by Eddie Suarez
Those who know me or read my Garmin vs Smartphone Apps article, know that I am a huge fan of Garmin. I really tried being unbiased writing that article but my fanaticism won over. This week, my giddiness can hardly be contained. I got my hands on the brand new do everything Garmin Forerunner 920xt in beautiful red and white to match my beautiful red and white bikes.
Upon opening the box, you’ll find the watch, charge clip, and if you bought the bundle (buy the bundle!), the HRM Run strap and sensor. No actual power plug is included but you can charge the watch using your laptop, computer, or any other USB plug. You’ll also find a short quick start guide that I highly recommend you read through. This watch does it all and you don’t want to miss a thing!
Buying the bundle is key because the HRM Run sensor adds more functionality to the watch like cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation. Adding the sensor later will cost you $50 above the bundle price.
Setting up the watch was easy and in typical Garmin fashion. Prompts for gender, age, and weight appear the first time the watch turns on.
Pairing the 920 to my phone’s bluetooth was a no brainer. Install then launch the Garmin Connect app and the prompts walk you through what to do. Pairing the watch to the computer was just as easy. Download and install the Garmin Express software and follow the prompts. You will need the USB charging clip to complete this process.
It’s recommended you pair to both the phone and computer because each application has features the other can’t do. For example, WiFi connections can only be setup via the Express app, while features like Livetrack and notifications only work through the smartphone app. More importantly, firmware updates can only be performed through Garmin Express or a WiFi connection.
Receiving phone call, text, and email notifications was a cinch once you have the watch paired to your phone. Go into the Bluetooth Menu on the watch and select On under Smart Notifications. This feature is great because it saves you from having to reach for your phone during an activity (or any time for that matter) to see who’s emailing, calling, or texting.
The 920 also includes an activity tracker. The activity tracker counts your steps, tells you to move when you’ve been dormant for an hour, keeps hour daily calorie burn, and monitors your sleep. Turn this feature on and then enable challenges at www.garminconnect.com for extra fun!
There is also a metronome feature set to 180 beats per minute. This is the ideal cadence for running. But as I expected, hearing a constant beep beep beep beep from your wrist is annoying, even when I set it to beep every other beat. 90 beeps a seconds can turn you migraine suffering training partners into a serial killer… I’d only use this feature when running alone to avoid being shunned or stabbed.
Acquiring GPS took a couple minutes the first time but seconds thereafter. Garmin sends satellite data to the watch when you sync to make it acquire the signal faster.
The screen is clear, sharp, and highly visible, even in bright sunlight. It reminded me of the old kindle type readers with the white screen and black text.
The Live Track Feature lets you share your workouts while in progress. However, this requires you to carry your phone. Turning this on was another no brainer. Run the app, select Live Track, and follow the prompts. This is a great feature so your loved ones know where you are which is great for safety’s sake and when you’re racing.
After the workout, the activity syncs to the Garmin website automatically via the Bluetooth. However, it can also do it semi-automatically via WiFi by holding down the bottom right button and selecting Connect to WiFi.
In the end, I highly recommend this watch to the endurance athlete in your life. Yes it has a lot of features but each is super simple to configure and use. And don’t be intimidated by the 6 buttons. This actually adds to its simplicity in my opinion because each button has one function. Less buttons can make it harder to use because you need to know when to press once, or twice, or when to hold the button down.
For more information on the Garmin Forerunner 920xt, visit your local specialty running store.