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Wearable Tech

The Forerunner 225 is Garmin's first device to include an optical heart-rate sensor

Garmin's newest watch can measure pace, distance and heart rate while running, along with tracking steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and your sleep at night.


Garmin on Tuesday announced the Forerunner 225, its first device with an optical heart-rate sensor. While the company's watches and activity trackers have supported heart-rate tracking in the past, a rather uncomfortable wireless chest strap was required to do so.

The Forerunner 225 features an optical heart-rate sensor from Mio, the company behind the Mio Alpha . To measure heart-rate, the sensor shines a light into a user's capillaries and measure the frequency at which the blood pumps past. The Apple Watch and Fitbit Charge HR feature similar technologies.

"After more than 10 years of developing GPS running watches we are very excited to team up with Mio to introduce our first device featuring wrist-based heart rate," said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. "Getting and understanding your heart rate is more comfortable and easier than ever with the Forerunner 225's real time results on a colorful gauge -- allowing runners to evaluate and adjust effort quickly so they can focus on their run."

The Forerunner 225 uses GPS to measure pace and distance while running. Many older Forerunner models were required to use a separate footpod for indoor running, however this is no longer the case. An accelerometer allows the watch to provide pace and distance data while running indoors on a treadmill or in areas with poor GPS reception. That same accelerometer allows the Forerunner 225 to double as an all-day activity tracker for measuring steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep at night. Similar to Garmin's Vivofit and Vivoactive , the watch features an inactivity bar with vibration alerts to remind you to get up and move. It also carries a water-resistant rating of 5ATM (up to 50 meters). You can learn more about water resistance ratings in watches and activity trackers here.

The Forerunner 225 is capable of automatically uploading workouts to compatible Android and iOS devices through the Garmin Connect mobile app. Battery life is rated at four weeks in activity tracking mode, or between 7 and 10 hours with an active GPS signal and heart-rate sensor. The wording Garmin uses for battery life makes it sound like the heart-rate sensor will only be active during workouts and not throughout the day, such as in the Apple Watch and Fitbit Charge HR.

The Forerunner 225 will be available for $300 in the US in second quarter of this year. International pricing wasn't announced, although the US price converts to about £190 and AU$375.