It’s easy to find the specs and to get an idea of what this watch can do. But what is it like to just take it out of the box and get going? It’s what I do with most new products; I seldom read the instructions and just like to work it out.
I am a keen runner but have been having a bit of a break after a heavy season so this was the perfect opportunity to get back out on some runs. It was easy enough to work out what each button does and get the watch set up with my personal details (height, age, weight). Once this was done I was ready to take it out for a spin. My first run was a local (rainy) run and it was more than easy to get going. Having the main function button coloured red made things very user-friendly. The watch, however, looks like it should be a touch screen and it’s easy to forget it’s not, well until you get no response that is!
I paired the watch with a Garmin foot pod with ease too. I always use one when I run and thought I may as well connect it up as a test.
Run number one felt good. The watch is far lighter than it looks and the heart rate monitoring was close enough to what I typically record from a chest strap. The watch functionality is easy: start and stop using the red button and saving is easy when you’re finished.
It was only until I tested the watch overseas I realised that I needed to use the instructions.
The watch was fine in the water and as an activity monitor; it’s much better in that respect than an Apple Watch. There was no concern about its robustness or a fear of wearing it in the water. It’s a shame that it wouldn’t record swimming though (even though it’s not pitched for that anyway).
It was when I went on my first run on holiday that I realised something may not be right and I decided to consult the instructions. Really simply the watch was taking longer to find the satellites but unlike the Garmin 910XT (which is my usual sports watch) I could not work out how to understand the satellite connectivity. It’s actually a really simple graphic that shows when you set the watch to run mode - I just had no idea!
And because I had the watch connected to my foot pod the distance was still recorded. The only downside was I missed out on setting a record on a decent Strava segment - but never mind!
As a running-only watch, it does a good job. I did eventually read the manual and get to grips with more of the functionality; my experience was pretty much as expected once I knew what I was doing. As an activity watch, the all-day tracking is a great feature. The watch is big but lightweight; it may not be for everyone but would suit a keen runner who also spends time being generally active. What the watch does not do is cater for multi-sports enthusiasts. So when committing to the Garmin 225 make sure you just want to record your runs!
I actually preferred the activity tracking and robustness to the Apple Watch. It’s comfortable and I was far more comfortable wearing it on the beach, swimming, and as general day-to-day wear. The heart rate tracking is on par with the Apple Watch and is close enough to wearing a heart-rate monitor. It’s not going to be as accurate I’m sure, but is more than helpful for painting a picture around performance. And for that I’m happy!
Review by: Andy Puddick