Garmin Forerunner 230

  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4.5 stars
£155 to £230
  • 90%

  • Garmin Forerunner 230
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 22nd March 2017
  • Heart Rate Monitor functions
    Editor: 95%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 99%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 90%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 99%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 60%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 80%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 90%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 95%

This is a truncated review of the Forerunner 230.. not because we don’t like it, but because it is EXACTLY the same as the Forerunner 235 reviewed here. The only difference is the innovative addition of OFF THE WRIST heart rate monitoring. The 235 uses Garmin’s Elevate technology to pick up heart rate directly from the back of the wrist. No more chest strap – CLEVER Garmin. The Garmin Forerunner 230 has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic (formerly HeartRateMonitor UK)

Garmin Forerunner 230 tested and reviewed

This one or the Forerunner 235?

Strapless heart rate monitoring isn’t as accurate as chest strap, however, it will give approximately 95% accuracy for 95% of the time. I have no issues with a chest strap and prefer to know that my HR data is 99.9% accurate, as such as would still consider this watch over the Forerunner 235. Alternatively, get the 235 model for wrist based heart rate convenience and ADD an ANT+ chest strap for those times when monitoring heart rate is critical …

Which Forerunner is for you? There are over a dozen different models of Garmin Forerunner on the market and it’s easy to buy an old / obsolete model or one that has inappropriate functionality for your needs. That’s why I have produced this Idiots Guide to the Garmin Forerunner. The purpose of this short history of the most popular GPS sports watch is to ensure you get the latest and most appropriate Forerunner watch for your needs and budget.

Summary Features

  • Tracks distance, pace, time, heart rate (optional) and VO2 Max (needs HR belt)
  • Connected features: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, live tracking, audio prompts, music controls, smart notifications and social media sharing
  • Activity tracking counts daily steps, distance, calories and sleep
  • Download data fields, watch faces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ™

Please visit our review of the Forerunner 235 to get a full and comprehensive feel for the 230. Remember, the only difference is that the 230 requires a CHEST STRAP to give heart rate. The 235 uses Garmin Elevate LED technology to provide heart rate directly off the wrist.

Watch the Video


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Next Model Up

If you are looking at the next model up then you are probably looking at shifting up from “semi-competitive runner (moderate fun)” to “full on competitive runner, less about fun, more about results”. If that’s the case we’d recommend you consider either the Garmin Forerunner 630 with advanced Running data feedback. Advanced running dynamics include ground contact time balance, stride length and vertical ratio…. yep, we said it was for the technically minded ! ;-)

Forerunner 630 – Advanced Running Dynamics

Forerunner 235 – heart rate from wrist, otherwise identical (Garmin Elevate)

Next Model Down

The next model down would be the Forerunner 25. The 25 does NOT have the Colour screen. More importantly, for those of a moderately technical training inclination it does not have Pace Alerts, Interval Training or Training Effect. Oddly though, the F15 DOES have Garmin’s Virtual Partner, allowing you to race against a previously completed route giving AHEAD or BEHIND feedback.

Forerunner 25

Update > since writing this review the Garmin Forerunner 35 has been released. Similar in functionality to the Garmin Forerunner 25 but with the added convenience of wrist based heart rate. The Forerunner 35 is perfect for 95% of runners looking for an easy to use GPS runners watch with 24/7 activity tracker.

Forerunner 35

An Alternative GPS Running Watch from Polar ….

If you are considering the Forerunner 230 then we would invite you to read the review of the Polar M400 and also consider purchasing it from our UK online store. The Polar M400 is, in our opinion, the BEST GPS RUNNER’S watch on the market. It has all the PERFORMANCE tracking features you would expect from a competent runner’s watch, plus, a wealth of Training Load and Training Benefit feedback to help you better understand the training effect of each session and the predicted time required before you are fully recovered. It also features a reliable and well researched/accurate Fitness Test that can be conducted once or twice a month to keep track of your general fitness improvement (based on RR intervals and HRV) … Just like this Forerunner it’s also an activity tracker, sleep monitor and it’s smartphone connected for incoming alerts …  plus it supports DOZENS of sports profiles, not JUST running.

Which Forerunner is for YOU?

Are you confused by the number Garmin Forerunner s? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. There are more than 15 models in this popular GPS running watch so we published this History of the Garmin Forerunner which compares the main differences between all the models from the original Garmin Forerunner 101 in 2003 to the latest products.