Garmin Forerunner 630 Review Sundried

The Garmin Forerunner 630 is a fantastic running watch with smart functionality and without the distraction of other sports.

Enhanced Running Metrics

The Garmin 630 is aimed primarily at runners and that’s fine with me; it’s my activity of choice and I’m more than happy with a product dedicated solely to running. 

The watch captures performance data exceptionally well when synced with the external heart rate monitor (HRM). Personally, I wouldn’t want to use the watch for running without it. The watch is too good not to make the most of its features and data like vertical oscillation, balance, and ground contact time only come to life when the HRM is used.

Activity and Lifestyle Tracking

The activity tracking feature is an additional bonus. I’ve also added lifestyle to incorporate sleep and inactivity too. When one works in an office and sits at a desk all day it can be far too easy to remain seated and still for hours sometimes. An hourly reminder to move from your watch can have a really positive effect.

The sleep tracking is also a nice touch, especially if you aren’t getting much sleep and want to know just how little you’ve had!

Why Choose Garmin Forerunner 630?

The watch is easy-to-use and can be used straight out of the box without needing instructions. It comes well presented and feels sturdy but pretty light.

Garmin GPS watches seem to be getting faster and faster at locking in on satellites. The 630 tended to take under 20 seconds regardless of location or weather, which is handy as it’s been pretty cold recently! So no waiting around trying to get a satellite lock is a big tick in my book.

I’ve always been happy with GPS mapping with Garmin products and this watch was no different. But where it was different was the additional data the watch recorded and the feedback that it provided. I’ve only recently started getting back into running after a good few months of taking it easy. The feedback the watch gave seemed highly effective and motivational. Notifications such as how long to rest until running again, how much I was improving, as well as providing additional data on oscillation and balance all made my runs that bit more rewarding. I could tell, for instance, that a slight hip discomfort was affecting my running when I reviewed a particular run’s data:

48.5% on the left, and 51.5% on the right.

Ground Contact Balance Left Right

I suspected that I may have been running slightly unevenly and this was the information I needed to give myself a few additional days off.

Additionally, the battery life is phenomenal when compared to a smartwatch such as an Apple Watch. I got well over a week from a single charge wearing the watch the whole time and using the smart functionality too.

To pair the watch with a smartphone (iPhone in my case) was nice and easy. Again, no need to look up how to do it. Get to the Bluetooth setting on the watch and use the app. Setting up notifications was also nice and easy. The notifications are basic and I would consider them as merely a nice-to-have. It would be unfair to pitch the watch as a smartwatch, it’s an impressive running watch with smart functionality as a bonus.

I really enjoyed my runs being automatically uploaded when I got home without even having to remember. My first reminder that I hadn’t uploaded my run was when I received my first Kudos on Strava! The seamless connection with the watch and smartphone (or Wi-Fi) meant no more having to sync up with a computer.

Once you’ve used the watch for a couple of weeks the features really start to stand out and performance improvement becomes easy to track. I liked being notified during runs that things were looking better from a stats perspective. I found them highly motivating and definitely encouraged me to run that little bit further, faster or both!

Verdict

I really liked the Garmin 630.  It’s a great motivational tool that is comfortable and easy-to-use. The data that you can get from the watch is ideal whether you just like stats or whether you are using data to manage your training and goal tracking. 

The touchscreen takes some getting used to but quickly becomes clear why it needs some force when running. It’s great that the watch is waterproof although if worn in the shower it keeps thinking the screen is being touched if the watch is locked.

If you are a keen runner and want a watch that will help you improve or keep you updated on performance with some great data, the Garmin 630 is a perfect choice. It’s clearly aimed at all types of runners and can handle training programmes and various types of runs (e.g. long runs, intervals, etc.). The basic smart functionality is a nice-to-have, but for me would not be the feature that sells the watch. The battery life for a product like this is also amazing.

So if you are serious about running this watch is ideal. I would not recommend it to someone that only goes on the occasional run, but if you are running 3x or more per week and love data, this watch is a real winner.

Review by Andy Puddick

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