The Garmin Forerunner 230 is a good improvement on its predecessor, the Forerunner 220. It’s also a near identical copy to the Forerunner 235 (see our full comparison here), but without wrist heartrate. But just how much better is it? And really should you upgrade from a mature model? Read our Forerunner 230 review to find out…

Physical Dimensions
To begin with, the Forerunner 230 is a little bit smaller compared to the 220, both in diameter and thickness. But what’s cool is how Garmin were able to make the display almost a 1/4 of an inch larger by shrinking how big is the bezel. The screen resolution is upgraded and today includes a few extra pixels. This implies 230’s screen is larger and much easier to read than ever before and it could show 4 data screens (vs. 3 on similar Garmin models).

Battery life gets a 60% increase – up to 16 hours in activity mode vs. 10 hours in the 220. Which means you must have to charge the watch less often….

…except that Garmin included activity tracking. You can wear the watch all day long and it’ll count steps, create step goals, and present you “move” reminders if you’ve been sitting in a single place for too much time. Using this function could have a modest effect on battery life.

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Activity tracking is creeping into a lot of Garmin’s newer watches. While Fitbits and so on are typically connected with everyday exercise or walking – Personally i think it can be a good feature for all runners. Studies have recently come out indicating that sitting for extended periods of time – even among runners – is harmful to our health. In my experience, Personally i think like my running has improved with the addition of walking breaks to my otherwise sit-around-on-my-butt-all-day routine.

Features
The 230 also offers smartphone connect-ability. Meaning, that just like the Apple Watch, you can receive phone notifications (email, text, etc) and control music with the 230; however, for both these features you should pair the watch to the telephone and keep them in close proximity. Not too useful if you don’t regularly bring your phone on runs.

Perhaps you have ever wondered what your VO2 Max was? Hey now! The 230 stole this function off the outdated Forerunner 620 in order to will have a rough estimate of your aerobic threshold. Be forewarned – you need to wear the chest-strap heartrate monitor. But with this data, the 230 may also display training effect, Garmin’s best guesstimate of how hard your run was (displayed numerically 1 to 5). It will activate the recovery adviser, Garmin’s suggested recovery time (in hours) between runs.

Finally, the Forerunner 230 works with with Connect IQ. That is Garmin’s home for third party applications which can be loaded on the watch. Think different sorts of clock faces, new methods to display heartrate and other data – one iphone app will even display the elements! But Connect IQ is a comparatively new feature. It remains to be observed whether it becomes a good addition.

Summary
Overall, I like the updates Garmin made out of the 230. Key changes are its smaller size and bigger screen – PLUS better battery life. Those two changes alone are worth upgrading. The added features are nice but seem to be like more of an afterthought – as though Garmin had a need to show something new, so they took some features entirely on older, high-end watches, and tossed them in the 230 to “improve” it. That said, if you wish a mid-range GPS watch and don’t value tracking heartrate – {this is actually the|this can be the|this can be a|here i