Garmin Forerunner 25

The Forerunner 25 is Garmin’s latest budget/low cost  GPS watch. Following the trend set by the Forerunner 10 and Forerunner 15, the Forerunner 25 handles the GPS watch basics (time, speed, distance) and builds in a few additional tricks. Most noticeably, this version is small, lighter, with a bigger display screen than past versions. But does that warrant buying the Forerunner 25 – or sticking with the now discounted Forerunner 10 or 15? Let’s take a look and find out…

Wearing the Forerunner 25

First impression with the Forerunner 25 you’ll notice its large, crisp display with big, easy to read numbers. But the watch itself is slightly smaller in size and weight compared to the Forerunner 15.

Similar to the Forerunner 10 & 15, the Forerunner 25 comes in different color options and sizes. What Garmin assumes to be the more “girlish” colors – Black/Purple and White/Pink – are slightly smaller in size than the Black/Red and Black/Blue styles.

The downside to the smaller version of the Forerunner 25 is a weaker battery. Garmin estimates about 8 hours per charge in GPS mode with the small version; while the larger Forerunner 25 should last about 10 hours. These aren’t great compared to more costly GPS watches – but are inline with Garmin’s prior budget GPS watches.

FORERUNNER 25 (1)

Bluetooth Syncing

The biggest improvement to the Forerunner 25 is Bluetooth-syncing compatibility. This does two things: it lets you upload activities to Garmin Connect (Garmin’s cloud app for recording and tracking activities) by smartphone. You can still sync it with a computer and manually uploading, but the smartphone option is a bit more user-friendly.

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Bluetooth also pairs the watch to a smartphone to receive text and email notifications on the watch (a la the Apple Watch). But doing so requires the phone and watch to be near one another – this means taking the phone with you if you want to use this feature while running.

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Functionality

The Forerunner 25 excels as a basic GPS watch. It tracks time, speed, distance as well as a few other metrics like calories burned and heart rate (if used with a Garmin heart rate monitor). It includes a virtual pacer which compares your current pace to your target pace. And it retains the run/walk alert introduced in the Forerunner 10. This feature tracks a pre-set time interval and beeps at every change. It’s great if you are doing a run/walk program where you are alternating between running and walking for a set amount of time.

Like most current Garmin GPS watches, the Foreunner 25 includes an activity tracker. So when you are not running or walking with GPS, the Forerunner 25 tracks total steps taken, gives you move reminders if you’ve been inactive for too long, and assigns step goals (i.e. achieve 7,000 steps / day) to increase daily steps taken.

Finally, the Forerunner 25 measures time, speed, and distance indoors on a treadmill. Older Garmin’s required a foot pod attached to your shoe to do this, but the Forerunner 25 can do it without one.

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Heart Rate Monitor

One important thing to consider is that the Forerunner 25 does not have a wrist-based heart rate monitor. This feature is becoming more common with the current crop of GPS watches (and perhaps Garmin’s next entry-level watch will have it) but this version requires a chest strap HRM to monitor heart rate.

Summary

The Forerunner 25 is currently the best entry-level GPS watch on the market. The crisp display and smartphone syncing combined with basic GPS watch functionality (time, speed, distance) make it a great watch for new runners who want a dedicated GPS watch.

At $139.99 (without a heart rate monitor) and $169.99 (with a heart rate monitor), the Forerunner 25 is not the cheapest option out there. I think it’s worth the extra money, but if you are budget conscious, consider the Forerunner 15 and 10 which have been discounted and can be had for a great deal on Amazon.

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PROS:

  • Excels as an entry-level GPS watch
  • Decent battery-life at 8-10 hours
  • Smartphone syncing makes it easy to upload activities

CONS:

  • No wrist-based heart rate monitor
  • Lacks advanced features such as virtual partner, programmable workouts, and running dynamics

WHO SHOULD BUY THIS WATCH
Runners

Runners who are just starting out, or only want a GPS watch that tracks basic metrics, will love the Forerunner 25. More experienced runners who want to do more with a GPS watch will benefit from the Forerunner 230 or 630.

Cyclists

The Forerunner 25 will track metrics like time, speed, and distance but lack other bike functions such as bike cadence capability and multi-sport.

Swimmers

The Forerunner 25 is waterproof to 50 meters; however, it doesn’t record swim metrics so it will simply act as an expensive stopwatch.

FEATURES

Hardware

Battery-life: 8-10 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)

Smart Notifications (when used with smartphone)

Training Aids

Virtual Pacer

Run/walk training tool

Syncing

Downloads activities to your computer

Wireless sync to smartphone

Shares workouts on Facebook and Twitter

Accessories

Heart rate monitor

Foot pod

Other Functions

Time of day

Date

Alarms

Stopwatch

Editor's choice 2016