A look at Garmin’s new Forerunner FR70 running watch

There are many cases where I receive a new unit and work really hard to get a full in depth review out…and there are some cases where time just doesn’t permit such an instance. And then finally, there are cases like today – where the watch is so similar to an existing watch that for now I wanted to give you a sneak peak at the most relevant portion of the product: What it looks like.

Garmin’s new FR70 watch is essentially the same watch as the super-popular non-GPS FR60, just with an updated band and faceplate.  Why an updated band you ask?

Well, some folks had some troubles with FR60 watch bands breaking.  I actually happened to be one of those such individuals.  These new bands are designed to be far more resistant – and are what is actually used on the new FR910XT as well.  Really durable stuff, it’s like the indestructible fruitcake you received…except in the form of a watch band.  And…oddly enough, almost as colorful.

Colorful you say?

Yes, colorful.

See, my dear friends in Kansas decided that my life didn’t have enough pink in it already.  So they added some…via this FR70 unit:

Garmin FR70 PackagingGarmin FR70 Watch Unboxed

And, pink isn’t actually where it ends.  It’s also got this very feminine front faceplate.  Swirly things and all.  If swirly’s are anything like Slushies, then I need more swirly’s in my life.

Garmin FR70 on wrist

And the little strap holder thingy…ensure not to forget that.  Note the swirly’s continue on the band.

Garmin FR70 on wrist, band

Now, just in case your curious what comes in the box – it’s essentially the same contents as the FR60: Heart Rate Strap (classic edition), USB ANT+ stick, paper manuals:

Garmin FR70 unboxed

Like the FR60, this watch (being technically identical) has a 1-year battery life.  Yup, one year.  No recharging.  And also like the FR60, it synchronizes your workouts straight from the watch via the ANT+ stick to the magical Garmin Connect site in the sky (yup, complete with Google Maps now).

For the guys: This watch also comes in a much more manly looking black and blue variant.  I saw some sample photos of it, and it actually looks pretty darn nice, a bit classier than the original blue FR60 (don’t worry Little Blue, I still love you too).

So, about now, you may be wondering who’s the target audience of this watch?  Well, it might actually surprise you.  For the FR60, the target audience was runners who wanted a very accurate footpod driven watch that had heart rate monitoring and all the advanced capabilities of the more expensive Garmin Forerunner watches.  And – it tied into Garmin Connect online (as well as any 3rd party site you can think of).  While the official retail price is $129US, the reality is this watch generally sells for about $90 in most places.

At $90 it makes for an awesome deal.

From a footpod accuracy standpoint, as I’ve shown in the past, I can actually go out for a 10 mile run – intervals, even in the snow – and get it to be EXACTLY on spot with a GPS watch, down to the 1/100ths of a mile (something I will admit was really darn lucky).

And – of most importance to many triathletes, the watch is fully waterproofed to scuba-diving depths (actually dived with it before down to 30+ meters).  Then on the bike it works with your ANT+ speed/cadence sensor (indoors or outside).  And, in the event you have one of them fancy ANT+ enabled scales like the BC-1000 or similar, it works with that too.

For those curious, I will indeed do a full in depth review at some point in the future – mostly because folks will continue to search for information on it, and I’d like to provide it for ya.  But, with all the other gear right now backlogged…I know you wanted some of the important details first.

Garmin FR60 Men's, FR60 Womens, FR70 Womens

(Left to right: FR60 Blue Men’s, FR60 Women’s, FR70 Women’s…the dates are off simply because I just changed the batteries and didn’t have a chance to update them all)

So here’s what you need to know about the FR70 in one paragraph or less:

If you have the FR60 – no need to upgrade.  If you’re looking at the FR60…then simply grab the FR70 instead for the improved watch band.  If you have any other Forerunner watch, then you can kinda just keep on chugging with that – as you’re pretty much good to go already.

Make sense?  Good.  Not make sense?  Post a comment below and I’ll help ya out.

As far as a ‘true’ replacement for the FR60 goes…I’d suspect what we’re seeing is a repeat of what we saw with the FR405 and FR410 last year.  The FR410 was essentially just a small refresh of the FR405, merely as a stopgap measure until the new FR610 came out in the spring.  I would also point out that timeline wise, the FR410 came out roughly this time as well last year.  I have no information that a FR60/FR70 refresh product is coming next year, and at $90, it’s probably not worth waiting to find out.

If the FR60/FR70 meets your requirements today – then go forth and conquer!  If not, then consider the FR210 (if you want GPS), or the upcoming Timex Run Trainer (ships Monday).  And if you want full featured GPS, then the FR610.  And finally, failing everything else…the FR910XT.  If that doesn’t work, I’d consider a laptop strapped in a backpack.

Two quick relevant resources:

Garmin Devices – The ANT+ Footpod – Read this post for anything and everything you ever wanted to know about how these foot pods work (this one specifically).  It has years of answers cultivated in it.

Garmin Forerunner FR60 – This is my In Depth Product Review of the FR60, which is identical to the FR70, except with a ‘7’ instead of a ‘6’.  Just like the Annie Get Your Gun musical lyrics: ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’.  Well, sorta.  More like ‘Anything you can do, I can do with a pink band…and swirly’s’.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

127 Comments

  1. Will the bundle options (footpod/HR strap/ANT+ stick) be as complicated as with the FR60, any idea?

    Also your picture shows the classic rubber HR strap, as opposed to the FR60 which ships with the new and improved one?

    Reply
  2. Tim

    It's a shame they didn't roll in some of the new swim features of the 910xt. I still like the size of a fr60 (and cost) for swimming.

    Regarding the cost comment, I'm always a little worried I'll scratch the face of a 310xt on a lane rope or edge of the pool accidentally.

    I guess I am a tech junkie in that way. I use the edge 800 cycling, 310xt running (I keep considering a 610 or 210 here), and a fr60 swimming.

    Reply
  3. Hi Geert-

    No, not as complicated. Good point, they significantly wanted to simplify it. So it won't be like Baskin Robbins with 31 flavors.

    And yup, classic indeed. Double-checked it.

    Tim-
    RE: 910XT scratching

    I've whacked the 910XT on the lane lines a ton of times, and thus far no scratches. Happy with that piece...

    Reply
  4. Which is the cheapest Garmin watch that can download workouts from the PC? I own an RCX5 and the ability to have my workouts on the watch and online in diary form is very handy.
    Just choose that day's workout and go.

    Reply
  5. Just bought the FR60 a few weeks ago. If the strap issue is serious enough to warrant an entire redesign, do you know whether Garmin is going to be replacing the current version with the FR70 if a strap issue arises?

    Reply
  6. So they won't include a footpod with any FR70? That's a pity, because it actually makes the FR70 useful, and the footpod is much more expensive when purchased separately.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    If your band breaks (the little square retention piece, for example) will Garmin send you a new one? Or do I have to send the whole watch back?

    Reply
  8. Phil

    You forgot to overlook the Garmin spec sheet.

    They really managed to REMOVE GOOD FUNCTIONS from the watch that were present in the FR60, namely "time alert", "distance alert" - which were both quite handy -, and also the "pace alert" !
    Actually these were quite useful functions, implemented well (with different alarm signals for time/distance/pace).

    It would have been nice if they had added AdvancedWorkouts to this watch instead which would have made it a very complete tool.
    (It is already quite powerful, having VirtualPartner and flexible multi-screen configurations, and the multi-alarm feature (now removed) that was unique to the FR60 when it came out. Later models from 405 on then had those alarms, too. But with AdvancedWorkouts included, it would have been great.)

    They could also have included the simple but useful walk/run alert/timer or at least some intelligent regular watch functions, like an autorepeat timer (like on the FR50) or/and a "normal" everyday stopwatch or more powerful alarms...

    Instead they actually provide a functional downgrade - you will never understand Garmin's brains...

    BTW: At least the buttons are said to have been improved. This would be very nice since on the FR60 they were really painful...

    Reply
  9. Hi Phil-

    Fear not, the spec sheet is actually wrong.

    Got the watch in front of me - Time Alert, Distance Alert and Pace (and speed) alerts are all there.

    Also, like the FR60, advanced workouts are there too - you can download them from GTC or from Garmin Connect.

    I would agree that adding in a walk/run timer would have been nice - but since very little was done here aside from re-arranging some menu's and changing the band...that's one of the reasons it's not much different.

    On the buttons, 'improvement' may be in the eye of the beholder. The buttons are now no longer exposed from the outside. Meaning a single piece of silicon/rubber covers them entirely, so they are more like bumps than distinct buttons. At the moment, on my brand new unit - they're a pain in the butt to push. But I suspect it'll get a bit easier after a few days.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  10. Actually minor correction - you're right - advanced workouts aren't there. The other items are there though.

    Reply
  11. I've been following your reviews for a while now, and I'd all but decided on the FR60. The only thing holding me back right now is concern over which heart rate strap I am going to end up with.

    Do you have any insight as to the heart rate strap that comes with the FR60 bundles? Is it really going to be the nice, new, soft one, even though the brand new FR70 comes with the old, stiff one?

    In any case, awesome reviews, as soon as I heard about the FR70 I knew immediately where I needed to come to get the details, and wasn't disappointed when I arrived.

    Reply
  12. It depends on which exact SKU you buy, see them all listed here (versions tab):

    link to buy.garmin.com

    But, if you select one that says "Premium HR strap" - it will indeed come with the new 2010 strap, at least if it's shipped from Garmin.com - Other vendors will vary simply based on how long the stock has been sitting on their shelf (really long time, less certainty).

    Reply
  13. Thanks for the review, as always. I love my FR60, have never had a problem with the strap, have had one of the scroll buttons stop working, so am down to one, but it gets the job done, bought without HRM and added latest HR strap.
    Are they still using the old calorie estimation method (as opposed to the newer methods implemented in FR610 and others) ? Not that that is that critical...

    Reply
  14. Hey, was referred here by someone on a comment on Engadget announcing this new model, great site you have.

    The Garmin site is very unclear, they make it sound like you need the foot pod for any distance tracking. The way your article reads, it sounds like you only need the foot pod to get the utmost accuracy, is that correct? If not, what does adding in a foot pod give you as far as additional info?

    If me, as a casual runner (at most was doing 10 mile runs, lately getting back into it and doing 2-3 miles at the moment), can get away with just the combo with the watch and heart rate strap, I'm ecstatic and will surely be buying one.

    Reply
  15. After re-reading, I think I understand that you were saying that the foot pod is as accurate as GPS in your testing, even though this unit does not come with one, you referenced it?

    I wonder how soon until we see bundles for the FR70 online with the watch, band + foot pod. They run about $120 on Amazon for the FR60.

    Reply
  16. Sorry, correct.

    Yes - the FR60 requires a footpod for running pace/distance. And for cycling pace, a speed/cadence sensor (like the GSC-10).

    It doesn't contain a GPS or accellerometer in it, thus the need for those.

    And yup, my attempt there was to note that footpod is surprisingly accurate if configured correctly.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  17. PC

    Helpful post as I'm thinking about getting some kind of running watch - just finished my first half and wanting to amp up my game!

    I'm new to the watch world - is there a real benefit to having the footpod? I usually run the same routes over and over, so I figured the GPS wasn't really a worthy function. What exactly does the footpod do for me?

    Reply
  18. Phil

    After studying the manual precisely, I found one interesting difference to the FR60, a real new functionality :

    There is now an extra data element that displays fat calories !
    (In addition to the already existent general calories data element.)

    OK, it's not the absolute killer function, but a nice thing and not very common on most pulsemeters yet !
    (The Garmin FR610 and FR910 have it, too, but few Polar models show similar information.)

    You cannot use the fat calorie item as a target value for the calorie alarm, though. The alarm always goes for the overall calories.

    And the calorie calculation as such is now HR-based if a HRM is present. (Although this was also the case for the FR60 after firmware update 2.50.)

    The only question here is: if both speed sensor and HRM are present, will the watch combine their data for best calorie calculation ??
    Or will it always use pure HR-based calc. as soon as the HR-belt is found, regardless of other sensors, and use speed-based calc. only if no HR-belt is active ?
    The manual gives no clear answer to that, one will have to try it out...

    Anyway, the new "fat calorie" item sets the device somewhat apart and - together with the weight scale connection - could be interesting for those who mainly train for general health, weight loss, or shape !

    And since the watch is not bundled with any speed sensor anymore, the target group with "HRM only function" is even more explicit...;)

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Seriously looking into the FR60 or FR70, but wondering if the 70 is really an upgrade. Let me see if I got this right. The FR60 still comes in all black (which I want), comes with the premium HR strap and can be found for less? The FR70 comes with the old HR strap, only two tone colors, costs more, but has an improved band? Thanks!

    Reply
  20. I have been researching the FR 60/70 vs the 210 and for me it seems that the GPS option in the 210 isn't worth the other features that the 60/70 offer. I run So I really like the interval options and virtual partner on the 70. I'd also want to track my heart heart rate and calories in other activites such as aerobics. Will this watch also do that for me?

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    Thanks for the writeup. Are the watchbands on either the FR60 or FR70 replaceable if they break, or are you SOL (once outside the warranty period)? Hard to tell from the pics, but it looks like the watchbands are molded integral to the case (for either watch). Thanks

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

    Reply
  23. I have the new FR70. Had many issues with the FR60 watchband, but my main issues were using the watch at the pool. Hitting the FR60 buttons in water always led to issues. Sometimes they would stop working and if I went for a run in freezing weather after the pool, the buttons were frozen and would not work. The new FR70 sealed button design is great - no chance or water issues even if used underwater. I think the design is a big improvement

    Reply
  24. I'm impressed. You're truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. I'm saving this for future use.

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    Thanks for the post on the FR70. I am considering upgrading to the FR70 for the SOLE reason that, after about 1.5 years of daily wear, my FR60 strap is barely being held together... by black electrical tape. Sometime last summer the strap "keeper" broke, and I called garmin and they sent me a new one in the mail for free. As for the battery, mine died after (I think) about a year and 3 or 4 months. I took it to a jeweler to replace the battery, thinking I should be as careful as possible, and afterwards a swim revealed water entry and fogging. So, I opened the back (just a few screws) and spent awhile putting the very delicate rubber thing back in place. Since then, I've had no leakage problems -- just the strap that is toast.

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    Got the FR 70 and heart rate monitor kept loosing signal. After trying second one, on the phone with Garmin they said that my body wouldn't work with the HR monitor? Have you ever heard of such a thing?

    Reply
  27. Hi Anon-

    No, that's not right. Honestly, it's the strangest thing I've ever heard a Garmin support person tell anyone. And definitely NOT accurate (unless you have no pulse at all, in which case, you've got other issues!).

    Check out this resource as a starting point, I suspect it may help fix your issues:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Reply
  28. Anonymous

    Hi Just got my FR70 on the basis of your reviews and found that sometimes the mode button just plain didn't work when I was out for my morning run - was trying to find the time of day then flick back to the run info. Does it 'go slow' once its recording, or does this sound like a fault on my watch?

    Cheers

    Dave B

    Reply
  29. No, definitely not normal - sounds like the watch may have had a manuf defect. Go ahead and ring up Garmin support and get it swapped out - quick and easy.

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    Thanks for that. I'll do that in the next few days.

    Interesting time calibrating the device last night. Did a 400m calibration on the track. then ran a 5K time trial. It was spot on 5K. Ran home: the watch showed 1.71 miles. The map measurement showed 1.91 miles (Garmin Connect Course, and gb-mapometer.com). Thats a big difference. seems like my calibration factor has to change from track to road running from about 93% to about 103%, though I also did the calibration on the run to the track and post measurement and that shows about 96%... all most odd...

    Next I'll try it on a certified accurate measure course for road running...

    Regards
    djb

    Reply
  31. Looks like Garmin FR70 wrist band is not replaceable :( I thought they made it replaceable this time... Maybe worth putting this explicitly in the review. I really hope it's not going to die in 1 year or so, like my FR60 unit did.

    Reply
  32. I'm new to running, but I'm looking to train for a marathon and am looking for a HR monitor to help me train. I can't decide if I should get the Garmin Forerunner 110 or Garmin FR70. I'm attracted to the GPS capabilities of the 110, but the FR70 seems like it would be a better watch for training, though it doesn't have GPS. Any tips or advice?

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    @Peeps:
    I am using "adidas micoach pacer bundle" which is basically a relabeled Garmin SDM4 foot pod combined with an Ant+ HRM strap that also looks very similar to Garmin. Then you get the pacer device, that records your data for upload to their online service and guides you through your workouts by vocal instructions. There are dedicated training plans availiable online that help you to achieve certain goals like marathon finishing at particular paces.

    Garmin Connect unfortunately does not offer sophisticated coaching options as far as I could see. On the other hand I would love to have an Ant+ compatible sports watch in addition and the FR70 would be perfect if I only could trust their new watch band or if they made it replaceable.

    Time will tell and I am having an eye on Garmin forums while waiting and hoping for a successor with Virtual Racer functionality and Training Effect calculation. Add R-R recordings and Firstbeat Athlete support and make it a no brainer!

    @Rainmaker
    Really enjoying your in-depth reviews and already made use of your Amazon referers to give something back. Thank you! Maybe you also want to think about adding Flattr buttons to your articles?

    I might have missed it but I would love to read about combining Garmin GPS Forerunners as the FR610 with a foot pod and how the foot pod corrects data when satellite receiving is weak. I saw lots of inner city courses recorded with Garmin watches where the lines horribly cut corners and went straight through buildings. That and running under trees a lot kept me away from GPS for now, but a combination of SDM4 and GPS might do a far better job, draw decent courses and meassure more accurate distances?

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    Finally got a FR70 that works. Button press is odd - press too hard and they don't work, so a light press is all you need. Keeping the button press 'beep' on helps.

    Other than that its all good. Doesn't have kcals from fat though, even though its in the manual.

    Cheers

    djb

    Reply
  35. Anonymous

    Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I need some clarity on this question: If I buy the FR70, do I need to buy the foot pod as well? Thanks for all your research, Rainmaker. I've been researching watches for the last month (buying my first one) and your reviews have been awfully, awfully helpful. I was torn between the 110 and the FR60 or 70, but I think the FR60 or 70 is for me (especially because it's a little smaller and seems to be clear underwater). I was about sold on the 70, but if I have to buy a footpod (as there seems to be no bundle that comes with one), I may as well go for the 60 because of the increase in price, no?

    Reply
  36. Hi Anon-

    Yes, in short, you do. Well, you don't if you don't care about distance or pace. At which point it would just measure heart rate (assuming you have a strap).

    So, in short:

    FR60/FR70: No GPS, footpod required for running, or GSC-10 for cycling

    FR110: GPS based, but won't work indoors on treadmill for pace/distance because doesn't support footpod.

    FR210: GPS based, also supports footpod though for treadmill running.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  37. Anonymous

    Yes, it sure does! Thanks. I hope Garmin will release a bundle package that includes a footpod for the 70

    Reply
  38. Anonymous

    DC Rainmaker, on the Advanced Workouts confusion again. Is it true that FR60 had those and they were removed now or are they missed in both the FR60 as well as the new FR70?

    At least your table of features in the FR610 review states FR60 has Advanced Workout functionality, but I could not find anything about it on garmin.com or in the manual.

    I also asked for answer in the official forum:
    link to forums.garmin.com

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  39. Squidbilly

    Hey DC Rainmaker,
    Great job. Love your reviews. I have a FR 60 and love the watch but was wondering how to use it for triathlons? Do you have to keep switching modes during a race or can the general mode be used and will it pick up your foot pod, hr monitor and cadence sensor? If not will the FR70? What would u suggest for a race? Thanks.

    Reply
  40. Anonymous

    How does this watch calculate calories? Can you input your weight or does it use a default?

    Reply
  41. Yes, it uses weight/age. It's identical to the FR60 in the calorie counting chart here:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    Rainamaker,
    Thanks for the review!

    Reply
  43. Steve

    Hi DC - awesome review as ever.

    Re: the "optional" footpod - it's obviously necessary if you want the watch to do anything useful at all, and I think it's only optional in the sense that you may already one. Garmin should get some credit for not bundling the footpod in and forcing you to buy another when you may have one already.

    Re: this comment:

    > While the official retail price is $129US, the reality is this watch generally sells for about $90 in most places.

    Really? If so, please tell me where! Seems to be that the street price is more like $120.

    Reply
  44. Since the introduction of the FR70, and that they've stopped making the FR60, the prices have gone up a touch. Used to easily be about $88 for the FR60. Kinda a bummer. That said though, I see Amazon has them for $93-$93 (Lilac and Red). Fwiw...

    Reply
  45. Anonymous

    Is the footpod on the fr70 waterproof?

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    So... I am looking for a small watch to use for triathlons. I had an FR60... and the strap broke. They replaced it but it didn't survive the first battery change - lost its waterproof seal. I already have a bike computer that captures all the bike info I need but want to use the FR70 to capture swim lap times, HR during bike, and then details on the run - cadence, avg speed, etc. So, can I make this watch do this for me?

    I think I can start it in Run mode, hit the lap button for the swim, hit the lap button for the bike, etc. - but will I need to do something in transition to "wake up" the HRM and to "wake up" the footpod?

    I'd like to know this will work before I buy another Garmin.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  47. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review.

    Do the fr70 shows the rolling calories? or it only shows the total calories burned at the end?

    Cuz the forerunner 210 only shows the total calories burned at the end but I'm looking for a watch that shows calories burning while running.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  48. Renee

    I got my FR70 a few months ago and have loved it. I do notice that the callibration is about .01 hundreths of a mile off, even after I manually callibrate it. Is there a way to fix this? Also, since it's been so hot lately I ran on the treadmill the past two days and everything was really off. I set my treadmill pace at 10:30 and ran 5 miles. The watch had me at 11:15-11:30 each mile and only read 4.5 miles at the end of the run. Does the FR70 not read accurately on a treadmill or is the treadmill off (I was on two different treadmills yesterday and today). Thanks for any help you can be.

    Reply
  49. I liked the look of the FR60 more, as well as the color (had the red one), but mine succumbed to the dreaded watch band breakage issue. Took it to REI for exchange to the FR70... yup, same watch, better band. Not used to the slightly different feel of the buttons yet but I suspect that won't be a major issue.

    Reply
  50. I purchased the FR70 based on your review. I have not been able to get the HRM to work. How do I know if it is human error or a malfunction of the HRM strap itself?

    Reply
  51. Does it pair at all? Meaning, can the watch find the strap via the settings/pairing menu?

    If not, try taking the battery of the HR strap out and back in. Failing that, just try getting a new battery (CR2032) - usually about $2-3, just in case that's bad. Otherwise, definitely ring up Garmin support and have them swap the strap out.

    Reply
  52. Dennis, also another thing to try is when installing the new replacment CR2032 lithium ion battery; make sure to check the two electrical small spring leaf contacts are making good contact; if it appears they are not making good contact; take a small tweezer to very gently bend them to enhance the battery contact's electrical contact connection; apparently this happens quite frequently and is resolved quickly if its the cause; easy enough to check and to implement fix on ones watch.

    Reply
  53. Vincent

    hi, is there any different between of fr60 and fr70 in term of function?

    Make me so confuse now, the post stated no differences but i go through each comments that some said advance workout is no more and i check garmin forum stated fr60 also don't have since every beginning.

    So to the conclusion these two watches, are only design improve, and function remain same, right?

    Reply
  54. Is the pace show by FR70 real time or a average of few seconds? Many thanks!

    Reply
  55. I am looking at the 70,110 and the 310.
    I will be using it mainly with the Schwinn A.C. Mpower
    Console and Garmin connect.I will also be using it to monitor my jump rope training.will all three of these watches record the power from the Mpower and display it on Garmin connect?

    Reply
  56. Anonymous

    @Vincent.
    Fr60 and fr70 have never supported advanced workouts.
    I have both. As with most people, the strap of my fr60 broke too. If you plan to use the watch for a few years, you will have a better chance with fr70.

    Fernando Marques

    Reply
  57. ger

    Ray
    In the wahoo kicker post you implied that the fr60/70 could receive/display power data.is that possible?i have the fr70 and if it could display (without saving) power data it would be a great in race backup device.

    Reply
  58. Rob

    This is a VERY HELPFUL review. One key point, I keep hearing talk about swimming in FR70, I am pretty certain it is not rated for "water proof" and therefore, I believe you will be in jepordy of ruining it and voiding the warrenty. Also, any helpful insight with syncing to digifit?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The unit is rated to 50 meters, and thus more than fine for swimming. I've done dozens of triathlons and probably a hundred thousand yards of swimming with the FR60 (same rating) without issue.

      Reply
    • Rox replied

      Can you detect HR with the FR70 while swimming?? It was fine for time and laps but couldn't get my HR! before and after was fine but not during my swim!!

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, ANT+ only transmits about 1" under water.

      Reply
  59. Ed

    I do not believe the heart rate monitor works underwater with this model…do you concur? Is there a trick? Do you have any recommendations for watch/heart rate monitors that do work underwater?

    Thank you,

    Ed

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct, it does not. You'll get about 1" of wireless transmissions.

      Underwater, it's a slim game. There's the Aquapulse (see my reviews section), but that doesn't record, just broadcast.

      Then you've got some (but not all) of the Polar units. As long as it has a T-30 coded HR strap, you'll be good underwater.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  60. Ed

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    Ok... Makes sense. Had an old polar(toast) that worked underwater with T-31 HR strap and still have that strap. Will try to work my T-31 Strap with the Polar RS300x that came with H1 soft strap. (Data transfer device extra cost, ugh).

    Will check Aquapulse too. My priorities are: heart rate in/under water, data transfer, not clunky.

    Cheers-

    Ed

    Reply
  61. Tridoctr

    Any idea if you can use the Training Peaks Upload software for FR 60 to upload the FR70's data to TP? Thanks, Sophia

    Reply
  62. daniel

    Hi mate,
    Do you know if FR70's belt is waterproof as well?
    So it counts my heart rate when swimming.
    Cheers

    Reply
  63. Tim Vincek

    The FR 70 is just a wrist full of AWESOME! Thanks for VERY helpful review. I LOVE this thing! I finished my spin in the garage and it transferred to Garmin connect automatically!! Amazing! I have a FR305 and have to connect every time to upload. I bought FR 70 as a replacement Polar HR 610i - 12 years old. I thought since the stupid HR strap did not have a user replaceable battery and for a little more money I could "mingle" my FR 305 data ( I use it outdoors) now a treadmill run with the FR70 tomorrow!! I am pumped... I have the foot pod too! I think the 305 is too clunky for the treadmill. the FR70 rocks!

    Reply
  64. kayla

    Kudos, your reviews are incredible. Even more funny, I used to live in that same Paris neighborhood for 5 years (and am back 2-3 times a year). I have just moved to SE Asia and unfortunately lost my FR60 in the process.

    I am REALLY hoping an FR80 is in the making soon (I am training for my first marathon in Novemeber and possibly first half ironman this year and REALLY want to replace it as I am going to be almost exclusively treadmill running through the summer here). Can't wait to see that review from you :)

    Reply
  65. Pete Williams

    I have had the FR70 for a few months now and am extremely pleased with it. (Purchased on the strength of your review). The only niggle that I have is that when I am transition training I have to switch from Bike mode to run mode, which, although I am glad of the extra rest, is an extra 'faff'. This is the first exercise computer that I have ever owned, and although I do not consider myself a Luddite, I am probably missing a setting. I would be grateful for any pointers to make my transitions smoother. Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Pete!

      Unfortunately with the FR70 there isn't a 'multi-sport mode', which is effectively the setting you are looking for (makes it one-touch between sports). I find the easiest thing to do is just memorize the button presses. Next time your sitting on your couch watching TV beteween commercials simply run through the settings until you can do it without looking... :)

      Reply
  66. Vasu

    Hi Ray,

    I am a biker with Garmin problems. I have a FR60 watch, a speed-cadence sensor and a foot pod. All was well until a) I started thinking about training for triathlon and b) the watch strap broke. I think the strap breaking was partly my fault - I should have washed the sweat off the strap after my runs. I think the corrorsive action of the sweat made the rubber brittle and it broke. Now, I am confused between a 310XT and the FR70. The + for 310XT is I can buy replacement watch strap and the - is that it has GPS so the battery won't last long. I do 40+ hour endurance rides because I'm training for PBP and I need the battery to last at least 90 hours. The + of FR 70 is it has everything I need and the battery will last long. The only - is I am afraid the strap might break again (in a year or so) and it is not replaceable.
    Since I consider you the definitive Garmin man my Qs to are 1) can the 310XT be used with GPS off, if yes, how long will the batter last then and 2) Is FR 70 my only option in this world or do I have options?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Vasu-

      The FR60 bands are notoriously breakable. Oddly enough, the FR70's only new feature is a new band. ;)

      Yes, the FR310XT's GPS can indeed be turned off. I keep meaning to do tests on it, but for comparison, the FR910XT with the GPS off lasts about 50ish hours, and that has a similar battery profile as the FR310XT.

      Does that help a bit?

      Reply
  67. Vasu

    Yes, it does. I will get the FR 70. I'm aiming for the LEL in Jul '14 and PBP in Aug '15 and both are 1000+ km, 80+ hour rides. Don't want to be stuck with a watch and no battery. Yes, I do plan for Ironman's too but 310XT Vs FR70 is like one Tri in 3 - 5 yrs Vs (15,000+ km/yr on a bike and 1500+ km of running/yr). I was hoping the 310XT with GPS turned off will last at least 90 hours, in which case I would have bought it.

    This time I'll remember to wash the sweat off the watch after my runs so it won't corrode the strap. How I wish Garmin made the FR 70 with replaceable straps!

    Your opinion helped me decide. Thanks!

    Reply
  68. Su-Chong Lim

    Ray:
    Love your blog. My FR60 strap corroded and broke after 3 years; I patched it to a nylon strap with electrical zip-ties -- ugly and creates a mildly dangerous sharp edge when brushing against face, etc, but functional.

    I am curious why some people, including you, did not experience this. In my case it happened soon after I started swimming 3-4/week, but you swim quite a lot, and I'm sure with the FR60, at least soon after you initially got it, so maybe it was nothing to do with my swimming.

    I'm a little choked at Garmin for having such a stupid design, and then not having a workaround for users who experienced breakage (the replacement service costs the same price as the new watch). But If I were to purchase a FR70, is the strap plastic material any different than the FR60 -- what I am saying is am I just buying the same problem again?

    Reply
  69. KenZ

    Here to also jump on the "FR60 watch bands suck" bandwagon. Just got off the phone with Garmin for my FOURTH replacement this year. Which is its first year, so still under warranty. This time they just gave up and are giving me the "free" upgrade to the FR70. More than likely stock of old FR60s is low. Why did I get the FR60? Because my last FR50 watch band broke several times as well. Nice to know they've moved to something in the 70 that doesn't totally suck. I've had a lot of watches in my day, but nothing has been so poorly implemented as the FR60 material. Well, maybe the HR straps.... but that's why I'm upgrading to the 4iiii strap.

    Reply
  70. SeanB

    I have a Suunto Quest with an External GPS pod. I believe the GPS pod uses Ant+ protocol. Do you think the Garmin FR70 would identify the GPS pod's presence and pair with it? Thence, giving me tracking information in Garmin Connect like all of Garmin's other integrated GPS devices.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, the pod doesn't use ANT+.

      And the FR60/70 isn't set to utilize any external GPS devices, even ANT+ ones. Sorry!

      Reply
  71. Lisa

    I'm almost as confused about which tri training watch to buy as I was when I first upgraded from a hybrid to a road bike. TOO MANY OPTIONS! I was ideally looking for a watch that functioned well with all three sports, provided audible output (distance and heart rate), and of course would work under water (mostly pool since I'll only be doing open water swims during one or two events per year). since I'm just starting the sport, I am on a budget, and most triathletes' suggestions of the 910xt is waaaaaay beyond what I want to invest right now. I am liking the simplicity and swirliness (ha ha) of the FR70, but will it help me train well enough to get to the next level as a triathlete?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      For all three sports, you'll want to be looking at either the FR310XT or the FR910XT. Check out the FR310XT, it's about $200 these days now and does everything you'd want (though, no indoor pool tracking). Enjoy!

      Reply
  72. John McCarthy

    Hi Ray,

    You do an unbelievable job here. Thank you for your thoroughness. In an age of half-assery, I really appreciate your integrity and dedication to the reader.

    I just bought the FR-70 and foot pod (arriving next week). My question is do you think it's worthwhile to purchase a square trade warranty for the watch? Do you know if they fail easily? Can you attest to their durability/longevity?

    Thank you again!

    John

    Reply
  73. clw

    Hi,

    Your reviews are fabulous and very helpful. I skip directly to them when looking for help with and/or advice about heart rate monitors.

    My FR60 just crapped out completely. I am thinking about an FR70 and want to buy one while REI is having a sale this holiday weekend. The only problem I had with my FR60 was an issue with the buttons, especially the lap button. I never quite got the hang of that button and often found that I needed to hit it two or three times in order to switch laps. This is quite frustrating during a track workout. At one point I decided to wear both my Timex, (which has a really finicky and unreliable HR strap; another story) to record lap times and my Garmin to keep track of HR. Is there any chance that the buttons work better on the FR70? Of course the issue with my FR60 may have been user error rather than something with the device. If that is the case, can you provide advice about how to use the lap button?

    Thanks for your help and your reviews.

    clw

    Reply
  74. Sara

    Hello!! Thank you for the informative and detailed reviews! I'm new (again) to running and have been reading reviews all day to find the right watch for training for a half marathon. Is there an altimeter on this one?

    Reply
  75. Sara

    Hello there, Sara again! Does the fr70 not come with a foot pod? Thanks for the information!

    Reply
    • Sara replied

      I just read all the comments and found answer! Bummer!

      Reply
  76. Jason

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Do you have any other recommendations that works something like FR70? I was looking at the FR10 initially but the short batt life put me off since I wanted to use it for my first marathon.

    I'll be using it for running only and I'm quite concern about the FR70 straps and the price is costlier that I would like it to be, since the footpod are sold separately.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jason

    Reply
  77. MacKenzie

    I am getting the Garmin FR70 and GSC 10 Speed/Cadence Sensor.
    Will I be set for cycling then or do I need to mount it on the bike??

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You'll be set. If you don't want it on your wrist, you can pickup the $10 rubber watch mount - but beyond that you're good to go. Enjoy!

      Reply
  78. ian.slack@ubs.com

    Great reviews btw. You were instrumental in my decision to go for the 810, which is great. Which leads to the question.

    I use the 810 for tracking my cycling. Will the HRM from the 810 work with the FR70? And also with gym machines etc?

    I currently have a polar watch but am missing out on my cycling data on that, as I don't want to wear two straps. I figured if I got the FR70 then I could use that with the 810 strap for cycling and still capture gym too. (And yes I am upset I lost my polar trophy as cycling is no longer captured on the watch ;))

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, the HRM strap is identical - so totally good there. On Fitness equipment, it (Edge 810) doesn't support it (assuming you have a gym with ANT+ equipment in it, which is sorta rare).

      Reply
  79. Farrunner

    I just got the FR 70 and foot pod. So far so good. I'm impressed with how accurate the foot pod seems to be even out of the box. There's one part I'm less happy with though. I do a run-walk program for longer distances and can easily use the interval timers on the FR 70 for this. However, when I do this, my laps/splits become my interval times. I would rather my laps/splits be recorded every mile and just have the interval timer tell me when to walk and run. Is there a way to do this on the FR 70? (Parenthetically, I had a FR 10 which has a Run Walk feature but returned it because I couldn't hear the beep while running. I'm in my 30s and have good hearing, so I'm not sure who can hear the FR 10 alarm. Maybe a canine!)

    Thanks
    TM

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Unfortunately it only has a generic lap/split function - which you can't separate out between non-lap and just mileage splits. Also, as you noted, the FR70 doesn't have a run/walk feature. Sorry!

      Reply
  80. synapse

    Thanks for your reviews - very detailed! I am looking at the the FR70 mostly to monitor my heart rate during indoor training. I checked the FR70's manual but cannot find the rate at which the heart rate is logged - do you have any idea what it is from your tests?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The FR70 uses "Smart Recording" which means the rate varies, it could be as high as every second, or it could be lower. Typically you see a recorded point about every 4-7 seconds.

      Reply
    • synapse replied

      Thank you for the reply.

      Reply
  81. Bob

    I've been using the Suunto memory belt because it records R-R data and I can upload it to my PC and use Movescount to analyze it. The problem is that the belts wear out and it looks like Suunto doesn't make them anymore. I train indoors, so I don't want GPS or an altimeter. The Garmin FR70 looked good because it's only $100 and has detailed HR information, but it looks like it doesn't record R-R data. It seems like the only devices that record and upload R-R data are high end watches with GPS etc. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Unfortunately, for R-R data it's pretty slim and pretty much just focused on the high-end units these days.

      Reply
  82. L

    How has the strap held up? My FR60 strap is cracking (AGAIN), but because I've been treating it with kid gloves it's out of warranty. I'd just buy a 620, because I want at least one Garmin that I can wear as a regular watch, but I also want it to be compatible with the cycling cadence sensor, and the 620 isn't.

    Then again, I don't want to shell out $120 for the FR70 if I'm going to have the same problem with the strap as with the FR60.

    Reply
  83. Achmed

    I bought a Garmin FR70 after reading this review. I planned to use it for indoor spinning classes. I also have an edge 500 which has given me excellent service.
    However, the FR70 cannot display heart rate percentage. I have asked Garmin to assist, but I looks like I will have to take it back as percentage heart rate is the main reason I bought this watch. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  84. JakiChan

    Sorry, asked this in the FR60 review not knowing it was out of date. I don't run but I'm looking for a replacement "gym watch". I just track my HR while doing elliptical or weights. Would the FR70 be a good for that vs a Polar HRM? The footpod could give me strides too I'd imagine.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It's definitely a good option. It won't track movement like elliptical or weights, but as long as you're wearing the HR strap it'll track the HR data and upload it later against a timeline. And, it'll give you calorie data. The footpod will give you stride rate while running, but won't give you steps (it'll give you total distance though). Enjoy!

      Reply
    • Hlaupa replied

      Ehm... It does show steps. Both total and per lap. In fact, I used the data fields Lap Distance and Lap Steps to estimate my stride length. Something not even my FR620 can do. A bit silly, so I´ve complained to Garmin about this reduction in data fields - all the extra ´running dynamics´ fields are just froth. If you look at the horizon and it doesn´t bob up and down too much, and have got a high enough cadence, then you´re fine. No need to count centimetres or milliseconds.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I stand corrected, I forgot they added that in the FR70.

      In any event, I'm not sure that steps are any more or less useful than Running Dynamics...

      Reply
  85. JakiChan

    So if I'm looking for just gym exercise data then this one would be the one to get - however I'm also thinking that now in 2014 it might be better to get a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and use my phone. Most people who would use an HRM in a gym probably have a smartphone. Maybe the era of the wrist mounted HRM is over. Running watches with GPS I totally get - I use an Edge 500 and not my iPhone. But for simple heart rate tracking I'm sure my iPhone will give me a better UI.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think if you're in a gym, then honestly, a phone and HR strap is probably a better way to go.

      Reply
  86. Molly

    Noticed a few posts back that there was a reference to kcals from fat. I saw that in the manual too but can't find it in the menu. Anyone had any luck with this ? BTW thanks for the review.

    Reply
  87. RJB

    After your excellent review I purchased the FR70 in March 2013. I run mostly on trails unless winter snows force me on the road. I needed a simple watch to handle HR, Ave HR, Pace, Ave Pace, distance and elapsed time along with user changeable batteries. The foot pod paired perfectly and only needed a small calibration right out of the box while the HRM worked great. More than enough data to track my runs. After one year of use 2 screws popped off the back plate and I examined the inside threads which were cracked and made of plastic. Returned the unit for a new at REI today and within 40 minutes the watch was setup and calibrated for my run.

    Appreciate the time, effort and expertise you provide us from your website.

    Reply
  88. 6co2000

    I have the purchase the FR70 as a second watch. In fact, it is more for my wife. She runs on the treadmill quite a lot and was complaining I was taking the GPS watch with me on business trips. That is the FR610.

    Anyway, this is such a step down from the 610. I suppose it does what it is supposed to be doing, but when you are used to the 610, this watch is just cr.p !

    Here is what I dislike so much about it
    1. The buttons are such a pain to use! Very hard, don' t always work, hurt the tip of the finger ... arggg.... this is really killing all the fun, especially as compared to the FR610 real cool touchscreen
    2. The HR rate recorded does not look as good, or as precise as the one recorded on the FR610. I dont know why. Same HR strap, but in the recording process, somehow it is like it was losing some data.
    3. Sometimes in fact, it has dropped HR rate altogether, and I had to go back into settings/run/hrm etc while running (!)
    4. Something very important to me: i am over 40 and have lost some sight, I need numbers to be LARGE so that I can see them while I run. Well on the FR610, if I set up the display to show only one parameter, say HR or pace for example, then the font just gets larger to fill the whole screen and I can see it. On the FR70, when I ask for signle value display, I do get one value, but small!! leaving the rest of the screen unused...

    Anayway, items 1 and 4 above have just killed any desire to pick it up. And I am now hunting for an additional bargain FR610 instead!

    thanks for your reviews. I wanted to post this, as it could be useful to others as well.
    Cheers
    6co

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, the FR70 is from a different time...as, it's ultimately just the FR60 with a new band. So it was years old before it even came out. Thus, all the goodness found on the newer units simply isn't there.

      That said, you shouldn't be having any HR recording issues. Definitely ensure you've switched it to 1-second recording. Also, even if a new strap - swap out the battery on the HR strap. Actually, especially if it's a new strap that came with the FR70, since it's likely been sitting on a shelf a long time and sometimes they get into weird states and burn through almost all the battery. The symptoms your having sound very similar to low-battery symptoms (drops/etc...).

      Reply
  89. Col

    Hello, I am approaching the age when serious running is not an option so most of my exercise consists of walking and using a recumbent bike.
    I am about to purchase an an exercise watch, my favourites at the moment are the Garmin Vivofit or the FR60/70 I would appreciate your comments as to the most suitable, also is there anything on the market that could be used on the recumbent bike (no spokes)?
    One of my reasons for opting for these models is the size, I have small wrists

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The FR60/70 is a fair bit different than the Vivofit, in that it would provide stuff like distance from a speed sensor on the bike. Whereas the Vivofit wouldn't. The Vivofit is more of a daily activity tracker, whereas the FR60/70 is a sports watch with functions like interval support, HR zones, etc...

      Reply
    • Alexander replied

      Hi! I have already installed ANT+ speed/cadence sensor on my road bike. Do you think I can connect and actually use this sensor with FR70? Tks in advance! You are doing great job!

      Reply
    • DC Rainmaker replied

      Yup, works great as long as it's an ANT+ Speed/Cadence combo sensor.

      Reply
  90. Marilyn

    I just bought this unit on Wednesday and tried to use it yesterday. I cannot believe how hard it is to use the buttons - it takes me about 20 pushes to get the mode button to switch to heart rate/lapsed time mode. I have a race tomorrow and I don't look forward to waiting in the start corral hoping I'll be able to set my start/stop/heart rate mode before the race begins. It’s a bike race – I need my hands to be doing something besides fiddling with this thing. Is it just me? Has anyone got any experience with managing this?
    I’m pretty sure I will be returning it for a refund. Ugh.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Definitely not normal. Something must be up with the buttons.

      Try putting the unit in a bowl of warm (but not super hot) water. Give it about 20 minutes or so, then pull it out and try pressing the buttons.

      Reply
  91. Marilyn

    Thanks for the speedy reply. I was fiddling with it today and found that I have 5 minutes once I get it into the heart rate/elapsed time mode before it defaults back to the time of day/date mode. I also found that pushing the button really quickly, stuccato like (ha) rather than just pushing and kind of holding it, makes it switch easier. It's still not ideal, but it'll be o.k. for tomorrow. I'll try the hot water thing too.
    Thanks very much.
    m.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      On the 5 minutes piece, that's because you haven't press start to start the activity. Once you've done that you're good to go.

      Reply
  92. Marilyn

    I tried the hot water. Makes no difference.

    Yes, I realize once I START the activity the heart rate/elapse time will be good to go for the duration of the activity. The problem is that I don't want to start the activity until the activity starts.... ie. When the start gun goes off.
    So if I get this annoying mode button to actually switch the unit into heart rate/elapse time mode, I only have 5 minutes before I can start my activity or it defaults back to time of day mode. It's not a super big deal, but when you're standing in the start chute you really don't want to have to concern yourself with figuring out exactly how many minutes till the start gun goes and then try to coordinate switching into heart rate/elapse time from time of day. With full finger gloves on, yet.
    But thanks again for chiming in quickly. I'm off to race now.

    Reply
  93. Julie

    Hi.
    Please help. Got the FR70 bundle. Does the watch (used in conjunction with footpod) show current distance whilst I'm running so I know how far I've gone?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, just be sure you calibrate the footpod first (a track is best).

      Reply
  94. Ashleigh

    Hey

    Thanks so much for the review. Really helped me decide to buy it. However, could you tell me if it works with Strava? I've been searching the Internet and keep coming up short. Please help! Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, you'll just upload everything as if it were an indoor workout - since there's no GPS track.

      link to strava.zendesk.com

      As a result, you won't get listed on any Segments though.

      Instead, you might want to look at the Garmin FR10, which is a little bit more but gets you segments (though, doesn't work with the footpod for indoor use).

      Reply
  95. Brad

    My FR 70 did not last a full year before the battery went.
    It was used only very occasionally - mid week short runs of about 30-45 mins with a HR monitor. Being new to the concept of using a HR monitor / training computer to track performance etc. Figured I would just see what it was like before committing to a more expensive / elaborate model.
    Well after the battery went I found it impossible to deal with Gamin support - could not find a dealer or watch repair business that was prepared to swop the battery out and had no assistance from Garmin support in finding a local dealer who could take care of it.
    I was advised to post the watch offshore and they would replace the entire unit (at a cost!).
    This is the worst service I have ever had on any product purchased and will never buy another Garmin device regardless of the price.
    There are cheaper devices out there with much better functionality and ease of servicing. Thanks for nothing Garmin.
    Must add - I like your reviews - cheers

    Reply
  96. Carianne Stinson

    Just to be clear, does the FR70 give you pace results for each mile? I am searching for a budget friendly watch that will give me pace results and total steps for the day. Will this watch do the job for me, or will I need to go with something more like the Garmin 15 with a gps?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  97. Neil

    I just purchased the FR 70 and have a two small problems with intervals.

    1-How do you modify the rest/cool down times (I'm using time for my intervals). I've tried and tried but no results.
    2-How do you set the heart rate limits for the intervals. I have my zones programmed into the watch but can't integrate with the interval set-up.

    As an aside, I can't believe how scanty Garmin's user manual is (I don't mean the quick start guide but the full .on-line pdf file )

    Reply
  98. Neil

    I was sent and have downloaded data to Garmin Connect from my FR 70. However, due to a problem I began using a second FR 70. The Ant stick doesn't recognize the new unit. Any ideas how to fix this?

    Reply
    • DC Rainmaker replied

      On the FR70, you'll need to enable the computer pairing mode. And then on the computer, there's an option within the ANT Agent software to 'Enable' the pairing of other devices again (it shuts it off automatically otherwise).

      Reply

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