Since July 2011, I had been using the Garmin 405cx for all of my outdoor running. I also owned a heart rate monitor, but usually didn’t run with it on because it would cause chafing. I did use the heart rate monitor for indoor workouts, with the GPS turned off. I received the Forerunner 620 as a birthday gift (which was in October, but the watch didn’t arrive until the first week in December). I wanted to write about my experience with the 620 so far, in comparison with the 405.
The 620 is much lighter and thinner than the 405. While I was using the 405 I never found it to be too thick or heavy, but the 620 is a nice change. It is more flexible and when I wore but of them at the same time it was obvious how much more comfortable the 620 is.
There is a different type of charger for the 620. You basically just rest the watch in a platform and it connects using a magnet. It comes apart pretty easily, so its best to leave it in one spot while its charging. I heard that its supposed to last 6 weeks if the GPS is turned off, but I since I am using the GPS I have had to charge it a few times since I’ve had it. (I don’t like to see it getting low, so I usually just charge it back up to 100% after each run and then unplug it from the charger). I used to leave the 405 in the charger all the time when I wasn’t using it. I’m not sure if this was bad for the battery, but I never had any issues.
The 620 also came with a heart rate monitor (distinguished as the HRM-run). This fancy equipment is what makes it possible to track cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time. These features have led me to wear the heart rate monitor while running. So far, no chafing, but I will have to see how it works out for longer runs or runs in the heat.
When I took the watch out the package, it took me about 30 minutes to get it set up and get oriented to the new features. I hate relying on directions, so I figured out most of it on my own. It has a touch screen, which was what took me the longest to figure out. I think I just needed to learn where and how to touch the screen. At first I felt like I had to press it a bunch of times to get it to respond, but after a little practice it became easy. I find that it responds much faster than the 405. When the 620 isn’t being used, it automatically locks itself, after beeping to give a warning that it is going into power save mode.
To unlock the watch, you press one of the buttons on the side and then tap the screen. After unlocking, the “home” screen will appear. This is like Data field 1 (which you can set to show whatever you want…pace, time, distance, etc)
From here I found it pretty easy to navigate, as it seemed similar to the menu of the 405.
One of the new features of the 620 is that is calculates your VO2 max. According to Garmin:
When used with HRM-Run, VO2 max estimates the maximum volume of oxygen (in milliliters) you can consume per minute per kilogram of body weight at max performance. VO2 max is an indication of aerobic capability and should increase as your fitness improves.
It takes a few runs for the watch to properly calculate this. Mine has increased with each run I have completed using the watch.
The 620 also recommends how much time you should wait before your next hard workout. The last time I ran was 2 days before the picture was taken, so based on my previous workouts I had spend enough time recovering. At the beginning of your next workout, the watch beeps to let you know your recovery status. I am not sure what all the options are, but so far I have seen “fair” and “good”.
Based on your workouts, race predictions are made. These stats were given right after my 5k (which I ran in 21:38, but the watch didn’t count it as a 5k because the distance recorded was 3.05 instead of 3.1). So I guess that is why it predicted a 21:43 for the 5k. As for the other times…it is encouraging to think that I could potentially hit those times but right now I am pretty far off from all of them. Maybe this means I need to have more confidence in myself.
In my opinion, one of the coolest features is that the watch can connect to your phone through Bluetooth or Wi-fi. I have very limited understanding of all this technology stuff, but I was able to figure it out pretty easily. Now I can quickly upload my workout to my phone even if I’m not at home, as long as I have the Bluetooth turned on on my phone. I can also upload workouts to a computer using the charging cord, as well as through Wi-fi.
The above photos are screen shots of my phone. After uploading a workout, graphs are displayed to show heart rate, cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time.
I really don’t have anything negative to say about this watch. I already feel like its easy to use, whereas it took me a few weeks to get the hang of using the 405. However, I may find it easier because I was already used to using a GPS watch. I haven’t used the “workout” feature yet, which allows you to plan your workout on garmin connect and load it onto the watch. The 405 also had this feature and I never used it with that watch.
One other difference I noticed is that while using the 405, I had to lock the screen while running or it would go into power save mode. The 620 stays on and doesn’t need to be locked, which is great because I don’t need to unlock it to look at other data screens.
Also, the 620 has a vibrate alert (it can be set however you want…beep, vibrate, both, or neither). I don’t think the 405 had a vibrate alert, but if it did I didn’t know about it and didn’t know how to use it.
The one thing I haven’t figured out is how to upload my runs directly onto Daily Mile. I had it set with my old watch that I could upload them directly. Daily Mile recognizes the new watch, but keeps saying I don’t have any new activities. It’s not a huge issue because I can input the information manually, but it would be nice if I could get them to upload directly. If anyone else has figured this out please let me know!
While the price of the watch is steep, if you are interested in learning more about your training patterns and if you plan to use the new features, I would highly recommend this watch. Not only is it perfect for overanalyzing every step, it also easy to use and comfortable. Please E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about my experience with the Forerunner 620!
Disclaimer: I am writing this review based on my experience using the Garmin 620 for about 10 days. I have no affiliation with Garmin and was not asked to write a review. All opinions are my own and I am not receiving anything for writing this post.