Garmin’s new Forerunner®: 620 and 220

I have been living without any GPS watches for quite some time now and I haven’t been compelled to get a replacement for my retired Garmin Forerunner® 405, until I saw these latest ones by Garmin: the Forerunner® 620 and 220.  The most notable difference: color screens!

Finally, Garmin Forerunners now have color screens.  Not that runners like myself were complaining of the grayscale LCD screen of the past, but I do welcome the colors (what took you so long, Garmin?).  But aside from that, I do love that it looks more “normal”—it’s not as bulky anymore.  I also like the new color schemes of these new Forerunners but some people think it’s a bit too loud (particularly when wearing in the office).

Garmin Forerunner® 620 (Courtesy Garmin.com)

The main difference between the GF 620 and the 220 is that the former has a touchscreen whereas the latter only has buttons.  The GF 620 is also now the flagship Forerunner having just about all the features you’d expect from every Forerunner that existed while the GF 220 serves as the midrange Forerunner shedding off the advanced features of its higher end sibling.

Garmin Forerunner® 220 (Courtesy Garmin.com)

From what I can gather online, the best common features of the 620 and 220 that I love are:

  • 10 hours training mode (better than the 8 hours of its predecessors)
  • Preloading of satellite locations for much faster GPS locking
  • Internal accelerometer (no need for foot pods when running indoors)
  • Bluetooth connectivity (for pairing up with mobile phones for real-time location sharing, etc.)
  • USB storage mode (for ease of downloading workout data)
  • Lighter (both models less than 45 grams each)
  • 50 meter waterproofing
  • Training calendar
  • Higher resolution color screen

Additional features exclusive to 620:

  • Wi-Fi connectivity (data downloads and firmware updates)
  • Running dynamics (ground contact, cadence, and vertical oscillation)
  • Fitness metrics (recovery advisor, VO2 max, and race predictor)
  • Touchscreen operable with gloves (for cold climates)

Garmin Forerunner® 620
(Courtesy Garmin.com)

The Blue/Black version
(Courtesy Garmin.com)

The White/Orange version
(Courtesy Garmin.com)

Garmin Forerunner® 220
(Courtesy Garmin.com)

The Black/Red version
(Courtesy Garmin.com)

The White/Violet version
(Courtesy Garmin.com)

Comparison of Forerunner® 620 and 220 (from Garmin.com):

Forerunner 620 Forerunner 220
Color display
Connected features
Pace alerts
Auto pause
VO2 max estimate
Recovery advisor
Race predictor
Running dynamics
Training plan support
Price $399.99 $249.99

As you can see from the table above, only the advanced features separate the 620 from the 220.  For most regular runners, the Forerunner® 220 is more than enough but if you’re serious with all aspects of your training (or the extra $50 is no issue) then by all means go for the Forerunner® 620.  Note that some features of the GF 620 rely on the new HRM-Run strap (additional $50 if bundled; $85 if sold separately).

* Images and video courtesy Garmin.com

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