setting ON. This is not a problem on indoor run with same settings (I see average pace every mile etc). Is the above normal or expected?

    Thanks

  116. Claude

    Can you advise if you think this device would be suitable to use on a closed circuit motocross course to capture and record lap times? So this is dirt bikes on a closed course.
    Thank you

  117. Josh

    1) Do you expect the successor of the 920 to come with the elevate sensor or will those of us not wanting the wrist HRM bulge have the option to get it without?
    2) does the 920 have the option yet to receive audio prompts during running or biking at mile markers similar to the 230?

    • Josh

      Also Ray, any idea how there is one company out there that seemingly can sell the 920 Tri bundle color scheme without the HR straps for the $299, but no one else seems to have this ability?

    • No idea there, at least ‘per policy’. If they break apart bundles, then it’s against policy, which in theory can get the retailer banned by Garmin (actually, theory is very real there).

  118. AJ

    “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.”

    Is this still true?

    • Not sure. Maybe? This summer I did the FR735XT for races, merely because it was new. Not because it was really better in a triathlon than a FR920XT (in fact, it isn’t, it lacks a quick release).

  119. Damien

    Hi! I’ll be running soon a 100K ultratrail (with 4500D+) and I have a 920 for 20 months now. Since it will be my longest run (15 to 20 hours) I’m wondering if the battery will last WITH the HartRate strap (since big battery consummer), even if I set it up with low GPS accuracy (ultratrac ON and Glonass OFF). Any idea? Also, in case I see the battery dying can I deactivate during the run the HR strap connection? Thanks for your replies. Damien

    • OperationOne

      hi,
      i ran “100km del Passatore” 4 months ago, my 2 years old 920XT went off after 16h15min (ten minutes after i reached Faenza and saved file… 😀 ); my setup was no backlight at all, no ultratrac (useless, too bad data recording), no glonass (useless, don’really help accuracy), ANT+ footpod and HRM, all bells&whistles switched off. my plan for future longer races? get a 2nd 920XT from a friend and put it in your backpack, or get a Fenix3…

  120. Marco

    Hi Ray, I am using a Forerunner 920xt only since a few weeks, so I am new to this product.
    I have registered to Garmin connect, and keep uploading my training/history record there;
    Unfortunetly Yesterday (surely for some mistake of mine) all history records on my FR920XT were lost/cancelled, but likemy are still available on Garmin connect.
    Anyway to retrieve these datas and have them again on the device?
    Thanks for help
    Rgds
    Marco

    • Bailey

      If you view your activity on Garmin Connect, you can click on the more options icon (the gear looking thing at the top-right) and select “Send To Device.”

  121. Pete Weintraub

    About auto-upload, how is it REALLY supposed to work? I always have my Verizon Samsung S6 with me and connected to the 920 by Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi enabled. I was on a multi-day backpack outside of cel range and saved each day’s activity at the end of each day. Each day was a separate, saved activity. On the last day, I saved that day’s activity same as all the rest, but I was in an area with 4G Verizon with several bars (but no WIFI around) and it immediately uploaded only that day’s activity. Just the one. It did not upload any of the previous 5 days’ saved activities. When I got home, even with my home WIFI it would not auto-upload any of the saved activities. As soon as I connected it to my computer with the cord and opened Garmin Express, all the saved activities auto-uploaded immediately. Is this normal? There is no way to upload saved activities out in the field? Only when I plug it in to my computer?
    Thanks!
    Pete

  122. Anthony Alvarado

    I’m trying to modify the triathlon profile for a super sprint (swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run) but the activity is limited to 5 profiles and I need 6. Any suggestions?

    • Adam

      I am not an owner of 920xt, but according to the review:

      “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.”

      although I am not sure if this is also limited to 5 sports only…

    • Anthony Alvarado

      Just received the following from Garmin:

      Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

      Unfortunately the Forerunner 920XT is limited to just 5 profiles. On some of our newer triathlon specific products like the Forerunner 735XT, you have the ability to enable “repeat” where you can loop through the profiles as many time as you would like. You are unfortunately limited to simply saving the first triathlon and starting another. Please let us know if there is any other way we can assist you.

      With Best Regards,
      Customer Care – Fitness Team
      Garmin International
      http://www.garmin.com

      A simple software update could fix this! Not Happy!!!

    • Xavier

      +1
      This issue has been flagged time and time again in the swimrun community where 10+ transitions are frequent and the 920xt too.
      What is most infuriating is that the hardware can actually handle unlimited transitions IF you change sport modes manually…which is just too time consumming during an event…
      IMHO this is a clearcut case of planned obsolescence orchestrated by garmin. Shameful if you ask me…

  123. Courtney

    Hi Ray,

    I use a 920XT for triathlons. I’ve recently switched to a time trial bike with no bike computer and am missing being able to see my speed, cycling distance, and cadence while I’m racing. I’d rather not mess around with moving the watch from my wrist to the bike and back to my wrist during transitions. Do you know of any display units that can be permanently mounted to the bike that will pair with the watch and display information from the watch?

    • Anthony Alvarado

      BTW you will be pairing with your sensors (heart rate, cadence, speed, power, etc.) not you 920XT. You could wear your watch on the underside of your wrist, you could get something like a Bontrager Node (this is what I use), or you can use a smartphone and pair it with your bluetooth sensors (this will not work if you have ANT+ sensors).

    • Courtney

      I have been wearing the watch on the underside of my wrist, but this has a few drawbacks: it’s still hard to read on the bike, I’ve knocked the stop button on the handlebars, and I’m concerned that once I mount my water between the aero bars there will be interference there as well.

      I’ve previously had a separate bike computer on my bike, which I don’t like because it means duplicate sensors and more batteries (the kind that can’t be charged, too).

      Mounting a second GPS unit to the bike, like the Edge, is infeasible. The watch cannot be left in a ready state in transition because the power requirements of the GPS mean that the power save would kick in before I got to the bike.

      I was hoping that someone had created an inexpensive display unit that could pair via Bluetooth with the myriad expensive phones, watches, and other sensors that you might not want bouncing around on your handlebars without requiring its own set of sensors.

  124. Jeff Mclean

    Awesome review & very helpful for setting up my new watch.Always a pleasure to read your reviews.

  125. Tony

    Hi,

    I have two questions regarding how to correctly setup xt920 with the Elite RAMPA trainer and Trainerroad.
    1. I cannot pair up my HRM-Tri with the TrainerRoad. It cannot read the data, but xt920 can read the HRM data.
    2. The speed displayed in my xt920 is totally wrong, but the speed display on Trainerroad app is approximately right.

    Thanks for all your help answering my questions.

  126. Gabe

    Alright Ray we are excited to see your 930xt reveal tomorrow! The 920xt had a good run!

    Just looking back the past two years really shows the lack of innovation the past two years but otherwise an iterative changes.

    Cheers to hopingyears something refreshing

  127. Samuel Medway

    Hey Ray – when do you think we will see an updated FR920XT with inbuilt wrist based optical HR?

    • Grant

      Personally wouldn’t want one as I wouldn’t be able to switch the watch to my bike for the bike phase. And doesn’t the 735 pretty much give you the HR albeit it in a different form factor?

  128. Josh

    RAY,
    Im really loving my 230 for everything running and for basic biking info. It just works. CT currently has the 920 tri bundle on sale for under $400, to me it seems to make sense to add this device. However, Im still wondering if there is any news about a potential solution whereby I could be wearing my 230 and then later in the day put the 920 on and the steps will be cumulative, VO2 will seamlessly go back and forth, activities will be on each device, etc. ANY INFO PLEASE?

  129. Wilbur A Lloyd

    Is the 920xt compatible with the new autostart live tracking and if so how do you enable it on the device or is it automatically enabled once it is set up on the app

  130. Chris

    any idea why Garmin took away the “Extend Sharing” option? I was excited about the ability for my spouse to find me should something happen to me on a long run – but I don’t see that option in Garmin Connect and the track expires as soon as I’m done running 🙁

    • Chris

      Apparently even though it “Auto Starts” the LiveTrack – you still have to manually extend the sharing. Seems weird as by the point I hit start run, I don’t have my phone out to fiddle with – but oh well… I was excited to see the Auto Start Live Connect option until I realized it’s not usable… ha

  131. Steve

    So, big Garmin Forerunner 920xt discounts currently at CleverTraining.com! Replacement time! 930xt? 935xt?

    Ray: what’s the inside scoop? 🙂

    • Shantanu

      I think the price drop has more to do with recent Suunto Spartan Trainer leaks, it looks like a triathlon watch competing directly with the likes of the 920xt, with wrist-based heart rate from Valencell and most likely priced under 300 bucks.

      link to gpsrumors.com

      We can still hope there’s a new unit from Garmin, though 😉

  132. Max

    This question goes to 920XT owners. When you first-time charged your battery, did you charge more than 2 hours (such as 3 hours) even though it already showed 100% ?

  133. Andy

    Hi Ray,

    A very basic question. I use Edge 500 as my bike computer.
    I am thinking of getting the 920xt.
    Will the heart rate strap for the Edge 500 pair up with the 920xt ?
    Or should I spend the 50 bucks extra on amazon to get the one with the strap ?

    Thank you.

  134. Max

    I found the price of 920xt has been dropped. But I’m worried about the battery life of the watch because the production of the watch might be in 2014, the battery life could have depleted.

    • No concerns there. Couple reasons:

      A) These units were all basically made within the last few months. FR920XT production continues.
      B) Even if they were since 2014 for some really odd reason, it’s actually recharges that are the concern – not duration of time in most cases.

      Cheers.

  135. niccolo

    My 920xt altimeter finally crapped out after ten months, apparently these days my running, biking, and hiking vertical exceeds the summit of Everest, sometimes by many multiples. I understand that others who’ve had this problem think it’s a result of salt deposits in the altimeter from ocean swimming, which I do every few weeks on average (and after which I rinse the watch in fresh water). I assume Garmin will replace or repair this for me, but is there any reason to think the issue won’t just recur again in future?

  136. Steve

    Just updated my watch to 8.30 and 8.40 firmware. Happy to announce that 24-hour time display settings now stay activated! For the past 3 to 4+ months, switching to 24-hour time would result in it automatically returning to 12-hour time. After 8.30, it sticks!

  137. Karen D.

    Thanks for another super review! I just purchased the 920xt and used it for the first time. I am using the watch with the HR monitor strap from my old 310xt. I noticed today when I went on my 5 mile run that my HR displayed a spiked number of 197. It was pretty far into my run so the strap was pretty sweaty. Any ideas?

    Second question, not technical at all! My HR monitor strap digs into my chest and leaves cuts and scars. It is really tight at all. I’ve used tape on my chest and this helps but is still irritating. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!!

    • Max

      Hi Karen D, I have a silly question. May I know, when you first-time charged it, how long did it take to charge ?

    • Karen D

      Hi Max, The watch was about 75% charged when I took it out of the package. (I think I’m in trouble here!…) I was eager to use my watch so I took it out for a quick run without charging it first. I charged it last night and this morning it was at 100%. It charged overnight so I am not sure how long it took..

  138. Mike S.

    As a runner only, looking to train for a 50 mile ultra, I’ve been going back and forth between the 920xt and the Ambit 3 Peak. Gotta have the battery life! Now that the 920xt with HR bundle can be had for $250, it looks like a no-brainer at this point. Would you agree? …even though the looks of the Ambit3 Peak are way better IMO.

  139. Louis Mendez

    I have had this FR920XT for about 1.5 years. It has been very accurate, such that it is the only equipment I use. About 3 months I started having connectivity issues during the bike. It would pause on and off during the rides and would not get accurate mileage anymore. Contacted support and after about a couple of months of troubleshooting it they want to exchange it for another refurbished one. The catch is that it is $110.dlls to exchange it. Nowadays you can get a 920XT for $200. I was pretty disappointed that customer service had no other options to resolve this issue.

  140. Michael Sapia

    So I did not see much on activity tracking. This watch can double as activity tracker during day as well?!?! Thanks

  141. Mehul

    I am planning to buy garmin fr 920xt, I am buying as I want to train for all three sports.

    I am confused as for cycling should I buy the bike mount or quick release or both ?

    Please advise.

    Thanks.

  142. Eduardo de la Macorra

    Can I erase a lap on tge Garmin 920xt?

  143. Geoff

    Hi Ray,
    Been using the 920XT ever since you posted this great summary. Getting older now (65) and need all the help I can get running. Hoping to beat 2hr 10 for Great North Run this year. I run with 920XT and iPhone 6 and Bose Soundsport wireless headphones. Can you advise on either an app or a new watch that will give me regular audio prompts of how much off pace I am whilst running. I don’t feel the 920XT vibration alerts and so need it shouting in my deaf ears. I’ve tried Mapmyrun but just gives current stats and not speed up or slow down type info.

  144. Brandon

    Is there a way to quickly toggle between the daily watch screen and a GPS metric, like Speed?

  145. Brandon

    Is there a way to disable the recovery and PR screens you get after a workout? Anyone know? Also, part way through runs, I get screens telling me about my recovery. Can I get rid of those?

  146. Facundo

    Hi!
    I have a question, does anybody know if it can be saved along with training data any weather info through a Connect IQ extension in a Forerunner 920xt? That would be an interesting info and great to have into data analysis.
    Thanks!

  147. Nisim761

    Hi,
    I have the Garmin 920XT and i love it. I am interested in buying the Galaxy S7-Edge Android device. I just want to make sure – is it possible to sync between these two? What needs to be part of my mobile device’s hardware, to be able to sync ?

    • JaG

      My Sony Xperia died a week ago and I just bought Galaxy S7-Edge. You don’t need any additional HW, they sync via bluetooth. No issues there.

  148. Geoff

    Hi,
    I’m still looking for something that will give me regular audio prompts about my target pace – any help please – am I missing something obvious ?
    Thanks
    Geoff

  149. Jan Aniołek

    Guy from clever training leaks new Garmin forerunner 935-while reviewing new Wahoo Bolt
    link to youtu.be

  150. Jan Aniołek

    Ha ha, a guy from clever training leaks new Garmin forerunner 935-while reviewing new Wahoo Bolt. His wearing the watch while showing the Wahoo device
    link to youtu.be

  151. Edo

    Hi

    It looks that FR935 is bigger than Fenix 5x, i guess 55mm×55mm with band 26mm. I hope that we will soon find out.

  152. Carrie

    Do we know if there is a new Garmin coming out shortly? My 310 is starting to die and I would hate to purchase the 920 if there were something new coming out shortly as the 920 is now almost 3 years old.

    • Scott

      Yes. It’s called the 935. Just released. Garmin dropped the xt off the end of the name. Of course there is a review already on this site.

  153. JohnO

    Does anyone else have problems with their 920XT locking up or freezing? It has been happening to me for a couple of months now. Once about every two weeks it will freeze up. I will have to turn it off and back on before anything other than the clock will work again.

    It also will random show an incorrect workout summary. Like today I did an indoor bike then walked on a treadmill for a cool down. After the walk it showed the summary from the swim I did yesterday. This is not really a problem but it makes me think there is something wrong with my watch.

  154. Andronikos Giannousiadis

    I have the garmin 920xt and I have a problem. I do Ultra Marathon and many times the battery is not enough for me. But when the clock connection with cable for recharging the battery lose that I have recorded from the route I’ve done. There are ways and fills the battery with a power bank and captures the route ????? thank you very much.

    • Paul

      If I understand your problem correctly, you are saying the battery isn’t long enough for your runs, and you try charging it? DCR states:

      “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.”

      So no… no resolution to this problem. Except for getting a 935, or possibly the 735XT, which do allow charging mid-activity.

  155. Henri vd Merwe

    I just received the 920XT after my trusty 310XT developed a leak. The features of the devices are great, but I must say that I am sorely disappointed by the huge lag in pace measurement on the 920 compared to the 310.

    I use my device for flat-water kayaking, where a 5s delay is substantial and really annoying – especially because the feedback on the old model was so much better!! You don’t expect the basic use of the device to get worse (ie tell me my speed on the water!!!)

    Is there anything you know of that can be done to reduce the lag/smoothing?

    tx a mill for a brilliant site! Henri

    • Tom F.

      Henri, its very weird but my 920XT measures in exact detail during runs (5:01 min/km then moves to 5:02 min/km if I slow down ever so slightly)..

      my friend who bought one last year (holiday 2016 sale) does not get this fine precision. he only gets 5:00/km or 5:05/km etc…. he tried everything and they told him thats the way it is…. its very strange we have the same watch but different increments of speed.
      im paranoid to upgrade now as i may lose this important tool.

    • Paul Tomblin

      I use mine for flat water kayak paddling as well, and I’m using km/hr rather than min/km, but I’ve never seen that sort of lag. If anything, I find it too variable – I’ll be paddling along at a steady pace and it will show speeds varying between say 11.1 and 13.1 km/hr.

      You might want to experiment with turning on or off the GLONASS in Settings->System, and make sure Data Recording is on Smart not Every Second.

  156. Paul Tomblin

    Does any else have a problem with the unit freezing up? 4 members of our kayak team have them, and all 4 of us have experienced freeze-ups so bad the only way out is to hold the power button for 60 seconds (which you can’t do in a kayak). It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s really annoying. It happened to me in a race yesterday so I had to remember how to pace myself without heart rate info.

    • JohnO

      YES…. Mine has been doing it for months and it was getting worse and worse. Like it happened every other day. After talking with Garmin, I ended up doing a factory reset. Since I reset the watch about a month ago, it has only happened once.

  157. Georg

    Does anyone have an issue with battery life ? Within the last two years, I had three Units, where battery life degraded to around 18hrs instead of 24hrs in GPS on mode.

  158. Ben

    I’ve transitioned from Polar to Garmin and I’m missing the feature I had on my Polar where while midst-training, by bringing the watch close (couple of centimeters) to the heart strap transmitter it would display the time of day for a few seconds and then goes back to the activity info display.
    Is there any such gesture or shortcut to quickly view the time of day on the 920?

  159. Theo Battaglia

    Do you know any reason why we can’t set interval goals as elevation gain or loss? And do you know any custom interval app that fills this gap?

    • Paul Tomblin

      GPS elevation is notoriously inaccurate. There are technical reasons for that, but I can set out for a paddle on flat (non-tidal) water, return to my point of origin, and the 920XT will tell me that I’ve gained 20 meters of elevation.

  160. Paul Tomblin

    Does anybody else go through wrist straps at a terrific rate? I’ve broken 3 in 18 months.

    • Julian Fabian

      Not gone through that many but my first one snapped just shy of 18 months in. Tweeted and called Garmin to complain as I felt this was not on for a high end sports watch. They provided me with a replacement free of charge. We’ll see how long this one last; more than 18 months I hope!

  161. travis Hore

    Hi Ray, which is the best garmin HRM strap for tri? I have just purchased the swim HRM thinking i will wear it swim / cycle / run ? Im not too fussed about all the extra bits of data just the core heart rate stuff

  162. iRun

    Hi Ray, thanks for the excellent review

    I got to this as I want to buy (after many years again) a watch for my runs.

    Q-01: now after 4 years on the market does the barometric altimeter has solved the issues? Any Changes there?
    Q-02: Just for the sake of proper understanding, there are different HRMs from Garmin. Currently I am more running and Swimming a bit (not yet cycling). When purchasing the 920XT can I choose the HRM – e.g. Run, Swim, Tri? I would prefere the Tri version. Also I don’t mind running with HR straps.

    Great work Ray and will keep following your work.
    iRun

  163. Sebastien SPIESER

    Hi Ray, Hello all!

    I’m disappointed…. yesterday when I cross the finish line of UTMB (ultra trail du Mont Blanc, 170km), I hit “save” on my FR920XT… Immediately it displays the Garmin logo, and till then, it keeps on displaying this…
    I call the support, looked at google, so try some button push/ hold mix… try with a PC… so noway to get it alive and get my track back!

    Garmin want me to send them back, I’ll get another one… BUT it’s the second watch I have for the same reason!! In october last week Garmin already changed my FR920 FOR THE SAME ISSUE!!

    Anobody has been able to recover the watch? I’d really like to get my track… otherwise Garmin will send me another watch…

    Just in case…

    Thanks!

    • Any chance if you plug in via USB, that there’s a folder called ‘BadFitFiles’? It’d be within the ‘Garmin’ folder.

      What’s where files go when things go horribly wrong. It’s incredibly rare these days – but if you’ve got a file in there, then there’s a bunch of folks on the Garmin forums that can usually fix it (community folks).

      (As an aside, huge congrats. I watched last year and was blown away by watching finishers there. Epic man, epic.)

    • Sebastien SPIESER

      Finally, Garmin sent me another watch (just like last year…). But this time, I got a brand new FR935 TRI bundle !!

      So thanks Garmin, I’m really pleased the way they answered to my case. Still weird that I was the only one I know around me to have had that kind of issue TWICE !

      Anyway, Garmin was really fair et the new 935 seems really cool!!

  164. James Sloan

    Is it possible for the Garmin 920XT Information (e.g. speed, distance, heart rate and so on) as displayed on the watch itself to be displayed on an iPhone 6 live. That is, the iPhone is being used as a cycle computer so you can see the information from the Garmin as it is happening?

  165. Brandon Vanoosten

    Hi I have been using my 920XT for about a year now and my VO2 Max is shown but it does not give me anything for my lactate threshold. It says it uses heart rate and pace in order to calculate the lactate threshold and I have the heart rate monitor so I don’t know why it doesn’t give anything for the lactate threshold. Any ideas of what I am not doing correctly?

    Thanks!

  166. SOLVED: How to charge Garmin 920XT during activity
    Take a look on my video, where I explain how to do this.
    link to youtube.com

    Press the power button – clip the watch into the charger and at the same time keep pressing the power button until you see the screen to turn your watch on/off. Don’t turn it off. And that’s the trick. It works like a charm.

    I wonder, are the Garmin engineers aware of this trick?

  167. Lemme

    a couple of Garmin glitches you seem to have missed.

    A) Bluetooth, uploading via the Garmin Connect app via bluetooth takes a super long time – 1-3 hrs, depending on how many activities I have. A single bike activity has taken more than an hour on my iPhone SE, and yes I have the latest app version, and 4 bars of reception. Tethering my phone to my computer, and 920xt via cable is 2 mins.

    B) More a garmin express problem, I can’t connect my 920xt to my computer and download the latest update via my phone or public wifi hotspot. The Garmin website says I need to be connected to DSL or Cable internet, WTF? I don’t have access to that, and use the internet through my phone or public services like the library.

    Garmin make good product that do what it’s supposed to, but the other services are dogsnot.

    • Adam

      I would say (99% sure) that Your problem A is caused by issues B.
      There might be a setting in Your garmin mobile app to not allow firmware updates via phone (You can try to google it), so You might want to check it. As for public hospots, it could be related to some ports that Garmin uses that are restricted in public areas. I.e. I cannot use garmin express at work due to ports restrictions and firewalls.

      Than back to A, it can take so long exactly due to the fact that app and watch are trying to updated firmware instead of downloading activities. In any case, ~1hrs of activity should take no more that 1min! If it’s longer, there is a problem. You mentioned that You have the latest app, but please check Yout 920’s firmware? Is it the latest? I guess not (You kind of mention it Yourself by saying that You cant perform updates). Somehow You need to get it done and then I would imagine Your A issues will be resolved.

    • Lemme Saunders

      Thanks for the response Adam. My 920xt has never paired with a mobile app and transferred data properly, it’s always been so slow I just used my computer to sync.

      That Garmin can’t Garmin Express to download files to my computer, over my phones LTE network is ridiculous, does Garmin expect everyone who owns their devices to have hardwired internet?

    • Hmm, that’s weird, I don’t think I’ve ever had that trigger.

      In any event, two easy options:

      A) Download Garmin WebUpdater. It’s the old-school but always reliable way to download updates to any Garmin USB connected device. It’s what I primarily use, and I know it works just fine on cellular networks.

      B) You can also download the actual GCD file. There’s a link off the tools page, where it says Garmin Edge firmware files, that same place has all Garmin products: link to dcrainmaker.com

  168. RML

    Hi Ray,
    First a big thank you for this review for several reasons. I first saw this review in August this year (2017) and was instantly convinced I will buy this unit. Actually I was a long time user of Polar. Second I already could see training improvements and consider this to be a very good investment. And third, I did purchase a unit but quickly had an issue that was positively resolved with the help of Garmin.

    After a long period of messed up life including burnout and depressions I went back to running. I have a 40+ years of experience doing so including competitions from 10km to 24 hrs races. with my Marathon PR of 3:07.xx. Your review convinced me that such a unit can help me improve my running and act like a partner, coach, group where someone (something) can give you the right impulse (e.g. using workouts) to stay focused and motivates you in staying on pace target.
    Only 5 weeks after this purchase I made a 4 week training period with the aim at improving my pace. When before I ran “casually” only around 6:25/km I now can find a comfortable pace at around 5:50/km. Of course my aim is going as close to my previous PRs. Let’s see.
    And third I want to give a big thanks also to Garmin who helped solve an issue where a country representative messed up and almost put a “cheating” tag on Garmin. The issue was that they sold me a broken unit with already expired waranty. Garmin was fast and supported me in the exchange. Thank you Garmn for solving this matter so quickly.

    Last but not least Ray, a question I could not find an answer (sorry OT – has indirectly to do with Garmin but directly with running).
    I am waring glasses. For now not during runs but it looks like I will have to in the future. My current glasses are not holding on my nose. That makes it currently impossible for me to wear optical glasses or running sun glasses during excercising. Actually I would love to purchase the Oakley Flak Jack. Recently I saw a guy at the starting line wearing his glasses where the “temple arm” was long enough and straight and was pressing to his head. It seemed to hold really good.
    Ray, could you give any help how to determin temple arm length and where to get them? I searched but to no avail.

    Again a big thank you for you effort and sharing of your knowledge.
    RML

  169. Boedi

    Dear Ray,

    I will be starting my first Tri (sprint) race next year (Mar’18). I wanted to get a gadget but do not want to spend lots of $ to start of. I am confused between Fenix 3 HR or 920XT (Tri bundled). For Fenix 3 HR, I will have to buy additional Tri HR and the price more or less matched with 920XT bundled.

    I’ve read your review on both product but still not been able to decide. I am not a serious athlete and will be doing it as a passion sport.

    Please kindly advise?

    Thank you and Merry Christmas

  170. patricio

    Hola Ray, i use your comparison tool: 920xt vs 935 and dont notice any difference between them.Is a 4 years old 250 usd watch the same as a brand new 500 usd watch? or maybe the comparison tool didn’t catch the differences between them?
    Could you please summarize the differences between them?

    best reards

  171. Reece Robinson

    Wow, what I great write up. I popped in just wanting to see if you had any comments about the footpod because of the differences I’m getting on the indoor track and treadmill vs. outdoors (I’ve had the 920XT for a couple years now). You mention “near perfect results” using the footpod so I’m glad to hear that. Do you know if the garmin still references outdoor runs to help “calibrate” for indoor run accuracy? I guess what I’m asking is would I also need to use the footpod outdoors to help improve its indoor accuracy?

    • Su-Chong Lim

      Just after New Year’s Day I scored a used 920XT on Kijiji. I just love it! The GPS capture is so fast compared to my trusty 910XT it’s amazing.

      However, I have been doing some weird activities lately, such as running barefoot indoors on the treadmill. There are some intriguing combinations possible, but for now I’ll deal with wearing an old style Garmin Footpod strapped with strong elastic bands to my foot. The 910XT tolerates this ok, like my 910Xt does, but then there is no way to manually calibrate the 920XT with respect to the footpod on the treadmill. You get a value for distance and one for speed and that’s it. Apparently it gets these values from values automatically calculated from all your running outdoors against accumulated GPS data.

      So there is no way to get a value on the 920XT that is calibrated to my actual barefoot foot run actions on a treadmill. So I switched back to my old 910XT for barefoot treadmill running, because I can set the manual calibration factor (back calculated by trial and error from the values given by my 910XT at known treadmill running speed and distance.)

      It turns out that when running outside with the 920XT I don’t need a footpod any more. The footstrikes are counted by the 920XT by my armswings, and the speed/distance is calculated using GPS (it took me years to figure out that speed/distance was actually GPS calculatedwhen running with my 910XT, not from the footpod!). This means I can run on the treadmill barefoot without a footpod and it will count my cadence correctly using armswing counts. But there is still no way to get the 920XT to calculate the speed/distance correctly on the treadmill — it will use the same calculation that it has been calculating off the armswings outdoors comparing it with GPS speed and distance, and there is no way to correct this calculation to actual values achieved in running on a treadmill.

      But I just love the 920XT otherwise. I have no use for the 935 — optical HR tracking works inconsistently for me, and besides, I do a lot of running in winter — in fact I did a run this morning, at -13 degrees, and at that temperature I’m not going to have a bare arm with a visible watch on it.

  172. Patricio

    Hello ray
    Any clues if this watch will be on sale soon? Or if there are plans to drop prices?
    Regards

    • It was on sale during the holidays, down to $199 I believe. It flirts with that occasionally, though, typically we don’t see more watch sales till around April or so.

    • Luka

      Just wondering if this watch would be considered relevant still as compared to say the 935 , Fenix 3HR, and Fenix 5 . considering the price (in canada) one could likely find it for. I just need a watch that I can train for my first 50 Km trail race my training runs are currently in the 5 hour range and my Polar M200 does not last typically goes about 4 plus hour in colder weather before going into low power mode . really want a Barometric altimeter in my next watch hoping this watch could be a stop gap until i can afford to buy the next version of the 5X.

    • Vuppu Satya Praneeth

      Any idea which website to find them ?

    • Amazon has historically had them at $199, but these days stock is largely gone, so it’s just random one-off retailers that have them for the most part.

  173. John Woodward

    Hi Ray
    My 920 xt has been great but died this week so even if I can get it repaired I want to replace it.
    I only use it for swimming both indoor and out plus a little walking.i like all the stats on swimming so wouldn’t want basic stats.
    What would be a good replacement do I stay with Garmin or consider others

    • Interesting, so if you’re not using it for triathlons and mountain hiking, you could probably get away with something like the Vivoactive 3 or the FR735XT these days. Both have indoor swimming (the VA3 doesn’t have outdoor swimming though).

      At the same time, Suunto has an incredible 40% off deal right now. So you could pickup something like the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, which would be down to $169ish I think, and that does all of the core swim/bike/run things that your FR920XT does.

      The only downside is you’d basically be starting fresh from a data standpoint, since there’s no way to move that data over.

    • Thanks for the advice I had just got myself ready to buy a 735xt as you suggested. But rang garmin support .My watch is 3 yrs old so 2 yrs out of warranty but they are going to replace it for £63.20 which amazed me. So hopefully a few years more use out of it.

    • Dang – sweet deal, I agree, you made the right choice!

    • KONSTANTINOS

      I can not pair my forerunner-920xt
      with my android samsung 5.1.1 galaxy J3 (2016)
      I recently updated both 920xt and galaxy J3
      what can I do ?
      Thank you!

    • Josef M

      Funny, even though the FR920XT tracks activity, it does not track the daily numbers of stairs climbed. Believing that I had seen it tracked stairs before (maybe I was wrong, or they dropped that function along the way with an update), I called Garmin today and they told me, it does not have that functionality.

  174. Sandeep Krishna

    Ray,
    Have an interesting observation to share.
    Me and a friend both use a Garmin 920xt and ran on a 400 metre athletics track (innermost lane).
    We ran together 2 x 1200 m intervals (right in the same lane together) and essentially ran exact 3 laps (of 400m). The ‘distance’ recorded by both the 920xt s are different by a margin. For me it recorded 1320 m (both intervals) and for my friend 1250 (and 1230 m).
    Note : both me and my friend’s 920xt have GLONASS turned off. But interesting to see how my device over-estimates the distance by 10%. Also, we run together on the roads often and the distance recorded is mostly the same between my friend and me. So my 920xt has trouble with oval athletics track.
    Will try the same intervals next week with GLONASS enabled and share the observations.
    Garmin urls in case you want to check :
    Mine: link to connect.garmin.com
    Friends: link to connect.garmin.com

  175. ido birenberg

    hi, always enjoy to read the reviews and the comments. After several years with XT920, he starts to loose some functions (ascent / decent). Is there other Garmin watch that you consider as its “replacement” or all the new Fenix/ fenix+ are the same. thanks

  176. Jen

    Hi!
    I have had my 920XT for quite awhile. I love this watch, I primarily run but have used the swim feature (pool, no OW for me lol). I do a lot of longer distance… I pace half and full marathons and I run ultras. My question for you has to do with the ULTRATRAC setting since I dont seem to see it listed under my GPS setting. Do I need another accessory? HOME-RUN? I don’t really want to use a strap, do I have another option to access ULTRATRAC? My experience with battery life is about 14 hours before I get low battery warnings. This is long enough to do say … any marathon, any 50k, any 50 mile, and any 100k, or a 12 hour race. The problem though is it won’t last long enough for 100 miler or 24 hour race. I think the best I’ve gotten out of any garmin was 16+ hours on my 310xt.
    I plan to keep this watch as long as it has decent software support and the battery life stays around 14, because it is really accurate for running. I am always within a second of chip time at races- distance is often over but can’t run tangents while pacing.

    Let me know about the ULTRATRAC issue if you see this? Thanks for a great review as always!

  177. Paul Tomblin

    Is anybody else finding that after upgrading to iOS 13, your phone thinks it’s connected but the Garmin Connect app thinks it’s not. The only solution seems to be to reboot the watch. I’ve had to reboot my watch about every 4 or 5 days since upgrading.

    • Post iOS13 upgrade you should have gotten a re-pairing prompt for each and every Bluetooth Smart device, which should require entering in the BT pairing code again.

      Any chance that didn’t pair correctly? I’ve had some funky stuff happen if I either missed the prompt, or worse you managed to mistype it once (I’ve had to do this routine on like two dozen devices now…so…yeah).

    • Paul Tomblin

      No, everything would be working including workouts uploading to Garmin Connect and then one day they aren’t. Its happened twice now.