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Wearable Tech

Garmin debuts entry-level Forerunner 25 with smartphone alerts

Garmin's latest running watch includes GPS activity tracking, and smartphone notifications without breaking the bank.

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Garmin

The Garmin Forerunner 15 was one of our favorite entry-level running watches. It offered GPS tracking for pace and distance, and all-day activity tracking for things like steps and calories burned. Our one complaint was the lack of Bluetooth to sync up with our smartphone.

Garmin seems to have addressed these problems with the Forerunner 25. The company's latest running watch builds on what we loved with Forerunner 15 and adds in extra features. Not to mention that it's also thinner than its predecessor and has a display that is 32 percent larger.

The Forerunner 25 is a basic to midrange running watch that includes all-day activity tracking and smartphone notifications. The built-in GPS is used to accurately track pace and distance, while an accelerometer will track things like steps, calories burned, distance traveled, and sleep at night, similar to products from Fitbit and Jawbone.

Unfortunately, there is no built-in optical heart-rate sensor, and the Forerunner 25 doesn't support Bluetooth chest straps. Your only option is to use one of Garmin's ANT+ chest straps.

The watch can be paired with iPhone and Android devices over Bluetooth. It also includes smart notifications that can alert you to incoming calls, text, emails and calendar events. The alerts, however, aren't on the same level as those of the Apple Watch , Pebble or Android Wear devices. You won't receive notifications from apps such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Forerunner 25 will be able to automatically sync workouts and activity data to the Garmin Connect app when in range of your smartphone. This is something that even the more expensive Forerunner 225 was incapable of doing, instead requiring you to press and hold a button to enter a special syncing mode.

Other running features include Auto Lap and Auto Pause, along with the ability to share workouts in real-time with coaches, teammates and friends through Garmin's Live Tracking feature. There's also no need to remove the watch before showering or swimming. The Forerunner 25 is water-resistant up to 50 meters.

The Forerunner 25 will be available in two different sizes: small and large. The battery on the smaller option is said to last eight hours with an active GPS signal, or up to eight weeks in watch and activity tracking mode. Garmin claims the larger model will last up to 10 hours with an active GPS signal, and up to 10 weeks in activity tracking mode.

The Garmin Forerunner 25 will be available in the third quarter of this year for $170 or $200 when bundled with a heart-rate monitor.