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Monday, September 16, 2013
Garmin Intros Smartwatches For Runners

Garmin today announced the Forerunner 620 and Forerunner 220 GPS running watches - two offerings for runners.

The Forerunner 620 offers features like recovery advisor, race predictor and VO2 max estimate to help runners achieve new race goals. For indoor training, the 620 and 220's built-in accelerometer tracks distance and pace, so runners don't need a separate sensor. Both models boast Garmin's one-inch Chroma color display.

Forerunner 620 is estimating runners' VO2 max, which is a good indicator of athletic capability. Previously, the only way to accurately obtain VO2 max was by paying for a lab test. When used with a heart rate monitor, the 620 incorporates several pieces of data, like running speed, beats per minute and heart rate variability, into an algorithm to estimate runners' VO2 max. The number itself indicates the maximum volume of oxygen a runner can consume per minute, per kilogram of body weight at their max performance. A color gauge on the watch display shows how a runner's VO2 max data compares to other individuals of their gender and age range.

When wearing HRM-Run, Forerunner 620's NEW recovery advisor and recovery check take the guesswork out when it comes to planning recovery time between hard workouts. It learns the runner and their physiology based on heart rate data, so it factors this against their last workout and then shows how much time before they are fully recovered and ready for their next hard running workout. Color-coding on the Chroma display gauge makes it easy to interpret - green, of course, means they are good to go. HRM-Run also has an accelerometer in the module that measures torso movement in order to calculate 3 different running metrics:

- Cadence - the number of steps per minute. It displays the total steps (right and left combined)
- Vertical oscillation - the bounce in runners' running motion. It displays the vertical motion of a runners' torso, measured in centimeters.
- Ground contact time - the amount of time in each step that you spend on the ground while running, measured in milliseconds.

Thanks to their Bluetooth Smart wireless upload capabilities, Forerunner 620 and 220 can send runners' run data to the Garmin online community, Garmin Connect, without being connected to a computer. It can transfer the data through the Garmin Connect Mobile app on their compatible smartphone. Runners must have their phone paired with their 620 or 220 throughout the run to use the LiveTrack feature. Victories, goals achieved and successes can be shared on runners' social media sites by posting updates through the Garmin Connect Mobile app. Runners can also set up their Forerunner 620 to work with one or more Wi-Fi hot spots, such as their home and office networks, to automatically sync with Garmin Connect when in range.

Both Forerunner 620 and 220 are water-resistant to 50m. The Forerunner 620 has a touchscreen display that it can be operated with running gloves, while the 220 is operated with buttons. Both models have rechargeable batteries lasting up to six weeks in watch mode and up to 10 hours in training mode.

Forerunner 620 is available in blue/black and white/orange, while Forerunner 220 is available in black/red and white/violet and are expected to ship fall 2013 and have suggested retail prices of $399.99/$449.99 (HRM-Run Bundle) and $249.99/$299.99 (Heart Rate Bundle) respectively.

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