Garmin Forerunner 920XT Review

The 920XT is the latest addition to Garmin`s Forerunner watch series. Purposely built for triathletes, the 920XT updates and expands the capabilities of its predecessors. Additionally, it`s packed to capacity with a slew of new and exciting features that will satiate the demands of even the most discerning fitness and activity enthusiasts.

For example, this smartwatch has included Live Tracking, swim functionality, HRM-run, running dynamics, sleep tracking and many more, all under a single unit.

But those are just small tidbits of what is without question the most full-featured and advanced multi-sport in the market. Read on as we explore what this awesome smartwatch has on offer.

What Makes Garmin Forerunner 920XT So Awesome?

  • Multisport. The core of the 920XT is perhaps the fact that it`s a multisport watch. Specifically, this is to mean that you can easily switch your sports type and sports tracking as part of a single cohesive activity. For instance, if you are doing a triathlon, you can go from one activity to the other; cycling to swimming, without needing to end activity and start a new one. Additionally, this smartwatch allows you to create your multisport mode with set profiles. This flexibility allows you to choose any other individual sports profile on the watch and string them with a multisport profile. For instance, you can string your favorite sport such as windsurfing, snorkeling or Wallyball into a multisport profile of your own.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring. The HR is yet another awesome feature that 920XT brings on the table. Most of the smartwatches come with a stand-alone HRM that use wireless technology to connect to your phone. The Garmin Forerunner, however, comes bundled with an HRM-Run heart rate monitor. However, the HRM is only ideal for running and does not support water heart rate monitoring such as the Garmin HRM-Swim.
  • Live to track. There`s nothing novel about live tracking in Garmin as it also part of Garmin`s Edge 510 and Edge 810 units. The live tracking feature allows you to connect with your phone and transmit your location to your friend and family, or social media platforms. The core reason of the Live Tracking function over a generic phone is that the GPS s offloaded, therefore saving significant battery life. Another reason is that many of the phones apps cannot transit sensor data such as your rate, power or cadence, whereas the Live Tracking feature can. To use this feature for open water swimming, you will need to stick your phone in a swim buoy since not all phones are waterproof. Next, you will need to keep your Garmin above the water as much as possible since Bluetooth signals do not go through water. And as long as you swim normally and continually, the smartwatch does an excellent job of broadcasting your progress. You will, however, discover that when you submerge your Garmin for 3 seconds, the smartwatch sends a “Phone disconnected” vibration. To remedy that, you will need to hold it back in the air for at least two seconds. While the Live Tracking feature for swim purpose is not the most refined feature you can expect, it at least sets the basics right and offers rather accurate readings. Moreover, few gadgets offer this remarkable aspect among the waterproof watches for swimming we have reviewed in the past.


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Garmin Forerunner 920XT Black/Blue Watch with HRM-Run
  • Note: This product comes bundled with an HRM-Run heart rate monitor with either a black front or a black front with a red border around it. The border color will not affect the functionality of the unit.
  • RUNNING DYNAMICS When paired with the HRM-RunTM monitor, the Forerunner 920XT provides feedback on running form by measuring cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.
  • METRICS THAT MATTER Record speed, distance, ascent/descent, grade and more. Pair with ANT+ compatible sensors to measure heart rate4, speed, cadence and power. Control VIRB Elite action camera4 to record and relive your accomplishments
  • SMART NOTIFICATIONS See incoming email, text messages, call alerts, calendar reminders and more from your compatible smartphone.
  • VO2 MAX, RECOVERY TIME & RACE PREDICTOR Forerunner 920XT estimates VO2 max, recovery time and predicts your race times for several distances when used with heart rate. When used with a power meter, it estimates VO2 max for cycling as well.

There are more unique features that make Garmin Forerunner 920XT Interesting

Design

The first impression on this smartwatch is its rather a chunky size. With a face that is about half the size of a standard business card and 13mm thick, the 920XT is at the larger end of the scale among its rivals.

Surprisingly, the watch is more compact and weighing at 61g; it`s lighter than its predecessor and direct rivals such as the Tom Tom Multi-Sport Cardio (63.5g) and Suunto Ambit3 Sport. Nevertheless, despite its bulk, it`s comfortable to wear. While you might at first get concerned about the size getting burdensome when swimming, you will be surprised at how comfy it feels, and you`ll barely notice you`re wearing it.

The Forerunner 920XT comes with a durable and flexible band, which means that you should not have any problems with regards to malfunctions when performing. Utilizing hinged joints, it performs exceptionally well even outside the athletic landscape, meaning you do not have to purchase an extras watch.

If you`re used to metallic, weighty timepieces, you might find the plastic finish rather odd, and lacking the sophistication you expect. Additionally, part of the reason which makes the 920XT rather impractical is its largeness, which might make it difficult for you to wear it as a regular accessory.

The above “drawbacks” would hold water if we were in a beauty contest, but, no, we into tracking, performance and managing our fitness goals.

Display

The looks aside, the Forerunner 920XT features a large 1.1” by 0.8" screen that shows all the data you need to see. It`s crucial that you note that the screen is large enough to allow you to see all the necessary information with being unnecessarily big to the point of where you might run the risk of destroying its face.

Though it`s a color screen, the majority of data is displayed in black and white, therefore, making it visible even in direct sunlight.

Looks aside, the 920XT comes with a practical design, and sports four easy-to-press buttons available in tiny notches.

Connectivity

The Forerunner 920XT has taken connectivity to a whole new level. Rather than just using Bluetooth to sync wirelessly, the 920XT has built-in Wi-Fi, which is programmable up to seven networks into the smartwatch. This feature provides you with the convenience of using any compatible gadget and automatically transferring your stats to the cloud.

Additionally, the watch can pair with the Garmin Connect app for easy monitoring. The app, which acts as a command center for the watch allows you to monitor a myriad of activities including viewing your progress, monitoring your step, sleep exercise and work out details on a single platform.

Aside from data transfer, the 920XT supports Garmin Connect IQ. The Connect IQ is a platform that allows you to sync your device with third-party apps automatically. The platforms provide your device with the ability to support apps that are not traditionally supported by Garmin.

Activity Tracked

Being a multisport device, the Garmin 920XT is an all-inclusive dice that tracks and monitors an array of activities.

Let us look at some of the basic functions that the device can track.

Running. In addition to tracking your running pace, time, distance and heart rate, the 920XT allows you to easily switch to another screen that allows you to see your lap averages. What many users love above this device is that the 920XT`s screen is customizable for several data fields and metrics, making it perfect for use for individuals with different training needs.

Cycling. Tailored for the cyclers, the 920XT is among few Garmin`s GPS-enabled watches compatible with an ANT+ power meter. This is to mean that you can use the watch as your bike`s computer, therefore, eliminating the need for extra pieces of equipment.

The cycling feature allows you to track bike-specific metric including your speed, cadence, recovery time; distance traveled when used in combo with heart rate and combo sensors.

Moreover, in cycling mode, the watch can compute your Cycling VO2Max.

Swimming. While the Garmin is not picture-perfect at calculating distances in the pool, it`s handier in the open water swimming. Again, though speed is not perfectly accurate, it displays places where you went fast or slow, which is rather helpful.

Speed aside, the watch can record a plethora of detailed swimming metrics such as the average stroke rate, number of laps, your speed, length of the pool, and rest time intervals.

Activity & Sleep Tracking. In line with virtually all the smartwatches released in the modern era, the 920XT will track all your activities, including steps taken, and sleep, before synchronizing your stats with on your app.

While it will not measure the quality of your sleep, it will measure the number of hours slept, number of restless hours and suggest how to improve your sleep.

The core function of this feature is to motivate and allow you to achieve your fitness goals just like other fitness trackers reviewed on our blog. For instance, the "Move" function will beep after hours of inactivity, prompting you to take a walk.

Additional Features

Aside from the Garmin Connect IQ, the 920XT comes with a barometric altimeter, meaning that the device can accurately track your elevation gains and losses more accurately.

Battery Life

The 920XT relies on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power. The battery provides at least four months for the watch only, 24 hours in training mode, 40 hours in UltraTrac mode.

Box Content

Out of the box, the Garmin Forerunner comes with;

  • Cables and adapters
  • Cases and covers
  • Bands and straps

Warranty

The device comes with a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • Water resistant: The Garmin comes with a water resistance of 5 ATM, meaning you can comfortably use the smartwatch for all your swimming activities.
  • Smart device. As its name suggests, the Garmin can double up as your phone allowing you to receive calls, send emails, read text messages and group chats.
  • Versatility.  The Garmin is flexible at the very least as it allows you to track a variety of activities on a single platform. From cycling, running to swimming, you can string all your favorite sports into a single activity.

Cons

  • Chunky. Though the largeness of the Garmin does not affect its performance, it`s not appealing, still.
  • Tad expensive

Bottom Line on Garmin Forerunner 920XT

The Garmin Forerunner is among the highly-rated smartwatches we have reviewed so far. The watch offers serious functionally and performance while still managing to stay super-simple. The Garmin 920XT has cherry-picked the best features from the Garmin family and combined them into a one-mighty rounder.


Though the price might be a tad high, the inclusion of true innovation, superior performance, and superb functionality compared to its rivals makes the price easy to swallow at the very least. Even so, we believe that you get for what you pay, and you should go for the Garmin Forerunner 920XT if you`re looking for a solid product that is going to serves you years to come.


However, if you budget-strained, you can go for a less costly alternative such as the  Polar V800 GPS though you will have to forego exciting features on the Garmin such as live tracking and multisport tracking.

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