Garmin 920XT – What was wrong with it anyway?

Garmin HRM-SWIM 920XT 735XTWhilst the Garmin Forerunner 910XT was the first proper triathlon watch, it was soon replaced by the originally named Garmin Forerunner 920XT. I think it’s fair to say that we see relatively large numbers of the 920XT sill adorning various triathlete’s wrists, much less so with the 910XT.

Then Garmin went and made a new tri watch, the Forerunner 935.

Q: What was wrong with the 920XT?

A: Not a lot, I guess.

Whilst the 920XT’s aesthetics were always questionable and its GPS/current pace was certainly suspect. It did undergo somewhat of a positive transformation throughout its life.

There were numerous reports of ‘losing’ connections with sensors (same old story?) – although I never experienced it Later iterations of the firmware and CIQ saw the device slow down considerably.

Here were some of the notable improvements made during it’s 2 and a bit years of active life:

  • Added support for pool swim workouts.
  • Added support for the latest running dynamics.
  • Added support for using a footpod as the speed source while running.
  • Added HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim support.
  • Added tone-only and vibration-only options to the alarm.


By the end it had ticked all the boxes required for a training and racing tri-watch.

Or had it?

I could just about live with the occasional lagginess however my training regime was occasionally troubled by the lack of ‘repeat’ functionality for training bricks and Otillo. And from a techy perspect the CIQ app store stops at version 1.

But really was that it? Lack of Otillo support?

As you can see, below, Amazon purchasers rate it highly.


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12 thoughts on “Garmin 920XT – What was wrong with it anyway?

  1. Well the question is what is wrong with it currently or what was wrong with it?

    I didn’t own the watch but if I had to take a guess; Aesthetics. For the triathlete they didn’t care. In fact i’d bet the only time it might be used WAS for training. The rest of the day it most likely sat in a desk somewhere. But there inlies the crux: just triathletes bought it. And you could make the argument that it did more….but at the center of the device…it was a tri-watch first and everything else second.

    As for now and what’s wrong with it, you answered most of it. No CIQ beyond 1, no more updates, if not a brand spanking new watch, those batteries have to be wearing thin. Then there are the other factors: There are current watches that do ALL the 920XT could do and then some. I’d add that current watches (like the 935) are a Tri-Watch 1st and everything else 1st. They may not actually function like first place, but the watch(s) are made to do all. The 920XT just can’t currently compete anymore. And with current watches they are still getting updates, some new things items from time to time.

    Was it bad? For the time, probably not. Is it currently bad? It’ll do what it can, but really the newest out tends to do what it’s predecessors did and then some.

    I think you are just pining for the days of Square-faced watches 😛

    1. “Was it bad? For the time, probably not.”

      Probably?! When this launched, the v800 had just launched (and was still unavailable in shops) and Ambit 2 was the best Suunto could do. The v800 did not and still does not have all of the functionality this has, and Suunto are only now starting to catch up (although it’s impossible to know which of their immense lineup to buy, so not really competition…). When Garmin launched the 920XT it was truly a mike drop announcement which trounced the competition. It wasn’t a little bit better, it was better in every single way possible other than looks. I was going to get a v800 but when this launched it was clear Polar were behind the curve by a long way.
      Then the Fenix 3 launched just 3 months later. That’s why the 920XT isn’t loved as it should be. Athletes loved the screen of the 920XT but literally everyone else loved the Fenix 3 which had slightly better firmware and far better looks, so the square watch was killed off.

    2. you’d be surprised at the number of people still buying 920XT…so it DOES compete still
      maybe it’s the price.
      maybe its the screen
      battery life is fine for most people
      maybe it’s risk….an old Garmin design is a mostly bug free one.

  2. I bought my 920 in July 2017 for £230, to replace my 310. The price was right, has all the functions I need and the square format works well for a cycling computer too. Today a 935 is £460 but isn’t twice the watch to me. The added bike functions don’t bother me and a wrist OHR looks less reliable than my chest strap. So if I had to replace my 920, I’d just buy another (when Amazon priced drops).

  3. What was wrong with? From what I heard: Size (too clunky) and style (aesthetics, color, look & feel from ‚past times‘). Compared to the 910XT it was not ‚much much‘ better (in some aspects it even was worse).

  4. I bought it in Jan 2015 and use it extensively sine. For me it is just a perfect watch. I can only wish it be thinner and have more screen real estate, but I do not really need it.
    It seems like Garmin decided to kill the line, so I’ll use it till it die – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to die any time soon – it works perfectly, when not using CIQ which is trash.
    I used 910 and 220, tried many more – I think 920xt is the best watch Garmin made so far. YMMV

  5. I still use the 920xt (I know the article is old). It works great. Does more than I need. I bought the tri bundle with swimming and regular hrm in 2016.

    I don’t use my gps watch to buy things. I don’t trust the optical heart rate on new watches just yet. I don’t need additional analytics on my wrist. Just collect the data and I’ll look on Strava.

    I’m on my third watch band. Only complaint.

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