Garmin's latest sports watch gets a new heart rate sensor

Garmin has launched a trio of GPS running watches, including the first equipped with the company's new wrist-based heart rate sensor. The Forerunner 235 uses the "Garmin Elevate" optical sensor that displays heart rate and training zone directly on the wearable. (Its last model, the Forerunner 225 also has an optical sensor, but it was designed by Mio.) That means you'll be able to ditch the chest strap, though you'll pay a considerable $329/£270 for that luxury. If that's too much, Garmin is also offering the similar Forerunner 230 that's bundled with an ANT+ heart rate strap for $299/£240.

The Forerunner 230 runs up to 16 hours on a charge, while the 235 can go 11 hours. Both are compatible with the Connect IQ smartwatch platform, which brings extra watch faces, apps, widgets and more. They also sync with Garmin's latest Connect mobile app, letting you control music on your phone and get lap times on the go. Speaking of which, the app has been updated with a more modern design, and now shows daily snapshots, a calendar, leaderboards and a newsfeed. Users can also share workouts in real time on social media with the "Live Track" feature.

Garmin also unveiled its "most advanced running watch," the Forerunner 630. For $399/£330, it gives you a host of esoteric running data. For instance, you can see things like stride length, ground contact symmetry, vertical ratio (a measure of running efficiency), lactate threshold and performance readiness. It's also Connect IQ compatible and works with Garmin's latest Connect app. Despite the higher price, however, it doesn't include the optical heart rate monitor that the Forerunner 235 has. Instead, you've got to strap an ANT+ device to your chest, and that's not included in the price. Still, if you're a hardcore runner who'll do anything for an edge, we doubt that detail will bother you.