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10-Day Sale: Garmin FR910XT down to $249, Suunto Ambit 2S down to $263

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The Sale:

In what is becoming a bit of an annual mid-May sale, the Garmin FR910XT is now on sale for an end total price of $249.  The unit starts at $399, but is on sale for $299, and then there’s a $50 mail-in rebate on top of that, bringing you to $249US.

Similarly, the bundled version of the unit with the premium HRM3 heart rate strap is normally $449, on sale for $336, and then also has the $50 rebate getting you to $287US.  Note that the ‘Performance/Triathlon Bundle’ with the speed/cadence sensor and quick release kit is not on sale, but the $50 rebate (PDF form here) is still valid for it (as is the DCR 10% discount).

Next, we’ve got the Suunto Ambit2 & 2S 25% off.  REI is discounting all models of them a blanket 25% off.  This means that the Ambit2 S goes from $350 to $263, while the Ambit2 goes down to $375 from $500.

Here’s the quick and dirty:

- Garmin FR910XT now $249 (was $399 down to $299, then $50 rebate): Link here to Clever Training
- Garmin FR910XT HR bundle $287 (was $449, down to $336, then $50 rebate) : Link here to Clever Training (select HR bundle dropdown)
- Suunto Ambit2R now $187 (was $250): Link here to REI
- Suunto Ambit2S now $263 (was $350): Link here to REI
- Suunto Ambit2 now $375 (was $500): Link here to REI
- Other Ambit2 bundle/package variants (all 25% off): Link here to REI

Using any of the above links helps support the site.  In the case of both stores you’ll get free shipping.  In the case of REI these don’t qualify for additional 10% dividends at the end of the year (since they are sale products).  Likewise, with Clever Training these are considered deep-sale and don’t qualify for the usual DCR 10% discount.  Note that if you buy from REI, it only supports the site if you click on the above link.

Finally, there are a few other things on sale at Clever, in the event you have a bike and need a bike rack:

- The vast majority of Thule bike racks are 20% off
- The Saris Freedom 2 & 4 bike, Superclamp 2 & 4 bike racks are 20% off

Some of these items (the racks) are on sale slightly longer than the 10-day period.  And the rebate extends beyond the 10-day period.  But for both the price-drops from the retailers themselves for the Ambit and FR910XT, you’ll need to purchase things in the 10-day period, which ends May 26th.

So why the tri-focused sale?

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Well, I think a few things are in play here:

First, in part because Garmin and Suunto did it last year mid-May and I suspect it was quite successful sales-wise.  Thus, rinse-repeat.

Second, there’s new competition on the market.  You’ve got the TomTom Cardio Multisport, and the Polar V800.  The Polar V800 is a more direct competitor to the FR910XT and Ambit 2/2S, as given it hits the market availability-wise in about 2-4 weeks.  This is a way for them to make people who might have been on the fence go for the immediately available and half the price unit, versus waiting.

Third, Garmin just introduced the Fenix2 at what is normally the same price as the FR910XT ($399).  In most quantifiable ways, the Fenix2 is a more capable watch than the FR910XT from a features standpoint – and certainly more capable than the Ambit2.  So perhaps this reflects things there a bit (though, I think this line of thinking is a distant third).  The Fenix2 is not a FR910XT successor, but rather a different product line from a different division of the company.  Sorta like a sibling or cousin product line.

To that end, I do not believe that Garmin is introducing a 910XT successor ‘soon’, nor is Suunto introducing an Ambit2 successor ‘soon’.  Why’s that?  Well, because they just aren’t.  Thus, you won’t see a new model successors this triathlon season.  Simple as that.  Garmin is also very predictable when it comes to product releases for different product segments.  They align to certain events and/or times of the year.  And mid-summer is not one of those times for running/triathlon products.  Suunto doesn’t quite have the product history in this segment to be as predictive yet.

The Current Landscape:

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I often note that it’s better to have a device to train with now, than to wait for the perfect unicorn.  As sometimes, you might not find that unicorn.  Said differently, if you’re waiting for a new bunch of devices to come out, keep in mind that announcements are generally months ahead of availability.  Take for example Garmin cycling products.  Typically speaking they’re announced at Eurobike/Interbike in the late-Aug/mid-Sept timeframe.  Those products though aren’t actually in your hands until November-December though.  The same is often true of virtually all past running products announced in September/October, available approximately 45-90 days later.

So, to that end I look at the triathlon market with these major current-generation products and the prices as of Friday:

Garmin Fenix2 ($399)
Garmin FR910XT ($249)
Polar V800 ($449)
Suunto Ambit2 ($375)
Suunto Ambit2S ($263)
TomTom Multisport ($199)
TomTom Multisport Cardio ($299)

There are also a few others that are less current, such as some older Polar models, the Timex Global Trainer, or the Magellan Switch, but I think at this point the above would be my core recommendations to focus on.  The one exception there is the good ole FR310XT.  I didn’t include it above, but it’s still a solid unit and a great budget option at about $180US.

Thoughts on functionality:

Starting with the above units, the simplistic unit you’ve got are the TomTom Multisport watches.  The least expensive option starts at $199.  For that, you’ll get a basic running mode, basic cycling mode, and then an indoor swimming mode.  It doesn’t do openwater swimming, nor does it have a full triathlon/multisport mode to seamlessly track the entire race.  But, I don’t think that’s a core showstopper.  If you want optical heart rate data (so no HR strap), then simply get the Cardio version instead.  It’s the only option out there today that’s fully waterproof and has optical HR built into the watch.

Next, we’ve got the two ‘navigational’ watches (that are also tri watches) – the Fenix2 and the Ambit 2.  Both of these units do all the swim/bike/run stuff, but also can be used as hiking watches with more navigation focused aspects such as courses, waypoints and the like with barometric altimeters.  While the FR910XT can do some of the course basics there, it’s not really designed for that.  And the V800 doesn’t have that much navigational focus at this time (save waypoint and GPS-compass back to start/waypoint only).

So from a swim/bike/run tracking standpoint, the major four are the Fenix2, FR910XT, and the Suunto Ambit 2/2S.  The only core difference between the 2 and the 2S is that the 2S doesn’t have a barometric altimeter, and thus uses GPS for elevation related metrics.  This can lead to slightly less accuracy, though I’ve been very impressed with the GPS altimeter in the 2S.

The V800 can’t do any indoor or outdoor swim metric tracking (distance/pace/strokes etc…), but does track heart rate while swimming.  But it does allow you to upload your completed activities via your phone via Bluetooth Smart. And given the higher price right now, it’s going to be hard for that unit to be heavily competitive at the moment.  Long term, likely, but for now it’s more of an underdog.

So when it comes to the FR910XT and the Ambit2S, I’d really focus on a few things.  First, are you doing lots of hiking or navigational work?  If so, go with the Ambit 2S.  Do you have a power meter?  Go with the FR910XT, it offers more metrics and options there.  For swimmers either indoors or out, they’re in basically the same league.  And for runners it’s pretty much the same too.  Though, the FR910XT does have vibration alerts whereas the Ambit series does not, so that may be a consideration for some.

Suunto’s recent addition roughly a week ago of adding in .FIT file export support to their online site is massive – and really makes it much more appealing as now it works with virtually every 3rd party training log and platform without issues (even including automatic sync to Strava).  On the flip side, Garmin includes more simplistic capabilities when it comes to creating intervals and custom workouts easily.

Overall at this point you aren’t really going to go wrong with any of the units on sale.  Check out the in-depth reviews linked up top for plenty more details on all the products.

With that – go forth and enjoy!  As I said recently, everything that’s going to be announced for the season has been announced.  So what’s on the table is on the table.  About the only variable outstanding is what (if anything) Apple might announce at WWDC in 2 weeks.  Even if they did release a watch, I definitely wouldn’t expect that to target the triathlon market immediately, and especially do so in a way that’s competitive this summer.

Thanks for the support, and feel free to plop any questions down below and I’d be happy to try and answer them!

132 Comments

  1. Jason

    Here's a question for you:

    Early last week I ordered an Ambit 2R from clevertraining.com with the DCRainmaker discount code for $270. CT told me after I placed the order that the Ambit 2R was back-ordered and that they'd probably get more from Suunto by mid next week (which is this week). I was disappointed that they didn't tell me about the backorder before I paid. I just got the tracking number and it's scheduled for delivery tomorrow.

    Now I get the REI flier and see the posting on your site for Ambit discounts. With the 25% off, I could bump up to the 2S for $6 less than I just paid for the 2R.

    Thinking as someone who uses the watch probably 95% running, 5% lap swimming & cycling (no power meter), would you return the 2R to clever training and get the 2S from REI? (which might take a few clams out of all-around good-guy Ray Maker's pocket from the affiliate purchase)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I'd probably go for the 2S swap, simply because I'm one who might find other features on the 2S useful. For you swimming only 5% of the time, it's less likely to be useful than someone who swims 50% of the time.

      That said, the CT folks are usually pretty flexible. I'd ping them, mention you're a DCR reader and see what they can work out...

      Reply
  2. Tosin Akinmusuru

    Even if it was a precursor to a new device, they just released the Garmin 15 and Fenix 2. It would be a bit much on their end to push something else out so soon. However, remember that time when Garmin promised that the Vector would come out soon, and we all waited...and waited.....and waited?

    Reply
    • AC replied

      Hah, yes I remember that. And I know have pm's from powertap and sages. I'll never wait for a garmin release again.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, I think they get it there now. That's why almost all recent announcements have been with less than four weeks from availability. Some all within 2 weeks or so. They're also under-promising on new units. For example, they told retailers 'June' for the Edge 1000 - and of course we've seen units now for about 10 days in the wild.

      There's still a considerable sting left in Olathe on both Vector timelines but also the FR910XT. A lot of very senior people haven't forgotten that (remember, that impacts financial results too).

      Reply
  3. M

    Hi Ray,

    I'm using the Polar RCX3 for the moment, but I'm looking to upgrade to a full up Tri-Watch.
    As I'll have to purchase all the extra's (speed, cadence, ...) in the long run, which watch do you suggest?
    The Fenix2 or the 910xt? As it is quite an amount I'm looking for the 'technology' that will go along for a fair while.
    I'm leaning towards the Fenix2 as the 910xt dates from 2010, I'm wondering whether the fenix2 technology will be better for extra's in the long run.
    But when looking at the comments in the in-depth review section of the fenix2 it seems so have a lot of problems with freezing, not recording,...

    Thx for any help.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think we're seeing the Fenix2 maturing very quickly - with both bug fixes and new features being added at a rate not typically seen by other product groups. Thus, long term I'd view the Fenix2 as a better platform, since we haven't seen a FR910XT update since basically last summer for the Vector updates - but nothing else beyond that in quite a long time.

      Reply
    • Nedim Celik replied

      I was already pulling my CC out to buy the Fenix2, but then started reading reviews. Based on Garmin forums and the incredible work of FellRnr, it is pretty clear that the GPS accuracy of the Fenix 2 (and FR620) is way below the 910XT. I consider the GPS performance of my 910XT just about acceptable and have noticed some oddities on my wife's FR620 as well confirming.

      Ray, do you believe the accuracy issues with Fenix2/FR620 can be fixed by Garmin software updates, or is this due to the new MediaTek vs. SiRF GPS chipset?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Well I think the work that FellRnr does is interesting, I've noted many times that because he's only running a single route repeatedly I don't believe it's relevant to most people.

      It's one of the core reasons I run/ride in a wide variety of conditions with multiple units at the same time. Thus allowing one to see how they compare on any given day. There's many things that can impact GPS and it's only logical to see if it impacts two units at the same time/place/moment or not.

      Finally, remember that in general the only reason people go to company forums is for troubleshooting. If it really was a wide scale problem there would be tens of thousands (or many more) posting. Just things to keep in mind.

      Reply
    • M replied

      Perfect thx! I have skinny wrists so both the 910xt as the fenix 2 will look huge on me, but if it helps my trg...

      Fenix2 it is and then slowly adding accessories!

      Reply
    • Nedim Celik replied

      Thanks Ray, based on your comment, I ended up buying both the Fenix 2 and the Ambit 2R.

      I hear what you say about FellRnr's testing, but I believe that it is at least directionally indicative; ie. I doubt that some other tester on some other route would find the opposite result. FWIW, I my limited testing the 910XT is more often than not tracking much closer to where I actually ran, confirming FellRnr's results. On my benchmark 5k, that is actually ~3.03 miles (GPS + non-GPS estimate), both the Fenix 2 and Ambit 2R measured 3.07 today. That's good enough.

      Ultimately, the Fenix 2 is a fine unit. In many ways it is better than the Ambit 2, and it makes for a really cool day-watch, YMMV. The problem may be that it falls short of popular expectations, since we expect newer things to be better and not just good enough -- maybe somewhere there is a lesson for Garmin. I will be returning it in anticipation of a proper successor for my 910XT this fall.

      That said I will be keeping the Ambit 2R. I believe that with the current 25% off at REI, it is very fairly priced at $187 and is possibly the best running GPS watch for the money spent. And I really like the strava integration.

      Reply
  4. w

    Too bad the rebate is not available in Europe... Any ideas on special deal over here?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Unfortunately not on the rebate front. :(

      Reply
    • John replied

      Make a friend here in the US and have them do the leg work on your dime. Then ship to you.

      Im sure youre not the first person in the world with this issue :-)

      Reply
  5. one question: do you still buy from US website now that you are in europe? in that case, apart from the shipping expenses, did you have any trouble with importation taxes?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I generally still buy from US websites, even with shipping and customs it's almost always cheaper.

      About the only time I buy from European sites is for really heavy/bulky items that cost a lot to ship.

      Reply
  6. Oscar Roig

    So for Europe the best bet would be to go with the items sold by Clever Training since the international shipping costs for REI are quite expensive. Taking that into account the 910XT would cost 330$ or 240€

    Reply
  7. Turn The Damn Cranks

    Any thoughts on whether going the 910 route makes sense for a sometimes-runner and even more occasional triathlete who already has an Edge 500 and a FR 305? I would love something that's not so huge on my wrist for when I do run, but the 910 doesn't seem enough smaller than the 305 to make sense. On the other hand, at the current price for the 910, it seems silly to buy a 220 instead (considering the relative functionality rather than size). Assuming I don't want to go FR15/10, do you think the 210 is a good enough buy to make passing this up a good move? Or should I suck it up and buy the 910?

    Thanks, as always!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm, that's tough. If you're almost never doing swimming, then I'd really go with more a runners watch since it sounds like you have the cycling covered with the Edge 500. And there's not much (anything?) that the 910XT does that the Edge 500 can't.

      Thus, perhaps the 210 option would be a good one.

      Reply
  8. Shawn

    Also, many REI locations are offering the Garmin 210 for $149. This is a special buy supplies are limited. This of course is a running only model.

    Reply
    • Turn The Damn Cranks replied

      That's the exact price point that got me to ask my previous question. It's available on REI.com at that price too. I notice from Ray's calculator that it doesn't allow for custom workouts. That's annoying, but I'm not so sure that it's a real issue for me as most of what I do is LSD, not intervals.

      Reply
    • Turn The Damn Cranks replied

      To finish the thought: But the lack of custom workouts might be an issue for others. (Sorry for the second reply. I wish we could edit comments!)

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, the FR210 has dipped in at that price a bit lately. But with the FR15 at just $20 more, you get more functionality (except interval workouts). You lose three data fields per screen, but you do have two screens to work with. If it were me, I'd go FR15 over FR210...

      Reply
    • Turn The Damn Cranks replied

      Thanks. I hadn't thought to compare those two, and the pricing is even better when one considers the Clever Training discount -- I think the FR15 actually works out to be a drop cheaper than the FR210. Don't need the activity monitoring (I've got a Fitbit, not to mention professionally I probably shouldn't be sporting a digital watch), but your handy comparison tool showed me that there are several other benefits. I just need to decide whether I care about interval training, I guess.

      Reply
  9. Do you know a watch that can export to a simple GPX file without special software on the host computer when connecting via USB. I only use GNU/Linux systems and don't want to use any proprietary vendor software.

    Reply
    • Shawn Bohrer replied

      I have a 910xt and use Linux. The 910xt produces FIT files which can be downloaded with the ANT+ stick and link to github.com If you wanted GPX files you can probably convert the FIT files to GPX with gpsbabel.

      Reply
    • Paul S replied

      Fenix (1 not 2).

      Reply
    • OJ replied

      When I connect my FR10 to my mac (without the garmin software installed) and it mounts it like a normal USB stick and I manually copy the files from there. That being said I don't know if it will work for all other watches, but check this out as well: link to wiki.openstreetmap.org

      Reply
    • Jelle de Jong replied

      Thanks for the replies, looks like the FR10 acts as a mass storage device when connected and uses the Garmin *.TIFF files. I forgot to say I am looking for a watch that using LED technology to measure the HR so I will wait a bit more till one of these devices will be available.

      Reply
  10. Brian

    Where can I find a link for the $50 rebate form for the Garmin 910xt?

    Reply
  11. TRowe

    Ray, It is disappointing to hear that the V800 will launch without swim support. I was looking forward to purchasing one as all of my accessories (HR monitor and S/C) are Bluetooth. I doesn't seem prudent on Polar's part to try and launch a new product in that price range with limited functionality. Any thoughts on when swim support would be added? I'm currently using the TomTom MS but the swim support on is poor at best. Maybe I should look at the FR910XT for now but I really don't want to buy all of the ANT+ stuff too.

    Reply
    • Patrick Myers replied

      "I often note that it’s better to have a device to train with now, than to wait for the perfect unicorn. As sometimes, you might not find that unicorn."
      ...
      "The V800 can’t do any indoor or outdoor swim metric tracking (distance/pace/strokes etc…), but does track heart rate while swimming."

      And this is EXACTLY why I bought the Fenix2 now instead of waiting for the V800. I wanted the V800 because I already have a Wahoo Bluetooth HRM and Wahoo Bluetooth Speed/Cadence sensor, but the lack of swimming until some time in the future killed it for me. I'm sure the V800 will have swimming eventually, but I needed a training tool NOW, so I went with what's out now and honestly am really happy with the Fenix2.

      The ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor bundle is only $70 so I just bit the bullet and got that, though if you don't ever use an indoor trainer, you could probably limit the spend on new ANT+ stuff to a $40 cadence sensor (since GPS will provide the speed).

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I should have a specific date on the V800 swim piece that I can share on Monday. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Christian replied

      Damn, and here I thought I wanted the weekend to last a long time...

      Reply
    • TRowe replied

      Any news yet on the V800 Swim functionality?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They are currently estimating Q3 2014 (thus anytime between July 1 and Sept 30th).

      Reply
    • TRowe replied

      Ray, thanks for checking!

      Reply
  12. ed rusk

    i don't see the $50 Garmin rebate on the link provided. can you help direct us to the correct rebate for the $50 from Garmin?

    Reply
  13. Adria

    Hi Ray. First at all congrats for the website and your reviews.

    Can I buy and have the rebate from Spain?

    I have seen another rebate of edge 800. Is available for Spain buyers?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Unfortunately no rebates are valid outside the US. The flat-rate discounts are available to anyone who purchases via Clever Training. Same goes for the current $100 rebate on the Edge 810.

      Reply
  14. Elizabeth

    My 305 is on its way out so this sale came just in time (as did my rei dividend). Hubby has the 310xt and is very satisfied. So now what do I get? Is the 910 worth the extra $75? I'm a triathlete, marathoner, newbie ultra runner.

    Reply
    • morey000 replied

      elizabeth; The 310xt is a terrific deal and a solid, functional watch. It's a bit big and ugly, but if you're only using it for training- then that probably doesn't matter. Is the 910xt worth the extra $75- yeah, probably is. However, since you are looking towards the ultra thing, having a watch with an internal compass and a proper navigation capabilities is really handy. The 310/910's nav is rudimentary. Fenix2 or Ambit 2 would do well for you. And, while it seems simple to plot a course on Garmin's web site and load it into your watch, I've had plenty of issues in getting that interface to work reliably. Suunto's interface... just works and is easy. (I've never tried the Fenix, perhaps it uploads courses more reliably than the 310/910?)

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I would generally agree with Morey.

      Most of the features you'd get between the 310XT and the 910XT are really aimed at swimmers (indoor pool tracking) and cyclists with power meters.

      For navigation, his responses on the Ambit or Fenix are spot-on.

      Reply
  15. Rachel

    Any idea if that rebate exists for Canada? I'd pay the extra shipping...just unsure if I'd get a rebate, can't see that on the site.

    Reply
  16. Joel

    The rebate site on Garmin.com does not show a rebate for the 910XT. Can anyone verify that there is a rebate available? Also please post a link if you happen to find it.
    Thanks,

    Reply
  17. ltyoungster

    One consideration in the 910xt vs Ambit2 debate is pool length. The 910xt will not track pools less than 20m. This is important if you need to train in hotel pools or your club has a smaller pool. Pools less then 20m generally don't require a lifeguard on duty so they have more flexible hours and are cheaper to use.

    Reply
  18. Mario

    IMO the Fenix2's ability to link with your phone is truely worth every penny. It's very fast and to be able to analyze and share your results within seconds is amazing and leaves everyone on my tri team jelous and trying to find a laptop!! Thank for the reviews as always.

    Reply
    • morey000 replied

      good point. that way you get to upload your Strava segments, and have a KOM before your friends get home, upload, and beat you by 1 second. :)

      Reply
    • pdone replied

      I can do the same thing with my 310xt courtesy of a $6 Android app. At least until/unless Garmin messes with their APIs. Even then you can upload to Strava etc. from the app.

      Reply
  19. Paul M

    Good job Ray! Answered my questions, as usual. Off to buy the 910 with your link so you get $$$$.25

    Reply
  20. Bill Brannon

    Please find me a deal on an Oregon 600

    Reply
  21. Rob

    Too bad we can't get the extra 10% discount at CT. It's still a heck of a deal with the $50 rebate, free shipping and no sales tax for those that don't live in FL.

    Reply
    • ed rusk replied

      Rob - i got the additional 10% off using the code... have you tried?

      Reply
    • Rob replied

      Yes, I tried. How did you get it to work? It looked like it was going to work but then when I went to submit the order it rejected the code.

      Reply
  22. Drew

    As much as I don't like my current setup, it works. I have the Garmin Swim for my pool work (though it is useless on OWS), my retired FR410 on my bike paired with a speed/cadence sensor & HR monitor, and my FR620 for the run. When I do my first tri at the end of this month, I will wear my 620 for the whole race (starting it only on the run) & have my 410 already on the bike. The swim will just get manually entered in my log & I will combine the other two later.

    I would jump on the 910 deal, but I bought the FR410 last year a couple weeks before it was officially discontinued by Garmin, and that left a sour taste in my mouth. I will wait for the 910 successor (whenever that happens) before I upgrade to an all-in-one multisport watch.

    Reply
  23. Michelle

    Literally purchased the Garmin Forerunner 910XT 15 days ago! This makes me so frustrated haha. Also, does anyone find it weird that the triathlon bundle did not go on sale (Still $499)? Anyways, I called the company and because the triathlon bundle I purchased is not part of the sale they were unwilling to help me. They told me I would have to return the triathlon bundle, then repurchase with the sale. Ooooyyy face palm.

    Reply
  24. Joseph

    Ray, do you know if Garmin is planning on supporting the 910XT in the future, or is the latest firmware the last? If so, that will probably put me in the Ambit2 S camp.

    I checked out the Fenix2 at REI last night - that thing is HUGE! I'm curious if it (or the others that size) interferes in indoor lap swimming.

    Thanks for all your work!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Like most Garmin products you tend to see an initial burst of firmware updates early on in the product lifecycle, but then very few later on. There are occasional exceptions, but not many.

      Given the FR910XT will be three years old this fall, I don't expect any further firmware updates.

      Of course, like all fitness products they still support the 910XT for a heck of a long time (I think you can probably even call in for the FR305 still).

      Reply
  25. David

    This post is nothing more than a thank you for how timely and awesome your posts always are! When REI sent out their sale preview I noticed the discount on the 190XT along with the rebate and wondered in an upgrade was coming, when the sale officially started this morning I came to the site hoping to dig through the comments to see if you'd mentioned any potential Garmin triathlon updates coming in the future and the first thing I'm met with is a brand new post answer every single question I had plus a few I didn't even think of.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Roger

    I was leaning towards the Fenix 2 over the 910XT primarily for the appearance. I'm a triathlete and don't see myself using the navigation piece and it looks like I'll miss out on the swim drill mode. Comments on the Fenix 2 review seem to indicate that it's multisport mode is still buggy. For the sale price difference seems like the 910XT is the way to go. Anything I'm missing?

    BTW Ray, 5 years ago I found your review of the FR305 and purchased it. It single handily changed my training in a positive way. It's been on my wrist/bike for a lot of miles and showing some signs and wear of its useful life. I only hope to find the replacement as reliable.

    Thanks

    Roger

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The biggest thing you'd be missing from the Fenix2 would be no need for footpod while indoors (pace/cadence) or outdoors (cadence), as well as all the Bluetooth connected features such as uploading workouts, live tracking, etc...

      I'm reasonably confident that the Fenix2 team will continue to plug away on the unit over the coming weeks and months. They've been averaging new firmware updates every 2-3 weeks right now. It's a whole different group than the Forerunner line (Fitness team), and they (the Outdoor team responsible for Fenix/VIRB + others) have a pretty good track record and zeroing in on outstanding issues and working through them.

      Reply
    • Roger replied

      Ray

      I purchased the 910XT during the sale and have been very pleased with it thus far. I got my first open water file a couple weeks ago at the Kansas 70.3 and was happy to see my GPS track was straighter than I anticipated.

      One question, with the adoption of Garmin Express, what is the best way to upload my data to SportTracks? If I understand it correctly it's not storing the file on my PC so I can't go pick it up from a file like with Ant Agent. Is there a plugin you recommend?

      Thanks

      Roger

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Garmin Express does store the files locally, it just (annoyingly) changed the location elsewhere. Here's the new locations: link to support.garmin.com

      You can point Sport Tracks at those and you'll be good to go.

      Reply
  27. Tim

    For strictly trail running use, under thick foliage, what will be the best option? (910xt, Fenix 2, Ambit2, or other?)
    I care most about accuracy, vertical profile, and battery life.
    Time splits review via the display and then on a computer along the GPS route is also important.
    While map functions may be useful, it seems they are all more navigational oriented and it would be a mistake to try to use any watch as a map viewer.
    Ive never monitored heart rate or cadence and have only utilized phone GPS apps (battery limitations) or carried a etrex 30 for mapping/recording purposes and I would like the convenience of a watch.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      When it comes to thick foliage, all units are actually pretty similar (read: it ranges between OK and suck). In theory the WAAS in the Fenix2 can help - but I've also seen cases where it can hurt too. So it's a bit of a case by case basis.

      For vertical profile, all are actually pretty similar there and all three use barometric profiles. For trail running, I'd probably lean more towards the Fenix2 and Ambit2, since they can give you better graphs while running as well as far as altitude and ascent. On the flip-side, for straight battery the FR910XT actually does a bit more at full 1-second GPS with ANT+ sensors, than the Fenix2.

      Reply
  28. Hans

    REI also shows the 25% discount on the Ambit2 R (running only version). $224 for the HR version. $187 without the HR.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Good catch! Just added in the Ambit2 R links above. Thanks Hans!

      Reply
  29. Dave

    I was wondering if anyone wants to give me some advice on picking between the 220 and 910xt? I'm mostly a runner, but I do also bike a good amount (very rarely swim, and when I do it's not really for training). The slightly smaller size of the 220 seems nice, but it seems like it might not be the best move to pick it just for that when the 910 offers so much more functionality.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It depends a bit. The FR220 won't get a specific bike mode, and doesn't really make for a great cycling head unit since you have to have it either on your wrist or the rubber bike block. Whereas the FR910XT could be used with the quick release kit and the little easily attached rubber band mounts on your bike easily.

      So, it depends on how much cycling you do and whether or not you'd want the metrics from that. If so, I'd go FR910XT, but if it's really all about the run, I'd go FR220.

      Reply
  30. Trevor

    I have appreciated reading your reviews. With the Ambit2 and Fenix2 essentially the same price @ REI right now, I am getting close to pulling the trigger on one or the other. I am reading about a lot of stability issues w/ the Fenix, so while it seems that the features might be better for long hikes and trail running, there are usability headaches. Any insight on this?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think in general the Fenix2 is a more capable watch in most categories.

      It's hard to say on stability. In reading comments from people that have done ultra running/long activities, there's plenty that are fine. There are a few where things went wrong - but I think those seem more confined to multisport. Garmin has been iterating with fixes though pretty quickly, with another due shortly (including addressing some of the multisport items, among others). And of course, in most cases only folks with problems will post about it, so it's always hard to tell.

      Reply
    • Mike replied

      Thanks, Ray. I am in the exact same boat as Trevor, in trying to decide between the Ambit 2 and the Fenix 2. I'm a triathlete who also enjoys skiing, which I think puts the Fenix 2 at the top right now. I was pretty convinced I was buying the Ambit 2 until reading through your in-depth reviews and also the comments.

      I think my heart would be slightly broken if an Ambit 3 was to come out within the year, as well. I suspect I won't have to worry quite as much about that happening with the Garmin.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Traditionally speaking, most running companies have targeted fall running releases for fall running products (Garmin, Polar, Timex, and others falling into that camp). Whether or not Suunto sticks to a spring schedule or follows the crowd remains to be seen.

      The appeal of the fall running season is that there's plenty of stock for holiday purchases.

      Reply
  31. S

    Thanks for this post Ray, it came just at the right time!

    I have a FR610 currently and and looking to starting out in a sprint tri this Sept. As such I purchased a Garmin Swim recently (not shipped yet) for my swim practices. If I predict I will be doing something like 70% run, 30% swim and no cycling (just not my thing) after the tri, would the Ambit S2 still be recommended, or should I stick to my Garmin Swim + forerunner? I have really small wrists so I'm wondering if the Ambit would be a hassle in the pool. Figured I could just start three separate activities when I'm doing the tri, or you know, borrow the 910 from someone?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Personally, I still think the Garmin Swim is the best pure swimming watch around (indoor). If I'm not testing something in the pool, I'd be wearing my Garmin Swim while pool swimming.

      And, to that end, up until the FR620 came out I'd have used my FR610 as my primary running watch.

      To that end though, for a spring tri you could do bike/run with the FR610, and just forego the swim metrics.

      Reply
    • Shirley replied

      Thanks so much! I tried the Ambit 2 today and decided it's to large for me.

      I'll stick to my purchase of Garmin Swim then.

      Reply
  32. N

    Hi ray ,

    Thanks for your posts .. Do you know if wahoo new HR X with new running data work with 910xt or other " sale" suunto /garmin/ tom tom products .

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The Wahoo TICKR straps (regular/RUN/X) all will transmit to the FR910XT and other new Garmin devices. However, they do not transmit the private Garmin Running Dynamics data to Garmin devices (yet, anyway). And, even if they did, it wouldn't transmit it to the FR910XT unfortunately - since it knows nothing about that.

      I wouldn't wait on the TICKR X though, as I don't expect to see it anytime soon (my bet is late summer/early fall - despite what Wahoo says...'just' a gut feel).

      Reply
  33. Adrian

    I was about to order a Ambit2 from REI, but then I saw the $108 international shipping rate ... this really sucks.

    Reply
  34. laq

    okay here is a question ... i'm a nube.. i was thinking the garmin 15 (i'm using mapmywalk and mapmyride) now. BUT as i JUST got a vivofit, and upgrading all the time is annoying the hubby (tried the mio and just sent it back - charging/connectivity issues)

    the question is ... let's say i went from couch lump to 6miles at 13min/miles every other day + now biking (new) ... yes vivofits do work and make you think about working out ... and if i get off my bum and go to moms (30 minutes away) maybe swim a few times a month might be healthy (but summers in NJ are SHORT and i don't do cold) .. then we have the whole winter thing (?????)

    would i be better off getting either of these (garmin as i have the vivofit?) for the $250 which is not a killer more then the 15 at 170?

    oh and i'm a girl will i hate the size? or is this like the sneakers (suck it up and get what works best) ...

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It depends. My wife (whose small), doesn't mind the FR910XT and got used to it (albeit a bit unwillingly at first, but grew to like it). Though, she loves her much smaller FR620. She dislikes the size of the Suunto Ambit's and how they sit on her smaller wrists.

      Given you have the Vivofit already it's a bit tricky - as otherwise I would have said get the FR15 (two birds with one stone). So it's kinda hard for a recommendation. I might actually hold off a bit for now, since in theory you'll get the ability to calibrate the Vivofit better for walk vs run. And if you're only swimming sparingly, it probably doesn't make sense to get the FR910XT.

      Sorry, probably just talked you out of a device...

      Reply
    • laq replied

      what i'm missing on the vivofit is split times, and bike info

      land up using the iphone for all that (a problem on the bike if i want HR and cadence)

      i did get vivofit at REI and as a member could return (but hate to do that to them)

      Reply
  35. Ted D

    Ray,
    A sincere thank you for your comments and insights!

    You mentioned a a forth coming update for the fenix2. Any insight on potential updates for multisport events and any potential update for interval alerts for custom workouts?
    I am planning on pulling the trigger on the 910xt or fenix 2 this week. I desire a reliable device for racing within the next 30 days (ant+ devices don't drop and pace accuracy during the run) and for training a device that provides interval alerts. Garmin Vector support is also of interest, but not as great as the above as I have an Edge device. Indoor swimming is also not paramount as I also have the Swim.
    Any insight on the next fenix 2 firmware release would be greatly appreciated (within the confines of any NDA you may have with Garmin).

    Thanks and I appreciate your time and efforts to make us smarter consumers.
    -Ted

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don't have the specific day/date which it'll drop. But there is a fix or two in there for Multisport stuffs, as well as both indoor and openwater items. But I only have a partial list for the items they gave me to play with this weekend - so hard to say what else wasn't listed.

      For Vector support you're basically on the same level with either watch, so that's a watch. For swimming functionality, the Fenix2 now has more functionality than the 910XT (such as Drill Mode). I think ultimately you'll continue to see continuous updates on the Fenix2 clearing out any remaining rough edges. I think the team is finding that bringing a tri watch to market has a ton of really hard to find scenarios dependent on sometimes a 1 in a 100 combination of settings. The good news is that they seem to be very open to triaging issues and resolving them.

      Reply
    • Ted D replied

      Thank you as always. CT order has been placed...
      have a great day!
      -Ted

      Reply
  36. Vidal

    Thanks for the heads up Ray! I'm currently deciding between the 910xt and the Ambit 2R. I currently use the Forerunner 205 and really like the size of that screen. I especially like the ability to toggle between my training pages and the map page. Is it safe to say that the 910 has the same navigational functionality as the 205?

    One of my main reasons to upgrade is to have a device that includes footpod support. I also have an FR60 and really like the cadence info.

    I can also see myself using the swim functionality of the 910 but it's not a must have.

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, the FR205 is basically the FR305. As such, the 910XT takes on all of that functionality (it inherited it from the FR310XT). Enjoy!

      Reply
  37. Arlene

    With the price of the Ambit 2 going down, could it mean that there is an Ambit 3 in the works? How about a different color or upgrade or female (smaller) version of the Ambit 2? It's like to see something other than black or white.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      There's a smaller women's version of the Ambit 2S (it's white and black, but nothing else). As noted above on the price, it's just a seasonal sale, that's all.

      Reply
  38. Jeffrey

    With this REI sale, I'm trying deciding between the Garmin Forerunner 910XT and the Suunto Ambit 2R. I don't bike or swim, so many of the 910XT features are meaningless to me. I run ultramarathons and go multi-day running trips with friends so the 20ish hour battery life is what I find attractive. I used to run with a Suunto Ambit 2S and it did the job, except it only had the 8 hour battery life on the best GPS accuracy. The best thing about the Suunto Ambit 2S was that I consistently locked onto a satellite in less than 20 seconds, and I lived in a downtown area with high-rises. How is the satellite lock for the Garmin Forerunner 910XT? If it's on par with the Suunto Ambit 2R, I'd be willing to pay a tad bit more for the longer battery life with the Garmin. If not, I might stick with Suunto.

    Jeff

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Jeff-

      It's generally on par with the Ambit 2 series as far as satellite lock, though most of the time you'll see the Ambit series get slightly faster initial acquisition.

      Looking at your scenario, the core thing you'd be gaining is the battery life. You'd lose a little bit of the navigational capability going from the 2S, so that's something to keep in mind.

      Cheers.

      Reply
  39. Esteban

    First of all, I have thank you Ray for your great reviews and for the great responses you provide through the blogs.

    After going through the Fenix 2 review and the several comments, I took the plunge and order it on May 8th from clever training using the DCR coupon (thanks for that too!). When I bought the watch, CR's website indicated that they had it in stock, so I waited for it to arrived within a week or so, though last Friday when I checked my order online it showed as not shipped. I then decided to check in CR's site whether it said anything and sure enough when you click on the "add to cart" link it it indicates now that it is backordered and not available until June. I feel like like CR deceived me, as I suspect that when I placed the order they did not have the watch "in stock" as they claimed. I sent an email to CR's generic email early this past Saturday but they have not responded.

    You can not imagine my frustration as I will be participating in a 70.3 Iron Man (Eagleman) on June 8th and wanted to be able to get used to the watch during what is left of my training and have it ready for my race.

    Do you have contact person and email at CR to whom I can address my complaint as I can see myself waiting forever for a reply from their generic email? Or better yet, it would be great if you could help me by pulling some of your strings at CR so they can sort this issue out quickly!

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Esteban-

      Sorry to hear of the mix-up. The inventory system is real-time, and that's definitely odd. I do know that Garmin is having problems in general getting Fenix2 units out the door.

      That said, I just shot over a quick note to the CT folks, I expect you'll hear from them any minute...Saturday is a weekend, and they would have just got into the office about 2-hours ago (Monday morning).

      Thanks for the support!

      Reply
  40. greg

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for all of your very detailed reviews. So now that the Garmin 910 is down a bit in price, I am considering one as a replacement for my Timex Ironman GPS. the GPS is usually pretty short and often I cannot get a signal.

    would I be able to use my wahoo speed & cadence sensor, Suunto ANT+ stick and Timex HR monitor with it or will I need to repurchase them all with Garmin?

    thanks
    Greg

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, all that is totally good with the 910XT, no need to re-purchase anything (you'll actually get a new USB stick with the 910XT, and it's one of the tiny Suunto-sized ones these days).

      Reply
    • Greg replied

      Thanks very much. Glad I'll be able tongues the hr monitor. I may have to step up an grab one

      Reply
  41. Esteban

    Thanks very much Ray for sending a note to the CT guys, hope to hear back from them soon. I will keep you posted.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Esteban, you'll want to double check your email folder. They sent a note back to you shortly after my previous comment. Cheers!

      Reply
  42. Jill

    Excellent info. Now I've only got a few days to decide whether to make an economical purchase of Ambit 2R vs. wait for the V800 "unicorn". Programming workouts on the Ambit 2R sounds clunky per your review and short battery life are definite shortcomings. I'm strictly a runner/hiker but have never bothered to use GPS until recently.

    I was a happy Polar RS300X user until ~ 6 months ago when I lost the S1 footpod mounting piece (not replaceable anymore). I picked up the Garmin 220, thinking it a suitable replacement (love the female friendly purple-white combo & the vibrate alert feature) but have been disappointed in a few "missing" features:
    - no HR display in % (only BPM)
    - no VO2 adjustment factors (like Polar OwnZone)
    - can't maintain separate manual & autolap
    - run/walk feature is only so-so, annoying to access the menu to turn it on/off for only long run use... but interval timer on RS300X was perfectly adequate except for low audio volume on the beep alerts.

    Reply
  43. Steven

    Thanks for posting this, but I picked up the 220 on the 14th. :( I mostly cycle but the 910 was way out of my budget. I picked up the 220 on your review and have been pretty happy with it besides the no bike mode. I wanted to support local companies and spent a couple extra pennies to do so but tried calling to return because of this deal. Unfortunately I'm unable to return or exchange and just a little sour about not waiting 2 extra days.

    Reply
  44. Carlos

    Hi Ray,

    Excellent blog! I've just got a question: is the POLAR WEARLINK+ compatible with the Suunto2 or 2S?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it is not. The strap portion is, if you have ANT+ transmitter pod attached to it, but otherwise no.

      Reply
  45. Colin Rupp

    thanks for all the hard work you do Ray. Question, I purchased an Ambit 2 s (based on the sale I saw on your site). Now I am on the fence with this and the 910. I don't do alot of hiking , but really like the way the 2s looks. Question will my Mio link work with the 910 while doing laps in the pool?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It will, but only if the two are right next to each other. However, there's a catch - while in swim mode it won't pair to the HR strap, so you'll lose the swim metrics (distance, etc...), but gain the HR pieces. Personally, I don't think that's a good tradeoff.

      Reply
  46. Jill

    Oh... just re-read the Ambit 2R review - wanted to confirm whether HR settings can be displayed as % max (rather than BPM)? Also, how long/loud is the "beep" in between intervals?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, you can show % instead.

      As for the beep, the Ambit's beep's are so-so loud, not great, but doable.

      Reply
  47. I am a super noob, training for my first sprint tri in August. I'd like a watch that will (accurately) track my biking, running, and swimming. Cadence and power meter features don't seem like they would be super important for my level of training. I mostly want something that will take the place of the inaccurate and flaky software I now use on my various phones so that I can accurately track distance and time (mostly for upload to Fitocracy) across sports. If it matters, I primarily use Windows Phone, though I have a decrepit old iPhone 4 that I keep around for some aviation apps. With all that said, I am leaning towards the Ambit 2. Does that sound like a reasonable starter?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, I'd agree. Though, I'd go for the 2S and not the full-2, only because I suspect the full 2 will be overkill for what you want.

      Reply
  48. Randolph

    It seems the Clever Training 10% discount will not work with the Garmin 220. Do you know if this may change in the near future?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Randolph-

      The 10% discount still works, but with the FR220 you need to enroll in teh VIP program first. It only takes a second: link to dcrainmaker.com

      It also has a few other benefits like supporting Girls on The Run charity and quicker shipping.

      Reply
  49. Laura

    I'm thinking of going one of 3 ways
    Forerunner 220
    Magellan echo + ihphone app
    Ambit.

    They are all I my price range with this sale

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I'd probably look mostly at the Ambit and FR220, unless you already run with your phone and don't mind it. If that's the case, then the Echo makes the most sense.

      Reply
  50. Patrick

    Just tried to log an order for the 910 at Clever Training before midnight eastern, but it looks like the sale window closed. There's no sale price option on the CT site now. Didn't see an ending time (only 10 days). Rats.

    Reply
    • Eric Lofgren replied

      It's still $299 at Amazon, and the rebate is good through July.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Patrick-

      I privately responded to you as well. Sorry about that, they're not quite sure how that closed an hour or two early, but as noted to you they're happy to extend that price to you since you definitely tried pre-time and get you all covered.

      Cheers.

      Reply
    • Eric Lofgren replied

      ...and now it's back to $399.

      Reply
    • Patrick replied

      Thanks, Ray. I received your message and worked with CT. Just as you indicated, they honored the pricing. Thanks, again.

      Reply
  51. Just recieved my 910xt ordered through clever training but don't see any rebate info?? Am I missing something?

    Reply
  52. Mike

    Hi Ray,
    How do I get the 910xt w hrm for 386? I see nowhere on clever training to buy it for that and they haven't replied to my request for info on how to do so? Max I should pay on site should be around 386-387 not 450.
    Would you please expain.
    thanks

    Reply
  53. Mike

    BTW you said up to July sale remains.
    cheers

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The remain remains till July, but not the original sale (that's the 10-day part per the title of the post). Though, the rebate is only for US/CAN residents (or rather, those with a US/CAN address).

      Reply
  54. Dennis

    On my Garmin FR305, the post where one of the bands connects broke. I tried to use some epoxy to fix it and that lasted a few weeks. So I'm looking for the FR910XT. I've missed this latest sale. Would there be a next best time to try and get a deal on it? Thought I might use it for some swimming and biking. Thought about the FR310XT but I think I'd rather get something a bit newer. Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Right now there's a $50 rebate on the unit. Not awesome, but with that and the DCR 10% discount you're looking at about $310.

      Reply
    • Dennis replied

      Thanks. I wasn't sure if we might see it drop in price in the next few months.

      Reply
  55. dona cardenas

    As always, thank you for all your reviews. I ordered the dcr swim buoy and love it. A quick question. I missed the 910xt sale. I want to place my order this week and now after reading your reviews and comments above I'm not sure what I should get. Just starting tri's and mostly a runner but I would like the ability to count my pool laps and ows distances plus my bike and run distances all on one device. Right now I use runkeeper and mapmyride and self counting my laps which I always lose count. Of everything you discuss, what do you think would be the best for me. If the answer is 910xt should I get the full bundle. I haven't used a hr monitor in a log time but I would like to. Im never gonna win any races but I wiuld like to improve my times and training efforts.
    What say you?

    Reply

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