Garmin unveils new Forerunner family and ditches Mio heart rate tech

New Forerunner watches pack formidable running metrics

Garmin has unveiled a new trio of GPS running watches as it refreshed its line-up of sports wearables.

It's taken the wrapper off a new flagship Garmin Forerunner 630, which packs even more running analytics and data than its predecessor the Forerunner 620.

Read the verdict: Garmin Forerunner 235 review

In addition, the line-up has also been expanded to include new Garmin Forerunner 230 and 235 running watches as well.

Starting with the Garmin Forerunner 630 (pictured above), users now get notifications on the wrist with a paired smartphone and there's a host of new data collected. The 630 will now record stride length and vertical ratio, which is an expansion of the existing cadence and oscillation metrics, which can be used to make runners more efficient.

It will also guide users on recovery times and readiness by rating lactate threshold and performance condition to inform runners when they're too tired to train and are risking injury. And as with all running watches these days, you can wear it for activity tracking of steps and calories when you're not out for a run.

Essential reading: How to use your running watch to smash your PB

Optical wrist-based heart rate tech hasn't made it to the new Garmin flagship. The chest strap does provide more than just heart rate data, and extra sensors are well placed for tracking vertical oscillation and other technique measurements. If those stats are important to you, you'll have to put up with a chest strap for now.

The new Garmin Forerunner 235

However, heart rate tech does make it to the new Garmin Forerunner 235 (above). The second Garmin watch to get heart-rate to built in after this year's Forerunner 225. The difference? Well, it seems this time around that Garmin has ditched Mio's tech and gone for its own, which it's dubbed Elevate heart rate technology. We're speaking to Garmin to find out more.

The Forerunner 235 also adds smartwatch style notifications and added VO2 Max stats, which can offer better insights into recovery times.

Along with it comes the Forerunner 230, which doesn't feature wrist-based heart rate tech, and instead relies on a paired chest strap.

The Garmin Forerunner 630 is priced at $399.99 on its own and $449.99 with a heart rate monitor.

The Forerunner 235 and 230 are priced at $329.99 and $249.99 respectively.

What do you think?

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  • n8udd·

    It's been mentioned that the reason the optical HR isn't included in the 630, is that the majority of the advanced metrics require the Garmin HRM-Run in order to be recorded, so it doesn't make sense to include it.

    You either want the advanced metrics, in which case you buy the 630 and the HRM-Run, or you don't, and you buy the 235/230.

    • j.stables·

      Yes, good point that the vertical oscillation etc are done via the chest strap.

  • Jennifer·

    I have been using the 225 with built in HRM and to be honest I have yet to have a run that I can see my HR and think its a true representation. I think it's very erratic and drops out far too often even wearing half up my arm and cutting off my circulation to try and improve it's working ability as suggested in other sites. I found this very disappointing so before I consider changing to the 235 will the HRM in this one be the same or is it a much better piece of kit that can be worn as a normal running watch and record the data it says it can?

  • gollbham·

    I really do not understand why one should go for 630.  It is not significantly different or better than FR230.  Price is too high almost 100 bucks more.  Then optical HR sensors are not very accurate; known to 'drop' the detection frequently.   Garmin is now selling different Heart Rate monitors - HRM Run/ Tri/ Swim; where additional sensors are kept; which are different from simple optical sensor.  All these HRMs are basically chest-wraps, which are more accurate.  Again, not all watches are capable of using these advanced HRMs.   I would go with FR-230.  Just wait a few months, the price of FR-230 should go down, as lower end models are now loaded with more features almost close to FR-230.