Last month just prior to the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, Garmin announced their latest triathlon watch – the FR920XT. At that time I wrote a comparatively long first go through the watch, however now I’ve had a good month under my belt using the ultimate watch and firmware. In doing this I’ve had the opportunity to beat the crap from it and see where it shines…and where it could need even more polish.

The FR920XT includes in a single unit a slew of new features entirely on many recent Garmin devices over the health landscape. For instance, it adds in Live Tracking that started on the Edge series, more swim functionality within the Garmin Swim and Fenix2, Running Dynamics that were only available in the FR620, and lastly activity and sleep tracking from the Vivo lineup of activity monitors. But, they are actually just small tidbits of what’s without question the most full featured multisport watch available to buy (if not most full featured watch of any type out there today).

To be clear, I’ve been by using a FR920XT supplied by Garmin to check with (final production unit). Like always, I’ll be shipping that back again to them in Kansas within the next little bit and venturing out and getting my very own via regular retail channels. That’s just just how I roll.

Lastly, by the end of the day remember I’m exactly like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and so I try to be as complete as I could. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot a thing that doesn’t quite jive – just i want to know and I’ll be pleased to obtain it all sorted out. Also, for the reason that technology world constantly changes, I try to return back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed. So – with that intro, let’s enter things.

Unboxing:
The FR920XT will come in two box flavors and two unit colors. You can buy the machine with the HRM-RUN heartrate strap, or without it. And both of those can be found in either Blue/Black, and Red/White. I’ll discuss the HRM-RUN down the road.

To start out, here’s the box of the HRM-RUN bundle:

After cracking it open you’ve got these five basic piles: The USB charging clip, the watch itself, the HRM-RUN strap, some paper stuffs, and the HRM-RUN transmitter model that snaps in to the strap:

And again, without the plastic bags:

You start with the charging cable, it enables you to plug into any USB port on earth to charge the FR920XT. The other end snaps in to the FR920XT. It’s incredibly secure and requires pressing of a side button to eliminate. Thus, it’s somewhat ironic that with all this advanced of snap security that it doesn’t enable you to charge the device in the center of an activity (such as for example an ultra run or super-long ride). When you add USB capacity to the FR920XT mid-activity, it’ll quickly end the experience and commence full charging. That is a lttle bit of a disappointment.

Next may be the HRM-RUN strap. This consists of both strap and the transmitter module. I’ve had all the best with the HRM-RUN strap and insufficient drops/spikes. The strap is no unique of the HRM-RUN straps found with the FR620 or the Fenix2. The occurrence of the tiny runner icon means it’s the HRM-RUN strap, versus simply a regular strap. The standard straps cannot transmit Vertical Oscillation or Ground Contact Time, because they don’t have the accelerometer inside that the HRM-RUN has.

Next is some paper quick start guides and manuals. You won’t actually need them after scanning this post:

And lastly, we’ve got the watch itself. Again, however the end of the post you’ll be fed up with photographs of the FR920XT:

Let’s move onto how it compares in physical dimensions to other units.

Size & Weight Comparisons:
In terms of size, the FR920XT is notably slimmer than past models. It’s roughly the same thickness as the Garmin FR620 running watch.

As well, the display colors are also increased over the FR620. As the FR620 included colors according to Garmin marketing, the truth is it was pretty beaten up. The FR920XT however is a lot crisper and brighter:

Talking about wrists, here’s a glance at how it compares on The Girl’s wrist, who is pretty petite at 5’2″ tall:

Here’s a comparison to the FR910XT – the prior generation:

And lastly, when looking at the Fenix2 (and Fenix2 Special Edition) – here’s how those compare:

Next, to compare it to other watches in the same markets (or simply past Garmin watches), here’s a complete lineup.
From left to right: FR920XT, FR910XT, Fenix2, Ambit3, Ambit2, Ambit2S, Polar V800, Polar M400, Polar RC3, Garmin FR620.

And here’s the thickness shown. In cases like this the roller was kept level, therefore the depth between your surface and the watches teaches you height:

Zooming in on just the bigger end multisport watches (Left to right: Garmin FR920XT, Garmin FR910XT, Garmin Fenix2, Suunto Ambit3, Polar V800):

Finally, looking at weight of the watch – it’s quite light. The FR920XT will come in at 61.6g, which is even lighter compared to the older running only FR610:

The Polar V800 will come in at 80.8g:

The Suunto Ambit3 at 86.0g:

And lastly, the Fenix2 at 85.6g:

Now with everything all compared, let’s get onto using it.

Initial Setup & Configuration:
To start the program side, you’ll start Garmin Express and obtain it put into your account:

From there you can tend to create a Garmin Connect account, or link it to a preexisting one. You’ll utilize this Garmin Connect account to upload workouts to the service, that may then be delivered to other services including Strava, Training Peaks, and Sport Tracks – all automatically. But I’ll talk more about the Auto Sync piece down the road in the Garmin Connect section.

Next, in case you curently have a Vivo product just like the Vivosmart or Vivofit, you’ll have to choose which device to use for your daily steps.

Next, you’ll be asked to create WiFi networks. You can put on up to 7 WiFi networks, so long as they don’t involve some type of ‘I agree’ type page, like Starbucks or some airport WiFi hotspots. Home and office kinds hardly ever do, so you’re establishing both easily there.

You may also specify a recommended network. Additionally, it’ll demonstrate the MAC address in case you do MAC filtering on your own routers/WiFi hotspots.

Finally, you’ll want to guarantee the software checks for updates and grabs them, this is also true earlier on in the merchandise cycle where things might iterate quickly with bug fixes.

You can observe below there are two updates available, so I’ll just go right ahead and click ‘Install All’ to get things underway.

Next, you’ll go on and unplug your device, that will allow the install to complete:

The complete process only requires a moment to complete. With everything set, it’s time to at once outside.

Running:
Now that we’ve first got it all configured, we’ll focus on running and feel the run-specific items. Note of course there are many features that can be applied to all or any sports that I’ve covered elsewhere in the review. Because of this section I’m just centered on the run-specific items.

To begin with, like all sports you’ll go on and power differ from standby mode to sport mode. In doing this you’ll then pick the sport, inside our case a patio Run:

This will permit the GPS. The FR920XT uses satellite caching to increase satellite acquisition time. Generally, it’s likely to take about 3-7 seconds for this to find satellites, often less. This satellite cache is valid for seven days, and is refreshed every time you hook up your FR920XT to your phone, computer, or WiFi.

With that ready, you can get started your run by pressing the start/enter button. This will get started the timer and begin recording.

At this point the machine begins showing you pace and distance from GPS. To have a feel for how quickly the machine will react to changes in pace, I’ve come up with the following video that presents me running along at a reliable pace, then stopping within the width of a crosswalk, and resuming running again.

It’s pretty quick to respond. You’ll observe that the pace is rounded to the nearest :05 seconds, which is common on almost all of Garmin’s newer running watches. That is to help make the pace a lttle bit smoother. The truth is, all GPS watches do smoothing, so although it may appear annoying for some – some way the pace will probably get smoothed. Either with or without you knowing about any of it. For me personally, I don’t find this too large a concern. When I’m doing intervals timed to sets that are significantly less than 5-seconds in definition, such as for example 6:22/mile, I simply utilize the ‘Lap Pace’ option instead. Problem solved!

The FR920XT adds the Running Dynamics on the FR620 & Fenix2 watches. Running Dynamics include three components: Vertical Oscillation, Ground Contact Time, and Cadence. In cases like this, the first two – VO & GCT – are just available using the HRM-RUN strap. Whereas while cadence can some from the HRM-RUN strap, it’ll also result from the watch itself.

These metrics are displayed on a particular Running Dynamics page. After uploading a run, this data is open to plot on Garmin Connect (you can observe {an exampl