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Garmin Forerunner 920XT Review

Garmin Forerunner 920XT
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 5 stars
£290 to £410
  • 100%

  • Heart Rate Monitor functions
    Editor: 100%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 100%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 95%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 100%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 95%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 90%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 95%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 100%

The Garmin Forerunner 910XT was a revelation when it was released in 2011. Fast forward a couple of years and we have the perfect GPS training watch for triathlon and other multi-sport exercisers. The Garmin Forerunner 920XT GPS sports watch has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

Garmin 920XT Multisport / Triathlon GPS reviewed and tested

Release Date (UK) > Oct 2014

Product it replaced > Forerunner 910XT

Recommeneded Retail Price (when new) > £399

Replaced by > none – current model. Also consider the Forerunner 735XT and Forerunner 935 – both with wrist based HR

Who’s it for?

The 920XT is for anyone who runs, bikes and swims, or a combination of TWO of those. It’s Garmin’s all singing, all dancing GPS multisport watch for triathletes. It’s packed with the latest tech to keep any techoholic-trifiend happy. The true criteria required to be eligible for the badge of being a “dedicated multisport GPS sports watch” is the ability to record SWIM -> BIKE -> RUN all in the same file… preferably with transition times included too. The 920XT does all this. Featuring SMIM-METRICS from the swim (indoor or open water) with SWOLF, speed, strokes per minute etc as well a advanced run dynamics and performance cycling metrics like optional pedal cadence and power …

Confused by the Forerunner range? Don’t be. The Garmin Forerunner range of GPS sports watches is extensive with over a dozen models in the last 10 years. I’ve written an overview of the Garmin Forerunner watch range so you buy the latest and most appropriate Forerunner model for your needs and budget.

You can now get heart rate when swimming with Garmin HRM

The Forerunner 920XT is a true multisport GPS sports watch from leading sports watch manufacturer Garmin. When in the water measure distance, pace, stroke type/count and pool lengths. Drill logging and SWOLF score to measure swimming efficiency. On the bike you can monitor predicted VO2 max (with HRM strap and Garmin Vector pedals). Also keep an eye on altitude and power (with optional power meter). Finishing with the run, you have access to advanced running dynamics, even a metronome to guide your running cadence.

With a smartphone and Bluetooth connection the 920XT can receive smart notifications when you receive emails, texts and other alerts. Using the Bluetooth connected features, via a smartphone, you can enjoy automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking and social media sharing.

Updates July 2015 ** – Garmin have just released two new products. The HRM-tri and HRM-swim heart rate belts for use while swimming. These new belts work in a similar way to the Suunto Smart belt and RECORD the heart rate data internally (in the HR belt) while you swim. At the end of the swim the Heart Rate data is uploaded to a compatible wrist unit (920XT, Fenix3)

Updates July 2016 ** – Garmin released the Forerunner 735XT. Very similar multisport / triathlon focused functionality with the added benefit of Garmin Elevate OFF the WRIST heart rate sensors on the back of the watch …

Note > If you’d prefer the convenience of no chest strap please read the Forerunner 735xt review. The 735XT utilises wrist based heart rate sensors.

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  • Genuine MULTISPORT mode - single button press from Swim, to Bike to Run
  • Detailed breakdown of each discipline with transition time
  • Built-in accelerometer provides feedback on swim-metrics with SWOLF score
  • Pool Swimming & Open Water swim modes
  • Detailed feedback with Garmin Running Dynamics plus Max HR and VO2 Max prediction
  • Genuine MULTISPORT mode - single button press from Swim, to Bike to Run
  • Supports ANT+ heart rate, speed, cadence and power meter sensors
  • Full customisation of data fields and training pages so you get to see what you want for each sport
  • The Recovery Advisor will give a calculated estimation of time left until recovery is complete
  • In short ... an all time CLASSIC watch for Triathletes ...
  • Cons

  • Nothing worthy of mention, it's a BRILLIANT GPS multisport watch if you want wrist based HR, consider the 735XT
  • Next Model Up?

    In May 2017 Garmin released the Forerunner 935. The Garmin Forerunner 935 aimed at triathletes, multisport and elite athletes provides some of the very best training feedback with Training Load, Training Effect (aerobic and anaerobic) and Training Status.

    Garmin Forerunner 935 the best all round GPS sports watch for elite athletes (any sport including Triathlon)

    Closest Competitor

    The product from competitors with the closest functionality to the 920XT would be the Polar V800 and the Suunto Ambit3 Sport (or the Suunto Spartan Sport, new Oct 2016). They all offer true multisport functionality with multiple disciplines being recorded in one exercise file. Each has it’s own pros and cons over the others and we would, in all honesty, be happy to use any for the duration of a triathlon and the training leading up to it.

    Polar V800

    Suunto Ambit 3 Sport

    Suunto Spartan Sport

    Main Features

    • Running Dynamics. This feature is only available when the 920XT is paired with the HRM-Run sencor. Once enabled get feedback on running form. Running Dynamics covered various technical aspects of running by measuring cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.
    • HR, Power, Cadence etc. Like most of top level Forerunner products the 920XT can be paired with various ANT+ sensors to add extra metrics to your training. Most popular are cadence sensor, power meters (4iiii, Stages, PowerTap etc) and speed sensors (useful when training on a turbo/rollers)
    • Smartphone Notifications. Recieve notifications for incoming email, text messages, call alerts, calendar reminders. The Forerunner 920XT connects to most modern Android and iOs devices running the Garmin Connect app.
    • VO2 Max, Recovery and Race Time Prediction. These advanced features can all be used to help you train harder, recover better and achieve your long term goals. The Forerunner 920XT estimates VO2 max and gives an estimated recovery time following training sessions. It can also predict your race times for most popular distances eg 10K, 5K, 1/2M etc (this feature requires a HRM sensor). For cyclists using the Power meter the 920XT estimates a cycling specific VO2 max

    Multisport GPS watch – Video Presentation

    From the company that launched the world’s first GPS multisport comes a watch that’s qualified to guide your training. Forerunner 920XT — now with running dynamics, connected features and a sleek, wetsuit-friendly design. This is Garmin’s short product introduction video that gives a taste of just how good this multisport GPS watch really is

    Smartphone Notifications

    In this short video the team at Garmin give a clear explanation of how the 920XT interfaces with your iOs / Android device to push diary, email, text and phone call notification. Having an alert on your wrist to an emergency phone call from home or a text from your bike buddies telling you the meeting venue has changed can be very useful.

     Image Gallery

    Advanced Training & All-day Activity Tracking

    Forerunner 920XT packs a fleet of high-end training features into a sleek watch that is wet suit-friendly and about 15 percent lighter than its predecessor, the Forerunner 910XT. It boasts a high-resolution color display; flexible, hinged bands and a watch mode, so you can wear it all day. The activity tracking feature measures your steps, sleep and calories burned all day, giving you a more complete picture of your daily activity.

    Swimming Metrics

    Whether you’re training at the pool or out in the open water, Forerunner 920XT captures detailed swim metrics, including distance, pace, stroke count, stroke rate and SWOLF score. The drill logging feature allows you to easily log swim drills and kick sets at the pool, and the 2 types of rest timers keep you pushing off the wall on time. Use time alerts to help you hold your pace, or distance alerts to let you know when a set is over. There are even alerts for calories and stroke rate.

    Power – Crank Up Your Training

    The 920XT is compatible with sensors such as speed, cadence and heart rate to provide advanced training capabilities for your cycling workouts. It can also display power metrics when paired with ANT+® power meters, including the Vector™ line of single- and dual-sensing pedal options.

    If you train with heart rate and a power meter, Forerunner 920XT can derive your VO2 max estimate for cycling to help monitor changes in your fitness. The color gauge shows how you rank compared to other athletes in your age group. Another feature that lets you see how you measure up to others is Garmin Connect segments. Once your ride’s done and uploaded to Garmin Connect, you can see where you stand on the segment leaderboard.

    Perfect Your Running Form

    You’ve asked for it and now it’s here  — running dynamics data for a dedicated multisport watch. Based on the same technology available in our Forerunner 620 and fēnix™ 2, the 920XT helps you train for optimal running form when used with the HRM-Run™ monitor. This pairing allows the 920XT to report your cadence (total steps per minute), vertical oscillation (amount of “bounce” in your step) and ground contact time (how much time your foot spends on the ground during each step). The 920XT also has a metronome feature with vibe and audible alerts to guide your cadence training.

    Advanced Heart Rate-based Features

    When used with a heart rate monitor (either a standard Garmin HRM or the HRM-Run), Forerunner 920XT offers additional features that can dial in your recovery status as well as your racing potential. First is a recovery check, which is a real-time indication of your recovery state within the first several minutes of an aerobic activity. After the activity, the 920XT provides a recovery time indicating how long before you should attempt another hard effort. The 920XT can also estimate your VO2 max for running when used with a heart rate monitor and for cycling when used with a heart rate monitor and power meter. Based on that data, it can predict your running race times for several distances.

    Garmin Connect

    Now your brick workouts and race activities have a whole new view in Garmin Connect, our free online community where you can save, plan and share your efforts. When you complete an activity using a multisport activity profile on your device, each leg and transition time is stored in one combined file for easy review and sharing. Individual tabs let you access detailed data for each leg.

    There are multiple ways to sync your data with Garmin Connect. The 920XT can transfer the data through the Garmin Connect™ Mobile app on your smartphone using Bluetooth® technology. You can also set up one or more Wi-Fi® hot spots, and the 920XT will automatically sync with Garmin Connect when in range. Or sync with your desktop through a USB connection.

    Pair the 920XT with your smartphone and the Garmin Connect Mobile app for additional capabilities that can help you stay connected during your cycling and running workouts or races. The live tracking feature lets you invite followers using email or social media so they can see your stats and location on a map in real time. Smart notifications let you see email, text and other alerts on your watch when paired with your compatible Android™ or Apple® device. When the 920XT is paired with your phone and the Garmin Connect Mobile app, your completed workouts can instantly upload.

    Review Summary

    The Garmin Forerunner 920XT is the culmination of years of research working with the world’s very best sporting legends. The 735XT has the minor edge of wrist based heart rate, but for people at this level who want 100% accuracy for heart rate a chest strap is still recommended. Whatever your sport(s) the Forerunner 920XT will record, motivate and help analyse your training every step and heart heat along the way. It’s was easy to award the 920XT a review rating of 5/5 stars as it’s quite simply perfect.

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