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The Garmin Forerunner 230 is approximately as standard a running watch as you might find nowadays. Launched alongside the Forerunner 235 and Forerunner 630, it features neither the former’s built-in optical heartrate sensor, nor the latter’s extreme in-depth fitness metrics.
The Forerunner offers almost all of the various tools a runner needs – distance, pace, some interval options, the opportunity to pair with a chest strap. Also, because it’s 2016, you get smartwatch notifications from your own phone displayed, and daily activity tracking too.
But at $249.99 it’s just a little pricey for what’s essentially a reasonably standard watch. The TomTom Spark sans HR and music is merely $129.99 and the Polar M400 is merely $137.99. Continue reading to determine what it’s about.
Garmin Forerunner 230: Design
Anyone who’s been eyeing the Forerunner 235 will know about the 230’s design. The watch itself is constructed of a durable plastic that’s super light and waterproof to 50m. In addition, it includes a rubber sports strap that’s sweat resistant, and suitable for sport.
The screen itself is a low-resolution 215 x 180 pixels. It isn’t monochrome, according to older Forerunners, and it runs on the very basic colour selection to highlight information such as for example HR zones (when linked to a chest strap). By default the LCD screen is quite dull – so much in order that reading in darkness is impossible, but you will find a backlight button at the very top left.
It’s clear the display isn’t likely to trouble the most recent smartwatches, nonetheless it does enough. It’s clear enough in daylight to learn stats and messages quickly and clearly, and the knock-on for battery life is huge. The Forerunner can last around per month as a standard watch, and will be offering 16 hours of GPS tracking. It has come to benefit us numerous times, when we’ve found our TomTom Spark out of battery and learned the Garmin – untouched for weeks – still with enough juice for a run. Important thing is, the Forerunner 230 is much more likely to be ready when it’s needed, without pre-planned charging.
Other buttons included in the watch include the key activity button that you utilize to select and begin runs, a back button and up/down selector buttons for navigating menus.
Garmin Forerunner 230: Run tracking
In terms of stats and features, the Garmin Forerunner 230 has just about everything the intermediate runner needs. It’ll track distance, speed and pace via GPS with incredible accuracy, and has modes for interval sessions and custom workouts made out of Garmin Connect.
Garmin’s GPS performance is among the best around, and we found the Forerunner 230 locked onto satellites in lightning-quick time, which is fantastic if you are standing in the cold in your shorts, prepared to run.
The Forerunner 230 isn’t totally without advanced stats either, since it may also look at your recovery time and spit out a VO2 max score towards the end of a run, elevating it above most elementary watches in terms of raw data.
But here comes 2016’s big question: does the watch suffer for too little built-in HR monitoring? Well, that is learning to be a very personal question. As we described in our overview of the optical-sensing Forerunner 235, the technology isn’t accurate for tracking high-intensity workouts. So for most, the Forerunner 230 paired with a chest strap is the better bet.
But ironically, for less serious runners, the Forerunner’s insufficient optical HR tracking is a downside. With the addition of heartrate data – imperfect as it can be – your post workout review could be more detailed, you can view improvements in your fitness more plainly and you could understand your running without wearing uncomfortable accessories. We have been critical of Garmin’s optical tech, however in our view, it’s easier to have vague HR data than none at all.
Bottom line, if you are the sort of runner who would like pinpoint heartrate accuracy then your Forerunner 230 is way better suited to your preferences, paired with a chest strap. In the event that’s not really a concern, you’ll choose the 235’s extra insights into your performances.
Apart from general running tracking, the Forerunner 230 has modes for biking, indoor running (GPS switched off) and “other”, which essentially just opens up time, distance and speed and enables you to can get on with whatever crazy workout you’re doing. You could attach a HR monitor and make utilization of it in the gym, for instance, for basic performance data.
In conditions of sports tracking, Garmin is among the finest names in the overall game. The Foreunner 230 operates at the more basic end of this spectrum at a reasonably high price.
That said, a number of the more pleasurable features that made us fall deeply in love with the TomTom Spark are missing here. Features like having the capacity to race yourself on previous routes, immediately dive into zoned workouts and run virtual events like a sub 50 minute 10k, enhance the running experience. In addition the Spark also stores music to help you run phone free.
In short, as the Forerunner 230 is really as accurate as running watches get, it can little more than let you know what lengths you ran.
Garmin Forerunner 230: Activity tracking
Along with run tracking, the Garmin Forerunner 230 may also track your daily activity, similar to the Fitbits and Jawbones of the world. Tap the down button on the homescreen to have a digest of your steps, distance walked (estimated, not GPS tracked) and calories torched. It will show your progress towards daily goals that you may set within the app.
Another feature of the Forerunner 230, which can be an ever-present on Garmin fitness devices, may be the Move bar. As long as you’re sat at your desk or sofa, the move bar fills, and you will need to move going to clear it. It’s among the least annoying move reminders out there, and an excellent addition for those seeking to curb their sitting rituals.
It’s a decent group of features if you’re ready to wear the Forerunner 230 all day long, every day. It’s an individual choice. Lots of folks wear running watches casually, but we’re not sold.
Garmin Forerunner 230: App
The Garmin Forerunner 230 uses Garmin Connect, which is designed for iOS and Android. In addition, it includes a web element, which is a lot more feature rich, that you can access via connect.garmin.com.
It’s among the finest proprietary platforms out there, and blows Polar Flow out of your water using its breadth of features and selection of stats. The net boasts tools for building custom workouts, designing and discovering routes and reviewing data. Also, it’s most likely the most satisfactory multisport ecosystem, with running and cycling put alongside golf and health and wellness features.
The mobile app, alternatively, is less compelling. It’s intended for reviewing workout data and daily activity stats, and the whole lot is just a little confusing and hard to use.
Luckily for all of us, Garmin enables you to spit out data to Strava, which is our favored platform. Which means you can just run or cycle together with your watch, sync it up when you reunite and enjoy all of the segments and personal records for your routes as normal.