RW Review: Garmin Forerunner 50

RW product tester and forumite Welsh Alex tests Garmin's latest running device


Posted: 7 February 2008
by Welsh Alex

Forerunner 50: A breeze to operate
The Forerunner 50 is available in two packages. The first consists of a watch, footpod, heart-rate strap and a plug-in data receiver for your PC but if you really don’t want the heart-rate strap you can save yourself around £20 by buying the watch, pod and receiver on their own. To my mind, it is worth the extra money

The watch is a breeze to operate. As I opened the package and with my excitement surging I abandoned the manual and spent a useful 10 minutes figuring out nearly all the tool’s functions by trial and error.

The display on the watch is easy to read, the buttons are nice and large and depress easily, and the lap button is on the top of the watch - in exactly the place you want it for ease of use when running. The heart-rate strap adjusts easily and is perfectly comfortable, while the footpod clips easily to your laces with its presence undetectable once it’s on.

In training the watch was easy to use. It stores 100 laps or up to seven hours of data and transfers training information to your computer (as well as Garmin training centre) automatically. The training centre can even delete downloaded data making it easy to manage the memories on your watch.

The watch has two interval timers, which, if both set will run alternately - ideal for speedwork or reps. When you use the watch with the footpod it can be set to lap over a given distance automatically if you can’t press the lap button yourself.

Garmin tells us that the footpod works straight out of the box. It does, but I would recommend calibrating it for greatest accuracy. I found that I did not quite achieve the same results as I do with a GPS based speed-and-distance device, but on the plus side the footpod not only provides cadence or leg-turnover, but works in places the GPS would definitely fail. On one of my runs the turning point is a spiral down through a multi-storey car park, a GPS would be stumped here but the footpod just keeps on recording data.

I have discovered that the Forerunner 50 is a convenient and comfortable watch to wear: not too large but large enough, easy and intuitive to operate. It provides all the data anyone will ever need to train effectively and makes it easy to store in the Garmin Training Centre.

There is nothing I can think of on the market that can provide so many functions and so much feedback on your performance for so little outlay. The Garmin Forerunner 50 is a really nifty, easy-to-use package. Most Excellent in fact !


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