Garmin’s new Forerunner 225 ups the ante with optical heart rate

It was only a matter of time before GPS kingpin Garmin released a watch that can do more than count and track steps, behave as an accelerometer, and have an almost disturbing capability to accurately gauge and predict the wearers’ fitness capacity. Now, these features can be coupled with the ability to measure heart rate from the wrist. Dropped on Thursday, the Forerunner 225 is a colorful and good-looking alternative to traditional heart-rate monitors and similar products, ringing in at $299.

Developed with Mio’s Heart Rate Monitor, an optical sensor in the watch shines LED light and uses advanced technology to filter light back in, effectively measuring heartbeats per minute in real time. To make the resulting number instantaneously relevant to the wearer, a colorful display delegates “zones” corresponding to heart rate: gray for the warm-up zone, blue for easy, green for aerobic, orange for threshold, and red for maximum.


The importance of heart rate in exercise has been stressed in recent years, with many fitness experts emphasizing activities like interval training as most effective in burning fat. “More and more, athletes are recognizing the role that heart rate plays in their training intensity and efficacy, and it has become evident that heart rate is a must-have feature in wearable technology,” said Mio Global CEO Liz Dickinson.

What makes the Forerunner 225 different is that it is smart. It suggests days off based on heart rate history. It alerts you when you have been immobile for over an hour and prompts you to move around for a couple of minutes. It even knows how to filter ambient light and detect nuanced changes in the way blood flows through the wrist. It is decently sized, it looks good, and it is waterproof.

And what would any device be without a corresponding app? The company’s online community and app Garmin Connect allows the wearer to track, monitor, and store fitness activities, effectively housing all fitness stats in one convenient place.

Now we just have to figure out a way to get music and headphone connectivity on there, too.

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