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Garmin introduces Forerunner 30, reduced performance for a more affordable price


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Garmin surprises us today with the presentation of a new model. And it does so not because of its performance or new features, but quite the opposite. You probably need to get back on track, because Garmin has indeed fallen back on the model number. And the fact is that last year we already had the Garmin Forerunner 35 among us and now they have decided to introduce the Forerunner 30... strange, I know. And no, I haven't rescued an article from a year ago, it's a "new" product even if it seems to be exactly the same.

So... if it's the same as last year's and it's called something else... what's the difference? Good question. The FR30 starts from FR35 Garmin has decided to reduce its performance even further and, in turn, reduce the price.

Differences between Garmin Forerunner 30 and Forerunner 35

Contrary to what usually happens in these cases in which I specify what the base model is and what is added on top of it, today's case is quite the opposite. The Forerunner 30 is the "lite" version of a watch that already does not have many features. That is, as if we remove the sugar from a Diet Coke...

These are the functions that Forerunner 30 does NOT have (and that are present in Forerunner 35 from a year ago).

  • Interval training mode: NO
  • Running/Starting mode: NO
  • Virtual Pacer Mode: NO
  • Support for external sensors: NO
  • Possibility of transmitting heart rate by ANT+: NO
  • Widget with weather forecast: NO
  • Music control on the phone: NO
  • Activity profiles in addition to career: NO
  • Heart rate, time, distance, or calorie alerts: NO
  • Clock display customization: NO

At this point the question remains... would you recommend this watch? NOT.

I don't see the point. The Forerunner 35 is a basic watch that bases the entire wearing experience on simplicity. It's not overly functional or complicated to wear, even for those who are more technologically challenged. There's nothing new, not even a design innovation, or the addition of the revamped optical sensor with improved performance. Well, there's a purple strap now and the turquoise color is slightly darker.

Garmin Forerunner 30

The only objective of the Forerunner 30 is to be able to compete with more economical models, such as the Polar M200. And to do so, wouldn't it be more practical to reduce the price of the Forerunner 35? Obviously the production cost of the new model is zero. Simply prepare a new packaging and load the software with reduced performance in some units on the assembly line, and "voila", we have a new watch.

I would only see some logic if it was a model destined for the American market. In the United States it is not like here, where each seller can set the price of a product freely. There the brand sets the price and it remains unchanged except for VERY occasional discounts or loyalty programs. But the strange thing is that the FR30 is a model that for the moment will only be sold in Europe and for the moment will not be taken to the USA.

This may lead us to the possibility of seeing the Forerunner 35 even cheaper than the Forerunner 30, since the former has been on the market for a year while the FR30 is "new". And it is not that Garmin has decided to put a knockdown price on it, on the contrary. Its introductory RRP is 149 €, when today it is possible to buy the FR35 for 159


Really, if you're looking for a simple, easy-to-use watch, discard Forerunner 30 (unless you find it under $100) and go straight to the originally designed model with all its features intact.

And with that... thanks for reading!

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. I've been using the FR35, almost a year now and the truth is that it's very good as a basic watch, only because of the loss that it means not having a bike or walking profile, or the interval training (even if it's basic), makes this watch not very recommendable, and more so when the FR35 I've seen it in some punctual offer at 130 ?.

    1. That's right, I don't think it's very complicated to find the complete model that is cheaper than the lighter one, and if it's more expensive, the price difference doesn't compensate for the loss of performance either.

  2. Another case. If I'm not confused the vivoactive hr has gps, pool swimming, but no open water swimming. It looks like it is simply a software issue. It's possible that it doesn't have open water swimming because they didn't want to put it on and thus discriminate it from other superior models.


    1. Many times the differences are due to external developments from other companies, and they have to pay royalties for each unit sold that equips a function. It is not always a matter of cutting software to protect the superior model.

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