The Garmin Forerunner 220 Review

Last year, my super awesome hubs got me the new Garmin Forerunner 220 for our 2 year wedding anniversary. (Ok, actually he told me that was what I was getting because even though I already had it on my wish list, it was not available for a couple more months.) This was a pretty nice surprise considering he has purchased all the GPS running watches I have owned (and I remember him saying he was never getting me another one, ha!). Well after waiting what seemed like forever, I finally got the new Garmin right before Thanksgiving. Now that I’ve had the watch for a little while, I wanted to share my thoughts because I LOVE this watch! I’m breaking down the review into 5 categories: Reliability, User Friendliness, Options, Comfort, and Style.

On my wrist, with backlight on.

On my wrist, with backlight on.


So far, I have been very impressed with how quickly it connects to a GPS signal. I have only run with the watch in my town, so we’ll see how quickly it connects when I am out of town but so far so good. And a crazy thing I noticed is that even when I don’t immediately connect to a signal, my mileage is pretty accurate (comparing to when I have run the route before). The watch has a built-in cadence tracker and seems to be pretty good at figuring out distance even without a satellite (this was always a frustration to me with my previous Nike+ iPod add one and watch).

User Friendliness

This watch is crazy easy to use. The  color screen (in daylight) is very easy to read and navigate. I can quickly start my run and glance at the information I need right away. The only thing is if it’s not bright out, the screen can be hard to see and I use the backlight more than I did on my previous watch. The watch also has two data screens that you can navigate through while running (with three fields each). While on most of my runs, the basics is all I need (overall time, mileage, and lap pace), I love having a second screen (currently I have mine set to lap time, lap distance, and instant pace). And it’s pretty simple to make changes to the screen. The only thing I’m not loving is when I have a workout paused, it gives me the total time of my workout but not distance (I’m sure there is a way to change this, just haven’t made the effort to do so yet).

Images from Garmin site

Images from Garmin site


There are a TON of options for this watch (some I’ve tried, some not yet). Live track allows someone to follow your run if you run with your phone. While most of my runs are with friends, I love this idea if I do have a long solo run. This way if I’m gone longer than expected, the hubs can see exactly where I am. I haven’t tried it yet, but seems like a great idea. The watch uses bluetooth to do this and I have used the bluetooth option to upload a workout to the Garmin app on my phone. This was pretty awesome and worked really well. I’d love if they opened this up to other sites/apps such as Strava. I mentioned the cadence tracker already but thus far it seems to be pretty spot on and could have a lot of potential. My previous Garmin didn’t have a live auto pause function, it wasn’t until I uploaded my workouts that I saw my stops. This one has one and you can customize it to stop when you hit a certain pace. So far, it seems to take about 5-10 seconds to actually pause the watch, so I need to play with my settings a bit. For most of my runs, that’s just fine but if I have a lot of stops or am concerned with pace, I still manually pause my watch. This watch allows you to put workouts on it through the Garmin Connect site. This is AWESOME! My previous Garmin only allowed it through the watch and was fairly limited. This week I uploaded an interval workout (with multiple mileages and paces for speed). Having it on my watch and doing all the thinking for me was a great and I did exactly what I needed to do on my workout. This feature is definitely a win for me!


Ok, one of my favorite things about this watch is how comfortable it is. I couldn’t believe how much lighter it felt compared to my previous GPS watches. I barely even notice it. And the slim face keeps the bulkiness down. I often wear this watch when I’m not running too because it’s just comfy.


Another reason I wear this watch outside of my runs is because I think its super cute. While it’s not really appropriate with a cocktail dress, for day-to-day wear it’s great. I love the purple and white combo (don’t worry guys, they have a nice black and red version too, see above image). Because it’s sleek it’s not overtly noticeable but I have definitely received a couple of compliments on it. In fact, I think this is one of the best looking sports watches out there. I am really excited that Garmin seems to be upping its game with the looks of its device.

Side shot, on my wrist

So overall, this watch is a real win for me! My friend also has it and so far I think she loves it as much as I do. There is also a pricier version, the Forerunner 620. It has some cool extra features, such as the race predictor and recovery tool. I’m sure these are really nifty, but it didn’t seem worth the price for me and what I want out of my watch. So there you have it, a solid running GPS watch that I easily recommend. For a much more in-depth review, see the DC Rainmaker post (this site has AWESOME reviews).

*As much as I wish Garmin had given me this watch, these comments are truly my own and in no way did Garmin influence any of my thoughts.*

3 thoughts on “The Garmin Forerunner 220 Review

  1. I just got the forerunner 220 and was wondering if while you use the livetrack ( which I would like to use during my marathon so my husband can track me) do I have to run with my phone?

    • You do need to have your phone with you for the livetrack (it uses Bluetooth to connect with the phone and the phone then sends the livetrack info).

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