How Well Does the Garmin Fit App for iPhone and Android Work?

How Well Does the Garmin Fit App for iPhone and Android Work?

Garmin Fit App GPS screenshot
Garmin Fit App GPS screenshot.
What We Like
  • Seamlessly integrates your music

  • Syncs with free Garmin Connect online service

  • Tracks and stores heart rate data when used with ANT+ accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Not the app's fault, but smartphones are not waterproof. Be careful.

ANT+ Wireless Heart Rate, Sync to Garmin Connect Online

Add Garmin's new Fit app for iPhone and Android to the short list of fitness apps worth taking with you on your runs, walks, and bike rides. The Fit app turns your iPhone or Android smartphone into a training device that lets you upload your workout data to Garmin's excellent Garmin Connect service for storage and additional analysis.

The Garmin Fit app takes the features a bit further with an accessory wireless ANT+ sensor (iPhone only) that adds heart rate (Garmin wireless heart rate monitor required), bike-pedaling cadence (Garmin cadence sensor required), or treadmill running stats with a Garmin foot pod. 

Helping set the Garmin Fit app apart, in addition to the ANT+ sensor functions, is its ability to tap into previous workouts stored on Garmin Connect. Your last 30 days of workout stats are accessible directly from the app once you've logged in to your Garmin Connect login.

The Garmin Fit app also displays some history in the top half of its opening screen. Just swipe laterally to see your last activity, this week's total, and this month's total.

Since runners and walkers often like to dial up the tunes while working out, Garmin tightly integrates the music on your smartphone with the app. When you set up your new activity, just touch Music on the control panel to pull from your library or to shuffle play.

When you set up for a new activity, you may select running, walking, cycling, or other.

On the Road

After you've started your activity, you are presented with a nice map screen showing your present location with the ubiquitous blue dot. As you move, you will leave a track. The main display simply shows the map, your track, elapsed time, and distance.

The bottom of the screen controls your music, with simple Play, Pause, and Skip buttons. A note icon lets you choose from your music library. To Garmin's credit, the music features are seamlessly integrated, and let you select and manage music without leaving the workout screen or harming your workout data.

A hand icon lets you switch to full-screen map mode, and a lock-screen button prevents you from inadvertently changing a setting during your activity. Swiping to the left reveals a no-map statistics screen that includes time, distance, current speed, and calorie burn.

On a walk or a run, it's easy to keep an eye on your progress and pace and to mark laps if you wish to. On a bike, you are better off keeping your smartphone in a jersey pocket, unless you have a special handlebar-mount smartphone holder. Also, the Garmin Fit app does not give you an average speed readout, so it's not a substitute for a dedicated cycle computer.

Post-Workout Stats and Charts

One of the nicer features of the Garmin Fit app is its post-workout analysis and review capability. Open a workout in your history file, and you get a statistical summary (distance, time, average speed, calories) and even more.

Selecting Map takes you to a complete route overview on a map, along with lap splits or automatic mile-by-mile summaries, if you don't press the Lap button during your workout.

Selecting Charts provides an impressive set of charts showing your speed X distance and your elevation X distance.

Selecting Laps shows a nice graphical summary of every lap (time, distance, average speed), whether you hit the Lap button or log them automatically by the mile.

The Garmin Fit app is a terrific buy, especially because it syncs with the very proficient and free Garmin Connect service online. Also, Garmin heart rate monitors with ANT+ receivers work exceptionally well, so you'll be happy with the heart rate feature if you spring for a Garmin wireless heart strap.