Perhaps, September is not the best time of year to introduce yet another running watch. Still, the Swiss-based maker of navigational products (by the way, the brand is based in Schaffhausen: the home town of the famous IWC watchmaking house) decided to start selling its new Garmin Forerunner 620 model. Predictably equipped with a GPS unit, an accelerometer and a small yet powerful computer, this is not just another running companion. This beast is capable of bringing your workout to a completely new level. It is basically your electronic coach.
Offered at around $400 USD (shipping and handling not included), the watch comes in a relatively compact body that measures just 45 millimeters in diameter and is only 12.5 millimeters thick. Its 1-inch LCD screen is equipped with a touch panel (as is its rather thick bezel) and boasts impressive 180×180 pixels of resolution, which gives you pixel density of some 255 ppi (almost as high as that on the new Samsung Gear smart watch).
The resolution is adequate enough for the watch to display five lines of easily readable, high-contrast text or some colorful graphics, which is supposed to be legible even if you are running the last mile of Paris marathon trying to beat Peter Some’s time.
The list of functions is so long that I don’t even dare to quote it (you can find the specs here at Forerunner 620 product page). However, there are still at least two highlights that require some extra praise.
First, as I have already noted, the watch is equipped with an accelerometer that allows the device to approximate your speed and distance travelled even if you are running indoors and GPS signal is not available.
Second, there is a very handy feature called “Recovery Check“. Working with an optional HRM-Run heart rate monitor band that the brand sells separately at just $90, the watch will estimate your recovery time after an especially hard workout ranging from 6 to 96 hours. The feature may be especially useful if you put too much pressure on yourself and are prone to overtraining (like, for example, I am).
Of course, like a great deal of modern running watches, the Garmin Forerunner 620 automatically keeps a workout diary that can be directly uploaded either to Garmin’s own Connect social network or to your smartphone via Garmin Connect Mobile app. Somewhat disappointingly, the app is only available for iPhone and Android platforms with Windows Phone users left behind.
At a total price of almost $500, the Forerunner 620 & HRM-Run combo is quite expensive (for the money, you can buy a mid-range Android smartphone with a Sports Tracker app and an optional HRM belt), however, this is the combination of compact hardware and advanced software that makes this a killer product, a true must have for a serious athlete.
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS Running Watch specification
Price: $400 (plus $90 for an optional HRM-Run accessory)
Power reserve: 10 hours (training mode) / 6 weeks (watch mode)
Functions: Watch, GPS, Calories, Heart Rate Zones, Interval Workout, Auto Lap, Auto Pause, Vibration Alerts, etc.
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 12.50 mm
Lug width: No data
Water resistance: 50 meters