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(Pocket-lint) - Running watches are a common companion for many, but for newbies looking to get from sofa to 5K the idea of spending a small fortune on a fitness companion is unlikely to make sense. That's where the Garmin Forerunner 25 comes in, the company's entry-level Forerunner model, costing around £120.

But the Forerunner 25 doesn't cut excessive corners, offering full GPS-tracking software to record your runs, keep pace, time, distance, calories burned, and even pitch you against your previous run should you want.

The option to plug into an optional Ant+ heart-rate monitoring chest strap for zone-based training is possible too, which might be a feature to grow into as you progress.

The main compromise with such a watch, however, is build quality. Upon handling the Forerunner 25 on Garmin's stand at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin its feather-light 39g weight barely registered; it's a plasticky product from the screen surround through to the four control buttons.

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That does mean benefits of sorts, though, the weight being one obvious point. Plastic also doesn't dirty so it's well matched for running and chucking it around, and, in this instance, the watch is water-proofed to withstand splashes or full submersion to 5m deep.

Using those buttons doesn't scream luxury by any means, but we found the Forerunner 25 to be functional and responsive. Much the same sentiment can be said about its screen: a 128 x 128 pixel monotone panel that's clear in its display of dual information (over two user-customised screens), but not a patch on that quality smartphone screen likely nestled in your pocket.

With GPS active expect around 8-hours of training time, increasing to 8 weeks if basic step-tracking is your main goal. Activities are pinged to an associated smartphone app, called Garmin Connect, via Bluetooth where data can be collated and visualised to help with your training plans.

First Impressions

So if you're looking for an affordable, albeit basic looking, running watch then the Garmin Forerunner 25 is a no frills but capable option. It's available to buy right now.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 4 September 2015.