Amateur Review of the Garmin 220

I’ve had this review written and ready to post for over a month (or two) so I figured it was finally time to post it.

I am not the most technically savvy person so there are likely plenty of features that I know nothing about. Thus, this isn’t a comprehensive review. I’ve written about the features I use most often.

Overall, I absolutely love it and nearly everything I’ve discovered about it. Now to some specifics.

Size My old 205 took up a lot of space on my wrist. I was wearing a watch that didn’t tell time. I’d gotten used to the size since it’s all I’ve ever known. Then I pulled the 220 out of the box and marveled at its relative tininess.

Clock Since I don’t wear a watch, I didn’t care that the 205 lacked that feature. The only time (pun not intended) that telling time mattered was race mornings and getting to the race before it started. I love this feature now. It’s been so nice to be able to flip to the clock screen on race mornings to see how long I had before we were off.

Charging Not only does the 220 charge exceptionally fast but it also gives a percentage. I love knowing how much longer i have to keep the 220 connected. The only thing that I need to remember (I still struggle with this more than a couple months later) is to eject the Garmin before taking it off the dock. It hasn’t seemed to matter yet but I’ve had enough trouble with my iPod not being ejected properly that I don’t want to risk it.

Locating satellites It’s a common complaint from users of older models, the long wait to locate satellites. The 220 does not have this problem. I read an explanation for this on dcrainmaker’s comprehensive review but I don’t have the expertise necessary to explain that here. I used to turn my Garmin on when I pulled out of the driveway to give it enough time to load. With the 220, I can wait almost until the moment I start to run.

Bluetooth Upload If I had none of the other features but this one, I would still absolutely love teh 220. The most frustrating part of using the 205 was trying to get the data to upload to Garminconnect. Now? All I have to do is open the app on my phone and refresh the activities after I’ve saved the run. I’ve read that some people have difficulty with the synching process taking a ridiculously long time with runs longer than 10 miles. I have not had any such problem. I love being able to see my splits and other details right after the run rather than fighting with the device and Garminconnect to get the data uploaded.

Accelerometer I’ve tested this feature out a few times. It’s not quite as accurate as GPS. Okay, it’s not really all that accurate. Actually, it depends on the pace. When I’m running a slow, recovery pace (9:30ish) it measures almost exactly the same as the treadmill. The difference comes from times when I use my arm to wipe sweat or adjust my towel. The accuracy drops off a cliff when I increase the pace. I’m not sure why but the few times I’ve used it on speedwork runs, it measures about a mile off. It’s handy but not all that reliable.

Distance alerts Unlike the 205, the 220 displays the elapsed time in big numbers, easy to see with a quick glance. This works really well with mile laps. As I discovered with some speedwork runs, it’s not so helpful in trying to determine the pace for runs shorter than a mile. There might be a way to modify the data displayed on the alerts but I haven’t done the digging yet.

One downside I can think of is the watch’s lack of a cycling mode. I wore it on my rides on vacation back in July to measure the distance but did not save the activity. That would have messed up many of the records stored on the device. For the time being, this is not a huge downside to me since I don’t do much outdoor cycling. In a year or two when I finally get up the initiative to start training for an Ironman, I’ll likely invest in of Garmin’s multisport watches.

I, even two months on, am still highly satisfied with my 220. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced GPS watch with decent depth of data, this is the watch for you.


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