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My 2010 Athletic GPS Device Recommendations

Please see my updated 2011 GPS recommendations here.

The vast majority of folks who end up here do so in search of one of the many different athletic GPS devices out there on the market.  In most cases, once you’ve arrived here you’ve found more information than you can shake a stick at.  Perhaps so much information about a given watch that while you know more than you wanted to, you aren’t quite sure which one to choose anymore – especially if your athletic category doesn’t precisely match mine.

So, I’m here to solve that.  I’m going to give my recommendations based a few different categories of folks – in hoping that I’ve covered all but the furthest of edge cases.

Finally, I’m going to focus on devices that are on market today – though I’m not aware of any significantly new devices (in particular, running) coming out anytime in the next 6 or so months.

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Let’s get into the different athlete profiles…

The Triathlete-

For the triathlete there’s basically three options in the market today: The Garmin Forerunner 310XT, Forerunner 305, and the Timex Global Trainer (TGT).  The Global Trainer is the newest of the lot, the 310XT about a year old, and the FR305 about 3 years old.  That said – functionally – they’re all actually pretty similar.  The 310XT and the TGT have newer GPS chipsets (identical in fact) and they also both support power meters.  They have similar battery times at about 17-20 hours, whereas the FR305 has up to 10 hours of juice.  The TGT and 310XT are also fully waterproofed to dive depths, while the FR305 won’t survive more than 30 minutes in your kitchen sink.

So – what would I recommend?  Well, if budget isn’t an issue, I’d recommend the FR310XT.  It’s got the longer battery life, it’s fully waterproofed so you simply don’t have to worry about it, and I find the user interface is really polished.  Why not the TGT then?  Well, the primary reason is that they made a firmware decision to not support foot pods for running indoors on a treadmill.  And while I understand some folks may not run indoors often – I personally do, and more importantly – I want the option to.  In my mind it’s sorta like buying a car without Air Conditioning because you don’t generally live in a really hot place…even though it only costs a tiny bit more.  Just my two cents…

Now, here’s the kicker, over the last few weeks the prices for both the Garmin Forerunner 310XT and the Timex Global Trainer have fallen by between $25 and $50 (at least on Amazon).  I suspect there’s a bit of a price war going on here.  The TGT is down to $249, and the FR310XT is down to $299 – definitely teetering on the edge of the impulse buy category, especially going into the fall running season.  Meanwhile, the trusty FR305 is still holding the line at around $145ish (including the HR strap!).  Here’s all three:

The Hardcore Runner-

So, you’re a runner’s runner, eh? You go out there day in and day out and beat down the trails or streets.  You frequent the treadmill if it’s required to get the job done, and you hang out at the track just as much as the fridge  Which watch should you choose?

Well, in many ways I think you’re looking at the same watches as above.  The difference is that the FR310XT isn’t really going to buy you much unless you’re a ultra-runner and going more than 10 hours.  The key differentiators on the FR305 vs FR310XT are: 1) Cycling power 2) Fully dive-friendly waterproofing 3) 20hrs battery instead of 10hrs.  Given the first two aren’t applicable to runners, the third one is the only real consideration.  Also, both perform equally as well in the trees and on the road, so GPS signal isn’t too much an issue either.  Though the FR310XT will generally pickup satellites at the start of the run a bit faster than the FR305.

The two products from a feature set are nearly identical – and quite honestly, they aren’t much different in size.

As for the Timex Global Trainer,  it’s an option and from a running standpoint is basically on par with the FR305 and FR310XT.  The only catch is it doesn’t support the foot pod – which is critical for indoor treadmill running.  Thus I have to whack it from my ‘Hardcore Runner’ list.

Finally, the one non-GPS option I’d highly recommend considering – which is my favorite – the little Forerunner 60 (FR60).  While it’s not GPS, I’ve found it gives just as accurate results (actually, scary accurate sometimes – after miles of intervals and hills I’ll get the exact same reading as GPS).  It has the bonus of looking like a normal watch.  Many advanced runners (including myself) really like this watch because you never have to worry about battery life with a 1-year battery, and it supports all the most advanced workout features.  That said…

Final recommendation: Get the Forerunner 305, unless money is more plentiful and then spring the extra $150 for the 310XT.

The Casual Runner-

Are you a fair weather runner?  Enjoy running…but not enough to go out on a 12*F day and brave the ice and in the snow?  Well, no worries, it’s easy to pick a watch that fits you well.

First off, you have a few options.  You can go with watches that a chunkier (like the FR305 and 310XT) or watches that are smaller (like the FR405 and FR110).  From a feature standpoint the FR305/310XT/FR405 are all basically in the same ballpark.  But the FR110 has a much more reduced feature set than the other three and thus it’s hard for me to heavily recommend it when the FR305 is $50 cheaper and has exponentially more features.

Finally, by looking at the FR305 – you’re able to relatively cheaply (at $145) get a watch with a heart rate strap, and then you can expand it by adding the foot pod (for treadmills) or bike speed/cadence sensor if you want to get more data.  It’s also a really good watch to ‘grow into’.  It’s easy to master, but allows you to use it for years even after you’ve moved into more rigorous training.  Finally, it’s also the staple watch of marathoners and triathletes alike…everywhere.

The Hardcore Cyclist-

This is simple: The Edge 500

Ok, maybe it’s not simple.  It’s only not simple if you want Tom-Tom like bike route mapping.  In which case, that’s offered on the Edge 800.  I’ve also had the Edge 705 for quite a while, which is similar to the Edge 800 with respect to additional mapping capabilities.  Up until the Edge 800 I would have said that I probably wouldn’t generally recommend the Edge 705 unless you were really hardcore about mapping.  But with the Edge 800 and satellite and custom maps, I’m really liking what it offers. In general though with both the 705/800, I thought I’d use it all the time, but for me I’m really riding the same routes over and over again – and I know those routes.  Now, if you are riding a new route every week and really like exploring – then the Edge 800 makes a ton of sense.

Given the announcement of the Edge 800, I don’t see any real good reason to buy the Edge 705 anymore.  The price is basically the same, but with a much smaller set of features compared to the Edge 800.  Unless you REALLY need the device in the next 6-8 weeks, I’d wait for the Edge 800 if you’re leaning that way.

Why not the 310XT or the Timex Global Trainer?  Well, for a pure cyclist, those two have features that aren’t needed.  Further, they also lack some cycling specific features in the Power Meter arena – such as power meter smoothing, calibration options (TGT) and ability to configure various zeroing options.

That said – for everyone else who isn’t worried about mapping, you can’t beat the Edge 500.  It has GPS, supports power meters, speed/cadence sensors, and every other thing you can think about.  Plus, both units have barometric altimeters.  Virtually all the initial bugs are now gone with the Edge 500, with the latest firmware as well.

The Casual Cyclist-

Perhaps you enjoy a leisurely bike…but aren’t about to spend 6-8 hours ass-to-saddle on a typical weekend.  Which GPS is right for you?

Well, while the Edge 500 is a great bike-specific GPS – it doesn’t do much else.  Sure you can bring it for a run, but it won’t sure you your pace in minutes/mile, but rather in MPH.  That’s why for most recreational cyclists I recommend looking at the Forerunner 305.  This allows you everything you’d need on your bike, but also gives you the flexibility to go for a run/walk/hike if you want – or just simply take it and track your progress on a cross-country flight.

The Edge series is about cycling, whereas the Forerunner 305 is about flexibility.  Finally, at less than $150 – you can’t go wrong.

The ‘I have small wrists and want something small’ peeps (AKA I want to look cute)-

Ok…I hear it…a lot.  Some folks just don’t like the look of the Forerunner 305, 310XT or even Timex Global Trainer – despite these companies best efforts to make a ‘pretty watch’.  It’s understandable you don’t want something the size of a bedside alarm clock strapped to your wrist.

Now, I do have to say it first – you truly won’t notice the size of the FR305/310XT/TGT after about 30 seconds of running.  I promise you it.  Really…it’s true.  Plus, these watches come with smaller bands in box in case it doesn’t fit.

But, I also recognize that strapping that monster on your wrist won’t likely help you attract any dates during a run around the ever-so-posh NYC Central Park (even if running in your underwear).

Thus, I give you options.

Well, three options anyways.

First up is the Forerunner 110.  This is a new watch that looks like a normal sports watch.  The only problem with it is it’s feature set is greatly reduced, which isn’t conducive to advanced runners – or runners looking for lots of detail while running (post-running analysis is about the same though).  In particular, it does not show your current pace while running – only average lap pace.

The second option is the Forerunner 405.  This watch has all the features of the Forerunner 305/310XT and Timex Global Trainer, but in a much smaller almost normal like form factor.  What’s the catch?  Well, the touch-bezel system.  It works sorta like an iPod would without firm buttons to press, which is a love it or hate it feature.  I personally hate it, but some do love it.  So I highly suggest you hit up a local running store first and try it out before buying.

Finally, you have the non-GPS FR60.  I mention this again, because it’s a normal size watch that has all the features you’d want…just without the GPS piece.  It’s an option to consider if you’re really set on a small form factor watch.  Plus, unlike the others – it has the best battery life of the bunch – at a full year!  Crazy, I know!

Summary Comparison Chart

No comparison and recommendation post would be complete without a comprehensive chart.  You’ll want to give the chart below some clickage love in order to see the much larger size and be able to actually read the text.  Enjoy!

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(‘Yes in effect’ on FR110 smoothing is because it only shows lap pace, not instant pace – thus smoothing your laps.)

Hopefully you found this useful in your purchasing.  And remember, anything you buy off this page via the Amazon links does indeed help support the site and more product reviews (even for ya Brits!).  Thanks for stopping by!

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57 Comments

  1. mo

    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

    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. 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. 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

    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. 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

    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. 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. 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. 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

    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. 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. 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

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

    Reply
  15. “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

    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

    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

    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

    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. 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

    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

    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

    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

    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. 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

    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. 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

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

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

    Reply
  31. 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. 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. 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

    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

    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

    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

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

    Reply
  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  39. 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. 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. 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. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

    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. 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. 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

    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. 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

    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

    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. 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. Hi All!

    For my 2011 recommendations, see this new post:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks!
    -Ray

    Reply

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