Gear Review: Garmin Forerunner 220


Apps like Nike Running and RunKeeper make it easy to track your runs – time, distance, pace, and more but trying to look at the phone strapped on your arm and fumble to unlock it during a run is frustrating and not particularly safe. If you want to check in on your pace during the run, a quick glance to your wrist is much easier. Enter the GPS running watch.

Finding just the right watch was tough but after much research, I narrowed it down to the Garmin Forerunner line and the Nike TomTom. I needed the watch to display pace during a run without having to press a single button or navigate any menus. The Garmin Forerunner 220 fit the bill and that’s the one I decided on – so I asked Santa to give me that for Christmas and he did!


Having used the Garmin on several runs, I can say that it works perfectly. Since the weather has been super cold and snowy here in Chicago, I have had to do most of my runs this year on the treadmill. If you turn off the GPS the watch will use the integrated accelerometer to calculate your distance. I did purchase an additional foot pod to make things a little easier for me. With the foot pod, I do not need to turn off the GPS.  The Garmin automatically detects the foot pod with the Bluetooth and now my indoor runs on the treadmill are even more accurate.

20140211_160400000_iOSThe watch is well-built, easy to charge, and comes with a decent companion app. I have an iPhone and have not had any problems with syncing the Garmin with the phone app. The color screen is really nice and even though you can only pick one theme color at a time it still looks good and it’s pretty easy to use. The Garmin 220 has a 6-week battery life when used without GPS or 10 hours of GPS use. It has a bright backlight, which is great for when the light is low or running at night. This feature can be customized to determine how long the backlight stays on. Another cool feature I really like is it has the ability to know when you stop moving. The watch will automatically pause the run when it detects you have stopped moving. I run on the side streets by my house a lot and usually need to cross a few busy streets. It will be nice not to have to pause the watch myself when I need to stop and look both ways before crossing the street. Then, when I start running again the watch will automatically start again.20140211_160353000_iOS

At about $250, it’s not cheap but Garmin is a leader in GPS watches and the quality is there to back it up.

If you consider yourself a runner then the Garmin is a good investment. If you are looking to improve as a runner, you need to track your runs and this will give you easy access to real-time status during your run to keep you pushing for better.

If you are in the market for a GPS watch, seriously consider the Garmin Forerunner 220. Or ask Santa, or the Easter Bunny, or the Watch Fairy. You’ll be glad you did.




  1.'Anna W.

    I have really small wrists. About 5 1/2 inches around and slightly less than 2 inches across. I’m not as worried about the band size as I am the watch face (which will affect how the band lays). Do you think this watch will work?

    1. Dan Cerceo

      The watch is just under 2 inches across, 1.8″ to be precise which is a bit larger than a silver dollar. If you have a running store in the area, they probably carry this model and perhaps you can try it on for size. It’s tough to go by the pictures alone.


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