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Everything you ever wanted to know: Garmin’s new Forerunner 230, 235, and 630 watches

Garmin-FR630-NewFeatures

Ahh yes, that time of year when there’s pumpkin spiced lattes (or cupcakes), pumpkin pies, and new Garmin Forerunner watches.  Like clockwork Garmin released an update to their Forerunner lineup, which includes new versions of their running watches.

The three watches released cover the mid-range to upper-end of the market.  They already refreshed a new budget-GPS watch, the FR25, back in August.  The new watches for today are:

Garmin FR230: This mid-range watch replaces the existing FR220
Garmin FR235: This mid-range watch is a FR230 with optical HR embedded in the back of it, replaces the FR225
Garmin FR630: This high-end watch replaces the existing FR620

For those that may not be familiar with the existing lineup, you’ll remember that the FR220/620 watches lacked many of the common features found in modern GPS watches today – such as activity and sleep tracking.  They also lacked Garmin’s Connect IQ platform that was rolled out a year ago.  These features were missing due to hardware limitations.

With the FR230/235 and FR630, that’s been rectified.  But it’s more than just that – it’s really a surprising set of small tweaks through both watches that makes the FR230/235 more like a FR630 than I expected – and that the FR630 continues to add new metrics not seen on any other Garmin watch.  Plus it plays catch-up for everything else released in the last 2 years to other high-end Garmin watches that the previous FR620 couldn’t handle.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  To be clear, my time with all of these devices is fairly limited.  I have gone on runs with all three of them, and have also spent considerable time poking at them in front of my camera.  I was not however able to do both of those in the same sitting (two separate time-frames).  Nor was I able to download any of my runs afterwards.  Nor run more than once with any given unit.  Thus, this is as much of a ‘first impressions’ post as anything else.  Don’t misconstrue it as a review; it’s not.  These watches may be great, or may totally suck, time will help clarify.

What’s New: The Garmin FR630:

Garmin-FR630-RunMode-1

First up, the more expensive Garmin FR630 GPS watch.  As noted, while this replaces the FR620, it’s really taking in everything previously seen on that watch and combining it with most of the new running-specific functionality seen on the multi-sport Fenix3 & FR920XT watches.

Since bulleted lists are one of the best ways to convey craptons of information, I’m going bulleted style for a list of new features.  How do I define ‘new’?  Well in this case I’m going with anything not found on the FR620:.

– Connect IQ support
– Bluetooth Smart notifications (i.e. texts, phone calls, e-mails, etc…)
– Addition of daily activity tracking (steps, sleep, calories, etc…)
– Addition of audio prompts (using phone, or phone + headphones)
– Music Control
– Metronome functionality
– Finish Estimator functionality
– More customizable watch time alarms
– Basic navigation functions (back to start, waypoints)
– Increased battery life (claimed 16 hours with GPS-on)
– Larger screen size (44%)
– New Running Dynamics (Stride Length, Ground Contact Time Balance, Vertical Ratio)
– Stress Score app
– Separate sport apps (Cycling, Running, Indoor Cycling, Indoor Running, Other)
– Performance Condition app
– Heart Rate Gauge data page
– Lactate Threshold testing/reports
– Addition of GLONASS
– Ability to enable UltraTrac mode
– Addition of ANT+ sensor pool concept (multiple HR/bike sensors)
– Backlight turns on when you turn your wrist (optional)
– Race an activity (previous or downloaded)
– Do not disturb mode
– Ability to charge while using
– Tempe Sensor connectivity

Phew, lots of stuff in there!  Ok, I’m going to run through all of it just after the video.  But for those who are less inclined to read through a bunch of stuff, here’s a walk-through of the watch’s features and menu systems.  Think of this more as exploring the different pieces than some sort of highly produced video.  Said differently: I recorded this in one single shot in 4 minutes – boom and done!

Ok – now, let’s go step by step through the major functions.  The FR630, like the FR230/235 includes Connect IQ support, which allows you to install any of the 1,000+ Connect IQ apps that are available today through the Connect IQ App Store.  These include watch faces, data fields, widgets, and apps.  The watch will also be compatible with the various previously announced Connect IQ updates for early next year.

Garmin-FR630-ConnectIQ-Front

In fact, you’ll notice that the Stress Score function is actually a Connect IQ app.  Speaking of which, the Stress Score app basically has you stand still for 3 minutes and then leverages an ANT+ heart rate strap to determine your stress levels.

Garmin-FR630-Stress-Score1

This is likely using heart rate variability to come up with your metered score.  When I tried it, the unit said I had low-stress.  Which, seemed like a fairly optimistic assumption of my stress level that day.  Would hate to see what it would say on an even busier day.  Here’s a quick gallery of doing the test on me (it gives you a count-down timer and your current HR).

You’re seeing more focus on unique data metrics within the higher-end Garmin watches.  To that end, they’ve extended the Running Dynamics metrics with three new data points: Stride Length, Ground Contact Time Balance, and Vertical Ratio.  All three of these metrics require usage of the Garmin HRM-RUN heart rate strap.  It will not consume data from competitive solutions that offer similar metrics such as RunScribe or Wahoo Fitness.

Garmin-FR630-RunningDynamics1

The stride length metric is pretty straightforward, simply the actual length of your stride.  While the GCT Balance shows the left/right foot balance for your ground contact time.  And the Vertical Ratio attempts to normalize the previous HRM-RUN metric of Vertical Oscillation by applying stride length to it.

Garmin-FR630-RunningDynamics2

Next, they’ve added in a Lactate Threshold test.  This can be achieved in two different ways.  First, you can just run as usual and if your run meets the requirements (unclear) then it’ll calculate it on the fly.  Or, you can have the unit guide you through a specific lactate threshold test for about 20 minutes.  I’m still a bit unclear on what exactly this gives you at the end.  I’ve asked a number of Garmin people, but nobody seems to be able to give me a precise answer.  Is it a number?  A score?  A set of zones?  A good/better/best?  A Dairy Queen Blizzard?  In my case, my run didn’t trigger it (nor did I get a Blizzard)– perhaps I didn’t meet the criteria.  Either way, something to focus on in the in-depth review with more running time.

Update: I’ve now got new clarification on how and what you get.  Here’s the details, straight from the ‘right folks’:

“How the LT test works:  the watch gathers sets of data at different paces for heart rate and heart rate variability. LT is detected mainly based on the HRV slope with respect to pace.  The data is reported in the FIT file as both a speed and a HR value at the point at which the LT is detected.  Under the hood the speed is in units of km/hour.  LTHR is in bpm.  These values are then reported with the activity FIT file to Garmin Connect where they will then be displayed on a new type of Report widget, the current (most recent) measurement as well as historical measurements.”

This explanation makes sense, and better aligns with what other competitive products do (i.e. BSX Insight).

Garmin-FR630-LactateThreshold-2

Garmin-FR630-LactateThreshold

Next, we’ve got a nifty little feature that helps you estimate your finish time.  By inputting your race (or training) distance the unit will spit out an estimated finish time based on your current progress (and show remaining distance).  This is available on both the FR230/235 and FR630.  Here’s a photo I took on the FR230:

image

In the event your watch says you’ve got a long time till the finish-line, you might need some navigational assistance.  This feature was cut within the FR620, but has come back by popular demand (or probably more like angry mob-like demand) to the FR630.  With the FR630 you can do simple back to start navigation, as well as the ability to navigate to a given saved waypoint.

Garmin-FR630-BackToStart

You can save various locations for future reference/access, as well as display exactly where you are at any point in time.

Garmin-FR630-Navigate-Locations-Saved Garmin-FR630-Navigate-Locations

Garmin-FR630-Navigate-BackToStart

Next, we see a significant stepping up of the phone integration.  First up is the ability to get audio prompts during a run.  Audio prompts are defined ahead of time using the Garmin Connect app, which must remain on and within range of the GPS watch for the audio prompts to work.  Once enabled the watch will have the phone speak lap information each time the lap button is pressed.  This can be both using the phone’s native speaker, or via headphones (Bluetooth or wired).

Today it basically just tells you the lap time and pace.  But it sounds like down the road that’ll be more customizable through the Connect IQ app.  See the ‘Audio Alert’ option below.

Garmin-FR630-Audio-Alerts

These audio prompts do require that you carry your phone.  The watch itself doesn’t make any spoken words nor play music directly.  Again, this requires you carry your phone during the run.

Speaking of music, you can now control music from your watch.  This includes basic start/stop and skip functionality.  And yes, it also requires your phone be with you.  The unit does NOT have any music storage capability.

Garmin-FR630-MusicControls

To see both of these in action, here’s a quick video I shot showing the audio alerts and music playing in the background being controlled by the FR630 (the FR230/235 carries this functionality too).

Next, like every other Garmin watch released in the last year or so, the FR630 includes Bluetooth Smart notifications.  This means you can configure the watch using the notification center on your Android or iOS phone and get things like text and call notifications.  Note that this does NOT mean you can connect to Bluetooth Smart sensors.  That wall still exists, only ANT+ sensors allowed through these gates.

They’ve also added in a new do no disturb mode for notifications, allowing you to turn these off both during workouts, as well as for a specified period of time.  Here’s a shot of that on the FR230:

Garmin-FR230-DoNotDisturb

(Tip of the day: Want to quickly tell the difference between the FR230/235 and the FR630?  The FR630 has a three-lined dash at the bottom of the display, which you can tap as part of the touch functionality.  Above, on the FR230/235 that’s absent.)

One hardware-specific feature noted is the larger display screen, allowing for bigger numbers.  Here’s a quick look at 1-4 data fields per page:

Finally, the FR630 also gets activity and sleep tracking functionality.  This means it’ll capture steps throughout your day, and also shout at you via the inactivity alerts.  At night, it’ll stalk you in your sleep, tracking your sleep metrics.  Note, it does not give you a stride length for bed-focused workouts.

Garmin-FR630-ActivityTrackingStats

Garmin-FR630-ActivityTracking

All of this data is then uploaded to Garmin Connect via the Garmin Connect Mobile app, or also now via WiFi.  You can still connect the unit via USB too, to any Mac/PC computer.  It’ll mount as a USB device like any other Garmin unit.

Garmin-FR630-BackSide

On the list of totally random things that didn’t really fit anywhere else, I’ll point out the following pile of small but kinda neat things I figured I’d mention:

– You can now set different types of watch alarms (i.e. week-days only, vibrate-only, etc…)
– You can configure four custom data pages (with up to four metrics each), plus preset data pages: HR Zone Gauge, Running Dynamics Gauge Pages (2), Virtual Partner, Clock, Music Controls,
– You can lock the screen by holding the bottom left button, at any time.

Lastly, there’s one little quirk with the FR630 touch screen that I think might cause some confusion in reviews/shows/tests – but probably not in real-life (except if mounted to a bike).  It’s that the back of the FR630 must be ‘grounded’ to your body in order for the touch screen to respond.  This does not apply to to the physical buttons, only the touch screen.  To demonstrate this, I give you the following short video:

Now, since initial publishing many of you have asked about the jacket/long-sleeve scenario (wearing the watch on top of that). Here’s a quick video I put together showing how well that works (and how non-finger contact works on the screen:

With that I’ve covered all the major features, but haven’t touched on things like GPS accuracy. As noted I wasn’t able to download any of my runs, though I can say that the runs did match the distances I had on the TomTom Spark GPS watch I was wearing at the same time (within 1%).  These runs occurred in tree-filled mountain terrain.  But obviously it’ll be something I focus on and publish all the results of within my in-depth review once I have final production units.

Preemptive Questions Note: For aspects like the new Running Dynamics metrics, Lactate Threshold and Stress Scores, Audio Alerts, etc… I don’t have clarity on whether those features will be coming to existing watches (such as the Fenix3/Epix/FR920XT).  For the most part, everything else new is already on the Fenix3, Epix, and FR920XT.

What’s New: The Garmin FR230 & FR235:

Garmin-FR230-RunModeWith-Peeps

Okey doke.  With the FR630 behind us, let’s move onto the FR230 and FR235.  I’m going to try and minimize duplication of new features here, and instead talk to some of the more unique features.  Or at least, new unique items on this platform.

First, it’s important to understand that the FR235 has everything the FR230 has.  However, the FR235 also has an optical sensor built into it.  As a result, there is one software feature that’s not in the FR230 – which is the ability to track heart rate 24×7 using said sensor.  I’ve noted that below accordingly.

Here’s the list of what’s new on the FR230 & FR235, as compared to the FR220/FR225:

– Connect IQ support
– Bluetooth Smart notifications (i.e. texts, phone calls, e-mails, etc…)
– Addition of daily activity tracking (steps, sleep, calories, etc…)
– Addition of audio prompts (using phone, or phone + headphones)
– Music Control
– Finish Estimator functionality
– More customizable watch time alarms
– Larger display (44%)
– Up to four data fields per customized data page (was 3 in FR220/FR225)
– FR235: Optical HR sensor (was in FR225, but not FR220)
– FR235: Broadcasting of optical HR as ANT+ to other devices, i.e. an Edge device (Update: the FR225 will NOT get an update on this, Garmin has changed their mind)
– VO2 max Estimation
– Training Effect
– Recovery Advisor
– Race Predictor
– 1-second recording option (previously only Smart Recording)
– Heart Rate Zone Gauge (was on FR225, but not FR220)
– FR230: Increased battery life (claimed 16 hours with GPS-on, vs 8-10 before)
– FR235: Increased battery life (claimed 11 hours with GPS-on and optical HR on, vs 7-10 before)
– Back to start navigation
– New cycling-specific apps (previously no separate function)
– Addition of GLONASS
– Support for cycling sensors (speed/cadence)
– Addition of ANT+ sensor pool concept (multiple ANT+ sensors)
– Do not disturb mode
– Ability to charge while using
– Tempe Sensor connectivity

 

What’s that?  You’re looking for another video walk-through in this post?  Sure, no problem – up first is the video walk-through of the FR230.  Again, focused on features and functionality:

Ok, with that out of the way, it’s important to take a slight diversion to the FR235 and talk about items specific to it first.  Most notably that it has a optical heart rate sensor built into the back of it.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise; the FR225 that was released earlier this year has one as well.  But what is notable is that this sensor is not licensed from Mio like the FR225 was.  Rather, this sensor is all-Garmin:

Garmin-FR235-OpticalSensor

The optical sensor package is fully done in-house, and not part of an acquisition of someone else’s technology, nor licensed from anyone else.  That’s…well…interesting.  But, probably not surprising.  We’re seeing many companies mix things up, likely because it’s cheaper to do so.  And also because Mio’s technology is further licensed from Philips, who themselves are looking to get into the fitness realm.  Hence why we’ve seen both TomTom and Garmin split ways from Mio NOW, though interestingly both companies maintained numerous times in conversations that the accuracy of the Mio sensors is really top-notch (something we already knew).

Garmin-FR230-HR-Gauge

The real question will be how accurate Garmin’s new optical sensor is.  I’m putting that one solidly in the camp of ‘TBD’.  My single run with the unit proved inconclusive, due to a beta firmware update the night before that hosed things up on the sensor side.  So it’s hard to tell.  It appears promising, but it’ll take a pass on any judgment either way.  But I will say that as I’ve noted numerous times lately with new optical sensors: Companies must prove their worth.  I don’t care if you’re Apple, Fitbit, Polar, TomTom, or Garmin: I’m going to assume your optical sensor sucks until proven otherwise.

Now, the good news here is that Garmin is doing some cool stuff with the optical sensor.  With the older FR225 (crazy to say that since it’s only 4 months ‘old’), the unit didn’t do 24×7 optical HR measurements.  Whereas the new FR235 does that now.  It’ll track your optical heart rate 24×7 for about 9 to 11 days between charges, and then upload that data behind the scenes to Garmin Connect.  I don’t yet have a screenshot of what that looks like there.

From this point on out – it’s all stuff applicable to both the FR230 and FR235 alike!

First up is that both units get Connect IQ app functionality, just like the new FR630 does:

Garmin-FR230-Connect-IQ

This is probably more interesting on the FR230/235 than on the FR630, because it’s kinda like how it was on the Vivoactive: It enables folks to get creative and get more extensive/advanced functionality by leveraging Connect IQ apps.  This is especially true early next year once they enable Connect IQ apps to write/save data.

Next, while the FR225 did gain activity tracking the FR220 didn’t have it.  Now both the FR230/235 have activity tracking that covers steps/sleep:

Garmin-FR230-ActivityTracking (2)

Garmin-FR230-ActivityTracking

As we dive into the phone integration piece, you see the same features on the FR630 as the FR230/235.  That means you’ll get the audio prompts seen above with the FR630.  The same conditions apply here too: You’ll need to have your cell phone on you, plus an audio playback device (i.e. headphones, or just using the speaker on the phone).

Garmin-FR230-Music-Controls

You’ll also get smartphone notifications, just like the FR630.  These are all handled after pairing a compatible iOS or Android device:

Garmin-FR230-Smart-Notifications

We see some of the advanced features previously only seen on the FR620, moving their way down to the FR230/235.  For example, VO2Max values are now found on the FR230/235. Note that for the VO2Max tests though you do need to have a traditional heart rate strap paired to the FR235, since that’s not capable of leveraging the optical sensor for that test (common due to lack of accurate heart rate variability on optical sensors). Update: It looks like they are enabling this with native optical sensor.

Garmin-FR230-Recovery-Advisor

Similarly, we see Training Effect and Recovery Advisor functionality moved to the FR230/FR235 as well.  Note that the Training Effect also requires a HR strap with the FR235, but the Recovery Advisor can leverage the optical sensor.  And we get Race Predictor, which spits out best guesses on how hot of a race you’ll have based on the VO2Max figures (i.e. shows you running at 36min 10K).

Garmin-FR230-Race-Predictor

Along the same lines of extended functions is the finish estimator, which as seen on the FR630 estimates how long until you get to quit running.  You’ll need to enter in either a standard distance, or a custom distance.

Garmin-FR230-Finish-Time

Garmin-FR230-Finish-Time3

The FR230/235 got new sport modes.  This was a chief complaint of folks with the FR220/225, which specifically didn’t have a cycling mode (whereas the Polar M400 did, for far less money).  Garmin has slightly leapfrogged there now in that the FR230/235 also supports cycling speed/cadence sensors – whereas the Polar M400 doesn’t.

Garmin-FR230-BikeModeOthers

Garmin-FR230-BikeMode

Now one last item that’s probably of interest to FR220 users – the FR230/235 now allows you to edit custom data pages to show up to four data fields per custom page.  Previously it was three data fields per page.  The FR230/235 gives you two custom pages, plus the following optional pages: Heart Rate Zone/BPM, Heart Rate Zone Gauge, Clock, and Music Controls.

Garmin-FR230-DataFields-Four

And as noted up earlier, you now get the option to set the recording rate as 1-second, versus the previous smart recording.  Why on earth it took this many years for Garmin to enable that, I’ve got no idea.  I suspect it may be somewhat self-serving in that it’ll probably reduce support calls from folks who see odd GPS tracks where the smart recording algorithm would appear to cut corners on buildings.  Still, I’ll take it!

Next – the FR230/F235 does get a basic back to start navigation functionality.  In this case it gives you a simple arrow towards your start location (as the crow flies).  To understand how this works (and how the FR630 navigation features work and differ), I’ve put together this quick video:

Overall the FR230 and FR235 are solid little watches in the mid-range GPS watch market.  I think they do a good job at making it a much harder job when comparing the Polar M400 to FR230 as well as to the TomTom Spark (actually, especially the TomTom Spark).

Size & Weight Comparisons:

Garmin-FR220-FR230-FR620-FR630-Size

Before we move on, a quick run-down of weights and sizes.  First up, you’ll notice that there’s virtually no differences in the thickness of any of these watches.  It’s all a wash, and to be fair – I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about them needing to be thinner.

Above, left to right: FR230, FR220, FR620, FR630.  Same order on below.

Garmin-FR220-FR230-FR620-FR630-Thickness

Garmin-FR220-FR230-FR620-FR630-Side

Note that on the FR235, the rubber edging is gone, so that slightly reduces thickness compared to the FR225.

As for weights, here’s a lineup of the units compared to older watches:

Garmin-FR620-Weight

Garmin-FR630-Weight

Garmin-FR230-Weight2

Garmin-FR220-Weight

Note, I didn’t have the FR235 at the time of the weigh-in.

Of note: New Garmin Connect Mobile:

It should be briefly mentioned that in addition to a slew of new devices, the company is also introducing a refreshed Garmin Connect Mobile application.  The new app’s look is most visible in its blackened color scheme, but more importantly is that the charting and graphing is much more cleanly implemented than in the past.

I have spent some time poking at multiple people’s phones with the new UI, but haven’t had it rolled out to my phone yet (Update: Now I have!).  So my impressions are more snapshot in time than weeks of usage.  Still, it seems an improvement in terms of functionality (even if I’m not a huge fan of the dark color scheme, but it’s growing on me).

IMG_2094 IMG_2095 IMG_2096

IMG_2098 IMG_2100 IMG_2102

IMG_2103 IMG_2105 IMG_2104

IMG_2106 IMG_2107 IMG_2108

IMG_2112 IMG_2110 IMG_2111

This new version should be available today for download.

(Note: This section updated with screenshots from my device this morning after updating)

Product Comparison Tables:

In order to help you compare products, I’ve added the FR230, FR235, and FR630 into the product comparison tool.  This database has all watches I’ve reviewed in it – so you can easily mix and match to compare your own product charts here.

In the meantime, below I’ve split them up into two sets – the first is the FR220 & FR225, vs the FR230 & FR235:

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated May 14th, 2021 @ 3:18 pm New Window
Price$249$299$249$249
Product Announcement DateSEPT 16, 2013May 12th, 2015Oct 21st, 2015Oct 21st, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 31, 2013July 2015November 2015November 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth Smart
Waterproofing50 Meters50 Meters50 Meters50 Meters
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours7-10 hours16 hoursUp to 16 hours
Recording IntervalSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)SMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1-second & Smart1-second & Smart
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreat
AlertsVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUAL
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGoodGood
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Can control phone musicYesYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYesYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)Barely (Speed mode only)YesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoWITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)WITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)Yes (also has internal accelerometer)Yes (also has internal accelerometer)YES (Also has INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)YES (Also has INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoYesYes
Recovery AdvisorNoNoYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for swimmingNo (protected though just fine)No (protected though just fine)No (protected though just fine)No (protected though just fine)
Record HR underwaterNoN/AN/AN/A
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoNoNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesYesYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NonONoNo
GeocachingNonONoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYesYEs
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Altimeter TypeGPSGPSGPSGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoYesNoYEs
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYES (ALSO INTERNAL OPTICAL HR SENSOR)YesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNO
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNO
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNO
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNO
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoYES FOR GARMIN VIRBYES FOR GARMIN VIRB
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNO
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)Yes
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)No
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNonONoNO
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNO
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNO
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoYES (TEMPE)YES (TEMPE)
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 220Garmin Forerunner 225Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Next, we’ve got the FR620 vs FR630:

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:16 am New Window
Price$399$399
Product Announcement DateSEPT 16, 2013Oct 21st, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 31, 2013November 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes
Data TransferUSB, WiFi, Bluetooth SmartUSB, WiFi, Bluetooth Smart
Waterproofing50 meters50 Meters
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours16 hours
Recording Interval1-second & Smart1-second & Smart
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatYes
AlertsAudio/Visual/VibrateAudio/Visual/Vibrate
Backlight GreatnessGreatGood
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Can control phone musicYes
Has music storage and playbackNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)Noyes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)Yes
Power Meter CapableNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Designed for runningYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)Yes (internal accelerometer)Yes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)YesYes
VO2Max EstimationYesYEs
Race PredictorYesYEs
Recovery AdvisorYesYEs
Run/Walk ModeYesYEs
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Designed for swimmingNo (protected though just fine)No (protected though just fine)
Record HR underwaterNoN/A
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Designed for triathlonNoNo
Multisport modeNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Auto Start/StopYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYEs
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNO
GeocachingNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoWaypoints
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNo
Back to startNoYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Altimeter TypeGPSGPS
Compass TypeN/AGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYEs
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNO
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNonO
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsYesNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
AmazonLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 620Garmin Forerunner 630
Review LinkLinkLink

Note that there are some minor features that haven’t quite been instantiated into the database rows – so stuff like Stress Score; in large part because I’m focusing on some of the bigger features, otherwise I think it gets more unwieldy.

In any case, remember you can mix and match any products in the product comparison tool here.

Product Availability & Pricing:

Garmin-FR230-Models

Just to recap on pricing, here’s the plan for the different units:

Garmin FR230: $249 w/o a HR strap, $299 with a chest HR strap
Garmin FR235: $329 inclusive of the optical HR sensor
Garmin FR630: $399 w/o a HR strap, or $449 with the HRM-RUN

Note that there are a few different color schemes available, which are:

Garmin FR230: Black/White, Purple/White, and Yellow/Black
Garmin FR235: Black/Grey, Black/Dark Red, Teal
Garmin FR630: Black/White, Midnight Blue

As for product availability, Garmin states all of these as ‘Q4’ (so between now and December 31st, 2015).  As is usually the case, expect large wait times if you wait until December to order a unit.  Just the way Garmin works – they don’t really take into account pre-orders in terms of fulfillment like you’d get with a new XBox game or something.

Also, as far as my feeling – I think we’ll see the FR230 and FR630 available pretty darn quickly (weeks), versus the FR235, which I get the feeling might be lagging slightly behind the other two.  But I could be wrong there (and happy to be).  Just my gut instinct based on a variety of factors.

As for my in-depth reviews, those will be published a few weeks after I get final product units to test.  I realize folks are trying to make decisions on watches for the holiday period, so I’ll be balancing having a thorough review with your desire to get it sooner.  Similarly, I’m also making a significant push for other recent products that have been announced.  It’ll be a very busy next few weeks!

Initial Thoughts:

Garmin-FR630-FinishRun

Ultimately, all three units offer fairly solid updates to their predecessors – and will likely soon become the de facto standard for pure running-only watches.  There are a handful of truly new features (i.e. lactate threshold tests), but many of the features can be found on other Garmin multi-sport and related watches that have rolled out over the past 12 months.  So this is really a case of catch-up and getting all the units onto the same platform and playing field.

As for whether you should upgrade?  Well, that probably depends on where you’re coming from.  For example, if you’re using a FR920XT/Fenix3/Epix, there’s few reasons to make the switch.  Plus, that’s kinda like going from a Land Rover to a Ford Focus, you may be losing out on other features (i.e. swimming/running/maps) that doesn’t really make that practical – depending on your use case.

But if you’re coming from the FR220 or FR620, then it’s more of a logical upgrade.  I’d consider how much you want to use the device as a pure running watch, or as a full day to day smartphone integrated device.  Do features like smartphone notifications and activity tracking matter to you?  Then upgrading probably makes sense.  If not and just tracking the core running functions, then I’m not sure I’d shell out.  If you’re on older pre-FR220/620 units, I’ve gotta believe we’ll see some solid holiday deals on the FR220/620, just like we did two years ago.

Minor Addendum: A few of you have asked about whether or not about why there isn’t a FR635.  Essentially Garmin noted that the bulk of the feature differences between the FR235 and FR635 are dependent on a true heart rate strap (i.e. advanced Running Dynamics, VO2Max-based metrics like Lactate Threshold, etc…).  Said differently, if they launched a FR635 they felt that people would need a HR strap to use most of the higher end features.  Further, the FR230/235 got many non-HR dependent features found on the FR620/630.

Next, some of you asked about if/when a FR935XT or new Fenix variant with optical HR might be on the table.  I can’t foresee that happening anytime soon.  Certainly not before spring of next year, but I’d probably guess summer/fall 2016 if I were to take a stab.  They’d have to nail the HR accuracy not only in land-based activities, but also swimming.  Oh, and solve the aforementioned HR variability (strap-dependent) requirements for why they didn’t do a FR635.  You can see why it’s highly unlikely we’ll see something near-term there.  And finally, as for whether or not they’ll add some of the new functions (i.e. Lactate Threshold, Audio Alerts, etc…) from the FR630 to the Fenix3/FR920XT/Epix, as noted at the end of the FR630 section – Garmin hasn’t clarified that piece.

With that – thanks for reading!  Feel free to drop questions below and I’ll attempt to consolidate and answer them.

Shipping Status (New!):

Current as of: November 30th, 2015

In an attempt to minimize the number of questions on current shipping status, I’ll update this section roughly each day with where things (in general) stand for shipping of each of the three units.  If/when folks report shipping updates (not just ETA’s, but actual tracking numbers), I’ll update the below with general status.

FR230: These are now widely in stock/shipping at Clever Training, and many other retailers.  They’re also available at a few places outside the US.

FR235: These are generally fairly widely available now (all pre-orders with major US retailers have cleared), though retailers do seem to go into back-order briefly status for a few days before clearing again.

FR630: These are now widely in stock for most SKU’s/colors at Clever Training, and shipping pretty readily with other retailers both in the US and outside the US.

Do remember that the Garmin shipping pattern is incredibly predictable. They usually start off shipping in very small quantities for the first week or two (a few hundred units globally), and then scale out to thousands of units per week after a few weeks.  This is partly to ensure production quality in earlier shipments, and partly to ensure if they screw something up it lessens the recall (like what happened with the FR920XT last year).  Further, expect that the FR235 backorders will take quite some time to get through.  In other words, don’t expect to place an order Dec 5th and expect it in time for the holidays.  Last year for the FR920XT (announced first week of Oct), some backorders didn’t clear out till January/February in some countries.

Next, there actually isn’t a specific country-by-country order, they tend to ship bunches to countries and it’s up to the given Garmin country manager to handle distribution to retailers in their region.

Next, when it comes to allocation of retailers, Garmin generally tries to get units in the hands of companies/retailers that have actual pre-orders from customers (versus having units sit on a shelf).  However, a LARGE part of that is whether or not the retailer placed initial order requests with Garmin ahead of and at announcement time.  Yes, ahead of.  If a retailer (especially large ones), didn’t do that – it’s highly unlikely they’ll see units soon. For whatever reason Garmin tends to de-prioritize Garmin.com orders, which are almost never first.  Similarly, Amazon also tends to be later in the game too.

Lastly, many retailers will promise you dates that are unrealistic. They’ll do this to get your pre-order knowing you won’t cancel.  As usual in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If they’re promising you a unit to be shipped tomorrow – ask if they have it already in their warehouse.  If not, ask if they have a tracking number from Garmin showing it’ll arrive at their warehouse by tomorrow. Garmin will send retailers tracking numbers once the shipment has left Olathe, KS (or other international hub).  This tracking number includes the number of units of each model that the retailer is receiving.  If they don’t have that, they’re making stuff up.

Phew!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

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.

If you're shopping for the Garmin Forerunner 235 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

Since the Garmin Forerunner 235 is no longer sold, I recommend looking at its successor, the Garmin Forerunner 245:

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others Polar H9/H10 and Wahoo TICKR X). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

This is the pinnacle of Garmin chest straps, and includes dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, Swimming support, Running Dynamics, as well as back-fill of HR/Steps/Intensity Minutes/Calories if not wearing the watch in certain sports. Note: Not all watches support Running Dynamics/Swimming HR backfill, check your watch first!

While optical HR works on some newer Garmin watches, if you're looking for higher levels of accuracy, the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM are less expensive than the HRM-PRO, but lack the Bluetooth connectivity and a few other features.

Seriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog's house. Just in case.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

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.

If you're shopping for the Garmin Forerunner 235 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

Since the Garmin Forerunner 235 is no longer sold, I recommend looking at its successor, the Garmin Forerunner 245:

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others Polar H9/H10 and Wahoo TICKR X). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

This is the pinnacle of Garmin chest straps, and includes dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, Swimming support, Running Dynamics, as well as back-fill of HR/Steps/Intensity Minutes/Calories if not wearing the watch in certain sports. Note: Not all watches support Running Dynamics/Swimming HR backfill, check your watch first!

While optical HR works on some newer Garmin watches, if you're looking for higher levels of accuracy, the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM are less expensive than the HRM-PRO, but lack the Bluetooth connectivity and a few other features.

Seriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog's house. Just in case.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

1,454 Comments

  1. Morten

    You mention that the watch must be grounded to your skin in order to use the touch-screen. Surely, this must also work when wearing the watch over a jacket/sweater, or has really Garmin forgot about us poor guys living on the Northern hemisphere?

  2. Chris

    For the record – I don’t understand this lineup – I’ll be moving from the Fenix line to the 235 – the HR sensor is more important than some goofy metrics that don’t take into account that I’m 6’1.

  3. Gery

    Has anyone seen a longer watch band, or band extension, for the 220? I put it on just over a shirt sleeve and I barely get in the last hole. Any help would be appreciated.

  4. Sal

    Hi Ray
    Great review as always!
    I got the fr225 four months ago and I love the watch.
    Actually an even improved version of it would be great. I surely will never run carrying a smartwatch with me but Smartwatch-notifications can be great during the day (office). And I like the 44% bigger screen.
    I’m a runner (no swimming, no bike).
    Difficult choice!! 230, 235 or 630? The 630 has some really interesting additional features; but they need a conventional hr-strap. And I hate wearing it on my chest.
    That’s why I love optical hr-measurement. But in a couple of weeks I hope to finally get my “The Dash”. So I could stream the HR-values from them to the watch and eventually (once per week) wear a chest-strap for the supplementary features on the 630.
    What do you think: is the 150 euro price-difference between 230 and 630 worth it?

    And do you already know if Polar and Suunto will announce new running-watches this year?

  5. Gad Rohrlich

    Hello,

    I have a 620 today and love it. Had before a 405, 410 and 610. I am now hesitating between the 630 and the 235. I would love to have the HR with optical sensor but will I lose some features if I buy the 235 versus the 620 ?

    • ekutter

      From all the comments on this, I’m guessing most that have the 620 (like myself) will “downgrade” to the 235 if the optical HR works reliably. Most of the features you are losing from the 630 would be classified as nice to have, but certainly not must have, when compared against the convenience of the built in HR. I won’t miss the run dynamics but will miss the touch screen and 4 data pages. Added bonus you save $70.

      I’m guessing a 635 won’t be far behind if this really happens.

  6. Ryan

    Any comparison in screen size between the Fenix3 and 630? The 630 screen area looks bigger. I can’t stand the massive bezel around the Fenix3. It’s like half an inch all around.

  7. Teriemer

    The FR 920 XT just got Pace from footpod back (it’s in beta state, but working). So now you can have tracking and distance from GPS while having super responsive instant pace. I wonder if the new FR series will have that as well. I think so?

  8. FYI/FWIW: I’ve managed to borrow/steal/etc the FR630 & FR230 for a few hours for tomorrow. So if there are specific photos, videos, questions, or anything else not covered above in the 498 other comments/answers or the post itself, feel free to reply to this specific comment with requests. I’ll try and get as much in as possible.

    I already have on my list:

    1) Demonstration of touch screen when over a long-sleeve shirt/coat
    2) Showing 1-4 data fields on both watches
    3) The navigation capabilities of the FR230/235
    4) Exact weight/depth of the FR230/235’s

    Cheers.

    • Brent

      I assume this does the non-GPS, non-footpod distance/pace measurement thing that the 220/620 did? Can you do a quick check to see if the accuracy improved on that at all? Thanks!

    • runnershigh

      – is it possible to turn off “activity tracking”-feature ?
      – is it possible to lock a HF-Zone or specific HF-Range (and signaled by vibration)?
      Thanks.

    • DJ

      Can you use the footpod for pace?

    • ekutter

      May not be something you can test here, but with the 235, can you turn off the optical HR sensor to get the same 16 hour battery life of the 230?

    • torben

      Yes you can switch it off.
      And Yes there is an own display for Zone and HF-Range, vibration if you say you want to have

    • simon

      Can you try to reject a incoming call from the watch?
      Can you try to answer a call from the watch (wearing headset)?

    • torben

      yes you can

    • Dan Majgaard

      Can you give some information about the charge connection (and an image)? – Specifically, can you wear it while running and it still logs, like the 310xt and Fenix3?

    • Mark

      photos (and comments as necessary) comparing screens between new devices and existing devices.

    • Luís Ricardo Beato Pereira

      Would love to know if the HRM-Run strap from the 620 works 100% with the new 630 Running Dynamics.

    • Tim Grose

      A lot of comments on here that the existing running dynamics aren’t so useful (and anyway you get cadence on all these devices anyway) and so the optical HR on the FR235 is a good trade off. However we don’t really know much about the “new” running dynamics yet. A “dynamic” read out of stride length sounds interesting as I can see some tests you could do in comparing speed/effort levels with shorter faster strides as against longer slower ones etc – bit like cyclists do power meter tests in different scenarios. Then again there is a CIQ stride length field already so not sure how this is any different/better. Similarly cyclists have left/right power balance options. Will similar for runners in ground contact balance (?) help to detect injury problems due to temporary variances in style etc etc. So any actual visibility of the new dynamics would be nice.

    • RJ

      One data field I found the 220 did not have, at least when I checked a while back, was “last lap pace”. Could you confirm if that is included in the 235 as one of the options to add to one of the 4 data fields for running? I know this is oddly specific, but I constantly look at that while training with my 610. It looks like the 235 has all my 610 has and more, but that one data field might be a deal breaker for me.

      Excellent reviews by the way. You always seem to show the particular details I am looking for.
      Thanks

    • Gavin

      Hi Ray – a pic of an IQ ‘analogue’ watch face would be good, please.

      Thanks.

    • Mike Richie

      Could you check how much memory (storage) there is on the watch(es). That would impact Connect IQ and the usefulness of apps like dwMap. I assume these watches can be just accessed through the USB port.

    • Abby Steele

      I second this comment! Please let us know if “last lap” is now a data field on the 230/235. “Last lap” is one of the top three things I was hoping for in the update. I can’t stand it when I miss the lap notification on my watch and then there’s no way to check back at what that last mile was. Thanks so much for your great reviews!

    • Here’s the data fields for the FR230/235:

      Timer: Timer (total), Lap Time, Last Lap Time, Average Lap Time, Elapsed Time
      Distance: Distance (total), Lap Distance, Last Lap Distane
      Pace: Pace (current), Average Pace, Lap Pace, Last Lap Pace
      Speed: Speed (current), Average Speed, Lap Speed, Last Lap Speed, Maximum Speed
      Heart Rate: Heart Rate (Current), Average HR, HR Zone, Training Effect, HR %Max, %HRR, Average HR %Max, Average %HRR, Lap HR, Lap %HRR, Lap HR %Max, Time in Zone
      Cadence: Cadence, Average Cadence, Lap Cadence, Last Lap Cadence
      Temperature (with Tempe paired): Temperature, 24-hour Max, 24-hour Min
      Elevation: Elevation (current)
      Other Fields: Calories, Laps, Sunrise, Sunset, Time of Day

      Note: As usual, subject to change on beta blah blah blah. 🙂

    • Wayne Lyle

      Yes!!!
      Thank you very much, this is excellent news, as I really was hoping to get confirmed whether Garmin would allow % of max hr as a data field on the 230, this is definitely going to be my next watch, as i don’t warrant paying quite a lot more money for the 630 for what seems to be mainly wifi.

      All the best and thank you for your excellent reviews as usual.

  9. Susanne

    Thank you very much for this very helpful review. I have a question. Has the forrunner 235 the back to start feature really? I read that only the 630 has this feature and the other haven’t. I think this feature is very important, can you help me?

  10. Long Run Nick

    Hi Ray, I continue to enjoy and appreciate your previews and reviews. With the FR235, is it possible to disable/ turn off the move alert like you can with the FR920? Thanks.

  11. Richard

    Ray, another great article. You are really THE online reference for me. Thank You.

    I have a 620, and I think running dynamics are just a gimmick – after a few weeks I didn´t even bother to check, so I am really exited about the 235 – NO STRAPS. My only concern is about the new (“in house”) HRM sensor… How accurate do you think they are? Compared to Mio and to traditional chest belts?

    • Tim

      Let’s say the 235 proves to be less accurate; you could still use it for 24/7 HR monitoring and when running use a HRM-strap…

  12. Louis

    Garmin states FR230 and FR235 *without* VO2 max. Whilst I’m not hugely bothered by this, I do use it to guage my general fitness. Can someone (Ray!), confirm if the 230/235 do indeed calculate VO2 max?

    Otherwise it’s frustrating that the 630 does “return to start”, and 230/235 doesn’t. All in all, I’m looking to be forced to get both the new Vivosmart HR *AND* the 630 in order to get what I want, but that duplicates features, that an otherwise software update would negate.

    Damn you Garmin Devs for being told not to include a few more lines of code in the 230 due to your sales & marketing dept.

    • Chris

      Not sure what you mean – Garmin shows on their website that the 235 has VO2 max?

      link to buy.garmin.com

    • The FR230/235 can do V02Max, but require the HR strap to do so.

      The FR230/235 have back to start. I’ve got a video I shot this afternoon that I’ll upload shortly showing side by side navigation on both. Just sifting through the few hundred comments/e-mails since..well…2 hours ago. 😉

    • Louis

      Thanks so much dude! I subscribe to your channel so I’ll see it when it gets there.

      @Chris – the Garmin page says no GLONASS and no VO2 Max, or at least it did this morning when I checked.

      Having just watched Garmin’s youtube channel on the 230, they show both these features. Nothing like the Engineering dept, not talking to the Marketing dept, not talking to the Web Devs, hey…

    • Louis

      Btw I checked UK site, there may be differences.

    • You know those drug commercials where they say “4 out of 5 doctors agree”? That’s sorta like how it works with Garmin.com specs upon release. 4 out of 5 times the specs are incorrect. But even the blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

  13. Summit Mahdeek

    First you’re the best!! Regarding charging while in an activity: What is the max activity recording time/memory? and what is the display/metrics functionality while charging?

    I ask because with the fr310xt for example you can charge while in use, though it defaults to a charging screen and doesn’t display any metrics, also at 1 sec sat acquisition/logging the 310xt will only record for 24 hours. We had a problem with this during a 100mile run taking 31 hours to complete. While charging we missed our pace metrics to keep us moving through the late night hours, and though the summery screen at the end of the 31 hours showed the entire distance and duration, after uploading to connect it only recorded 81miles over the 24 hour capacity(set to 1 sec instead of smart or ultratrac or whatever) Thanks for the info.

  14. Noelle

    I wonder if we’ll see a price drop in the Vivoactive once the 230 starts to ship. I bought a 610 on super sale in January this year to replace my aging Nike+ sportwatch, and later picked up a Vivofit. I was seriously considering switching to a Vivoactive (so I don’t have to wear two devices at once), but now with the 230 going for the same price with way more features (from a running perspective, at least – it rivals the 610 now, which the 220 didn’t quite do before), it’s hard to pass up.

  15. Matt

    Not sure if I’ve missed this bit of info.
    Is it possible to turn off the HR monitor when not wanted on the 235 to extend the battery life?
    I’m upgrading from the 410 and would like as long as battery as possible.
    Thanks.

  16. Ivan

    Do I get all the new data from the 630 using the HR belt for the 920t?

  17. George

    Oh cool, it’s not completely fugly!

  18. JM

    I often like to explore new routes or go on runs in unfamiliar cities when I’m in such a place. I understand that none of the new watches do anything like displaying a breadcrumb-style map. However, the FR630 can save locations as waypoints. That’s worth something, but the usefulness seems limited. If I’m understanding this correctly, this would require you to physically be at the place you want to save as a waypoint, which is less than ideal if you’re in an unfamiliar place. What would be very useful is if there were some way to plan out a route using waypoints in Garmin Connect and upload those waypoints to the FR630, which you could then follow sequentially. Can that be done currently? Could it be enabled in a future update, or should we not expect anything?

    • Kermit262

      I’m pretty sure that’s not possible with the 630. That functionality does exists on the fenix 3 however.

    • That’s correct, you have to be at the spot to save the waypoint.

      Like Kermit noted, I see this more as a ‘get me back to home, Starbucks, etc…’ type function where you go there often than really one aimed at navigation.

    • Tim Grose

      In theory (well I did try it once on a 920) you can edit the locations FIT in say FIT File Repair Tool and upload the changed one to your watch. I found had to delete the one on the watch and put the new one in “NEWFILES”. As such it ought to be possible to write a “tool” to do this or, more usefully, hope for a new feature in Garmin Connect. Not too sure but don’t think the Garmin BaseCamp software can help here. Or, if you have a Fenix 3 (as stated), do it there and shunt it over. Bit of a “PITA” but needs must sometimes.

    • JM

      Thanks so much for the feedback, all. And thanks to Ray for a great preview.

      I just became aware of a Connect IQ app called dwMap that displays a breadcrumb map – hopefully that would come to the 230, 235, and 630.

      With the exception of the lack of navigation, these do look like pretty attractive watches. Let’s hope for good GPS accuracy!

    • hollyoak

      When I run (walk) in an unfamiliar place I just take my Android with the most excellent Locus app that lets you download many different types of maps for offline use (Google, OSM, etc…) and activate a track recording feature. It’s pretty much impossible to get lost and you can preplan stops with little icons. Give it a try!

  19. FYI:

    I’m in the process of consolidating photos and answers to questions from earlier today. However, in the meantime, here’s two videos I’ve uploaded (I’ll add these to the post soon):

    Comparison of Navigation Features on FR230/FR235/FR630: link to youtube.com

    Usage of FR630 touch screen while worn over clothing: link to youtube.com

    Enjoy!

    • Tim Grose

      Useful videos thanks. On the gloves bit, might be worth noting that I find it quicker to tap the screen (well on a 620) to change data screens rather than swiping.

    • Yeah. I also often found that also to be the easiest way going all the way back to the FR610 as well.

    • K0liber

      Is it possible to change data screens with physical buttons?

      And thanks for great article!

    • Yup, no problems there.

    • Tim Grose

      I could see you could (and indeed would have to) change data screens with physical buttons on the 230/235 but not sure how you would do that on a 630 if it is like the 620 (as it seems to be)?

    • K0liber

      So if I understand you correctly, you can’take do that on 620?
      And just to make it clear, my initial question was about 630, not 230/235.

    • Francis

      You cannot do that no the 610 or 620. You must use the touchscreen , swipe or tap, to change screen. Or else have it set up to be automatically going through the screens during your activity.

    • Håkon Foss Liverud

      Thanks for posting the videos. How is the touchscreen compared to the 620? Have you considered making a video using gloves like you did with the 620 (link to youtube.com)? Would be useful to know as I’m planning to buy a watch that I can use for cross country skiing and running in the winter.

  20. Kermit262

    Thanks for the additional videos Ray. Answered a lot of questions. Bummer that navigation on the 230/235 is reduced even further than the already limited feature set of the 630. Still though this refreshing across the forerunner line is impressive.

    • Tim Grose

      Miles better than the 620/225/220 though which has nothing well bar the heading data field on the 620.

  21. Gui

    Is possible to measure bike cadence with some bike cadence sensor and hr swiming with Fr 630?

  22. Bob B

    I wish Garmin would offer a HRM bundle with the 235, like it does with the 230/630. That might sound crazy, until you consider that even with the 235’s optical capabilities, you still need a heart rate strap when wearing the watch on a jacket sleeve (5 or 6 months out of the year in Ohio) or when you want to see your VO2 Max or Training Effect. I think the 235 is a decent value, but adding a full retail-priced strap (opposed to the discounted bundle price) makes it a bit pricy.

  23. Kevin Butler

    DC, any updates on how accurate the Garmin-made optical HR sensor is? compared to FR225?
    Apologies in advance if you’ve posted this and I missed it.

    -K

  24. PierreP

    Ray,
    Thanks for the awesome overview.
    Can I use the Polar H7 strap with the Forerunner 230?
    Also, if yes, what functionality will I be missing?

  25. Oliver

    Thank you for the review. I am really excited about the FR235. I have the FR225 and I am really missing the connected features. My only fear is that the new optical HR sensor might not be as accurate as the Mio one in the FR225. The new watch doesnt have the rubber shades which keeps light out and give it a good fit on the wrist for the OHR sensor. How are you finding the FR235 regarding the sensor?

    • It’s still too early to know on the optical sensor piece. Hopefully within the next few weeks I’ll get a production unit and be able to start testing.

  26. Jason

    Thanks Ray for the initial pre-view. Just ordered the 230 from CT. Love my 220 but the bigger screen, activity tracking, more fields on the screen, and additional metrics pretty much sold me. Also don’t mind using my existing Rhythm+ for heart rate tracking since it is so comfortable and the battery lasts a long time on one charge.

  27. Dean

    I am looking at the Forerunner 235, the 220 without the HRM shows cadence, max cadence, and stride length for running dynamics on Garmin Connect. Does the 235 also show this?

  28. Ted

    Wondering if the 630 and 620 share charging cables. Sure looks like it from the pictures, but do you recall if they do?

  29. Karl

    Wondering what all the different sports apps are on the 630.

  30. Mikey

    This is what REI’s site is telling me… if it’s true I can’t wait!!!

    • Byron

      Ugh… and still nothing from Amazon, which is where I have my corporate wellness vouchers stashed.

    • Yeah, I noticed Amazon currently lists the 230, but not yet the 235. Not sure if that’s just a random listing thing, or on purpose.

      Historically speaking, for newly announced Garmin products Amazon is both the last to list and usually pretty close to the last to fulfill. My understanding is this is largely fairly purposeful on Garmin’s part.

  31. ekutter

    Do you have info on what processors are in each watch? Do the 230, 235, and 630 all share the same one? How does this compare to the 920 or Fenix in terms of processing power for custom apps?

  32. Rob Montgomery

    I see there is an “Other” activity profile. Are you able to rename/create custom activity profiles on either the 230 or 630? I understand it might not map correctly to GC, but can you create new activity types and rename them like you can on 920xt/Fenix 3?

  33. Tina O'Connor

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the review. I am a Garmin junkie and am really excited about the update to my much loved 620.
    Better colors would have been nice, but anyway…..
    I was wondering if “text” includes WhatsApp messages.
    Thanks!

  34. Chris

    Maybe I’m missing it somewhere (or it’s all over the place in the comments) – but on the 235 without a HR Strap… I agree wholeheartedly that not wearing the failure prone HRM-RUN is worth losing data

    Running Dynamics (won’t work – but who cares)
    Cadence (works without strap)
    Lactate Threshold???
    VO2 Max???
    Recovery Time???

    Thanks!

    • The FR235 doesn’t do Running Dynamics, only the higher end units like the FR630.

      So to summarize:

      Running Dynamics: No
      Cadence: Yes, no strap required
      Lactate Threshold: Only on FR630
      VO2Max: FR235, or FR230/630 with HR strap
      Recovery Advisor: FR235, or FR230/630 with HR strap

    • Chris

      Much appreciated!

    • Nighthawk700

      I just saw your update about the FR235 and VO2Max “Update: It looks like they are enabling this with native optical sensor.” Wow, they are really putting a lot of confidence in their sensor! I just got a HRM strap that I was going to use once in a while with the 235 for VO2Max, but now it might not even be needed. Thanks for keeping us updated!

    • hollyoak

      Good catch, excellent news indeed! Can’t see why it wouldn’t work for TE too then and more generally HRV?

      With its HR broadcasting ability I can see the scenario where I’d be getting the FR235 to “supplement” the FR610 as I still think it’s the BoB watch for serious runners at this point, but if the FR235 can get “Pace from Footpod” like the Fenix3/FR920 it might be getting close.

      I’m not too bothered by the lack of navigation features as a watch will never be as good as what an Android with Locus can do and I have no problem running with my Moto G/4G in my right hand if I think I might need to find my way 😉

    • The variances is something I don’t have a clear answer on, but will work to get a bit more detail/clarity there.

  35. a_circelli

    New prices (in euro) for fenix3 and 920xt: 479 and 469 (w/o hr). 20 euro more. Maybe is for new running dinamics? I can’t understand a growth of price in a 1 year old device…(920xt)

  36. Jay M

    Good to see the 630 works over a sleeve. Any idea if the touchscreen will also work on a bike mount?

  37. Nick

    Ray, thanks again for all your help. I have one more question. Sorry I’m pretty new to these devices.

    What if there is no road where you are? If it is just a trail through the woods, will the 235 still be able to give you an accurate distance? How would that work? Thanks again sir.

    • No prob.

      Not sure if you’re talking navigation or just general GPS reception. For navigation it’s simply back to start. So it’s a straight shot like the crow flies. Rivers, buildings, trees be damned.

      For tracking, it’ll track where you are. Woods are tough for any GPS unit, and it remains to be seen how well the 230/235/630 do in those environments – it’s part of what I hope to test soon on final production units.

  38. Andy

    Thanks for the info! I contacted Garmin before seeing your post and asked them if the 235 will be capable of charging while in an activity. They said no. Your review has it listed… Honestly I trust you more. Any thoughts?

  39. Tomasz K

    What surprises me is the price difference on the Garmin website. FR235 costs $330 in US which is around 215gbp and on the Garmin UK website rrp is 270gbp so 55 quid more. Same with other european prices on the Garmin website (France – 350 euros).
    When you check the Suunto (as you know they ship from Europe) website you will see that they don’t have almost any difference between US and Europe prices.
    Complete rip off from Garmin – isn’t it?

    • One portion: Import duties. Polar & Suunto build their products locally in the EU, so they aren’t subject to that. Garmin builds theirs in Taiwan.

    • Tomasz K

      Thanks for your reply. It’s a fair point however note that customs duty on such products for imports to EU from Taiwan is 4.5%. On the other hand, same product imported from Taiwan to US is subject to 6% duty. Obviously I might have chosen the wrong commodity code but whether you import from Taiwan to US or EU you still need to pay duty so don’t think this will justify 25% higher price for Europe.
      Maybe I wasn’t clear in my previous post.
      Ambit3 Peak on the Suunto official website costs almost the same in UK as it does in US.
      FR235 costs nearly 55 pounds more on the Garmin UK website than it does on the Garmin US website.

    • Mike Richie

      I think the prices you are quoting include the VAT. I can’t find any info on the Garmin UK site but there prices are the same as Amazon Uk site and their prices do include the VAT. US prices do not include any taxes.

  40. JorgeP

    Hi, I bought the FR630 today on the marathon Expo in New York. Why is it not possible to download new apps from the Connect IQ-website?? The FR is not listed there… I cannot find the live tracking on the FR630…Where is it? Thanks

    • Tim Grose

      You setup LiveTrack from the Garmin Connect mobile app once you have paired your device with it. Perhaps no apps have been written for the 630 yet.

  41. DJ

    If anyone is going to the NYC Mary Expo they do in fact have the new FR. I bought the 630 and they seemed to have a good supply.So far happy with it. I recently sold my 920 which I was very happy with and would not have went with the 630 except that I have been running only minus swim/bike due to time constraints. 920 is too big to use only as a dedicated running watch. The 630 is so small compared to the 920 (Wore as a daily watch).

  42. Spenser

    Thanks for the great first review. Do you know if they will add Golf features to the F630?

    • Tim Grose

      Only if a Golf Connect IQ app was written. Must be possible as the Vivoactive has an inbuilt one.

    • Mike Richie

      Well, not everything Garmin can write for the watch can be done as a Connect IQ app. Currently the api is fairly limited.

  43. JorgeP

    Smart notifications doesn’t work on my FR630…I’ve setup the app but no notification 🙁 ??

  44. Stijn Vranken

    Looking forward to the FR235. My old nike+ sportswatch seems to be succoming to the rigors of time.
    Lets hope they’ll be out soon 🙂

    Thank you for this wonderfull pre-review!

  45. Mike

    The 235 showed up yesterday on amazon. The site says it will let you know a shipping date when available. I preordered there (gift cards) and when you look at the “my account” section, on the top it gives a summary. There is says expected delivery between 12/3 and 12/17. Just some more info in trying to figure out release dates.

    • Chris

      Today Amazon shows dates of

      630 – This item will be released on November 25, 2015.
      235 – This item will be released on December 2, 2015.

  46. Andy

    FYI, I just called REI regarding the fr235 and after a 5 min wait the rep came back with Nov. 13th as a date when their purchase order is scheduled to go through. This may be optic-mistic… (see what I did there?), but at least it’s something.

  47. Matt

    Hey Ray,

    Having used the 230/235/630, do they feel more like the speed of the Fenix3/920xt or more like the Epix (which I found to be MUCH faster — even just in menus, saving activities, etc)? I think my question is trying to understand whether these devices are using faster chipsets — and perhaps whether they will be included for “next generation” Connect IQ.

    Also, have you had a chance to see how much storage the 230/235/630 has?

    Thanks again!

    • I’m not sure if they’ll be ‘significantly’ faster than existing units. To me it feels just as responsive as a Fenix3/920XT. It’s actually funny you mention the Epix, as to me both of my units feel slower. :-/

      I unfortunately didn’t take a look at the storage on the new units. Sorry!

  48. rob jones

    Hi
    thinking of upgrading from a 10 to a 225, then I saw the 235! I like the virtual pacer of my 10, how does that compare to using the pace alerts of the 225? Seems like the 225 was replaced, basically, really quickly, is the 235 worth it? I actually don’t care much about the phone connectivity stuff, but the optical heart rate I like! Thanks

  49. Stian

    Stress score app on fenix3, plus the lactate test?

  50. Mike

    Just pre-ordered 235 from Clever Training. Thanks for the info Ray and congrats on the big life decision. We’ll enjoy seeing more posts!

  51. Tom

    Great intro, I am really looking forward to the new HR sensor testing. I am an older runner and seem to get slower every year, so accurate HR feedback is important. The 225 review shines, so I wonder about comparisons to the newer Garmin sensor … cheers to all

  52. Eduard

    Love the 630, just bought it at the NYC marathon expo. We’ll see how it works in the marathon, first a quick trial run tomorrow.

    Feels lighter and can be worn with an office outfit.

    The Garmin chap said they will start to ship in the next few weeks

  53. Laurent

    Bonjour la ceinture hrm tri aura-t-elle les mêmes caractéristiques que la ceinture hrm run? (seuil lactique)

    Good morning will the belt hrm tri sorting have the same characteristics as the belt hrm run? (lactic threshold)

  54. hollyoak

    The Garmin France site says that the FR235 doesn’t have the “Virtual Pacer” feature (link to explore.garmin.com) unlike the FR15/FR25/FR630/FR920…a bit confusing as I know from my FR610 what the “Virtual Partner” (useful and listed here as being available on the FR235) and the “Virtual Racer” (not so useful) are. Anyone know ? Thanks !

    • Tim Grose

      Think you mean “Virtual Partner”. Only the 630 has this of these 3 new ones.
      “Virtual Racer” again only the 630 has this. The Partner is a simple guide against a fixed pace. The Racer can you take your performance on a course previously and give you “real time” pacing against that – very useful if the course was not flat and so running even pace was not possible. The 230/235 does have the new “Finish Time” feature so you can largely pace yourself off that given it will tell you predicted finish time for the distance you specify as you run along.

    • hollyoak

      No the table I linked to on the Garmin FR site does mention “Virtual Pacer” but that may be a mistake indeed.

      In the 630 manual you linked in another post, “Virtual Racer” has become “Race an Activity” and in the 230/235 manual I found link to static.garmin.com it’s not there as expected and unfortunately the “Training Target” (what you call “Finish Time”) isn’t there either unfortunately so it doesn’t seem the 230/235 offer any kind of “pacing” other than showing your average pace on a lap/overall.

    • Tim Grose

      Sorry – Race an Activity=Virtual Racer.
      You can see Finish Time on Ray’s videos.
      The manuals may not necessarily be up to date with firmware releases or indeed even 100% accurate.

    • hollyoak

      Possibly, however Garmin will be held to their manual, not to Ray’s review of a non-finalized version. Besides I suspect Garmin are going to be working on “segmenting” the 235 and the 630, especially after the initial reactions going more or less like “the 235 has all I need, why would I bother with the more expensive 630 that doesn’t even have an optical sensor”…

      Another feature I’m not seeing is the broadcasting of the HR from the Optical sensor, anyone spotted it ?

  55. JorgeP

    I’m trying to change the FR630 to metric but they still going back to imperial… I’ve changed them in garminconnect and on FR630 itself, but after any synch between phone and FR630 the units are again imperial on both… This makes my new Garmin useless as a pace control as I don’t know how fast is the pace in min/mile and how far is distance in miles…

    • Long Run Nick

      Sorry you are having issues. Hopefully you get them resolved prior to the start tomorrow. Believe it or not, before all the tech gear, thousands of us ran marathons with a hand held stop watch or an old fashion wrist watch. Amazingly, the average finish times were possibly quicker than today. 5-6 hour plus marathon finishing times were quite rare. Finishing under 4 hours was the goal for a lot of us.

    • Kevin Dwyer

      Sub 3 when I were a lad Nick 😉
      Agree completely, you knew the time that you had to go through the half marathon and 20 miles, and just hoped that the mile markers ( if there were any ) were reasonably accurate.
      It’s good to chuck the watch in the drawer from time to time and just race as your body dictates.
      Hope you get it resolved Jorge, have a great race tomorrow 🙂

    • You mentioned setting it on Garmin Connect. Have you tried setting it through the Garmin Connect Mobile (phone) app?

    • Earl The Patriot

      This is true. Also, all marathons were uphill both out and back in the good old days.

    • JorgeP

      Hi Ray, I have set it through the Garmin mobile app.

    • Long Run Nick

      Kevin, how right you are. The best I could do was a 3:16 many years ago. But finally got a BQ in 2008 with a 3:57 at age 65!

  56. Rob

    Congrats on the big change!

    Curious about your thoughts on an internal struggle I’m having. Casual triathlete that would like an all-in-one solution but fear the 920xt is “too much” for me. Now that the 230/235 has cycling support, would this be a viable option for a multisport athlete or is something like the VivoActive a better fit? Obviously the 230/235 can’t support swimming, but the distances I swim can easily be tracked via stop watch/wall clock.

  57. Teriemer

    What about PACE FROM FOOTPOD? The F3, Epix and now the 920XT too. have got that implemented with the latest beta firmwares. It really works splendid. The question is; does the FR630 support that yet? Can somebody please check that. Go into > Settings > Sensors > paired Footpod > check for pace source.

    • Tim Grose

      No,mention of this in the manual link to static.garmin.com However given the devices you mention recently got it, would be odd not to also include in the premier running watch. Maybe it come later too.

    • Bob B

      The 230/235/630 owners manual list “Foot pod status” under the Status Icons section. Strongly implies that pace from foot pod is supported.

  58. Dan

    Alert: on Amazon Vivoactive is $199.00. I’m seriously conflicted. Looking for something with GPS that’s good for running & cycling with activity tracking & smartwatch functions. Vivoactive seems to do everything the 230 does with a smaller footprint (wristprint?), with the exception of some running functions that are probably of marginal utility. But the comments about dim screen and propensity of scratching same on the VA kind of scare me.

    I have a vivosmart now. screen is showing some degradation (a fairly common problem apparently per Garmin forums). It’s under warranty. I wonder if they would give me credit towards a different device instead of replacing it. Anyone ever try this?

  59. Bill L

    Garmin isn’t getting my money yet. I agree with those who think Garmin missed the boat when it didn’t include Optical HR on the 630. I want a 24/7 scan of my HR, and if I need to wear a strap to get more advanced functions during my run, I would be willing to do that. I gather they don’t make a watch for me yet so either I’ll wait or shop a different brand.

    However, many of my clients wear Garmin and that leaves with a problem to solve; I hope you have some insight that can help me – I want them to train in specific zones and want to know how much time they spend in each zone. None of the uploads they send me provide that information, nor have I such a display in any screens in your reviews. Does any watch? It strikes me my old Polar watches did, but that’s going back over a decade. Maybe it was Fitsense (remember those?) instead of Polar. Someone did. Who does now? If in fact Garmin does, what don’t my clients know about how to set their watches up so I can see that data? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • In fact Polar Flow shows you how much time you spent in each zone. There’s even a free coach mode where you can look up data of people you’re coaching. There are lots of things Polar does not have (or does not have working) but this one seems to be just right.

    • Tim Grose

      On the 630, there is a Time in Zone graph in History for each activity. The 920 has this as well.

    • Nathan Budd

      Assuming you mean HR zones rather than pace zones?

      I can’t speak for Garmin Connect, as I avoid it like the plague, but if your clients upload their data to Strava and are premium members, it will show you that data.

  60. Guy

    Hey there thank you for your review just a few quastions for you if you can please help
    In the add for the garmin 630 they show a screen that shows the weather is that a functionality of the whatch (is it built in) or a connect iq widget (if it is built in does it also work with the 630? (probebly the watch i am going to buy)
    Also does the smart notifications work in other langughes like Hebrew etc
    And does the watch shows temp like the fenix 3 does?
    Thank you for your help

    • Tim Grose

      Weather is a “built in” widget so appears on all 3 of these devices as standard. You will get temperature if you pair to a Tempe sensor but not from the watch on its own. I image Smart Notifications are shown “as is” and so depends how your phone shows them.

  61. hollyoak

    The manuals are now available :
    230/235 : link to static.garmin.com
    630 : link to static.garmin.com

    It answers some outstanding questions :
    – 235 : VO2 requires a “compatible HRM”, no mention of the 235’s optical sensor
    – 230/235 : no “back to start” navigation
    – 230/235 : no virtual partner/finish time (it has the race predictor hence the confusion maybe ?)

    • Heath

      Went through both manual and saw some interesting things. I wouldn’t be surprised that the FR235 would be a platform for something bigger in the future.

    • Chris

      interesting – because his screenshots above are with a 230 and show finish estimator..

  62. Bob B

    The 230/235 definitely has Back to Start – Ray demonstrates that in his navigation capabilities video.

  63. Antonio

    can anyone confirm on a real model if the alarm is now really has a “vibrate only” setting? my 220 says it vibrates only but does both audio and vibrate and my wife would gladly let me upgrade if i don’t wake her at 5am 🙂

  64. JorgeP

    When I bought the FR630 on the marathon Expo in NY they told me that the new straps are not available at the moment… They gave me the 620-strap and told me that is the same, but it isn’t the same! I cannot see the new metrics…how it is possible to make an update? Garmin lie to me.
    P. S. : Today I ran the NY Marathon with the FR630. It shows 42,34km. Perfect!

    • Teriemer

      Hi Jorge – Congrats on the Marathon 🙂 Would you mind posting a link to your GC activity so I can check how instant pace and tracking was? In advance, thanks 🙂

    • Teriemer

      Thanks a lot – much appreciated 🙂

    • Teriemer

      Tracking looks quite good for a brandnew watch with only a few glitches here and there. Taken the surroundings was also not the easiest, so definitely good as I see it. Also the accuracy seems very promissing. Once again, thanks for posting and congrats on completing the NYC Marathon 🙂

    • JorgeP

      You’re welcome! ?

    • Congrats as well!

      On the strap update, they do plan to release a firmware update for all HRM-RUN/TRI straps to get the new metrics. My guess is we’ll see that probably any day now. A bit odd that wasn’t ready yet for NYC, but I suppose that’s a case of damned if you do (release at NYC) and damned if you don’t (hold back and not let folks purchase).

      If I was there and able to pick one up, I suppose I’d figure it a fair compromise.

    • JorgeP

      Thanks Ray! ???
      I hope the update comes soon…

  65. Matt

    Great review.

    Has anyone found a way to make the mobile app show total miles by week in a chart or table? Something similar to Runkeeper’s view so I can see that I ran 25 miles this week, 30 miles last week, 31 miles the week before that, etc. this seems so fundamental that I am sure I’m missing it.

    • Peter P

      Hi Matt,

      Not exactly the solution you’re looking for, but if you sign up for a Strava account and link it to Garmin Connect, your workouts show up seamlessly in Strava, and it has a great page for tracking your workouts by week. Even if you don’t want to share your workouts with other people social media-style, Strava is a great training aid. I never look at Connect anymore – I just go straight to Strava.

  66. Jose

    Hi ray, is there any app to install to FR 230 through Connect IQ support that could give me swim data?

  67. Paul Allen

    Wondering if the FR235 is crippled on iOS the same way as the VivoActive is: Music Controls being for default music player only, useless if you want to control podcasts and Spotify.

    Even my old Pebble and current Misfit allow better control.

  68. Brian Simpson

    Some silly information but important none the less – it appears that the bands for the 230/235/630 are all the same size. Garmin has posted the replacements bands here:

    link to buy.garmin.com

    And I found another web site where all the bands for the 3 watches were available to pre-order under the same heading.

    So I’m off to order either a forge yellow or the purple band for my new 235. 🙂

    • ScoGold

      Terrific news. I was super bummed that the Force Yellow only came in the 230 and not the 235.

      I have the old 610 and the band broke all the time (pin slipped out). One of my friends even duct taped his, to ensure it didn’t fall off. Wondering if the band on the newer models is more robust.

  69. El

    Looking for new 235 HR sensor test … Is it same accurate like MIO sensor?

  70. loshko

    Preordered via CT. A bit of a bummer that they shifted expected availability dates from Nov to Dec.

    • Thanks for the support!

      As a general reminder, the dates on the site are for new orders. So for folks with existing orders, the date given at time of ordering is the prevailing date. At least until Garmin delays… 😉

    • Josh

      Ray, the folks at REI said as of yesterday that the 235 is available in their warehouse nov 16 with an eta of nov 19 at my door. I also ordered day 1 very early from CT, do you happen to have any more detailed update from their end on expectations for delivery dates?

    • I chatted with them (CT) this evening. They’re hearing they’ll get stuff in the same shipment as them.

      Typically CT does very well on pre-orders when it comes to shipments from the Fitness division (versus some past history on the Outdoor division). The Forerunners are part of Fitness.

      That said, it’s (the FR235) an incredibly high-demand product. I suspect long waits around will be the case, since we don’t have clarity on shipment levels yet as Garmin hasn’t gotten to that point yet. Typical pattern is only a handful of units in first few shipments (like a few hundred globally), and then they scale out into the thousands per shipment after a few weeks of testing the waters. Obviously the holidays mean there’s a huge rush on trying to meet demand, but I think like the FR920XT last year, that’ll be impossible for Garmin at this late in the game.

    • loshko

      Ok great (oh well, for early orders at least)… thx for confirming!

  71. runnershigh

    since approx. one year I am using the polar m400. After the first months of improving device-firmware and features of plattform flow as well, now it seems to be a good item to use.

    The new garmin series seems to be very attractive; although a bit more expansive.

    Meanwhile I really like ploar flow, so I don’t really want to change back to garmin connect.
    As far as I know polar plans/works on to realize an import possibility (TCX etc.) to flow.
    Did anyone has any further details about their plans?

  72. I just got a notification from REI that my order for the Marsala 235 will be delivered November 19, 2015 (order placed October 21).

    Stoked this will arrive in time for my marathon that weekend.

    • Belinda

      Congrats and good luck for the marathon!

      Did REI send you an e-mail or did you call customer service? I have also placed an order for the 235 but did not receive any notification from them about shipping dates.

  73. Michael H

    Does it display your total elevation during the run? For example, midway through a run I’d like to see how much vertical climb I’ve accumulated to that point.

    • Tim Grose

      No, afraid not.

    • Tim Grose

      But maybe there will be a Connect IQ data field for this. Not going to be very accurate though as these devices don’t have barometric altimeters.

    • Michael H

      I don’t think ANY watch is accurate, whether it’s GPS elevation, Barometric, or the blend of both. I remember seeing a review on here by a Toure De France elevation marker and several watches weren’t really close. In fact, the barometric was really off. They should be able to track elevation by GPS data. Hell, there are iPhone apps I’ve tested using GPS and they’re pretty good.

    • I wouldn’t go that far. It can be (and usually is) rather accurate for barometric altimeters if properly calibrated.

      I did some tests back in June showing that as part of my Polar V450 post, and they all fared very well (I think I had 8 units).

      GPS is more variable, but also less prone to initial calibration errors since it calibrates from GPS (usually quite good). On the flip side, it can be tricked in some environments – this older post explains why: link to dcrainmaker.com

  74. I was looking for estimated delivery dates and found out Garmin 630 & 230 are being shipped 11/25. The 235 is being shipped 12/2. Not sure how reliable it is, but now I can stop checking my emails for a delivery notice every few minutes.

    • ryanovelo

      From what retailer? For those who pre-ordered day 1 or today? Need more info that this.

    • Jenn

      I’m ordering from Road Runner Sports (sorry Ray!) where I already have VIP membership. Calling them today, it sounds like they’ll receive their shipment this Friday, November 6 and will send out on Monday November 9. I just wished I still lived in San Diego and could do in store pick up. Amazon said November 25th. I would call around and see who has the best expected delivery time.

    • Unfortunately, Road Runner isn’t giving accurate dates. There’s no chance they’re getting units on Friday, or Monday. REI/Amazon/CT, and others are more accurate in terms of expected dates from Garmin.

    • Chris H

      On Monday, I noticed that CT changed the “Availability” of the 630 and 230 to “In Stock” (though the 235 still shows “Preorder” for availability).

      I’m guessing that “in stock” status isn’t actually true, but it’s interesting it was changed to that…

      Oh well, I’ll just continue waiting patiently! (I pre-ordered the 230 from CT)

    • Mike

      So, did you receive a notice that your watch shipped???

  75. Mauricio Solis

    Well I need to update my 405CX, so based on this, should I take advantage of the lower prices of the 620? or just buy a new 630? Also I just got a garmin Edge 520 bundle. Will the HR strap work with either 620/630? or I will need to buy the bundle as well?

  76. PierreP

    With the 620 selling used at $220 – $230, What are the advantages of the 230 over 620?

  77. Ron

    I’m deciding between the 230 and the 630. I’m not that interested in metrics. I’m wondering if there is enough to justify the 630. The $150 more is too much but I’m not sure the added features other than metrics. In the long run term I wonder about a touch screen. Can the 630 be operated fully using buttons?
    Ron

  78. Murray

    Hello!

    got a couple of questions…… I have a Garmin 620 which is great does exactly everything i need and more however i am due to do a 44mile race in a few months and i’m not sure the battery will do it. longest i have had it on gps is for about 7 hours (and i think it would prob stretch to garmins claimed 10hrs) I think it’ll be close…..

    so firstly is there anyway to charge the 620 while one the move via usb power source, i know this is possible on some garmins

    secondly should i just upgrade to a 230 or 630?

    alos do you think there will be any firmware upgrades for the 620 to include any of the new features such as phone alerts?

    thanks!

    • Tim Grose

      You can’t charge a 620 on the go but can with a 230 or 630.

      620 updates very unlikely now I would think.

    • paul carlson

      After 2 years of nearly daily use, my 620 is only good for 6.5 hours on a good day. This is with GPS on, HR off, and smart recording on.

  79. Bignon

    Hello Thank’s for your very acurate review.
    I live and run in Paris too (west side) and I ‘d be happy to meet you in real life to discuss equipments…
    Anyway a year ago (based on your review) I bought the Suunto Ambit 3 even If I don’t run trails nor triathlons but just jog 10km every weeks. At 42 I am a bit geek and I wanted to watch my heart….So I bought the best for the moment beeing…
    The problem with Suunto is that there is no vibration for the intervalls and since I run with a mp3 plugged on both ears I never hear the alerts to change the pace. And to run watching the watch is not that practical…
    So I am thinking about getting the 235.
    Do you think I am making a mistake ?
    Thank’s for your advice
    Charles

    • Josh

      Fwiw I also own the ambit 3 sport and love it’s accuracy but have also ordered a 235. I will not be getting rid of the A3 as its a great backup if the 235 proves to be reliable.

    • Bignon

      Thank’s Josh
      I was thinking about that too.
      I ll wait to see it in stores…
      Why do want to test the 235 ?

  80. It is now November 3. Has anyone done any more testing to see how accurate this building our rate monitor is compared to the mio?

  81. Daniel

    hi,
    as far as i remember, in the product comparison calculator it was possible to select a certain budget. this is no longer available. or am i wrong and never was available?
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Will get this fixed, just a categorization issue I missed on data entry (I manually tag each watch into a given budget bucket). Should be all set by tomorrow. Sorry!

  82. Erik

    Hey Ray, thanks for this information and all previous reviews.

    My Polar RS400 broke down (still use my CS400 for cycling) and have to buy a new hart rate monitor, so some questions to decide between FR630, V800 or M400.
    About FR630, how accurate are: “New Running Dynamics (Stride Length, Ground Contact Time Balance, Vertical Ratio)” and what can we do with it? Can we adapt our way of running to it or see when the suspension of our shoes is gone?
    About V800: how accurate are the Orthostatic tests and other HR test? (on my RS400 the predicted HRMax is 175 even if I did this test just before or after a race we my HRMax was 190)?
    Are there some folks tha has this followed up as well on there HR monitor as in a lab?
    If bout of this monitor not shows the accurate extra data, then I thing my best choice will be the M400.
    For the moment I’m training for a marathon.

    • GCT Balance could in theory be used to see injury, but it’s going to be tough to use that to see shoe wear. The folks from RunScribe are getting closer – but not yet to the point of making it obvious for a user that’s where the tien-in.

      I’ve yet to hear a clear science-based written out explanation of why the other metrics are valuable in terms of how you train by them and get faster with them. Not saying that’s not possible, since it is. But I’m putting the onus on Garmin to take off the marketing cap for a few minutes, find a smart dude, and write a long post on their blog that includes lots of annotated paragraphs with links to studies.

      As for the HR tests, most companies actually get fairly close to VO2Max. It’s fairly well proven stuff now, and while there are outliers, it’s nothing new in the HR field.

    • Tim Grose

      Joe Heikes – the Forerunner Product Manager hosts some interesting videos on all the new stuff. You can find links to these on a post I put up on the Garmin 630 forum section link to forums.garmin.com

    • JR

      Running dynamics are useful for measuring fatigue, sometimes in a more useful way than heartrate. In long runs, you can usually see that oscillation will decrease and ground contact time will increase throughout the run. Over a training cycle you can compare how sharply these change to track fitness increases. You can also sometimes see that your ground contact time is way too high at a given pace before or in the early stages of a workout, and you know that you’re not recovered. Heart rate can admittedly show you some of the same things, but it’s a bit different. Running dynamics can more directly show that you’re dealing with neuromuscular fatigue, which will of course manifest itself with a higher heart rate, but that’s a lagging indicator.

      You can also use running dynamics to confirm that you went over the edge in a workout. Sometimes in your last couple of reps you can use running dynamics to see a complete breakdown in form, even though you held your speed for the most part. If you’re doing 400s or 800s, heart rate will never show anything that precise. (Going that hard in a workout is rarely advisable, but it’s useful to know, objectively, that it happened.)

    • 6co

      JR: fully in agreement here.
      But I actually think you will see all of that with your cadence. Before you can see it with any of the sophisticated dynamics parameters.
      Neuromuscular fatigue, or when your breaking down your running form for the last few reps of a hard workout will immediately be seen with cadence, The rest is cool, but that is really for after the fact confirmation.
      Still the question remains: how do you act upon this analysis to get any faster? Tweak your next hard workout of recovery time to avoid breaking running form next time? probably…

  83. Matthew G

    Re: 235 advanced metrics-

    Hi Ray-

    Are you aware of any Garmin plans to analyze the 24/7 optical heart rate information for recovery time/training effect data? It seems one could get really useful information about (over)training and fatigue based on comparisons of resting heart rate data rather than trying to manipulate purely optical heart rate data into HRV via algorithm and then extrapolate further.

    • Matt

      Definitely second this question. Could be very interesting.

    • I think like many others in this space, they’re really at the beginning of a journey on how to use the data.

      Optical HR for resting type HRV is pretty much arriving into a number of sensors at this time, including Garmin’s. So they can dig into that as they are able going forward. It’s HRV during motion that’s more tricky right now for most companies.

    • Heath

      To be fair to Ray, there’s no point in rushing him to get a full review for a product there he has yet to be able to get his hand on. We also needs to be fair to Garmin too, a lot of people are complaining about no Optical sensor on the 630, keep in mind that most of the advance dynamic require the HRM thus there’s bitching about it. If data is a no compromise issue, get the 630 but if data is not what you need, the 235 is always there.
      Down the road, optical sensor will probably get onto the FR6XX series. Until Garmin can sort some issues out, there’s definitely some reason for Garmin to move away from a great sensor such as Mio.

  84. Why are there are not yet any testing results for how the strapless heart rate monitor works versus the mio alpha

    • For roughly the same reason I responded to your question from 10 hours ago* – it hasn’t started shipping yet. That’s still the case, 10 hours later.

      *https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/10/garmin-fr230-fr235-fr630.html#comment-1360723

      Fear not, once either I have a final production unit, or it starts shipping – I’ll be sure to post here.

  85. Ray

    May I know the new 235 has the feature like 620 which is vibration alerts heart rate? i.e. Preset the max and min heart rate, once out of this window, will alert by vibration?

  86. Ray

    May I know the new 235 has the feature like fr620, i.e heart rate (max-min) vibration alert. Can set a max and min heart rate window, once the heart rate out of this window will alert by vibration?

  87. Gunnar

    I ordered the 235 even though I’m happy with my Vivoactive. Since I’ve owned all the recent Garmin watches (fenix 3 and epix) I’ve had a chance to compare all these watches. I ended up sticking with the Vivoactive because it “just plain works” for me (as Ray is known to say about products).

    What tipped the scales for me to get the 235 is the optical HRM sensor. Many of my workouts are commuting (either running to and from the Metro or biking to work). When commuting I’m pretty rushed so I don’t have time to mess with my heart rate strap and I do miss having that data. With the 235 I’ll have no HR strap to think about.

    Next (I hope) is screen resolution. Here’s hoping the 235 is easier to read indoors.

    I do triathlon too, but my Vivoactive served me well. I havent missed “triathlon mode” like you get on triathlon specific watches. I just stop and start a new activity. With the 235, it will be great to not have a HR strap to deal with in transition. The 235 doesn’t have power readings, but I use my 520 for that.

    Here’s hoping the optical HR works as advertised!

  88. Michele

    Ray, what do you think of the running dynamics that are on the 620? I’m still using a 610 with footpod to get cadence and stride length. I’m an injury prone runner and working on cadence has helped me tremendously but not sure if the others are that beneficial. I’m interested in upgrading to the 630 but not sure if all those dynamics are really useful, especially for someone that is not a competitive runner and if I should consider the 230/235 instead. My thought is that they might be even more beneficial for someone who is not that efficient, to show weaknesses and where improvement could be made. Any thoughts? Thanks

    • Michele

      One other question, I don’t see it asked but I could have missed it. If I bought the 235 for 24/7 hr tracking, could I get the running dynamics if I also bought the new HR strap? I have not had good experience with the optical hr for running but have no problem wearing the strap in addition to it.

    • Tim Grose

      Afraid you would need a 630 to record the dynamics data even if you were using an HRM-Run with the 235 or the 230. Suggest check out the videos Garmin have done on the new metrics on the 630 to see if they might interest you. Links to them are in link to forums.garmin.com As for 24/7 HR recording it is still rather to be determined what actual use that really is other than collecting a lot of data!

    • Michele

      Thank you, that is what I figured but doesn’t hurt to ask

  89. Joseph Kiddell

    Optical HRM experience

    It may just be me, but I have found with the 3 optical heart watches* I have tried have been next to useless when I use them for a gym class which involves lots of wrist movement such as weights, boxing, Circuit training, Push ups and Burpees.I have tried the tips for moving them to another part of arm or having them beneath the wrist but with little improvement. The watch simply loses the heart rate,misses beats or double counts I found it so frustrating that I returned to my Heart Rate Strap. This never misses a beat. Running and cycling are fine with Optical HRM but for anything else the technology just isn’t there for me yet.

    *(Mio Fuse, Mio Link and Apple Watch)

    • Michele

      I had the Fitbit charge and it was the same thing. It was close to the chest strap for running but useless for anything else. It was interesting to see the resting heart rate over the course of the day though.

    • Matt

      I’ve had no problem with the Scosche Rhythm for things that require a lot of wrist movement (cardio classes, lifting, pushups, etc). It’s likely because it goes on your upper arm (although I’ve worn it on the wrist with success as well), but that’s still an option for those who don’t want to wear a chest strap.

    • heath

      I believe for optical sensor to be accurate, it needs to sit firmly against the skin thus abrupt wrist movement like boxing or burpees which cause the watch to slide around the wrist too much will cause inaccuracy.

  90. Josh

    I’ve heard that Garmin has added pace from foot pod to the 920, what do you think the chances are we will see that on these newest of devices?

  91. john

    Oh well, I just got an email from REI saying the 235 has been delayed. No shipping date given, just that is will be longer than 30 days from ordering.

  92. Long Run Nick

    Ray kinda indicated that early on. Don’t feel too bad. Last October I preordered, the day Ray posted about the 920XT. Didn’t get it until November 28. 59 long days.

    • Yeah, I really wouldn’t expect to see FR235 shipments coming fast and furious. I suspect that once they do start shipping (not tomorrow) that it’ll be a very slow-roll.

      I suspect we’ll see faster movement on the FR230/FR630.

      Like Nick says, last year the FR920XT backorder queue extended well into the new year (and that was announced almost a month earlier).

      The thing I generally recommend (for pretty much any product) is that if you really want something by the holidays (gift/etc…), then pre-order up front. You can always cancel later if initial reviews don’t pan out. But once momentum builds, it’s incredibly difficult to get new units ahead of the holiday if a unit is a success.

      Fwiw, the ratio of orders for FR235’s to FR230/630 is incredibly heavy in the favor of the FR235, making matters worse too. Roughly 3:1.

    • Chris

      I wonder how many of the 235 pre-orders would have been 630 pre-orders if it included optical HR. Mine would be one.

    • ekutter

      Very interesting, but not surprising. Count me in the “would get a 635” camp and am torn between the 235 and 630. In my case, I’m just going to wait until February or March and see how things look when the dust settles (and hopefully bugs are fixed). My money is on Garmin coming out with a 635 pretty quick given that they are losing a lot of higher end sales due to the 235.

    • Bill L

      I already said it above, but I, too, will be waiting for the “635” -or the tri watch that figures out how to us optical reading for the HR. I would probably go for the 635 since I am primarily a runner. The next step would be to up the battery life. I run races that are 24 hours or more. An on-the-go recharge would work as well.

  93. Rick D.

    I apologize if you already covered this, but after reading so many comments they all just started running together in a big blur. Does the 230 have the capability of keeping the back light on so you can see when running at night without having to constantly push the light button?

    • Yes, you can set it to ‘Stays on’, if you’d like (it’s what I do on all my Garmin watches).

    • kermit262

      The 230/235 also has this nifty feature: “Wrist Turn: Allows your device to turn on the backlight automatically when you rotate your wrist toward your body.” I used to have my settings like Ray (always on) but since this feature was implemented in the Fenix 3 I use it instead and find it works well. Very pleased Garmin added it to the new Forerunners.

  94. Hello, thanks for this analysis.
    Can I use the FR235 with chest-HR and disable the internal one ?
    e.g. when cycling I want to mount the watch on the handlebar

  95. murray walker

    Any news on shipping DCR? i have ordered a 235 and put my 620 on ebay!

    been told to expect w/c 16th november!

    • Okey doke.

      In a (hopeful) attempt at minimizing the number of ‘shipping status’ questions, I’ve just added a section to the post at the end covering everything I can possibly think of related to this topic.

      It’s here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      If/when other questions come in from folks that fit into that category, I’d encourage folks to help responding with the same link.

      I’ll update that section daily with global shipping status stuffs.

      Thanks!

    • Kermit262

      Not too sure I like this idea Ray. What am I supposed to read over the next few months if not people’s daily questions about when the units are going to ship or complaints about CT taking so long to fulfill orders?

    • Rumor is Wikipedia is addicting.

    • Matt

      Don’t worry, people will still ask and complain about shipping.

    • Chris

      ha – i just mailed my fenix 2 in as trade-in to amazon so I am watchless as well. I have the 630 and 235 on pre-order as I’m not expecting the 235 to actually show up in a reasonable manner 🙂

  96. Mauricio Solis

    So I got a new edge 520 bundle, will the edge HR strap work with the 630? Does it work with the 620?

  97. stefanos

    I saw them at the Athens Marathon expo. I was impressed by the bigger screen.
    They have all the series but they sell only the black ones.

  98. Matt Downing

    Hello. Will the 235 charge while in use? Thinking of purchasing one for ultra races but need more than 16 hours.

  99. Derek

    Ray, can you comment further on the “other activity” option? are you able to preset it to something you do often. for e.g., my primary uses would be running and hiking. rather than always update my garmin connect to hiking overtime i log a hike, it would be nice to select it from the get-go and then have it log properly.

    • Tim Grose

      I understand an activity done in the Other profile on the 230/235 will just appear in GC as Other and there is no customisation. The 630 appears to support more custom activity profiles however rather like on say a 920.

  100. Jim V

    Does the HR sensor on the 235 protrude at all, or is it flush like the back of the 230? Looking at the still images, it appears flat (same dimensions on both watches), but if you watch the intro video, it looks like the sensor protrudes a bit.

  101. Derek

    FWIW, when i spoke to an REI rep yesterday, i was told that the FR230 hits their warehouses for distribution on Nov 22. (i didn’t ask about the other models…i have pre-ordered one of these with the HRM bundle to replace my FR220 whose battery life has plummeted to ~3 hours per charge so it’s going be returned within REI’s one year return window. hopefully, the FR230 will live up to his 16 hour spec (to be fair, my FR220 started off at 8-9 hours, but now is getting poor battery performance only six months later)

  102. Jorge

    The weather-app depends constantly on my FR630… All I see is “Waiting for data” … what do you see at your FR630? Does it work?

    Otherwise, I am very pleased with the Running Watch. After the HRM Run update yesterday, all new metrics are working now 🙂

    • Kerry

      Jorge,
      How is the battery life in the 630?
      Is it indeed 16 hours with GPS?

    • JorgeP

      Unfortunately I cannot say just how long exactly the battery life is. I can only say that I charge the FR630 every few days… At least for me, the battery life is quite satisfactory.

  103. Roger

    Hello Ray, Thanks for this analysis. Do you know if the HRM Strap of the 620 works for as well for the 630?

    • JorgeP

      Yes , it works! I have the FR630 with the HRM strap of the 620. Yesterday there was an update, because the new metrics were not shown, but now everything is perfect! 😉

  104. Mauricio Solis

    Does anyone knows if the Garnin Edge 520 HR strap will work with the FR 630?

  105. Sal

    Ray, what do you think: will Suunto and Polar also launch new products with optical HR-sensor in the next few months?

  106. Derek H.

    Great work here as usual! Apologies if already covered (didn’t see it here, but may have missed it). I had a question about old Time of Day button on the 620 vs the 630. On the 620, the bottom left button gave a person a quick way to see the time while working out, then returning back to the data screens. On the 630, the same button now acts as the Back button, replacing the area on the left side of the bezel on the 620 (which is now used for more display space on the 630).

    Is there an equivalent way to quickly access the time on the 630 while running, or has that been eliminated this time around? If so, guess a person could set a field to read the daily time. Thanks for any insight.

    • Tim Grose

      Yes it seems to have gone unfortunately. I found it useful too. That button is now used to lock/unlock the device which I never found I needed when running. In addition to the data field, you can add time of day to the data pages cycle so never too far away from it.

  107. Derek

    Sorry if i missed something: i’m puzzled by the new-ness of the stride length metric. while i can’t see it real time, my Garmin FR220 already records stride length and cadence which i review afterward in Garmin Connect.

    is the new feature that the FR630 can show it in real time on the watch face?

  108. Ian

    I pre-ordered my 230 on 10/21 from REI and just got a notice this evening that it has shipped.

    • Matt

      Confirmed in stock on Black/White FR230 model. Just placed an order!

    • Belinda

      Hi Matt,

      Have you received your Black FR230 from REI? I pre-ordered mine as well, purple, it says it’s in stock but my pre-order has yet to ship after 2 days, so I am wondering if you received yours already, considering you placed your order later than most pre-orders? Thanks =)

  109. Bauke

    Pffff with 4 months into the 225, I feel like breaking it and getting the 235 under warranty. Especially since the buggy software version 2.50, which drains the battery within a day now (vs a week)! It takes ages for them to create a fix, but now I see why….

  110. Marc Walker

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for years and have made many informed purchases because of your excellent reviews so keep up the great work!

    I only have an Edge 200 for my bike so I was wondering if I paired the FR235 with the Ant+ speed and cadence sensors would everything grouped together (FR235, Speed Sensor, Cadence Sensor & Ant+ dongle) work with Zwift (I only have a very basic mag turbo trainer)? I assume it would?

    All the best,

    Marc

    • Thanks Marc!

      So Zwift actually doesn’t really transmit back outwards to the FR235. They’re kinda like equals, they both connect to sensors.

      In this case you wouldn’t even need the FR235 while indoors, since Zwift would connect to your Speed/Cadence sensors via the ANT+ dongle and you’d be good. It even spits out a file you can upload to Garmin Connect later if you want. Or, you can also concurrently record it on the FR235. Just validate (in general) that your trainer is on Zwift’s supported list. I believe they have that on their site.

      When outside, yup, you could pair the FR235 with your speed/cadence sensor – something the Edge 200 doesn’t permit.

      Cheers.

    • Marc Walker

      Thanks very much indeed Ray. So as the FR235 wouldn’t communicate to Zwift I assume that there is no work around to get the HR data from the optical sensor to display on the Zwift screen and a HR strap would have to be used?

      BTW, well done on changing career. As a frequent traveller myself I know how tough it can be to juggle everything. Kudos for making the jump!

      Cheers,

      Marc

    • Sorry, thought you were asking about Zwift -> FR235.

      As for FR235 -> Zwift, it will pickup the rebroadcasted ANT+ HR signal. So you’re good there.

      Sorry for the confusion.

      Cheers!

    • Marc Walker

      Awesome! Thanks a million Ray.

      Cheers,

      Marc

  111. Harith

    Thanks a lot Ray for your massive efforts.

    Two Q’s

    1) Will the 620 HRM-Run strap measure the new running dynamics?
    2) When can we expect your winter recommendations for GPS watches?

    Thanks again.

    • JorgeP

      1) Yes, the 620-strap measures the new running dynamics. You only have to make an update.

    • Harith

      Pardon my technical ignorance, but how exactly do you update the strap?

    • Historically it’s been done with a unit (i.e. the watch). But I think you can also do it with Garmin Express.

      As for my recommendations, within the next few weeks – and definitely before Black Friday. I’m trying to balance ensuring I can make a clear statement on whether or not the FR230/235/630/VivosmartHR are worthwhile or not, before including them or not in the round-up.

      On one hand it’s be weird to exclude them since they’ll be available shortly and no doubt will change rankings. On the other, I don’t want to include anything I haven’t had more than just a single run on.

      Timing kinda sucks here.

    • JorgeP

      Put your HRM-Run on like normal and ensure it is paired to your watch.
      If you goto into Settings, Sensors and Accessories (one assumes) and then the entry for your HRM-Run is there anything in there which invites you to install an update.

    • Harith

      Thanks for the thorough response, and I totally agree with the crappy timing limitation that you are facing.

      All the best!

    • Harith

      Thank you for the insight JorgeP, highly appreciated.

  112. Dennis

    Hi Ray.

    Thank you for the initial review.

    As I’m highly confused, wether I should buy the Fenix 3 or the 630; what do you think, when your in depth review on the 630 will be ready?

    Thanks for all your good work from Germany. I highly appreciate it.

    • It won’t be ready until a few weeks after they have a production/final model that I can test/validate.

      As for Fenix3 or FR630, I’d really look at what type of athlete you are. If you’re a triathlete or hiker, I’d go Fenix3. Whereas if you’re more of a road runner, I’d probably go more FR630.

    • Dennis

      Thank you.

      I’m mainly a road runner. On top, I want to use it for logging my additional training (wheight lifting, core exercises, etc.). For this, I would be satisfied if it logs my heartbeat during the Training. I just want to have an overview, if I did train on a certain day, or if I didn’t.

      If Garmin would say; we will release an update, so the Fenix 3 is also offering the new Running statistics and the lactate treshold…. I would immediately order one.

    • Tim Grose

      TBH for those use cases any Forerunner would largely fit the bill. But if the new running dynamics and the lactate threshold function are also of great interest then it is always best IMHO to buy a device with them already included rather than hoping an existing one may get upgraded. I suspect only the 630 will have them for a while as otherwise there would be little point in buying one other than perhaps the much lighter form factor.

    • Dennis

      Thank you, Tim.

      I think You’re right. So I’ll by the 630, als soon as it’s available.

  113. Derek

    REI sent me email last night that my FR230 HRM bundle shipped. Will be here mid next week!

  114. StefanosM

    just bought a 230 from Athens Marathon expo,
    I will try it tomorrow

  115. Bill L

    A very annoyed friend who bought a 225 three months ago told me today Garmin sent him a firmware update that he described as breaking his watch. They sent a follow up email instructing him to uninstall the update, so he’s back to square 1, feeling like a chump. If they do come out with a 635, I wonder if 630 buyers will feel the same way. That caution might explain why the 630 isn’t selling as well.

    • Yeah, there was a pretty rough FR225 firmware update that made things fairly bad for some people.

      I’m not really sure why uninstalling it makes him feel like a chump – seems like a logical move to undo a bad thing. I do see why FR225 users are feeling left out a bit. It was a key concern I had at the time, that building on the older FR220 platform seemed awkward and short-sighted.

      As for why the FR630 isn’t selling – it’s simple: As most people here noted, they’ve been FR610/620 product line folks in the past, and now the FR230/235 do most of that – so the features they wanted are now there for half as much.

    • Bill L

      Sorry. I guess I was ambiguous, didn’t realize it until I read your reply. He felt like a chump back at square one upon discovering Garmin made his brand new 225 obsolete only a few months after buying it when it was the newest product at the time (and turned it into a dead end), was momentarily elated with the promise of a fix, and when that failed to be true, now feels like a chump again. Look, just in my circle of people I run with I know of five 225 owners who feel like Garmin did them wrong and are saying loudly to all their friends they’ll never buy Garmin again. “Feeling a little left out,” doesn’t describe them. Unfortunately for Garmin, we have 1,300 members in our running club who are hearing those complaints. Because word of mouth advertising is the most effective, you would want it to be positive. Hope Garmin’s marketing manager(s) figure out a solution to what could be a PR black eye. I feel for both sides, frankly. I can understand why the owners are angry. I can also sympathize with Garmin’s position – People could have done better research (they could have read your reviews) and they should not have bought a product they that weren’t completely happy with as is in hopes of future upgrades that might or might not, and in this case did not, happen. Hope there’s a positive resolution to it all.

    • hollyoak

      Yes that FR225 is going to be a sore point for Garmin…unless its proven sensor works better than Garmin’s new one on the 235…but then Garmin will have other problems !

      How do we know the FR630 isn’t selling?

    • I get a pretty good view of sales based on folks that purchase through links here, so I can start to see trends pretty easily. Obviously, it’s not 100% inclusive of everything nor perfectly accurate, but it tends to ebb & flow very much aligned to the larger demand of these devices.

  116. Mike K

    Great review Ray as usual

    Quick Q, Will the 235 sync easily with Strava just as previous models have ie the 225?

    Thanks a lot

  117. Will

    Hi Ray,

    I’m about to pre-order the 230 from Clever Training and I am trying to decided on getting the bundle or not. I noticed that the HRM in the picture for the 230 is the HRM-run, but in your write up it looks like that only comes with the 630. I know you aren’t a CT customer service rep, but do you know if it is actually the HRM-run?

    • Dan

      I’m not sure about the monitor, but you should note that the bundle is $299.99. The price you’re showing is for the watch only.

    • No, it’s not the HRM-RUN. I’ll let them know, though actually that stock photo comes from Garmin. Interesting. Either way, i’ll let them know and they can let Garmin know of the error. But yeah, just a standard strap that looks identical to that one except for the runner man icon.

      Thanks for the support!

  118. JorgeP

    Hi,

    here is my first run with the new metrics!

    link to connect.garmin.com

    It works perfect. I like it. The balance is a nice feature.

    • Chris

      Thanks! I have both the 630 and the 235 pre-ordered and this just answered my question of which one to buy – cancelling the 630 order now 🙂

    • ekutter

      Why are you canceling the 630? JorgeP just posted a linked to a work out with a 630 that he says “Works Perfect”. Were you thinking it was a 235?

      Also, once the 235 is out in the wild, just because HR works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you. Ray loves the MIO and says it works great for him but I couldn’t get it to work for me at all. The optical HR sensors still are somewhat hit or miss depending on individuals.

    • Chris

      I was leaning towards the 235 anyway and wasn’t sure the new metrics really meant anything, now that I can see them it confirmed what I see with my fenix 2, stats that mean nothing to me 🙂 I’ll miss lactate threshold and the touchscreen, but having the heart rate built in will make up for it.

    • chrisgg

      Thanks for the Garmin link to your run with the FR630…very helpful to allow us to see your run data and good information shown for things that I’m interested in like stride length, cadence, GCT and vertical ratio. I assume the latter do not require you to wear a heart strap and are calculated by the internal accelerometer? Or maybe not. Do you know if the FR235 also gives similar data? I can’t find any reference to that and I assume not, but since it also has an internal accelerometer for measuring steps and movement etc., I wonder why. Surely an accelerometer should know how many strides you are taking per minute? I suppose the 630 accelerometer has higher spec.

    • JorgeP

      The new metrics are only displayed or detected when you are wearing the HRM-run strap. The run was with GPS (GLONASS on).

    • chrisgg

      Thanks Jorge. That’s important to know that you have to wear the HRM strap for all the new data, not just for heart rate, training effect, recovery, VO2Max etc.

    • Gavin

      Hi Jorge, good luck with your new watch.

      Can you confirm whether it can be recharged on the go (without ending the recording of the current activity) please? That would make it the perfect watch for me.

      Also (!) – have you tried any IQ analogue watch faces? Do they look ok? Curious to see an example of that too if you have the inclination.

      Thanks very much!

      Gavin.

    • JorgeP

      Hi Gavin, here you can see some watch faces:

      link to bilder-upload.eu

      There are more watch faces, widgets etc. at the Connect IQ shop. Nearly every day comes new stuff.

      I’ve tested if it can be recharged on the go (without ending the recording of the current activity).It works!

    • Gavin

      Jorge, thanks very much – really helpful of you. Sounds like the 630 and maybe its 230/325 siblings are the perfect watches for ultra runners who don’t want the huge form factor of the Fenix line (and can manage with the barometer etc).

      Thanks again and enjoy your fab watch!

      Gavin.

    • JorgeP

      You’re welcome ?

  119. ChrisB

    Hi Ray,

    I’m so excited for your in-depth review of the 235 as I held out from the 225 in hopes for updates to include smart notifications and now Garmin comes out with this perfect blend of features for my taste! One question, you said the 235 can be charged on-the-go and while in use, but wouldn’t this disrupt the wrist-based HR monitoring? Or is the charger configured as such to not obstruct the “light”?

  120. Jake

    Thanks for the review, very helpful! One question: what do you think would be the fastest way to get the 235? Pre-order it from Clever Trainng, Amazon, or wait for it in stores?

    • StefanosM

      Find a marathon near you that has marathon expo and if garmin is an exhibitor, you can buy one directly from garmin.

    • Note that it does have to be a marathon where *Garmin* is the exhibitor, and not a contractor exhibiting as Garmin. Sometimes Garmin will sub to a local running shop for event space and the staff from that shop will handle Garmin products, usually that relationship does not get access to products not otherwise shipping to retailers (versus Garmin themselves showing up at the NYC Marathon).

      However, that said – Garmin has released any FR235’s yet, so it’s somewhat a moot point.

      Generally speaking if you want a unit early I’d pre-order (Amazon tends to get last), and then if something else pops-up at a local shop randomly you can always cancel your pre-order.

    • Josh

      sb hasn’t vs has sir

    • Long Run Nick

      Hands down. Clever Training. Great customer service and it helps Ray and his we’d site.

    • Thanks for all the CT support, folks! I’m sure there will be many awesome opportunities to support via CT over the coming weeks. Thanks!

    • Kelly Liang

      Any idea when the forerunner 230 will start shipping out from clever training?

  121. Charlie

    Hello
    Good news for the Parisians : those watch will be available this friday at Le Pape rue d’Artois.
    But today the reseller told me that the 235 won’t be able to be connected to a HR belt If we think that the sensor is not accurate enough.

    Won’t we have the choice between the wrist sensor or the HR belt for the 235?

    Thank’s

    Charles

    • They’d be incorrect. Unless something has changed in the last few days, which seems highly unlikely given it’s a marketed feature.

      That said – which watch will be available on Friday in Paris (the FR230/235/630?) – that’s the first I’ve heard of the FR235 being available this soon anywhere.

    • hollyoak

      Who did you speak to? I called the number shown on their webpage here link to lepape.com and they said that Garmin France had told them the first shipments would occur in December. Also asked about any demos in their Paris shop in the meantime and they said they would do them once they start shipping.

    • Charlie

      I am sorry to hear that and I can assure you I wasn’t drunk !
      I spent 20 minutes there talking to a thin guy (velo guy) And another customer was even pre ordering the 230 in front of me and they told me that they receive everything in their warehouse this wenesday (we even spoke of the hollyday) and they told me to come back this friday to discover all the new Garmin watch.

      This is the moment when the guy told me that the 235 won’t be able to manage a HR belt because of the inegrated sensor…

      I just repeat what I ve eared.

      If I am wrong it is because they are wrong !

      Charles

    • Mario

      Hello,

      I’m in Paris too. I had ordered the FR230 on Bikeinn.com since they had them available. Alas, they just learned they will only receive their shipment in a month.

      LEPAPE (www.lepape.com), as Charlie mentioned above, does have them on stock (the Forerunner 230) and have started shipping today.

  122. hollyoak

    Thanks for the details, doesn’t sound like it’s something they’d make up so it’s probably a case of the person on the phone not being up to date I guess, works for me! Now the HR Belt business on the other hand doesn’t make sense since the manual specifies that the 235 is compatible with ANT+ belts on page 3 of the manual.

    • Charlie

      The thing is If this guy is wrong for the HR belt He may be wrong for the availability too ?
      I ll check friday and tell here the truth.

  123. Tom

    DC Rainmaker – the reviews that you post are truly awe-inspiring. I do have a question or maybe it is a request: on the comparison charts is there a way to add (it may be subjective) performance comparisons like accuracy and people-friendliness? … thanks, Tom

  124. Guillermo Guerini

    It’s so hard to decide what watch I should get. I recently completed my first marathon and I really enjoyed it. I’m already planning a half and full marathon for the next few months. Last year I did my first triathlon (sprint distance) and I also enjoyed it a lot. I’m planning on doing my first Ironman 70.3 next year (2016). I currently have an old Garmin FR410 and the reset button is starting to have some issues. The most obvious watch would be the 920xt. But I don’t know if I could justify spending $450/500 on a watch that I would only use all the features when I do a triathlon. I’m not considering doing more than one/two triathlon a year and I don’t have any plans on buying a power meter for example. I will definitely be running way more than that.

    Should I get a running focused watch like the new 235 or 630? The 630 is also very expensive… and if I add the heart-monitor strip the price will get closer to the 920xt.

    What are your thoughts on this subject?

    • Mike

      Check out clever training. The 920XT just went on sale today.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Well.. that makes my life easier. Thank you for letting my know.

    • runnershigh

      for triathlon and most of running the 920xt is the best choice. Otherwise it depends how much features you really need. For example the garmin vivoactive is also nice, if you like more casual design, but less power battery.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Well, I think that was a fluke. When you get to the product page, the price is $499.. and now the website doesn’t even load anymore. 🙁

    • Chris

      yep – I had it in the cart for $329 and now it says $449… ha ha

    • Guillermo Guerini

      So sad. I was going to buy it..

    • Matt

      My guess is the sale is still going to happen, they just launched it early. REI sale leaked early as well: link to slickdeals.net

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Yeah.. I hope so. I’m a REI member so I would get 10% back (dividends).. but I could also support DCRainmaker’s website.

    • ekutter

      Nope, no 10% back on sale items. But if you use an REI master card, you get 5%.

      At that price, the 920 is definitely way more bang for the buck than the 630. Unless you really want the 630 form factor. If they are really discounting the 920 this much, makes me wonder if they are actually coming out with a 925/935 with optical HR in the near future.

    • In general, I wouldn’t expect to see anything better deal on this over holiday season…thankfully the holiday season is almost upon us.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      I agree. By the way, I called Clever Training and they confirmed the promotion went online ahead of time. It was only supposed to go online on Friday.. 🙂

    • Michele

      I got a sale flyer from REI today. The 920 with hrm is $374.99 until Nov 23, then it goes to $500. The 620 with hrm is $239.99 until Nov 23, then it goes back to $400.

    • mw

      Would love to see some 920 display shots next to the 630 for color saturation, font size comparison and general screen size. I have the 920 and wear it as my daily, but the lower profile may be of use with casual business attire. Just gotta have a great looking display the older I get 🙂

  125. Guillermo Guerini

    Yeah, but if the new watches come out, they will cost the full price ($450/$500). I still think the 920xt is an awesome watch, specially if you can get it for $330/$370. On top of that, the current model has pretty much many features the I’d use a lot like wifi sync, phone integration, etc.

  126. Bart

    Will CleverTraining ship to Canada? The REI site won’t ship it to Canada, but will ship other products.

  127. acousticbiker

    Thanks again for the scoop and follow up, Ray! (And congrats on going ‘all in’ on the website).

    I’m a current F3 owner considering a switch to the FR235 and have a few questions about the latter:

    – Does it have a mineral glass face?
    – Am I seeing things or are color as more vivid on the 235 vs F3 (which I find to be quite washed out)?
    – Can you confirm that the dimensions for the 235 are as shown on the Garmin website? (45 x 45 x 11.7 mm) Some people have wondered whether this is a cut/paste, not believing that the thickness would be identical to the 230 despite the optical HR
    – How is the build quality compared to the Vivoactive? I was strongly considering a VA before choosing the F3 due to cheap feeling VA (and preference for round form factor)

  128. Bill L

    Ray, if I could write this to you privately, I would but since I don’t know how to do that: I want to thank you for the clarity of your reviews. It puzzled me at first that so many are ordering the 235 after you told them the jury was still out on the OR as you haven’t tested it yet (and stated most ORs don’t work well), but then I remembered the definition of Early Adopters and now understand. I tell all 2,500+ members of either my running or triathlon clubs, to read your reviews. You save me a lot of time. Someone posted a Q on FB this weekend asking opinions of the 220 and 225. Because of you, I was able to reply, “Skip them both and look at the 230 and 235. DC Rainmaker will tell you why.” Thanks for that. Seriously. You’ve made my life much easier! Like everyone else, I’ve grown to value your critiques and your rigor. As for myself, based upon the facts you’ve given us, I’m thinking I’ll get the 235 if it proves out, and am willing to wait for the review to see if it does. I can live with what I have until then. Running is my dominant sport, so the 235 will suffice in the short term, and if in the next year or two the perfect triathlon watch appears, then I’ll get that. At that point I’ll get to decide if I want to keep them both or pass the 235 on to someone else. I’m not an early adopter anymore having been burned too many times, so I want to know what actually works before I invest my money in it … and have to know before I can recommend where others should invest theirs. People trust my opinions because I’m careful with them, and in this arena that’s largely because I have you as a resource. Thanks for what you do.

  129. Kevin

    Shipping update:

    I ordered a 230 from REI on the evening of 11/7. Got a shipment notification earlier this morning (11/9). Shipping update via UPS now says the package is in route with an expected arrival date of tomorrow (11/10).

  130. Short version: REI estimates I’ll get my 235 on Thanksgiving.

    Long version: I ordered a 235 from REI on day one (10/21), since we hadn’t used our member dividend yet this year. On 11/7, I got an email saying I that if I didn’t call or email, my order would be automatically cancelled, since the 235 wouldn’t ship within 30 days of my order. I emailed, and here is their reply:

    Thank you for contacting REI to keep your backorder on order beyond 30 days.

    I have updated the order to request extended backorder status beyond 30 days. The Garmin, Forerunner 235 item number 8988690001 has an estimated delivery date of November 26, 2015. The item will be shipped as soon as it becomes available. Please keep in mind that this is an estimated time frame and is subject to change.

  131. J Hanson

    Does the 230’s sleep tracker do it automatically or does it have to be manually set? I am having trouble finding a straight forward answer.

    • Ian

      It detects it automatically, but you have to give it a window during which to do so–for example, if you say you typically sleep between 10pm-6am, it will automatically detect any sleep between those hours (and I believe will keep tracking beyond the upper limit even if you haven’t woken up by then). It won’t automatically pick up on a mid-day nap. There may be a way to manually put it in sleep mode, but I’m not sure yet.

  132. Faris

    can the FR 235 connect to ant+ heart strap ?

  133. Marcel

    Just a heads up, here in The Netherlands, the forerunner 230 and 630 have been delivered to some shops and are available for sale. No word on the 235 though.

  134. Thanks for sharing an early commentary! I’d like to know more about the accuracy and durability of the optical HR sensor in the 235 versus 230. There’s a pretty significant price difference, and if that’s the only feature that’s different, I’d like to know more before I make a purchase decision. Thanks!!

    • As soon as Garmin starts shipping production units (with final software), folks here will be the first to know. I’ll simply start publishing comparison data day by day once that happens.

    • Jamie

      I think this comparison data will make or break this unit so it better stack up.

      Happy with my FR225 but four data items on screen is what I want so may go for the FR235 if it holds up with the quality of the optimal measurements.

  135. StefanosM

    Just get new firmware for 230 (V 2.40). Probably also for 630

  136. Kevin

    I received my 230 from REI (via UPS today). Will be taking it out for it’s first run tonight.

    • Will

      Awesome, let me know what you think. I ordered two from Clever Training, might take a little longer but $60 off was nice!

  137. Seth

    I’m still a little bit confused as to the different features on the 235 vs the 630. Let’s say we take the optical HR monitor from the 235 and put it on the 630 (theoretically) – what is the difference if using that (obviously not using the chest strap, just the optical on both)?

    Thanks for the help!

  138. Derek

    i too found my FR230 HR bundle waiting for me tonight when i got home from work. (ordered from REI)

    i have played a little with it and its interface is pretty consistent with my FR220 (which is going back to REI with its 3 hour battery life).

    i will run with it the first time tomorrow, but some quick observations:
    – i was impressed that it locked onto GPS signal very quickly from within my house! i don’t think i ever locked onto GPS in my house or work office previously with either a FR210 or 220.
    – i hope more people design analog watch faces with different status symbols. there are a few already on Garmin IQ (the Roman one looks the best to me) but they don’t see to be up to the quality of what i believe i have previously seen on the fenix and certainly i can see where the higher resolution smart watches have a much cleaner set of hands/face.
    – notifications automatically worked as soon as i paired the watched with my iPhone 6. (i still suspect i will turn them off as i don’t think i want alerts regularly during my work day)
    – i was a little surprised to see that some of the default fields on the data pages were what i considered nonstandard: speed and cadence (vs. what i would consider as more typical, e.g., pace and lap pace)
    – the buttons for some odd reason seem a little flimsy and loose relative to my FR220. not bad, but they seem to be of lower quality or just maybe there’s variability among the devices.

    overall, a solid upgrade from the FR200. i really hope it lives up to the 16 hour battery life billing, and it doesn’t degrade in time like it did for my FR220 (which started off with 8-9 hours but in 5 months plummeted to its current ~3 hr range for GPS tracking). i’m looking forward to running tomorrow and having four data fields showing at once!

    • Kevin

      I agree on the “flimsy” comment. Build quality on the 230 definitely seems a little low. I’m coming from the 610, which I’ve had for almost 4 years. One of the original version with the metal back. That watch felt sturdy and tight. Button push was crisp and solid. On the 230 it just seems very “plastic-y”. Buttons seem a little lose.

      That said, I did my first run with it tonight and wore my 610 at the same time. Distance, pace, GPS tracking seemed almost identical, so all good there.

    • Derek

      well, i’m bummed. i’ve spent the last hour trying to figure this out, but have hit a dead end. the FR230 doesn’t seem to want to pair up with the provided HRM that came with it, nor my older one from my FR220. i tried a number of things including resetting the watch entirely, but no dice.

      going to the Sensor and Accessories menu i have gotten a number of ill-fated responses:

      1. searching HR -55441
      2. No Sensors Paired (after resetting and trying to pair with the HRM)

      is there an option somewhere to try and pair a new device?

      very disappointed and don’t have a clue what to try next. (i’m running the latest firrmware 2.40 which was downloaded right when i hooked it up to the computer to charge)

    • It should allow you to pair secondary straps. Nonetheless, open up that HR-55441 sensor in the sensor menu and then hit remove. Then try and another back from the main menu.

    • Derek

      something is odd with the software/firmware. there is no obvious way to remove an existing sensor. after having reset the watch to the default settings, it no longer shows me the searching, but just says “no sensor paired.”

      there is not option like on my FR220 to add another sensor or try to scan for one.

      i can get it to try to look for about 1 second or 2 if i reset the phone again, but i have done that ten times already and it does the same thing, comes back to the “no sensors paired” message.

    • Derek

      sorry to clog this thread, but i wanted to update: i spoke with Garmin Tech Support and they talked with several engineers and they all thought something was wrong and they needed to look at it. i’m going to reorder one through REI, and REI can flag this unit when i return it. (Garmin is on the lookout for units from REI and BestBuy for any engineering problems). their suspicion is that the new Firmware 2.40 may have created problems. (i didn’t get the chance to try the HRM before the watch autoupdated its firmware using Garmin Express)

      Hopefully this is an isolated incidence. has anyone else tried to pair an HRM with their 230?

    • Tim Grose

      We resolved this over on the Garmin forums. Turns out you need to be wearing the HRM for it to pair.

    • Derek

      hopefully, my last post on the matter but i thought i’d come clean and follow-up…User error on my part.

      it only pairs up when on my body and wet! (wish the would say this in the manual)

      that’s not the way i recall pairing with my prior FR watches (in fact i confirmed that new strap worked by pairing it up with my FR220 sitting in my hands last night). anyway, all is well now here and i will run with the FR230 today.

      REI is was way to fast and couldn’t cancel my order after 30 minutes. so i will bring the unopened box to REI for refund when it arrives.

  139. Manas

    Nice review as always! Just being curious, where does the cadence data comes from in the 230. Is it from the built-in accelerometer or from the heart rate sensor (I noticed that they look the same as those that come with 620/920xt). If it comes from the Heart Rate sensor, then its got to be more accurate.

    • With the FR230/FR235, it’ll come from the wrist, unless you have a footpod paired.

      With the FR620/630/920XT, it’ll also come from the wrist, unless you have a footpod or HRM-TRI/RUN paired.

    • Josh

      Thoughts as to whether or not Garmin will eventually allow distance and pace to also come from foot pod as they’ve done on the F3 and 920?

    • Manas

      If you wear a HRM RUN (which you also get) with 230, i think it should pick up the cadence from that and not from the wrist. Can you confirm that?

    • On the FR230 taking cadence from HRM-RUN, no, just from wrist. Which to be honest is pretty darn good in every situation except drinking from a water bottle – but that only lasts a second (unless you’re a certain senator).

  140. steve

    Will the garmin 235 HR re-transmit data to equipment at the GYM, technogym?

    • It re-transmits over ANT+, which the vast majority of gym equipment doesn’t support (typically gym equipment uses analog). Some gym equipment does support ANT+, but it’s pretty rare. You’d see the little ANT+ logo on it if so.

    • Joseph kiddell

      I didn’t think the watch retransmits but the HRM allows connection to more than one device. I have only found a spinning bike in my Gym (WattBike) which connects to the Ant+ strap. I had hoped in return the Watt bike might have an Ant+ Power or cadence sensor but sadly not.

      Most gym equipment I have seen support Polar HRMs and not Garmin’s ANT+. It’s as annoying as apple’s choice of a lightning connector rather than Min or micro USB.

      I have seen some gym equipment starting to support Bluetooth HRMs and I think that’s the way gym equipment might go in the future.

      That’s another reason I have switched to the Scosche Rythm+ HRM which supports both Bluetooth and ANT+.

    • Matt

      As Ray stated, the 235 does retransmit optical HR data, so it can be used on other ANT+ devices. As you stated, if you are using an ANT+ strap, there is no need for retransmitting, as it can be received by multiple devices.

    • Joseph Kiddell

      My mistake, My Bad. I misread Ray’s post. Interesting they decided to retransmit the optical HR data over Ant+ as Ray said their really isn’t much beyond Garmin devices which use Ant+.

      Maybe now the Connect App Store has been extended to the Edge devices they are thinking of displaying HR on Edge devices so all the information is visible in one place.

    • ekutter

      Huh? Pretty much everyone but Polar and cell phones use Ant+. By far the most common data transmission format in this space. And the most flexible.

    • Dan

      I think a lot of this equipment is older and/or design was never updated from time when Polar was only game in town. I’ve taken to wearing 2 straps when I use this equipment– one Ant+ to be picked up by my device and one Polar so I can see the HR on the equipment screen. Minor annoyance — doesn’t really bother me.

  141. Chris

    Amazon has removed the 235 from searches – the page is still there if I got to my pre-order though. Wonder if that’s a byproduct of the # sold or the availability..

  142. Michele

    How does the size of the 630’s screen compare to the 610? I have some screen protectors for the 610, is it close enough that they would work on the 630?

  143. MikeyD

    Hey Ray….Just wondering how the 24/7 heart rate tracking is working? If someone’s major goal was to get an accurate count of calories burned per day, would this be a viable option? Does the 24/7 heart constantly update your calories burned? Again if calorie tracking was your major goal would you even need to start an activity?

    Thanks…

  144. Ellenslacks

    Need help! I got the FR 220 at a race expo for $169 last month. I have yet to open it.

    I am very interested in the FR 230 as I originally thought about getting the VivoActive because of daily watch wear for notifications, steps, etc.

    REI has 20% off for members starting Friday, making the FR 230 $199.

    Do you think the 230 is worth the extra $40?

    I run several half marathons a year, a full every few years, and right now only use it to monitor pace, but as I am trying to get faster, might be interested in using more in-depth features to help out.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Yes, definitely worth the extra $40.

    • Josh

      Typically those member discounts do not apply to gps watches.

    • Chris H

      Josh is correct – “any item with GPS technology” is one of the long-standing exclusions to REI’s periodic 20%-off-one-item promotions. Details at REI.com/coupon

    • Derek

      you will, however, get the 10% dividend and if you use fat wallet, you’ll get another 2.5%

      back to original question of $169 vs $224 (or $217 with FW)… a larger price difference than you cite…

      having owned both, i think the extra money is worth it for the supposedly 60% longer battery life alone for me as that 16 hr spec will surely degrade in time. i’m not sure how much i’ll use the activity tracking (i already count steps with my phone) or notifications, but i’m hoping for some nice analog watch faces to come out like there are for the Fenix 3.

  145. Fabian

    I’ve never owned a GPS watch before. I’ve been doing most of my running with a basic heart monitor and watch. I’m looking to scale up to a marathon and ultimately a triathlon over the next year or two, so I’d like to invest in a piece of equipment that will help me train. I’ve been eyeing the 235 for the most part because running is what I do the most. REI just published their Nov catalog, listing the 920xt with HRM at $375 which is just a tad higher than the 235. The 920xt seems to have all functionalities of the 235, minus the optical heart sensor. Any advice? Is the 920xt worth the investment? Or should I leave that to truly serious triathletes and stick to the new 235 with the optical sensor?

  146. Nicole

    If I were to buy the 230 plus the Scosche Rhythm armband, would the 230 track and save my 24/7 heart rate information like the 235 does with the optical sensor?

    • Matt

      No, it would not.

    • Nicole

      Thanks! That’s too bad for me. The 235 isn’t nice enough to wear at the office or at court hearings (I’m an attorney). I figured I could just hide the scosche under my clothes and put the 230 in my bag or something if it worked. Oh well.

    • Long Run Nick

      Hey Nicole, as a juror, I would be more impressed if I see an attorney with a “real” fitness watch. If you are fit, flaunt it:(

    • Nicole

      I like your thinking Long Run Nick!

  147. Mike G

    Ray,
    Just wanted to say thanks for everything you do…this site is the Gold Standard for gear reviews.

    I pre-ordered the 235 through CT and used your code–$301 w/free shipping and I also support your site. Win-Win!

    Mike

  148. Gray584321

    Has anyone heard when they are going to start shipping the Garmin 630’s. I can’t seem to find any information on this.

    • Clever Training has in FedEx’s hands a pile of FR630’s that arrive tomorrow (Thurs), specifically, the black base SKU. My understanding is it’ll cover all but one existing backorder of that SKU. Assuming they arrive per usual in the morning, they’ll ship back out again by afternoon.

      They are pending tracking information from Garmin on the FR230/FR630’s that were expected to depart today from Garmin. As part of that tracking they’ll find out which SKU’s exactly and if all backorders were covered.

      They’re being told by Garmin (pretty darn senior folks) not to expect any FR235’s will ship in November to any retailers.

      Thanks again for the support!

    • Josh

      Whether my 235 arrives in nov or dec I don’t care, I frequent the site and am happy to support it via my day 1 order via CT. Since your transition Ray it’s apparent how much more time you’ve been dedicating to this site and for that I thank you very much.

    • Kelly Liang

      What about the forerunner 230? When will that ship?

    • I should have exact ship dates for the different FR230 SKU’s today. When I talked to them last night they were waiting for the e-mail with tracking numbers and SKU counts from Garmin.

    • Will

      Thanks for the update Ray! I feel like a kid counting down the days till Christmas!

  149. Adam

    I am in the glorious/terrible camp of the “used to be”, as in I used to be a world class athlete — a long time ago. Now, I am sedentary and well out of shape. So, I’ve started taking long walks and when I lose enough pounds — and I think my back can stand the pounding — I will try my hand at running. I wanted to quantify my activities and after a brief flirtation with the Garmin Surge (I decided after doing some reading that it wasn’t really all that accurate), I opted for the 235. Among other things, I found the breadcrumb feature very attractive as I have been doing a lot of hiking in new-to-me areas. Fitness stuff. Heart rate. And more, for when I am ready for more.

    My order is waiting to be fulfilled, and my credit card is waiting to be charged, but is there something else I ought to be thinking about or did I make the right choice?

    TIA

    Adam

  150. Aaric Eisenstein

    Thanks so much for the thorough review.

    I really like my FR220 except that the fonts are a little small for my tired, ol’ eyes – especially when it’s darkish out and I’m moving. Does the larger screen of the updated variants mean that the text is actually larger as well?

    Thanks again!

    • Generally, yes. I included some shots of the FR630 screens/data fields towards the end of that section in the post above. I believe also in my FR230 video I have the same thing as I iterate through fields.

    • Aaric Eisenstein

      Fantastic, thanks. I couldn’t tell on the computer whether that was the case or not. Appreciate the confirmation!

    • Derek

      Aaric –
      i don’t have both watches side by side to take a picture of the FR220 and FR230. to compare head to head, but definitely the fields are noticeably bigger. the only complain i have (maybe Ray can comment), is that to my eyes, the fonts are less refined/crisp at their bigger size. it seems that Garmin hasn’t re-optimized and rescaled the font as best as it could for the newer screen size. very legible, but that was my gut reaction running with the FR230 for the first time yesterday (using 4 fields vs. 3 field on my FR220, i still found things to be “larger” on the screen) then again, it could be my imagination or pickiness. it’s certainly very legible…

  151. Hi All-

    I wanted to circle back to something that has changed over the last week related to the FR225 (that’s the older optical unit). Previously Garmin had planned to release an update to that watch which would enable HR rebroadcasting on the unit similar to the FR235/Vivosmart HR. They’ve now decided they won’t be doing that. The FR225 will not get HR rebroadcasting.

    Their reasoning is that it would make the UI too complex (i.e. duplicate recording issues too with another device) and be semi-limited to only workouts. While I agree that it’d have to be limited to workouts, I think that was an assumption all along. I think the UI reasoning is a cop-out. It’d be no different with the FR235 and an Edge unit.

    I’ve been arguing with them a bit over the last little bit on that decision – but haven’t really made any headway. I get the feeling this is designed to drive FR235 sales more than it is anything else. I noted to them the change sucks even more since FR225 users already are feeling pretty left out in the cold.

    🙁

    • kermit262

      That’s why we love you Ray – for sticking up to the Man. Well that, and your awesome rolling pin comparison photos. 🙂

    • Adam

      And the 2.5 update to the 225 is a vampire release that drains your battery and freezes the device every single day. 🙂 Garmin’s software updates recently (including today’s downtime of Connect in general) does not inspire confidence.

    • Jamie Jenkins

      Shocking service from Garmin.

      Us FR225 owners are stuck owning a device that is sub standard that cost nearly the same price as the upgrade just months later.

      If we want the new features like rebroadcast we have to buy another device. You kind of want to hope the FR235 optical heart rate monitor turns out useless so there is no desire to upgrade.

      I have spent a fortune on the FR225 and Edge1000 only to be told I need to upgrade again to be able to pair the two. That said Garmin could say they are not taking away anything I signed up for when I bought them.

    • Geoff

      Apologies Ray, I didn’t see this response. Well thanks a lot, Garmin. It won’t be driving any FR235 sales from me, that’s for sure. Not impressed at all.

  152. Matt

    Ray, I have a 230 and Fenix3 in front of me and the backlight on the 230 seems significantly dimmer than the F3 — as well as having a weird illumination pattern (it’s almost like a spotlight from the bottom center of the watch). Did you notice that as well or is it possible my specific 230 is faulty?

    Thanks!

    • stefanosM

      I can see the LED light coming form the bottom of the screen too.
      I does not causing any problem to me and I do not see it as a defect.
      Although Garmin may “fix it” on later versions of the watch.
      Do not forget that early buyers have a lot of chances to get items with defect or design problems.

      As an example, I’m sure that Garmin will change the flimsy buttons at the next version of 230

    • Derek

      it’s funny that you mention this. i have never really used the backlight much on my prior FR210 and FR220 watches except for running in the daylight as i’m an analog watch type of guy. but with the Connect IQ faces, i’ll be giving the FR230 a whirl as a daily watch.

      i don’t think the backlight is anything fantastic, but it does the job. i notice some sort of even lighting coming from the top, but a spotlight from the bottom.

      i recognize there is no way this is going to look as nice as a Android watch or Apple Watch with this sort of old school backlight and dim LCD screen without the backlight. but the battery consequences are huge and something i’m willing to live with. if i get anywhere close to the specified 16 hours of GPS usage and/or 5 weeks of watch only +activity tracking usage, i’ll be very happy. this extended use without recharging makes up for the less than stellar backlight and dim screen when viewed indoors.

      to me, this is a “hold over” for a few years until the smart watch industry and technology matures to the point where there is a Apple Watch/Moto 360 do everything i want a watch to do (have a GPS and have 3-4x the battery life of the existing generation, and have the watch face showing all the time)

    • Derek

      So I compared the backligh of my FR220 and FR230 and the 220 is significantly brighter with no noticeable spotlight anywhere on the perimeter. Pretty uniform.

      Will be curious if others notice their 230 is dim too. As I commented above, I have previously not used the backlight much since I used it purely as a daytime running watch. That’s changed as I am trying out the 230 as an every day watch for a few days.

    • Matt

      Yea, I think there is something faulty with this first batch — or they went with a really crappy backlight/backlight design. It’s much dimmer than any other Garmin watches and it’s basically a spotlight from the bottom.

    • Derek

      here’s a picture…

      i spoke with Garmin support and the rep thought it might have been a power design choice that could be changed by software if enough people complain. i’d be curious to hear if 630 owners are encountering the same dim backlight too.

    • Michele

      Derek, I called as well since you mentioned they might do something if enough people called, the person I spoke to said that there were no plans to make any changes and that it was not something that could be changed by software, he said basically what you see is what you get.

  153. sma

    REI shows the 630 in stock as of today.

  154. Vanessa

    Hello, is it possible to make a pre-order for the Forerunner 235 in Canada? Apart amazon.ca and the Garmin Canadian website (which are almost never first to ship), I do not find other place where I can do it…

  155. Candy

    Just wanting to make sure I’m thinking correctly before I start calling our local running stores…I have a 620 currently and would like the IQ Connect features and longer battery life. I never wear the heart rate strap to use current running dynamics but am sorta interested in the optical sensor. Are the running dynamics really the biggest added feature of the 630 given the upgrades to the 230 and 235? I normally would be interested in the higher end model, but it seems there is less of a gap now between the three models and I’m leaning strongly towards the 235.

  156. Derek

    on the Activity tracking page where there is a blue curved bar graph for steps, what is the red curved bar for? i don’t have that on my screen yet i see it on some of the samples above as well as in the Garmin manual with no explanation for it.

    thanks!

    • kermit262

      The blue curve bar shows how far you’ve progressed towards your daily step goal. The red curve bar is an inactivity indicator. The longer it gets the more you’ve been inactive. Getting up and walking will clear it. The longer the bar, the more you need to walk to clear it.

  157. TPT924

    Any comparison of accuracy between the 620 and these new watches? I’m having serious issues with accuracy in urban areas and getting lots of drift, is GLONASS going to help much with that or am I just out of luck?

    • Tim Grose

      Over on the Garmin forums, a few people have the devices already and, as yet, I don’t recall any “complaints” about GPS accuracy. Somebody did the NYM with a 630 and commented that it worked better than previously with a 620.

    • TPT924

      Thanks for the response. I’ve got a 630 on order. Hopefully I have a better experience with it!

  158. Urko

    Hi Ray,
    Great job here. One question, does the 235 detect the heart rate variability and give you the vo2max estimation only with the optical sensor?

  159. Sonas

    Will it be possible to add apps like LEKI to the Forerunner 235? or is it only for Running.

  160. ryanovelo

    Just an FYI – the 230 and 630 watch and bundles are now in stock at REI. Come on Clever Training! I haven’t heard one word from you about a shipping estimate. In my past dealings with them, this means they haven’t even received shipping information from Garmin yet. Not their fault, but this just proves (as it did last year with the launch of the 920XT), it’s quicker to get the watches from REI.

    • Hang tight, good news on the way (actually, if you ordered a FR630 base black unit, it already shipped out today from CT). But more good news shortly (and some surprising news).

    • Os

      Yeah, we’re all still a bunch of big kids that can’t wait for our new toys to arrive. Having preordered from CT before, I know they’re not the first to get new stuff often, But they’re really great with customer service and donate a lot of stuff that gets given away here. And we get to support this blog. That’s a win-win in my book.

    • Chris

      I’m already checking this site like 25 times a day… ha ha Now you have me wondering if a 635 is coming 🙂

    • Josh

      This has me curious as I was a very early day 1 orderer of the 235, and received an email from CT last night stating the order wouldn’t be fulfilled until early December.

    • Welcome to the world of Garmin manufacturing fulfillment, where things literally change drastically in a matter of hours. 🙂

    • Michele

      Just to make sure I haven’t missed it, have you said what the good and surprising news is yet?

    • ryanovelo

      Did that include the bundle or just watch only? I ordered the bundle (base black watch and HRM). I did get an e-mail earlier today stating their first shipment arrived. I ordered early on D1 so hopefully mine is one that goes out.

      Don’t get me wrong. I love CT. I’ve ordered every watch I’ve owned in the past few years from them. They have a great return policy and their customer service is fantastic.

    • All black base backorders went out (shipping). Pending tracking info for other combo’s. The second I get the IM I’ll post here.

    • Brian

      Ray, How long do we have to wait for the good news and the surprising news? or did I miss it in the thread?

    • Sorry, I posted it below. The surprising news was the release of a shipment of FR235, which just yesterday morning Garmin was advising all retailers that they wouldn’t ship until December.

  161. Tripp Holt

    Can anyone tell me how well the internal accelerometer works to estimate speed when on a treadmill? How much better is it with the footpod?

    • Tim Grose

      I forgot my foot pod the other day when I went to use a treadmill so had to use “WDR” pace from the internal accelerometer. This with a 920 but I imagine these new devices are similar as it was with a 620. Anyway the overall distance was quite close to the treadmill readout (only about 0.2K less in about 7K). The “problem” is that as I sped up the WDR pace only increased a bit so was under reading a bit. This, I think, is largely because WDR pace is based on armswing and not sure I really increase that significantly as I get faster. That said it supposedly self calibrates when you do outdoor runs. The foot pod overall distance is heavily dependent on a “correct” calibration but it does react to changes in pace far quicker as it is coming from your foot of course which is always moving whereas armswing can change (or even stop) especially if you look at your watch or you use that hand to adjust the treadmill or reach for a towel etc etc. So, in summary, it is not bad if you run at a steady pace that is “normal” to you but less good if you vary your pace a lot. From reading other reviews, including Ray’s own ones, that seems fairly typical.

    • Tripp Holt

      Thank you Tim, I appreciate the response. Do you mind posting a link to DCR’s review that you mention? I must be searching for the wrong terms.

    • Tim Grose

      See the Indoor Training section in link to dcrainmaker.com

  162. Jose DePina

    Just spoke to an REI rep and they have an ETA of Novemeber 25th for the FR235.

  163. J Hanson

    Is sleep mode automatic with the 230?

    • Sleep tracking is automatic on all Garmin devices. You need only set a general timeframe for sleep once when you setup the device, but honestly it doesn’t much matter what’s in there.

    • J Hanson

      What do you mean it doesn’t matter much whats in there? So even if I do not set up the time frame it will track sleep otherwise.. Thank you for the fast reply

    • Basically.

      For example, mine is set for 1AM till 7AM as my ‘sleep time’. It’s almost 3AM now, and I’ll soon head to bed, and wake up…well..earlier than I want to think about. I’ll not have set anything in terms of sleep – it’ll have just managed it.

      Similarly, I’ve also fallen asleep at 10PM and woken up the next morning and it tracks it.

    • Maria

      It doesn’t matter much as long as you sleep during the night. I work in the night shift and go to bed around 8 o’clock in the morning (when I’m free I too sleep in the night). I’ve set my time from from 22-8.30. As long as I go to bed within the frame in the morning it’s okey. Otherwise it really doesn’t matter.

    • Tim Grose

      On a 920 however there is a manual “Start Sleep Mode” option which you can use if you goto bed at significantly different times to your “normal” ones – e.g. for an afternoon nap. I don’t believe these devices have that option though.

  164. Alan

    Just got shipping confirmation from Clever Training….. FR630 is on its way….

  165. kasper lund

    Hi Ray

    Still can’t decide wheter to get the 235 or the 630. I sorta decided to wait for your in depth review, but i wondered if you will be testing the following in details:

    – Does the lactate threshold actually work? This is a dealbreaker for me at least! Besides the wifi there arent any other features on the 630 that will be of importance for my desicion to buy that particular watch. Would much appreciate any more informations regarding the lactate threshold!
    – how will the 235 work with the recovery advisor/VO2 Max in comparison to the 630/230 with strap.

    A question on the side. Will it be possible to add the lactate threshold test to the 235 by pairing it with some 3rd party device?

    Thanks beforehand and sorry for sounding so demanding!

    • I’m interested in seeing how well data looks between the FR630 and BSX (in terms of zone guidance).

      It’s not possible to add Lactate Threshold tests to the FR235 natively, but perhaps BSX would come out with a Connect IQ app. That’d be pretty darn logical for them.

  166. Thomas

    Hi Ray,
    cool to hear news from Garmin. You mentioned that it is not quite clear if we will see all the new features in the existing watches such as Fenix3 or 920XT. So I would be interested to see those watches side by side. Is there a huge difference in size and what about the new touch display? Is it more crisp/clear than the others?

    And just for jogging and allday use… in the office and during the sport… would you go for the FR630 or an other watch from Garmin.

    Thanks from Germany

    Thomas

  167. Mark

    Ray (All), I’d love to see a couple of comments on a comparison between the HRM-Run strap (FR620) and the HRM-Run strap (FR630). Not by way of functionality, but as to comfort. The FR630 strap looks like a redesign and is more in keeping with the new Swim & Tri straps.

    Thanks.

    • Yup, assuming my FR630’s manage to squirm their way through French customs* overnight tonight, and also manage to appease the UPS Saturday Delivery Crew**, I’ll do a short video showing the differences and talking to comfort.

      *I’d give this 80% success rate.
      **I’d give this 30% success rate.

    • Mark

      Thanks so much.

  168. Michael P