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Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS running watch review $250

Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS running watch review

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Versatility
  • Price

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So back in September I finally received as a gift a long overdue upgrade to my first every GPS running watch (Garmin Forerunner 405cx GPS). I’m not sure why exactly I waited so long (yes I do–it still “worked fine” so why spend the money?) but I am not very thankful for the new watch.

Overall I am very happy with the watch–it’s comfy, light, finds GPS signal hella fast, has great battery life, pairs with my previous watch’s heart strap. There isn’t really anything I don’t like about it, but here are some things I especially like about it that my previous watch lacked or wasn’t great:

The Garmin Forerunner 230:

  • Finds a GPS signal quite quickly, even in a new location (including when traveling)
  • Has its original rubber/plastic strap (I was using a cloth strap on my 405 because the original busted and it got gross quickly).
  • Does its own step counting (so I could stop carrying my phone for this purpose everywhere, including on runs)
    • works well with this for “indoor” runs aka on the treadmill
  • Bluetooth pairing with my phone/Garmin Connect (my 405 would at least do it wirelessly via ANT usb stick, but it’s much more convenient to have it pair with my phone!)
  • Excellent battery life–I charge my watch currently about every 8ish days–this is wearing it around the clock, running 45ish miles per week all in GPS mode, leaving bluetooth always on to pair with my phone, and NOT having it set up to receive messages/notifications from my phone (I don’t want to be bothered with this feature… just personal preference.).
  • Ability to install other apps–I installed a “7 minute workout” app but haven’t actually tried it.
  • Predicts VO2 Max with heart rate data.
  • Sleep/movement tracking

Like it said–I never take it off. I wear it to run, I wear it to shower, and I wear it to sleep. It’s great and I would highly recommend it!

Specs from Garmin:

GPS Running Watch with Smart Features

  • Tracks distance, pace, time, heart rate¹ and VO2 Max¹
  • Connected features²: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, live tracking, audio prompts, music controls, smart notifications and social media sharing
  • Activity tracking³ counts daily steps, distance, calories and sleep
  • Download data fields, watch faces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ™

Physical & Performance

Physical dimensions 1.77″ x 1.77″ x 0.46″ (45.0 x 45.0 x 11.7 mm)
Display size, WxH 1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter
Display resolution, WxH 215 x 180 pixels
Color display
Weight 1.4 oz (41 g)
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life 16 Hours training, 5 weeks watch + AT + Notifications
Water rating 5 ATM
High-sensitivity receiver
Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Vibration alert
Music control
Find my phone
VIRB® control
Watch functions Includes date and alarm

Maps & Memory

History 200 hours of activity data

Running Features

V02 max estimate
Recovery advisor
Race predictor
Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod)
Personal records

Cycling Features

Bike speed/cadence sensor Yes (optional)

Performance Features

Heart rate monitor Yes (Some versions)
Foot pod Yes (optional)
Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed)
Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap)
Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout)
Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts)
Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace)
Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals)
Heart rate-based calorie computation
Calculates calories burned
Training Effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness)
Customizable screen(s)
Shock Resistant

Activity Tracking Features

Step counter
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)

Garmin Connect™

Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data)
Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer)


  • Connect IQ™ app support: Yes

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