Review of Garmin Forerunner 230

I bit the bullet and purchased a Garmin Forerunner 230.

IMG_20160505_095332I went to the store and was going to get the 15 or the 25 but was upsold to the 230.

I may end up doing a half marathon training in the fall and I want to have a watch that is capable of tracking activities.

What it does

  • Smart notifications from your phone when connected to bluetooth
  • Measure running, biking, and indoor activities
  • Activity tracker/step counter
  • Can measure heart rate with added heart rate monitor (I did not get it)

What I want from it

  • Accurate, reliable running tracking
  • Good battery life

First impressions:

Love the color, fairly easy to set up and use with Garmin connect. Tried to get it to sync to runkeeper. It sort of works. I am also logging workouts on their website. Weather seems to be an iffy sync. Update: weather syncs but location function on phone must be connected. Not a touchscreen, but that isn’t a big deal.

People complain that the screen is dim. I don’t really have a problem with that. I kind of like it.

First run: 15 minutes easy for BWC 5k training. 5/5/15

Really easy to use. Synced immediately to satellites (or so I thought)*. Beeped when I hit one mile. Reported a pace of 10:18 per mile which I don’t really believe. I thought, the fastest mile pace I have previously run was 11:48. I am curious to see how my next run goes

Second run: Said I was running 7:35 minute miles, which for me is physically impossible at this point.

*Turns out the GPS was not connected and it was counting arm cycles/steps. Going to try it again with the GPS on the next run

First Indoor Run

10:03 pace, which is fast for me

First outdoor run with GPS connected

12:59 pace, which is pretty consistent

Hill workout 5/16/2016


(Garmin interface on the right, Runkeeper interface on the left). I am still using both.

We did hills and it synced pretty well and followed the GPS with a somewhat accurate pace.

Easy to sync to Runkeeper, although it shows up as private and I have to log in and make it public which can be a pain sometimes. You can connect to garmin connect which automatically uploads your activities

The Garmin interface looks slick but clunky, it may take a little bit of getting used to

Other notes:

Activity Tracker will record steps if I am knitting. That is a little weird

The Bottom Line

It does everything it says it does with a non-touchscreen interface. It’s not the Apple watch, but if you wanted an Apple watch, you would get an Apple watch. It also connects to training programs and a whole bunch of apps on the Garmin IQ app store. Essentially the only barrier in my mind is the price. 

It’s a great thing to motivate you to move, tracks your steps,  and tracks your running. The Bluetooth syncing to the phone is convenient for meetings syncing your phone notifications. Battery life is about 9 days when intermittently connected with bluetooth and GPS. It doesn’t have a heart rate monitor or a touchscreen included but that’s not super important to me

I got the watch at a discount* so I got it for about $50 less than the retail price. I’m not sure if I would get it for its retail price of $250.

*from my BWC training (10%) and a $25 store credit (our running store gives you $25 for every 250 you spend)


2 responses to “Review of Garmin Forerunner 230

  1. I’m using the Garmin Forerunner 235. I wanted the wrist based heart monitor. I hate wearing the chest strap. Its fantastic.

  2. I’m still considering getting something to keep track, other than my current bare bones Excel file… I’m still on the fence on what to choose and not such a fan of Apple products, too expensive for my taste. This smartwatch look interesting but at $250 I’m on the fence, argh!

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