Garmin’s watch number 15 integrates GPS and high-level functions – cardio HRM, primarily – all in one simple smartwatch at a reasonable price.
The smartwatch, or rather the SportWatch Garmin Forerunner 15, is now the subject of our review.
This clock cannot obviously miss the GPS, but with the satellite positioning system, it has have found features that could make many runners happy, such as the heart rate monitor, considering the very affordable price.
The Garmin Forerunner 15 is part of a series for all race fans, but not only, as the manufacturer’s devices are well suited for many types of sports and activities and also to everyday life, such as Garmin Vivosmart HR or the “handyman” Garmin multisport VivoActive.
When we talk about reasonable price, we are really talking about a clock that shows the official price of $119.00 ($149.99 with external heart-rate monitor), one of the cheapest of Garmin’s models.
At the time of writing, you can get the Forerunner 15 for $ 84.99, the best price online, with external heart-rate monitor.
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Garmin Forerunner 15: Design and Construction
The FR15 is available in various colors, including blue and black, purple, red, blue, and black and green, and it is also available in two sizes: large and small.
Essentially, however, the smartwatch differs with the presence or absence of an external heart-rate monitor. If you are already in possession of an ANT + band, you will not have to buy the model with heart-rate monitor included.
Unofficially, the choice of the size of the SportWatch, large or small, depends on the wearer. If the watch is going to be worn by a woman it would be better to choose the small model, while for a man, the large model is recommended.
The sizes of the FR15 are identical to those of the Garmin Forerunner 10, which is essentially the same pattern, but without the tracker for heart rate. In general, the watch is comfortable for wearing thanks to the materials of construction: the strap is made of hard plastic and has an ergonomic design, and the hard plastic case assumes a rectangular shape. The display is not touch; it’s covered completely by the four physical buttons at the top of each corner of the clock.
Garmin FR15 Features and Capabilities
As mentioned at the beginning of the review, the Garmin Forerunner 15 has simple features but it’s complete, and usability is within the reach of most beginner runners.
The main features can be summarized by the following key points.
Tracker heartbeat: The smartwatch incorporates a heart-rate monitor that calculates our heartbeat while moving through a heart-rate monitor external ANT +.
GPS tracking: Obviously we could not miss the positioning system satellite that also helps in monitoring cadence or speed, besides being able to create a map of our routes running on the platform Garmin Connect.
Personal Record: With the FR15, we have the ability to set personal goals and the watch will warn us every time that we are going to achieve these.
Activity Tracking: Even if you don’t go for a run, the Garmin smartwatch will be able to track steps, distance, and calories, and is also available to activate alerts of inactivity when a long time has passed without movement.
Water Resistance: It’s raining? Then no race. But this is not the case of the Garmin Forerunner 15, as being water-resistant (not totally waterproof) allows it to resist the downpours encountered during training.
Foot Pod: We can synchronize the clock with a Garmin foot pod stride sensor, or to have more accurate statistics on distance and cadenceThe foot pod is especially useful for indoor training in the gym or on tapisroulant in general.
Garmin 15 Specific Features for Running
Before you start running, you will need to turn and look for the GPS. To do this, just press the blue button on the upper right of the clock. The signal will be found after about five seconds, although much depends on the external conditions. Once the GPS is found, we can start the session.
After attaching to the GPS, the smartwatch will start searching for the heart-rate belt and foot pod previously associated if it is available. At this point you can just press the blue button to start recording activities. From here, stop by any of your two pages of the display screen, which is simply a screen that shows some metrics of performance, such as rhythm, speed, distance, time, calories, etc.
You will see only two metrics during the race; these are a pair that can be displayed on the screen: Cadence / Distance Cadence / Distance Calories / Calories Time / Distance Time / Cadence Time / Calories
As with most of watches, you can create interval training. These ranges are often used to mark parts of training, such as heating, exhaust or cool-down, or you can set them according to the distance in meters or kilometers.
The Forerunner 15 also has a few options to help us keep the pace during a race or a simple workout through the selection of alerts or automatic alerts that will trigger after a specified period of time or distance. This feature is very useful when your training is divided into parts of running, walking, sprinting, shooting, and so on. These warnings from FR15 are only based on time and allow you to specify the seconds for the warning.
As for indoor training, obviously we will have the GPS system, but you can still record the calories you burn with great accuracy if you connect the external heart-rate monitor.
The Forerunner 15 HRM monitors heartbeats.
The Garmin Forerunner 15 is compatible with the heart-rate monitor HRM for detection of heartbeats, but only models with ANT +. The clock can be purchased including the heart-rate monitor or not; it’s the buyer’s choice.
With the chest-strap system HRM, the readings are very accurate, and Garmin has put some forethought into improving our training experience. For example, you can set directly on the watch the maximal heart rate before starting the race, something we do not see every day.
You can also set the heart rate zones where you want to train, and you’ll receive an alarm or a warning if you exceed the heart rate zone previously selected. The monitoring system is less intuitive than the Polar V800, but this does not bother us that much. The monitoring system is still easier to use with the platform Garmin Connect, where it is easier to set the desired cardio.
Garmin Forerunner 15 and Synchronization Connect
To fully exploit the SportWatch Forerunner 15, you need two softwares for visualization and data processing you’re your training. The first is the system Garmin Express, which is used to check for firmware updates and synchronize data on Garmin website and application for smartphones. Garmin Express software is available for all Windows and Mac users alike.
The second application needed is the classic platform Garmin Connect, which is a cloud service for viewing, analysis and data sharing of personal training. The Garmin Connect system can be accessed either via iOS or Android, or alternatively, through the company’s website via computer. From here you can view detailed information on the activities just ended, create training plans and training courses, change the device settings, view results and personal bests, connect with other users of Garmin, and access many other features.
Oddly enough, there is also an option in Garmin Connect to manually enter the time when you go to sleep and wake up in the morning. It will then be displayed in a rather confusing chart with the nocturnal movements during the time previously set. Under this point of view, the Forerunner 15 seems to support some form of tracking of sleep, but it is still rather rudimentary.
Garmin 15 Battery and Longevity
A direct consequence of the low screen resolution of the Garmin 15 is that the battery life is very long, providing up to five weeks of use as an activity tracker, and up to eight hours of use with the GPS always up and running.
The small battery indicator, visible to the left of the screen, makes it very convenient to know exactly the time remaining term on the watch. Recharging the battery is done via USB cable and, compared to other models, Garmin is perhaps the simplest, with very elementary charging technology.