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Garmin Forerunner 50


Garmin today announced a new fitness product, the Garmin Forerunner 50 watch. For us, the most remarkable feature of the Forerunner 50 is that…. ready for this?… it doesn’t have a GPS! Instead, the device works with a “foot pod” which will track your movements by sensing the impact of your footsteps while walking or running. The watch also comes in a form factor which looks much more like a traditional watch– not nearly as bulky as the Forerunner 200/300 series devices.

Garmin Forerunner 50The Forerunner 50 will be sold in a few different combinations, some with the foot pod, some with a heart rate monitor, and all will come with a wireless USB stick so that information can be downloaded wirelessly from the watch to the USB stick and then into your computer.

Perhaps one of the most exciting things about this product is the price. When the Forerunner 50 becomes available in August it will retail for $99. Bundles with the foot pod and heart rate monitor are expected to sell for about $199.

These new watches will also work with Garmin Connect, Garmin’s online training site, so that owners can log their workouts and share that information (if they choose) with friends, family, or coaches.

Garmin faces stiff competition in this market with lots of other devices such as the Nike/iPod combination product, a few other GPS watches, and lots of other pedometer products. It will be interesting to see how well they stack up with this non-GPS product.

31 Responses

  1. I just get my forerunner 50 with HRM, footpod and usb ANT

    – installation and detection
    easier than that does not exist. has been done in no time.

    – Esthetically, it looks like a watch ! not so common for the ones who know Garmin 305.
    the foot pod is quite small and light compared to the other brands.

    – test
    I have calibrated my foot pod and after 7.8 kms, found only a discrepancy of 40 meters.I have adjusted and it is now giving precisely the distance. i tested then by displaying my speed in km/h ad found it equal to the speed calculated on a track. it is a good tool for improvements and training plans !

    the foot pod is not annoying at all. i didn’t feel it.

    the watch has a very readable display. you go through the data with a single button during your workout.
    I would just have appreciated to have more info on a single screen without having to scroll.

    – Data upload.
    you plug the usb key and automatically your workout is uploaded to the computer and the watch memeory is cleared.

    Very good HRM. I advise.

    Brice Denize - January 3rd, 2008
  2. Got a my Forerunner 50 after eveluating and even buying a basic HRM. Took the basic HRM back and got a refund and sprung a bit more and got the Forerunner 50.

    Very happy with it, I got the version with just the heart rate monitor ‘belt’ and use if for cycling. I’ve for a computer on the road bike for speed and cadence.

    I downloaded and installed the software, I was happy that it installed and work perfectly. I run windows 2003 server on the laptop for work and the Garmin apps installed and worked. I’ve had lots of problems with installed CDs who’s software only work on XP so I was happy I didn’t have this problem.

    I was torn between a Polar F6 or the Garmin which were the same price down here in South Africa. Even though the Polar connects to the computer it seems to only download summary data rather than detailed minute by minute data like the Forerunner 50.

    The watch is simple (not a nightware like the cheaper watch I 1st tried). It’s easy to set a zone alarm so that it beeps regularly if you’re either under or over the set zone. The detailed data is also very usefull for viewing on the PC as you get to see how hard the workout or bike ride really was.

    Overall I’ve very happy with the HRM watch.

    Phill - January 6th, 2008
  3. This looks like great competition for Polar who seem to be the first name everyone thinks of when they are looking for a heart rate monitor. I suppose it just means other manufacturers have to try harder!

    Jan of Simply Fitness Gear - January 15th, 2008
  4. Unlike Garmin’s normally excellent products this watch has some serious flaws. After using mine for about 3 months now I have discovered the following drawbacks:

    1. Using it for cycling, if you stop to fix a puncture the RPM/Speed sensor goes into shutdown mode if it does not detect Speed or RPM for a few minutes. This is normal, but the watch then loses sync with the sensor. When you start cycling again, the watch does NOT pick up the RPM sensor again. The only way to see you RPM and Speed again is to stop the current execise and start a new one. This is not a flaw of the sensor itself, as the Edge305 that I also use immediately picks up the RPM/speed again as soon as I start cycling after fixing the puncture.
    2. Where the date is normally displayed the watch shows “LoBatt” when the battery starts going low. This is nice, I thought, until I realized that it keeps the “LoBatt” there no matter what you do. You cannot see the date again until you replace the battery!
    3. This watch’s firmware is not upgradeable. So I am now stuck with these flaws! How do I know, if I buy a newer one, whether these flaws have been addressed?

    Overall I get the impression that the design team at Garmin gave this watch as a project to a junior (or new) engineer to develop, because they simply did not think through everything when developing it. If only they made the firmware upgradeable then it would be fixable, but alas.

    Dirk Meintjies - January 19th, 2008
  5. Could someone help me figure out how to show pace while I’m running? I have the Garmin 50. I’m not sure why this isn’t clear to me…

    lesleigh - March 23rd, 2009
    • Did you figure out the pace question? If not – here it is. When you are in Train mode, hold down view and it will adjust the bottom number that shows. Once you have that wear you want it, then keep hitting view and it will adjust the top number. For example, I have pace on the bottom and total distance on the top. Hope this helps.

      Ginger - April 23rd, 2009
  6. Do you have to calibrate the foot pod when you first use it? I bought my watch with my footpod and thought it would be already done. My watch shows no distance. I was relying on it to show me minutes per mile tp prep me for FLM. But so far i can only time myself which any stopwatch will do! My results get uploaded to my laptop but with no distance. Please help

    gary - April 5th, 2009
    • Hi.

      You need to have these items coupled.
      Read your manual for more details on how to proceed.

      There is an option somewhere in the settings to do so.

      hope it will help

      Brice - May 29th, 2009
    • you need to pair it with your watch again.
      Press mode until the Train page appears.
      Press and hold start/stop.
      Press view to advance to the PUSH PAIR page.
      Press start/stop. Foot mark icon should show up on your watch.

      Good luck.

      taz - February 1st, 2010
  7. I got a forerunner 50, but I’m having problems trying to pair the foot pod with the watch, for some reason the garmin is able to find the heart rate monitor but not the foot pod… I have followed all the instructions according to the manual, but still not able to use the foot pod… is possible that it is damaged? or I need to do something else before return it?. Please help.

    Samantha - August 11th, 2009
  8. You need to change the 3 cell lithium (cr2032) battery in the foot pod, use a nickel coin to turn the back plate counter-clockwise to open, remove existing battery and replace…the LED will give three longer blinks if battery is good, 5-6 quick blinks (or none at all if bad)…that is all.

    ludrick - August 14th, 2009
  9. I have the 50 with the HRM and am looking at buying the foot-pod now. On the Garmin website they show two different models (Part: 010-11092-00 and Part: 010-10998-00) one is about $20 more than the other, the web is not clear at all on the difference. Any help?

    Jared - August 18th, 2009
  10. can the footpod and HRM be used both at the same time?

    Rob - August 19th, 2009
    • yes…absolutely

      luddrick - December 18th, 2009
  11. I also have problem to pair the foot pod and try to replace a new battery but the signal alway breaking up. Will the red LED remain lighted all the time when the foot pod is turned on ? I noticed it blinked when replacing the battery.

    Alex - August 20th, 2009
    • the footpod blinks three times for 2 reasons…(1) the 3 blinks tells you the battery is good…6 quick blinks on the light if it needs to be replaced and (2) the 3 blinks tells you it is active…THE LIGHTS NEVER STAY ON ALL THE TIME…hope this helps

      luddrick - December 18th, 2009
  12. I would like to adjust my calibration factor manually but I don’t have any information on the sensitivity of that number. My footpod adds 7 tenths of a mile over 13.1 miles. My calibration factor is 1.09. What do I do?


    Scooter Scott - September 28th, 2009
  13. In desperate need of an idiots guide to sync my FR50 with my Ant2usb.

    I got it to work on my laptop but that has since died. I can get as far as the computer asking if i want to pair with device (watch) but the option to accept this -as stated in the manual – does not come up on the display on the watch.

    I cannot get it to pair every time as it does not seem to be constant. I feel that the info that is out there does not seem to all be in the same place. It is highly ikely that ia m overlooking something very simple.

    Any help will be gratefly recieved

    Kindest regards!

    JonTom - December 17th, 2009
  14. Check the battery in the watch…these do not last so long…the battery is the lithium 3 volt cell cr2023, also, you might want to re-install software onto your pc from the garmin web site…hope this helps

    luddrick - December 18th, 2009
    • Hi thanks for replying

      The battery gave so i got i changed last weekend. asit happens i am trying again right now. I have got the system to say ‘check device and accept pairing’ but i cannot find how to confirm the pairing on the watch

      JonTom - December 18th, 2009
      • the watch will read ‘paired’ (for footpod and hrm – if using them) when you run through the steps in prepping for your workout

        luddrick - December 18th, 2009
  15. I just got it to say ‘paired’ but it wont work the garmin training centre. it says ‘add user agent not responding’ Starting to lose patients with it! GGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRR!

    JonTom - December 18th, 2009
  16. I just replaced the battery on my garmin forerunner 50 foot pod and watch. It would pair before but now the watch cannot find the pod. I went back to the battery place and got another battery in case but still not success. I have circled out and back into train mode as well.

    any advice?

    laure - December 28th, 2009
  17. I just replaced the battery in my Garmin Forerunner 50, and after replacing the back cover, I am noticing that the slightest bit of pressure to the back casing makes the watch reset itself. I thought that I had not properly installed the battery and that something was loose. I took off the cover again and checked everything…but still resetting itself. After 1 week of this, I decided to replace the battery again, thinking that this may be the problem. After I replaced the battery again, tightened the back casing, and turned on the watch, the same thing was happening again. To beat all, the life of the latest battery was consumed in a matter of 6 days. What in the world can be the problem? This has been the greatest watch, and I do not want to buy another since I have had it less than 1 year.

    Phillip - February 7th, 2010
    • Hi,

      I have had exactly the same problem and it is so frustrating!!!! Was going to replace the battery as a last attempt(not showing low battery)Went out for a run and the miles reverted back to the time twice!!

      Any ideas would be appreciated.

      Stacey - February 18th, 2010
    • I have the same issue. Watch keeps resetting itself, and it does it all the time even when it sits on my desk. Tried everything, now I have it my wrist as I type this with and seems to work fine. Started a run to see how long it take to reset … but it keeps on ticking … ARGH !… In the meantime I did buy a Suunto t6c.

      Gabrielmontreal - August 12th, 2011
      • Same!
        Anybody fixed this?
        Please Help.

        juc - August 15th, 2011
  18. I’ve been using my Garmin 50 for over a year – actually had to have it replaced 2x’s for defects but Garmin was great about this.
    Although I calibrated the first 2…i didn’t bother with this last one. I just ran a 1/2 marathon at what my watch said was a 9:30 – 10:00 pace. I finished almost 13 minutes later than I’d hoped and my final results said I had a 11:03 pace. I guess this means I was also training almost a minute slower than I thought. Can it really be off this much? should I re- calibrate it? I really don’t want to spend the $$$ to up grade to a GPS but it sure would be nice to know my REAL pace!

    Teri - March 24th, 2010
  19. How do I manually calibrate my foot pod with the forerunner 50 when the distance shown 5.63km while the actual distance was 5.81km? What is the calibration factor?
    Thanks in advance!

    Ken Tan - July 29th, 2010
  20. Thank you all for all this information. I was thinking about buying a GARMIN FORE RUNNER 50 but now I’m going to stick with my old “Timex Iron Man GPS” speed and distance watch.

    Lon - October 25th, 2010
    • Nah … you don’t get it. There is a HUGE advantage to having a HRM. Once you get one you can’t do without. Training is not the same. Buy one to do a few runs … then take it back to the store if you do not see the benefit. Understanding how your body behaves is critical.

      Gabrielmontreal - August 12th, 2011

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