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Garmin Fenix 3 HR Review

Garmin Fenix 3 HRThe Garmin Fenix 3 HR is a great and much needed upgrade to already successful Fenix 3 and in this iteration brings to the table an onsite class leading heart rate sensor and a flotilla of band color variations. And good news for existing Fenix 3 owners is they will receive a slew of software updates, which we’ll get into later on in this review of Fenix 3 HR. The HR sensor plopped into the back of the Fenix 3 is no ordinary one and is the Elevate optical heart rate sensor introduced this past fall.

With the Elevate HR sensor onboard, the Fenix 3 is not only track heart rate data for most types of activities it is able to complete this task round the clock as part of its continual HR monitoring and recording feature. The integrated heart rate sensor does of course make the Fenix 3 HR a bit heavier than the non-HR version, 6 grams to be exact, but regardless still showcases a robust build and eye catching appeal. Continue reading

Garmin announced new models: Varia Vision and Fenix 3 HR

Last year fitness trend brought us wrist-based hear rate monitor to Garmin’s activity tracker vivosmart HR and GPS watch for running Forerunner 225. This year we are getting rather expected

Garmin Varia Vision

Garmin Varia Vision

improvement to Fenix series.  I’m saying “expected”, as after introducing built-in hear rate monitor for vivo and forerunner series, Fenix was next in line for this extra

feature.  What’s rather surprising is

Google Glass

Google Glass

Garmin’s Varia Vision (top picture on left).  It reminds me about other item of wearable technology – Google Glass (pic on right).  Varia Vision is a device which can be attached to practically any glasses and without taking your eyes off the road, allow you to read important information from some of the Garmin EDGE series and Varia (as of today, mid January: EDGE 1000, EDGE 520,   Varia). It also provides vibration alerts for texts/e-mails, directions and key cycling information. I guess getting used to vibration on your glasses requires some time, but it may be quite useful, considering that the alert will be easier to notice and without a need of constantly looking on your bike computer. The color display can provide up to 4 data fields, and consist of built-in ambient light sensor. Switching between the data fields is made through glove-friendly touch panel. It does sound interesting, doesn’t it?

As for Fenix 3 HR, it can be great for multisport athletes preparations.  I just wonder why there is a bundle option with Heart Rate Monitor available. Shouldn’t the HR (hear rate) feature help us to get rid of the extra accessory?

Can’t wait to hear some “first hand” experience. Perhaps you already use one of those. Let us know and leave a comment .

Comparing Fenix 3, Fenix 3 Sapphire and Fenix 3 HR:

Fenix 3Fenix 3
Sapphire
 Fenix 3 HR
 Multiple sport profiles
 Advanced running dynamics
 Physiological metrics
 Garmin Connect
 GPS navigation
 GLONASS
 Preloaded basemap
 ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass)
 Wireless CapabilitiesANT+, Bluetooth, Wifi®ANT+, Bluetooth, Wifi®ANT+, Bluetooth, Wifi®
 Water Rating110 ATM10 ATM10 ATM
 Battery20 hrs GPS
50 hrs UltraTrac
20 hrs GPS
50 hrs UltraTrac
20 hrs GPS
50 hrs UltraTrac
 Color display
 Connect IQ
EXO antenna
 Activity tracking2
 Advanced smart features3
 Virtual Racer software feature4
 Race predictor, recovery advisor & personal records
 Metronome (cadence training)
 Scratch-resistant sapphire lens
 Styles that include an additional bandMetal, Silver with Leather Band, Gray with Leather StrapHR
 Elevate wrist-based heart rate
1.  Buy on Amazon;1.  Buy on Amazon;1.  Buy on Amazon;

Buy Varia Vision on Amazon

Would you like to find out more: read my review on Fenix 3 (coming on 18th January) or Fenix 3 HR (pre-review coming this Friday – 15th January).

Review on Polar M400

GPS Watch Polar M400 Review

Polar M400Polar recently unveiled their latest watch – the M400, which is mostly designed to bridge the gap between GPS watches and activity trackers. For starters, the Polar M400 GPS watch is the mostly competitively priced device in its segment yet is able to deliver a superb performance in several areas. The M400 is Polar’s second GPS watch and includes a slew of features including tracking ability for calories burned and sleep, distance travelled and steps taken and even sleep tracking.

This Polar GPS watch can be ordered in white, black, blue and pink color variants, and can also be mated with a compatible chest based heart rate monitor. Compatible heart rate monitors can be non-Polar devices as long as they support Bluetooth LE technology (Low Energy) dubbed Bluetooth Smart. Take note that Garmin heart rate sensors cannot be paired with this Polar GPS watch for the fact that they use ANT + Technology and not Bluetooth Smart.

What’s in the Box?

  • Polar M400 GPS watch
  • USB cable
  • User Guides

Highlights of the Polar M400 GPS Watch

  • Activity tracking
  • Advanced GPS
  • Smart notifications
  • Polar flow
  • Individual targets
  • Heart rate training
  • Bluetooth Smart
  • Easy data transfer to MAC and Windows PC
  • Polar Flow mobile app

Design of the Polar GPS Running Watch

Polar M400Lightweight at just 56.6 grams and 11.5 mm thick, makes the M400 GPS watch much slimmer than other watches in its class. Its sits snuggly around your wrist with a rubber watch strap fastened by a robust security loop, and is extremely comfortable to wear even for longer periods. The rear of the Polar M400 GPS running watch is crafted of stainless steel and features a small rubber flap that shields a microUSB port, which is also a noteworthy feature of the M400 considering it doesn’t use a proprietary dock connector.

The package of the M400 Polar GPS watch includes a USB cable, which can be a smartphone adapter or computer for charging as well as transfer of data. Although the rubber flap protects the USB port from water seeping in, the USB port of the M400 Polar GPS running watch is internally waterproof as the watch itself, allowing you to take the plunge up to 30 meters, making it a great companion in the shower or while swimming.

Coming to the front of the M400 GPS watch, it is appointed with five buttons – three on the right and two on the left. The backlight can be activated by pressing the top left button, while the bottom left is the back and end button. Moving forward, scrolling can be done by pressing the top right button, while the middle is to select and start activities and the bottom right for scrolling down. That’s not all – some of the buttons of the Polar GPS watch also have secondary uses such as enabling a button lock by holding the top left button, syncing the watch by holding the bottom left button or scrolling through the many watch faces by pressing and holding down on the top right button.

The 128×128-pixel resolution black and white screen of the Polar M400 GPS watch is large, making it easy to see what’s going on when it’s charging, which is a feature other smaller fitness watches struggle with. Adding to this, the display of the M400 GPS fitness watch is a monochrome dot matrix style and is boasts an excellent backlight, making it easy to read even in some low visibility situations.

With regards to battery life, the Polar watch is simply outstanding with up to eight hours of use with the GPS turned on, making it good for two or three weeks worth of regular training regimes. And again to reiterate, one of the most powerful features of the Polar GPS watch is inarguably its simple charging capabilities thanks to the use of micro USB rather than charging and proprietary cradles that you often break or loose.

Key Features of the Polar M400 GPS Watch

Polar M400With a recent firmware update, the Polar M400 GPS watch is able to display notifications such as text and call alerts. New to the M400 is it Running Estimate option, which like the name suggests estimates how long it’ll take you to complete a run at the current pace you’re running. Next new feature of the M400 is PR (Personal Records/Bests) support, which lets you know each time you break a new PR for a set time/distance benchmark.

Additionally, the M400 GPS watch also comes with a “Back to Start” feature that will help you compass back to your start point, which is great if you’re lost and helps retrace your path. The screen of the M400allows you to view several key metrics such as fat burn percentage of calories, calories burned, start time, duration, average pace, max altitude, max pace, descent, ascent, best lap time, auto lap times and average lap time.

The internal storage of the Polar M400 running watch can alone store up to an astounding 30 hours of past run data, and this vital information can then be uploaded to Polar’s website and mobile app either by connecting your smartphone over Bluetooth or using your computer. Just like most activity trackers, the M40 will alert you when you’ve been idle for longer than an hour, and there’s also a sleep tracking feature that is activated automatically once you go to bed.

Calories burned, activity time and steps can be viewed by simply opening up the Activity menu. The Polar M400 GPS watch is highly customizable in that it offers four different watch faces to choose from, one with an analog face, a face with date, time and a daily activity progress bar, one with your name instead of the progress bar and a face with time in large numbers. Other features worth mentioning include an alarm that can be set to wake you up in the morning.

M400 Software & Support

The M400 can be easily synced with your mobile device by holding down the left square button, but you will need to get the FlowSync software in order to sync it from your PC to the Polar Flow website. Although you will mostly use the app, the Polar Flow website does offer additional features such as Relive, which displays information from your runs such as pace, time and distance and street view images on locations on your running path.

Nevertheless, both the website and mobile app will indicate how many hours you spent sitting, resting, standing, jogging and walking, They will also show you the map of your daily runs, calories burned distance travelled and of course your steps taken among others. The Polar Flow app even congratulates you when you achieve your active goals for the day, and can also be synced with Apple’s Health app, giving you another option to view your data.

Pros of the Polar M400 GPS Watch

  • Excellent battery life
  • Syncs wireless with your phone
  • Normal USB charging
  • Always on display with backlight
  • Waterproof up to 30 meters
  • Running time estimator

Cons of the M400 GPS Watch

  • No silent alarm or vibrations
  • A bit bigger design

Final Thoughts

The Polar GPS watch offers a powerful set of features, some that aren’t available even the best GPS watch in its segment. It charges with its USB port so there’s no worrying about proprietary charging cables or cradles. Among other metrics, it also provides information on your sleep patterns and daily activities, which can be viewed either on the mobile app or website. If you’re looking for a fitness watch that arrives with a plethora of features and one that won’t break the bank, the Polar M400 GPS running watch is definitely worth a second look.

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Fitbit Surge review

Fitbit Surge Review

Fitbit Surge

When shopping for a fitness tracker, you will be spoilt for choice considering the array of brands available. Fitbit however is one brand that is distinct from the competition, and its Surge fitness tracking watch is just one reason why! Fitbit – one of the first companies to create a smartphone-connected device has been creating different iterations of its original Fitbit Ultra smart pedometer, and its latest product the Surge comes in the form of a rather sophisticated device that basically does it all.

For starters, the Surge is not only able to track your sleep and every step you take, but also uses GPS technology to track outdoor activity, keep tabs on your heart rate with its onsite optical heart rate monitor and even alert you of incoming phone calls and messages in its vibrant touchscreen display. Apart from its glorious battery life, the Surge boasts all the features of other Fitbit products plus a myriad of other sports features and add to this a more aesthetically appealing and comfortable watch like design.

What’s in the Box?

  • Fitbit Surge
  • Wireless syncing dongle
  • User guides
  • Proprietary charging cables

Continue reading

Upcoming review on Fitbit Surge

GPS Fitness Watch with built-in Heart Rate

Review on Fitbit Surge coming next week. Stay tuned. Subscribe for updates (form below) or follow me on Twitter 

Fibit SurgeFeatures:

  • GPS Tracking
    See distance, pace and elevation climbed & review routes and split times
  • Long Battery Life
    Lasts longer than competing trackers with a battery life up to 7 days
  • PurePulse™ Heart Rate
    Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate & simplified heart rate zones
  • Notifications + Music
    See call & text notifications on display and control songs from your mobile playlist
  • All-Day Activity
    Track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed & active minutes
  • Auto Sleep + Alarms
    Monitor your sleep automatically & set a silent alarm
  • Multi-Sport + SmartTrack™
    Track runs, rides & other workouts with multi-sport modes or automatically record them with SmartTrack
  • Wireless Syncing
    Sync stats wirelessly & automatically to leading smartphones and computers

Do you have any questions about Fitbit Surge? Comment below or send me e-mail.

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Garmin EDGE 25 review

Review on bike computer EDGE 25

Garmin EDGE 25 on Amazon

Garmin EDGE 25 on Amazon


In a span of just a few years, GPS enabled bicycle computers have gradually taken over traditional devices for several reasons, most notably competitive pricing and excellent data gathering technology. Garmin has leveraged this new technology, and is the only company in this rapidly growing arena that is able to produce devices for a range of budgets and needs.
Billed as the company’s smallest ever bike computer yet, the Edge 25 is the second cheapest Garmin bike computer and is positioned one notch above the Edge 20 in the lineup. It is a successor to the successful Edge 200, and this time around the Edge 25 is smaller, lighter and a bit more capable. In fact the Edge 25 is extremely tiny, weighing in at just 20 grams and measuring 40x42x17mm, or big enough to house the quarter-turn mounts that sits underneath.

If you don’t need navigation and route mapping, and are just looking to track important metrics such as distance, speed and elevation, the Edge 25 is just what you’re looking for! The Edge 25 is appointed with a small and grayscale 128×160 pixel display, which is sharp to say the least and its lighter font allows makes it easy to get a quick view at how fast you’re cycling. One of the noteworthy features of the Edge 25 that makes it distinct from its competition is designed to withstand all weather owing to an  IPX7 water-resistance rating, meaning its good when immersed 1 meter deep for 30 minutes.

What’s in the Box? 

  • Standard mount
  • Edge 25 device
  • Data/charging cable
  • Use guides

Highlights of the Garmin Edge 25

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Water resistant
  • Share activities on Garmin Connect
  • Tracks time, heart rate, speed and distance

Design of the Edge 25

The features of the Garmin Edge 25 can be accessed via four buttons, two on each side, where the upper left is to power on the backlight, lower left for selecting back and lap, upper right for making a selection and lower right for down, changing page and selection. Although the device is rather simplistic, the layout works really well and even gives you the ability to download courses t o the device either via the included USB or Bluetooth from your smartphone.

Adding to this, the Edge 25 also supports Garmin segments notifications and allows you to instantly upload completed activities to Garmin Connect. These activities can then be synced with third party sites such as TrainingPeaks, Strava, Sport Tracks and others via Auto Sync. Just like most other Garmin newly launched fitness devices, the phone connectivity of the Garmin Edge 25 enables Live Tracking, allowing you to share vital information such as heart rate and cadence and even your exact location with your online following.

The Garmin  Edge 25 also supports call and text notifications as long as you have your phone within Bluetooth range, which is a feature that can be turned off and on as you see fit. With regards to metrics, the Edge 25 is able to display average speed, distance, time, cadence and calories. The Edge 25 bike computer can also be paired with a compatible heart rate strap to create a specific high/low heart rate value or heart rate alert for a specific zone.

Additionally, you can create specific distance, time and calorie goals and the Edge 25 will help you focus on completing workouts to achieve those goals. Settings such as language, miles and kilometers can also be configured as well as Auto Pause (ideal for city riding), Automatic Laps and Auto Scroll (changes your data fields automatically every few seconds.)

Using the Edge 25

When you power on the Edge 25, you will first be greeted with a Ride screen, from where you can head straight into a ride or navigate to the Ride Options menu and select the dedicated Indoors mode if you’re cycling indoors. Another great feature of the Edge 25 is its ease of use, so much so that you do not even have to reach for the manual to find your way around. For example, you can scroll down to Courses, History and Settings right from the Home screen.

As mentioned earlier, navigation is done via the four buttons on the Edge 25, where each is extremely tactile and easy to press owing to the knurled surface, making it easy to use with or without gloves. During a ride, you have access to three screens, where two of them can be configured to display a plethora of metrics. The first screen displays three data fields with distance, time and current speed, whereas the second screen shows tow data fields – accents and calories.

Each of the aforementioned data fields can be configured via the Settings menu, but note that there is no ability to increase the number of data fields in any of the screens or add any additional screens. This however is no big issue as the Edge 25 already displays a wealth of vital information. The device is able to connect to GPS rather quickly and there’s no waiting to locate satellites as soon it’s turned on. Although the Edge 25 bike computer isn’t designed for navigation, you can however download courses from Garmin Connect to the device and follow a breadcrumb trail.

The device even offers turn by turn navigation, but you can’t create a route on the fly owing to the lack of a base map. Live Tracking allows your near and dear ones to follow your endeavors combined with notifications from your smartphone. When fully charged, the Garmin Edge 25 is good for eight hours, which is impressive and much more than other devices in its segment.

Pros of the Edge 25

  • Lightweight and compact footprint
  • Provides a wealth of vital stats
  • Great display
  • Battery life up to 8 hours
  • Can be connected with smartphone

Cons of the Edge 25

  • Course files cannot be uploaded directly
  • Inability to create routes on the fly

Final Thoughts

The Garmin Edge 25 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a rather diminutive and lightweight GPS device that will log all your ride data. It offers Live Tracking and great basic course navigation support and can also be connected with a compatible heart rate sensor. Activities can be easily uploaded by simply connecting the device to your computer or via Bluetooth on your smartphone. With the help of GPS/GLONASS satellites, the Edge 25 is able to track how fast, how fast and where you ride even in dense environments.

The Edge 25 bike computer offers up to 8 hours of use when fully charged, which is sufficient for even long bike endeavors. Although the Edge 25 does not support Strava segments, you can compete with other cyclists on Garmin Connect segments and even view your results after your ride on the leaderboard. Activities can be uploaded to Garmin’s free online fitness community aka Garmin Connect, which enables you to view and analyze the path you travelled on a map and even share it with others.

All in all, the Garmin Edge 25 is a great and cost efficient bike computer for both novice and seasoned riders, and is feature rich compared to other similar GPS bike computers.

  

Secondhand Garmin Forerunner 220 for sale

Forerunner 220Good deal for a GPS watch: Garmin Forerunner 220. Like new! Used couple of times.

Price: 6,300 THB

Send me e-mail or just comment below

 

Here is a short description from Garmin (for more details click here) :

Colorful Running Companion with Connected Features

  • GPS running watch with high-resolution color display
  • Tracks distance, pace and heart rate¹
  • Identifies personal records
  • Connected features²: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, social media sharing
  • Compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect

Just like a coach, Forerunner 220 provides the motivating feedback you need to guide your training. You can even get post-run encouragement from friends and fans, thanks to the 220’s connected features like real-time live tracking and social media sharing via the Garmin Connect Mobile app.

Forerunner 220Forerunner 220

Garmin Thailand annonced new model – vivosmart HR

Garmin VIVOSMART HR had been announced by Garmin Thailand 

Garmin vivosmart HR

The activity tracker VivoSmart HR is here. This could be a really great Christmas present for people we care for. Keep them motivating to be active Price in Thailand: 5,990 THB

  1. On Amazon: USD 149.99 (currently does not ship to Thailand)
  2. On Garmin International: USD 149.99

To read more about vivosmart HR, please check my review here.

Physical & Performance

Physical dimensionsBand sizes: 136-187 mm (Regular); 180-224 mm (X-large); Width: 21.0 mm; Thickness: 12.3 mm
Display size, WxH1.00″ x 0.42″ (25.3 mm x 10.7 mm)
Display resolution, WxH160 x 68 pixels
Touchscreen yes
Negative mode display yes
Weight29.6 g (1.0 oz), Regular; 32.0 g (1.1 oz), X-large
BatteryRechargeable lithium battery
Battery lifeUp to 5 days
Water rating5 ATM
Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone) yes
Vibration alert yes
Music control yes
Find my phone yes
VIRB® control yes

Running Features

Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod)

Performance Features

Heart rate monitorYes (wrist-based)
Heart rate-based calorie computation yes
Calculates calories burned yes

Activity Tracking Features

Step counter yes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) yes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) yes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep) yes

Garmin Connect™

Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community

where you analyze, categorize and share data)

 yes
Automatic sync (automatically transfers

data to your computer)

 yes

Additional

Additional
  • Calculates floors climbed: yes
  • Intensity minutes: yes

Garmin Forerunner 225 Review

Review on Garmin Forerunner 225

Over the past year, there has been an influx of fitness gadgets that integrate heart rate sensors and GPS technology, and a first for Garmin – the company now joins the bandwagon with the Forerunner 225. This latest GPS enabled fitness watch is a successor to the Forerunner 220, and does not need to be paired with a separate chest strap for onsite OHR (Optical Heart Rate) Sensors to fuel a plethora of BPM (beats per minute) based training features.

The Forerunner 225 is basically a heart rate monitor, running watch with GPS and an all day activity tracker all packed into one single and aesthetically appealing wrist device. The GPS technology integrated into the Forerunner 225 allows users to measure pace and distance when running outdoors, while the optical heart rate sensors located at the back of this fitness watch track beats per minute both whenever you choose to start measuring during the day and during workouts.

One of the pitfalls of similar wrist based heart rate monitors is inaccurate results, but the optical heart rate measurements of the Forerunner 225 were as close if not highly accurate. With the Forerunner 225, the GPS Giant steps it up a few notches with an onboard accelerometer for tracking all-day activities including calories burned, tracking distance travelled, measuring steps, and even measuring your sleep at night.

When GPS is unavailable, the accelerometer of the Forerunner 225 is still able to provide details of indoor distance tracking. This activity tracker watch will also alert you to get up and move after a period of inactivity with a vibrating alarm. The Garmin Forerunner 225 does not offer smartphone notifications, which is a good thing considering it allows you to make the most out of your training sessions.

What’s in the Box?

  • Forerunner 225 device
  • User guides
  • Data/charging cable

Highlights of the Garmin Forerunner 225

  • Colorful graphical interface displays your zone and beats per minute
  • Onsite accelerometer records distance indoors
  • Tracks pace and heart rate, distance, calories all day and activity tracking
  • Automatic uploads to Garmin connect social media sharing and live tracking
  • Compatible with advanced workouts and free training plans offered by Garmin Connect

Design and Build

Measuring 48mm across, the Forerunner 225 retains much of the Forerunner family DNA with the same side button controls, color LCD display (not touchscreen) and round face as the Forerunner 620 and Forerunner 220. The Garmin Forerunner 225 can be ordered in just one color variant black with subtle flashes of red, which gives it a classy look that makes it look good when worn with a work suit as well clothing from the Ralph Lauren store.

Also, the Forerunner 225 arrives suited with the same silicon strap as the company’s other recent fitness watches, making it a joy to wear over longer periods. Although the Forerunner 225 is chunkier than its predecessors, it feels solid yet can still be worn all day long to the point where you can forget it’s even there. Weighing in at 54 grams, the 225 GPS watch is still impressively lightweight especially considering it is embedded with the latest Mio optical heart rate sensor.

The OHR is placed discreetly at the rear of the GPS watch, and in the middle of a distinct silicon ring that prevents inaccuracy of heart rate tracking. Apart from good looks and comfort, the 225 offers 7 to 10 hours of runtime when fully charged, and is even water resistant up 50 meters deep. Although the Forerunner loses its touchscreen display with its new version, the screen is surprisingly beautiful especially when you fire up the color coded heart rate zone training.

If you’re not a Garmin user, it will take some time getting used to the side button controls – 5 in total. On a brighter note, both the controls and menus are intuitive enough to learn without opening the user guide. Once you’ve got used to the Forerunner 225, it is easy to use with logical navigation between menus and an obvious back button.

Heart Rate Sensor – one of the noteworthy features of the FR225 is of course its integrated heart rate sensor, but this is no ordinary sensor! In fact, Garmin in its first attempt at a heart rate monitor enabled fitness watch decided to opt for top of the line sensors by MIO, one of the leading names in optical sensor technology that has launched products for esteemed brands including Adidas and TomTom. Another highlight of the FR225 heart rate sensor is that it works when you’re not running too, and allows you to get your current heart rate by simply scrolling to the HR display.

Activity Tracking – while the best feature of the Forerunner is undoubtedly its on-the-wrist activity tracking, the device allows you to do a lot more that just track your BPM. The FR225 is feature rich and includes some of the best features from Garmin’s existing running and fitness lineup. You can also program the FR22 to give you a vibration alert when you’ve been stationary for too long.

Pros of the Forerunner 225

  • Easy to use heart rate tracking
  • Arrives in a great combination of colors
  • Fitted with MIO heart rate sensor
  • Long battery life between7 and 10 hours
  • Can be connected with Garmin Connect app

Cons of the Forerunner 225

  • Lacks smartphone notification
  • No micro USB charging

Final Thoughts

All in all, Garmin seems to have nailed it with the Forerunner 225 and hasn’t cut corners with regards to build quality and features. It offers great battery life even with the heart rate monitor on, and even adjusts your daily steps goal based on your recent activity. The FR225 will even remind you in the form of a vibration alert when you’ve been stationary for an extended period, and the integrated accelerometer allows you to track your indoor runs when you decide to take to a treadmill.

Using the Forerunner 225

The Forerunner 225 offers two modes of operation namely Standby and Sport, where when set to the latter will default switch on the GPS unless programmed otherwise. Simultaneously, the watch will attempt to acquire your heart rate using the integrated optical sensor, and once found will be indicated with an illuminated heart icon at the top. Upon pressing the start button to begin your run, the Forerunner 225 will use GPS to display your pace and distance, which along with other metrics can be displayed using any one of the customizable data pages.

By default, the heart rate pages will enable automatically when the heart rate sensor is activated and when the device is on your wrist. Apart from using the integrated optical sensor, the FR225 can be connected with an ANT+ heart rate strap, which is great if you’d like to mount the GPS watch on a bike mount and still retrieve heart rate data. The Garmin Forerunner 225 allows you to run on your own accord as well as execute a structured workout available through two options.

First, you can create a workout on the Gamin Connect app and then transfer it to the watch, which is ideal if your workout is a bit complex and involves multiple phases or goals. Second, you can use the Forerunner 225’s onboard interval feature to create interval workouts, which have a defined distance work effort, customizable warm up period, cool-down period and rest duration.

The integrated accelerometer of the FR225 allows you to track distance on a treadmill or within a tunnel and display pace within that period. One thing worth noting is that the FR225 is engineered as a running watch so it does not feature a cycling mode. However, you can switch the data view to display speed in MPH or KPH instead of pace, but regardless those activities will still be uploaded as running, which can be changed to cycling later on.

Saving the activity is easily done by using the start/stop button located at the top right corner of the unit to either pause or completely end the run. From there, simply hit save and view your data on the Garmin Connect mobile or desktop version. The Garmin Connect allows you to view all your past activities and even explore specific workouts. Additionally, the app allows you to view details about your heart rate, pace and cadence metrics.

2

Garmin EDGE 520 Review

Review on Garmin Edge 520

Garmin’s latest bike computer – the Edge 520 brings to the table spades of new features, most notably the ability to support Strava Live Segments. This new bike computer is regarded as the most advanced of its kind to be released by the company, and outweighs its predecessor – Garmin 510 and is a joy to use.

Some of the new features added to this latest iteration of the Edge include the ability to download 3rd party detailed maps, call notifications and Bluetooth Smart Text, personal records, FTP tracking and testing, compatibility with the Garmin Varia bike radar system and cycling dynamic metrics.

Highlights of the Garmin Edge 520

  • Can be mated with compatible ANT+ indoor trainers for data control and display
  • In-ride challenges thanks to Strava Live Segments
  • Automatic uploads, connected features, smart notifications, live tracking, social media sharing, send and receive courses and weather
  • Ability to track cycling dynamics, watts/kg and FTP (Functional Threshold Power) when paired with Vector 2 or vector power meters
  • Recovery time and cycling-specific VO2 reporting when used with power and heart rate

Unboxing the Garmin Edge 520

The Garmin Edge can be ordered in two different options – Device only and Bundle.

Device Only

  • Mounts (extended and standard out-front)
  • Tether
  • USB cable
  • Manuals
  • Edge 520 device

Bundle

  • Premium heart rate monitor
  • Edge 520 device
  • Speed sensor
  • Cadence sensor
  • User guides
  • USB cable
  • Mounts (extended and standard out-front)
  • Tether

Design & Features of the Garmin Edge 520

The body of the 520 Edge is slightly smaller and lighter than its predecessor, which is impressive owing to the new screen of the device. In addition, the screen of the device boasts a 200×265 pixel resolution and considerably better variable color saturation and backlighting. Although the panel remains reflective, this is barely noticed with the vibrancy of the screen, which is a welcome upgrade.

Another noteworthy design change in the Garmin Edge 520 is a throwback to a button and a non-touchscreen interface. The buttons are Light and Power towards the upper left, up selection button at the middle left, down selection button at the lower left, lap button towards the bottom left, start/stop button at the bottom right, select button for menus at the upper right and back button for menus at the lower right of the device.

Integrated into the 520 Edge bike computer is a barometric altimeter, GSP and GLONASS satellite chips, phone message compatibility, Shimano Di2 integration, and it even boasts a basemap, which give you a general idea of where you are in a specific area. Another excellent feature of the Edge 520 is its ability to be mated with the newly released Varia rear radar tail light, which briefly alerts you when vehicles are approaching from behind. It then displays vital information on a compatible Garmin device such as the Edge 520, Edge 1000 and Edge 25.

Garmin has integrated an auto zoom feature when following a course, which is a nice replacement to the screen that popped up when nearing a junction. This feature now provides more detail by zooming down on the trace line, and can be switched off when needed. With this flotilla of features, one would expect the battery life of the Garmin Edge 520 to take a hit, and although it somewhat does compared to the Edge 510, it does offer 15 hours of battery life. This makes it good for a full day’s ride and more even while scrolling through multiple pages and with the backlight working.

If you opt for the bundle version of the Edge 520, you will be welcomed with a slew of new features such as the speed and cadence sensors now integrated with a band-fasten system just like a stem bracket attachment rather than using zip ties. This proves useful when moving the sensors from one bike to another.

The cadence sensor fastens to the crank arm, while the heart sensor simply fits to the hub, without the need for magnets. In addition, the heart rate band has been slightly redesigned, perhaps for more reliable and accurate heart rate monitoring. The bundled version is priced a bit higher, but the extra cash is well justified given the plethora of premium features.

Using the Garmin 520 Edge

The home screen of the Garmin Edge 520 is aligned vertically in that you have to scroll up and down to select from the various functions. You will find “Ride” towards the middle of the home screen, which is where you would go to initiate a ride. Moving down one option will bring you to a bunch of settings and training functions such as controlling a trainer, performing a structured workout and following a course.

If you scroll up from the “Ride” menu, you will be greeted with a “Status” menu, which indicates aspects such as GPS signal strength, screen brightness, mobile phone status and sensor connectivity. When you’re ready to start a ride, simply select ride by pressing the select button located at the lower right, from there you will be asked to select an Activity Profile.

These profiles were first seen in the Edge 510 and Edge 810, and later improved to allow you to group settings such as data page creation into a neat bundle. Once you’ve selected a profile, you will be directed to a data screen page, while simultaneously the GPS chip goes hunting for available satellites. These pages can be easily customized with a maximum of 10 data fields per page.

The Edge 520 receives a somewhat new quick access menu, which can be accessed by pressing the upper right button. This will populate the screen with options to configure in-ride settings such as data fields, alerts, elevation as well as the Status menu/page as mentioned earlier. After your ride, you will notice a few new metrics that weren’t present in any of the Edge series devices such as Recovery Time.

Furthermore, the latest training options not only allow you to automatically track your FTP levels, but even perform an FTP test. Strava Segments is one of the most desirable sports tech feature to have today, and displays live/real time status on the display of the Edge 520 bike computer. With Strava Segments, the Garmin Edge 520 allows you to race against several Strava leaderboard records directly on the device.

This simply means you will receive constant status updates as you go through specific Strava Segments such as how far behind and far ahead the record you are. Additionally, you are able to specify several records including your friend’s record, and even compete against your goals for a specific segment.

Another new feature for this version of the Garmin Edge is the ability to control your electronic trainer directly from the device. This allows you to configure the resistance of trainers that support the latest ANT+ FE-C standard.

Pros of the Garmin 520 Edge

  • Whole lot of new features
  • Available in two different versions
  • Ability to automatically track your FTP levels
  • Live tracking, automatic uploads, social media sharing and smart uploads
  • Can be connected with  ANT+® indoor trainers for data display and control

Cons of the Edge 520

  • 15 hours of battery life is lower than previous version, but still good for a whole day’s ride with apps enabled

Final Thoughts

With the Edge 520, Garmin has nailed all the right spots with features that many riders desire in a bike computer. It boasts a refreshed interface and display, and is a considerable improvement over its predecessor. In addition, it offers in-ride challenges via Strava Live Segments (3 month free trial of Strava live premium), and can even be paired with a compatible ANT+ indoor trainer for data display and control.

If you’re looking for a bike computer that virtually won’t give you any reason to complain, the Garmin Edge 520 is it!