Garmin Forerunner 220 Review

Garmin has made a nice upgrade to its mid-level GPS watch series with the Forerunner 220. As the next generation of the Forerunner 210, the 220 is thinner, lighter, has a high-resolution, color display and an improved battery life. Combined with some newer software features, this watch is designed for those who want more features and training aids than what’s found in a budget watch, but without the complexities of higher-end GPS watches.

The most striking update to the Forerunner 220 is its color display and thin, sleek design. This is a strong departure from the Forerunner 210 that had a gray/black display and felt heavy and chunky on the wrist. Looks-wise, the 220 is very similar to the Garmin’s high-end running watch, the Forerunner 620, but it lacks Running Dynamics (Garmin’s newest training features) and doesn’t have a touch screen like its pricier sibling.

***The Forerunner 220 is a discontinued model and and be found on sale.*** Check Amazon for lowest price

Feature-wise, customizable workouts are new to the Forerunner 220. This allows you to create detailed workouts (for example: a 10 minute warm-up, 3 mile tempo run, 10 minute cool-down) that are programmed into the watch. Audible and vibration alerts notify you to begin each segment of the workout. The 220 also includes Virtual Pacer – a feature that tracks a specified pace and alerts you if you deviate above or below it. While these features have existed on older Garmin Forerunners, this is the first time Garmin has included them on a mid-level watch.

Another new feature is an internal accelerometer. This tracks cadence indoors and outdoors, as well as speed and distance when running on a treadmill. Prior Garmin watches could track this data, but only if you bought and wore a separate foot pod attached to one a shoe.

Garmin Forerunner 220

Other improvements include an increased battery. The 220 gets 10 hours in training mode as compared to 8 hours on the Forerunner 210. Activity history has also improved: up to 200 hours of workout data. The 220 is water-proof up to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimming. Another nice feature is Live Tracking. This allows your friends and family to track your progress during a race or other event provided you’re carrying a smart phone.

What makes the Forerunner 220 different from its upgraded sibling, the Forerunner 620? While they look nearly identical, the 220 does not have a touch screen. It also lacks Garmin’s new set of functions: Running Dynamics. This suite of features work when wearing Garmin’s newest heart rate monitor and track ground contact and vertical oscillation (how fast you bounce up and down). The 220 lacks Recovery Adviser – this feature monitors the distance and intensity of your workouts and advises appropriate recovery time. Also missing is Race Predictor – a feature that will estimate your finishing time mid-race based on your current level of fitness.

***The Forerunner 220 is a discontinued model and and be found on sale.*** Check Amazon for lowest price

Overall, the 220 is a great watch for runners willing to spend a little more who want to better training aids and more advanced features – but don’t care for highly-detailed metrics or want a watch that’s overly complicated and expensive.


PROS:

  • Lightweight, easy to use
  • Comes with useful training aids like interval and customizable workouts and Virtual Pacer
  • Color display, great battery life, and large activity memory

CONS:

  • Lacks Garmin’s new Running Dynamic features
  • Not optimized for other activities like cycling or swimming

WHO SHOULD BUY THIS WATCH
Runners

This is almost the ideal watch for runners who want some advanced training aids, but not the complexity of other feature-rich GPS watches.

Cyclists

The Forerunner 220 lacks bike-centric features, but works fine if you are only interested in tracking basic information like time, speed, and distance.

Swimmers

The Forerunner 220 is waterproof to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimming; however, it lacks advanced swim features.

FEATURES

Hardware

Battery-life: 10 hours exercise mode

Water-proof to 50 meters

Color display

Data Tracking

Time, Distance, and Speed/Pace

Calories

Heart rate calculated calories

Workout History

200 hours

Remembers Personal Records

Alerts & General Features

Auto lap

Auto pause

Time/distance audible and vibration alerts

Training Aids

Interval workouts

Customizable workouts

Virtual Pacer

Syncing

Downloads activities to your computer

Shares workouts on Facebook and Twitter (using Garmin Connect)

Syncs with smartphones

Accessories

Heart rate monitor

Food pod

Other Functions

Time of day

Date

Alarms

Stopwatch