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A Deep Dive Into The Garmin Forerunner 620
The Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS running watch has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins. The Forerunner 620 features an all colour, touchscreen display, built-in GPS and optional heart Rate (chest strap).
NOTE > the Forerunner 620 was REPLACED by the Forerunner 630 in Oct 2015. The Garmin Forerunner 630 features Bluetooth connection to smartphones running the Garmin Connect app (iOs or Android). It also features a 24/7 activity tracker and an all colour display.
For the elite athlete the 630 also boasts detailed Running Dynamics feedback, everything from ground contact to stride length.
>>Here's our list of adventure watches - the pick of the best!<<
Who Is It For?
The Forerunner 620 is a GPS runners watch for the serious recreational / competitive runner who wants to ensure they train hard enough and RECOVER enough before pushing themselves in their next training session.
It’s a tidy wrist unit considerably thinner than the older models with a smart, sleek design that makes it suitable to be worn as a regular time of day watch.
The main features that will appeal to a 620 customer are:
- It’s an advanced GPS running watch that includes a clear high-resolution colour touchscreen display. It’s comfortable, sleek and light-weight
- While out running the 620 will track distance, running pace (min/mile or min/km) distance and more
- It’s a COACH on your wrist with some handy advanced features like recovery advisor and race predictor (what time it expects you to finish a particular distance). It also features a VO₂ max estimatation that will help you train smarter and hopefully achieve new PBs.
- The 620 like most other Forerunners can be paired with the heart rate monitor belt to give a more detailed insight in to the training intensity.
- It will also measure leg cadence (strides per minute) plus vertical oscillation and time spent in contact with the ground. All this running metric data can help improve your running form.
- Running on an indoor track or treadmill? Still want to know how far and how fast.. No problem, the 620 has a built-in accelerometer that tracks distance and pace when indoors.
- No need to find a lead to download your runs to your PC or Mac. With Bluetooth technology the 620 lets you connect to the Garmin App running on your iOs device or Android smartphone. You can stay connected an send automatic data uploads to Garmin Connect
This is Garmin’s 4 minute video guide to using the 620 on your first run. The Forerunner 620 is an advanced GPS running watch that features a sleek touchscreen interface. Garmin will get you acquainted with a few operations before you head out for your first run…
Main Features and Functions
The one feature that makes the 620 a real training aid is it’s ability to measure, monitor and feedback on TRAINING LOAD and also help you to manage your recovery.
Over-training is a key factor in many people’s failure to reach their goal, whether it’s a 2:45 marathon or their first sub 27 minute 5k ParkRun. The 620 gives the user the confidence and the knowledge to understand how hard they are actually training and give clear indication to when it’s safe to train hard again.
Confused by the Forerunner watch range? You’re not the only one with over a dozen models released in the last 10 years. To help you make the correct choice I’ve produced this guide to the Forerunner watches to help you get the latest and most appropriate model for your needs and budget.
Which Forerunner is for YOU?
Are you confused by the number Garmin Forerunner s? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. There are more than 15 models in this popular GPS running watch so we published this summary of the Garmin Forerunner which reviews the main differences between all the models from the original Garmin Forerunner 101 in 2003 to the latest products.
Could be Better
Hindsight’s a great thing, and now that the 620 has been around for a while and Garmin and their competitors have all brought out new models there is one thing missing from the 620… an ACTIVITY TRACKER. It’s a small thing, but something that could probably added in the firmware making use of the internal accelerometer.
Full Technical Specification Table
Physical & Performance
|Physical dimensions||1.8″ x 1.8″ x 0.5″ (45 x 45 x 12.5 mm)|
|Display size, WxH||1.0″ (25.4 mm) diameter|
|Display resolution, WxH||180 x 180 pixels|
|Weight||1.5 oz (43.6 g)|
|Battery life||Up to 6 weeks in watch mode; up to 10 hours in training mode|
|Water rating||5 ATM|
|Watch functions||Includes date and alarm.|
Maps & Memory
|Virtual Pacer™ (compares current pace to target)||Yes|
|V02 max estimate||Yes|
|Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod)||Yes|
|Bike speed/cadence sensor||Yes (optional)|
Running & Cycling Features
|Heart rate monitor||Yes (Some versions)|
|Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person)||Yes|
|Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed)||Yes|
|Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap)||Yes|
|Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout)||Yes|
|Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts)||Yes|
|Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace)||Yes|
|Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||Yes|
|Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals)||Yes|
|Heart rate-based calorie computation||Yes|
|Calculates calories burned||Yes|
|Training Effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness)||Yes|
|Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data)||Yes|
|Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer)||Yes|
|Additional||V0₂ max estimate: Yes|
Recovery advisor: Yes
Race predictor: Yes
Running dynamics: Yes
Watch functions include date and alarm.
Run/walk feature: Yes
Next Model UP
If ALL you do is RUN / WALK / GYM then you have reached the end of the road. The 620 is currently the top of the Garmin Forerunner range for runners.
However, there are alternatives in the Garmin range that could be considered if you also bike, swim or even play golf.
If you are a true MULTISPORT athlete then you would benefit from the multisport functionality of the Forerunner 920XT with swim-metrics, cycle support and the ability to change sport on the fly (all data in one session file).
Next Model DOWN
The next model down from the 620 is not surprisingly the Forerunner 220.
The 220 does not feature any of the recovery and training load metrics. No V0₂ max estimate, No Recovery advisor, No Race predictor and No Running dynamics.
The 220 also loses the touchscreen.
Specification from Garmin Website
Advanced Running Watch with Recovery Advisor
- Touchscreen GPS running watch with high-resolution colour display that tracks distance, pace and heart rate¹
- Calculates your recovery time and VO2 max estimate when used with heart rate
- HRM-Run™ monitor¹ adds data for cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation
- Connected features²: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, social media sharing
- Compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect
It’s the next best thing to having your own personal running coach. Forerunner 620 features recovery advisor, race predictor and VO2 max estimate so you can train smarter. When used with the HRM-Run monitor¹, the 620 also gives you feedback on your running form by showing your cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation. For indoor training, the built-in accelerometer tracks distance, so you don’t need a separate foot pod.
Forerunner 620 can estimate your VO2 max, your body’s maximal oxygen consumption. Knowing your VO2 max is a great way to measure your physical fitness and improve your performance. When used with a heart rate monitor, the 620 crunches data, including your running speed, beats per minute and heart rate variability to estimate your VO2 max. The number itself indicates the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume per minute, per kilogram of body weight at your max performance.
A colour gauge on the watch shows how your VO2 max data compares to other runners of your gender and age range. Based on your VO2 max estimate, the 620 can predict your race times for several distances. This can give you a time target for your next race, assuming you’ve completed proper training.
Train and Race The Way You Want
Forerunner 620 features separate activity profiles for Ride/Race/Run, and makes it easy to switch between them, for viewing only the information you want to see. The “Ride” profile defaults to speed instead of pace, sets the activity as cycling for Garmin Connect, and supports cycling speed and pedaling cadence measurements when paired with Garmin wireless speed and cadence sensors. The “Race” profile is an additional running profile that allows you to set up and quickly switch to different data fields for races than those you use for day-to-day training.
Rest Day or Run Day
With Forerunner 620, you don’t have to guess how much recovery time you need between workouts. It knows your physiology based on your heart rate data, so it factors this against your last workout and then shows how much time before you are fully recovered and ready for your next hard running workout.
When wearing HRM-Run, the 620 provides a recovery check, which is a real-time indication of your state of recovery within the first several minutes of your run. When you’ve completed a run, the recovery time shows how long before you should attempt another hard workout. Colour coding on the gauge makes it easy to interpret — green means you’re good to go. When you see red and a recovery time of more than 3 days, you might consider taking a rest day or just doing a light recovery run.
The 620 is the first GPS running watch that provides feedback on your running form by reporting multiple metrics. When used with the HRM-Run monitor¹, the 620 reports your cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time. These metrics are called running dynamics, and they affect your running economy.
The HRM-Run has an accelerometer, which measures your torso movement as you run to compute these metrics. Cadence is the total number of steps you take per minute, left and right foot combined. Vertical oscillation is the degree of “bounce” in your running motion, measured in centimeters. Ground contact time is just like it sounds — the amount of time your foot spends on the ground during each running step, measured in milliseconds. A colour gauge makes it easy to see how your running dynamics compare to other runners.