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Garmin Forerunner 201 Wrist-Mounted GPS Fitness Computer
List Price: $167.99

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Product Description

Garmin Forerunner 201 GPS Training Assistant - The Forerunner 201 offers athletes an easy-to-read display, ergonomic wristband, and integrated GPS sensor that provides precise speed, distance, and pace data. It's a compact, lightweight, accurate training assistant with performance tracking, auto-lap, auto-pause and more. The Forerunner 201 is easy to use right out of the box and delivers the benefits of GPS technology at an affordable price. Working out with the Forerunner 201 means you're never alone in your personal training, because the unit provides a Virtual Partner. This unique feature allows you to set your training goal by configuring your Virtual Partner's pace and workout distance. You'll get a graphic perspective of your performance by viewing your pace in relation to your Virtual Partner's pace, so you can always see at a glance if you're keeping up or falling behind. Includes - Wrist strap, AC Charger

Combining powerful performance-tracking features with a GPS receiver, the Garmin Forerunner 201 offers runners and hikers a unique way to track their exercise regimens and goals. Unlike its main competitor, Timex's BodyLink sport monitoring system, the Forerunner 201 integrates the GPS receiver into a single body (BodyLink has separate housings for watch and GPS).



1. Allows you to set up profiles for running, biking, and another sport.
2. Set up workouts with specific durations and targets (speed or heart rate).
Calories burned
Heart rate
Sports profiles1
Advanced workouts2
PC interface

Analyze workout data on PC
Size (inches, WxDxH) 3.3 x .9 x 1.7 3.3 x .7 x 1.7 3.3 x .7 x 1.7
Weight (ounces, with batteries) 2.6 2.75 2.75
Batteries 2 AAAs, 15 hours Rechargeable, 15 hours Rechargeable, 14 hours
At first, the device felt a little bulky on my wrist, both in weight and in size (it measures 3.26 by 1.71 by 0.69 inches). But it really is light enough (less than 3 ounces) that it felt comfortable and transparent. I did, however, position the band a bit higher up my arm to ensure full mobility of my wrist, as the length of the Forerunner tended to get in its way.

The large display--with equally large, easy-to-read characters--helps you avoid having to squint at the readout. Just a quick glance at your numbers and you'll maintain your training concentration. The six rubber buttons on the front of the chassis are easy to access (unless you're wearing bulky gloves). I easily got the promised 13 hours out of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. At the end of the day, I'd just recharge it for around two hours and it would be ready for me the next morning.

While this is definitely a workable GPS receiver, the Forerunner is slim on overall GPS features--which is not to its detriment (think of it as a performance monitor with a dash of GPS). That said, the Forerunner was able to pick up a GPS signal just about wherever I went outside (though it had very slight hiccups in the center of downtown). But if you're looking for a full-fledged tracking device, the Forerunner isn't for you. (You'll want to start with a basic GPS unit like Garmin's eTrex.)

The Forerunner 201 has a variety of helpful tracking, monitoring, and navigational features. The History function enables you to view your workout statistics broken down by individual days, cumulative weeks, or your entire workout history (if you track different workouts during the same day, they'll be broken out as different laps). You can even view a map of your route. And much like other GPS units, you can save waypoints (called "locations" in Forerunner parlance) to mark the coordinates of a place you want to return to later.

Most interesting is the Virtual Partner mode, which enables you to set goals for a workout which will then be completed by a digital character displayed on the Forerunner's screen. You can then see how far off the time, pace, or distance you are of your virtual training buddy's; your digital character even stops when you do (though the buddy keeps on going). I found that, unless you've got a good idea as to your pace or distance, you'll have a couple of trial-and-error training sessions to get in sync with your buddy. I cut short my first attempt after my buddy got so far ahead of me that he disappeared off the screen (which I'd like to believe was not due to my woeful pace).

I was disappointed at not having the LogBook software, which enables you to keep a journal of your exercise activities (it was not available at the time of this test). But overall, the Forerunner 201 is a very useful exercise-monitoring system that will be prized by anyone involved in serious physical training. --Agen G.N. Schmitz

Auto Menu: Timer pauses when you stop running. Auto lap logs your performance over a predetermined distance.

History: Review training history by day or week.

Map: Navigate back to the start or to a stored location.

Virtual Partner: Set time, pace, and distance goals, and train with a "virtual partner."


  • Loaded with performance-tracking features for the serious athlete
  • GPS functionality a bonus, especially in referring back to previous routes
  • Virtual Partner feature offers a fun, competitive way to keep you concentrated on training
  • Lack of Logbook software at time of test
  • Virtual Partner feature takes some trial-and-error adjustments

Finally, an alternative to awkward pedometers and cycling computers. The Forerunner 201 offers athletes an easy-to-read display and integrated GPS satellite receiver that provides precise speed, distance, and pace data--all in one compact unit that straps to your wrist. It's a lightweight, accurate training assistant with performance tracking, auto-lap, auto-pause and more. And because it is a high quality Garmin GPS device, you get many of the features GPS users have come to rely on, such as precise latitude, longitude, altitude data. Choose either the 201 model for rechargeable power or the 101 if you prefer to use 2 AAA batteries. The Forerunner 201 is easy to use right out of the box and delivers the benefits of GPS technology at an affordable price.

To please folks who are passionate about their exercise and training, Garmin has added something special to the Forerunner 201 called the Virtual Partner. The feature allows you to set your training goal by configuring your Virtual Partner's pace and workout distance. You'll get a graphic perspective of your performance by viewing your pace in relation to your Virtual Partner's pace, so you can always see at a glance if you're keeping up or falling behind.

Almost as important as the training device itself are the accessories to integrate it with your active lifestyle. If you're into cycling, the best way to keep an eye on your GPS while you ride is with a bike mount bracket that straps to the handlebars of your bike, motorcycle, or whatever you're traveling with for easy viewing.

Other Forerunner 201 features:

  • Mark specific locations, and then look-up and navigate to these points using an electronic map.
  • Retrace your steps to a starting point or reverse your normal route for routine variation.
  • Amount of calories burned can be tracked and calculated over the course of a workout.
  • Lap history--such as lap time, lap distance, and average pace--can be stored for up to two years.
  • Performance data can be automatically archived and calculated to provide an accurate record.
  • Automated stopwatch provides auto-lap and auto-pause features.
  • Lap timer indicates when a certain speed is reached or when you've fallen below a pre-set level.
  • Pace whistle sounds alert when you begin traveling slower or faster than your desired pace.
  • Distance whistle sounds when you reach a specified duration or distance in your workout.
  • Download free Garmin software to transfer data from your Forerunner 201 to your PC for storage and analysis.

What's in the box:

  • Forerunner 201 unit
  • Wrist strap
  • A/C desktop charger with serial interface
  • Waterproof, wrist-mounted training device/GPS receiver for tracking lap times, distance, and calories burned
  • Integrated GPS receiver displays your progress on favorite routes and saves up to 100 locations
  • Virtual Partner mode sets time, pace, and distance goals and races you against digital competitor
  • History function breaks down workout statistics by day or cumulative weeks; includes serial PC interface
  • Adjustable wristband and AC desktop charger; measures 3.26 x 1.71 x 9.69 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty

Customer Reviews:

  • the purchase was a mistake
    I bought the Garmin Forerunner 201 thinking that I could use it in the UK . Unfortunately it doesn't work here ... I'm a bit surprised that there wasn't any warning about not being able to work outside the USA.
    I would like to return it if possible . ...more info
  • Garmin Forerunner 201
    Worked well in wide open spaces but easily lost GPS signal if running on trails or in city. Also, battery stopped charging after 11 months. Would've expected more longevity but not a bad product for someone trying a GPS for the first time. ...more info
  • Pleased
    Excellent product. Gives an extremely accurate read out. The free software downloaded from is easy to use and fun. One thing, the cable it comes with to connect to your computer has a serial port on it, we bought a serial to usb adapter (about $30) so we can plug it in to the front of our computer....more info
  • The Garmin is SERIOUS!!!
    As a distance runner, it is very helpful while training. It tells me the distance I've ran as well as the time by minutes and seconds. It's got the backlight for hours of darkness and is very easy to read while running. I really have nothing bad to say about this product. I would recommend this for anyone who is serious about fitness. NEOSOUL06...more info
  • GREAT PRODUCT A+++++++++++++
    This is a great item for walking/running. It calculates how fast and how far you went. It also is rechargable which is great because you don't have to worry about replacing batteries. It also has a lot of other features including one that notifies you if you drop down below a desired speed. I would recommend this for anyone who is an avid walker/runner. ...more info
  • Garmin GPS
    Awesome - bought Nov 2004 and it still has the 1st mile i ever ran (11/26/04). Screen is larger and easier on the old eyes to see than the newer models. Only thing i couldn't do was get it to download into my computer. But, would buy this same model again....more info
  • unrealiable
    This damn thing just quit working in the middle of my runs. Very frustrating. Just outside the 1 year warranty period the damn thing just stopped working, or rather it worked but then would just quit at random intervals during my training runs. For a runner it was not worth the hassle....more info
  • Great Product
    I have owned one of these for three years. It has worked perfectly, with accurate distance and overall pace times. It sometimes takes a while to acquire a signal, especially if there are tall buildings or if you've moved a long distance since you last used it (another state or country). I even ran it through the wash accidentally a month or so ago, and it still works! I just pulled it out, let it dry out on the counter, and no problem... amazing! Highly recommended....more info
  • Good runner product
    I really liked this product and it helped me to train. The only problem is that it loses the GPS signal from time to time, which I would not expect because I live in a large city (Population>1million). This only happens every once in a awhile though, usually its great....more info
  • Can't run without my Garmin!!!
    I purchased the 201 for a friend who is a big time marathon runner and she can't run without it now. I purchased the 301 for myself and love it. The only difference is the heart rate monitor which I never use anyways. There are only 2 draw backs... if you are running in an area with a lot of trees the monitor will loose its satalite signal or if you run by huge grain elevators!!! The other draw back is when you are running with a group sometimes you pick up other peoples heart rates or at times it will even go back or skip ahead a 10th of a mile or so....more info
  • My Garmin GPS
    This gadget is awesome! I am still learning about it but am very impressed!...more info
  • hard to charge after a while
    I am absolutely addicted to my Forerunner 201. After a year or so, the contacts became worn off, so it was difficult to charge. I owned mine for almost two years and it has died completely on me. I miss it....more info
  • Overall, good product
    I've had my FR for about a year now and all-in-all it's a good product.
    For the price, it's the cheapest/best you'll get in that range. However, the 301 has dropped to around $150 and it includes a heart rate monitor and a USB connection interface. For a couple bucks more, that's the way to go.
    Top of the line now is the 205 and 305 (w/ heart rate). The number one problem with this watch is the GPS connection is tenuous. There are too many times I'm running and I lose the signal for no apparent reason (i.e. clear skies and little tree cover). This is rectified with the more recent FR's- but for around $100, this one still gets the job done. But if you're very concerned with accuracy 100% of the time, spring for one of the better ones....more info
  • Gift for a friend who absolutely loves it
    I did a lot of research before I picked this for a friend and she never leaves for a run without it now. It's actually helped her to keep up her pace (and sometimes pick it up) in 5k's. She had no complaints....more info
  • garmin forerunner 201
    The Garmin Forerunner 201 has already improved running for me, not only do I know how far I have ran, I know how fast I have been running, and even have reference points for where I have been. The unit itself is lightweight, easy to use, waterproof, and has a rechargeable battery. The charger itself is all too easy to use and has an adapter for 110-240v outlets, the plug can also be changed on the charger to fit a variety of outlet types. The screen is farely large and the numbers are easy to read, the button layout is simple and if you just want it to time your run its a two button affair. All in all a very good buy it will improve your runs especially if you like to try new places....more info
  • Not for everyone
    I was really excited about the features that this product has. I was training for a half-marathon, and was really looking forward to the training buddy feature. But when I tried to use it, it never found the satelite signal. We live in an area where there are lots of trees. I went down to the beach where it was a little more open, but it still wouldn't pick up a signal. No matter where I tried, there was no signal. So I wasn't even able to test it to see if it worked, or if it was what I really needed for training. I still like the idea, and maybe when we move to some place with less trees, I might try buying it again. So for anyone who lives in a wooded area, it's probably not for you. If you don't, then it's probably great. ...more info
  • Excellent Product
    Been using my Garmin 201 for 2 years now and I hate to go for a run without it.

    Pros: Accurate distance, ending average pace, automatically calculates split times, lightweight, computer interface keeps my running log. My friend's locked up and she was very happy with the replacement customer service from Garmin.

    Cons: The current pace is unreliable, but the ending average pace is accurate, as is the distance. The calories burned measurement seems to be way off and I can't seem to find if I have a setting wrong which is affecting it. The wrist band is a bit tricky to get off in order to wash it and you need to carefully handle the little pins to keep them from flying across the room ... yes, I suggest washing it, you'll know when the time has come. It does take a long time to acquire, sometimes up to 5 minutes on a route which you run repeatedly.

    Still, I love my Garmin and most people in our Run Club are Garmin fans....more info
  • Must have GPS for training
    Love this GPS. I use it for both running and for inline skating. Works great for both. Easily calculates calories burned, speed, pace, mileage and much more. I dont find myself using all of the features but they are there if needed. Battery lasts a long time and I like that it actually tells you how many hours are left on the battery so you know if you have enough for your workout. All stats are stored for 1 year. Havent used the computer interface yet but I look forward to seeing how the maps and data come out. If I were to purchase another gps I would get the version with the heart rate monitor. This is fine but for convience it wouldnt be bad to have the heart rate monitor combined with the GPS rather than having two seperate units like I use now.
    Have not had problems with using it in poor weather. If I go under thick trees then it may lose its connection but it always picks it back up just fine when I come out.
    Overall, this is a great unit....more info
  • Works great
    I used it the whole time I was in Iraq just to see how I improved on my runs and how long they were. It works great without a flaw....more info
  • MNWolf
    I gave my wife one of these a few years back. We found I was borrowing it so much that we ordered a second one. It's great for monitoring running or biking endeavors. My wife used it in a marathon and loved it....more info
  • Decent Watch for Reasonable Price
    This is a great watch for stepping up your training regimen. It can sometimes be a little off in calculating pace and distance - but not that much. It has a bad rap for not holding a GPS signal, but I haven't lost a signal yet (having run over 60 miles last month with it).

    If your'e looking for something with uncanny accuracy, this might not be the best watch for you. (I run a set course, and the watch will record the distance in a range of 5.5 - 5.95 miles - even though I'm running the exact same route). Also, the auto pause feature can be a bit tricky as it will keep timing after you have stopped or not start right away after you start running again.

    Overall, though, I'm glad I've got it, and it's helping me get faster....more info
  • good companion
    I like having this along with me while I run. The only thing that I miss in this model (as opposed to the 301)is that when you input your personal data it isn't as specific as the 301. It's more general in nature. Example, age, M/F,height....these are not available on the 201. Also, it takes a slight time longer to obtain the GPS signal....more info
  • This Garmin GPS is great
    This is the third Garmin I have, and I use it for run, when I ride the car or travel and also when I sail. And after I have a log for every place I was and also I can import in Google Earth to see the tracks....more info
  • Garmin Forerunner 201 - A great purchase!
    This is the best "toy" I ever bought for myself. The fact that I can tell what distance I have run is invaluable, as well as the pace. I can check to see if I am slowing down too much, and speed things up. Having all this information in exact form rather than trying to estimate it is wonderful!!! Plus, I found that the half marathon I just ran was actually 13.35 miles, not the 13.1 it is supposed to be!! Very cool, and I highly recommend it! Buttons could be a bit easier to identify as you cross the finish line, but that's all I have to complain about!...more info
  • Garmin Forerunner 201
    Entry level watch but it does all I want and alot more! Owner's manual easy to read, easy to find numerous functions available. Especially like the 'custom' screen I can select w/ any 3 functions, ie distance, current pace, avg pace (my favorite) but could be any 3 I choose. I still haven't fully utilized the watch. For the price difference I like the recharger, better than buying/disposing batteries....more info
  • OLD TECHNOLOGY! - for $45 more get the 205/305!!
    I bought this watch ~7 years ago when it first came out. It was head and shoulders above the Timex product with the remote arm pod and I would have rated it 5 stars back then because it was the best of it's kind. I even used it to go geocaching.

    The problem is, I have to strongly recommend against anyone buying it today - I was "lucky" to have lost this kayaking a couple of years ago at which point I upgraded to the 305. It is SOOOOO much better that I have to now rate the 201 as one star in comparison.

    First, the 201 has a very unusual shape. The 305 is a bulky watch but the looong 201 prevented you from wearing gloves - a real problem when skiing, cycling, etc.

    Second - and more importantly, the 305 has the SIRF Star III Chipset which means it can lock on and hold the lock better.

    Imagine if you will - you're all ready to run and pumped up - whoops, you now have to wait an extra few minutes to lock your position, otherwise it cannot tell you your speed, location, etc.

    My old 201 locked on far faster than my running partner's Timex (He had to hang it on a tree while he was getting ready since it often took 5 minutes or more to lock.) the 305 can lock in 5-10 seconds most days while the 201 would lock in ~2 minutes *most* of the time but occasionally would take up to 5 minutes. If you were ~100 miles away from your prior location, the 201 would take up to 10 minutes to get a new lock. ARRRGGGGHH.

    Also the 201 would lose lock all the time when running in even moderate tree cover or heavy clouds. With the 305 I can even get a lock in my house most of the time.

    Finally, the 201 cannot lock IF YOU ARE MOVING! The 305 can lock even if you're riding a bicycle. I think I've even gotten a lock while driving.

    Yes the 205 and 305 cost more but with the huge difference in functionality I find it astonishing that Garmin would continue to sell the 201 given how much better the 205 and 305 are.

    p.s. Don't bother with the 405. Interesting concept but not practical. Read the reviews.

    If you've found this review helpful, please let me know!...more info
  • Excellent Training Tool
    I was looking for a GPS training/pedometer device to help me get in shape for a 1/2 marathon coming up. I checked at our local Sports Authority store and found this one for about $200. When I saw the same one on Amazon for just over $100 I got excited! I love this thing. It is easy to use, sets up training programs for you, and will even navigate you back to your starting location if you get lost on a run/walk. Yes it's great for walking as well as running. The model below this is not rechargeable which was a big selling factor. The model above this is the same but it has the heartrate monitor. This is an excellent buy and an excellent training tool. I highly recommend it....more info