Garmin Forerunner 620

My Life as a Runner > gadget > Garmin Forerunner 620
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I just wrote a post about my Garmin Forerunner 610 and how satisfied I am with it. I still am. All features are working properly, both software and hardware. But at the same time, I’ve known there is Forerunner 620 that offers more interesting features in a lighter, more compact body. Data from running dynamics reading (ground contact, cadence, and vertical oscillation) seem particularly interesting, though I have suspicions around fitness metrics (recovery advisor, VO2 Max, and race predictor) data being accurate. So, I spent a couple of days reading about the advanced GPS watch, and I decided not to get one, due to a couple of reasons.

First, the successor of the popular Forerunner 620 might be coming out soon. I have not seen or heard of any indication of this, so this is purely my personal speculation. Looking at Garmin’s past product release cycles, there was a 30-month gap between the releases of Forerunner 610 and 620, April 2011 and September 2013, respectively. Between Forerunner 210 and 220, there was a 35-month gap. Between Forerunner 910XT and 920XT, there was a 32-month gap. It’s been 19 months since the release of FR620, so it would not be surprising if Garmin announced the successor of FR620 this year. Also, Garmin tends to offer a rebate before a new model is released. Below is a table of past rebates. For example, Garmin was giving a $50 rebate on FR610 in Sept and Oct of 2013 when FR620 came out in Sept of the same year. The same goes for FR210 rebate. For FR 910XT, there was a slight delay, but FR 920XT came out only 2.5 months after the rebate. The fact that Garmin is running a $50 rebate on FR620 now could mean the next model might be released very soon.

FR Model

610

620

210

220

910XT

920XT

Released

Apr 12, 2011

Sept 16 2013

Oct 4, 2010

Sept 16, 2013

Feb 10,  2012

Oct 1, 2014

Rebate period

Sept 1 – Oct 31, 2013

Mar 1 – May 31, 2015

Sept 1 – Oct 31, 2013

Mar 1 – May 31, 2015

May 16 – July 13, 2014

N/A

Again, I am just looking at the past patterns, and this could be totally wishful thinking on my part.

Secondly, I am rather excited about Garmin Connect IQ and hoping the next model would have capability to take advantage of the platform, especially Apps. Now that Apple Watch is announced, I think Garmin would want to offer attractive Apps to runners who might not be happy with the first iteration of Apple Watch. For serious runners, I think Apple Watch is already behind Garmin and other established sports watch manufacturers, and it seems to operate in a different market, perhaps targeting people with more general fitness interests. I hope the successor of FR620 would be integrated with Garmin Connect IQ and get the development community produce great apps for the Garmin community. In addition, I would welcome a better display (I suppose it would be too much to ask for a Retina display…) and a lighter body.

Finally, FR620 does have issues that made me think more than twice. Both Garmin forum and Amazon are buzzing with troubles about unit dying, battery not charging, GPS tracking not being accurate, heart rate monitor strap not working, WiFi not working, etc., all of which made me shy away from spending over $400. I know there are plenty of satisfied users, and these troubles may be a small percentage. In addition, there is no guarantee of the next model being free of these troubles, especially in today’s release-and-fix-as-you-learn product development method. Nonetheless, I am reluctant to buy a GPS watch that is still having issues after 19 months since its debut.

In the mean time, I continue to train with my FR610, hoping the next model will be here sooner rather than later.

[schema type=”product” url=”https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/into-sports/running/forerunner-620/prod122785.html” name=”Advanced Running Watch with Recovery Advisor” brand=”Garmin” model=”Forerunner® 620″ prod_id=”010-01128-00″ price=”$349.99″ ]
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