Sometimes less is more. At least that’s what Garmin is hoping to show with the launch of its new Forerunner 30 running watch, which has heart rate tracking and a built-in GPS, but not a lot else. At just £129.99, however, it might be the best bargain running watch you can buy.

The stripped-back approach is evident in the name of this Forerunner, with the 30 being launched a year after the 35. Everyone knows higher numbers are better, so it’s clear that the 30 is designed to be a more basic version of the 35, removing some of the features in the latter – such as multiple sports tracking and interval training – to make it £40 cheaper.

The Forerunner 30 only has a running option on the watch itself. Activities can be recategorised later in the Garmin app, as cycling or walking or whatever, but really the Forerunner 30 is a running watch.

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The simplicity of this will appeal to many runners. Your runs are tracked with all the key stats shown on the watch – time, distance, pace, heart rate, calories and even cadence – and the Forerunner 30 will also give an estimation of your VO2 max and resting heart rate.

Everyday tracking stats like steps, intensity minutes, calories and 24/7 heart monitoring are also present on the Forerunner 30. The watch’s battery life lasts five days in smartwatch mode and eight hours when the GPS is engaged.

While the Forerunner undoubtedly packs in plenty of features for £129.99, you can get a more impressive GPS watch for £10 less, with the basic TomTom Spark 3, which has multiple sport modes and structured workouts and costs £119.99. However, if you want heart rate monitoring on the TomTom Spark 3 you have to stump up £169.99 for the Cardio version, so if it’s ticker-tracking you’re after on your runs, the Forerunner 30 may well be the one for you.

If you’re primarily a runner and don’t mind organising your workouts the old-fashioned way – by pressing the lap start/stop button – the Forerunner 30 might be a real bargain. However, for just £40 more you can get the Forerunner 35 or TomTom Spark 3 Cardio and given the extra features they offer, that will always be a tempting upgrade.


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