57 responses

  1. mo
    August 19, 2010

    Just realized what my problem with Sport tracks was – it’s not compatible with macs! Thanks for your help though…Monica

    Reply

  2. paul in kirkland
    August 19, 2010

    The thing I like the best about this site is that even though you’re obviously a gadget nut, you have no problem recommending the right tool for the right job, even if it’s 3yrs old like the 305. It gives you tons of credibility.

    Thanks for the article!

    Reply

  3. Maarten Schreuder
    August 19, 2010

    Great article! Will put up a summary of it on my blog (in Dutch) later today and will of course link back to you for the full -very in depth as always- article.

    Reply

  4. EndorphinBuzz
    August 19, 2010

    Great analysis. I’ve been contemplating replacing my 205 by a 310 when it gives up the fight but I realize from your analysis that I’m better off waiting for something else or staying with the older models and getting a 305. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. yoeddy0420
    August 19, 2010

    Great article and great site.

    I wanted to leave a note about the FR60 as I use that almost daily, and use it as my main watch. Even though it doesn’t have the GPS capability, what I do is when I import my ride into SportTracks, hands down the best training log available, you can associate a route to the workout that you just imported. I do this all the time for such things as my commutes to work or running routes that I run over and over. I also have and Edge 500 and a 405 but find that I use my FR60 more often now especially with SportTracks capabilities.

    Reply

  6. Regina
    August 19, 2010

    Damn! I’m not sure if you helped or hindered my decision. I’ve been using the FR50 for the last year +, but was going to go for the FR305. Now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t go for the 310xt as a triathlete. Hmmmmm…..

    Reply

  7. dogrunner
    August 19, 2010

    thanks for the summary – your reviews are the best!

    I have the 305 and just recently bought the FR60 based on your review. I like the inherent mapping capability of the GPS but the fantastic out-of-the-box accuracy of the footpod blew my mind (my only previous experience with a footpod was the Polar one from several years back and it never worked well).

    One question though – how well does the footpod work on treadmill hill workouts ? I noticed that when I increase the incline on the treadmill, my registered speed increases on my FR60, even though I don’t change the speed setting of the treadmill. Faster foot movement / cadence when going “uphill” is the only thing I can think of to explain the very noticeable discrepancy in recorded speed vs speed setting. Any ideas ?

    Reply

  8. Amber Rydholm
    August 19, 2010

    Does the Edge 500 move between bikes (e.g. road, mountian, and TT) easily or is more than 1 unit required to use with more than 1 bike?

    Reply

  9. Zina
    August 19, 2010

    How about a recommendation for someone like me?
    I need the Fisher Price version of a HRM, something shock proof, water proof, and doesn’t require a degree in computer science to operate.
    And where I don’t have to take the damn thing to a nuclear physicist to get the battery changed.

    Reply

  10. Chad
    August 19, 2010

    The touch bezel system is probleMATIC! I live in Arizona, it’s hot and dry here. That bezel malfunctions anytime I run over 30 minutes. I sweat, and the sweat drips onto the watch. That bezel can’t handle sweat!! I’ve had the Garmin FR405 for almost 2 years, and I’ve put many hundreds of miles on it. I can say it’s got issues.

    Reply

  11. Jon
    August 19, 2010

    Great summary of all GPS watches. I whole agree with your endorsement of the Garmin 305. You really can’t go wrong with this one if you’re a runner.

    Reply

  12. Jake from Garmin
    August 19, 2010

    Thanks, Ray, for the great writeup. It says a lot when I send people who are interested in Garmin watches to your site.

    To answer Zina’s and Amber’s questions:

    Zina, you should check out Forerunner 110. We made it super-easy to use so that it simply (and accurately) tells you how far and how fast, and heart rate is optional. Here are some helpful videos: link to bit.ly

    Amber, yes, the Edge 500 switches easily between bikes. There’s no calibration or wires needed (because it’s GPS), and the quarter turn mount is held on by rubber rings for quick switches. (Or, you can get an extra mount and just move the Edge itself.) Plus, you can set up and save three different bike profiles and quickly switch between them without losing other settings.

    Thanks again for the great write-up, Ray!

    — Jake from Garmin

    Reply

  13. Saabiar
    August 19, 2010

    Ray, great site!

    Question, did I read somewhere on your site that the 110 has a barometric altimeter, because i thought this was not the case.

    Reply

  14. Anonymous
    August 19, 2010

    Hi Ray- Nice summary! Thank you for the advise.
    Regards,
    Maria

    Reply

  15. Kelly
    August 20, 2010

    “But, I also recognize that strapping that monster on your wrist won’t likely help you attract any dates”

    Well… I guess that all depends. I was driving home from the Y with my Garmin still on my wrist and my windows down. A car pulled up next to me and a guy leaned over and yelled, “hey! COOL watch!”

    Really? REALLY?! I don’t know if COOL is the word I would use to describe the 305.

    Reply

  16. by7
    August 23, 2010

    Ray…

    great review but I have 2 objections (from a runner’s perspective)

    1) but Suunto and Polar…??
    provided that Polar is obviously behind in terms of GPS, for a runner you can get excellent training data using the footpod technology.

    2) I do not get married totally to the notion that GPS is the only technology for a runner.
    In reality, the GPS really sucks in many environments.
    – forests or dense tree coverage: signal is no more reliable
    – dense hurban environemnt with skyscrapers (like we have here in HK).
    Also GPS is not very useful for interval training because of the lag to show the exact current speed.
    The footpod technology used in Garmin, Polar, Suunto can be a bit painful because of the calibration process but then gives you 100% accurate data in all environments and very quick response time (you can even use it for sprints workout…)

    Reply

  17. atx runner
    September 3, 2010

    Great posts. Agree with all your comments. I have the 305 and the 405 and just returned the 110 (need intervals)….waiting for something better to come along. I’ll definitely come here before I ever buy another gps watch.

    Reply

  18. Anonymous
    October 4, 2010

    Hi, great review and really useful, but why don’t you recommend the FR60 for casual runners? I would put myself in this group and I am thinking about getting one.

    Reply

  19. Anonymous
    November 5, 2010

    Great post! Thanks for the comparisons. You said you don’t like the Timex because it isn’t footpod compatible for indoor running. I would add that I want a footpod because cadence is important to me when I run. No footpod is a dealbreaker for the Timex and the Garmin 110. (FR210 coming out before Christmas is footpod compatible I understand.)

    I just ordered an FR60 and REALLY WISH it had an altimeter. I live in the mountains and that’s important info. (BTW, I used your Amazon link to order the FR60! You should mention that it helps you more!)

    Reply

  20. Katie
    November 10, 2010

    Wow! Thanks for a great post. I am currently researching for my first monitor…I am torn between the 305 and the FR60. What I care about most is accurate instantaneous pace readings during my run. I am a bit worried reading about the lag time of the 305. On the other hand, would I eventually regret not having a GPS feature? Help! :)

    Reply

  21. Anonymous
    November 15, 2010

    Katie,
    The 305 wont give you accurate instant pace readouts. I run along a canal, which is dead straight and open overhead and even then the pace jumps about too muhc to be of any use (But the overall distance is accurate). I recently bought a FR60 and it does a lot better.

    Reply

  22. HR57
    December 3, 2010

    Can you tell me which, if any, of the GPS devices will allow you to download the raw data? My Suunto t6 shows the “raw” data that I can then copy and paste into Excel for detailed analysis. I have a heart condition that causes my heart rate to fluctuate wildly and would love to be able to see it versus other parameters, like speed, on an incremental basis (such as every 6 or 10 seconds).

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    HR57

    Reply

  23. Anonymous
    December 12, 2010

    I borrowed a friend’s 305 for a few months to train for a marathon and it was ALWAYS uncomfortable. I ended up with bruises and bloody chafe wounds. Grr. And the inaccuracy of current pace was puzzling. I gave it back with no regrets, happy I had not bought one of my own. I am planning on an FR60 now. Thanks for the excellent information!!

    Reply

  24. Anonymous
    December 30, 2010

    Ray,

    Thanks for a nice post and the feature summary.

    I just got a TGT and updated it with the latest firmware. But I’m still stuck with not being able to get a GPS lock consistently.

    This is a serious issue for me although I don’t use it much, but plan to. I do a lot of treadmill running (~100mpw) but the data from the treadmill itself is fine.

    The HR monitor on the TGT is very good but GPS acquisition really stinks. I live in Bangkok with skyscrapers but do have the odd patch of sky to get a sync…it can’t be that difficult can it?

    You run a great website (and service) and I’d like to think that you still have the ear of the guys at Timex. The GPS issue is not yet settled in v2.94 firmware and I would like to know if I’m shooting for the moon on GPS acquisition or not.

    Thanks!
    Ian

    Reply

  25. Kenianischer Dalai Lama
    January 20, 2011

    Hey Ray,
    I recently started reading your reviews with great interest and I like the alpha-nerd type-A style you do them.

    On question. Have you had a chance to look at the “sigma sport bc1209” running watch? It’s non GPS, it has the accelerometer in the heart rate strap and it costs around 75€. To me it looks like the new goto-gadget for the casual runner, but I would feel much better recommending it to these kind of people after hearing what you think…
    http://www.sigma-run.com

    Reply

  26. Anonymous
    February 5, 2011

    I bought the FR305 off your recommendation ~9 months ago. Every word of your analysis is dead on and I’ve been very happy with the decision. I use it (nearly) every day and it’s encouraged me to drive harder and train more. Thank you!

    Reply

  27. valerie
    February 11, 2011

    just bought the fr60 with the help of this website. actually i had it in my amazon cart and came here afterward. i finally think i’ve made the right choice after reading the awesome review and the replies. thanks so much. i will link your blog to mine.

    Reply

  28. Peter
    April 21, 2011

    Any chance you could update this article with the new products out in 2011? Thanks

    Reply

  29. Tige
    April 22, 2011

    Can you use a HRM strap from Polar (SC200CAD) with the Timex TGT?

    I don’t have one yet, trying to decide between the TGT and the 310XT you have the best info out there and I still can’t decide. I am a fan.

    Reply

  30. Tige
    April 22, 2011

    Also what is your best recommendation for programs to use for us MAC users?

    Reply

  31. Rainmaker
    April 24, 2011

    Hi Peter-

    I do plan to create a new 2011 recommendations soon with some of the newer 2011 products like the FR610, Polar RCX5 and some of the late 2010 products like the FR210/FR410.

    I’m waiting on a few more products to be announced though before I create a post, as well as some products to arrive on my doorstep (such as the RCX5).

    Thanks!

    Hi Tige-

    The Polar straps are not compatible with any of the Garmin or Timex units. They use two different technologies. Sorry!

    As for Mac software, it depends heavily on the device and the purpose. I usually include some recommendations for each device within the review post.

    Enjoy!

    Reply

  32. flash
    April 25, 2011

    I;ve always been slightly irked by the lack of brightness/readability of the Garmin 305–especially when looking at submenus

    Are the 310XT and/or 610 any brighter/readable than the 305?

    Reply

  33. Greg Collins
    April 26, 2011

    Great blog/site. Steered me in the direction of a Forerunner 305 which saved me a packet. I already own a Garmin Etrex Vista HCx which is great for on bike or hike navigation here in the UK especially when used with opencyclemap mapping. I’ve just re-discovered running though at age 50 and wanted something to keep an eye on HR and pace, and record data easily. Works great for running and, once on the bike I don’t even realise I have it on.

    Thanks

    Reply

  34. Anonymous
    May 12, 2011

    I checked out a couple of the garmins today but the moulded case of the forunner 410 and the 110 were way too big for my small wrists, even with the strap tightened I had huge gaps. Hubby promised me a garmin (or alternative) if I had a PB in ironman and I can’t find one that fits on my wrist. :(

    Reply

  35. Marshall
    June 3, 2011

    Just wondering if you have any inside knowledge on a replacement for the Garmin 310XT? I do a lot of kayaking and surfski paddling. While not immersed for long periods the GPS does get regular dunkings. My Edge 705 was replaced under warranty due to water ingress. I have an Edge 800 now but find the rubber bungs in the USB port insecure so this is likely to suffer a similar fate. I’ve looked at the 310XT but it just too ugly to want to own! (It is very popular amongst fellow paddlers though).

    Reply

  36. Anonymous
    June 8, 2011

    Hi, great and useful reviews. But still I’m not able to make a choice – what would you recommend me – 210 or FR60. I’m not thinking about 305 as it’s to big for my wrist. I’ll use it just for running. Thanks for your help … Marketa

    Reply

  37. Anonymous
    June 24, 2011

    Another type of athletes use these sport training GPS: inline speed skate athletes doing outdoor marathon and track skating !

    Reply

  38. soda
    June 25, 2011

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  39. Otterinaround
    July 3, 2011

    I keep hearing rumors that the GPS system will soon be phased out. Where will that leave us if it is already patchy in signal acquisition? Does anyone have any ideas as to the possibility of smart phones linking to speed, power, and cadence sensors? I’m sure there aren’t many of us crazy enough to range so far off the grid we can’t triangulate cell towers on our workouts. If that sort of training is your sort of deal… maybe a sat phone might be a good thing to pack.

    Reply

  40. Irving Home Security
    July 4, 2011

    Wow, awesome blog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging glance easy. The entire look of your web site is wonderful, well the content!

    Reply

  41. Rainmaker
    August 6, 2011

    Just as a quick note for those curious about an update…

    I plan to wait until after the Eurobike announcements in a couple weeks and then do a new version of this.

    In short though, my only recommendation changes for this year to date are:

    For the hardcore runners, go with the FR610 or FR210 – I love the FR610 and use it exclusively for my runs now. While the FR310XT is slightly better than the FR610 because of courses support, I find that overall I prefer the smaller sleaker size of the FR610.

    For the casual runner I recommend the FR210 over the FR110 – and really I always recommend the FR210 over the FR110 since they’re the same price yet the FR210 has footpod support (thus indoor support). The Nike+ unit isn’t a bad option, but I find the software limiting in some ways (no 3rd party support), though in other ways it surpasses the competition (from a community standpoint). The screen is also super easy to break.

    The Timex Global Trainer just got footpod support this past week, so it might make an appearance in the 2011 edition from a budget standpoint, though the prices have recently shot up.

    Thanks all!

    Reply

  42. Unknown
    August 13, 2011

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  43. Unknown
    August 13, 2011

    Love your detailed feedback, DC Rainmaker! I have an opportunity to trade in my old FR405 (sweat/humidity reactive model) for a brand new TGT. In your opinion, does the recent firmware upgrade make this a viable option? Or, should I stick with the 405 and wait for Garmin’s next multisport release? Thanks.

    MB

    Reply

  44. wholesalers dublin
    August 13, 2011

    Hi I just finished reading through your blog and I am rather impressed. I actually do have a few questions for you personally though. Are you thinking about performing a follow-up article about this? Will you be likely to keep posting as well?

    Reply

  45. Rainmaker
    August 14, 2011

    Hi Unknown-
    RE: Recommendation

    I’d say that the FR405 for a new TGT is a pretty good deal given the new firmware options (assuming you don’t pay any extra money). But if you hvae to lay out a bit of crash, it may be worthwhile waiting to see how both Garmin and Timex’s new running watches shake out. Timex is saying October, and I suspect Garmin will hit at the same time.

    Hi Dublin-
    RE: Follow-up article

    Yes, I plan to do so probably in the next few weeks. I was waiting for the Timex units to pop up, and now they have.

    Thanks!

    Reply

  46. Unknown
    August 16, 2011

    Thanks for the reco re trading my Garmin for the TGT. It would be an even up trade, so I thought I would go for it. Looking forward to seeing the new product lineup too.

    Reply

  47. Rosstudios
    August 16, 2011

    Hi there, I’m new to your blog and quite enjoy the intensity of good info and fun easygoingness. I found you through your fans at Endurosport in Toronto Canada.

    I’m curious to know about Suunto tri-watches. I notice that you haven’t reviewed them yet. Any plans?

    I’m about ready to jump on the 310xt bandwagon, but am hoping to find out if Suunto measures up at all.

    Thanks and keep up the great work (not that this should be considered work, but you get what I mean).

    Cheers, Shannon

    Reply

  48. Rainmaker
    August 17, 2011

    Hi Ross-

    I haven’t done any Suunto stuff yet, but they are on the radar. My biggest issue is lack of integrated GPS into the unit itself (requires a seperate pod), which I think in this day and age is silly. Some disagree, and I understand why (longer battery life). But for me, I’m prone to losing some things, and hate the idea of yet another small thing to remember when I go out for a ride/run.

    Enjoy!

    Reply

  49. Adrienne
    September 1, 2011

    It sounds like you will be getting around to your 2011 watch recommendation shortly and I can see from an earlier comment that you recommend the FR210 for both the hardcore and casual runner. I’m curious though if you had to choose between the FR201 and the 305, which would you choose? After reading your 2010 recommendations, it sounds like 305 is the way to go for most activities and I’m definitely leaning toward the 305 for my purchase. I do some sprint triathlons but running seems to be what I do more often than not! I don’t plan to use my GPS watch when biking, just for running so, that being said, any strong push toward the 210 versus the 305?

    So very, very happy I found your blog while looking for reviews! Such a wealth of information!
    Adrienne

    Reply

  50. Rainmaker
    September 2, 2011

    The FR305 is more versatile – but the FR210 is more streamlined. I wouldn’t look at the FR201 when the FR305 is a better overall package and still fully supported.

    Looking at the two – if you don’t mind the bulk, the FR305 is the best bang for the buck. But if you want slimness, then go FR210. Note that the FR210 is currently on sale via REI for $185 (also matched at Amazon).

    Reply

  51. gosolarVT
    September 6, 2011

    DadofSkinny13yearold

    My 13 year old casual cross country runner is excited to get a GPS watch and is eager for the virtual partner feature of the 405/410/610. The 305/310 he could wear around his neck so we think those are out of the running.

    Do you think the problematic touch bezel will really cramp a tech savvy 13 yr old ? He is a fair weather runner so will not be running in the rain unless he gets caught in it. He is not training for a triathlon or marathon.

    The 210 w/o the virtual partner would seem more than enough horsepower but for little more $, it seems the 405 can be obtained.

    He really likes all the opinions on the 610 but price is a con.

    Just looking for another vote.

    Reply

  52. Sven R
    September 7, 2011

    Maybe for an update you can consider another sport:

    Kitesurfing / Windsurfing

    I’d love to track my course afterwards, see how my heart rate spiked during some ridiculous jump and calculate calories burned after two hours on the water.

    Questions I’d have:

    The interesting thing is that it’s a very non-linear sport, so spurts of intense activity will mingle with somewhat calmer periods. How does the watch handle that, esp. calorie-wise?

    Would IPX7 waterproof level be enough? Unlike regular wave surfers, we are out of the water almost all the time (at least that’s the idea) except when you fall. I know IPX7 says 30 min in still water – would it help to manage falls if I wear it under the sleeve of my wetsuit? Would that impact GPS (OTOH, you’re still on open water, i.e. no obstacles)?

    How well does GPS elevation tracking work? If I bust a 5-10 m jump, would the data show that?

    Can it display current lat/long coordinates? Sometimes, out on the ocean, I actually carry a small marine radio. If something breaks and currents carry you away, it’d help to be able to tell the coast guard exactly where to fish you out.

    In any case, thanks for your great reviews!

    Reply

  53. jongae
    October 20, 2011

    Hi!

    Your reviews are really fantastic and very helpfull! Thanks for the good work!

    You have seen alot of GPS watches, what do you recommend for cross-country skiing?

    I would also like to hear your view on First Beat’s “Training effect” functionallity in the Forerunner 610? Is this function present in the 910XT aswell? I think the Garmin specs are abit unclear about this.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply

  54. Anonymous
    November 16, 2011

    Hi…Is there a newer version of this. It’s about 15 months old, so I’m looking for your current advice. Thanks for the amazing site!

    Reply

  55. Jacob
    November 16, 2011

    Your reviews are excellent and well documented – thanks!

    However, I think I belong to a category you haven’t described: People who go for advanced exercise with their everyday watch. I think the 405/410 is a good solution, although I agree that the bezel is a bit annoying sometimes. The watch is cheaper than 610 and 910 and can record a little longer than the 910. Plus the design is better, I think, and that’s important to me since switching watch just for an exercise is too advanced for me. ;-D

    Reply

  56. Shane Belanger
    November 28, 2011

    Could you perhaps update your GPS recommendations now that the Timex Run Trainer is out? I am assuming that it wasn’t out when you wrote the article because you don’t mention it, or if you do I don’t see it?

    Reply

  57. Rainmaker
    December 2, 2011

    Hi All!

    For my 2011 recommendations, see this new post:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks!
    -Ray

    Reply

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

Add a picture

Back to top
mobile desktop