The Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch provides both the real-time encouragement and long-term trend analysis. Built for the runner who’s willing to go the extra mile, it’s simple to use, lightweight to reduce fatigue, and one of the most popular GPS watches on the market. As the little cousin to the Garmin Forerunner 620, the FR220 holds its own. Click here to buy the Garmin FR220.
Garmin Forerunner 220 Review Update
I first reviewed the Garmin Forerunner 220 back in November. Now that I’ve had a few months to fully check out its functions, I thought an update was in order. The design of the Garmin 220 has really grown on me. It’s nice and lightweight, has a great colorful screen, and the watchband is breathable and comfortable. I also like the fact that the watchband is replaceable. If your watchband shows a lot of wear and tear, the option of replacing it without junking the whole watch is a plus.
The Garmin Forerunner 220 has a 6 week battery life (10 hours in GPS mode) and is definitely adequate for training and racing. One great feature is the Auto Pause. The Garmin 220 detects when you stop during your run, and starts back up when you start again. This feature is a great benefit to those who run with “man’s best friend,” and may occasionally need to take a pit stop or two. If only it could pick up the deed after the pit stop… now that would be a feature!
The functionality of the Garmin Forerunner 220 continues to impress. The satellite connection is fast and reliable. The alerts for heart rate and pace can really help you keep up with your goals. When you hit personal records, the Garmin Forerunner 220 alerts you, giving you that little pat on the back and a bit of extra incentive to keep training.
There has been one common complaint about the Garmin Forerunner 220 since the watch hit the market, and that is its failure to connect with Android phones. The iPhone app is made for… you guessed it, iPhones. Garmin has begun to support some Android phones, but the list is limited. If you have an Android phone, or an ancient cell phone, you still have the option to upload your stats to your computer. Other than this one inconvenience, the Garmin 220 is a smart choice.
Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Watch: Design
This watch was designed to be very lightweight to reduce arm fatigue. This also minimizes impact on your running form.
The screen itself is a color high-resolution display that you can customize to your liking. Want to check on your heart rate? No problem. Need to figure out how long you’ve been going? That’s easy too, along with multiple other options.
The sleek design of this watch allows it to be both fashionable and functional. You can choose to wear it all the time or just on your runs- either way, it’s easy to slide on and off with the traditional sports band design.
Regarding color, you have several options to choose from. Black is generally recommended, but you can choose a more exotic color such as violet/purple if you want.
Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Watch: Usability
The large screen on this watch makes it easy to use while on-the-go. This allows you to maintain your current speed while double-checking your pace, heart rate, etc.
If you do need to take a break for some reason, don’t worry about stopping and re-starting the watch. It detects your current speed, and automatically stops recording if you come to a complete stop. Once you start running again, the clock restarts.
This watch connects to both the internet (such as Facebook) and the GPS satellite system. This allows you to use it as a motivation booster, as it will tell your friends about your run and if they “Like” your status, your watch will tell you!
Garmin Connect, which the watch connects to automatically, is a great tool for planning out your training.
In fact- I personally recommend that you consider using this watch as your primary training tool for a while. Similar to getting a smart phone for the first time, it’s easy to overlook all of its cool features if you don’t make a habit of trying new things. GPS watches are capable of some very cool things these days, so make sure you use all of the tools available.
Who knows- it may even improve your PR.
Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Watch: Features
The Garmin Forerunner 220 can be outfitted with or without a heart rate monitor- it’s your choice.
The live social media update is a nice feature, especially if you’re friends with a number of other competitive athletes.
Your watch constantly keeps track of your personal records. When you beat one of these records, the watch automatically congratulations you on a job well done!
If you’re running a route for the first time and didn’t get a chance to measure it beforehand, this watch allows you to track the distance traveled. This makes it easy to plan out your future runs to get the required mileage for your training.
Garmin Connect is accessible through the Forerunner 220. Garmin Connect offers free training plans if you’re trying to lose weight, get ready for a marathon, or become more competitive at shorter races. Garmin Connect also automatically tracks your runs to give you trend. Use these trends to identify areas of improvement or just encourage yourself as you see your hard work pay off.
An accelerometer is constantly double-checking the information from the GPS capabilities. The accelerometer also plays a role when running indoors. This lets you track distance traveled while on an indoor track, through tunnels, or other indoor situations.
Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Watch: Reviews
Normally, I like to look at the reviews from previous customers before I make a recommendation to buy a certain watch.
Unfortunately, since the Garmin 220 is still extremely new, there are almost zero customer reviews out there on the big sites like Amazon.com.
Instead, most of the reviews we found were for the “big brother” of this model, which is the Garmin 620.
But considering the $100+ price difference between the two models, and the fact that Amazon.com is almost sold out of the FR220, this one is definitely going to be a popular choice for a while.
Garmin is really moving forward with the capabilities of their GPS watches. They’re nice to look at, easy to use, and have a ton of great features.
At less than $300, this watch is great for serious runners on a budget. You won’t have a top-of-the-line watch, but it sure beats the $20 sports watch your neighbor got at Wal-Mart.
If this sounds like the type of watch you’re looking for, check it out on Amazon.com. They’re actually running low on supplies at the time of this writing, so order soon before they run out.