Garmin continuously challenges the limits of how much data is accessible to endurance athletes from their wrists, never content with sitting still and offering the same mix of features for long. Its latest virtual coach, the Forerunner 630, improves upon the impressive 600 series of watches Garmin has been making for the past few years, adding and enhancing features that make it nearly unrecognizable when compared to its older, simpler predecessors. The Forerunner 630 Bundle includes Garmin's compatible heart rate strap, so you'll get full access to many of the watch's features right out of the box.
As you'd expect, the Forerunner 630 calculates all of the basics: pace, distance, calories, and time. When you pair the watch with an ANT+ heart rate strap, you gain access to a significantly more detailed group of measurements, including ground contact time, stride length, performance condition, VO2 max estimate, and lactate threshold. Stride length and ground contact time both address form inefficiencies, while performance condition relies on heart rate data from training to estimate how you'll do in an actual race. So when you show up to a race and find the temperature is 20 degrees warmer than what you trained for, you'll be able to watch in real time how much harder your body has to work to maintain pace — no more writing mile splits on each palm then having to mentally recalculate when the race doesn't go to plan.
As you train, Garmin's stress score provides a way to measure workouts against one another and aims to address common overtraining tendencies. If you're going too hard, the watch's built-in recovery advisor can tell you when to let your body stop and rest, especially after a hard race or workout. Garmin Connect, Garmin's online training and data-storage platform, aims to make analyzing and organizing data easier with a host of color-coordinated training charts and graphs, and the Forerunner 630 uploads workouts automatically to the site when it's connected to Wi-Fi. If set up with a compatible smartphone, the Forerunner 630 can also give you smartphone notifications, eliminating the need to interrupt your interval workout to check a series of texts on your phone.
When you're not using the watch to run, it can still function as an all-day activity tracker, telling you how many steps you've taken, how much you've moved, and how well you're sleeping at night. For triathletes, the Forerunner 630 can also be synced with a bike cadence and speed sensor and mounted to your handlebars to track your rides as well as your runs.
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Reviews & Community
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- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Paired with my Moto X (2nd gen) initially with no problems then stopped after about a day. I found Garmin customer support to be very helpful but after trying about 50 different things the best they could come up with was that "sometimes that happens with devices that we haven't tested" I did try to pair the watch with three other phones (one on the list) and it connected no problem. I may try to keep it paired with one of those phones to see if it stays paired for more than a day.
Aside from that. I'm keeping the watch as I don't really care about getting notifications on my watch. I just wanted it to work.
The watch is awesome. no other problems. GPS is accurate. Software and website provide more stats than I could ever want. Data uploads automatically via wifi. There are a few cool apps and widgets you can download but not enough. Hopefully more will be developed as more people get the watch.