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Hands-on with Garmin’s new Forerunner 25

Garmin-FR25-Blue-Red-Purple

As we move ahead in the seemingly never ending summer of Garmin releases, this week brings us the new Forerunner 25.  For those familiar with the Garmin lineup you’ll remember that the previous generation Forerunner 10 & 15 watches were aimed at the budget crowd with reduced features.  Yet they were and are some of the most popular watches Garmin has ever made in terms of sales volume (so much so that it’s actually been mentioned specifically in past earnings calls).

The Forerunner 25 builds on the Forerunner 15 (which added activity tracking) by adding in Bluetooth Smart connectivity to your phone.  Garmin takes advantage of that by enabling smart watch notifications such as text messages and phone alerts.  Additionally, they also leverage that Bluetooth Smart connectivity for uploading workouts from the watch to the interwebs via the Garmin Connect Mobile app (Android/iOS).

Before we get all too crazy detailed, let’s walk through what’s changed.  Note that Garmin let me borrow a pile of FR25’s for a short period, but that these are pre-production units and thus it’s possible things could change (for better or worse).  As such, this isn’t a full review, just an overview of how things work.

What’s New:

Garmin-FR25-FrontDisplay

First up let’s cover what’s new on the Forerunner 25, at least compared to the FR15.  All of these features have been found on existing Garmin running watches – but at higher price points (such as in the Garmin FR220 and FR225 lineup). New to the FR25 is:

– Added in Bluetooth Smart phone integration
– Added Live Tracking functionality
– Added sync via Bluetooth Smart to Garmin Connect Mobile (iOS/Android)
– Larger screen than existing FR10/FR15 (32% larger)
– Slightly thinner design than FR10/FR15
– Incoming Call, Text, and Calendar Notifications (iOS/Android)
– (Large Version) Increased claimed battery life of 10 hours GPS-on, or 10 weeks activity tracking standby mode
– (Small Version) Increased claimed battery life of 8 hours GPS-on, or 8 weeks activity tracking standby mode

Now most of these changes can roughly be divided up into two categories: Physical size/format & Bluetooth Smart related.  Through the addition of Bluetooth Smart you’ll get the same level of integration that you would on most of Garmin’s midrange connected devices, such as uploading of workouts upon completion and then syncing of activity tracker related metrics like steps walked and sleep.

With that always present phone connectivity you’ll also get instant uploads to 3rd party services such as MapMyFitness and Strava, as well as MyFitnessPal.  These all being services that Garmin announced partnerships with over the last year.

Of course, this is in addition to the core GPS watch functionality that has existed within the lineup now for a few years.  That functionality at a basic overview level provides:

– GPS for tracking pace/distance/speed while outdoors
– Two customizable data pages (each with two selectable data fields)
– One additional data page when a heart rate sensor is connected (shows BPM & HR zone)
– Ability to track indoor treadmill workouts using accelerometer (also used in tunnels without GPS)
– Daily activity tracking (steps, distance, calories)
– Displays PR’s such a fastest 5K
– Automated sleep tracking (significantly improved in the last few months)
– Different run modes including: Run/Walk, Virtual Pacer, Time-goal, Distance-goal, Calories-goal
– Ability to connect to ANT+ Heart Rate Straps
– Smart Recording Functionality

Now what’s interesting here is that you’ll find the menu system near identical to that of the newly released Edge 20 & Edge 25 units.  As is the display form factor too.  It obviously makes sense for Garmin to re-work things slightly and re-use that hardware platform for multiple devices and purposes.  Which is something we almost always see Garmin do with all of their hardware creations.

Finally, here are things that we don’t see in the unit.  This isn’t a complaint per se, but more of my opportunity to preemptively answer your questions:

– No optical HR sensor within the unit (too low of price point at this time, see Garmin’s FR225 instead)
– No additional sport modes (you can change from pace to speed, but it’s still marked as running)
– Does not allow for complete notification center notifications/alerts (i.e. from Facebook, Twitter, or other apps)
– No more than two data fields per screen
– Does not connect to Bluetooth Smart heart rate straps (just ANT+)

For this particular price point, I don’t think many of the above are show-stoppers for the majority of the target market.  But I’ll dig into a few more thoughts on the above later in the post.  With that, let’s start poking at the units.

Size, and Model Comparisons:

Garmin-FR25-Backs

The FR25 comes in two basic sizes, each with two colors:

Small Size: Purple/Black & Pink/White
Large Size: Red/Black & Blue/Black

First up we’ll look at the thickness of the watch, compared to the older FR15.  You can see it’s a bit slimmer – for both the small display size and larger display size (the older watches are in the back):

Garmin-FR25-Small-SideProfile

Garmin-FR25-Large-SideProfile

Now while the screen area may look the same, the difference is the portion of the screen where they can actually write text to has increased (thus the 32% increase claim):

Garmin-FR25-Large-Model

Garmin-FR25-Small-Front

You can see the similarities in display form factor and menus when compared to the recently announced Garmin Edge 20 & Edge 25:

Garmin-FR25-Edge25

Here’s a look at the watch face sizes compared to the FR225 and FR220 watches:

Garmin-FR25-FR225-FR220

You’ll see shots of the watch on my wrist throughout the post.  However, I’ve included two shots of it on The Girl’s wrist (she’s 5′ 2″ tall).

Garmin-FR25-Small-Model

Garmin-FR25-Models-Small-Wrist

And finally, just for general comparison of size – the FR25 next to the TomTom Cardio and the Polar M400:

Garmin-FR25-PolarM400-TomTomCardio

No doubt, it’s definitely a super-small watch.

First Run with the FR25:

DCIM\100_VIRB

I haven’t had much time with the FR25, but did have enough time to slide in a single run in between the Giveaway Extravaganza craziness yesterday.

Depending on whether you like videos or photos better, I’ve got two ways you can ‘experience’ my first run.  Below is a quick video I’ve put together showing the entire run.  Alternatively, after the video I walk through each piece step-by-step with photos.  Or better yet – you can attain full run-stalker level by viewing both sections!

For the run I used a variant of a route here in the center of Paris that I run regularly.  The route starts along the river (Seine) and then within the first mile I headed through a 200-300m long tunnel before doing a loop around a canal under tree cover.  Much of the remainder of the run is alongside buildings in the 4-10 story range.  For the last mile or so I’d pop out into the park under cover of trees then along the river.

I’d rate the route moderate in difficulty from a GPS accuracy standpoint.  No doubt places like Manhattan in NYC are harder, but the smaller city streets of Paris with buildings on both sides (like below) make it challenging nonetheless:

DCIM\100_VIRB

In any event, here we are at the starting line – ready to go.  The unit supports pre-caching of satellite data to speed up initial acquisition time.  A little heart rate icon is displayed, which is because I was wearing an ANT+ heart rate strap (the Garmin HRM3 chest strap).

Next, I left the default run mode as just a general run.  But you can configure it for a number of different goal-oriented runs, as seen below:

Garmin-FR25-RunModes

Once I pressed the start button I was off and cooking.  I had mostly left the default settings around data pages, but you’ll have two customized data pages to work with.  Here’s the first one which was configured for Elapsed Time & Distance:

DCIM\100_VIRB

And here’s the second one, which was configured for Current Pace & Calories:

DCIM\100_VIRB

From a configuration standpoint, here’s the data fields you can select (any two per page, total of two pages):

Data Fields To Choose: Time, Distance, Pace, Calories, Lap time, Lap Distance, Lap Pace, Avg. Pace

Next, because I had the heart rate sensor on, I also get a third page (non-configurable) which shows my heart rate in BPM and my heart rate zone.

DCIM\100_VIRB

Then, I had enabled automatic lap (Auto Lap) on the unit.  I set it for 1-mile auto laps, which means that every mile it’ll chirp at me and show me my lap time.

DCIM\100_VIRB

You can configure this for kilometers or miles, but you are limited to just 1-mile or 1-KM.

During the run itself I did a few short sprints to see how the instant pace reacted to shifts in pace.  Like other Garmin watches released in the last two years, it showed pace in 5-second increments.  This is done to smooth things out a bit.  In my tests (which you can see in the video) the pace took a few seconds as expected to shift to the higher sprint speed.  Similarly, when I stopped outright, it only took a couple seconds to show a zero-pace value (that’s good).

Finally, upon wrapping up the run I hit the start/pause button.  You can use this to pause the run at any time, or to eventually end the run:

DCIM\100_VIRB

After pressing to save the run (rather than resume it), it’ll notify me of any personal records (PR’s) I may have hit during the run.  Finally, it gives me a summary screen of my activity, including the lap times and distances.

Next, while not specific to running, note that the activity tracker is active on the unit itself.  That’ll show you your progress towards your goal each day in steps.

Garmin-FR25-Wrist

Additionally, it’ll show you an inactivity bar that you’ll try to keep from filling up.  Think of this as the lazy bar, and you don’t want the lazy bar big.

Otherwise, all of this data is wirelessly transmitted to Garmin Connect Mobile (app) via Bluetooth Smart on your phone.  From there it’s accessible on the Garmin Connect website (as well as to 3rd parties such as MyFitnessPal).

Garmin-FR25-Phone-Integration

Last but not least, while I covered GPS accuracy within the video, here’s a look at how the three devices I was wearing at the time compared (FR25, FR225, and FR920XT):

image

You can zoom in on the map yourself using this link, or, by clicking the image above.  The distances displayed on the watch for the FR920XT and FR25 were identical (5.39mi), while the FR225 was slightly lower at 5.34 miles.  Keep in mind that none of the watches had been recently run with from a calibration standpoint, so during the tunnel section (no GPS) it likely impacted accuracy slightly.  Normally after a few runs that’ll learn your running stride and become more accurate.  Also note that the MyGPSFiles site recalculates the distances, whereas in testing I use the distances that the manufacturers provide as the baseline comparison.

Looking at the GPS track itself, overall it’s quite good.  I see only one instance where it visibly cut a corner by a handful of meters – just at the beginning of the run as as I started over the first bridge.  I suspect that’s more of a smart recording issue, since both the FR25 & FR225 did it, but not the 1-second recording FR920XT.

But beyond that, everything looks well snapped to where I actually ran:

image

Now because it’s using Smart Recording (versus 1-second recording), you’ll see less smoothness in the lines.  But in this single run I didn’t see any show-stoppers and overall things looked pretty darn good.

For those curious, you can also look at the Garmin Connect files for each of the watches: Garmin FR25, Garmin FR225, Garmin FR920XT.  Interestingly there’s a case in the park where the HR strap stumbles (rises) and the optical HR sensor works perfectly.

Just as an interesting aside – I actually stuck one of the small ones up on the roof last night from a full charge to see how battery life was.  As some might remember shortened battery life was an occasional complaint on the FR10 & FR15.  In my test last night the little purple one lasted 8hrs 17mins, so above the 8-hr spec for the smaller model.  The file is available here.

Product Comparison Chart:

I’ve added the FR25 into the product comparison database.  This allows you to compare it against any other products that I’ve spent time with, including the past FR15.  For the purposes of the below chart, I’ve compared the existing FR15, the higher end (and optical-enabled) FR225, and then the newly announced FR25.

You can of course mix and match the comparison charts however you’d like using the product comparison tool here.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 20th, 2016 @ 8:28 amNew Window
Price$139$139$299
Product Announcement DateMay 5, 2014Aug 5th, 2015May 12th, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMay/June 2014Q3 2015July 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth Smart
Waterproofing50 meters50 meters50 Meters
Battery Life (GPS)8 hours8-10 hours (depends on model)7-10 hours
Recording IntervalSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)SMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)SMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYES, 7 DAYSYesYes, 7 days
Quick Satellite ReceptionGoodGreatGreat
AlertsSound/VisualSound/VisualVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUAL
Backlight GreatnessOKOkGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesYes
Can control phone musicNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesYes
Group trackingNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Designed for cyclingBARELY (SPEED MODE ONLY)BARELY (SPEED MODE ONLY)Barely (Speed mode only)
Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNo
Crash detectionNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)Yes (also has internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoNo
Race PredictorNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNo
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Designed for swimmingNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)NO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)No (protected though just fine)
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Designed for triathlonNoNoNo
Multisport modeN/AN/ANo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeaturePace AlertsVirtual PacerNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNonO
GeocachingNoNonO
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNo
Back to startNoNoNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Altimeter TypeNoneNoneGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNoYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYES (ALSO INTERNAL OPTICAL HR SENSOR)
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)No
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)No
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNonO
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNONo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin Connect MobileiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 15Garmin Forerunner 25Garmin Forerunner 225
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Remember, you can mix and match the comparison charts with products of your choosing using the product comparison tool here.

Wrap-Up:

Garmin-FR25-OnDesk

Overall the FR25 should fit nicely into Garmin’s existing lineup.  In many ways, it’s the functionality that the now older sibling FR15 should have had to begin with (most notably the phone connectivity).  The larger display yet slimmer size will no doubt be appreciated by both those with smaller wrists, and more vintage eyes.

I’m sure that some would have preferred an optical HR sensor within the unit, but I don’t think it’s realistic this summer to see prices that low for a mainstream optical sensor watch with GPS support and activity tracking.  I suspect over the next year we’ll see those prices drop further and by next spring, that’ll become the norm.  Right now the lowest prices achieved in sales by TomTom with their Cardio lineup (optical sensor + GPS), is where it pops down into the $199 range every once in a while – so still $30 more.  Though, the TomTom units lack activity tracking and smart notifications – so that is a difference there (on the flip side they have more display customizations).

When it comes to functionality, the FR25 has less features than the Polar M400 – which allows multiple sport modes, tons of display pages and lots of customizations (all at the same $169 price).  Like the FR25, the M400 has activity tracking and a deeper level of phone notifications than the FR25 does.  So if you’re looking for ‘more’, then the M400 at the same price is the better bet.  On the flip side, the M400 doesn’t have the connectivity that Garmin Connect does to 3rd party platforms, nor does the M400 have Live Tracking of your activities as an option.  Again, different strokes for different folks.

Ultimately though for $169, the watch is pretty well priced with a fair number of features.  If you’re looking for a GPS watch that doubles as an activity tracker while also being simple and small – it’ll likely be hard to go wrong with the Forerunner 25.

Update March 10th, 2016: The price of the FR25 has been reduced to $139.  I don’t see this as an indicator of a direct replacement, but more just alignment of pricing in general.

You can now order the Garmin FR25 via Clever Training.  They’ve got all of the variants available (including the pink one not shown here).  Doing so helps support the site here (and the crazy giveaway yesterday).  Also, you’ll save a bundle via the DCR/Clever Training VIP program.  Enjoy!

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238 Comments

  1. Josh

    Ray, under what’s new, need to change to 25 from 15. Looks like a nice watch, but bring on the 620 successor!

  2. AndreJo

    Thanks for the review. In my opinion compared to this watch the Polar M400 is the winner! It has definitely more flexibility and Polar is working on features like 3rd party platforms. And who needs live tracking? Ok, different folks :-)

  3. Garry B

    I was thinking of getting one of these for the mrs.

  4. Kevin Verhaege

    Nice review

  5. A. S.

    Looks great!
    I was always wishing the FR15 had a wireless sync option. This is a big improvement.

  6. A. S.

    There is an error in your chart (or a discrepancy with the article): Data Connectivity should be USB & BT, not just USB, right??

  7. simon

    Will there be a updated m400 this year?

  8. Mathias Van Wiele

    Hi Ray,

    This doesn’t sound logic to me, a larger unit should have a larger battery?

    “– (Small Version) Increased claimed battery life of 10 hours GPS-on, or 10 weeks activity tracking standby mode
    – (Large Version) Increased claimed battery life of 8 hours GPS-on, or 8 weeks activity tracking standby mode”

  9. Eric

    Very intriguing and this might be a present for my Dad instead of the vivosmart. Wish I knew if they when they were releasing the new 620 successor.

  10. Doug

    Hi Ray,
    Many thanks for this first look

    How well do you think the internal accelerometer works compared to a classic Garmin foot pod?
    Chees, Doug

    • Generally speaking for internal accelerometers I give them about a B to B+ grade. They work well for your run of the mill paces, but I find when you get to the upper end of paces (such as in intervals), they can be more fickle.

  11. Alberto Tarifa

    It’s perfect and simple

  12. A.S.

    Also, I’m really sick of Garmin’s stereotypical color choices. How about straight black or grey for both the small and large?

    • Matt

      Because most people like color? That would be my guess.

    • David Lusty

      I agree, although for different reasons. Someone at Garmin is obsessed with the idea of “boys watches” and “girls watches”. Is it so difficult to offer all colours in both sizes? They clearly have the machinery and materials. Perhaps small wristed women would like a black watch, and perhaps some men who prefer black would also prefer a smaller watch. Also, I’m sure I’m not the only man that always buys the not black offering – I have the red/white 920XT with the bright green strap, and the Fenix 3 with bright yellow strap.

      Ray, can you please explain this millennium to Garmin and ask them to get with the times? I get the feeling that if it wasn’t difficult/expensive to manufacture they would even have printed flower patterns on the little version and guns on the big version :)

    • Historically the biggest challenge has been around retail distribution. Retailers don’t want to have to deal with 28 color choices only to find that some don’t sell. Typically Garmin slowly increases color choices over time.

      That said, I do agree that some of the color choices are pretty blah.

    • Hamish

      I would of thought the easier option would be something similar to Fenix 3 and vivoactive … and the apple watch. Have a dark watch face and a light watch face option – then offer a great variety of strap options

    • Frances

      I agree – I have a Forerunner 15 that I wear all the time as an activity tracker, and there is no way I am wearing a pink or purple watch to work (I am an accountant), so I am stuck buying the large ‘mens’ version if I want black.

      Plus, I am not a Barbie doll so bubblegum pink…really? Please Garmin, you can do better.

  13. Vince

    I have been debating getting a new watch that doubles as an activity tracker and gps. My two thoughts are, to go all in and go fenix3/920xt, so I can wear it day to day, and on all of my runs. Alternately, I have debated getting a 15/25 and using it day to day, and my normal runs (easy runs, time workouts, etc), and then go back to my 320xt for all of my more complicated workouts (specific paced runs, track workouts, race, etc)… Thoughts?

    • Kasey Cotulla

      I’ve been extremely happy with my Vivoactive as a multi-function gps watch, activity tracker, and iPhone connection for call and text notification. It’s under $250 and has different workout profiles, along with downloadable watch faces, widgets, and apps. A lot of versatility for the price.

  14. Robert

    Hi Ray,

    Garmin’s site is saying it is footpod compatible, can you clarify that please.

    Brilliant Job yesterday, I don’t know how you do it all, I’m feeling rather lethargic after all that broken sleep and here you are posting new items. Top bloke.

    • So on the FR25 you don’t actually pair, it just happens magically when you’re near a device (perhaps it’s just a beta thing). Thus didn’t even think to bring a footpod near it. But yup, updated the chart.

      Thanks!

    • Adam

      So, just to clarify, it *is* footpod compatible then?

      I like the look of this as a cheap FR60 replacement having to use my archaic laptop to sync that things is always a painful experience.

  15. PaulM

    Were you trying to draw an inflatable dancing advert man in that track? ;-)

  16. Joelle Segrue

    I will win……I will win……I will win. Just busy believing in myself.

  17. MikeDozer

    No white-violet version. My wife says NO ;P

  18. Kasey O

    Ray, your FR225 link goes to one of your posts from June 2014 on new features added to the 620 and android support for the Fenix lineup. Thanks for the write up on this. I know some people who might like this watch over the 15.

  19. Tracey Smith

    Ray-
    I’m a little confused – your site shows the 25 as having a built in accelerometer for treadmill use, but on the Garmin website comparison chart, the 25 does not have a dot in the accelerometer column. Will this work on treadmills?

    Thanks as always for all of your hard work.

  20. Jagoda

    please please please!

  21. MattB

    I can’t imagine Z4 is 152 bpm for you… is it not auto-syncing with GC mobile? (Incidentally, my HR and zones are always out between what I’ve entered on my Fenix 3 and on GCM, as are other settings from GCM, annoying but not deal-breaking).

    • No, in my case it wasn’t setup to smartphone integration (it’s usually hard for me to do that on beta units since I have the production version of the app, which doesn’t show pre-production models so it can’t pair).

    • MattB

      Ah, fair point! Your first looks are always so thorough I forget that they are on pre-production units!

  22. John fenlon

    Hi Ray, as an android and M400 user the notifications from smartphone still are not working – they are on ios I believe but not yet on Android, and somewhat overdue, any news on that? First time post so thanks for all the ace reviews! John

  23. Matt

    I feel like I ask this every time a preview/review is posted, but, can this be charged while an activity is running?

    (Perhaps you can add a field to the database?)

    • Yeah, I definitely need to add that into the database. I didn’t try it, but I’m about 95% confident it won’t charge while running (usually there would be a ‘USB Mode’ option within the menu settings on newer devices that support it – and said option wasn’t there).

    • Matt

      Kind of assumed as much (with regards to it not working), but the Vivoactive allowing it has me holding out hope (it would satisfy the ultra runner crowd who care about data to some extent, but don’t care about tons of fields, barometric pressure, 1sec, etc.. and want a good price point).

      Thanks for always being on top of your game!

  24. Rob Montgomery

    All I want for Christmas is a sub $200 Garmin watch that allows walking as a sport mode. This would have been their perfect chance. Not asking for a F3 type variety, just running and walking modes. Then if someone wanted to add in cycling they could pick up the cheap 20/25. So for a total of around $300 one could get two specialized devices that cover activity tracking, running, walking, and cycling. That would be golden. All of their competitors (at least that I can think of) make it easy to add whatever sport modes you want on the watches. Why can’t Garmin follow that logic? Sorry, just frustrated, haha.

    • Matt

      I guess my only piece of feedback would be that you could easily just change the activity mode on Garmin Connect after the fact if that’s the ONLY thing holding this up from being the perfect device for you.

      (I know it’s not ideal, but at least it’s not something impossible like hoping they allowed bluetooth sensors)

    • Rob Montgomery

      The only problem with that Matt, is that now Garmin auto syncs to multiple website. It almost INSTANTLY shoots the info over to Strava. I have my Garmin account connected to Strava, SportTracks.mobi, and MapMyFitness. So if the walk gets uploaded as a run, it gets uploaded as a run on 4 sites. So I then have to go to each one and edit the activity type, and in some places activity name. Obviously not a huge deal, but a pain nonetheless. What would be easier would be for Garmin to allow us to pick and choose which activity types are on the watches. Either that, or since walking is such a basic sport, add that in. A lot of runners just starting out use walking on off days. Just seems like a no brainer to me.

    • Rob Montgomery

      Not to mention screwing up all the Personal Bests on the watch such as “longest run”. Obviously the speed based records wouldn’t be effected but the distance might.

    • Eric

      I get what you are saying and I would like that as well. I still have my good old garmin 305 and had it since 2008 and working great. I want to upgrade to something and I might get the 920xt or just a Edge and running watch like this. I don’t swim much so I won’t miss that. Too bad the 620 has so many issues.

    • tr

      Using CopyMySports to transfer from Garmin Connect to Strava usually takes 30mins, so that’s why I sync my old FR110 to Garmin, then change the activity there, so it gets transfered to Strava properly and doesn’t mess with stats. It’s an ugly workaround, but it works.

    • Rhett

      Yeah, I disabled Garmin sync and went back to tapiirik because it gives me a few minutes to update the activity before syncing. I get all the time I want right now since my donation lapsed and I have to hit the manual sync on tapiirik, but I also like supporting useful sites.

      Ray, perhaps you could point this issue out to Garmin and suggest they implement an optional “delayed sync” option on Garmin Connect? Ideal would be a user specified delay in minutes, but just a toggle between manual sync and instant-auto sync would be completely workable. I usually add some notes and things to my activities and I wouldn’t mind one bit if I had to hit a “manual sync” button for the activity to transfer over to the other services I have linked at Garmin Connect.

    • Yeah it’s something that’s been brought up a bunch. I suspect the challenge is that the 3rd party sites get the raw .FIT file, which includes the activity type within it. So it completely ignores the Garmin Connect data/descriptions since those are sitting ‘atop’ the raw fit file.

  25. Paul Bunyar

    Ray, I look forward to your in-depth review of the FR25.

    I must say I wish I knew this was coming. I just bought an FR15 and started using it July 27. At the same time, with what you have told us in this hands-on article, I am still happy with my selection. I’m not sure I need/want all the bluetooth smartphone stuff anyway. But having a treadmill mode might be nice.

    Also, I don’t really care for the more cornered design. And I don’t like the blue band with the blue accented watch face. I wouldn’t wear that under my dress shirt to the office. Yeah, I could get the red one, but I more a blue guy.

  26. Could you add the Vivoactive to the comparison chart? It looks like the FR25 & Vivoactive have some comparable features.

  27. Lawrence

    Hi Ray,

    I’m looking for an upgrade from my old 305 and thought I found it. Except for the lack of workout modes. Does it have anything like 10-1 and 20-1 intervals available?

    Is there a link to the manual? I see the product on Garmin’s site but there’s it’s not in their list of available manuals?

    I’ve been waiting for a watch that works by itself and is even better with a smartphone. Any chance you know of anything on the horizon with:
    – optical HRM with bluetooth rebroadcasting (trying to avoid wearing my Mio Fuse + a watch)
    – GPS
    – iPhone integration (e.g. so I can start/stop a Strava/Runkeeper workout)
    – waterproof enough for swimming laps in a pool

    Bluetooth optical HRM rebroadcasting seems to be missing from all the watches except for the Alpha 2 & Apple watch, which of course don’t have GPS.

    Thanks

    • No interval modes available.

      As for the others, I agree that there are lots of units that come close to your requirements, but all seem to be missing one or two here or there.

  28. youngBLOOD

    Looks like a nice upgrade to the FR15 but I personally think the red FR15 looks better than the red/black FR25. It’s strange that Garmin decided to use a black strap on the red version when the other versions are all color coded.

  29. Susan

    I was so excited for this until I realized I can’t upload a workout to it. If they added that it would be perfect.

  30. Paul Adams

    Does it work with the Scosche Rhythm+?

    I think the answer is yes, since the Scosche Rhythm+ can connect over ANT+ as well as Bluetooth Smart.

    • It should work just fine, but I didn’t test it.

    • KellyB

      I got my FR25 recently and have had the FR220 for a few months. Now that I have the 25 and have taken it out running and played with it, I’m definitely preferring the 25. The 25 has just enough for me. The screen is slightly larger and displaying only two fields at a time makes it quick and easy to see. I think not displaying as much data will keep me from checking the watch so often and just let me enjoy the run. But all of the data that I Iook at after a run is there in GC – HR, cadence, pace, etc. It is also noticeably lighter and less bulky than the 220. Even if the price were equal, I’d pick the 25 over the 220.

  31. Curt

    Hi Ray,

    Hope it’s not too off the subject but I was wondering if the activity tracker info eg step count can be brought across to my Fitbit account? I’m hoping that the connectivity between Garmin Connect and Strava and then from Strava to Fitbit I will be able to continue competing in Fitbit chalenges.

    Cheers

    • I know you can creatively sync some info via MyFitnessPal (such as weight from the Fitbit/Withings scales). But I don’t know if you can get the steps to sync back from MFP to Fitbit.

  32. Fab

    Wondering how many different Garmin gps watches are on the market right now. it’s getting worse than samsung for mobiles. it is probably a winning strategy, as long they keep on with it, but it’s a bit of a mess seen by the costumer’s point of view, imho.
    btw: news about support for windows mobiles by garmin?

    • Yeah, I do agree that it’s getting a bit out of hand. Personally I’d ax the FR15 immediately, and drop the price of the FR10 to $99 for the true budget side (It’s at this wonky semi-permanent sale price at $105)

      What to do with the FR220 is trickier, because it’s a lame-duck right now. Same goes for a FR620. The FR225 is a nice stop-gap, but lack of notifications is odd.

      Like you said, it may be a good retail strategy, but I think it’s probably leading to consumer confusion that’s unnecessary. And with said confusion, you may be losing people who just give-up and stick with phone apps.

  33. Adi Gerblich

    Agree with Matt’s comments ” I feel like I ask this every time a preview/review is posted, but, can this be charged while an activity is running?”
    The same problem exists with the Edge series. This is especially annoying to anyone who does long bicycle rides. Please add it as a field to your review database, hopefully then Garmin will pay attention. So far they have not acted on past requests.
    Adi

  34. Lisa Peltier

    I want one

  35. David

    This watch reinforces what a stopgap the Garmin 225 really is with its older menu system and lack of notifications. I like this new Garmin 25 and I suspect a new design Garmin 630 is on the way with optical HR and a redesigned interface including notifications etc. late this year followed by a new Garmin 230 next spring early summer based on the 630 but with less features (but including notifications.)

  36. Volker

    Why isn’t the 50m waterproofing not printed on the label on the backside of the units anymore?

    • Many times on pre-production devices it’s not printed. Either because the pre-prod device isn’t actually waterproof yet, or because the graphics/labels aren’t finalized yet.

      In fact, often times companies will get really bent out of shape when I want to shoot products and they don’t have final versions with all the perfect graphic pieces done. Really tiny things you’d almost never notice too, not even big-ticket items like colors. In fact sometimes I’ll have preprod devices for a long time before announcement (or even after) with an agreement not to shoot photos of them and wait to shoot photos of the production device, due to itty-bitty near invisible changes.

  37. M Scott

    Looking forward to the FR 25XT: Swim Mode: No GPS, Time/stroke count, you enter distance like in the drill mode on the Garmin Swim; Run Mode, leave it the same as is now; Bike Mode, just like on the Edge 25; Multi-sport mode: select your activities and add transitions. 10 hour battery is fine, keep BT connectivity and activity tracking. Cost: $199. My view of the ‘perfect’ Garmin sport watch. It’s all out there, just need to integrate.

    • Randy

      Completely agree. Wonder if it will happen and when. Know it would compete with vivoactive though.

    • Or just call it Garmin Swim V2, yank the GPS/bike/run and price it at $99. My perfect Garmin Swim watch. Without GPS it’d get that same 8 or so weeks of battery, I don’t mind charging a swim watch once every few months.

    • Randy

      Think he means a basic multisport watch. Would love a $200 device that does what the forerunner 25, edge 25, and the equivalent swim 25(no open water gps mode). One that is robust with the same 25 design that doesnt have touch or activity tracking or Garmins new app system. Simple but gets the job done and does it well.

  38. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    It’s Epic(s)

  39. Aaron Troia

    I don’t care for the look of the FR20/25 (still prefer the look of my FR15), but I do like that Garmin didn’t stick with the proprietary watch band that they used for the FR10/15. The new Bluetooth features are nice, almost worth the upgrade.

  40. Ann-Andrée

    You say that both FR15 and 25 are 169$. From what I can see, the FR15 unit is 139$, while the FR25 unit is 169$

    • Yeah, it’s a temporary sale thing (hence why it doesn’t show in my calculator). Typically what Garmin does is that they reduce the price via sale for a period, and then when something new comes out that sale price becomes permanent.

      While probably not a big deal to consumers, it actually can matter to retailers because of the way Garmin sometimes handles sales from a payment standpoint. No matter, I figure this sale figure will stick – so I’ll update the database.

  41. Mark

    I wonder if this syncs better than my vivoactive. I love everything about that sucker except that it never syncs without at least one failure. Ever.

  42. Yang

    As someone who bought into the bluetooth smart HR strap market early (now 3 straps in the family) its disappointing when these lower price point watches are not compatible. Was this intentional? It has bluetooth smart for phone connection already? Could this be enabled at a later time? Whats so “premium” about a bluetooth HR strap?

    • Sandro Bosio

      Hi Yang,

      It’s simply Garmin’s policy and technology of choice, even the most expensive of their watches are not compatible with BLE sensors. Maybe in the future … or more likely not.

    • Matt

      ANT is owned by Garmin and the only way they’re adding compatibility for BT sensors is if they saw significant customer backlash for not including it.

    • Yang

      good explanations, thanks! Love this site.

  43. Vyggo

    Interesting watch, but dealbreaker for me is that it only autolaps at 1km or 1 mile if I read this correctly. I set my tomtom runner to 400m most of the time to get more regular updates and do some impromptu intervals if I feel like it.

  44. Lester Lewis

    Looks like a great device.

  45. Peter P

    Hi Ray –

    Is the FR25 GLONASS-enabled? I’m guessing and hoping yes, since it seems very similar to the Edge 25.

  46. Jon

    So what is a watch that will get me very good accuracy on both road and trail (not heavy tree cover in most cases), provide a 3 line display, has a decent battery life and looks halfway decent when both running and wearing a non-running shirt (ie a collared shirt)? That is what kills me about the new Garmins. The all black ones (ie the 910/920) are ugly shaped. The ugly colors (225/620) are the best looking ones.

    • Urtman

      I think the Polar watches look really nice I think.
      I also wear my Suunto during the day although with a dress shirt its really borderline

    • Rhett

      Fenix 3 is what I’m considering for your stated parameters, but it is a big chunk o’ change and my 910xt is still working quite well.

      But I want it. :)

  47. Empewu

    Fine watch functionality wise, but why Garmin doesnt improve desing? It really looks ugly.

  48. Andy Sutton

    i wonder if they released it the day after the extravaganza knowing that traffic to your blog would be high with everyone looking for the winners to be announced! I know I’ve been here more that yesterday and that was a lot! Well played Garmin, well played!

  49. Urtman

    Thanks a lot Ray,
    I have a very general question for the sync via Bluetooth or Wifi. It always mentions phones, does that mean they cannot sync wireless to the computer? That would put me off a lot as it would be the one feature I really miss on my current watch (and dont care for mobile phone apps).

    • Correct, only BT sync to phones. The main reason is the variety of ways you can sync via BT to a computer makes it messier for companies to support (it can be tricky enough as it is on Android).

    • Urtman

      Thanks for the answer. Makes sense, sad though!

    • Christian Koehler

      Simple reason: You need Windows 8 or 10!. There is no Bluetooth Low Energy (“smart”) support on Windows 7 or any older version. Microsoft states this in developer docs:

      link to msdn.microsoft.com

      Christian

    • n8udd

      It does make you wonder why you can’t sync with the ANT+ dongle on your PC ala Vivofit though?

    • Nah, Garmin has noted many times that they want to get away from ANT+ file transfers (like on Vivofit). That was mostly a case of lack of easy way to create a download cable for Vivofit without adding more complexity.

      With the FR25, the vast majority of people will use BT smart to phones, and then if need be USB to PC. The ANT+ transfer is just so finicky to support.

    • n8udd

      That makes sense, but if the ANT+ chip is there anyway, why not make it possible but not advertise it?

      I for one have my ANT+ USB dongle in my laptop all the time for Zwift, so it would make life easier to come in and just sync to it if it’s on already.

  50. I wish it were possible to have the functions provided by phone connectivity without the phone. I can’t run with my phone.

  51. Blackfield

    This is just my personal opinion of course, but activity tracking on a watch that’s too ugly to wear all day is useless…

    Looks like a well-featured running watch though, although I think it’s a bit overpriced and the lack of a vibrate alert is the final nail in its coffin (for me).

    Thanks for the (p)review :)

  52. Gabriel

    This is really odd…. How come the FR225 don’t have the phone notification while the entry level watch has it…??? Could it be added on the 225 with firmware upgrade?

    Also any idea when the in depth review of the FR225 will be up? I’ve seen mixed reviews on the HR side but no one goes in depth like you do so I’m waiting your call before making a step.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Likely because the FR225 was built on the FR220, which didn’t have the hardware in it for a low-power always on Bluetooth Smart connection to the phone required for the notifications. Thus, I wouldn’t expect to see smart notifications added to it.

      As for the review, after the Epix review, which will be up over the next couple of days.

      I think in general you’ll find accuracy on the FR225 will be quite good for 95% of people who follow directions (a subset of those don’t follow directions and get mixed accuracy). But there’s almost always going to be a 1-5% range of people who optical sensors just don’t yet work well on, no matter the company or technology behind it.

  53. Ion

    Nice to have one

  54. Jason

    Hi Ray,

    I know that above your pitched the 220 as a lame duck but seeing as it is now priced at 169.99 on Amazon it makes me wonder which is best.

    As the pricing is the same, would you go 220 or 25?

    Thanks,

    jason

    • $169 isn’t bad. Though, the Polar M400 is at $169 as well, and is far more full featured.

      As for the FR220 vs FR25, I’d say it depends on how much you value activity tracking and smartphone alerts. If neither, than go FR220 at same price.

    • Urtman

      I know suunto is less mainstream but I picked up the suunto ambit 2r for $20 less and am totally happy with it. You have to really like their way of customization but if you do its a great running watch. I have put together a couple of useful training routines and enjoy the navigation features, internal cadence info as well as HR derived stats (eg. VO2 estimation).

  55. Steve

    Hi,

    Very useful review! I’m trying to choose between the Garmin fr25 and the Polar m400. If even Polar hasn’t managed to add Android notifications, how can you know, that Garmin is really going to work with Android?
    Or is Garmin generally better with Android?
    Smartphone notifications are very important for me and as an Android user, I’m not sure which product will work better with my preferred platform. Either of these is going to be my first sports watch ever, so should I put more confidence in Polar or Garmin?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  56. Mpulsiv

    It’s still unclear to me whether FR25 support the foot pod. Does Vivoactive support foot pod in 24/7 activity mode or only in workout mode? Thanks.

  57. Dave

    Thanks Ray!

    So I currently sport a FR 610 and Im thinking about getting a new watch, primarily cause I find the process of transfering the results to the computer after each run is a hassle (especially when I’m away and haven’t brought the computer). I’d also like some of the basic activity features of the new watches (like sleep and step tracking). And, after all, I very seldom use the more advanced features of the 610- like intervalls. I’m also a bit disappointed with my current watch’s battery time and flimsy touch screen.

    Usually, dureing runs, I’m interested in my average pace, my distance and sometimes my heart rate.

    So- the question is: should I upgrade (/downgrade)? Or is it M400 a better alternative for me? Shouldn’t the M400 be upgraded/replaced with a new version soon?

    • runnershigh

      battery lifetime is surely no argument for the m400. You can normally reach about 7 hours full GPS mode; so your FR610 is may be a bit better here.
      Activity and sleep tracking is just a gimmick. I’ve tested it about 3 months and then give up tracking because there will be no deeper knowledge then.
      I like the m400 because of the sport profiles and many settings possibility (4 fields each screen) and also Polar Flow is really nice.
      If it was possible I would turn off the activity tracking feature@all and stronger battery is wishfull to me, too.

  58. Candy

    Sorry if this was posted somewhere already. I love my distance alerts on the 620 but would like something smaller. Currently on my 620, I have auto-lap set to every mile but a distance alert every quarter mile. Is this possible with the Forerunner 25?

  59. Ted

    I wish they left footpod connectivity on the new 25.
    I keep my footpod sensor on one pair of my alternating shoes.
    With my almost dead 210 I can tell later what shoes I put miles on to assign to Garmin “gear” by seeing if the cadence was recorded or not.
    Garmin please to make up for this make “Gear” assignment accessible from the garmin connect app and not just the garmin connect website.
    Maybe the 220 is the better upgrade for me.
    what one has the better charging clip?

    • Both charging clips are pretty solid, so I definitely wouldn’t let that be a deciding factor. Note that the FR25 does have footpod connectivity.

    • Ted

      Thanks for the reply.
      Ok so with my strategy of looking for presence of cadence chart..
      For the garmins with accelerometer pace:
      Will there always be a cadence chart?
      Will I be able to tell if the date is from fotpod or internal watch?

    • There will always be cadence during the run shown on Garmin Connect. There’s no method to tell the difference though once on Garmin Connect.

  60. aine

    Hi
    I’m definitely going to get one of these but not 100% sure of which size to go for. I see that on the european website the blue and black large one is available to buy now, do you thinking that this would be too chunky for a woman’s wrist and I should hold off for the smaller version or is there really that much of a difference between the two sizes?

  61. Nice review. I was wondering if you could tell me which running shoes do use for your long runs (10- 20 km ) on hard surface ? Thanks :)

  62. Joe

    Thanks for the review. Is the FR 25 able to connect with Garmin Connect to I Pad Air 2 over wifi and is the band on the watch replaceable?

  63. Ian

    Hi DC, thanks for the review. If you still have the watches, can you please check if I can set a timer alert for, say, 53secs like i can on the FR610? The FR620 (incredibly) only allows timer alerts in 5sec increments – a deal breaker for me. Don’t know about the other models, but this seems the right candidate for a 610 replacement given that the 620 does not have a replacement yet. And merci encore!

  64. Casey

    Hi DC, great review and super interesting blog.
    I am still in doubt if I should buy the m400 or wait for the Forerunner 25.
    I was wondering if you can comment on the virtual pacer for the m400. So far, that is the downside on the m400 for me, but maybe you can change that.
    For 5k or 10k races I would like to have a pace maker. So I tell the watch a pace of 4min/k and it gives an alarm if I am too fast (3.50min/k) or too slow (4.10min/k). Does that work with the m400? It does with the Forerunner 25, right?
    Best regards,
    Casey

  65. Sam

    I’m new to FR land. My understanding is that you can see 2 data fields at a time. Can you please tell me what the possible screen displays are?

    Thanks for the great review.

    • Hi Sam-

      From the post:

      “From a configuration standpoint, here’s the data fields you can select (any two per page, total of two pages):

      Data Fields To Choose: Time, Distance, Pace, Calories, Lap time, Lap Distance, Lap Pace, Avg. Pace

      Next, because I had the heart rate sensor on, I also get a third page (non-configurable) which shows my heart rate in BPM and my heart rate zone.”

    • Sam

      Oh shoot, I really tried to find that info in your review before asking! Thanks for your help

  66. John

    One difference compared with the Forerunner 10/15 that your hands-on report doesn’t mention concerns the available data fields. The old models were very restrictive in reporting pace. On the two main data screens, you had to choose between current, average, and (I think) lap pace. But you couldn’t have more than one of them. However, the 25 allows you all three if that is how you want to populate the four available slots split between the two screens. So, for example, on the first data screen on my new 25 I show average and lap pace — couldn’t do that on my old 15.

    (And I’m not talking about how the 10 worked originally — when it was first launched, you could only have current pace and nothing else. But a firmware upgrade changed that.)

    Another difference you don’t mention is that the screen is sharper and less pixelated than the old one.

    Of course, I realize what you posted wasn’t a full review!

    • Hi John. I did cover this in the post, within the ‘first run’ section where I said:

      “From a configuration standpoint, here’s the data fields you can select (any two per page, total of two pages):

      Data Fields To Choose: Time, Distance, Pace, Calories, Lap time, Lap Distance, Lap Pace, Avg. Pace

      Next, because I had the heart rate sensor on, I also get a third page (non-configurable) which shows my heart rate in BPM and my heart rate zone.”

    • John

      Oops — my bad. Actually, I think if you have the virtual pacer turned on, you get one additional screen, which shows current pace — so if that metric is of interest, you can free up one of the four slots on the two main data screens.

      Anyway, I think the additional flexibility is a useful upgrade over the 15, which will make this level of Forerunner the best choice for some people who might previously have gone for a more mid-market model.

  67. Casey

    Hey DC, I just post this again, since I am really eager to get an answer. ;-)

    Hi DC, great review and super interesting blog.
    I am still in doubt if I should buy the m400 or wait for the Forerunner 25.
    I was wondering if you can comment on the virtual pacer for the m400. So far, that is the downside on the m400 for me, but maybe you can change that.
    For 5k or 10k races I would like to have a pace maker. So I tell the watch a pace of 4min/k and it gives an alarm if I am too fast (3.50min/k) or too slow (4.10min/k). Does that work with the m400? It does with the Forerunner 25, right?
    Best regards,
    Casey

    • Urtman

      a little beside the question but you can definitely do that and a lot more with an Ambit 2S/R. But you have to be into playing with the Apps. I love mine and really cheap at this point.

  68. mpulsiv

    I bought FR25 and Vivofit2 last night. Since 2 activity trackers can’t be used at the same time, I’m using 2 separate Gamin Connect account on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Well, here’s the synopsis.

    *Steps inaccuracy:
    Ray mentioned this before but I will say it again: users that complain about steps inaccuracy, explore every setting in any electronics that you own. There’s a “Custom Stride Length” setting in Garmin connect app.
    Before dedicating time to set “Custom Stride Length” – I already see delta. Vivofit2 adds ~20% more steps. Both devices were worn on left wrist, next to each other.

    *Garmin Connect iOS app half-baked from navigation to metrics. Dashboard has no calendar view (e.g. weekly, monthly). In order for me see previous metrics, I must swipe one-day-at a-time.

    *Sync fiasco:
    Vivofit2 only support manual sync (which is fine) at least a user is in control. Now, doesn’t FR25 supposed to auto sync? Doesn’t look like it! I had to turn ON/OFF Bluetooth on my iPhone then navigate to settings on the phone -> Bluetooth -> Pair Smartphone. Log file is not syncing “Your last sync was…” Even though I just synced on both devices. Dashboard for first user (on iPhone 6) still report that my last sync was 10 hours ago and dashboard for the second user (on iPhone 6 Plus) still report that my last sync was 2 hours ago.

    *Sleep metrics:
    I can’t compare FR25 to Viviot2 because FR25 automatic sleep detection didn’t work. Both devices had default setting (sleep start time 10pm and sleep wake time 6am). I don’t know who to point finger to but when it comes to API, either Garmin or Apple doesn’t allow to sync sleep metrics to Apple Health. Really?!

    Now, I wonder how Vivosmart (with smartphone notification) algorithm works. Is it like Vivoactive2, where it adds ~20% more steps compared to FR25?

    Looks like I will be purchasing either Fitbit flex or Fitbit charge for testing purposes. Fitbit app is far refined with navigation and metrics but will it sync sleep metrics to Apple Health?

  69. Ryan

    Given that the 220 is pretty much the same price and in some places cheaper now than the 25 unit, which one would you say is best in terms satellite lock quickness and overall features

  70. Ian

    Hi all. Will someone who has acces to an FR25 please check whether one can set a time alert in 1second increments please? This info is not available anywhere and one will only find out after buying the watch.
    (Just as an example: the FR620 only allows 5sec increments!). To be even more clear: I need to be able to set an alert for, say, 43 secs and not 45, 50, 55… etc. Thank you beforehand. :-)

    • mpulsiv

      @ Ian

      Time alert can only be set in 5 minute increments. There’s no option for seconds.

    • Ian

      Thanks mpulsiv. 5 minutes ha!

      How do you guys pace yourselves when doing steady-pace runs on the track? Say you want to do 5K at 4:30 per K, and you need to set a recurrent alert to beep at 54secs every 200m. Should I buy a 10 dollar Casio and wear it on the other wrist?

  71. mpulsiv

    I spent many hours throughout 3 days of extensive testing of FR25, Vivofit 2 and Fitbit Charge HR.
    Custom stride length was set on all 3.

    *Smartphone app. Even though Garmin is a bit clunky (particularly navigation), it holds a candle over Fitbit. From my perspective it lacks important metrics found in Garmin. I’ll go over detail in other sections below.

    *Sleep metrics. Fitbit provides nothing interesting here. I see that I was awake 1 time, 2 times restless and 6 minutes of combined but what does that mean? There’s nothing to analyze even by looking at the graph in expanded view not to mention it deducts those restless minutes. It’s so basic that I cause use a simple stopwatch or a Sleepbot app for iOS for that matter. In contrast, Garmin doesn’t deduct movement time but rather draw a chart of the actual movement and breaks down into

    levels (e.g. Deep, Light, Awake). When I slept for 7:03 minutes, I’d want to see 7:03 (not 1 minute – 2 minutes – 6 minutes of movement that was deducted by FitBit. I slept for 7 hours and 3 minutes, please list in the chart but don’t deduct time from my sleep. Hello Fitbit?!

    *Accuracy after calibration (custom stride length). I must say that FR25 accelerometer is more sensitive compared to Vivofit2 and Fitbit Charge HR. My test methodology included random walks around home (including many stairs, long walks outside and include speed walks on Bowlex Treadwalker (strapped to my skinny ankle). In the end of the say FR25 wins hands down. I have many charge covering difference scenarios but here’s the one for FR25 vs. Vivofit2 (see attached pic). Using GPS, actual distance was 1.11 miles. FR25 recorded 1.21 and VivoFit2 recorded 0.84. Again, I don’t expect accuracy to be on par with GPS but one nuance to notice is how blocky speed chart for Vivofit2 is. Both were on my left wrist. Fitbit Charge HR recorded 0.88 miles (very close to Vivofit 2). I can’t analyze much from any activity on Fitbit website. They don’t provide enough details. There’s no speed chart! Fitbit provides a metrics of stairs. I find this metrics useless just like 24/7 HR activity (covered in other section below). FR25 and Vivofit25 count stairs as steps so what is the purpose of dedicate metrics for stairs in Fitbit?

    *Export files to third party (e.g. Strava)
    Garmin wins in this section as well. User can export any activity in original FIT format and upload to third-party or even archive it. For me this is a big deal. I’d assume that most of active users want their data to be centralized.

    *Workout mode and HR accuracy
    One caveat with Vivofit2 and Fitbit Charge HR, both don’t support pause. No big deal but it’s convenient to have such a basic functionality. Here’s the moment of truth about HR accuracy on Fitibit! Somewhat accurate for speed walks but not even close when you enter Zone 3-5. We are talking about delta of ~ 30bpm. First, it takes up to 3 minutes for Fitbit to catch up to dependable and accurate Garmin chest strap HM. I took some time to analyze charts drawn by Fitbit and Garmin, wearing both devices at the same time. Long story short, if an active user is using a Fitbit for workouts, they are doing themself a disfavour for relying on highly inaccurate data. My last comment goes to 24/7 HR monitor capability highly marketed in Fitbit HR Charge. Logically, this metric is utterly useless! It determines the resting heart rate but with all the movement during the date what is the purpose of it? I determine by resting heart rate in matter of minutes. Lay down, relax and in matter of minutes, your heart will slow down, write down the value and you are done. This metric may fluctuate if you are highly active. For average users, it could fluctuate once a year as we age. 24/7 HR metrics is one of those features that is “nice to have” where one can hit the button and see what the heart rate is and it 2 seconds display is OFF. So, how can a user watch HR in real-time during intense workouts? This defeats the purpose doesn’t it?! At lease Fitbit engineers should have thought of a feature to turn off 24/7 HR to save battery and enable display ON during workouts. Perhaps I’m asking for too much.

    *Integration with Apple Health
    This section doesn’t need much attention. Based on my findings and research, data from Garmin natively support Apple Health except for sleep metrics (hopefully someday). Fitbit not only doesn’t export activities (TCX and GPX file) to 3rd-party (only GPS-based activites from FitBit Surge watch) but it doesn’t support Apple Health. I see Apple Health is the centralized vault and it’s not going anywhere. At some point Garmin and Fitbit may introduce new services, new file extension or even drop activity trackers from their line.

    No offense to any users that swear by Fitbit but from my point of view it just doesn’t meet the bar. I believe they target users that are inactive and provide very basic metrics and keep them in Fitbit sandbox by not allowing to export activities elsewhere unless it’s a Fitbit Surge watch using GPS. I tried to like Fitbit Charge HR, I really did!

    Pros:
    FR25 most accurate activity tracker based on more sensitive accelerometer. Very comfortable, thin and flexible band.
    Vivofit 2 battery life. 24/7 display ON, very convenient to observe HR during workout mode, no need to toggle buttons.

    Cons:
    In FR25 one can’t specify a type of smartphone notification. For example, I’d like to enable only SMS notification, don’t care about emails, Instagram and phone calls. Unable to force manual sleep mode (found in Vivofit2). Vivofit2 doesn’t support auto sync. No big deal, just hold a button. No pause in workout mode.

    • Dark Pony

      Can you turn beep notifications off? Basically when I’m not running I would like notifications but if I’m in a meeting I don’t want my watch beeping everythime it goes off. Can I mute the beeping?

  72. Jaime

    Your reviews are awesome, thank you!

    Right now, I have a basic older Polar heart rate monitor and want to step it up by getting a watch with GPS functions. I do a lot of running, but I also do group fitness classes at the gym obviously don’t need GPS, just want to know my heart rate and calories burned.

    I love everything about this watch, but is it possible to turn off GPS when I just want my basic calorie stats?

    Thanks for any intel!

    • KellyB

      Yes, you can turn the GPS off. I tried this yesterday and it worked fine. When you hit the red button the first time, you can click the down arrow to get to “Run Options” and select “Use Indoors”. This turns the GPS off. I was able to see my heart rate (from Scosche Rhythm+) the whole time and calories burned were calculated. It’ll still calculate your distance from the accelerometer, and will initially upload to Garmin Connect as a run, but you can change that once uploaded.

  73. Michelle

    Did you happen to notice the volume of the alerts? I find the FR15 to be almost inaudible when running causing me to miss my lap times and interval alerts. I was disappointed to learn that the FR25 does not have a vibrate feature, but am hoping that the volume issue has been corrected?

    Thanks!

  74. mpulsiv

    There’s no “Custom Step Length” setting for running in FR25 for indoor use (e.g. treadmill). Is this by design because it supports foot pod? How can a user set “Customer Step Length” using foot pod?

  75. Steven

    A couple of product query questions if you please?

    Is the 25 using the same awesome GPS chipset as the 10?

    Re satellite pre caching, in your chart the 15 and 225 state ‘yes 7 day’ caching but the 25 only says ‘yes’. Have they not decided on the pre cache period yet?

    Cheers.

  76. Svend

    Hi, this might be a long shot but since there’s a lot of Garmin knowledge here it might be worth a shot. Does anyone know whether the Garmin 610 wrist strap (link to amazon.com), or comparable fabric strap, would fit the FR 25? I know it’s random, but I much prefer the fabric to rubber. Thanks in advance :)

  77. Steven

    This has just been released here in the UK am going to buy one. Is there a link to Amazon uk where we can help contribute to this site?

  78. Simon

    Hi, very good summary review but with two little mistakes. First, you can add third data field, but only with your Phone and Garmin Connect. After a sync with your phone, you will have 3 data field on your device. The second one, all the notifications you receive on your IPhone (sms, call, reminder, Facebook, app store, the Score, etc) you will received them on you Garmin device and not only call, sms et calendar. (excuse my bad English)

  79. Janette

    The screen on my forerunner 25 keeps going blank and I have to push buttons to get the display come back… Is this normal or should I contact garmin?

  80. I’m using a 920xt but I bought a 25 recently for my partner. She likes the size and the fit (the 15 totally did not fit her tiny wrist), but there one negative comment. Do you know if there is a chance that Garmin will enable the selection of HR related data fields on the 2 data screens? It’s so stupid that you can even set up 3 data fields on one screen from the app, but you can not select HR. Most of the training plans require you to monitor HR together with time or distance, so it is a huge PITA when you can not put those in one screen… It is really a stupid firmware limitation, I hope Garmin will do something about it…

    • TR

      I was quite baffled about this too and more and more convinced that my FR110 replacement is going to be a non Garmin device – M400.

  81. Casey Ross

    Do you know how close one has to be to a phone to receive Smart notifications? Tried finding this on Garmin Website and did not see anything

    • Mark

      That connection protocol is through Bluetooth. Most device makers report BT range of 40 feet. But, situation specifics can effect that number (ie – interference, etc.)

  82. Jason

    Hoping someone can help me with a question. Does the FR25 allow you to have Avg pace on one screen and current pace on the other? I know on the FR10 and 15 that wasn’t possible because changing from Avg. to current was a global setting. I want to be able to check average pace and current pace at the same time. If this watch won’t do that, then I’ll probably be looking at the FR220 or the Polar M400.

    • Jason

      Looks like I just found the answer to my own question. Another reviewer showed that they had the average pace and current pace on the same screen. This is a huge improvement over the FR10 and 15 in my opinion! The only real advantage I can see to getting the FR220 is for the intervals. I wish I knew more about the GPS chipset in these newer models. I’ve seen in some places that the FR10 isn’t very accurate. I’m curious whether the FR25 has the same chipset as the FR10 and 15 or if it’s a newer one. Likewise with the 220.

      Thanks for all the reviews Ray, it’s a huge help trying to figure out which watch to get! Will you be doing a full review on the FR25?

  83. Nicholas

    OK…three runs, three issues. First run: the run data on Garmin Connect was missing one whole kilometre lap that was displayed on the watch in the History log for that run. The Splits in Garmin Connect went from Lap 1 to Lap 3 with no Lap 2 but the missing lap distance was included in the total distance for the run. First and second run: the Moving Time per kilometre was around 6 seconds faster than the Time for each km split. And I did not stop anywhere, so they should be almost identical…asis the case with my old 310XT. Third run: the watch froze on the Run Saved screen. Had to do a Reset and lose all the data for that run.
    Not exactly impressed with this performance and will be returning the device.

    • Weird, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a missing lap. Do you have a link to the Garmin Connect activity (remember to set that activity to be public).

    • Nicholas

      This is the link. You can see a 0,1 second lap 1 and no lap 2, however the total distance includes the 1K of the missing lap 2.
      I did get a response form Garmin Support on the Moving Time issue. Apparently it is a number concocted by Garmin Connect and based on the incoming data stream from the watch. What I understood from that was…ignore the Moving Time number! It looks like the first two issues are with Garmin Connect and not the watch…so I will give it a second chance.

    • Wow, that’s pretty crazy (the second missing lap). I’ll forward it onto some folks, but I’m interested in seeing what support says on that.

      As for moving time – yeah, I always have ignored that field (for years). ;)

    • Nicholas

      Support did not respond on that item. They addressed the Moving Time one and the one for the frozen device. For that, they told me how to update Garmin Express (which I did already know) and how to delete activities on the watch from Windows before loading a new s/w version. So, that real Lap 2 has now gone from the watch’s memory!

  84. Juliane

    You can customise the datafields to show three sets on each screen which I find very useful as I like to see distance/pace and time run so far.

    • Ou Boet

      Juliane, can you share how you managed to do this. Please, Please, Please.

      Having three data fields as shown above is my Nevana. (The Edge 25 does this on the first data page and the hardware is nearly identical, so it’s definitely only a software tweak to get it).

      Has anybody else managed this?

    • Ou Boet

      Mystery solved. Apparently getting a 3 data field display on the first page can be set up via the Android Connected app from your phone.

  85. Oskar

    Just got the forerunner 25 yesterday but also notice that the screen on the forerunner 25 keeps going blank and you have to push buttons to get the display come back…
    The same question was asked above so am wondering if this is not a feature (a misunderstood one for that matter) so is this normal (a feature) or should I contact garmin?

  86. Luka

    When will full review be?

  87. Ricky West

    Hi Ray Can You Set The Data Fields To Pace And Miles On This Watch ?

  88. Tim Murphy

    Ray,

    In the comparison it says Altimeter type none? Does this mean that it does not record altitude? All other watches in this range have GPS based altimeter, sure having the GPS capabilities means this is too. I do quite a bit of trail running (not to the extent I need a fenix ect) but it would be good to have that information.

    Cheers
    Tim

  89. Jeff Hollway

    Will the FR25 track my kyaking/paddleboard activity? Specifically, distance covered, moving ave. speed, and max speed. Thanks. J

    • Yes, all are viewable on Garmin Connect afterwards.

    • Scott Poore

      Does the FR25 auto sync with the Connect mobile app or can you push a button on the watch to make it sync manually?

      Thanks

    • Amore

      I would like to know if the watch displays the actual speed and average speed of the activity (running or in my case horse riding). I need to see the actual speed and the average speed of my lap for endurance (30km laps) while riding. Will the FR25 watch display the speed (km/h) not pace.

  90. John

    Dumb question.

    Is there an option to automatically turn off step tracking during runs? I’m interested in tracking non-exercise activity only with a step counter.

  91. Just went for my first run with the Garmin Forerunner 25. Overall, pretty good – the distance was a little off from Map my Run’s with iPhone in my pocket, but the pace came out the same. Is there a way to set the watch so the data screens rotate? I was able to set them with the data I want displayed on each, but had to hit the button to cycle to the next screen Thanks!

  92. laura

    Hi
    I was wondering how I can send my training plan to my watch via phone. I have a Samsung galaxy s6. It’s says not compatible when I press the mobile image with an arrow so assume it’s not possible :(
    TIA

    • The FR25 doesn’t support structured workouts sent from Garmin Connect unfortunately.

    • laura

      Thanks for quick response
      That is unfortunate. Are there any alternatives or suggestions other than keeping tab on the time when needing to change pace?
      I need to explore and understand the FR25 itself and Garmin connect also.
      Thanks again

  93. Sarah

    Hi, I got the FR25 for Christmas and whilst I do some running I’m doing a lot of hiit and PT workouts. Is there a way to log these workouts in the watch, maybe using the heart sensor? I’ve seen people using the polar watch so it’s that type of thing I’m wondering about?

    Also got my heart monitor separate to the watch, how do I know if it’s connected? I can’t see anything on my watch as an indicator?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Nathan Budd

      Assuming you have an ANT+ HR strap, it should be a case of getting the watch ready to run, ie acquire satellite lock, then hold the watch against the HR strap whilst wearing it. It should then show a little heart symbol where the Bluetooth one is when connected to a phone.

    • laura

      It has a walk/run option when you press ‘run’ which you may be able to use as it will alert you at each time change. I have however notice that this only goes up to 10 minutes! So for me, who is trying to follow a Garmin marathon training plan, when it says run 20 mins/walk 10 mins I have to rely on looking at the watch itself…unless there is something I don’t know yet!

  94. Nathan

    Does anybody know of a way to unpair a hr strap with the Forerunner 25 without having to factory reset the watch? I inadvertantly paired my strap with the wife’s watch, and don’t want to reset it as it’ll lose all of her records.

    • Rich Poulton

      Pretty sure the latest system software had the unpair feature…..check the beta systems at Garmin if not – I’m sure I read it

  95. Amore

    I would like to know which watch would be the best long term option for me. The FR25 or the FR 920XT. (big price difference). I would like to use the watch to track my activity during endurance races or trail rides (horse riding). I need km/h average and current SPEED and the distance travelled and time. Long battery life (from 6am to 2pm on race days). What would you recommend?

  96. Pip

    Hi there. I’ve just been given a new Garmin 25 after my long-suffering 405’s battery issues finally became terminal. I shouldn’t really complain because it’s free, but can you confirm for me that there’s no lap button function? My running group does a lot of interval-type work (e.g. on Monday night we were doing hill repeats of two minutes up, easy back, then another two minutes up). I couldn’t work out how I could record laps, and it got frustrating having to remember what time I started the lap and watching to know when to finish it.

  97. laura

    I can’t remember setting it up but mine laps every mile (I believe you can set it for km though so whether it is automatic and you have control of the measure I not sure
    The other option is the bottom left button. You can record laps as you please. Hope this helps

    • Pip

      Thanks – that particular auto-lap function isn’t flexible enough in this case to be of any use, but I will try the bottom left button and see if that works!

  98. Madison Ellingson

    Hello! I don’t know if you will respond to this since you posted this a long time ago, but I used your link and bought the 25 from Clever Training and it has had some issues… (freezes on a screen and won’t get off until the battery is completely dead and I charge it again) and it takes about 5 minutes to find a satellite (is that normal).. anyway I am wondering if I should go through Clever Training or contact Garmin?
    Thanks!

  99. jeff hollway

    I just purchased and getting acquainted with the Forerunner 25 but the manual is not clear on some items. So my questions are:

    How do you turn off the GPS to save battery life?

    How do you find and activate the sleep mode?

    Thank you.

  100. JM

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this, but you can actually make the first data page have three fields. I did it through the Garmin Connect app, where you can customize your device after tapping on it. It’s very helpful, I now have time, distance and pace all on the first page on my data fields.

    • betolozada

      I have to thank you for this heads up, This made the FR25 an almost perfect watch, really appreciate it.

    • Alan Rey

      Overall good watch coming from fr10, but I have some minor gripes:
      (1)the three data fields wont stay put, everytime the fr25 resync with my iphone, it keeps coming back to two data fields, (2) same with the keytone, it wont stay off. (3) no way i can turn off the lights even when i dont need it, seems every button pressed activates it.

  101. Ryan

    Does anyone know what the bar indicator at the bottom of the Forerunner 25 means? Not the daily step completion goal bar, this bar looks more like arrows. The indication bar I’m referring to can clearly be seen on the bottom of the display in the very last picture in the article on the black and red watch. Thanks!

  102. Bruvio

    Hi
    Can I swim with the fr25?
    If yes, can I lap ? I know it won’t count lap distance but I just need the time split

    Cheerio

  103. Brian

    Hey, nice review as usual! I picked up one of these for my wife, and it seems pretty cool. However, it seems that the screen goes blank from time to time. Is that supposed to happen, or does it seem that I got a lemon?

    Thanks!

  104. Steven Jackson

    Pretty decent watch, my first Garmin.

    One killer feaure would be better implementation of the Run/Walk mode. If you could set manual laps to switch pace notifications instead of the Auto Lap this would be great. So it switches Run/Walk at every mile (or km) on your Unit Settings preference – and that’s it!

    Plus it always seems to start in Run mode then switches to Walk. Most training starts with a warm up then to a Run then a cool-down. Intervals alternate so that is fine (if you want 1mi/1km intervals), but manual laps based on time you can monitor yourself from the main display would be great. Or would this just undermine the higher value models that can no doubt do this? A restriction on two pace settings I can almost live with.

    If this CAN be done, I’d love someone to show me how!

  105. James

    Just got the Garmin 25 and it’s great overall.

    Question on intervals. When I’m doing interval training, is there an easy way to start/stop a lap?

    Example
    Run 3 X 2400 w/ 2 min jog between intervals. what’s the easiest way to start a new lap when doing my next interval. Does that make sense?

  106. VC

    Thanks for the review. I got this watch a few days ago and was wondering what the “done” button does when reviewing run results. I’m afraid to hit the done button as I don’t want to potentially erase a run.

    If you hit the “discard” button, will it discard all run history completely, or just from the watch (and not the app)?

    Also, is there a max # of runs before the watch runs out of memory?

    This is my first GPS watch. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

    • Steve

      @VC Think the ‘Done’ option just closes the file whereas ‘Resume’ is the other option. It doesn’t erase them, I do this all the time. Some people don’t use Auto Pause/Resume, if you do this feature seems largely irrelevant?

      They move into History, but as soon as they’re synced, I discard them anyway. I don’t use the app, but I’d assume it works like Garmin Connect, Discard is for the watch memory only? (Otherwise you’d lose stuff from the app when the device clears old history when it’s full.) I believe there is an activity limit in History of seven activities, but if you are recording decent activity lengths I would assume they would delete before you reach seven if you hit the watches limit.

      @James Yes you can turn off auto lap in the settings then it records a lap on the lap button when you press it, so you will see your time on each lap in the summary. Settings|Run Settings|Laps|Auto Lap Off

      The lap key is the ‘back up’ (below the power button on the left)

  107. Molly

    Is there a way to turn off the Auto-Save on the Forerunner 25? I would like to be able to stop for a while, then resume the same run or cycle. But the device always saves the activity data so I have to start a new activity when I resume. My trusty old Forerunner 205 would let me resume even after turning off the device. I really miss that feature.

    Does the Forerunner 230 have this same Auto-Save?

    Thank you! Your reviews are terrific.

  108. Aaron

    Does anyone know if Garmin plans to upgrade then25 this year? Hoping for more activity monitor features and a thinner build. Vibration alerts would be great too.

  109. João Jacinto

    Hello,

    I have a question for you… If we want to expand the use of the FR25 for more than the 10 hours, is it possible to use it, linked to a powerbank?
    I usually don´t run more than that time, but if I want to go on a ultra without spending more money in a new watch, i’d like to know if I can charge it while running.

    Thanks!!!!

  110. okrunner

    Ray,
    I have several gps watches and my most recent is the Tom Tom Spark. I mostly like it but annoyed by the lack of an auto pause but more importantly just have a hard time reading the screen with my aging eyes. Most notably the bottom two metrics. I’m not old but you’ll understand soon after you reach 40 and beyond. I have a 305 and Motoactv that I can mostly see well. Am I mistaken or does the FR25 appear to have larger numbers on the display than most others, even larger than most Garmins? I’m tempted to try another watch and have looked at reviews on the 235, 735, and 920. Of those three the 920 appears to have the larger screen. I would like integrated heart rate but not a deal breaker. So, contemplating the fr25 if the numbers are really as large as they look.

  111. Rich Poulton

    HUE Garmin fan and LOVING The FR 25. Does anyone else have the issue where it randomly decides to turn system sounds back on after having manually being turned off ? – Its a TINY issue but I’d love to know if anyone else has the problem and if theyve found a fix. Thanks

    • Steve

      Haven’t had this issue as I keep the noises on.

    • betolozada

      Hi, It happened to me every time, but figured out that you have to go to settings in garmin connect (web and app) and set sounds off in order to them to keep that way, otherwise garmin connect settings will overwrite the watch settings. Hope this help.

  112. One thing to note that was a showstopper for me on the FR25; the run/walk feature doesn’t allow you to set a run interval longer than 10 minutes. This seemed like such a crazy limitation that I called Garmin to confirm, and it’s sad but true. So if you’re runner who is on a run/walk training plan where you’re trying to increase the length of time you run beyond 10 minutes, this watch won’t help you. We returned ours and are getting the Polar M400 instead.

    I’m generally a Garmin fan, so this was disappointing. Garmin’s answer was that to get that functionality I want I would have to buy the 230 or 235, which carries a much bigger price tag.

  113. Stu

    My wife has just got this and is gutted to find she can’t have pace AND speed data fields at the same time – it only offers one or the other.

    A huge disappointment as it was a feature missing from her FR10, and from the write-ups it didn’t sound like an either/or setting. Do we think it’s a likely candidate for a firmware upgrade?

  114. James

    Curious to know if a review of the forerunner 35 is upcoming….

  115. If you go into data field settings in Garmin Connect while the watch is paired, you can have 3 data fields at a time.

  116. TIJU CHERIAN JOHN

    Thanks a lot for the great review. One question. Is it possible to design my on interval training with customised intervals on this?

  117. John

    Does anyone know if you need to carry a phone when you run for the live tracker to work?

    • beto

      Hi, no, you on’t need to carry your phone for the Live tracker to work, you can leave it at home with your wife and that way she’ll be able to know ehare you’re at ;)

  118. Alex

    Hi there! Im curious about this watch (forerunner 25) and i want to ask something specific. If i connect it with chest strap for heart rate monitor, the data of the heart rate will stored to the watch or is only for live monitoring? Also if i use this watch in the gym, not running, i will take accurate data of heart rate, calories burned and workout time or not?

  119. Neil Torres

    from FR10 to FR25.
    I notice the FR25 doesn’t have a virtual pace.

    • Steve, Yorkshire

      Yes, it does. Start the watch and while it locates GPS there is Run Options on the screen. Choose ‘Edit Mode’ and switch from ‘Basic Mode’ to ‘Virtual Pacer’, you can then set your VP in mins and 5 sec increments.

  120. Sean

    Does this watch have a simple stop watch feature? Or do you have to disable the GPS and just start the timer? I’m trying to figure out if this will work for my college age kid. Thanks.

    • Steve, Yorkshire

      Not an exclusive stopwatch, but if you turn the autopause feature OFF then it should theoretically track you as being in the same place. The LAP function would give splits when you want them.

  121. I bought the FR25 as a low cost replacement for a 301XT with battery problems. On today’s run it shows lots of dropouts, where the pace drops to nearly zero. Mostly on admittedly slow walking pace sections (very steep uphill rough going). Auto-pause is OFF and a clear view of the sky all the time.. I think the attached picture from Golden Cheetah says it all. If that is how it’s going to be it will have to go back.

    Also I find that importing the FIT file into GC from Connect has no elevation, but the TCX file has.

    • Ben

      I have the same watch, and have seen no problems like that when walking, even with autopause on. What I have seen is that slower than 20:00/km the pace reads as -:–/km. I guess this is because slower than this, the distance travelled per second isn’t far enough to detect movement, but I may be wrong? Interesting that the HR trace drops out at exactly the same times. Possibly a defective unit?

      One thing to check based on my experience is that the settings are actually set how you think they are. The Garmin Connecnt android app has a habit of sending default settings to the watch, and resetting any changes to the settings you’ve made on the watch (for me it’s obvious when this happens as it usually changes from KM to miles)

      Elevation wise, the watch doesn’t have a barometric altimiter in it, so the only way to get elevation data is if it’s been produced from the GPS track in whatever platform it’s been processed in so it may be that Connect is generating the elevation data and appending it to the TCX file?

  122. Steve, Yorkshire

    The FR25 only has Smart Monitoring unlike the 310XT that can be put into 1s mode.

    I have had no problem with it monitoring walking speed down to 16min/mi. When running it alongside a wired computer on the bike I did notice some sections where instantaneous/current speed readings were inaccurate however total distances and traces were fine. Both were set to auto-pause or recording moving time only.

    • john Dalton

      Thanks Steve and Ben, I have come to conclusion that it’s probably to do with their so-called Smart Recording confusing Golden Cheetah, I must admit I didn’t spot that limitation before I bought it.

  123. Alan Sweeney

    Hi ,

    Excellent reviews. I have been trying to get an answer from a Garmin but to no avail. I got my daughter (11) a FR 25. She has done a few runs with it posting good times. 2.5Km 10min 45secs. But when we review the graphs on the Garmin Connect it will have a average pace of say 4.56Min/Km. then best 3.33Min/Km but the graph:

    Pace Min/Km v’s Time. Has a nice peak/trough trace but bizarre figures when you hold over the trace. It reads 38.9874321 min/km. this figure varies across the time of the run. Very confused as she is not running 38….. mins for a Km.

    Been on forums and nothing about this. Apppreciate if you can shed any light.

    Regards Alan