Three new models of the Garmin Forerunner will soon be released to add new features to the world’s largest wearable tech series and help runners and fitness enthusiasts keep a closer eye on performance.
The new Garmin Forerunner 230, 235 and 630 are equipped with GPS to measure your speed, pace, distance, elevation, and bring features such as Auto Lap and Auto Pause, Recovery Advisor and Race Predictor. Also added to the feature set is all-day activity tracking – the ability to log steps taken, calories burned and monitor sleep automatically.
The new FR230 is a mid-range sports watch that replaces the FR220. The FR235 is on the upper end of mid-range, replacing the FR230. The FR630 is the high-end option and replaces the FR620.
Garmin sports watches are becoming more like smartwatches since the release of the Vivoactive earlier in the year, and the Garmin Connect IQ developer platform. The New Forerunners are smarter than their predecessors as they can display incoming caller ID, texts, email and social notifications from your connected smartphone. They can also be used to control your smartphone’s music playlist, and give you the option to install apps, widgets and watch faces downloaded from the Connect IQ platform.
Garmin Forerunner 230 and Forerunner 235
Just a few months ago Garmin released their first wearable which included wrist-based optical heart rate monitoring, the Forerunner 225, which incorporated heart rate technology from Mio who are one of the leaders in the field.
It is optical heart rate monitoring that separates the new FR230 and FR235. The FR235 includes an optical HRM whereas the FR230 doesn’t. Although the FR230 doesn’t have a built-in HRM it can be paired with a Garmin HRM-Run chest strap via ANT+. If you decide to go with the FR235 you still have the option to pair with a chest strap if you prefer to use a chest strap for training and the optical HRM on a casual basis.
The FR230 and FR235 have 1.23″ 215 x 180 displays that are 44% larger than their predecessors, the addition of GLONASS, VO2 Max Estimation (with HRM), do not disturb mode, and they are more geared up for cyclists with support for speed/cadence cycling sensors and cycling-specific apps. Furthermore, the addition of the ANT+ sensor pool concept brings support for multiple ANT+ sensors.
The all important battery life has also been increased. The FR230 can apparently run for up to 16 hours with the GPS switched on compared to the 10 hours of its predecessor. The FR235 has a claimed battery life of 11 hours with GPS and HRM switched on which is a couple of hours more than its predecessor.
If you are just using the activity tracking and notification features, the FR230 has a claimed battery life of up to 5 weeks, the FR235 up to 9 days.
Garmin Forerunner 630
The new Garmin Forerunner 630, like other high-end Garmin wearables, has more features than you can shake a stick at..
It has an always-on high-resolution color touchscreen display. It also features wi-fi support allowing you to upload your training data to Garmin Connect without the need to be connected to your smartphone.
Garmin haven’t included an optical heart rate monitor with the FR630, instead it needs to paired with an ANT+ HRM chest strap. Pairing with a chest strap enables the FR630 to provide advanced feedback on your training form including new features: Lactate Threshold and Stress Levels.
The FR630 has a 1.23″ 215 x 180 display that is 44% larger than its predecessor th FR620. It brings activity tracking, automatic sleep monitoring, music control, metronome training, GLONASS and increased battery life.
The FR630 has a claimed battery life of up to 16 hours with GPS switched on compared to the 10 hours of its predecessor. If you only use it for activity tracking and notifications it will apparently last up to 4 weeks – although I wouldn’t see much point in buying a high-end device like the FR630 and just using it as an activity tracker..
All the new Forerunners are waterproof up to 50 meters. They all support Garmin Connect IQ and are compatible with iOS, Android and Windows. You can also access your Garmin Connect dashboard on your desktop/laptop for an even more in-depth analysis of your training activities and sleep patterns.
The FR230 will cost $249 or $299 with a HRM chest strap. The FR235 will cost $329. The FR630 will cost $399 or $449 with a HRM chest strap.
The New Forerunners will be available some time in the 4th quarter of 2015.
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