Garmin 920XT Unboxing & First Review


Pretty standard fare here for a sport watch – watch, charger, heart rate monitor, and getting started guide.  I was truly hoping that the watch would download my metrics based on previous activities that I had uploaded to Garmin, but that was not the case.  An indoor run produced terrible results.  My pace was grossly overstated.  But once I had an outdoor run in the books, it is actually as close to spot on as I have ever seen on a sport watch, including when using a foot pod to track cadence.

920XT in Box 920XT + Accessories






First “Real” Run

Wow . . .

I have to say that what I was expecting was something close to the Fenix 2 when I was running.  The updated screens are truly an improvement.  I realize that the data is the same as it has always been, but being able to see a meter for my cadence was great.  I felt like all of the screens were more readable (might be due to screen shape as well).

Running Metrics

My first run using the 920XT was the day after a snow and therefore we spent some time avoiding icy patches and deeper snow.  It was a relatively slow run, but if I look past some of the cruddy metrics, it wasn’t so bad.  During the run, I spent some time looking down at the run metrics page.  I was constantly surprised at the display and how I was able to pick up very quickly how I was doing.

Since this first outdoor run, I have found that the 920XT does a better job with indoor running than the Fenix 2 or even the Nike+ GPS watch paired with a footpod.  Over the course of several treadmill runs, I have found it is only off by about 30 seconds per mile based on the treadmill mileage.


One of my biggest fears for cycling was that it would not sync with previous data that I had input for riding.  Since it is winter in Wisconsin and quite cold, I wasn’t sure I would want to go outside and ride 20MPH, creating an unbearable windchill, to get the watch in sync with reality.  Luckily it used all of my previous information and I was able to ride on the trainer without a problem.  Screens are very similar to the Fenix 2, but again, I think because of the shape of the screen and the color display it is much easier to read.

Bike ScreenUltimately, the same metrics are shown here as with the Fenix 2.

Pairing with the speed and cadence sensors went quickly, though I think a low battery on the sensor delayed the pairing slightly.

I have had a few problems connecting to sensors since the first ride, but again, I think this is because I need to replace the battery and have not done so yet.




I am not much of a swimmer as referenced in this post.  I am constantly struggling to breathe and am sure I look like I have a handicap of some sort while swimming.

I mostly look at my laps completed right now, which is prominently displayed on the first page of data.  I haven’t strayed much from that.  I have heard that I can pair the watch with a bluetooth heart rate monitor, but haven’t done so yet.

The other great feature of this watch is that you can use the live track feature for an open water swim as long as you keep the phone above the water.  This may come in useful this summer when we are able to utilize some of the lakes around here for practice.

Other Features

Phone connectivity seems like it would be a great feature, but I have found over the past year or so that this isn’t as productive as one would think.  I tried it on my Fenix 2 for a bit, I tried it with the Vivosmart for a bit, and ultimately have found that I don’t want my wrist buzzing for every phone call, text, email, or notification that I get on my phone.  Sometimes I am not looking at my phone for a reason.  It can be quite distracting when you don’t want to know what is going on.


This is definitely my favorite sport watch that I have used so far.  It could be the color display that makes it better or the shape.  For some reason it is just easier to read, quicker to pick up information and then push it out of view.  While it is all standard information now (excluding the temperature, which I do like on the Fenix 2), I am just more comfortable with this watch.

I also want to mention that my favorite feature is the wifi connectivity.  There is nothing better than walking in the house after a work out and immediately being able to review what you have done without having to plug the watch into the computer to sync it.

As an FYI, I am giving the Vivosmart another shot since the software has been update.  I will put up an update of that review in the next couple of days.  There is something nice about all my data being in one place.