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Garmin Forerunner 630 Review

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The Garmin Forerunner 630 has advanced running analytics, access to Garmin Connect IQ and smart watch inspired features all for the price tag of $399.99 at the time of writing. It’s a high price for to pay but is Garmin’s most advanced specific running watch any good? Read on for our review of the Garmin Forerunner 630.

Garmin Forerunner 630 Review

Overview
The Garmin Forerunner 630 is the successor to the FR620 model and is designed specifically for runners. The design has a similar feel to other Forerunner models. The FR630 comes designed with a 1.23-inch high-resolution color touchscreen display. The colors are a little dim, but it works well if all you are doing is glancing down during your runs. It also has a backlight for evening runs.

garmin forerunner 630 review

Garmin Forerunner 630

The FR630 has a sporty look and feel and the strap is also comfortable to wear for long periods. The watch comes also has a 5 ATM water rating, meaning you can wear the watch while swimming to depths of up to 50 meters.

The Garmin FR630 features four buttons, two on each side of the screen. They are displayed clearly, and there is an extra button near the bottom to allow you to scroll through notifications and menus.

The touchscreen is pretty intuitive to use, where you can easily swipe through notifications or data screens. There is no built-in heart rate monitor but is available with an optional heart rate chest strap in the bundle version.

Running Features
The Garmin Forerunner 630 is designed specifically for runners, though it can support cycling features with a bike/cadence sensor. As a running watch, the FR630 is one of the easiest running watches to use, and there are no delays when setting up. All that’s needed is to select your running mode, and you’re ready to go. The GPS is also pretty accurate and usually takes less than 30 seconds to calibrate.

garmin-forerunner-630-stats

Garmin Forerunner 630 Stats

There are three data fields that split on the screen. The watch will vibrate while on your run to let you know when you have completed a mile or to let you know other running metrics. It will give you many other insights, which is great for running enthusiasts.

It has all the basics such as elevation, heart rate readings, standard pace, timing, speed as well as a training effect number.

It has a built-in Wi-Fi so that your data can quickly upload to Garmin Connect. Once there you will get lots of data on stride length, cadence, vertical oscillation, vertical ratio, average ground contact time and average GC time balance. There are so many features to this watch that it puts many other running devices to shame.

The GPS accuracy is hands down one of the best out there. The pickup is immediate, and there are rarely any dropouts.

Activity Tracking
The Garmin Forerunner 630 also has sleep tracking as well as activity tracking. When it comes to step tracking it will constantly adjust your step count based off of how well you are meeting your goals. If you remain inactive for too long, the watch will vibrate to remind you to get off your butt. It’s a great motivator to keep you focused on your goals.

garmin-forerunner-630-stress-score

Garmin Forerunner 630 Stress Score

Other Features
Some features of the FR630 include Smart Notifications so you can receive texts, updates, emails and other app alerts. When in watch mode, notifications appear on full screen. If you happen to be going for a run, they will display on the top of the first data field. You can then decide if you want to look at them right away or deal with them at a later time. The delivery of the messages is pretty quick as well.

You can also use widgets that will let you view the calendar or the weather. You can even control music with them. While using the FR630 you can upload music to use on your run and there will still be up to 200 hours of storage to log all your activity data.

Garmin Connect and IQ Apps
Garmin Connect has certainly had some bad reviews of late, but they have done a lot of work on it. It can take some time adjusting to everything inside but once you do it’s a good app place. There is the Connect IQ; it’s like most app stores, but it’s also a work in progress. It’s not an elegant storefront; you will find a modest selection of apps once you log in. They also have watch faces, additional data fields, and widgets to customize your 630.

If you choose a different watch face, it will only take a minute for it to pop up on your watch. They have apps that allow you to view maps, view hiking data or add resting heart rate data fields.

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Battery Life
If you are using the sensors, the watch can last up to 16 hours. If you are just using it as a watch or using it to track activity, it can last up to a month before charging is needed. If you are using everything at all times including the GPS, then it will still run for a week and a half with five-hour long runs. It has a lot better battery life than most running watches out there.

Garmin Forerunner 630 Positives

  • High resolution touchscreen display makes seeing your stats at a glance easy and clear
  • Specifically designed for runners with advanced running dynamics providing all the extensive data you need for your training such as stride length, ground contact time balance, vertical ratios, cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.
  • Long lasting battery life provides up to 16 hours (training mode) and up to 4 weeks (watch mode)
  • Water rating of 5 ATM meaning you can swim to depths of up to 50 meters
  • Supports automatic uploads to Garmin connect
  • Smart notifications displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your smart phone
  • Compatible with heart rate chest strap, which is available in the bundle version

Garmin Forerunner 630 Negatives

  • Color of screen can be quite dim and backlight can sometimes be not adequate depending on the environment
  • Lack of a built-in heart rate monitor considering the high price

Specifications

Physical dimensions 1.77″ x 1.77″ x 0.46″ (45.0 x 45.0 x 11.7 mm)
Display size, WxH 1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter
Display resolution, WxH 215 x 180 pixels
Color Display and touchscreen Yes
Weight 1.6 oz (44 g)
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life 16 Hours training, 4 weeks watch + AT + Notifications
Water rating 5 ATM
GPS-enabled Yes
GLONASS Yes
High-sensitivity receiver Yes
Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone) Yes
Vibration alert Yes
Music control Yes
Watch functions Includes date and alarm
Running Features V02 max estimate, Recovery advisor, Race predictor, Running dynamics, Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod), Personal records
Cycling Features Bike speed/cadence sensor (optional)
Activity Tracking Features Step counter, Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal), Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it), Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)

What’s in the Box
Watch only

  • Garmin Forerunner 630 watch
  • Charging/data clip
  • User manual

Bundle

  • Garmin Forerunner 630 watch
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Charging/data clip
  • User manual

What Other People Say About the Garmin FR630
I love this watch – “I love this watch. I have been using it for months to train for marathons and it has become and invaluable running gadget! Accurate GPS (better than mapmyrun), app allows you to sync to phone and best part, you don’t have to worry about getting it wet like some watches. awesome watch” By Joann

Best running tool I own – “Been a long time garmin believer and they nailed it with this watch. All the data you need with plenty of customization.” By Chris

Best watch for runners – “It has been an amazing watch. The running metrics are awesome.” By Alfred

Garmin FR630 Video

Conclusion
The Garmin FR60 is arguably one of the most advanced specific running watch that Garmin has produced and it’s clear the features of the watch supports that. However, some of the features are already available on the cheaper FR235 model, which makes the reason to purchase the FR60 harder to justify.

What sets the FR60 model apart from Garmin’s lower models are the unique features such as touch screen capabilities, Running Dynamics, Stress Score and Lactate Threshold. Whether you will find this useful for your training is debatable.

That being said, the Garmin Forerunner 630 does provide the core features that most runners would expect with advanced running dynamics, long battery life and convenient smart notifications. If you are looking for a dedicated running GPS watch that provides advanced running data stats and more, the Garmin FR630 is the one to go for.

Where to Buy the Garmin FR630
At the time of writing, the Garmin FR630 is available directly from Amazon for $296.51, which includes free shipping. The bundle version, which includes the heart rate monitor chest rate is priced at $389.99 + free shipping.

Do you run with a Garmin Forerunner 630? Share your comments or questions with us below.