Whenever people ask me to recommend a good smartwatch for running, I’m really sorry to not respond with any Android Wear or Apple Watch solution. While some of these do a decent job in serving as an extended screen for your phone while you run, even the Apple Watch’s running module is inaccurate in some of its readings. Again, if you want a “good smartwatch for running,” you want a Garmin, and today we get a few of these announced.
Garmin has just announced three new smartwatches, the Forerunner 630, 235 and 230. As with the Garmin Fenix 3 that we saw at MWC, these are running watches first, smartwatches second, but the proprietary OS used for these is actually really good in serving the usual notifications that every other smartwatch can. When it comes to everything else that counts in the running department, these are all fully-functional GPS watches that can even assist you in cycling. Where these differ is in that the 630 is obviously the more capable and expensive model starting at $399.99, and where the heart rate monitor depends on an optional chest strap, since you’re buying accuracy, right? The 235 and 230 are almost the same watch, but the 235 offers a similar optical heart rate sensor that you’ll find on the Apple Watch, and the 230 depends on a chest strap that’s also optional. Prices go between $329 and $249 respectively.
Yes, they don’t run Android Wear nor any other OS you know, but they do connect to your iPhone and Android phone through the Garmin App, and after spending some time with a few Garmins in Barcelona, it seems that’s not something you should worry about. Just remember that these are watches made for fitness, so don’t expect them to have looks that could kill.