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Friday, March 21, 2014

Garmin Forerunner 220 Review

I have been running with Garmin’s newest mid-level GPS watch, the Forerunner 220, and after a solid couple of months (training and completing my first half marathon) it is time to give you all my review.  First, to be clear I am not a medical doctor, a professional trainer, or other legal butt covering mumbo jumbo; instead I am just a regular old and very much amateurish athlete.  I write reviews like this one because I love cycling, running, and swimming “well kind of swimming, it is a tad more complicated relationship kind of like Marcel Kittel’s with his Giant Propel.  Don’t know what I’m talking about? Watch below for YouTube goodness".



I also love technology and would like to share that love with whoever will listen and in some way hopefully some of you readers will benefit from this review.  So here we go!!!

What is in the Box

When you get your Garmin Forerunner 220 it comes in a small box that includes the Forerunner 220, a USB charging cable (no wall plug in block), quick start manuals in numerous languages, and your safety and product information…I would just trash those last two personally.  You can purchase your Garmin Forerunner 220 with Garmin’s new premium heart rate monitor which will tack an additional $50 onto the standard price of $250 but that is pretty reasonable considering that sold alone they are $69.99 (can we just round that up to $70?  Pennies are useless!!! Watch CGP Grey’s video "Death to Pennies" here if you disagree).  However, my FR 220 did not come with a heart rate monitor as I already had one.  Also, any ANT+ heart rate monitor will work with here no matter who the manufacturer is, just has to have the little ANT+ logo on the back and you are good.

The Forerunner 200 comes in two colors: Black/Red or Purple/White, and mine is the Black/Red version.
Now to be clear both are the exact same size but you can clearly see that they kind of went for a male and female version here although if you come storming past me to a sub 3 hour marathon I am sure not going to say anything if you are wearing a Purple and White Garmin Forerunner 220.  The charging cable will either be black or white depending on your color and uses a clip to hold it onto the FR 220.  The charging and sync connectors for the watch are the little silver bits on the back so the clip aligns its pins with those spots.  I would like to point out the thing is super sturdy and you can easily pick the watch up by the charging cable and the watch won’t unattach.  I would imagine you could be even more aggressive with it but I see no point to testing that with a $250 device and no real reason to swing it around like a helicopter by the charging cable.

Now on to the Watch Itself

As you can see from the pictures the Forerunner is not a small watch but to be fair I have baby sized wrists…no seriously they are the same size as my girlfriends!  The watch's strap is that heavy duty plastic stuff but has three holes drilled through at each size.  You only use the middle one for the watch clasp so I have assumed the additional holes are to facilitate breathability so you don’t take the watch off to find a big sweaty patch on your arm.  The band allows for a pretty exact fit because of the number of holes for the clasp and the close together spacing of them.  It allows me to get that Goldilocks fit of not too tight but not too loose that can be hard to get just right.  Also, just to note all of the FR 220’s innards fit within the watch body proper and not incorporated into part of the strap as on most previous Forerunner models.
The Forerunner 220 is NOT a touch screen watch which is actually a good thing as many touch screen running watches have issues with either rain/sweat or gloves, both of which are common to encounter while running.  Instead the FR 220 has 5 buttons along the outside edge (2 on the right side, 3 on the left) which is the same layout for most of Garmin’s fitness watches today.  On the right top you have the start activity/pause button and the bottom right the go back/lap button.  On your top left is the light button and the bottom left are your up and down navigation buttons.

The screen is a little over one inch in diameter and is a color screen although the colors are not super vibrant or anything.  They are mostly darker shades of blue, red, and green; it reminds me a LOT of a Kindle display.  The battery of the Forerunner 220 is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion that according to Garmin is good for 6 weeks in watch mode (aka sans GPS and locked) and 10 hours in GPS recording mode.  Personally that seems a bit optimistic although I always use the device with the backlight on and given that I would say it comes out closer to 6 hours of GPS recording.  Either 10 or 6 you still have more than enough recording time for any running race short of ultra-distance stuff.  I mean the battery is good enough that even while traveling for several days I do not bother to take a charger which means it is better than what most people would require.  If you are an ultra-distance runner you are most likely looking for something more like the new Fenix 2 that boasts up to a whopping 50 hours of GPS recording time and also has a barometric altimeter which the Forerunner 220 does not.

One big upgrade for the Forerunner 220 over the previous Forerunner is the addition of REAL waterproofing.  Yup no more IPX7 junk instead you get full on waterproofing good to 5 ATM (or the equivalent of 5 atmospheres of pressure) because I have a Scuba diving license I actually know what that means but for everyone else it really means it is 100% waterproof to 50 meters or about 165ft.  Now there is one HUGE caveat to this namely that the watch is tested to a pressure NOT a depth.  Now 50 meters deep in a pool is when the water would hit 5 ATMs of pressure but say for example a pressure washer could far exceed 5 ATM without issue.  Lesson: you are safe to swim or shower with your shiny new Forerunner 220 but do not power wash it after a dirty run.  In all seriousness it is effectively waterproof from anything you will encounter in your normal day.

The Running part of the Forerunner 220

First, to start a run you must unlock the device out of watch mode which requires hitting the start button on the top right side of the watch twice.  That takes you to the main screen that says run with a little runner guy icon and has a bar across the top middle that is currently red and flashing.  This is the GPS signal bar and it will turn green once it is full and GPS signal has been acquired.  Above the bar are GPS, Bluetooth, and Heart icons that tell you if any of those services are currently connected to the watch.  They will flash when not connected and stay constant when signal is acquired.  To access the Forerunner’s menu you would push the navigate down button but to start a run you simply wait until GPS signal has been acquired.  GPS acquisition can take anywhere from 5 seconds to a minute + but is usually around 20-30 seconds which is a huge improvement over previous versions of the Forerunner series.  Signal acquisition speed is boosted by satellite catching with your Bluetooth 4.0 smartphone but they must have been synced recently for that to take effect.
After signal is acquired the watch will automatically flip over to the data fields.  There are two screens on the Forerunner 220 with 3 fields on each screen (versus 4 fields per screen on the Forerunner 620).  These fields by default are Screen 1: Distance, Time, and Pace; Screen 2: Lap Distance, Lap Time, Lap Pace; although they are completely customizable.  For example on Screen 1 I have substituted pace for Heart Rate and on Screen 2 Lap Time for Heart Rate Zone.

Possible data fields are:
Distance, Pace, Speed, Lap Distance, Average Pace, Cadence, Time, Lap Pace, Calories, Lap Time, Heart Rate, Average Heart Rate, Heart Rate Zone

In addition to the 2 customizable screens there is also a Time Screen that displays the current time and date.  Also, if you are using a heart rate monitor there will be a fourth screen that displays your current heart rate and heart rate zone.  Both of these screens can be disabled through the settings.

Back to running though, once GPS signal is acquired and you are at the data fields screen simply push the start button (top right) and off you go.  While running the lap button allows you to manually trigger laps and the navigation direction buttons allow you to switch between data screens.  While you are running pushing the start button again will pause the activity and then again to resume.  To finish an activity you press the start button to pause it and then give it a second so that an options screen appears.  The options include: Resume, Save, Discard, and Settings; simply push save and the activity is concluded and the Forerunner 220 displays the stats form your activity.  You can now view the activity under the Activities Section in History as well as upload the activity to Garmin Connect which I will cover later.

Internal Accelerometer

Step Pyramid Test Run
The two big accessories for a running watch like the Forerunner 220 are a heart rate monitor and a footpod.  The heart rate monitor obviously tracks your heart rate and displays it on your watch which is pretty straight forward while a footpod is an external device to track you cadence and distance by a small accelerometer attached to your shoe.  This used to be the only way to track your cadence (how many times your feet hit the ground) and the only way to get distance with no GPS signal such as in a tunnel or on a treadmill.  What is unique to the current Forerunner 220 and 620 is the inclusion of an internal accelerometer in the watch that allows it to get your speed and cadence without an external footpod.

This is an AWESOME feature but the problem is that is just doesn’t work for distance/speed, period.  I have done two test runs with it on a treadmill where I ran a pyramid (1 minute at a speed then 0.5mph faster for another minute and so on.  It should look like a stepped pyramid going up and down evenly).  It did not look like this at all it was more of a rounded blob that barely even went up or down.  Now the internal accelerometer does seem to be ballpark accurate at your common pace but anything above or below that is wildly off.  I am pretty sure this comes from the fact that at the end of the day all the watch really has to work off of is your cadence.  Outside it can match that data to the GPS data and get stride length but inside where there is no GPS data it can’t.  So what happens if I shorten my stride length but increase my cadence for a recovery run?  The Forerunner thinks I am runner faster than I actually am due to an increased cadence.

On the cadence side of things it seems to be noticeably better but honestly my cadence is not something I pay a whole lot of attention to.  I know it eventually becomes an important metric as you develop a better stride and a faster cadence usually equals more distance for less effort.  It is still just not something I care that much about compared to being able to get accurate files for Garmin Connect off of a treadmill.  So, I am thrilled that Garmin included this feature and I have a feeling it will improve significantly in future iterations as it stands currently it pretty much sucks.

Activity Settings

There are a handful of key activity settings that will directly impact running with the Garmin Forerunner 220. These can be found under Menu – Settings – Activity Settings.  This is where you can alter the Data Screens on your device like I have.  Also there is the ability to adjust the Timeout from normal to extended.  By default the FR 220 will turn off GPS and go back to watch mode if an activity is not started within a short period of time after it is unlocked, about 5 minutes.  Normally I leave mine in normal timeout for this reason however extended time out lengthens the amount of time before the watch will turn off to 20 minutes.  This is a really useful setting for when you are running a race as you can turn your watch on well before getting to the start line and know you are good to go versus trying to unlock and acquire signal in the minutes before the race starts.

There is also the Auto Scroll feature that automatically switches between activity fields during a run with options of Off, Slow, Medium, and Fast.  Personally I leave it off and usually leave my watch on the lap screen but I will manually move it using the navigation buttons when I want to see a different screen.  Next is Auto-Pause which uses your current speed to automatically pause an activity when you are stopped or drop below a certain speed
threshold you have set.  It is useful when you are stuck at things like stop lights but it has been finicky with me as I commonly run with my Husky puppy and she likes to get distracted which can trigger auto-pause.  So I just leave auto-pause off and manually pause the activity whenever I am stuck somewhere.  Auto-Lap automatically starts a new lap every time you hit a predetermined distance you enter.  I set auto-lap at 1 mile so that I have a solid metric on my Lap Data screen to base my pace off of.

Last is the Alerts option which allows you to set your watch for vibrate or audible alerts based on certain thresholds either heart rate or pace.  So you can manually set a top limit and a bottom limit and the Forerunner 220 will alert you if you have exceeded or fallen below your set window.  In the same area is also the Run/Walk alert which is an extremely popular part of many distance training plans these days. Run/Walk lets you specify a run time followed by a walk time period.  So for example you set it at 5 minutes and 1 minute; you will run for 5 minutes then the FR 220 will alert you to walk which after 1 minute of walking you will get another alert to run for 5 more minutes.  It will do this in perpetuity (aka FOREVER) until you finish your run.  Because this mode doesn’t actually have set speed limits also it can be a useful reminder to intake food or fluids every 10-20 minutes.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Bluetooth Logo Top, Center
The Forerunner 220 & 620 are the first watches of the Forerunner serious to have Bluetooth built into them to allow them to connect to Bluetooth 4.0 devices.  This allows for software updates and activity uploads wirelessly, which I will cover later; as well as a new feature called LiveTrack.  Now before I talk about LiveTrack I do want to make it clear that the Garmin Forerunner 220 can NOT connect to Bluetooth smart accessories like heart rate monitors and footpods.  The Bluetooth connectivity is limited to smart phones.

Now this LiveTrack thing is the ability to share your run, Mid-Run, with others using a smart phone.  So as your are running they can see where you are on a map, follow your course, and even get statistics like pace and distance covered.  You have the ability to control who can follow your LiveTrack by sending out email invitations.  The email includes a link which the recipient clicks on to follow your LiveTrack.  By default once you conclude your activity it is no longer visible through LiveTrack although you can toggle on Extended Sharing on the Garmin Connect mobile app to allow viewing of your LiveTrack up until 24 hours after it is concluded.  You also have the ability to share your LiveTrack out over Twitter and Facebook if you would like any of your followers or friends to be able to follow you. 
Now to be clear they can see every detail of your current run down to the 3 meters that consumer grade GPS is rated.  So if you have some bad enemy that is your Facebook friend they could see that you are way out in the middle of nowhere so I would be a little careful about social sharing your LiveTrack.

Now I have tested LiveTrack several times although I don’t normally use it because I don’t like taking my phone with me running; to me that just defeats the purpose of having a GPS watch!  But in my tests I have gotten some mixed results.  Sometimes it works perfectly, sometimes there is a lag, a couple times it dropped connection halfway through my run, and then sometimes it is buggy and won’t even launch.  I believe the newest software updates for the Forerunner and the Garmin Connect Mobile app have addressed most of these issues but I have not tested LiveTrack again since those updates so I can’t speak to any changes, yet.

Personally I think it is a cool feature that is a little creepy and honestly not that useful.  For one using LiveTrack will increase the battery drain on your Forerunner 220 and on your mobile device.  You will also be using data through your cellular service provider to broadcast the LiveTrack albeit not enough to devastate your data plan.  But that being said my girlfriend does seem to take some comfort in knowing where I am at when I head out for my long runs.

Use as a "Normal" Watch

The Garmin Forerunner 220 can serve as a day to day watch as I have already pointed out it has exceptional battery life of 6 weeks in watch only mode.  When locked the FR 220 displays the current time (in 12hr or 24hr version changed in settings) and the date as well as the current battery level.  Also you have the ability to set one reoccurring alarm for one time.  You cannot have it set for certain days and not others, if it is on it will ring every day at that time.  It will be either an audible only or both audible and vibrate alarm depending how you have your alerts set for your watch.  I have mine set to vibrate only so if I used the alarm it would be an audible and vibrate alarm which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Those are the only functionalities from a watch point of view so a little bare.  The Forerunner 220 isn’t hard on the eyes but from a watch point of view I am not sure I would want to wear it to work with a suit if you know what I mean.  It can definitely function as a watch but I wouldn’t really see it that way.  To me it is exclusively for physical activities.

Cycling & Navigation

Well this might just be the easiest and shortest section of them all because neither of these features do NOT exist on the Forerunner 220.  There is no navigation support whatsoever and although strictly speaking you can use it for cycling by switching the pace metric to speed it will upload to Garmin Connect as a run although you can manually switch it.  Doing so will completely screw up all of your personal records and would really just be a big pain in the butt to get not much functionality other than speed in distance.  With no cycling mode comes no support for cadence sensors or power meters.  If you want both cycling and running modes in the same watch look to multi-sport units like the Forerunner 910XT or the Fenix 2.

Activity Upload & Garmin Connect

Activity upload can be done two ways with the Forerunner 220 the first is by USB upload to a computer through Garmin Connect or Garmin Express.  The “new” way to upload an activity is through Bluetooth 4.0 and the Garmin Connect Mobile app.  To upload through the mobile app you must have you the app open on your phone, your FR 220 unlocked, and have previously paired the devices (Settings – Bluetooth – Pair Mobile Device).  A little alert will pop up on the watch screen alerting you that Bluetooth device has been connected.  From there the Garmin Connect app will start a sync with the Forerunner and show a little progress bar at the bottom of the app.  Once it is complete the new activity will appear in the Activities section as Untitled.  The activity will also automatically appear on Garmin Connect online.  For more information about the Garmin Connect Mobile app see my blog post on it here.

Garmin Connect Workout Builder
Now as for Garmin Connect it is the online platform used by Garmin devices for dealing with activity files.  It allows you to analyze each activity and MUCH, MUCH more.  Because it is just a platform for dealing with the data and really isn’t that unique; I mean it works the same basic way Strava, RunKeeper, or other platforms works I am going to focus on some of the cool features that the Garmin Forerunner 220 can leverage from Garmin Connect.  Oh one more note you can download a GPX file from Garmin Connect and then upload it to other platforms to take your data to a different service if you so feel inclined.

Garmin Connect Training Calendar
The features I am referring to are under the Training Menu in the FR 220.  The first is Workouts where you can create complete workouts on Garmin Connect and then send them to your Forerunner to do.  You have complete customization of these workouts and can do pretty much whatever you want.  You can make intervals, set heart rate or pace zones, literally anything.  Developing upon the Workouts feature is the Training Calendar which allows you to create your own training plan of workouts (or select one pre-made on Garmin Connect although there aren’t a bunch of choices yet) and schedule those workouts on a calendar.  On the pre-made ones you select your race date and it will automatically schedule backwards from that date.  The Training Calendar full of workouts is then synced with your Forerunner so that you can pull it up and see what you are supposed to do that day.  Once you click on a scheduled workout you can then view the steps that make up that workout or do the workout.  For both of these features you create the Workouts or Training Calendar in Garmin Connect and then sync them with the Forerunner either by USB or Bluetooth 4.0.

Also, in the same area of your Garmin Forerunner is the ability to create an on the fly interval workout.  The same customization options are available on the device as on Garmin Connect but it is a little clunkier to use.  I wouldn’t recommend normally building workouts this way but it is really useful if you are away from your computer and just want to create a quick interval workout to do.

Like I said I haven’t covered the nuts and bolts of Garmin Connect because it is so much like other platforms.  So these features I have focused on are specific features within Garmin Connect that the Forerunner 220 can leverage and are unique to the device and platform combination.

Software Updates

Garmin Express
Now technically you are supposed to be able to handle software updates wirelessly over Bluetooth but until the recent update of the Garmin Connect app that has not worked.  So instead I have done all of my updates through the computer using the new Garmin Express which works really well.  It seems like the newest version of the Garmin Connect iPhone app will support Bluetooth updates now but I have not used it to do so yet.  I will update this section once I have done an update using Bluetooth.

Although in theory they should work the same way as updates done via the USB cable and a computer.  You simply plug in your Forerunner 220 and head to Garmin Express on your computer.  It will tell you if you have any software updates and if so you click download.  This will start the process of moving the software update to you FR 220 BUT not installing it “should take a couple of minutes to download”.  After it has downloaded and you have unplugged you Forerunner 220 it will prompt you with a little screen saying a software update has been downloaded, tells you how long it will take to install (2-3 minutes usually), and then gives you the option of installing then or waiting.  If you wait it will prompt you again in the near future to install.  Once you click install the process starts and pretty true to their word it will be done a couple of minutes later.  After the update is successfully installed you watch will restart and you are all done with the update and good to go out for another run.

Pros
  • 5 ATM waterproof
  • Nicely made and lightweight
  • Bluetooth Smart Connectivity
  • Support for workout and calendar
  • Run/Walk alerts
  • Easy to use
  • Garmin Connect is FREE

Cons
  •  Issues with internal accelerometer
  •  Issues with Livetrack
  •  No cycling function (didn’t expect navigation function)
  •  A little more expensive than other mid-range GPS watches

Summary

No device is perfect but the Forerunner 220 is pretty darn close and get a LOT more right than wrong.  It really does deliver everything about 95% of runners will ever need in a GPS running watch.  There are several features that the more expensive Forerunner 620 has that the 220 does not, like running dynamics, but most people will not find them worth the additional $150 that upgrade costs.  The addition to the Forerunner 220 of Workouts, Training Calendar, and real waterproofing are some solid improvements over previous generations.  They really help users swallow the slightly higher price tag of the 220 compared to other GPS watches.

One the downside I am pretty disappointed that the internal accelerometer for the treadmill mode is not more functional but I do applaud Garmin for attempting it and I think it will get significantly better with time.  Also there have been some teething issues with the Garmin Mobile app, Bluetooth capabilities, and LiveTrack but they seemed to be solved for the most part.

At the end of the day the Garmin Forerunner 220 works pretty darn well and just as importantly it works easily.  It delivers most if not all of the features that runners look for in a GPS watch and clearly outclasses its competition in its price section.  The Garmin Connect platform is hardly the best but doesn’t really have any problems but the Workout creator and Training Calendar are really cool and unique features to the platform.  If you are in the market for a new GPS running watch I would strongly recommend the Garmin Forerunner 220.

Support This Site

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19 comments:

  1. Wow! I think that is the most thorough and complete review I have seen! Thank you.

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  2. Hi, thanks for the thorough and very helpful review! Will the FR220 connect with a bluetooth headset? If it does not now, would this be a software upgrade should Garmin introduce BT headset connectivity in the future or would I have to buy a new watch for that feature? Thanks!

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    1. Glad you like it! No the FR 220 can't connect to a Bluetooth headset or any Bluetooth sensors (foot pods or heart rate monitors). Currently it can only connect to a phone for activity syncing and live track. It would be technically possible to push phone notifications to the watch but I haven't heard anything about Garmin even considering it as a feature on the FR 220.

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  3. How were you able to get the alarm to only vibrate? I have key tones and alert tones off, but the alarm still sounds when it goes off.

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    1. Hey Ian, I messed around with it today and you are correct; tones can't be turned off on the alarm. I am not sure if a software update changed this or what but the odd thing is you can control vibrate on the alarm. If you turn off Vibrate in the Sound Setting and then set an alarm it will not vibrate only have the tone. Like I said I'm not sure the issue but I will append my review and I apologize for the mistake!

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  4. I am currently running with my iPhone and the Wahoo Bluetooth HR (4.0) strap. Am I reading this correctly that the Wahoo monitor will NOT work with the FR220? I'm trying to figure out if I need to spend the extra $50 on the "bundle" version of the watch or if the normal $250 version is fine. My main goal is to be able to run without lugging my phone around with me, but still track hear rate, speed, distance, etc. and then upload the data to Mapmyrun or Endomondo. Thank you for your review.

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    1. That is correct! The Garmin Forerunner 220 only supports ANT+ heart rate monitors and footpods. Wahoo just released their new Wahoo TICKR (Link: http://www.wahoofitness.com/devices/hr.html) that does both Bluetooth and ANT+ but an older Wahoo Blue HR will NOT work with Garmin units.


      I really like the FR220 and I think it delivers some extra features like custom workouts, pace alerts, and Bluetooth Upload! If you just want HR I would also look at the Garmin Forerunner 110 as it delivers that at $179 (just the watch) so a little cheaper. Just a thought although the FR220 can do a LOT more than the FR110

      Hope this is helpful!!!

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  5. I am a neophite to running with the Forerunner 220. I don't understand how the watch can determine if I set a personal record for specific distances. I used it for the first time this morning and did a 6 mile run. I assumed when I finished it would display a record time for that distance - but nothing. Is there something I'm missing or am I too old to get this (68).

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    1. You can always check the personal records on the FR 220 in Settings-Records or in the Garmin Connect mobile app. The distances for records are: 1km, 1 mile, 5km, 10km, half marathon, marathon, and longest run. So only a new best record for those set distances will be displayed after a run. But no way are you too old for this!

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  6. I've been running with the Forerunner 220 for about a week now. Got the bundle package with the HR monitor. It's great. Web interface is also excellent, and the PR notifications are motivational!

    But with all the praise, there is one item I'm struggling with:
    Frozen display. From time to time, my watch stops keeping time and completely freezes up. It has done this 3-4 times in my first week of ownership. I've tried updating software (but it's current), and the only fix I can find is to power off and reboot. The bummer is- the watch quits keeping time when it decides to freeze up (it's never frozen during a run). Then, upon reboot, since it's not yet acquired satellite signal, it displays a time of 2:00AM until the satellite link provides current time- if you're indoors, you're kinda out of luck until you go outside and get the satellite signal. Not sure if I'm going to return the watch and exchange for another unit yet- it could be a defect isolated to this particular unit. I will definitely give another 220 a try before going to a different model.

    Otherwise, this thing is great. It's super light, easy to read even when running, and the customization/auto scroll is great. I started with auto scroll, but have since turned it off. Current pace for current lap bounces around quite a bit when you're early in the mile, but that's expected- just run harder if you need to keep pace, lol.

    Overall I'd rate this as an 8/10, with only two points deducted from a perfect score due to the frozen screen issue. Would love to hear from others if they're experiencing the same issue, or if the problem is with my particular watch.

    Great review, Jarred. Excellent info.

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    1. Glad you like the review! I haven't heard of any other units having issues with the screen freezing up. So I would think that might be a specific issue with your unit. I would contact Garmin's customer service about the issue and I think they will be able to troubleshoot it or set you up to get your unit exchanged.
      Here is the link for Garmin's support page: http://www.garmin.com/us/support/

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    2. I have the same issue! It's so frustrating. Sometimes when I hit the run button my watch freezes up and takes a couple of minutes to reboot. I'm going to exchange it if I can't find a fix. I actually started with a 620 but downgraded because of the price, but at least that one didn't crash.

      It's too bad, because I love this watch.

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  7. I am looking to purchase a running watch with GPS, but I would also like to be able to use it as a heart rate monitor for other activities such as taking a Zumba or spin class. Is it possible to use the Garmin FR220 as just a heart rate monitor when doing other activities, or is it really only good for running?

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    1. Although the FR220 is meant for running you can definitely use it for other activities just for heart rate tracking. What I have done for that is just turn the GPS off and record. Afterwards it is necessary to change the activity type in Garmin Connect but it is easy to do from the app

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    2. Jarred - does it matter if it's running or spinning for the calories counting?
      If you burned 1000 calories "running" with the GPS closed, does it mean you actually burned them in your spin class?

      Thanks :)

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  8. Great review!! I bought a couple of days ago the FR220 and had many questions on how to start, upload workouts and software updates.

    Thanks

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  9. I have same issue with accelerometer, fine at normal easy/steady pace useless at tempo/speed intervals. As I always wear my HR belt for speedwork Its easy for me to tell if its a dodgy slow treadmill or not, and my HR data always shows me to be working in the correct zone for them. My cadence always tops out to, I normally run 190-210 for 5k pace outdoors intervals but indoors it stops at 160-170 my easy pace range. I suspect that as its on your wrist not on your foot doesn't help I guess. Seem other posts saying similar about watches with inbuilt accelerometers (I had a suunto ambit, had a inbuilt one and did the same), so think whilst nice in principle in reality is a slight waste of time.

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