Review: Garmin Forerunner 620
article & images by Andrew Strauss
Aug 11, 2014
The Garmin Forerunner series of running watches has been extremely popular among runners and triathletes, and for good reason. They are easy to use, very customizable, communicate with many different sensors, and store data in a format that can be used with many different programs and services. The Garmin Forerunner 910XT multisport watch is quite popular among triathletes because it allows for tracking of open water swims, indoor pool workouts, cycling, and running all in one device. Many people use this as their only device, and while it does everything, there are many areas in which compromises have been made.
The Garmin Forerunner 620 is a dedicated running watch that tries to be the best device for running instead of trying to do everything. It has several appealing new features, including a color touchscreen, wireless connectivity, a built in accelerometer, satellite pre-caching, and menus that are easier to navigate. As I discussed in our Garmin Edge 510 review, I am a HUGE fan of using a dedicated cycling computer instead of a multisport watch, but I had never used a dedicated running watch for an extended period of time. For several years, I had been using a multisport watch for running, and was anxious to see whether a dedicated running watch would present any advantage over a high end multisport model. In this review, we will discuss the Forerunner 620 in detail, and discuss why a triathlete might prefer it over a multisport watch.
Why a dedicated running watch?
The first question many triathletes will ask is whether or not one needs a dedicated running watch, or if a multisport watch like the Garmin 910XT would be a better choice. The 910XT is an amazing watch, and as far as multisport watches go, it is arguably the best on the market. The problem, however, is that it does everything, but has to make compromises in order to do so. Compared to dedicated running watches, the 910XT is considerably bigger, heavier, and less comfortable. This is because the 910XT's battery is significantly larger as it needs to function for a 17 hour ironman (The 620's battery is rated for 10 hours, which is enough for most runs). The 910XT is capable of doing it all, but doesn't do it as well as dedicated units.
For me, the reduced size and weight was the biggest draw towards the Forerunner 620, and the other upgraded features were just icing on the cake. I had been using a Forerunner 305 multisport watch, which weighed 77g. The current Forerunner 910XT multisport watch weighs 72g. This is about 40% heavier than the Forerunner 620, which weighs just 43.6g! This may not sound like a huge weight difference. After all, it only differs by 28.4g. I was thus not expecting the difference to be as pronounced as it was. But it was VERY noticeable, even on short workouts. Using the Forerunner 620 during the run is much more comfortable than using a multisport watch. I am hooked, and don't ever want to use a heavy multisport watch again.
The Forerunner 620 is also smaller than the 910XT. The 910XT's is 5.4 x 6.1 x 1.5 cm, while the 620 is only 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.25cm. This translates to a volume difference of nearly 50%! That is HUGE.