Garmin Forerunner 15 Large, Black/Blue Review

Garmin Forerunner 15 Large, Black/Blue Review

The Garmin Forerunner 15 doesn’t look like much style-wise, but it’s definitely one of our top fitness watches! Think of it as the fitness watch that combines many of the best features of the Forerunner 10 and the Vivofit. Users are satisfied that it’s both a GPS running watch and an activity tracker.

The Garmin Forerunner 15 is also designed with a quite impressive battery life – 5 weeks for activity tracking and 8 hours for GPS mode, according to most users.

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Features of the Garmin Forerunner 15 Large, Black/Blue

Looks like a bloated sports watch

The Forerunner 15 isn’t a fashionable fitness watch, not by a long shot. But for its purpose, it’s a good investment in a fitness tracker, particularly with its wide range of features, coupled with improved battery life.

This is also available in several color combos and in two sizes – we chose the black-and-blue large watch, which is more suitable for men, although, women can also use it.

Aside from the aesthetic choices, the Forerunner 15 can be bought with or without a heart-rate monitor. You can use your own existing heart-rate monitor, provided that it’s compatible with ANT+ technology.  We suggest getting one with a heart-rate monitor, if you’re keen on expanded performance tracking features.

The traditional watch band is a point in its favor, too. With its secondary clip, the watch will stay securely on your wrist, even with strenuous physical activity.

The conventional watch design, with its four buttons, also adds to its sports watch look, although, these buttons have their functions particularly in navigating the settings and options.

These four buttons, two on each side, are used for controlling many of the watch’s features. These include activating the GPS mode, scrolling through the menu for the performance analysis (e.g., running history, workout time, distance and pace), and activating the backlight.

Packed with features as an activity tracker

The Forerunner 15 has straightforward features as an activity tracker. The data provided includes, but isn’t limited to, distance, pace, and calories, as well as heart rate if you choose the package with a heart monitor.

The heart-rate zone information is a definite plus, since you will know whether you’re underperforming, on target, or over-performing, which means you can make adjustments to your training program.

This is also compatible with Garmin’s foot pod, a useful tool for measuring and recording distance traveled in an indoor setting. There’s even a step goals component, which makes automatic adjustments based on prior days’ performance.

The information gathered is then displayed on the watch’s relatively clear 55 x 32-pixel display, which can be hard to read in dim light conditions without the backlight on.

Finding and locking the GPS signal takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on your location. We found that it’s faster to find your location in an urban area than in a rural area, but once the GPS signal has been acquired, the watch can be used immediately. There’s little learning curve to it, even when you have used fitness watches before.

There are three screens that can be toggled through in GPS mode, namely, actual time and date, pace and calories, and workout time and distance.

But toggling requires pressing on the down button for a few seconds, since the screens don’t automatically rotate. This may be inconvenient for many Garmin fans, but it isn’t such a big deal for many people.

The steps and distance measurements are relatively accurate when in non-GPS mode. Many users say the variation ranges from .07 miles to .09 miles, which isn’t such a significant difference for most people – unless, you’re actually training for a marathon.

The watch also stores your personal records and provides a notification when you reach a personal milestone, fitness-wise. But the oldest workouts (i.e., up to 7 days) will be erased so that a new workout record can take its place.

There are several useful features for serious runners including:

  • Run/Walk for interval training
  • Virtual Pacer for setting a specific pace
  • Auto Pause and Auto Lap for running in the city, where starts-and-stops are common

The Forerunner 15 also has connectivity features via the Garmin Connect and Garmin Express. The Garmin Connect is a cloud service used for viewing, analyzing and sharing fitness data. The Garmin Express is for checking firmware updates and syncing data to the company’s mobile app and website.

But there’s no Bluetooth connectivity, a major flaw in its design, considering the prevalence of such technology.

Pros

  • Has both pedometer and GPS capabilities
  • Always-on crisp display with a backlight for low-light conditions
  • Virtual Pacer encourages you to keep with the pace you have set
  • Waterproof design
  • Relatively accurate fitness measurements
  • With connectivity features
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Not stylish in design
  • No Bluetooth synching

Verdict

The Forerunner 15 has its limitations, but its feature-packed design more than makes up for its things it may be missing. The watch, after all, supports more than a dozen languages and comes with activity tracking and GPS capabilities.  The Garmin Forerunner 15 manual has more detailed information an impressive operating temperature range from 5 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

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