Garmin Forerunner 15 Review

**Editor’s Note**  The Forerunner 15 has been discontinued by Garmin and replaced by the Forerunner 25. This means the Forerunner 15 can now be had for a great deal. Click here for the latest price.

Garmin’s newest entry-level GPS watch – the Forerunner 15 – takes its cue from the Forerunner 10 and adds new features like activity tracking and heart rate monitor compatibility – plus better battery life. Its ease of use and low price make it perfect for walkers and runners who want a simple watch that excels at the basics.

The Forerunner 15 includes basic GPS watch features: it tracks time, speed, distance, and calories. The Virtual Pacer lets you program a specified pace, then notifies you if you go faster or slower than that pace. A run/walk feature allows you to set timed intervals that alert you when to walk and when to run – a nice feature for new runners following a run/walk training plan.

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Activity Tracking is new to Garmin’s Forerunner series. Similar to Garmin’s vivofit, Fitbit, and Jawbone fitness trackers, the activity tracking features in the Forerunner 15 count steps and calories as you wear it throughout the day. And if you’ve been sitting around too long, it has what I refer to as the “Get off your butt” reminder which prompts you to move around if you’ve been sitting for too long. It will even monitor your sleep – assuming you don’t mind wearing a watch with you to bed.

Garmin Forerunner 15 Activity Tracking

The last thing that separates the Forerunner 15 from its predecessor is its compatibility with a heart rate monitor and foot pod. It’s also waterproof – so it’s ok to take swimming or wear in the shower. It can download workouts to a computer and remembers personal records.

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But like the Forerunner 10, it’s missing more advanced features found on Garmin’s other watches. There’s no custom workouts, running dynamics, or swim and bike tracking. Sure, you can take it swimming or wear it while cycling, but it won’t track any useful metrics for those activities. But for most people, this is fine.

While the Forerunner 15 is a basic GPS watch, its strengths lie in its user-friendly design and inclusion of training features not found on other budget watches.


PROS:

  • Easy and intuitive to use
  • Comes with training aids not found on other budget watches
  • Compatible with a heart rate monitor!
  • Waterproof! Take it swimming

CONS:

  • Battery is improved over the Forerunner 10 but still not great
  • Lacks advanced features found on other GPS watches like elevation tracking, multi-sport, and distanced-based interval workouts.

WHO SHOULD BUY THIS WATCH
Runners

With its run/walk training tool and ease of use, the Forerunner 15 was designed with new runners in mind. Combined with activity tracking, the watch can be worn 24 hours a day to monitor all your exercising and daily movements.

Cyclists

Given its lack of accessories and bike-specific features, this watch works ok for casual cyclists, but not for more experienced cyclists or triathletes.

Swimmers

The Forerunner 15 is waterproof to 50 meters making it suitable for swimming.

FEATURES

Hardware

Battery-life: 8 hours in exercise mode

Waterproof to 50 meters

Data Tracking

Time, Distance, and Speed/Pace

Calories

Workout History

Stores up to 7 activities

Remembers Personal Records

Alerts & General Features

Auto lap

Auto pause

Limited screen customization

Activity Tracking (counts steps, creates goals, reminders to move)

Training Aids

Virtual Pacer

Run/walk training tool

Syncing

Downloads activities to your computer

Shares workouts on Facebook and Twitter

Accessories

Heart rate monitor

Foot pod

Other Functions

Time of day

Date

Alarms

Stopwatch

Garmin Forerunner 15

Large version: 1.5 oz

Lightweight