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Garmin Forerunner 15: Fitness tracker running watch

Published on Sep 2, 2014 6:28 AM
 

Garmin combined its Vivofit fitness tracker with its entry-level GPS watch Forerunner 10 and created the Forerunner 15.

The result is a GPS runner's watch which also monitors your calories burned, steps taken and other daily activities.

With its squarish face and twin buttons on either side, the Forerunner 15 would be a dead ringer for the Forerunner 10 except that the top right button is the same colour as its watch-face border.

The violet, teal, and green Forerunner 10 devices all had grey buttons, while black and orange models had black buttons.

The review unit came in black with a blue border. The device is available in two sizes.

It also comes in violet, teal, red and black, with a variety of colour trims.

Forerunner 15 looks like a kid's watch and not one you would likely wear to the office or to a corporate event. However, it is water-resistant to 50m, so you can swim with it.

Setting it up requires you to use a proprietary USB cable to link it to a computer. Install the Garmin Express software, log into your Garmin account (or sign up for one), key in your vital statistics and update the firmware before use.

Subsequently, you will need to sync your workout data via the cable, as it does not have Bluetooth capability.

After you have set it up, it still requires a GPS lock to set the time and date. The first GPS lock took about 2min 30sec to secure. Subsequently, it will usually take about 30sec.

The display may be small, but it is quite visible even in bright sunlight. The top portion of the display always shows the time, while the lower portion displays the activity statistics.

Press the lower button on the left side to scroll through statistics for the day, including calories burned, distance travelled, steps taken and your daily step goal.

The button at the top left switches on the backlight.

On the right side, the lower button is for scrolling through settings, options and your workout history. The button above has a running man near it. Press that when you start running.

For outdoor runs, the Forerunner 15 uses GPS to record your time, pace and distance. On a stadium track, the distance recorded was fairly accurate.

You can set a virtual pacer option if you have a target. If you are lagging behind, the watch will let you know that you have to speed up.

Like the Vivofit fitness tracker, the Forerunner 15 will alert you if you sit motionless for too long.

However, while the Vivofit is silent, the Forerunner 15 will beep gently and show the message "Move!" on the display.

The Forerunner 15 can track distance and pace indoors if paired with an optional foot pod which attaches to the laces of your running shoes.

The device lacks a built-in heart rate sensor, but it can be paired with a heart-rate sensor strap.

Its built-in rechargeable battery should last a month in watch mode. However, in GPS mode, it lasts only eight hours - still good enough for most marathons.

  • Garmin's Forerunner 15 is a capable entry-level GPS runner's watch which doubles as a great fitness tracker - as long as you are willing to wear it all the time.

By Trevor Tan

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on Aug 27, 2014.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $259

Display: 55 x 32 pixels

Water resistance: 50m

Weight: 36-43g


RATING

Features: 3/5

Design: 2/5

Performance: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 3/5