Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Garmin 920XT Forerunner Review

I have had my new Garmin 920XT for 2 days, but today was the first time that I was able to try it out on a run. Hopefully, I will update this entry with information regarding using the watch for swimming and cycling.

Updated: 18th Dec,14 (Swimming)


These are just list of features that I noticed whilst using the watch:
  • GPS lock was really quick (less that 10 secs)
  • Screen clarity is excellent. Seems that there is a better use of real estate than on the 910XT.
  • The lap notification screen (on each mile) uses the full screen (unlike the 910XT).
  • Button access much easier than on the 910XT.
  • Uploading via wireless was easy, quick and painless.
  • Works good as a day to day watch.
  • Appreciate the "Drill" mode for swimming


 So today was near 60 degrees so couldn't miss the opportunity to go for a run. On leaving the building I switch over to "Run" and it started to acquire the GPS signal (bearing in mind I had not used this watch before). It immediately notified me that the HRM was detected then shortly after that announced that GPS was ready. I hadn't even started stretching!

Started the run and was really pleased with the clarity of the screen. It would appear that the contrast of the screen and the use of space is improved over the 910XT. Another thing I noticed was that the buttons were much easier to use when in motion. The rubberised feeling of the 910's button and the fact that you had to press the side buttons just right was something I hadn't really noticed until I tried this watch. I found myself switching through the default screens just to see the information available.

One issue I always had with the 910XT was that the lap notification information was constrained to a pop up window in the middle of the watch face. Unless you were standing still in good light it was almost impossible to see the information. The great news is that the lap time is displayed full screen and is huge !!

The rest of the run was uneventful, GPS signal was maintained throughout (as I would have expected).

At the end of the run, the watch goes through a sequence of screens providing you with information about the activity. In this case, I had set 4 new personal bests, with each one being its own screen. Now, these were not personal bests, it is just that this was the first time I had used this watch.

Now, I have an old Android phone and apparently its version of Bluetooth is not compatible with this watch, however on arriving home I switched on the wireless for the watch and the activity was immediately uploaded to the Garmin Connect web site.

Lots of new stats to learn about. The following image shows the new running dynamics charts that are produced as a result of the new HRM strap.
 The following image is the running dynamic stats:
Still need to find the time to look at the stats and understand their usefulness, but normally more information is better (I think).

As a result of wearing the watch during the day, it recorded my steps, periods of inactivity and alerted me if I had been idle for too long. Currently my daily goal for steps is set to the default of 5000. As you can see in the report below with today's run I exceeded that goal.
I will admit that I was not particularly excited about this feature, however, I can see how this could be a good motivation tool with it automatically monitoring trends and awarding badges for goals met and exceeded:
I was awarded a 10,000 steps badge and a x2 my goal badge (insert round of applause here).

Depending on the weather tomorrow, I may try to get out for a ride and hopefully update this with additional information.

Update (Swimming)

Well didn't make it for that bike ride, however I did manage to get in a 1500 yard swim. Once again, the improved clarity of the screen over the 910XT made it easy to see the values on the screen even with googles on. When doing intervals a special screen is displayed during the rest with a separate timer for the interval which is really useful. The other new feature is the ability to just set the watch in drill mode which tells the watch that you are not "swimming". Laps and times are recorded, however they are not reported as part of your normal "stroke" based swim.

The other improvements I noticed are with the reports on the Garmin Connect web site. The image below demonstrates how the swim is broken down into intervals and has two views, the first a table, the second graphical:
Tabular Intervals

Graphical Intervals
Stay tuned for the next update ... cycling (hopefully).

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