September 15, 2014

Garmin Forerunner 15 Review

Earlier this summer, I was contacted by Garmin to see if I would be interested in testing out their latest watch, the Forerunner 15.  I've always been intrigued by the 10 and with the 15 being the latest in this style watch, I happily agreed to give it a go!

My watch arrived in early July so I've had a bit of time to really test it.  The watch also includes a heart rate monitor which I was eager to try.  I'm a heart rate monitor newbie!

Overview: The Forerunner 15 is billed as more of an everyday watch that includes an activity tracker.  As a GPS running watch, it tracks the usual stats like time, distance, pace, calories, and when using the monitor, heart rate.  You can purchase with or without a heart rate monitor and it is also compatible with the food pod if you would like to use it indoors.
My thoughts: Definitely a very easy to use watch and I liked that it also tracks your steps.  If you prefer a sportier watch, this would be perfect to have everything in one device!  My one complaint was that even though it doesn't have as many features as other GPS watches, it's a pretty large device.  It's a higher profile than the Garmin 220 which I also own and isn't much smaller in face-size.  

Battery Life: Billed as having a battery life of 5 weeks for use as a watch and 8 hours when used with running GPS features activated.
My thoughts: I used the watch in GPS mode for about 7 hours before it needed to be charged, so the time estimates are pretty accurate!  I didn't notice any substantial difference in battery life and was pleased that I didn't need to charge it after each GPS use.

Data: The Forerunner 15 tracks pace, distance, time, calories, and heart rate.  It displays two data points while in GPS mode and you can select the two you prefer from a menu of options.  When you have completed each mile, the watch beeps and lights up with the mile data.  Like all Garmin watches, you can save data in Garmin Connect.  When you complete a run (or walk), it provides a summary screen with time, distance, pace, and calories burned.
My thoughts: Having used a watch that displays three data points for a long time, it was a big adjustment to two data points.  I'm definitely accustomed to seeing time, distance, and pace together.  As someone who is in a pace-based training cycle now, I didn't love being limited to two data points.  However, if you're not concerned with this, I think the 15 would be a fabulous (and highly affordable) GPS watch!
Post-run summary display
Heart Rate Monitor: The heart rate monitor has an elastic strap that connects to the watch when GPS is enabled.
My thoughts: As a heart rate monitor newbie, it was incredibly easy to use!  It connected to the watch easily and once I was wearing it for a few minutes, I stopped noticing it.  Without having done a lot of heart rate training, I wasn't able to make a lot from the data, but if this is your preferred training mode, it would be a great tool.

Comparing it to other Garmin models - Garmin Forerunner 210, Garmin Forerunner 220
Size: Similar profile to Forerunner 210; higher profile than Forerunner 220; Slightly smaller face size than both Forerunner 210 and Forerunner 220
Stats: Forerunner 210 and 220 track 3 data points while the Forerunner 15 tracks 2; No other Garmin watch also tracks your daily steps
Battery life: Comparable in GPS mode to the Forerunner 220; Substantially better than my tired Forerunner 205 when in GPS mode!
Band: Smaller in width and length than Forerunner 220 band; More comfortable than both Forerunner 210 and 220 bands since it's similar to a traditional watch band
Side-by-side comparison of Forerunner 15 and Forerunner 220
The Bottom Line: If you're interested in an "all in one" device that's a reasonable price point, the Forerunner 15 would be a fantastic option!  If you are a data geek like me or if you're accustomed to having more data shown on a watch, you might be challenged with the GPS display or frustrated by switching screens during a run.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Garmin Forerunner 15 to test and provide a review.  All opinions are my own.

If you have the Garmin Forerunner 15, I would love to hear your thoughts!
{Christine}

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for all of the comparisons! We're contemplating upgrading from our Timex Ironman watches to Garmin watches and the comparisons between the models is definitely helpful.

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    1. I have been really pleased with the Garmin watches and the 15 is a really good price point!

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  2. I bought the 10 after using the 405 (which I LOVED but the battery was getting tired) and I had a hard time adjusting to the 2 data fields. I recently went back to my 405 because one of my kitties chewed through the charger cord of my 10, but as my distances get longer, I know the battery won't hold up.

    I wonder how much of a difference in battery life there is between the 10 and 15. My 405 died at mile 18 of the WDW marathon in 2013 and I'm hoping that doesn't happen to me during NYCM this year! I've been trying to decide if I should just buy a replacement cord for the 10 or try the 15...

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    1. I honestly don't think I could make the switch permanently with the data fields. I don't know about battery life between the 10 and 15...might be worth googling because I'm sure someone out there has written about it! :)

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  3. I also have the forerunner 10 and so far it has been good to me ( except it sometimes freezes up). I'm not sure what other options I would need on a watch. Scott has the Garmin Fenix which pretty much has more options than he will ever need...lol.

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    1. These watches are definitely great bang for your buck! I'm used to a little different data setup so this was a big adjustment for me.

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  4. I love the color of it! But I love having my time, pace, and distance all on one screen.

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    1. Yea, only showing 2 data fields is a deal breaker for me for long term, consistent use. But I LOVE the colors!

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  5. I have the Forerunner 15 and I love it! I just wish it would list "tennis" in the activities that you log under the Garmin Connect. I always have to list it as "other". That's really my only annoyance though!

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    1. Haha you should send Garmin a request to add tennis. It's not like it's an obscure sport! :)

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  6. I want one. I am still using the Garmin 205!

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    1. I bet you would see a big change in battery life, Darlene! :)

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  7. I'm not sure I could get used to the two data fields. I guess I've been spoiled. Thanks for the review!

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    1. The two data fields was SUCH a major change for me. I'm definitely not trading in my 220 anytime soon.

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  8. I have the 10 right now and it is great, but whenever I need to get a new watch in the future, I am torn between the 15 and the 210/220!

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    1. The 220 is awesome, but it's been a little glitchy lately. The battery life is much improved over the 210.

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  9. I have the FR15 as well! Did you have any trouble recovering your data on Garmin Connect?

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    1. No issues with data in Garmin Connect. But I did have some issues with my 220 recently....once I reset the watch it seemed to be ok again.

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  11. I have the 10 which has the exact same look, but no heart rate feature.
    The problem is my 10 only has battery life for 5 hours so it dies before I finish marathons.
    Great review.

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    1. Oh that battery life would be a real drag, especially for the marathon. You definitely need an upgrade! :)

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