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Posted by Sandra Vogel Jul 9, Reviews 0 Garmin has established itself as a leader in satellite navigation products with a current portfolio that ranges far and wide. There are outdoor devices for leisure and adventure pursuits, marine and aviation specific products, and in-car and motorcycle satnav devices.
The company even has a range of smartphones with built in satnav. And it also has a number of products for fitness including cycling and running devices. The Forerunner sits in the middle of the runner specific range of products.
It is a GPS enabled sports watch which can be used to measure distance covered, calories burned and time taken. But nor is it at the top of the range.
So the question is, does the Forerunner deliver enough value to justify its price? Runners only The Garmin Forerunner is specifically aimed at runners. Its core aim is simple — to measure speed and distance, and calculate calories burned. But you can leave that out of the equation if you like.
That suits me quite well, as running is my main activity. But it is worth noting right here at the outset that if you want to monitor your activity across several sports, you might be better off looking at other kit, either from the Garmin range or elsewhere.
Design and usability I found the Forerunner really comfortable to wear.
Watches can be heavy too, feeling like quite a weight on your wrist in comparison to an ordinary watch. I had no such problems here. If you want dimensions then the face has a 25mm diameter, and measured from left to right, as it is worn on the wrist, the watch front is 45mm across.
It weighs 52g. However it scores highly on usability. The side buttons depress easily, and there are clear markings as to their functions on the screen surround. It is comfy to wear too, and the fact that it is water resistant means you can probably dunk it in the sink to get rid of sweaty gunk from time to time.
The Garmin Forerunner looks enough like an ordinary watch that if you disagree with my comments on style you could wear it every day — if you are prepared to charge the battery regularly. The charger is a fairly chunky clip that has four contacts which drop into slots on the back of the watch.
At the other is a USB connector. The charger is a fairly sizeable bit of kit to carry around if you go on hols for a week or more, but you may need it.
The watch comes in three colours. Setup and use What really matters, though, is how easy the watch is to use and whether it delivers the right info. It is really easy to set up.
Calibrating it with your age, weight and sex are done at first switch-on and can be changed later. Even when you are exhausted after a run it should be easy to find this button! Hit the Reset button on the bottom right side of the watch and a finished session is stored in memory.
There is enough storage space for hours of running history, and when it gets full the watch automatically deletes the oldest run to make way for the newest one. So you can see that while the basics are covered, more advanced features are absent.
You have to hold this down for three seconds to get to the History menu, which is listed alongside other menu options like changing your user profile height, weight, sex , and setting up watch alarms. The right side buttons page you up and down through menu options. The large charger unit I mentioned earlier doubles up for data synchronisation.
If you choose to use the online Garmin Connect you can upload run data to your Web space from wherever you happen to be — as long as you have access to a computer. So analysing your stats while you are running on holiday should be no problem!
Conclusion While testing the Garmin Forerunner I found it fine for measuring distance and speed. Overall, the Forerunner seems like a great watch for anyone starting to run regularly who wants to keep an eye on progress without getting bogged down by too much technical detail.
It could easily see you through a few serious competitive runs as an improver too. As you improve further you might find you want more features, or you may remain content with what the Forerunner has to offer.
But this is definitely the kind of watch that could keep some runners happy throughout their running careers.