Garmin 920XT Review

The 920XT is a new smart watch by Garmen that is an upgrade to the 910 which was released last year. And with this new release, Garmin has seemingly pulled out all of the stops. The 920XTT boasts a slew of new and interesting features, chief among them being a much more rounded triathlon tracking program. We just got our 920XT last week, and we are eager to share our findings. So in this review, we will give a quick rundown of all of the new features offered by this device.

Aesthetics

The 920Xt is a bit on the large side, there’s no denying that. It is very obviously a sport watch. It felt a little big on our wrists, but not unmanageable. That said, the 920XT is super comfortable and impressively lightweight considering its size. It also has a slight curve to better fit your wrist. The top has a large full-color display that is easy to read even in full direct sunlight. There are six buttons for navigating the software, four on the sides and two on the front face. Overall, the device has a very “rugged” feel, and Garmin claims it is highly shock resistant. Obviously we didn’t want to chance testing this!

Features

The 920XT comes with both GPS and GLONAS support, which is great for coverage: if one system goes down the other will still be up and vice versa. It is nice to see that Garmin has decided to include both systems, as most sport watches currently only have GPS support.

At its core, the 920XT is an excellent work out tracker. It will enable you to track your workouts in any sport and is especially useful for swimming, cycling and running. This is a major benefit to those who are training for a triathlon, as the Garmin app has a dedicated triathlon application. For running and cycling you will get all of the standard tracking metrics, such as speed, pace, distance, and time elapsed. The 920 XT can also display your vertical oscillation and ground contact time.

Also, if you're looking for an activity tracker as well as a GPS watch the 920 XT is both of those things: it comes equipped with an internal accelerometer that allows the unit to measure your daily steps, distance taken, and calories burned alongside a daily activity goal and alarm clock. It can give you detailed move reminders and automatic sleep analysis. An added benefit of the accelerometer is that it allows the device to estimate the distance and pace while you're running without a GPS or GLONAS signal. It will also give you your running cadence in real-time on the heads up display, and then a chart at the end of your run on the Garmin connect application.

And if the preset exercises aren’t enough, the device will allow you to create your own profiles. We tested it by creating a kayaking profile and it seemed to work fairly well. It would probably be best to create a profile that is similar to one of the preset sports to ensure maximum accuracy.

The device also allows for a great deal of customization. For instance, we were able to customize the data screens for each application. This is enables the watch automatically switch when you are doing different types of exercise. We tried the standard triathlon switching mode and it performed flawlessly. The device was able to detect when we were switching from running to cycling, and it switched to swimming mode upon contact with the water. 

Water Resistance​

The 920XT is water proof down to 50M and gives you the option of open water or pool swimming. We especially like the open water option, since this is necessary for triathlon training. Open water tracking is a rarity on most fitness trackers but it is starting to become more prolific.

The device also has a standard indoor swimming option. The unit allows you to set pool size and it will give you all of the standard statistics, such as distance, pace, stroke count, calories burned, and your SWOLF score. We ran a quick test in a standard size pool and it was fairly accurate just by itself. The watch was able to pick up each lap but only when we kicked of with a sufficient amount of force. Simply turning wasn't enough. 

Connectivity

The 920XT also has decent hands free support in the form of auto scrolling/pausing. 

Additionally, the 920XT comes stock with dual broadcasting functions, which will allow you to pair the device with ANT+ external sensors like heart rate monitors and power meters.  

In terms of smart watch functions, the 920XT can relay all of your phone notifications to the watch, which will allow you to see useful things like who your last caller was and any incoming texts. It also allows for a live tracking function, which enables others to see where you are if your phone is within range of the device. 

App

Simply put, the app support is fantastic. In addition to having things like a virtual pacer recovery advisor, it also comes with interval training features and the ability to view detailed workout history/daily activity history on the device. Garmin has its competition beat when it comes to the software side of things, and we don’t foresee ourselves using any other app with this device.

With the 920XT you also have access to Garmin connect IQ. This is essentially the company's developer platform that allows you to get new watch faces, widgets, and applications. Connect IQ is still in its early stages but we felt it shows a lot of promise. We will be keeping an eye on this one in the future.

Battery Life

The 920 XT has battery life of about seven days on average. Garman quotes in terms of hours of usage but during our tests  with the GPS in passive mode, it clocked in at right around seven days, which is very good for a smart watch. With the GPS on 100% of the time the watch lasted about 15 hours before needed a recharge. 

Conclusion

The 920 XT is easily one of the best GPS watches on the market. That said, this is a device for highly active users, especially if you are into triathlons. It is also by far one of the most feature packed devices we have ever seen. The device is large but this is to be expected considering it’s supposed to be a sports watch. In terms of capability, it has its competitors beat. At 499, it is more affordable than the most other sport watches considering all of the different options it has. If you are in the market for a sport watch that has all of the bells and whistles and is reasonably priced, we highly recommend the 920XT.

Take a look at our guide here for more information related to triathlon training.

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Alex Fischer