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The Garmin Forerunner 225 does track activities but isn’t strictly what would be classed as an activity tracker.

It’s more than that and is better described as a GPS running watch with a heart rate monitor built into it.

Although it is waterproof so can be worn while swimming, it hasn’t been built with this in mind.

This watch was a first for Garmin because their heart rate monitors are normally chest straps, but this one uses built-in sensors.

The other good thing about it is the GPS which is perhaps, what the company is really famous for.

Garmin Forerunner 225 Features

  • Built-in heart rate monitor
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • Step counter
  • Sleep monitor
  • Sets goals
  • Audio prompts
  • Waterproof
  • Watch functions
  • Vibrating alert
  • Good battery life

For those who want to include heart rate monitoring in their data calculations but don’t want to wear a chest strap, this is a good choice.

It is a departure for Garmin who teamed up with Mio to make the optical heart rate sensor.

The sensors are on the back of the watch, next to the skin. They use LED lights which flash and are able to measure the blood flow.

The flow is used to work out the heart rate and while reasonably accurate there is some possibility of variation, but overall the results seem to be good.

As for the GPS, there’s no question about how good it is.

After all Garmin and GPS go hand in hand (well almost)! It might seem like an unnecessary feature but does come in handy when running outside.

It will accurately measure pace and distance, plus you can use it to track your routes. This can be very useful when you’re training using the same routes. Of course the drawback to having the GPS enabled is that it does tend to drain the battery.

The accelerometer tracks daily activities and is what makes it more like a fitness tracker. It will measure steps, distance travelled and the calories you’ve burned.

This is all fairly standard but the data is very important for your overall fitness. It is also able to automatically measure your sleep although the data provided isn’t as in-depth as some other models can provide.

All of this information collected can be synced the Garmin Connect app where it is stored and analysed.

Both the heart rate monitor and accelerometer provide the data to the Garmin Connect app which will place you in a particular zone which is identified by color.

You can use the different zones to concentrate your effort where it needs to improve.

You can also customise them and connect with the online community, create advanced workouts or even download free training plans, so the watch receives coaching guidance for you.

The Garmin Forerunner 225 also has an auto pause function which will pause the watch if you stop for any reason.

This can be very useful if you’re running in a built up area and have to wait to cross the road if there’s heavy traffic.

The vibrating alert can be used as a pace alert, if you vary from your pre-set pace. It can also alert you if you’ve been inactive for an amount of time.

It isn’t really for swimming like the Moov Swim Watch or the Speedo Shine, but it is safe to wear in the pool as it has a water resistance of 5 ATM. That means that it is able to stand water pressure to a depth of 50 meters so it should be sufficient for most swimmers.

There are, as you would expect, watch functions which also include the date and an alarm. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which should give around 10 hours if you have the optical heart rate monitor and GPS turned on.

In the unlikely event that you’re using it as just an activity tracker, then you should get up to about 4 weeks battery life.

Having said that, if you’re going to use it with the GPS and heart monitor off, you might want to look for something less expensive.

Pros:

  • Good optical heart rate sensor
  • Accurate GPS
  • Works as an activity tracker with the accelerometer
  • Waterproof
  • Syncs with different running apps
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Heart rate monitor can only be used for workouts
  • Bulky design
  • Only gives basic sleep data

A Good Fitness Tracker

One of the big differences with this Garmin watch is that its heart rate monitor is built into it.

There has been some question as to the accuracy of this compared to a chest strap type. Well yes, there might be some small differences as having the monitor strapped to your chest is more likely to be more accurate, but it does seem that the optical sensors are fairly good too.

Garmin surely wouldn’t have teamed up with Mio for this part of the watch if they thought the results might not be great.

There’s no question about the accuracy of the GPS which works well when you’re running outside.

If there’s no signal or you’re working out inside, the accelerometer will measure your different movements instead.

It’s great to have the functions of an activity tracker included as it does make the device flexible.

Using it in water is no problem but it is a shame that there isn’t much provision for swimmers, but as we’ve already stated, it is really a “runner’s watch”, a good one too!

The sleep data could be better, but at least there is some included in calculating the results, which is important.

Probably not too important, but the design is a little bulky, but to be fair it is a lightweight watch.

If you like fashion over function then maybe you’ll want to look elsewhere, but it’s certainly not ugly looking, it has a very good display and certainly does have a sporty look to it.

The Garmin Connect app has been around awhile but it does a very good job, keeping your data, letting you connect with the online community and providing you with coach-like training to help you improve.

It’s also possible to connect with some other running apps to make it more flexible.

All in all this is a very good watch/activity tracker, but it isn’t the cheapest on the market.

Like any device with GPS and a heart rate monitor, the battery life will be affected, but at least you know that with the Garmin Forerunner 225 you’re getting value for money and accurate data.

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