Garmin marked the beginning of October by launching the new Forerunner 920XT, a multi-sport GPS watch that can be used for cycling, running and swimming.
The Forerunner 920XT is more compact than its predecessor. Garmin claims it to be 18% thinner (48x55x12.7mm) and 15% lighter (61g), and it uses a flexible hinged band for a comfortable fit. A high-resolution colour display shows everything from a watch mode for daily activity tracking features such as steps walked, distance travelled, calories burned and a countdown to a daily goal. Those are the sort of features you’d expect in a fitness band, like you might find in the company's own Vivofit.
“As a pioneer and leader in GPS multisport watches, we’re excited to introduce our most advanced all-in-one solution for triathlon training – the Forerunner 920XT,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Recording in-depth metrics for swimming, cycling and running, tracking daily activity, while keeping users connected, the Forerunner 920XT is ideal for training, racing, and everything in between.”
Garmin boasts of “advanced cycling features” with the new Forerunner 920XT. The most interesting and appealing is that the watch can be paired with any ANT+ power meter such as Garmin’s own Vector system. It can also be used with compatible speed and cadence sensors and a heart rate monitor strap. There is also a built-in altimeter to record climbing and descending and gradient.
When using it with a power meter the screen will display useful data such as average watts, left/right balance (if using the original Vector), power zone and more. More? Use a heart rate monitor and the Forerunner can estimate your VO2 max to help you train even more effectively. It would be interesting to see how accurate the estimation is.
Of course you can use the Forerunner for running and swimming. In the water it’s good for a 50 metre depth. For mad ultra runners an UltraTrac mode extends the standard 24 hour battery life to a whopping 40 hours.
Using Bluetooth the Forerunner 920XT can be paired with a smartphone so you can be alerted of incoming phone calls, text messages, calendar reminders and emails. That’s the sort of functionality being offered by devices like the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear 2, so clearly Garmin are hoping to compete with those newcomers to the market.
Got a Garmin VIRB video camera? You can use the new Forerunner as a remote control so you can easily start and stop recording, even taking still shots from the Forerunner.
Once you’ve completed a ride, swim or run, or all three, an activity can automatically be uploaded to Garmin Connect using WiFi, or with Bluetooth using the Garmin Connect Mobile app on a compatible smartphone.
The battery lasts 24 hours in training mode, and up to 4 months in watch mode.
The Forerunner 920XT is available in black/blue or red/white and costs $389.99 and $419.99 for the premium heart rate monitor bundle. It is expected to be available later this year. More at www.garmin.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.