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Garmin's New $169 GPS Running Watch Acts Like a Smartwatch

Garmin already has a healthy lineup of GPS running watches, but its newest addition could hit the sweet spot for those who want to track their runs accurately, but still remain connected to the outside world. The $169 Garmin Forerunner 25, available this fall, is an affordable GPS watch that can also display smartphone notifications such as caller ID, texts, and calendar events.

Like the $139 Forerunner 15, the Forerunner 25 has a black and white LCD display; it not only tracks your runs using GPS, but it can also keep track of your steps, calories and distance during the day via its accelerometer.

MORE: The Best GPS Watches for Sports and Athletics

However, the Forerunner 25 offers a number of improvements over its predecessor. It's thinner, has Bluetooth connectivity (the 15 needed to be plugged in to sync data), and features a 32-percent larger display. The Forerunner 25 will also come in multiple colors and two sizes: black/red or black/blue in a large face, and black/purple or white/pink in a small face. The larger version will last up to 10 hours in GPS mode and 10 weeks in activity mode; the smaller version will last up to 8 hours using GPS and 8 weeks in activity mode.

Via its Bluetooth connection, the Forerunner 25 will be able to deliver smartphone alerts, such as incoming text messages, calls and calendar reminders. However, you won't be able to act on any of these notifications without pulling your phone out of your pocket. Additionally, if you wear your phone while running, you can activate Live Tracking, which broadcasts your position to friends. However, the fact that your phone has GPS obviates the need to wear a running watch, too.

The Garmin Forerunner 25 will be available this fall for $169, or $199 when bundled with a heart rate monitor chest strap. Stay tuned for when we put the Forerunner 25 through its paces.

Mike Prospero

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing the smart home, drones, and fitness/wearables categories. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine or some other cooking gadget.