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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.
60 people found this helpful
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on 25 September 2016
I upgraded from a basic Garmin 10 to the all singing all dancing Forerunner 230 as my running improved and my desire for a new gadget got the better of me.

The design is simple and understated but stylish. It can easily be worn as an everyday watch and not stand out as a sports watch unlike the 10. The watch has many features over and above the Garmin 10 including the ability to download apps and receive text, what's app and Facebook notifications when connected via bluetooth to your phone. I find this handy when driving for example to see at a glance if you have any urgent messages that need responding to. The watch also auto syncs with the Garmin Connect mobile app via bluetooth after a new activity is completed.

The biggest improvements for me were the super quick and reliable GPS lock, even when in large crowds. The Forerunner 10 was awful in comparison and I never miss the start of a race waiting for a satellite lock anymore.

The other big improvement is the 3 field display which enables me to keep my pace even. I use the average race pace field most often but then sometimes use the current pace screen in the final mile of a race if I need to make sure of a time. You can easily setup and cycle through 3 different screens of 3 different fields at the press of a button.

The one slight negative is how dim the screen is. This isn't great during the Autumn or Winter on dark night runs and readability at an angle could be better. It does have a light but it's quite annoying to keep pressing that during a run or wait until you're under a streetlight.

Overall, a superb GPS watch that has helped my running come on in leaps and bounds.
72 people found this helpful
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on 2 July 2017
Absolutely fantastic watch for tracking your runs with. Picks up GPS almost immediately so there is no waiting around at the start of a run whilst waiting for a signal. The activity screen can be set up to display up to four fields of data that you can look at effortlessly whilst running - I have time, distance, current pace and average pace set up on mine, but there are countless options including cadence, heart rate (if you purchase the additional heart rate monitor), lap times, etc. If you want to keep track of more than four types of data then you can also have an additional screen that you can change to easily. In addition, all the buttons are big and easy to press making starting/stopping/pausing tracking or changing screens whilst running simple and unobtrusive.
The watch is also very stylish and great to wear all day and not just when you go running. Indeed, it also has the obligatory step counter which you can access at the touch of a button so you can keep track of how many steps you are doing each day if you are so inclined.
Finally, it is really easy to connect the watch to your smartphone by simply downloading the Garmin Connect App and then activating bluetooth on your phone and on the watch. You can then take advantage of having notifications sent to your watch as well as the weather, meetings, etc. You can also upload your runs quickly after you have finished and if you use Strava as well, like I do, then you can set it up so that the runs will also upload there at the same time.
Battery life has also been very good. I believe I needed to charge it after about a fortnight of regular use and then it was just a case of connecting it to my laptop for a couple of hours to get it fully charged again. So, yes, overall very pleased with this watch so far. Would highly recommend to runners or cyclists looking for an affordable and stylish watch for activity tracking.
8 people found this helpful
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on 24 August 2017
Replaced an ageing FR210 which I loved, but strap and battery finally going. Really pleased with this watch, lightweight and plenty of functions, however I do not need all the functions this watch provides, but it was the natural replacement for my 210. I went for the 230 over the 235 as I had reservations on the built in heart rate monitor accuracy, and I like to have my watch quite loose on my wrist, so thought it might not work that well. I also have a chest strap from my 210, that works perfectly with this watch. The battery life is brilliant; I run three times a week and it will last a fortnight between charges. GPS acquisition is much better that my 210, which is to be expected. I find the screen bright enough, a fully high def colour screen will just sink the battery. If you want an unbiased thorough review of this watch I can recommend "DC Rainmaker", a guy that reviews all types of running and cycling gear in great detail - google dc rainmaker garmin fr230 review - cannot place link, blocked by Amazon!.
One person found this helpful
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on 16 September 2017
I upgraded to a Forerunner 230 from a Tom Tom spark and i am so pleased i did! I read the reviews first and noticed a few people said that your times would improve using this watch. They were correct!! Screen can be customised with 1 to four fields. Colour themes and different watch faces can also be changed. Very easy to set up and use. If your thinking of buying this watch - BUY it!!
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on 26 January 2018
I have had this watch nearly a year, and it irritates me so much it has prompted me to write a review. But I have given it 4 stars! Why? Good: As a replacement for my old Forerunner 110, excellent in all like-for-like features. Picks up satellites very quickly 5-10 seconds (old one 5-10 mins), tracks runs perfectly. Step counter works well, consistent with eg smartphone apps ±1%. Also tracks bike rides etc. Syncs via bluetooth and Garmin phone app seamlessly. Great battery life, 2 weeks + normal use. The main minuses are: White button that actuates tracking is easily depressed accidentally by elastic cuff of anorak etc., so tracking can be turned on/off at random. Does not seem to recognised riding a bike as an activity (although tracks, does not record anything with step counter, so you can ride 20 km and it records no activity). This model doesn't have heart rate meter, maybe it works better with. On the whole, I feel I could have spent my money better.
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on 31 October 2017
All my family have fitbits, but when looking into buying one I wasn't sold on them. In the end I found this little gem and I have not been disappointed. Very easy to use, gives great information and waterproof. If I'm spending this type of money on a training watch I don't want to be outside getting wet then the watch pack in, I know it's rare this happens but things like always seem to happen to me. The only downside for me was the lack of colour the straps but saying that, that would just be personal preference and other straps are readily available.
One person found this helpful
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on 30 August 2017
Best running watch in the world, no need to buy anything more expensive - opened box, pressed one button, turned bluetooth on on my phone and within 30 seconds i could go for a run and when i got back it automatically synced and uploaded my run. Downloaded a stylish analog clock face for it which looks awesome and it can also display weather, calendar, text messages and any notification such as Facebook messages. Charges quicker than a phone and lasts long enough to only charge it some weeks depending on amount of runs.
10/10 would buy again
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on 3 November 2016
Great Product, I upgraded from a Garmin 610 Forerunner and this product is a massive step up in terms of function, reliability and connect features. Love the automatic uploads to Strava especially! I have stepped up my training quite a bit the past year and this watch has everything you need for the more serious runner. Highly recommended.
4 people found this helpful
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on 7 October 2017
Absolutely fantastic watch. Superb battery life, the GPS is incredibly accurate and quick to find satellites. I use both for running and cycling and I love getting news updates, texts etc while I'm too busy to get my phone.
2 people found this helpful
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