Garmin Forerunner 630 , the most advanced race clock : Full analysis


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The Garmin Forerunner 630 is the natural successor to the FR620, positioning it as the most performance-oriented model in the racing range (the 920xt, despite being in the Forerunner range, would be in the multisport range). The 620 has new features that have been introduced to the rest of Garmin's models, and the same goes for the FR630; once again it has arrived with quite a few new and exclusive features, but which will gradually be introduced to the rest of the watches (for the moment, to the Fenix 3).

This time the Garmin Forerunner 630 has been released for testing by Garmin. This release in no way influences the opinions written here, as there is no pressure from the manufacturer to give a positive or negative evaluation. And once the testing period is complete, the watch will go back to where it came from. This is how these tests work.

Remember, if you want to show your gratitude for the tests I perform and want to help support the site, you can buy your Forerunner 630 through the links I provideThat way I get a small commission for each device (or any other item you buy), which is what allows this website to continue and covers some of the work I do.

And with everything cleared up, I'm off to work.


The unit I have to test includes the HRM-Run pulse sensor (the new version, of which I will give you more details shortly), as indicated on the front of the box. So if you buy the version without a pulse sensor your box will change slightly.

Garmin Forerunner 630

As always, on the outside of the case we have references to different features of the watch. On one side you can see images of the new Connect application.

Garmin Forerunner 630

And in the other example of screens that you can see in the clock, highlighting the notifications, the stress test and the new race dynamics that is released with the FR630.

Garmin Forerunner 630


After a magic trick, with some smoke and a handkerchief, I transform a box into what you see below: a clock, a transmission and charging cable, a package with an instruction manual and a pulse sensor. You probably haven't seen David Copperfield perform magic tricks like this.

Garmin Forerunner 630

Here you can see the new sensor in more detail. Garmin has not only modified the sensor itself, but has also changed the strap. It is still adjustable in length, but can be adapted to smaller sizes and an extension is included. Aesthetically it is very similar to the HRM-Tri sensor, changing the colour from blue to red. But the new HRM-Run v2 does not have a memory for swimming activities as the HRM-Tri does.

Garmin Forerunner 630

Let's go directly to the watch. Aesthetically it is very similar to the Forerunner 230 and 235. The only thing that differentiates them is the touch screen. Consequently the FR630 has one less control button and the menu icon at the bottom of the front (the "hamburger" menu). The size is also the same, with a 45mm dial. The weight changes slightly, as the 630 is three grams heavier, which I attribute to the different strap, somewhat stiffer in the case of the model of this test. In my opinion the strap of the 230 is more comfortable and more pleasant to the touch.

Garmin Forerunner 630

On the left side you can find the power and light button together with the back button, if you keep pressing the latter you can block the screen.

Garmin Forerunner 630

On the right side there is the activity button. In this case, as we control it through the touch screen, it will help us to access the menu and start and stop the activity, little more. The lower right button can only be used to mark laps, it is its only utility.

Garmin Forerunner 630

The watch is waterproof, withstanding immersion in water up to 50 meters, so you can go to the beach together this summer (but remember, no specific swimming metrics).

Garmin Forerunner 630

This is where you'll connect your charging cable, which Garmin has kindly shared with the 230 and 235 this time, saving me from having another cable for the entire watch testing period.

Garmin Forerunner 630

As you can see, on the outside the Forerunner 230/235 is very similar to the 630. The difference is on the inside, like the beauty.

Exclusive features of the FR630

So the first thing I'm going to do is detail what makes the difference between the 630 and the 230/235, beyond the touch screen. So if you already know the test of the 230 and 235, reading this first part will allow you to know exactly what are the new features you will find in this model.

Garmin Forerunner 630

First we have the race dynamics, which in the case of the Forerunner 630 have been extended from what was already present in the 620. If we previously had the cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time you now have three more metrics:

  • Stride length: It doesn't need much explanation, just the length of each of your strides.
  • Vertical Oscillation Ratio: Previously, the vertical oscillation was an absolute number as such, the usefulness of which was not very clear, mainly because it depends on many other factors, such as the height of the individual in question. Now the length of the stride will be taken into account to give a value more in line with reality and thus be able to assess whether our vertical movement is excessive and we are wasting energy in moving up and down, instead of moving forward.
  • Ground contact balance: It will show the balance between left and right foot, that is, if your right foot spends more time in contact with the ground or vice versa, creating an unbalanced way of running, as if you were limping.

To have these metrics you will need to wear an HRM-Run sensor, either the new model or the older one (the one with the white "monicker") with updated firmware. It would also be possible to use the HRM-Tri. On the 1TP10 watch screen you can view all the data in two different ways, either in a specific data screen or by selecting some of that data to add to any of the other screens.

Of course this data will also be recorded in the FIT file of the activity and synchronized with Garmin Connect, where you can later evaluate how your race has been and look for possible improvements in your dynamics. For example, after the analysis of this activity I can know that when I am doing a final sprint (and I am already exhausted) I lose my balance, as you can see in the last graph. I would never have imagined it.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - New Racing Metrics

Another key feature of the Garmin Forerunner 630 is the ability to obtain an estimate of the lactate threshold. The watch offers two options, leaving the calculation to automatic allowing the watch to detect changes in the lactate threshold throughout your different workouts, or doing a guided test. Both modes are fully compatible, you can leave the automatic function on and perform a test at any time.

In the guided test you will follow the steps indicated by the watch as a training session. You will basically start with a short warm up and you will be asked to increase the intensity of your training by going through the different heart rate zones, analyzing both your heart rate and your pulse.

At the end of the guide the watch will show you your lactate threshold, i.e. the threshold at which the blood lactate concentration starts to increase exponentially.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Lactate Threshold

Regarding the validity of this threshold, the pace is a bit high for which I think it is my duty, although it is true that it is not the best time to have accurate data because I am totally out of season, recovering from an overload and at the time of the test, it was the first training after a rather strong bronchitis. Come on, I'm a mess. But the pulses are in the range of pulses that, for example, I try not to exceed in the first hour of a half-marathon.

When it comes to planning your workouts, Forerunner 630 offers far more options than its 230/235 siblings. You can set a target for distance, distance and time or distance and pace. Either option will add an additional screen with that target as a virtual partner.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Training Goals

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Virtual Partner

You can also train by competing against a downloaded or historical activity, i.e. if you've done a 5km workout in 20 minutes you can try to compete against that activity to try and reduce that time.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Competing Against Activity

You have a metronome, which allows you to set up a series of beeps that will help you in your running cadence training.

Garmin FR630 - Metronome

The Forerunner 630 has a wider variety of sports profiles than we find in the 230/235, and you can also create new profiles, which is something you can't do on the 230 or 235. For example, it comes standard with a race-specific profile, but you could create more profiles for different activities. This will allow you to set up a profile for your races, with specific alerts and data screens and differentiate it from your usual training profile.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Competition Profile

There are other curiosities, such as the fact that the FR630 allows you to set the GPS in UltraTrac mode for greater battery savings.

There is now a Connect IQ application that allows you to measure your stress level. The purpose of this application is to determine how fit you are so that you know if you can or should face a high intensity workout, don't be fooled by the name. In other words, it is not an application designed to evaluate whether you are stressed by work or by your daily life, but rather what it estimates is your physical exhaustion with respect to past workouts and whether your body is ready to face a high intensity workout.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - App stress

To make the measurement you need to have the pulse sensor on, as the indication depends on the variability of the pulse. The test is very simple, you just have to stand for a few minutes while the measurement is made, namely three minutes.

Garmin FR630 - Stress Test
Garmin FR630 - Stress Test

I took this measurement on a typical day after a long time without training, but with my health somewhat affected. On previous days, taking the same test I could obtain results close to 1, confirming that I was perfectly prepared for a good workout.

And as a simple curiosity, I took the test as soon as I completed a training session, to see how it affects the measurement.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Very High Stress

Very high stress, as you might expect after finishing a training session, so with that result, it wouldn't be a good idea to go out and do high-intensity training immediately afterwards.

Also, when you start running you will see a recovery status indicator on the screen, also related to the variability of pulse and your physical condition to face an intensity race.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Recovery Status

This indication varies from how it was shown in previous models, as it is now a scale that represents your level of recovery with respect to past workouts, thus trying to give value to what were previously simply messages on the screen.

Touch screen

Like the Forerunner 620 (and 610 before it), the FR630 is controlled via its touchscreen. And as with the Vivoactive, the technology used requires the watch to be "grounded". It's a figure of speech, but the truth is that the back must be in contact with the skin (or on top of a garment, but on the arm). What I mean by this is that if you put the watch on the table do not 1TP10You can manipulate the display, because it does not work.

You will say that this is not important, until you consider mounting it on the handlebars of the bike. In fact, you will not be able to use the screen there either, unless you put your finger on the bottom or side of the watch. You will be able to handle it if you put your index finger on the side and use the screen with your thumb. This point is quite important, because if you are going to use it on the handlebars quite often it is something you should know. Once I got used to it I have not had any problems using it while I am pedaling, but it requires some time to acclimatize.

The screen completely changes the way the clock is used, not only because we slide and select it by tapping on it, but mainly by the menu touch button at the bottom of the screen. This menu is not only used to access the main menu, but also to access each of the sub menus. For example, if you want to modify an activity, you must move over it and press the menu button to see its options. Or access the activity widget menu to see the step history.

Garmin FR630 - Menu access

I haven't had any problems in regular use of the watch through the touchscreen, not even running. But what is more uncomfortable is to hit the point where you are selecting the "hamburger" menu. Sometimes I found myself pressing on the screen several times until I found the exact spot where the pressure point would be.

The technology used by the screen makes it possible to use the watch without any problem in the rain, because even though it's wet, it still detects the clicks you make on it without any problem. This means that when you're taking a shower and water falls on the screen, gestures and clicks on it will be interpreted, so it's advisable to block it. Thousands of things can happen with these interactions. To do this, you simply have to press and hold the lower left button (the one you use to exit the menus).

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Locked Screen

The clear question you can ask yourself is, do I really want a touch screen? After the first few days of use I found it totally secondary, even missing the physical buttons. In those first days, except for operating with notifications, I clearly would have preferred to have physical buttons.

But after getting used to the regular use of the touchscreen, I've come to appreciate it more and more, and to value situations where this type of display is positive. And the truth is that except for scrolling through the different options or data screens, it's more comfortable than using buttons. But either way, both methods of control are totally valid.

HRM-Run v2, the new pulse sensor

Accompanying the Garmin FR630 is a new pulse sensor. Aesthetically it is very similar to the HRM-Tri sensor we already saw this summer, but unlike this one it has no memory for swimming (which is logical, since the 630 is not a multisport watch). Aesthetically there are few changes: instead of being blue it is red; and it no longer has the three pictures, only the one of the runner.

This sensor provides you, in addition to the heart rate, with a series of running dynamics metrics. To the ones we already knew and that were presented with the FR620 (vertical oscillation and ground contact time) we now add the new metrics: stride length, vertical oscillation ratio and ground contact balance. If you already have the first HRM-Run sensor you don't need to buy the watch with the new one, because the previous model can be updated and include the new functionality. The watch will take care of it.

The main difference to previous models, such as the HRM-Run v1, is that the sensor is now not removable from the belt. The reason for this is none other than that it inherits the design of the HRM-Tri model. There is no problem with the battery, as it can be replaced without any problems. Instead of opening the sensor from the back, you will do so from the front.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - HRM-Run v2

As a result, the sensor is now less bulky, although still slightly larger than the Suunto sensor. In these images you can see a comparison between the different models.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - HRM-Run v2

Garmin Forerunner 630 - HRM-Run v2

The HRM-Run v2 is narrower and slightly thinner. Being smaller and lighter it is somewhat more comfortable to wear. There are fewer seams and it is completely covered by fabric.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - HRM-Run v2

But the most change is in the back. The same compound is now used around the electrodes as in the HRM-Tri. A blue rubber band that prevents it from moving out of place.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - HRM-Run v2

As you can also see in the image above, this new tape cannot be washed in the washing machine (because the sensor cannot be removed), so Garmin recommends hand washing it after every 7 uses.

Now the first thing that comes to mind is that the problem is that you can't replace the tape, and in a way that's true. If your tape breaks, you'll have to buy a whole new sensor, which is much more expensive. However, Garmin indicates that they have changed the material used in the electrodes for a more durable one, which is what caused the previous tapes to break down over time. Will this be true and will the sensor hold up for several years without a problem? Only time will tell.


So far I've shown you all the new features of the Forerunner 630, so now it's time to talk about the rest of the more common features, race settings and other options. From here it's all pretty similar to what you'll find in the Garmin Forerunner 230, so if you've read the test you know what you'll find.

On the Garmin Forerunner 630, unlike the 230/235, we can create more sports profiles, or rename the default ones. In fact, we include one called competition, which you can use separately from the racing one and set up differently for the days you'll be racing instead of training.

To modify the default profiles you must enter the activity menu, pressing the upper right button.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Activity selection menu

Slide your finger to the profile you want to modify and then press the menu button (the burger I told you about earlier) to enter the activity-specific options.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Activity Options

If you wanted to create a new profile, you could do so from the System menu.

The first thing you will want to configure is the data screens. As in the FR230/235, you can configure up to 4 different data per screen. To do this you simply select the number of data to be displayed and when editing the fields you only have to click on each one you want to change.

The difference is that on the 630 you can configure up to 4 different screens, so if the 2 of the 230/235 seemed too few, here is your solution. In addition to the ones you configure, you can also add other specific screens: Two different FC zone indicators, Virtual Partner, different race dynamics, clock and music control of the phone.

Some of these screens can be configured, such as the race dynamics screens, where you can select the order of the metrics and which of them is the main one. Similarly, in the virtual partner screen you can set the pace that "your other self" is going to set, determining what pace you want to race against.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Configure Virtual Partner

Each of the settings you are making are specific to the activity you are editing, so you can bring more screens to your training and reduce the information for the competition profile. And in the same way you can have a different virtual partner pace for training and competition, not to mention that your cycling screens will obviously be totally different from the ones you set up for running.

There are other settings for each activity. In addition to the metronome, which I explained above, you can set the other options: auto lap (mark laps automatically at the distance you choose), auto pause (the recording stops if you stop), automatic screen switching (the clock alternates screens without touching the screen) and alerts. These include default alerts (heart rate, run/walk, pace, time, distance, calories) or any other you can think of, as you can customize it to your liking depending on the parameter chosen.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Set Alerts

When you're done setting up your training, you're ready to start. You'll select the activity you want to do and it will appear on the main data screen. The Garmin Forerunner 630 supports satellite caching, so the search is very fast. I usually get a signal in less than 10 seconds. You don't even have time to tie your shoelaces. Remember when it used to take up to three and four minutes for the clocks to get a satellite signal?

You start and pause activity from the main button, with a little doll running, at the top right of the clock. And if you want to move from one data screen to another you can press the screen to advance to the next one, or slide your finger left or right if you want to search for a particular screen. If you want to change some of the settings (on-screen data, alerts, etc) you don't need to stop the activity and exit to the menu, you can do it simply by pressing the button on the burger and you will enter the options of the active profile.

If you set the watch to show you the instantaneous pace it will do so in multiples of five seconds, as in all new Garmin (Suunto also follows this trend), but if you select some average pace (back, or from the whole workout) then it will go to the second.

Basic navigation features are available. Forerunner 630 does not allow you to track routes, but you can save locations that you can navigate to later.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Location

And you also have the option of returning to the home page, which will show you on screen the direction to the point from which you started your route (in a straight line, not across different paths).

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Back to top

Once you have finished training, you will be shown the details of your workout on the screen and you can also review them from the history menu.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Activity Summary

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Activity Summary

And these same details that you see for the complete training, can be for each of the laps individually.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Single lap

You also have a time zone graph, where you can check which heart rate zones you have been working on during your training.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - FC Zone

It is also at this time that you will receive indications of records you have surpassed (e.g. improved your mileage), an improvement in your VO2Max estimation or lactate threshold.

The records are for times and distances. The fastest times for 1 km, 1 mile, 5 km, 10 km, half marathon, marathon and the longest distance for running; while for cycling they will be 40 km faster, higher gain in altitude and farther distance.

These records are device-specific, so the first day you use your watch you'll have the fastest mile, fastest mile, longest distance, and so on.

The recovery time is also displayed. It is the time the watch estimates you should allow to elapse until your next intense training session. This does not mean that you cannot train until then, but it is recommended that you should do your next high-intensity training session before that time (e.g. not do two consecutive sets of training sessions).

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Recovery Time

As with the Forerunner 620, we still have the VO2Max calculation. For you to have a valid record the watch must learn from you, so at first the figure will be quite variable. It takes a few weeks to reach the correct figure, especially since you need to accumulate several high intensity runs for the value indicated to correspond to you. This value is directly related to the intensity of your workouts, so if you slacken off a little for whatever reason, it will be reflected in the final figure.

At first you will see that it gradually increases until it is set to a value from which it will no longer move so easily, unless you actually increase your performance. In my case for example it is usually higher, but during the weeks of testing the 630 I have been dragging various discomforts, and it has clearly affected the total figure.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - VO2Max

The watch will use this VO2Max value for the estimation of race times for different distances. You can find it in the "My stats" menu in the 1TP10 menu.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Race Forecast

It doesn't mean that debas Obviously, if you are not training to run a marathon, you will not be able to do it right away in the time that the clock indicates.

Advanced training

Of course, advanced workouts are also present in Forerunner 630. There are very few Garmin watches that don't have access to this feature (Vivoactive and lower-end). You can create workouts from the Garmin Connect website (but not yet from your mobile) and then synchronise them with the watch. You can do repeat sessions on multiple occasions; or sessions that are for a specific day, in which case you could add it to the calendar for a specific date.

In the clock you only have to press the start button, move to the one you want to do (in the case of the 630, usually race) and then press the touch button of the menu (the burger). Inside you have the option of Training, where you can find all the ones you have created and synchronized.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Training

If one day you have a series and have forgotten to program it in advance you can create a simple workout from the clock, but it will be simpler workouts and you will not be able to specify the target for each portion of the workout (pace, heart rate zone, etc).

These aren't the only training options available on the Forerunner 630. You can train (or compete) by goal: distance, distance and time or distance and pace. The latter two are basically the same, but with different approaches. You can select for example 10 km and 40 minutes (or 10 km and pace of 4 min/km) and train with that goal.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Distance and Time Target

In this way, a new virtual partner screen is added, where you can check how you stand in relation to this objective.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Additional Data Screens

You can also compete against an activity already done or downloaded, so you can try to improve your time for a previous training on the same course, really competing with a ghost partner (as he would be competing on your same course, with his ups and downs).


There's little to change from the Forerunner 620, as it's a sport profile that was already included in the previous model. You can set up a specific sport profile with separate screens for when you ride, and your routes will be correctly labelled when you sync them up with Garmin Connect.

The Garmin 630 is compatible with speed and/or cadence sensors (not power meters) that transmit via ANT+. You can connect the sensor from the sensor menu or, much more easily, before starting the activity by simply moving the watch closer to the sensor you want to pair. When it detects high transmitting power, the watch will understand that you want to connect to that sensor and will automatically add it.

Garmin FR630 - Cadence sensor

If you decide to put it in a specific support (like the original Garmin) remember that the touch screen will not work directly as I have explained in the corresponding section, although you will be able to use the start and stop buttons.

Other sports

As with the Forerunner 230 and 235, the 630 has an activity profile called "Other". This profile can be used for any activity that is not included in the previous ones, such as yoga, pilates or core or gym sessions.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Other sports

Unlike the first two models, in this case you can both change the name of the mode and add other different modes (strength, cardio, hiking or cross-country skiing), so in this case you have more configuration options for other sports, being able to set the watch differently for each of them.

Activity monitor

I could cut and paste the text of the Forerunner 230 article here, because they offer exactly the same thing, but not the 235, which has more data to analyse thanks to the integrated pulse sensor.

So that's what I'm going to do, I'm going to stick it here, because there's no point in doing it again, logically, by adapting the text to the control with the specific touch screen of the 630.

You can access the activity monitor by sliding your finger on the screen from right to left. This is where you'll find your daily step count, distance calculation, calories burned and percentage of your daily step target.

Garmin FR630 - Activity Monitor

If you spend too much time sitting down the clock will show you an inactivity bar to warn you how lazy you are, vibrating and displaying an alert when it thinks you've crossed the line. That red line will be present on both the activity monitor and the time display.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Idle Line

If you want to erase the warning you'll have to move. A minute's walk will reset the counter. At least until the next time your watch catches you wandering around on the couch again.

The Garmin Foreruner 630 (like the 230/235) automatically records the quality of your sleep and identifies sleep phases. There is no need to activate any specific mode, as sleep detection is done automatically on the Garmin server.

All this data is synchronised with Garmin Connect, where you can make a more detailed analysis of your day-to-day, previous days or trends in different days, weeks or months; both step and sleep data. In the gallery below you can see different information that is sent to Connect.

And of course, in the mobile application you will also be able to consult all these data, although you will not always need to consult the data on the Internet. If you do not have access to the network, you can access the clock menu and in the History menu you can consult all the details of the activity of past days.


In the section on GPS accuracy there is little to highlight. The operation is correct and in all the tests performed the tracks are satisfactory. For example, this cycling activity where the route is traced with the Garmin Edge 520. And at the end of the activity there is only 200 meters difference between the distance obtained in the Edge 520 through the speed sensor (therefore, it is that exact distance) and the one given by the 630 through GPS. That is an error lower than 1%.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - GPS Comparison

Satisfactory doesn't mean perfect, because as I've said many times a GPS is not a precision instrument, so when moving in areas of complicated coverage, such as narrow streets in small towns, it's normal that the route is irregular. Even so, it's quite good, almost the same as that of the Edge 520 (which has a larger antenna) which also gets lost at certain points.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - GPS Comparison

In race training the impressions are just as positive. When there is good coverage you are not going to have any performance problems at all.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - GPS Comparison

At this point the 630 behaves better than any of the other watches that I wore in the test. This point is something like a Bermuda Triangle, the traces and rhythms obtained when passing through there always do very strange things. This time the FR630 is the one that has drawn the best.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - GPS Comparison

Good results also in areas with trees, which always makes the reception quite difficult. In this case, the upper part of the path followed is quite covered by the foliage of the trees. Here the 630 is the best behaved of the group, except for a small excursion when turning around where it deviates a few meters from the real path, as it happens with the Ambit3.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - GPS Comparison

These are just a few excerpts from the different races and workouts I've done with the Garmin Forerunner 630. Looking at the rest of the activities the result is very similar, without finding anything that stands out. You won't have correct 100% trajectories at all times, but you won't see any strange things when you check your workouts.

Battery life

Unlike the test I did on the Garmin Forerunner 230, in this case I'll choose to use the GPS + GLONASS configuration, which means a little more battery consumption (in the case of the 230, there was a 17% difference).

Garmin announces a duration of up to 16 hours of use in training with the GPS activated, and without activating the GLONASS. As you know, the test procedure I perform is to charge the watch to 100% and immediately afterwards place it on the roof recording an activity, waiting for it to turn off by itself. This is the result.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Standalone

Over 13 hours using GPS + GLONASS. If we consider that same 17% difference I got in the Forerunner 230 test and add it up, we would be just over 16 hours, the time marked by Garmin, thus fulfilling the manufacturer's promise.

Connect IQ, notifications and connectivity

GPS watches used to be worn exclusively during physical activity and moved into the box when you finished training. This is changing and now they are fighting for a permanent place on your wrist. It is not enough that they offer good performance when you run, they must also offer other features for everyday use.

Smart clocks are hitting hard lately, and to defend against them Garmin created the Connect IQ application platform. I don't want to go on too long to avoid doing this, so I recommend that if you want to know more details you read the article I published at the timeas well as the latest developments that will be arriving at the new version in early 2016.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Connect IQ Applications

To describe it quickly, what it allows is to install different elements to your watch. From complete applications to simple data fields, or widgets and time fields that will allow you to modify the aesthetics of your watch and add functions that do not incorporate as standard. You can find all these things in the Garmin app store and can be installed on your watch by connecting it to your computer or synchronizing it via your mobile phone.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Connect IQ Sphere

Sports profiles are no longer such a thing, they are now Connect IQ applications. In fact the new stress score is a 630 exclusive application (although it has already reached Fenix 3), but it is a Connect IQ application.

As for using it as a smart clock, on the Garmin 630 you'll receive notifications from your phone, either on the screen as soon as they're received (and you'll know because the phone will vibrate when you show them) or by accessing them from the widgets. To access them, simply slide your finger on the main screen and you'll see the ones that have the clock available, along with the ones you download from Connect IQ (like the one for sunrise and sunset).

Those are the ones that integrate the clock when you take it out of the box, but you can install others from the phone itself.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Widget Connect IQ

With the new Forerunners there is another option for lighting possibilities, which is the turn of the wrist.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Wrist Turn

By activating this option, the watch will turn on the lighting when you raise your arm to look at the screen, saving you from having to press the power button.

Garmin Forerunner 630 - Lighting

There are different alarm options. They can be set individually or in repeat with various frequencies (daily, weekend or mid-week).

Garmin FR630 - Alarms

The smart clock functionality requires you to connect the device to your phone. The connection is permanent via Bluetooth Smart, which has low power consumption on both the clock and your smartphone. So in addition to offering all these features, it will also allow constant synchronization of the clock to receive notifications and synchronize data of steps and activities.

Now there are also voice return alerts, so the phone will give us information about the return number and the time it took to go through it, so if you are listening to music with your phone it will be interrupted every time a return is dialed manually or automatically.

And of course, you also have the LiveTrack option, which allows you to share your location in real time with anyone you send a link to via the mobile application, but to use this feature you must have your phone with you during your workout.

My opinion

There is almost nothing negative to say about the Garmin Forerunner 630. It is a watch that stands out in every respect and is certainly one of the most complete options for data-loving runners. The 630 goes one step further than the outstanding FR230 and brings a number of important new features to the range-topping little brother. But I think these new features (lactate threshold, running dynamics, stress app or some training functions) are very welcome at the beginning, and after the first few weeks of intensive use they are all relegated to the background and we continue to train with the basic use of the watch.

Garmin Forerunner 630

In that basic use there is no difference with what you can find in Forerunner 230The problem arises when you look at the price tag, and is that today it is more expensive than the Fenix 3The same new software has been released, and it also allows you to do many other things (at the cost of greater size and weight).

In the end, it's up to you to decide if it's worth paying the difference in price compared to 230 (or 235 if you want an optical sensor) and also to decide if, since you're going to spend more money, you shouldn't do it on a watch that also allows you to follow routes and train in a pool or open water.

Did you like the test?

I hope so, because many hours are needed for each of them. If you want to thank my work and want to help, comment below and tell me if you liked the test. Or ask, it is possible that I have left something without detail. As you may have noticed if you have seen past tests, I answer all your questions.

Discuss this test with your friends and share it on social networks, if you are encouraged to do so by the purchase of the device, you can do this through these links at the bottom of the articleThis way you save, and I get back a small commission that will help in the purchase of new devices for the following tests.


Buy Garmin Forerunner 630

When you buy the Garmin Forerunner 630, you can choose between two different colors: black or blue. And in both colors, you can choose to buy just the watch or to buy it with the new HRM-Run sensor. Remember that if you already have the original HRM-Run (the first version), it can be updated to get the new race dynamics data, so you wouldn't need to buy the sensor watch.

Below I provide you with links to very good offers. Buying through them will help you maintain the website and my work.



Operation - 9
Connectivity - 10
Design, finish and comfort - 8.5
Battery life - 8.5
Applications - 9.1
Price - 6.5



User Rating: 3.23 ( 3 votes)

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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    1. Yes, there is no problem in use with "normal" gloves. Obviously if they are fat (like making snowballs) will not work, but with running or cycling gloves can be used without problems.

  1. Hi, great and complete analysis! I recently discovered this blog, and of course I'll be following the tests to keep up with new devices. These detailed tests are a luxury nowadays where there are so many blogs that say little more than what you can read on the official website of the product. Thanks for the work!

    A curiosity, do you usually buy the devices to make the tests? I thought they would be given by the brand itself to make the article.


    1. It depends on the situation and what I think you readers will demand.

      If it is something I know you are very interested in, I buy the product so that I can have the test as soon as possible. For other devices I wait for the brand to send me a unit on a temporary basis. Depending on the manufacturer, this can be days after the official launch, or months.

      1. Either you have a drawer full of gadgets, or your third business is buying and selling hahaha, thanks for the answer!

        By the way, I have several analyses of you lined up to read calmly when I can, but if you can give me a quick opinion, so much the better. I've been running for a few months, and I go out with my mobile phone and my smartwatch 3. I do guided training sessions and sometimes they are by series, but I'm clear that I'm not going for a professional. I only run as a hobby and in any case participate in minor races. Knowing that, would you recommend me to take a GPS watch, or won't it give me much more than the mobile phone and the smartwatch? I've seen your posts of recommendations, and in case of jumping to the watch I would go for some tomtom runner, the polar m400 or the garmin 220/225. Thanks in advance!

        1. Well, as you can imagine I have a lot of devices around. At least the ones I buy, the ones that send the marks for the test are just temporary loans that I return once the test is over.

          When it comes to running, the difference between a sports watch and a smartwatch is quite significant, both in terms of performance, functions and above all autonomy.

  2. Hello,
    Good analysis. I wanted to ask you two questions:
    1. Could it be compatible to control from the garmin to go forward or backward to the next song using spotify?
    2. There is nothing new that the fenix 3 does not have. That is, a superior antenna chip or something like that that justifies its purchase.

    1. If you have Android, yes, you can set Spotify as your default application.

      You'll find the same thing on both, except for the 630's touch screen, which is much lighter.

  3. Hello and congratulations for your website! I had the fenix 3 and the 620, and I returned them both because they took 10 to 15 seconds to update the instantaneous rhythm and as you know, this for short series, is a problem, have you noticed any improvement in this watch or in the 230?
    Thank you!

    1. For short series you will have the same problem always with any GPS watch. They need a time to calculate the average rate of moving from one point to another. Maybe you could try the Ambit3 and the FusedSpeed function.

      1. Hi Eduardo thanks for your reply. I know that the Suunto is the fastest in detecting changes of pace, I think it combines GPS with internal accelerometer, but to prepare series and training, I prefer Garmin and I just wanted to know if you had noticed any improvement in the changes of pace with respect to the Fenix 3 or 620.
        PS: When will you have the vertical Ambit test?

  4. Good morning, first of all great analysis of the device, a question regarding the connectivity, you only have it with Android or also with iOs, I have seen it in other models but in this one you don't refer to it.
    A salute.
    Carlos Gallego

  5. One question Eduardo, do you have any news of a possible 635 with the wrist sensor?
    Thank you

    1. No, at the moment there is no forecast for a 635. I don't think it's close, as many of the advanced features of the 630 are based on the use of the HRM-Run sensor. If we take it out of the equation, the 635 would be... a 235.

      1. Good morning Eduardo, to have the functions that you mention with the use of the sensor it must necessarily be the HRM Run? or you can also a cheaper Garmin band compatible with the 630?.
        Thank you

        1. Yes, you need some of the more advanced models, the normal one is no good.
          HRM-Run, HRM-RUN v2 or HRM-TRI

  6. Hi, Eduardo, I read your analysis and congratulations are in order.
    I have a doubt regarding the HRM-Run band. You say textually "this new band can not be washed in the washing machine (by not poder remove the sensor), so Garmin recommends washing it by hand after every 7 uses.". However on the garmin website of the product ( specifies "Water rating: 5 ATM". It is clear that the washing machine should not be the same as submerging it, but don't you think this is illogical? if it is so watertight it should not have problems.

    Greetings and thank you.

    1. It is clear that it has water resistance (otherwise sweat would kill the sensor in a very short time), but a washing machine has many more complications than simply being immersed in water (spin, detergents, etc).

  7. Hello again Eduardo. At the end I took the FR630, but I do not know if it is my impression but I see little contrast, very dull colors, I do not know if it will be so or it is my perception.
    Of course it's not a smartwatch but sometimes inside I have a hard time seeing it and I have to move my wrist a bit and get a good angle.
    Does it happen to you?

    1. The screen, by default, is not illuminated. Therefore indoors, if there is little light, you will have to activate the lighting to see it. Unlike an LED screen, it uses ambient lighting to reflect off the screen and illuminate it. So unlike LED screens, the more ambient light (sunny day outside) the better it looks.

  8. I congratulate you for the information you provide, it is highly interesting and instructive.
    I have a Timex heart rate monitor with a band but it is very annoying, because it is rigid. I was thinking of buying a Fr630, but I had the doubt of how complicated podía be to understand it. My sport activity is running 4 times a week and 2 times a week swimming, so I am going to decide for the Fr235. For this reason I really want to thank you because buying something and then not understanding it for the amount of features it has, is a downer. Greetings from Argentina!

    1. Thank you.

      If you go swimming often (and don't need to create advanced training) you should take a look at the Vivoactive HR.

  9. Congratulations, I had a Garmin fenix 2 and it was stuck, so I had to change it. I am thinking and hesitating between the 630 and the 235. It would be for cycling, I have a cadence sensor, speed sensor and band (I had it with the fenix 2) I would like to know which of these 2 watches would be compatible with these devices I have. I am looking especially for my activity that is cycling that is very clear in which heart rate zone I am working, and that is compatible with the previous sensors of course.
    Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Both are compatible with all the sensors you have (including running dynamics on the 630 with the HRM-Run sensor), and when it comes to cycling, they are exactly the same in terms of performance.

      1. I finally bought the 630 through your links and I love it so far, I have to get it because it has a lot of screens, options, ...... but I have a problem, well 2, how do I link my sensors? Both the HRM-Run belt and the Cadence sensor for the bike? I can't find anywhere on how to do it
        Thank you!

        1. First of all, thanks for helping the site!

          To add the sensors you simply have to enter the configuration and sensors menu, and from there you can add them.

  10. Hi, Andres,

    Very good article, great information, thanks for the dedication and sharing of information.

    I have the garmin 630, with the red runner's stripe. However, I am destined not to run (lumbar problems) if I can cycle on a double suspension.
    I want to use the watch for VO2 and lactate. Reading the manual, it indicates that you cannot perform the lactate test without having the VO2 max.
    And this is where I have the problem. When I go out to pedal for 10 minutes, I can't understand how to generate the statistics, or is it that it can only be achieved by jogging?

    Greetings and again, thank you

    1. The VO2Max and lactate threshold calculations are for running only, not cycling. And for cycling, devices that do support VO2Max (Fenix 3, 920xt, Edge 520, Edge 1000), you need to have a paired power meter.

  11. Hi Eduardo, I have a problem with the FR630's Wifi. In Garmin Express - Tools - Wifi Networks, I add my network and my password but once I remove it from the usb it doesn't connect to the network. Do you know what it could be? I've deleted it a bunch of times and added it again and nothing, it comes out as offline.

    1. It's probably because the router doesn't support the clock for some reason. Try adding another network and connecting to it to confirm that it's not a clock problem.

    2. Good morning, Michelangelo,
      A week ago I bought a Forerunner 530 and I have the same problem as you.
      I tried several Wifi on two routers and nothing.
      Did you get to solve the problem?.
      Thank you,

  12. Hi, Eduardo,

    I have purchased a Garmin 630 and to this day I am happy.
    Today when I went to put on my watch to go to training, I turned it on and in two seconds it went off, still having this half load.
    I only use the watch for training, not for day-to-day use, and I don't understand how having half a charge and being totally off can drain the battery.
    Can it be a factory problem?
    What can I do?

    Thank you

    1. Even if the watch is turned off, it is possible for the watch to remain in "standby" mode. And all batteries lose some charge even when not in use.

      Anyway, observed, and if it is very noticeable you should make use of the warranty.

  13. Hi, congratulations on the tests, they're great! I wanted to buy a 630 but without an hrm sensor, I wanted to take advantage of the band and sensor of the Garmin 620 that has died on me. Do I lose any function or does the 630 work exactly the same with the sensor of the old 620?

    Thank you for your response!

  14. Hi, Eduardo,
    I have an FR610 that I think is starting to fail me. Yesterday in a long run, it went into standby mode (it disconnected and connected only a couple of times) without touching anything but the touch screen. Thanks to that I did 2.5 km too much. Could this be because it is reaching the end of its life or maybe some dirt on the buttons that makes them stick?
    Secondly, I would like to have your recommendation in case I have to change the model. I would like to try a touch screen and wrist sensor, discarding the price as a determining factor.
    Thank you very much for your very useful blog and for your help. Best regards

    1. Well, there is no touch screen clock with an optical sensor... The closest thing you're looking for (the 630) would be the 735XT (the test will be this week or next), which has all the features of the 630, optical sensor and other sports possibilities.

      But you must choose between optical sensor or touch screen.

  15. Hi Eduardo. A geeky question: Do you have any experience with "Km 0" heart rate monitors? They are watches coming from exhibition, overstock,... that are delivered 100% operational and with official warranty Garmin of one year. Best regards

      1. Hello again, Eduardo.
        I have already decided on Amazon and bought it through your link. Thank you very much for all your technical support. The only weird thing is that Amazon says "New release: available in pre-sale This product is already available in pre-sale, although the manufacturer has not yet confirmed the date of availability. You will not be charged until the product is shipped and, moreover, if the price changes until the time of release, you will pay the lower price.

        1. Thank you, Ignacio.

          I see it as in stock, but if you have ordered it correctly (and you have received the configuration email and it appears in your orders) you will have no problem.

  16. Good afternoon, Eduardo.
    I would like to know which one you would recommend between the V800 and the 630. Today they are both very well priced on Amazon, and I don't know which one is better. The use I would give it would be to run mostly and occasionally bike routes.
    Thank you very much.

    1. As a running watch, the 630 is a better choice. More complete and with more features focused on running. The V800 would be a better choice if you did more multisport activities or thinking about swimming.

      Remember to buy the watch through the links I provide on the page, that way you will help me to continue doing tests like those of the V800 and 630 😉

      1. And to be the day-to-day clock apart from training, what would be your choice?
        I'll keep your links in mind! 😉

  17. Hi Eduardo, could you tell me the name of the stress application, I can't find it in the iq catalog.

    Thank you and a greeting.

  18. Hi Arturo, congratulations on your analysis and your website. It helped me a lot when I bought this watch, which I did through your link.
    I wanted to ask you a question, and that was to know what program you use for the heart rate tracks, because I want to compare in "the same graph", the result of several workouts, I usually do in the same distance, and so see my progression, because with garmin connect or endomondo, I can only see one graph at a time, per workout and does not let me compare the workouts. Thank you very much.

  19. Good afternoon. A question. On my old Garmin 310XT, when I was running or walking in the mountains, I could memorize a waypoint at any time by going to GPS. On the 630, how can I do it when I am in an activity? It only offers me "Locations" when I select the activity, but not when I am running/walking within it. On the other hand, once the location is stored, how do I retrieve them to Garmin Connect to work with them? Finally, when it dumps the activities to Garmin Connect, it does not detail the data per lap, but it does on the watch, do I have to configure something for it? Thanks in advance.

    1. The 630 has no navigation function, so it is not possible to save locations.

      As for the details per lap, if you have activated auto lap (or the marks manually) they appear at the bottom of the activity, in its corresponding tab

  20. Hi: Thanks for all the information posted. It's very helpful. I have a 630 and will probably have to swim eventually. What's the best way to get swimming data, link to garmin's HM Swin tape or buy another watch just for swimming.
    Thank you very much in advance,

    1. With the 630 there is no possibility to record swimming information. If you are happy with the 630 I would recommend the 735XT, with which you can synchronize the HRM-Swim sensor. The other functions are the same as you have in the 630.

  21. Greetings, Eduardo, and congratulations on your page. I wanted to ask you something...

    I currently have a Garmin 620 that I have to replace for various reasons, but I'm not in a hurry because at the moment I'm pulling with it although the battery life I think I would no longer cover a marathon (3:00/3:40 hours). My profile: I only run with the gps, coming to use it up to 5-6-7 times a week in outdoor training and tape as preparation for marathons on asphalt or mountain. Sporadically I do swimming and cycling but complementarily, so you can say that here I would not use it because for example by bike I go with mobile endomondo and chimpum.

    As this gps thing is changing so fast, I ask you: which GPS would you recommend me to go for, the 630? Do you know when the 630 will replace the Garmin and where the "pure running" gps are evolving to? Do I wait for the next Garmin release of "pure" running gps? I have read on pages and forums about rumors that this summer-autumn would come out a more evolved substitute. Thanks

    1. When Garmin replaces the 630 (if it does, then the 735XT My recommendation is that if the model currently on sale meets your requirements, go for it.

      1. That was quick. Thanks for your answer.
        Could it also be an option, even if I only use it for running, to take the 735XT only with the HRM-Run tape, as opposed to the 630HRM-Run? Would it be worth paying something else to get almost the same utility out of it?

  22. Good morning, Eduardo. First of all, great post.
    I bought the Forerunner 630 and today when I sync it the activities are not transferred, the activity tracking data is transferred but the rest is not.
    What could it be? Besides, the time doesn't automatically adjust, I'm a little worried, actually.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. It's possible that the file has been corrupted. It happens to me sometimes too.

      Download the file by connecting it directly to your computer by cable and try to upload it manually to Garmin Connect. It will probably tell you that the file is wrong.

      Anyway, you will have to take that file out of memory in order to perform the synchronizations, until you do so it will continue to give errors.

      1. Good night, Eduardo,

        I think I have podido see the root of the problem, it turns out that the Garmin I bought from a page where the products come from Hong Kong (in fact on the box of the watch says on one side "Asia version").

        I have seen that the activity I have done today on 3 May 2016 has been recorded. In that activity there is an informative asterisk which says that due to the change of time slot the data is not precise yet, but it will be more precise tomorrow. I will wait one day therefore.

        Thank you for your suggestion anyway, best regards!

  23. Hello good afternoon Eduardo, the first thing is to congratulate you on your page.
    I have the 630 and now I want to buy the breast band. I'm a little lost here. There's some difference in features between these two:

    I understood that as long as they had the runner's icon they would provide me with the advanced metrics. It pulls me back from the HRM-Run to be a block with the tape. How does that work? That's why I'm attracted to the first model, I can always change the tape and not have to spend so much money if it breaks down.

    I don't want to lose any functionality, because it would be like having a Ferrari with a Golf engine.


  24. Hi, Eduardo,
    I have a question about the configuration of the FR630 and I can't find the solution. When I put in weekly workouts, for example series of 1.5 Kmy a long run of e.g. 15 km, the following happens to me when I look at what I've done in Garmin Connect:
    - In the series, the records are divided into 1 km and the rest of the distance with the consequent division of times, beats, cadence, etc (the one I do in 1 km and the rest).
    - On the long print run, everything's correct. I get individual records for every mile.

    I change the settings and remove the 1km units and the following appears in Garmin Connect:
    - In the series, the records appear correctly, divided into 1.5 km with all their individual data
    - On the long run, a single 15km record

    I'd like you to help me set it up to have
    - In series, with records divided by the desired distances
    - In long print runs, with individualized records of each km.
    Is this possible without changing the configuration as you make series or long runs?
    Thank you very much for your help.

    P.S. They should make you a Garmin ambassador. You're a lot more didactic and attentive than their customer service. I asked Garmin about this a year ago and I'm still waiting.

    1. What you need to do is use two different profiles, one for the long runs and one specifically for the series, so you don't have to go around changing settings every time you do a workout of one kind or another. Being able to create several training profiles is one of the differences of the 630 from the more basic 230.

  25. Hi Eduardo, I'm quitting swimming and so I'm changing my FR 920xt to FR 630. Are HRMs incompatible? Does the old band stop reading any new data?

    Greetings and thanks

  26. Greetings again. I want to buy a Garmin Fenix 5 or 5X, but I have a question: I have read you clearly that only the 5x has the possibility to load maps. The question is: If I go on the street with a 5, can I follow a normal GPS route? I mean, like a car navigation system? or is that only possible with a 5x?

    1. The 5X is the only one that has the possibility to create a route directly on the clock. The Fenix 5 has to have the route pre-loaded.

  27. Good morning, Eduardo,
    I have a question, see if you can help me!
    I want to buy a watch to train. My workouts are mostly in the gym (treadmill and bike) and from time to time I race outside and some popular races (10 km for now).
    The economic issue is not a problem when deciding.
    I have many doubts if the right watch is the 630, the 735,... which one would you recommend? I like very much the forerunners because they are generally nice and I can use them also daily and measure activity.
    Thanks a million in advance!
    A salute,

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