Garmin Forerunner 25 is an entry level running watch with smartwatch skills

Garmin goes on the defensive with smartwatch functionality
Garmin unveils Forerunner 25 running watch
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Garmin has unveiled the Forerunner 25, a slimmer version of its entry level GPS running watch with added smartwatch notifications.

Boasting a monochrome LCD panel and no touchscreen, it's far more basic in terms of sports tracking than the recent Forerunner 225, which was the first Garmin running watch to boast optical heart rate monitoring. Aimed more at weekend runners who just want to get basic pace, distance and times, the Forerunner 25 does have another trick up its sleeve - alerts.

Versus: Garmin Forerunner 225 v Fitbit Surge v TomTom Multisport

There's no colour touchscreen or other bells and whistles here, so it's hardly an Apple Watch competitor, but the Forerunner 15 will show notifications such as calls, messages and calendar alerts from a paired smartphone, making it more powerful than your average sports watch.

The Forerunner 25 is a lot slimmer than last year's Forerunner 15 while managing to keep the screen substantially larger. The control system doesn't seem to have evolved too far from last year, and the four buttons stay put.

The Forerunner 25 is also waterproof to 50m and there's some basic fitness tracking features on board, such as an inactivity monitor to cajole you out of sedentary habits. You can pair up a heart rate monitor if you wish, but that will need to be a separate purchase.

It's set to come in a range of colours, and two sizes which should suit male and female wrists alike. And as with most of the Garmin range, battery life looks impressive, too. The larger Forerunner 25 will last for 10 hours of GPS tracking, and the smaller version for 8 hours.

Essential reading: Best Garmin IQ apps

It's clear that by adding smartwatch smarts to even the lower devices in the Garmin range, the GPS giant is actively attempting to ward off the lure of the Apple Watch and Android Wear. While at the moment Garmin's accuracy and fitness ecosystem is a no-brainer for serious runners, the competition is catching up fast.

We're expecting to see the Garmin Forerunner 25 in Q3 this year, priced at $169,99. We're still waiting for international pricing.

Essential reading: Which Garmin watch is best for you?