Garmin Forerunner 920XT review: Effective, accurate, easy to use (Tech Review)

Garmin was quick to tap the Indian market with budget releases like the VivoFit and the VivoSmart. Now, it seems to be consolidating its base. Not all Garmin products are available in India and the company currently is the third in IDC’s list of wearables in terms of market share and shipments. The firm will soon launch the Garmin Forerunner 920XT – a premium GPS watch priced at Rs 36,990. We got our hands early on this product and here is our analysis:

First and foremost, this GPS watch is for serious athletes who are curious and zealous about perfecting their training regime or maintaining a well-toned body.

Design: This is not a regular wearable and at the first look indicates that it is not in competition with others but has a league of its own. Straying away from slimmer bands, the 920XT is a big watch. It measures 2.2 inches (55 millimeters) across and weighs slightly more than 57 grams. However, the watch is slender enough to easily slip under a wetsuit or fit inside a glove during cold-weather runs. The watch, which is comfortable to wear aided by a adjustable rubbery strap, cannot be worn as a timepiece all the time due to the premium sports look that it emanates.

Its four buttons have tiny notches, making them easy to press, even when you’re under water or exercising in the rain. The display screen is easy to read both indoors and outdoors.

Functional overview: Six buttons are provided for operating the device: the power and mode buttons are located on the left of the watch; the scroll buttons are located on the right; and below the screen, are the “Enter” and “Back” buttons for moving through each menu or function.

As soon as the device is turned on, it can be used to track swimming (open water versus pool), running (indoors or outdoors), cycling (also indoors or outdoors) and triathlon/multisports. In addition, the 920XT can monitor daily activity (steps taken) including sleep. And when the device is not in use, the 920XT displays the time, day and date.

The 920XT is water resistant to a depth of 50m. The built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery offers around four months of power for the watch alone; activity tracking reduces this period to 30 days; and operating the device with the GPS turned on reduces this period to around 24 hours. An accelerometer is included in the 920XT for measuring running cadence and swimming strokes.

The 920XT provides ANT+ connectivity for multiple-sensors (speed/cadence, heart-rate monitor, foot pod, pedal pods, VIRB camera, third-party power meters). The 920XT is WiFi-enabled and there is also Bluetooth connectivity.

A variety of data is collected or calculated for each activity (time, distance, average speed) in conjunction with specific data (running cadence, swimming stroke rate). The user can opt to view up to four data screens with one to four fields per screen during an activity. In addition, the 920XT can be set up to provide alerts for pace-setting (based on time, distance, or calories).

Once the user has created a Garmin Connect account via the app or the website, all data collected by the 920XT will be uploaded automatically via WiFi. As an alternative, the device can be paired with a smartphone using Bluetooth to achieve the same result.

The 920XT offers navigation without maps. There are three options – following a course created with Garmin Connect or other mapping applications; travelling to a saved location; or returning to a set start point.

Verdict: This is one of the most impressive sports watches and activity tracker seen till date. For a serious athlete, the product is a must buy. Having said that and looking at the India market, the new watch might just remain a niche product in the country.

(Anirban Ghoshal can be contacted at anirban.g@ians.in)

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