For years Garmin had an unassailable position with their GPS watches representing the ‘gold standard’ for runners. The move to low-cost Bluetooth activity trackers rocked the industry as it pushed manufacturers to include more features, wireless syncing, and lower prices. Garmin pushes the envelope again with ForeRunner 225, the first major running watch with integrated optical heart-rate sensor from Mio.
For the last month or so I have been totally enamored with Garmin’s VivoActive, which features a GPS, fitness track, and Bluetooth sensor connectivity, as well as smartwatch capabilities. But if you want to track your heart rate you need to use a chest strap, limiting it to an activity-based zone tracker (not necessarily a bad thing). But more and more we’re seeing a push to tracking real-time heart-rate during non-cardio activities.
The ForeRunner 225 is essentially the very popular mid-range ForeRunner 220 with a few updates:
– Inclusion of a Mio wrist-based optical heart-rate sensor
– Heart Rate ‘Settings’ and a dedicated heart-rate tracking page
– Fitness tracking – steps, goal, etc.
With the base of the ForeRunner 220, Garmin already has a winning device that has proven enormously popular with runners. What we get with the ForeRunner 225 is something that we can wear and get useful data from all day long.
And in my opinion that is key, the ‘killer app’ of getting people to buy a wearable is that all-day tracking and loads of information on their smartphone app. For me the VivoActive satisfies that, and the ForeRunner 225 goes even further (but removes the ‘smartwatch’ functions).
The key to the advances of the ForeRunner 225 is the heart-rate sensor, which Garmin got through a partnership with established sensor maker Mio. Here is what they each have to say:
“After more than 10 years of developing GPS running watches we are very excited to team up with Mio to introduce our first device featuring wrist-based heart rate,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Getting and understanding your heart rate is more comfortable and easier than ever with the Forerunner 225’s real time results on a colorful gauge – allowing runners to evaluate and adjust effort quickly so they can focus on their run.”
“We are proud of our partnership with Garmin. When the leading brand in GPS teams up with a leading brand in wrist-based heart rate monitoring technology, it’s a win for athletes at all levels,” says Liz Dickinson, CEO of Mio Global. “More and more, athletes are recognizing the role that heart rate plays in their training intensity and efficacy, and it has become evident that heart rate is a must-have feature in wearable technology.”
ForeRunner 225 Features:
How it Works
To measure heart rate at the wrist the Forerunner 225 uses a built-in optical sensor that shines light into a user’s skin and measures the amount of light returned. Because there are slight changes as blood pumps through the wrist, the sensor detects those changes and uses an advanced filtering process to determine reliable and accurate heart rate. Additionally, a light seal on the back of the watch blocks out ambient light to help ensure proper heart rate detection.
Easy to Understand Heart Rate Data
The Forerunner 225 displays a colorful gauge to show a runner’s zone and beats per minute in real time, allowing users to easily follow training programs that require set times or distances within a certain zone. The gray, blue, green, orange, and red areas on the gauge show runners at a glance if they are in the warm-up, easy, aerobic, threshold, or maximum heart rate zone. Zones are preset based on the user’s age-based max heart rate estimate but can also be customized directly on the watch or in Garmin Connect™.
Stay Active and Connected
The Forerunner 225 keeps runners on track with their training programs and encourages them to stay consistently active throughout the day. Water resistant to 50 meters, and boasting up to four weeks battery life in watch mode with activity tracking and seven to ten hours with GPS and wrist heart rate active, the Forerunner 225 is optimal for training long hours in all conditions. During indoor runs its built-in accelerometer allows runners to capture accurate distance and pace data without needing a separate foot pod accessory. Available advanced workouts let runners of all levels create custom, goal-oriented workouts with vibration alerts for time, distance, calories, and heart rate to push themselves to their highest potential.
Between workouts the Forerunner 225’s activity tracking features monitoring valuable data including steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep, and it’s move bar with vibration alert provides motivation to stay active all day.
Connected features include automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, a free community where users can save, plan and share activities, social media share, and live track. When paired with a compatible smartphone, the Forerunner 225 will automatically upload a completed run to the Garmin Connect Mobile app for post-run analysis and instant sharing on social media sites. Runners can also use live tracking to allow friends and family to follow along during training or on race day to see stats in real time.
Price & Availability
For a more detailed hands-on preview, check out DC Rainmaker’s first look at the ForeRunner 225.
Check out the introduction video: