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FR230 - All in one on "budget"
on 17 March 2017
This review is mainly about why I decided for this model and what I like about it and what I see as shortcomings.
I have a mechanical watch and an iPhone, naturally I was looking into the apple watch to use for running, cycling and swimming. Happy with my mechanical watch I wouldn’t want to wear the sport watch other than for sport / outdoor activities. In that regard I did find the apple watch to expensive and also not practical having to charge it before every activity on a different day.
This brought me to the FR230. I preferred this over the 235, because I knew I would wanted to use a HR strap rather than then build in sensor of the FR235 for accuracy and battery saving reasons.
I’m using the F230 together with Strava and the iPhone. For any activities I usually only take the watch and the HR strap only with me, not the phone. And that works absolutely fine for me, after the activity I sync with my phone to connect, which then automatically passes it on to Strava. In the same way I put my running shoes on I change my watch as well. For me it was also not important to track sleeping or my step count, which however worked fine, when I tried it.
How does it work for me, while:
- all the informations you’ll get from the watch you can configure to be displayed to your liking on the screen - perfect
- lots of 3rd party applications - for free - to customise the screen too
- only downside at races is, that the watch sometimes is recording a shorter distance, this is annoying especially, when you run a half marathon and you don’t get the personal record etc on Strava or Connect automatically for that distance. I have observed this behaviour on strava for other garmin models as well, as well as being consistently wrong. Usually people using their phones don’t have that problem and likely even recording a longer distance.
- same here all important informations you can configure to your own liking on the screen
- for me there is no reason to have a separate cycle (GPS) computer, as everything is recorded perfectly to view while cycling and review later
- Although the FR230 is perfect for swimming it doesn’t come with a native swimming app, thankfully there is a free 3rd party app called “pool swim”, which is perfectly fine to record indoor swimming
Together with the HR strap and both connect (garmins own app) as well as strava, I have all information I need. I do think measuring the heart rate, even only at hobby / amateur level is a very helpful statistic, while training and measuring improvement.
Lastly, the battery performance is perfect for my needs, which means I charge the watch ones a week. I do mostly running, so far I have done 500 miles and never had an issue with reading the watch either in sun or in the dark with auto illumination. The watch is really light and not too big.
Once in the beginning of a 5 mile run, I went into low battery mode, which was displayed during the run, but the watch didn’t switch off and recorded the run perfectly, which I really liked.
I also added the screen protection, which works perfectly and is a no brainer.
In summary this watch is a perfect balance of price and what it offers for me, with not being my main watch and only used for sports mainly - running and cycling, with some swimming pool sessions thrown in.