Review: Garmin Forerunner 230 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Update: The 235 is out! See offer below.

A lot of us are endurance athletes. We’re more interested in the slow burn of running three hours than the burst of adrenaline you get sprinting a shorter race. That means that we’re happy to test GPS watches. There are a lot of them on the market right now, but only a few stand out as models that everyone needs to try. We consider the Garmin Forerunner 230 to be one of those musts.

Top Features

There are a lot of great features that make the Garmin Forerunner 230 stand out. Some of our favorite features include its:

  • Rugged design
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Live tracking
  • Social media

The social media features are really cool, especially if you are the kind of person who gets encouragement from friends. Instead of always training with a group, which isn’t possible on some days, you can get a boast of encouragement by sharing your run online by posting it to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Motivation is a huge part of athletic performance. We think that this feature will help a lot of runners at all levels stay focused on their goals.

What’s Unique About Garmin Forerunner 230

The thing that really stands out to us about this version of the Forerunner is that it automatically detects what you’re doing. You don’t have to punch a button when you’re getting ready to start a run, and you don’t have to push a button when you take a water break halfway through. The watch uses its accelerometer to that for you.

It’s this attention to detail that really makes us appreciate Garmin’s GPS watches. Whether you’re a serious athlete or you just want to use accurate data to get into better shape, it helps a lot to have a device that does a few things for you. We’ve experienced the disappointment at the end of a long run when we discover that we forgot to pause our trackers during breaks. With this watch, you don’t have to worry about that.

We also appreciate that the Forerunner 230 works when you’re running inside. Most GPS watches are only useful when you’re outside. In some cases, it’s hard to get them to work when there are a lot of clouds overhead. Garmin developed this fitness tracker, however, so it didn’t always need to use GPS to track your performance. That’s helpful for people who like to train indoors.

Garmin Forerunner 230 Price

The Garmin Forerunner 230 retails for about $250. If that sounds like a lot of money, then you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of opportunities to get the watch at lower prices. We’ve seen prices fall as low as $200. It’s possible that you can get one for even less if you look in the right place.

In our opinion, you should take immediate advantage of any sales that knock $50 or more off the retail price of this GPS watch. Even at $250, it’s not a terrible deal. At $200, you’d be crazy to pass it up. Plus, you can often qualify for free shipping and handling, which saves you even more money.

Potential Drawbacks

A small number of people complain that this GPS watch is too clunky to wear during vigorous exercise. While we can see why some runners would find it cumbersome, we know that there aren’t many alternatives. GPS technology is at a point where watches can only be so small. We would love to see a tiny GPS watch that didn’t weigh us down when running. Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible at this point. If you have tried other GPS watches, then you’ll know that this is one of the most convenient options to wear.


There are plenty of GPS watches on today’s consumer market. A lot of them even have prices that the average person can easily afford. The Forerunner 230, however, continues to stand out as one of our favorites. It’s not just because the watch’s GPS functions work extremely well, although that’s obviously a part of why we like it. It’s also that Garmin went the extra mile to make sure this watch offered features that other GPS watches skip over.

Not everyone will think that this is the perfect GPS watch. Even we can think of a couple minor ways to improve it. The fact of the matter, though, is that this is one of the best, most affordable devices that you can buy today. If you run or cycle, you should own one.

Update: There’s a new model available, the Forerunner 235. You can buy it now at Amazon.

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Top10 Fitness Devices: Our Guide!

9.5 Total Score
Garmin Forerunner 230

An accurate GPS running watch that looks stylish to boot.

User Rating: 3.94 (103 votes)