Garmin FR620 | Forerunner 620 Review

Down by £60 in Aug 2014

The FR620 is the latest in the Forerunner series of watches, specifically the running focussed ones. It is not revolutionary. HOWEVER it IS a significant evolution in terms of: aesthetics; communications functionality; & run-functionality.

Basically it’s ‘just’ a fully featured HRM / GPS running watch, albeit a top-of-the range one. (HINT: That’s really all you need to know, just go and buy it if you can afford it!)

Would I buy one? Probably not, as I am happy with my FR910XT as that better supports triathlon. I do more than just run.

If I had the sole running focus that I used to (i.e. no swim and bike) then …

I WOULD buy a FR620.

Why?

It can do all the metrics that a run-watch needs to do. If you want you can read dcrainmaker’s in-depth review then you will come to that same conclusion but if you prefer you can just take my word that this baby pretty much does everything (and more) that a runner needs.

Why? In a bit of detail: It’s very light; it looks nice enough; it has neat wi-fi and Bluetooth comms; it has special running metrics [some VERY special ones:-)]; it has a touch screen display.

Who would buy it? Well, I’m not party to Garmin’s market segmentation strategies and, no, I don’t get a free watch. But I would imagine it targets: serious runners; people who think they are serious runners; people who want a top-of-the range model for the sake of it; upgraders; a Garmin user who might already have an ANT+ strap and footpod; and simply someone who can afford the £300+ price tag (XMAS 2013, likely £250 by Xmas 2014). For some it will, no doubt, be a status symbol; for others, an aspiration of where they would like their running to be!

Right. I’m not going to do an in-depth, detailed review as this product pretty much does most things I can think of. I’ll tell you what it’s missing and what is unusually nice. You could no doubt read the online manual or dcrainmaker’s step-by-step-by-step-by-step review. But, honestly, you already know you want one!

BAD:

  • I’m not so keen on the responsiveness of the touch screen nor the feel of the ‘glass’. It does not have the same quality feel as my Samsung Smartphone’s glass. Still it works well enough and I imagine has to cope with much more different stresses posed by a sweaty and wet environment and the occasional knock.
  • I couldn’t get the Bluetooth link to work/pair at all and so couldn’t use it to put the info on my Samsung. But the data got their somehow via the online Garmin Connect either through the wi-fi or USB link I already setup.
  • If you are coming from a FR305, FR310XT, FR910XT then the device use is not initially intuitive
  • Garmin have created yet more bits of software to confuse us: Connect Mobile; Connect; and Express Fit (replacing Garmin Training Centre).
  • Not available everywhere yet. You might not be able to buy one for Xmas 2013 🙁

Good:

Garmin have been listening

  • Back to the option of the old school way of using a USB connector in a new & very nice style (the watch becomes a USB stick and the data can be directly accessed should you so wish)
  • New run metrics: how long your foot stays on the ground (lovely); built it cadence monitor (clever); VO2max info (what will you do with it?); Training Effect (harmless); how much you bob up and down (even lovelier). These run metrics would be enough to convince me to buy it (well some of them) but then again I am a bit of a stats geek. WARNING Requires the special new HRM-RUN Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics – not HRM1, not HRM2 not HRM3 models)
  • Intelligent and quick predictive start-up satellite lock. Many will like that.
  • Comes with a new improved HRM strap that works brilliantly, no spikes or dropouts yet. Many will like that.
  • Properly waterproof. Quite a few will like that.
  • Very lightweight. Most will appreciate that.
  • Still supports getting data into SportTracks & Training Peaks through FIT files. Phew!
  • Works with my trusty old Garmin footpods (despite having one built-in) although pairing took a few attempts.

Here are the graphs in Garmin Connect for some of the new run metrics

Source: dcrainmaker

Source: dcrainmaker

 

Neutral

  • Touchscreen – I guess Garmin had to incorporate this for the masses.
  • Time and date functionality…WATCH! Apparently millions of you want this?
  • Training Plans, media sharing, etc. etc.

Media Resources

Vertical Oscillation…cool. Improve your efficiency…go faster.

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