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Garmin Forerunner 310XT In Depth Review


When the Garmin Forerunner 310XT was announced earlier this spring, it represented the next logical evolution from the Garmin 305. It promised many of the features triathletes were looking for, while also promising to still appeal to the single-sport crowds of runners and cyclists.

The big three features that most folks were excited about were:

1) Ability to go 20 hours on battery (compared to 10 previously)
2) New waterproofing (to swim with)
3) Integration with cycling power devices (to gather wattage)

Of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg.  How would the 310XT actually stand up to a month of pounding through multi-workout days?  And would it do all it’s promised?

Garmin sent me out a a trial unit for 30 days, and I went ahead and put it through it’s paces.  I swam, cycled, and even ran an Ironman marathon with it.  If you’ve read my review posts before, you know they are anything but short.  I try to cover every conceivable function and feature, and then see how well it performs outside the envelope.  I take a gazillion pictures along the way, record all the data and then try to offer the most comprehensive reviews possible. That’s just my DC Rainmaker trademark way of doing things.

As always, if you have any questions after reading it – feel free to post questions in the comments below, or e-mail me at the address on the right toolbar.  With that…let’s get onto the action:

Unboxing/Package Contents:

When the box first arrives, it’ll look a lot like this.  Well, actually, it should look exactly like this – unless the UPS man has already played with it.

Garmin 310XT Unopened Box Shot Garmin 310XT Unopened Box Shot - Back

Once you take all the parts out and spread them across a wide surface, you’ll have the following display of plastic baggies:

Garmin 310XT Unopened Contents From there, you’ll spend a few minutes debagging everything, resulting in this fine collection of parts:

Garmin 310XT Opened Contents Now you’ll notice a bunch of different plug attachments on the lower right hand corner.  This allows you to easily take the wall charger overseas (regardless of which side of the pond you started on).

But, let’s get all of the ancillary ‘stuffs’ out of the way, and focus on the things that really matter:

Garmin 310XT Opened Contents - Core ItemsAnd there you have it – the pieces that you’ll actually use.  You see four major items.  Obviously the orange thing is the watch itself.  And the strap-looking object is the heart rate strap.  Next is is the wall charger.  Now, you’ll notice the wall charger is actually two pieces – a USB cable and a charger unit.  This allows you to simply charge the unit via a USB port on your computer.  Lastly, you’ll see the little stick at the bottom.  This USB stick is a ANT+ wireless device that you plug into your computer to sync data back and forth.  I cover this a bunch in the software section, so I’ll skip the details of it for now.

As I mentioned, to charge the device you’ll simply use the charging cable above, and then clip it onto the back of the 310XT, like below:

Garmin 310XT Charging Clip Also of note is the new heart rate strap.  This new strap splits into two pieces like the old one – except that instead of being rubber like the old one, it’s a much more comfortable fabric design.  I cover the new heart rate strap later on in the accessories section.

Garmin 310XT Premium HR Strap Finally, here’s a few size comparison shots when the 310XT is put next to the Garmin 405 and 305:

Garmin 310XT size comparison to 305 and 405 Garmin 310XT size comparison to 305 and 405 You can really see how much thinner it is than the 305 in this shot below:

Garmin 310XT size comparison to 305

Ok, let’s get on with the show.  Time to power it up!

Initial Setup:

When you first power on the Garmin 310XT it starts by asking you a series of questions.  The Garmin 305 did the same thing – though it only really asked three questions, Monty Python style.  The 310XT however, asks more questions than a inquisitive three year old.  Ten questions to be exact:

1) Language
2) Time Format (12/24 hr)
3) Distance format (Miles/KM)
4) HR Monitor (Yes/No)
5) Select gender (M/F/Confused)
6) Enter Age
7) Enter Weight
8) Enter Height
9) Specify Activity Class
10) Specify Lifetime Athlete

Garmin 310XT First Power on, activity class Garmin 310XT First Power on, lifetime athlete

It’s those last two that are kinda interesting, specifically the “Are you a lifetime athlete?”.  This question is aimed at folks who have resting heart rates of less than 60, or who have trained for intensely for many years.  Though the manual doesn’t clarify what this setting actually impacts, a bit of poking around reveals it controls some of the calorie calculations.

So, after you’ve given the 310XT your life history, you’re finally ready to use it – and it offers some initial tips along the way:

Garmin 310XT First Power On

That’s it!  Setup only takes a minute or two.  Now that we have it all configured, let’s get on with using it.


The first thing you’ll notice when you go to put it on your wrist is that it’s smaller than previous Forerunners.  And lighter.  It’s also a bit more streamlined looking – it reduces the ‘running with a computer’ look some…though – let’s face it – you’re still running with a computer.

Garmin 310XT Switching Sports

Once you turn it on you’ll be able to select which sport your doing (by holding down the mode button for a few seconds).  This is nice in that it reduces the series of menu’s you used to have to navigate in past models.  The device will start in the same mode you shut it off in last time, so if you’re just a runner – it will stay in running mode.  This is also a great time to point out that the 310XT picks up satellite reception WAY faster than the 305 does.  A much appreciated improvement!

Now that you’ve selected you want to run…it’s time to run.  Simply press the start button, and off we go.

As you start running you’ll notice that the displayed pace starts to reduce down to your actual speed.  This takes a few seconds, as the GPS calculation needs to essentially ‘catch up’ to the exact speed you’re going.  This is important to call out though because many folks when they start using a GPS watch get really hung up on the fact that the speed fluctuates some.  That’s alright though, because the averaging works out, plus, once you even out your instantaneous pace won’t fluctuate by a ton.

Now let’s skip forward a bit into the run.  Perhaps it’s hot out, and your getting tired.  This is where the 310XT can help keep your pace on track.  Aside from the visual reminder than you’re slowing ‘off-pace’, you can also set audible and vibrating reminders.  Those are controlled via two methods:

Virtual Partner: This method allows you to configure the Forerunner to display ‘the little man’, which show shows you how far ahead or behind you are compared to a virtual person running the pace you specified.  For example – say you set the pace for 8:00/mile – and then you go off and run two miles at a 8:10/mile pace (thus a time of 16:20 instead of 16:00), it will now show you as 20 seconds behind the little man, as well as how far behind you are (by distance).  You can change the pace mid-run, though that will reset the counter.

Garmin 310XT Virtual Partner while running

Pace alerts via workouts: The 310XT offers the ability to set alerts for a variety of categories – such as HR and distance.  These alerts serve to remind you (audibly and via vibration, as well as a visual reminder) that you have reached a specific goal (such as 2 miles), or are over/under a given HR specification.  However, what’s missing here is the ability to set a pace alert – such as maintaining a 8:00/mile pace (with a slight variance of course).  It would be nice to have this feature built into the watch.  But, as a substitute, you can actually create such alerts via workouts in Garmin Training Center (software that comes with it).  It’s a bit roundabout, but you can do it:

Garmin Training Center HR Zones

Above, I set my speed zones (I can customize up to 10 of them with unique names/paces).  And below, I create a ‘workout’.  If I stray out of that specific zone, the 310XT will quite persistently remind me.

Garmin Training Center Create Workout

So before we got sidetracked into pace alerts, we were running along on a nice straight road.  But what happens if we duck into the tress?

Well, generally – nothing much.  The Garmin 310XT continues to work – even in the trees.  The only issues I’ve ever seen are on super-quick switchbacks such as in certain trail running scenarios, where the unit might not catch the fact that you’ve done a quick out and back segment and instead short you the distance.  Now interestingly, the 305 actually had an option to change recording rate but the 310XT does not (which, I’ll talk more about in the cycling section). But in general, running along a trail in the trees is no issue.

Next comes the buildings – how does it handle around those?  In most cases it’s fine.  The only issues I’ve ever seen were when I was running super-close to the edge of a tall set of buildings and it drops out temporarily.  But the cool thing is that the 310XT will basically ‘draw a line’ between the two known points.  So it’ll still capture the distance for you.

Same goes for tunnels.  Near my home there are tunnels that pass under a set of major freeways, and the trail I often run goes under the tunnels.  What happens in those cases is that signal is lost, the watch alerts me to this, and then I keep running.  When I get back into the open and the signal is recaptured (usually a few seconds after exiting the tunnel), it does the the same as next to buildings and interpolates the data points.  This is only problematic when the tunnels turn underground (as mine does), so I get shorted a tiny bit on distance on those runs.  I suppose it’s extra credit in the bank of training…

310XT Satellite Reception while in tunnel As you can see above, it’s not quite a perfect match to the tunnel, but it picks up the signal on either side without too much issue and pretty quickly.  The above is a screenshot from Sports Tracks (which I’ll talk about later in the software section).

Now that you’re running along, let’s talk about some of the buttons on the display – here’s the quick overview:

Garmin 310XT Buttons

The two buttons you’re most likely to press are the Lap/Reset and Stop/Start.  The Stop/Start button works to start your timer, as well as pause it (and stop it at the end of the workout).  Whereas the lap button allows you to mark specific laps (and reset the workout).  Now by default the 310XT will auto lap every mile, which means it automatically records one lap every mile.  You can change the distance for auto lap, or just shut it off.  I leave it off on mine, as I prefer to view all laps via software and can then view/filter them a million different ways.  In addition, I generally set laps (via the lap button) when I change zones or make some pace/HR change per my workout schedule.

Garmin 310XT Splits in Sport Tracks This allows me to do things like the above in Sport Tracks – where I manually recorded five different laps as part of my workout, with each lap representing a different heart rate (HR) zone I was targeting to hit.  This way I can see my average split pace for each lap (and thus correlated to each zone).

The two up/down buttons on the side allow you to rotate through different screens.  You can configure a number of different data fields per each screen, up to four fields (or as few as one).  You can set to automatically rotate/scroll through the screens, or you can manually scroll through via the buttons.  Also on the right side (lower) is the ‘Enter’ button to confirm setting choices.

Finally, on the left side we have the top left button to turn on/off the backlight, and the lower button to shift into a different mode and the menu system (to edit settings).  The light will automatically shut off after 15 seconds, but you can set it to stay on longer, or just stay on permanently.  When I do night runs, I just set it to stay on permanently.  I have a few pictures at night in the cycling section.

Lastly, let’s talk about treadmills.  The 310XT works just fine inside on treadmills – but it does require a small accessory – the foot pod in order to record pace (and thus distance).  The food pod allows you to run in situations where GPS doesn’t function, like inside a gym.  I have a whole bunch later in the accessories section on just the foot pod – so check out the details there.


Cycling is probably the most common sport outside of running that the 310XT will be used for.  And based on all my cycling thus far – it works quite nicely.  I’ve taken it on both my tri bike, as well as road bike – and it works equally as well on both bikes.  Now, I’ll talk about how to mount it a bit later, so for now let’s focus on some of the core features.

First up – once you choose to select a sport, you’ll be given the option to choose one of three bikes to ‘program’ into the 310XT.  This is useful if you have a mountain bike, a tri bike and a road bike.  Why would it matter?  Well, wheel size for one.  If you use it on a trainer, by setting the wheel size with a cadence sensor (accessory below) you can actually get accurate distance indoors.  So this allows easy switching between them.  Outside…it doesn’t really matter so much.

Garmin 310XT on Bike

Like running mode, you can select up to four screens to display at any one point in time, and you can also set to auto-scroll between the different screens.  Auto-scroll is actually a pretty nice feature that I only really started using because of writing this review.  Despite virtually all Garmin fitness devices having this, I never really found it practical.  But after doing a ride with it – it’s actually fairly nice.  You can set the scroll speed to display different screens at intervals of slow/medium/fast (2,4 and 5 seconds respectively).  It then rotates continually through those screens, with each screen displaying up to the usual four pieces of data.  Note this feature is offered in all modes (Running, Cycling, etc..).

One of the most common questions I get about the 305 and 405 is if you can make the text bigger.  Like both of those watches, the 310XT allows quite large text by reducing the number of data fields per screen.  Above you can see four data fields on a single screen and below is an example of just one data field.  Interestingly, using just two data fields really doesn’t increase the size any more than four data fields.  As you can see below though – the speed of 17.0mph is easily read from pretty far away in single data field mode.

Garmin 310XT on bike - large display

Next up…Auto Pause:

Garmin 310XT on bike - auto pause

Another feature that’s not specific to cycling but is probably most useful in cycling is Auto Pause.  This tells the 310XT to automatically stop recording when you stop, and then resume when you start going again.  This is based on speed, and the speed is configurable if you’d like to increase or decrease the tolerance.  Now, a word of caution about this – in certain situations (like trail running or mountain biking), you may have more automatically paused points than you’d like.  This is because sometimes in cases such as switchbacks the GPS signal doesn’t catch that you’ve gone ‘out and back’, and instead interprets it as standing still – thus shorting you on the distance.  Generally not an issue on roads, but worthwhile pointing out.

Like when running, the Virtual Partner can be enabled while cycling as well.  This would help you maintain above a given MPH (or KPH) speed for the ride, and show you how far ahead or behind you are in comparison to your goal pace:

Garmin 310XT - Virtual Partner while cycling

Now, the 310XT records all sorts of interesting data about your ride:  Speed, elevation, heart rate and distance to name a few.  Further, if you add the cadence sensor – then it would record cadence as well.  All of this information is stored on a per ride basis, and then is downloaded into any number of compatible software applications (which I cover later).  From there you can slice and dice the data all sorts of interesting ways:

Garmin 310XT Cadence Graph on Garmin Connect

One new class of devices that the 310XT supports that previous Forerunner devices haven’t supported is power meters.  Power meters are developed by 3rd party companies that measure how many watts a cyclists is outputting at any given time.  This helps to give a truer picture of a cyclists given workout as it effectively accounts for speed-impacting variables like wind and terrain.  I wrote-up a good intro piece to Cycling with Power here.

Garmin 310XT Power Display Options (In the above photo taken while climbing, I have the data fields set to show power (watts) in the lower left corner, with grade in the upper right)

Since there is a ton of interesting little details about the 310XT and power meters, I ended up creating a full mini-section in this review under the accessories section.  For most of you reading out there, power meters aren’t likely in your future (or budgets), but for competitive cyclists and triathletes, power meters are becoming more common – and understanding the pro’s and con’s of using the 310XT with one is important.

One area that’s often asked is how does the device do at night?   This is one area that’s much improved since the 305.  The screen is far easier to read at a quick glance than the 305 was, as the backlight color was changed and the overall feel of the display is much cleaner.  Below are two photos – one from the saddle showing the brightness of the LCD (adjustable), and one closer up so you can actually read it.  Now, as a human you can easily see the numbers while seated, but my camera…not so much…at least without making the rest of the picture pitch-black – hence the two separate pictures

Garmin 310XT Nightlight on bike Garmin 310XT Nightlight

An final area I want to briefly point out is a change made between the 305 and the 310XT around recording of data.  In the past (i.e. 305), you can change the recording interval to be ‘Smart Recording’ (which saves battery life, but records less data, roughly about once every 4 seconds depending on a variety of factors), or you can set to ‘Every Second’, which…simply records every second.  This mattered for folks who were looking for very precise data.  One area that’s most common here is folks cycling with power meter devices.  In the 310XT this option was removed and only ‘Smart Recording’ is available.  This is a bit of an odd change given the longer battery life of the 310XT over the 305.  What’s a bit stranger though is that if you connect a power meter, the device will automatically switch over into 1-second recording.  Kinda odd to have the feature, but not allow you to manually enable it.  So it’s something to consider if extremely precise data is of significant importance to you.

[Updated 8/6/2011: Note that as of late May 2011, Garmin has re-introduced 1-second recording to the FR310XT product for all sports, regardless of power meter.  This can be enabled in the settings menu now for any activity.  Enjoy!]

So in summary for cycling – the device by itself performs extremely well.  There are however a lot of accessories (be it mounts, cadence meters, or power meters) that really help to gel the watch together.  I talk through all of these in the accessories section later on.


One of the biggest reasons you’d look to pickup the 310XT over an earlier model (such as the 305) is it’s inherent waterproofing capabilities.  While some earlier Garmin models had basic waterproofing, it was only to 3 feet and only for 30 minutes, further, it wasn’t designed to be warn on your wrist in the water – as the pounding action would effectively destroy the device over time.  So upon initial announcement that the 310XT was waterproofed to 30m (94.4ft), most triathletes were thrilled.  But Garmin soon made it clear that while the device was indeed waterproofed and could also be worn on your wrist while swimming – it wouldn’t accurately measure distance while swimming if worn on your wrist.  Further, it wouldn’t record heart rate data due to the ANT+ signal not being strong enough to penetrate water.

Now, this doesn’t mean the new waterproofing is useless.  In fact, far from it – it means that I no longer have to worry about my 305 in it’s Ziploc bag potentially dying an aquatic death because  water got in for an extended period of time.  To me, not having to worry about it is a huge advantage.

That said – what would happen if you wore it on your wrist?  Well, I set out to find out and put together a simple test.  I went to a nearby lake on one of my trips and made a simple triangular course between the boat ramp, and two docks at opposite sides of the lake. The loop is approximately a half a mile.

Garmin 310XT and 305 ready to swim!

To ensure I had a ‘control’, I took along a Garmin Forerunner 305 in my swim cap – just as I always do.  This would remain in the swim cap for the entire swim.  Next, I added a Garmin 310XT to the swim cap as well, right next to the Garmin 305.  Yes, I looked like a dork…thankfully nobody saw me.  For the Garmin 310XT I didn’t have to worry about a Ziploc.

Garmin 310XT and 305 in the swim cap

For the first lap, I’d just swim as usual with the two devices recording, here’s what the two tracks looked like:

Garmin 305 Track – Lap 1:

Garmin 305 in swim cap track

Garmin 310XT Track – Lap 1:

Garmin 310XT in swim cap track

As you can see, they’re basically the same.  The 305 (first one) probably made a slightly prettier track because I tend to breath to my right, and the 305 was on the right portion of my head.  For both devices though, I placed them towards the back of my head, to maximize exposure to the sky.  And just to show you what would happen if you perfectly placed the 310XT alone – here’s one I did this past weekend with just the 310XT in a race – it’s pretty darn nice:

Garmin 310XT in Swim Cap during race

Next up, on the second lap I went ahead and removed the Garmin 310XT from my swim cap and placed it on my wrist, just as if I was wearing it running.

Garmin 310XT sitting in water on wrist

Now, the second I placed my arm into the water, the 310XT beeped and warned me it had lost satellite reception (below photo shows my arm just below the surface of the water):

Garmin 310XT lost satellite in water

Despite that I pressed lap and went to town – swimming yet another loop of the circuit – with the 305 in the swim cap as a baseline, and the 310XT on my wrist:

Garmin 305 Track in swim cap – Lap 2:

Garmin 305 in swim cap

Garmin 310XT Track on wrist – Lap 2:

Garmin 310XT on wrist in swimming

Yikes!  Not only does the 310XT track look like I’m drunk, but it also measures the distance at more than twice the actual length.  This is because it’s losing reception each time it goes underwater, and only some of the time it gains the reception back during the stroke recovery.  But, the actual GPS acquisition hasn’t completed, so the accuracy is still +/- a few hundred feet – thus incorrect data points.

So, to summarize that – you really don’t want to wear it on your wrist if you’re looking for a smooth data track (or any useful data).  That said, it didn’t bother me with respect to my swim stroke at all, but I also wasn’t on an exact course trying to time-trial it either.

Next up – how does the heart rate strap pickup underwater?  Well, Garmin says it won’t – and I had no reason to not trust them, but I’m always up for a little test.  Now, I actually had the HR strap on the entire time for both laps.  So what did it record?

Garmin 310XT Heart Rate while underwater

Yes…basically nothing.  The only time it appeared to pickup my HR was when I had put my wrist next to the HR emitter – the below picture is actually taken underwater, looking down from my perspective – with the black band you see being the HR strap.  You can see the HR displayed in the lower right corner (along with the incorrect distance in the lower left corner).

Garmin 310XT Heart Rate while underwater next to strap

I had wondered if it might actually pick it up occasionally during the stroke as when your core rotates, the wrist comes pretty close to your chest during the pull.  You can see though that if you do place it close enough to the HR strap, it will pickup, but if you move it only about 6-8” further away (like below), nothing (I had HR configured to display in the lower right corner).

Garmin 310XT Heart Rate while underwater further away from strap

(Oh, in case you’re curious – all the water pictures were taken with an Optio W60 waterproof camera, which is what I use to take almost all the outdoors pictures I post.  Most of the ‘pretty’ shots were taken with a Canon Digital Rebel XTi)

So, in summary – while the 310XT doesn’t quite offer the true triathlete/swimmers aquatic device paradise, it’s making steady improvements towards it.  At the moment, I know of no device that can be worn on your wrist and track distance in an open-water situation – though the Polar’s can pickup heart rate while underwater because they use a different signal type.  That said, for me the biggest advantage of the 310XT over the 305 with respect to swimming is just the simple fact that I don’t have to worry about it.  I’ve killed a few Garmin 305’s in water due to prolonged exposure (multi-day sea kayak camping trip), and it appears this device would hold up much better – specifically the screen, which isn’t inset like the 305, so water can’t get in there.

Triathlon Notes:

I want to briefly touch on one area that’s unique to the 305 and 310XT – which is multisport mode.  This mode allows for semi-automated shifting from one sport to the next, such as during a race.  The 405 doesn’t offer this feature.  What this allows you to do is to setup the different legs of the race and then by simply pressing the lap button it will automatically shift to the next stage of the race and change the display to that corresponding sport:

Garmin 310XT Multisport ModeAs you can see above, you can choose to add in transition time.  Unlike the Garmin 305, the 310XT will now record transition times as well.  Each portion of the race shows up in Garmin Connect as a separate activity, such as the below from one of my recent races:

Garmin 310XT in Garmin Connect Multisport ModeAs you press lap on each stage of the race the watch will helpfully remind you what event you are supposed to be doing, in the event you get confused after the swim and try to go running instead of cycling.

Garmin 310XT Begin Bike in Multisport Mode When combining this functionality with the quick release kit I talk about later, you really have the perfect triathlon watch all in one device.

Other random activities:

As with virtually all the Garmin devices – and pretty much all GPS devices in general, you can do quite a few fun and interesting things with them.  For example, here’s a few quick ideas…

Tracking your flight route:

Garmin 310XT while on a plane flying

(Note the speed of 524MPH)

Here’s a portion of my flight from Seattle back to DC, the 310XT will easily capture the route, which you can then display in any of the software applications I note later on, or within applications like Google Earth.

Garmin 310XT GPS flight path

Garmin 310XT GPS flight path to gate

Geotagging photos:

Geotagging is when you add GPS information to photos you’ve taken.  Typically this is done by simply ensuring your cameras date/time matches your 310XT.  Then you can simply start a track (workout) on the 310XT and then later using Garmin Connect export out the GPX file.  GPX files are the internet standard specification for sharing GPS data between applications.  So once you have a GPX file you can do an unlimited number of cool things.  For example, once you have it you can easily sync it up to photos to automatically geotag photographs exact locations.  Applications like Picasa Web will automatically display your photos on a map.  Here’s one I did at the Boston Marathon this past spring using the 305 – which works exactly the same as the 310XT in this manner:

Garmin GPS Geotagging

Of course, you’re really just limited by your imagination.  With my 305 in the past I’ve gone on hikes, skiing, kayak trips, sightseeing, African safaris, long drives, etc…


Like all of the Garmin fitness devices, the 310XT is compatible with virtually every fitness accessory Garmin’s made thus far – including older model items as well.  In addition, the 310XT is compatible with numerous ANT+ devices.  ANT+ is the wireless protocol that the 310XT uses to communicate with accessories such as heart rate straps, but it’s also a industry standard, and a ton of sports related companies are starting to come out with products that can pair up with the Garmin 310XT (as well as other Garmin’s).

Cadence/Indoor Speed Meter:

Perhaps the most well known accessory for the Garmin fitness line, this small device fits to your bike to offer cadence  which is how often you turnover the pedals, in revolutions per minute (RPM).  In addition, a small magnet affixes to a spoke on your bike wheel to give you speed if you’re indoors on a trainer (or if you’ve lost satellite reception in a situation like a tunnel).

Garmin Cadence/Speed Sensor Box

You can see the black Garmin cadence/speed sensor, the small silver speed magnet on the wheel, and then out of view is an equally span magnet on my crank (where the pedals are).

Garmin Cadence/Speed Sensor on Road Bike

The whole thing takes about 2 minutes to install with a few zip ties.  There are basically three components – the crank arm magnet, the back wheel spoke magnet, and then the small wireless devices that transmits data to the 310XT.

The good news here is that if you already have one of these from a previous Garmin device – then you’re good to go.  The ones that I bought originally for my 305 are compatible, as are virtually all of the ones Garmin has sold for any of it’s other watches/cycling computers.  The cost to purchase the cadence/speed sensor is $60 on Garmin’s site (or $38 on Amazon).

Finally, see my massive Speed/Cadence sensor post, for more than you ever wanted to know about this little device.

Heart Rate Strap (included or separate):

Depending on which version of the 310XT you purchase, the heart rate (HR) strap may or may not be included.  In the bundled version, the 310XT comes with a new fabric HR strap.  At first I figured this was just another gimmick, but in reality – this strap is WAAAY nicer than the older style ones.  So nice in fact that my girlfriend pretty much took mine hostage.

Garmin Premium Heart Rate Strap

The reason it’s so much nicer is that the fabric portion is now the majority of the strap – as opposed to the earlier models where a large chunk of it was rubber.  You can see the two straps below in the picture:

Garmin Premium Heart Rate Strap with Classic Style Strap

The new model uses little buttons (like on a coat) to snap into place.

Garmin Premium Heart Rate Strap Snaps

The only catch with the new HR strap is it’s pretty darn expensive.  A bit overpriced in my opinion, at $70 on Garmin’s site – but it’s only $39 on Amazon. Again, the good news here is that if you have an older Garmin fitness device – the old HR straps work just fine.  And the opposite is true as well (new ones work with old units).  The new HR straps work just fine with older Garmin’s, like the 305.  So that will save you some money.

Foot pod (for running indoors):

While the major draw of a device like a Garmin fitness watch is its GPS capabilities, the watch is still quite functional indoors.  The only trick is that by itself, the watch can’t track distance or pace indoors on a treadmill.  This requires a small foot pod accessory that you clip/tie to your shoe.  There are a bunch of different Garmin versions of this accessory for sale out there…and basically all of them will work with the 310XT.

I originally had this one that I used with my Forerunner 305.  Roughly the size of a beach ball, it certainly wasn’t inconspicuous.  Given I often wear my running shoes in airports and places like that, I was looking for something smaller than the below (old school style):

Garmin Old School Footpod

Around the same time the 310XT released, Garmin also released a new – and dramatically smaller – foot pod.  This foot pod is also backwards compatible with all previous Garmin devices, and the 310XT is compatible with all previous foot pods.  That said, check it out – pretty darn small:

Garmin New Style Footpod

Garmin New Style Footpod clip on shoeGarmin New Style Footpod Clipped on ShoeGarmin New Style Footpod Clipped on Shoe - Side profile

Unlike the previous one which requires you to interweave it into your running laces, the new one just snaps in place – taking all of 2 seconds to install.  It’s fairly waterproof too, which means you can take it outdoors.  Which is good – because that’s the easiest place to calibrate it.  When you calibrate the device initially you run 800m (half a mile) so it can figure out your running stride.  You can either use a track, or just have the Garmin use GPS technology to know when 800m is over.  After which, you can take it indoors and it’ll know how far you’ve gone on the treadmill.

Garmin New Style Footpod Clipped on Shoe - from above

(Note, the little arrow on the top should point forward when ‘installed’)

I’ve found that typically the foot pods are within about 1-2% distance-wise on my treadmill runs.  So if the treadmill says 1.00 miles, the foot pod may say .98 to 1.02 miles – well within the margin of error of the treadmill itself (yes, they aren’t perfect).  Also, one interesting change is that the new ones don’t require you to remember to turn them on/off to save battery (which is a quick user-replaceable item when the time comes).  They just automagically do it – which is nice.

One other item to note is that the foot pod measures running cadence (turnover) as well.  This is true of both indoor and outdoor works (even when the GPS is used).  Here’s what that looks like on a graph:

Garmin 310XT on Garmin Connect Run Cadence

Anyway, the foot pods are a bit pricey as well – so if you’re looking for function over form, try to pickup one of the older styles off of eBay.  Otherwise, the new versions are available for about $50 on Amazon.  They do work with any of the Garmin running watches, so if you have one from those – your good to go, and vice-versa.

Finally – see my massive foot pod post here for more details than you ever wanted.

Power devices (cycling wattage):

One of the huge draws to the 310XT for the cycling/triathlete crowd is the ability for the 310XT to accept power meter devices.  These are devices that measure a cyclists true effort of work as they exert energy to move the bike.  I wrote an introductory piece to cycling with power here.

The 310XT is compatible with virtually any ANT+ Power Meter.  This includes models such as the Power Tap, SRM and Quarq Cinqo.  And, over the past few weeks at major bike shows, numerous other ANT+ power meters have been announced which will hit the market over the next 6-12 months.  So expect this space to grow pretty significantly.

An example of one type of power meter is the Quarq Cinqo that I have, pictured below:

Quarq Cinqo Power Meter The Cinqo wirelessly transmits data to the 310XT, where it’s both displayed and recorded for later analysis.  From there you can view the data on Garmin Connect, as well as any of the other compatible software application.  Here’s an example of the data in Garmin Connect:

Garmin 310XT Power Data on Garmin Connect

Now this is where some of the 310XT’s weaknesses start to become apparent.  Garmin Connect isn’t really a very useful tool when it comes to power analysis.  Most folks who utilize power are really looking to get extremely detailed information, and Garmin Connect simply doesn’t deliver that.

[Updated 8/6/2011: Note that as of late May 2011, Garmin has re-introduced 1-second recording to the FR310XT product for all sports, regardless of power meter. This can be enabled in the settings menu now for any activity. I’ve kept the next section for historical context, and while it’s still accurate from a power meter standpoint, just be aware you can now enjoy 1-second recording in any mode.]

Further complicating the issue is how the 310XT works with Smart Recording.  Here’s a little snippet from a Garmin engineer on how it works:

“During smart recording the power during these intervals is accumulated. When a point is dropped the accumulated power is divided by the time to get an average power over that time interval. The definition of smart recording includes many variables with power being one of the items that can trigger the code to drop a point (after the accumulated power has reached a threshold). Turning and distance are other variables that can affect when a point should be dropped in smart recording.”

Now, what’s interesting here is that the Garmin 310XT actually automatically goes into 1-second recording mode when a power meter is attached (thanks Lisa for pointing this out!), and if you go and check out the TCX files, you can see the 1-second increment in times:

Garmin 310XT 1-second recording with power meter

Finally, the last area that the 310XT suffers in from a power perspective is the lack of ability to display what are called ‘Rolling averages’.  These are numbers that are displayed on the screen to show you the average of the last few seconds of power data.  When cycling with power, the actual power number is constantly jumping around (this is completely normal), one second it’s 258w, and the next it’s 198w.  This makes it difficult to train/race based on real time data.  So power meter companies instead offer a screen which ‘smooth’s’ this data into readable chunks – such as 5s and 30s views.  And in fact, the Garmin Edge 705 recently had this feature added.  But the 310XT did not, it only shows instantaneous power – which is much more difficult to read.  This seems to limit some of the on-bike usefulness of the 310XT when it comes to power meters.

[Updated 8/6/2011: Note that as of late Winter 2011, Garmin has added 3-second and 30-second power averaging to the Forerunner 310XT as well as the additional zero-averaging options, thus making it largely even with the Edge series devices from a power meter standpoint…which is pretty awesome! I’ve left the rest of this text as is for historical purposes.]

In summary, while the 310XT is good ‘functional’ as a power meter recording device, it’s really not ideal as of today when compared to the 705/800 or other power meter devices.  The good news here is that Garmin has added these features to the 705/800 line, which means that perhaps we’ll see them added to the 310XT line as well in the future (via free software upgrades, like the 705).  And again, if you don’t have a power meter, then this whole section is moot for ya.

Quick release kit/Cycling Mount:

The quick release kit is targeted at triathletes that want to be able to quickly remove the 310XT from the bike and take it with them on the run.  Now, you could do this all with the default wrist strap – but if you’re in the aero position for 5+ hours on an Ironman, the angle of your wrist makes it difficult to see the display at all times.  So for both cyclists and triathletes, the quick release kit offers an easy way to mount it on your bike.

The kit comes with basically three major pieces:

1) A new wrist strap (kinda flimsy)
2) A mounting piece for your bike (not flimsy)
3) A new clip for the back of the Garmin unit

Garmin 310XT Quick Release Kit Packaged Garmin 310XT Quick Release Kit Unpackaged

You simply use the little tool (included) to detach the existing orange wrist straps, and reattach a new (thinner) black wrist strap.  Then you re-attach just the metal pins to the black mounting bracket (see above, left hand side of photo) to the Garmin itself.

Garmin 310XT Quick Release Kit InstallationGarmin 310XT Quick Release Kit InstalledGarmin 310XT Quick Release Kit Installed with WriststrapOne problem that plagued the 305 quick release kit is it’s desire to occasionally release the watch while cycling along at 20MPH, thus sending Mr. Garmin flying through the air.  However, the 310XT does not have that problem.  The new quick release kit requires a 90 degree twist to unlock – and it requires a fair bit of twisting force to do so.  There’s no way in heck this thing is ever popping off.  And, by using the quick release strap, it’ll fit much more comfortably in your swim cap if you use it during a race or training

The only minor complaint I have about the quick release kit is that I found during transition in a race, it can be a bit hard to quickly pop on/off if you’re a bit rushed.  In addition, I think I prefer the orange wrist strap over the thinner but more flimsy feeling black one that’s included in the kit.  Here’s it attached to both my triathlon bike, and my road bike (I included tons of mounting pictures in the gallery at the end):

Garmin 310XT Quick Release Kit Installed on Bike Garmin 310XT Quick Release Kit Installed on Bike riding Garmin 310XT Quick Release Kit Mount on bike

That said, for triathletes, the quick release kit is a must.  It’s priced at very reasonably at $25 on Garmin’s site, or $15 on Amazon.

Note: I’ve included a bunch more photos of the mounting bracket and mounting options for both tri and road bikes within the gallery at the end.

The Fabric Strap (well…sorta):

In the past the Forerunner 305 (different) quick release kit actually included a fabric strap (for the 305).  This was probably the least known secret of the Forerunner 305 series, as the fabric strap was ten times better than the plastic strap.  But, there doesn’t yet appear to be a fabric strap directly available for the 310XT.  That said, after some curiosity I tried out the new 405/405CX fabric strap, and it kinda sorta works.  By kinda sorta I mean that it’s clearly not designed for it, but could be used in a pinch.  That said, I found it pops off quite easily (even if you use the right pins), so I wouldn’t really recommend it.  But I wanted to include it here for now, since I know someone would be curious.  You can see in the below photos how the strap is about a third of an inch too long, and bunches up below my wrist:

Garmin 405 Fabric Strap Kit Garmin 405 Fabric Strap Kit Installed with 310XT Garmin 405 Fabric Strap Kit on Wrist with 310XT

Tanita BC-1000 Scale:

The Tanita BC-1000 scale is a wireless ANT+ scale that synchronizes to both your 310XT as well as your computer – wirelessly sending your weight, body fat and other health related details right over just like red rover.  I reviewed this scale recently and have now updated this review (the 310XT) to include details about it, since it’s one of the few devices that can interact with the BC-1000.

The Garmin 310XT acts as a data repository for the scale data, which is then transferred to your computer when you sync the 310XT with the little USB stick.  Finally, that data is in turn sent to both Garmin Connect, and also the Healthy Edge software that comes with the scale.

You first need to enable pairing between the BC-1000 and the Garmin 310XT via the menu system, but it’s quick and only takes a second:


Once that’s done, your set for any future synchronization with the scale.   With the latest 310XT firmware it’s super-easy to get your watch to see and talk to the scale (there were some earlier issues).  All you do is just tap the power button once briefly and it goes off trying to find it’s floor-bound friend – the scale:


Once it’s found the scale, the scale will start blinking.  Simply step on the scale and your weight information is automatically transmitted to the 310XT within about 2-3 seconds.  Super quick.


From there on your next synchronization it will go ahead and automatically sync that data to your computer and in turn to Garmin Connect:



The Tanita BC-1000 is also compatible in much the same manner with the Garmin FR60 as well.  The scale is available from a few places including Amazon and costs about $280.  You can check out my full review of it here – complete with all the details you could ever want.

Summary of Accessories:

Here’s a quick table of all the accessories offered (or that work with) the Garmin 310XT:

Accessory Item/Description


Garmin FR310XT Base Unit (without HR monitor)


Heart Rate Strap (Classic Strap)


Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft Strap)


ANT+ Cycling Speed/Cadence Sensor


Quick Release Kit


Fabric Strap (for Garmin Forerunner 405, but sorta works)


Power Meters (PowerTap Wireless)


ANT+ USB Stick


Tanita BC-1000 Scale (my in depth review here)


Bike Mount Kit


Software Options:

Wireless synchronization (Garmin ANT+ Agent):

The first software component that’s required with the 310XT is the wireless synchronization piece.  Unlike the 305, this watch doesn’t actually sync with a USB cable (that’s only for charging now).  Instead it uses ANT+ wireless technology to synchronize.  You plug-in the little USB dongle into your USB port, and you’re good to go.

This in turn connects to the Garmin ANT+ agent software, which controls synchronization between your 310XT and your computer (as well as any other ANT+ devices, like the 405).  The software has made some major improvements since I first reviewed it when the 405 came out, with a steady stream of updates over the past 18 months.  The wireless experience is now basically seamless without any of the hiccups of the past, even on the newly released Windows 7.  Initial setup is easy and only takes a few moments:

Garmin ANT+ new device found with 310XT Garmin ANT+ Agent new pairing with 310XTGarmin ANT+ Agent sync with 310XTIn addition, the ANT+ Agent helps to manage firmware updates.  Firmware updates a pretty critical to ensuring your device is running the latest software.  There’s already been quite a few updates for the 310XT – fixing a bunch of initial bugs – so by using the ANT+ Agent, you’ll ensure your device is up to date.   Now, to be fair – you really don’t have a choice when it comes to using the ANT+ Agent software.  It’s the only way to get files off your watch.  You can decline firmware updates however.Garmin ANT+ Agent updating 310XT firmware

Now, one interesting thing is that many ‘advanced users’ may want to access the TCX files directly.  These are the files that can be loaded into applications like WKO+ and Training Peaks.  One semi-undocumented feature is that all of these files are actually in a simple folder in your user profile, located here:

C:UsersrainmakerApplication DataGarminDevices3629010465History
(XP/2000 users just replace “Users” with “Documents and Settings”, also note your Device ID will differ from mine)

Garmin 310XT ANT+ Folder StructureOh, and on a Mac, it’s located here:

Macintosh HDUsersusernameLibraryApp SupportGarminDevices

Pretty cool, huh?

That reminds me…Mac software.  The Garmin ANT+ Agent works just fine on a Mac, so you’ll be able to upload to Garmin Connect (below), without issue.

Garmin Connect:

Garmin Connect is essentially a web-based application that allows you to view your workouts, share them with others, and store them for late retrieval.  Garmin Connect first launched when the Edge 705 and Forerunner 405 came out.  And it was pretty rough at that point (and for quite a while afterwards).  But Garmin has made a bunch of good strides with it, especially since transitioning everything over from Motionbased.com into Garmin Connect.

When you wirelessly sync your watch, one of the options is to send the data to Garmin Connect automatically.  This is the easiest option, and it’s what I do.

Garmin ANT+ Agent Send data to Garmin Connect 310XT From there you’ll login to Garmin Connect, which will display a basic dashboard of your most recent workouts.  It’ll also alert you to any software updates for the device as well.

Garmin Connect Bike Route Map Overview

On the left hand side you’ll see your activities, which you can click on to display more information about each activity.  You’ll see you can also share any given activity with friends (or the whole world, as I have done below).

Garmin Connect Run Map

From there you’ll notice along the bottom you can change to the different views – showing such detail as Heart Rate, Speed, and depending on the accessories you have – Cadence, Power Data, etc…

Garmin Connect HR graph with 310XT

You can also click to display splits for each activity:

Garmin Connect Laps Listing with 310XT

While showing you tons of cool screenshots is worthwhile, it’d probably be more fun for you to play with it yourself.  So here ya go, three activities that I recorded this past weekend that you can interactively poke around at and play with all the features of Garmin Connect: Swim, Bike, Run.

Next up is the ability to see it all in a simple calendar format.  This is useful if you’re trying to understand how your training flows from week to week:

Garmin Connect Calendar View with 310XT data

Finally, you can generate reports, create goals and even track items like your weight and generate reporting based on that.

Garmin Connect Reports with 310XT data

One recent addition (in the last few weeks), is the ability to manually add an activity not recorded on the Garmin.  For example, if you go for a swim at the pool and just do laps.  You can see a list of upcoming features to be implemented, as well as recently implemented features here.  It’s pretty unusual for a software company to publish a list of features/fixes they are working on – so huge props to the GC team for doing it.

Now while Garmin Connect has made great strides as an all purpose workout tool and putting it in the category of ‘good’, I still think it has a ways to go with respect to being a ‘great tool’.  For example, when you look at swim workouts, the distance is in miles – not meters or yards.  Nobody enters in swim workouts in miles.

Garmin Connect Summary View with 310XT data

Also, I find that the site is fairly slow in general.  That said, as an all around workout planner I think it hits the target for the vast majority of the population.

Garmin Training Center

Garmin Training Center (GTC) is Garmin’s old-school style tool for placing data on the Garmin devices.  It also allows you to download data from it.  But, the reality is this tool isn’t being updated any more by Garmin aside from critical changes needed to support new devices.  And the reasons are plentiful – the tool is fairly antiquated and almost all of the functionality is on Garmin Connect, with the exception of loading workouts into the watch.

Garmin Training Center Overview Shot

As you can see below, the map functionality within the tool is extremely basic when compared with Garmin Connect (above, earlier):

Garmin Training Center Lame Mapping Ability So, while you will probably install GTC, it’s unlikely you’ll use it much.  That said, if you’re interested in learning how to download workouts to your watch – read through this post I wrote a bit back.  It goes through how to download workouts to all the major watches (and the 310XT works identically to the 305 in this respect).

Training Peaks:

One of the most common application used by endurance athletes and coaches is Training Peaks.  Training Peaks is in many ways similar to Garmin Connect – with the exception that it’s designed to allow coaches and athletes to interactively review and analyze workouts.  I use Training Peaks to upload my workouts daily so that my coach can then review and comment on them.  They have both a free version, and paid versions.

Training Peaks Calendar ViewWithin each activity you can drill down and review detailed information about any section you choose:

Training Peaks Graph view with 310XT Data

From the above you can see the summary of the highlighted section at the bottom of the screen.  As you can see, for detailed analysis of data – such as power data, TP is extremely helpful.  The above is a screenshot of the same bike race as the earlier screenshot in the Power Meters section from Garmin Connect – you can see the significant differences in detail offered.

Training Peaks also has a pretty useful dashboard that you can customize to display pods of data:


Training Peaks has updated their device agent software to now support the 310XT directly, so you can easily upload right from your desktop to Training Peaks.

Training Peaks Device Agent Upload


Last but not least…SportTracks.  SportTracks is another non-Garmin option available to users of the 310XT.  It leverages the ANT+ Agent noted above to pull workouts into it.  SportTracks is completely free and put together by a huge community of sports enthusiasts, designed to support the maximum number of devices – including the Garmin 310XT.  Below is the main page of SportTracks.

Sport Tracks Overview ScreeenshotOnce you’ve selected a given activity, you can drill down into many of the different details of that given workouts, such as for example – power when cycling, like the below:

Sport Tracks Detailed Power Data SportTracks also allows you to generate customized reports 18 different ways to Sunday:

Sport Tracks Reporting and World Map View Perhaps one of the coolest features of SportTracks is the ability to install free plug-ins.  There are close to a hundred different plug-ins, offering all sorts of interesting features.  For example, one that I use automatically corrects the elevation based on NASA data, as GPS-based elevation is often filled with errors.   Check out all the plug-ins I use for Sport Tracks here.

Sport Tracks Elevation Correction Plug-in Go give it a shot though.  If you like the ability to endlessly analyze your data – I’d highly recommend Sport Tracks.

Comparison Chart:

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated May 11th, 2019 @ 2:33 pmNew Window
Product Announcement DateAPR 2, 2009May 1st, 2019Apr 30th, 2019Apr 24th, 2019Apr 24th, 2019
Actual Availability/Shipping DateJUN 2009May 8th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019Early May 2019Early May 2019
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
Data TransferANT+ WirelessBluetooth Smart, WiFi, USBUSB, Bluetooth Smart, WiFi (Only Music has WiFi)USB, Bluetooth Smart, WiFiUSB, Bluetooth Smart, WiFi
WaterproofingYesIPX750 MetersIPX7IPX7
Battery Life (GPS)20 Hours17 hoursUp to 24hrs regular GPS, 24hrs+ for UltraTrac20 Hours (40 in battery Saver Mode)20 Hours (40 in battery Saver Mode)
Recording Interval1s or Smart1-second1-second, Smart, UltraTrac1-Second or Smart1-Second or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYesYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatYesGreatYEsYEs
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualAUDIO/VISUAL + LED'sVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALAudio/VisualAudio/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGoodGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoN/AYesNoNo
MusicGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Can control phone musicNoYesNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoYes (Music version)NoNo
Streaming ServicesNoSpotify, Deezer, PandoraNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesYesYesYes
Group trackingYesNoYesYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoYes (via phone)YesYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesN/AYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNoYesN/AYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesNoYesYes
Crash detectionNoYesYesYes
RunningGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Designed for runningYesN/AYesN/AN/A
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesN/AYES (Also has INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)N/AN/A
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoN/AYes (with accessory)N/AN/A
Running PowerN/ANo
Race PredictorNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Run/Walk ModeNoN/AYesN/AN/A
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Designed for swimmingPartialN/AYesN/AN/A
Openwater swimming modeYesN/ANoN/AN/A
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Record HR underwaterNoN/ANoN/AN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)Distance, no strokeN/AN/AN/AN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)NoN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor Drill ModeNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureNoN/ANoN/AN/A
Change pool sizeNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsNoN/AN/AN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Can change yards to metersNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsNoN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor AlertsNoN/AN/AN/A
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Designed for triathlonYesN/ANoSortaSorta
Multisport modeYesN/ANoN/AN/A
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesNoYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNoYesYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoYesYesYes
Day to day watch abilityNoShows time/dateYesN/AN/A
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoN/ANoN/AN/A
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoN/ANoN/AN/A
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoN/ANoN/AN/A
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYEsYesYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoYesNoYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoYesNoYesYes
Back to startYesYesYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNo (But can create one-way routes from phone app)NoNoYes
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoYesYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricGPSBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeGPSMagneticN/AGPSGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyN/AYEsNoNo
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)Yes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYEsYEs
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesYEsYEs
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)YesNoNONoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoYesYesYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoYesYesYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)YesNOYesYes
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNOYesYes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)YesYesWith appsWith apps
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesNoYesYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesNOYesYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYEsYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYesNOYesYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesNOYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoYES (TEMPE)NoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYes--YesYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentN/AGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectN/AGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Amazon LinkLinkN/ALinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 310XTWahoo ELEMNT ROAMGarmin Forerunner 245/245 MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 830
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink


In summary, the Forerunner 310XT is a significant jump forward from the 305.  In my opinion it offers compelling new features, while at the same time polishing much of the user interface of the 305.  However, let’s go through a quick list of pro’s and con’s, before getting to the all important question of 310XT vs 305:


No review would be complete without this all important section, so let’s get on with it bubbling down many many pages of detailed information into about a dozen lines of text:

First up, the pro’s:

– Ability to last 20 hours
– Ability to stay underwater for extended periods of time
– Ability to connect to ANT+ Power Meters
– Smaller form factor (size)
– Wirelessly sync’s to computer (though, some also see this as a con)
– Cleaned up user interface
– Much faster satellite reception

And then the con’s:

– Waterproofing is more form than function
– HR, pace and distance don’t really work in the water
– More than double the price of the Garmin Forerunner 305
– Common power features missing [Update 8/6/2011: Addresses in Winter 2011 firmware update]
– No more fabric strap (though I see this likely changing)

But now the question everyone’s been waiting for – do you choice the 310XT or 305?  The answer is…it depends.

See, it depends on how you’re going to use it.  If you’re going to be solely using it for running and going less than 10 hours at a time, then there honestly isn’t a reason aside from cosmetics to purchase the 310XT over the 305 (or for that matter, instead of the 405/405CX – which are geared for runners).  That said, check out my almost as long Garmin 305 review (updated just earlier this summer) to help get an idea of the features there.

But if you’re a cyclist, triathlete or multisport person, then you need to dig deeper into the ‘depends’ question.  In particular – the following three items:

1) If you’re a cyclist/triathlete who uses power meters, then the 310XT, 500, 705 and 800 are your only choices, as those are the only current Garmin devices that can do ANT+ power meters.

2) If you’re a swimmer then I highly recommend looking at the 310XT merely from the convenience of not having to worry about the waterproofing.  While I’m a huge fan of the 305 in your swim cap, it is susceptible to water damage for prolonged periods.  The 310XT removes that worry from my life.

3) If you’re a runner who needs 10-20 hours of battery life, then the 310XT gives you that.  Same goes for competitors in an Ironman needing more than 10 hours of battery life on one watch.  Sure you can use accessories to extend that duration, but honestly, that’s kinda a pain long-term.

So with that, will I buy one?  The answer is simple: Yes.

Even with having the Edge 500/705/800 for cycling with power, I like having the ability to switch to the 310XT when it seems appropriate.  Further, I’ve found it’s so much easier to take it along on swims now that I don’t have to worry and fret about whether or not it will survive that aquatic adventure.  Finally I’ve found the device just far more polished than the 305 – even despite many of the fumbles with initial firmware revisions on the 310XT.

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.

I took a lot of pictures over the course of writing this review – 292 of them to be exact.  And I know that a lot of folks (like myself) like to see different angles of the product used in different ways.  So instead of just leaving them on my hard drive forever, I’ve taken a fair chunk of them and put them up in this little gallery above for you to be able to browse through.

Found this review useful?  Here’s how you can help support future reviews with just a single click!  Read on…

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance and deep sale items items). You can pickup the FR310XT (without HR strap, or with HR strap). Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well. [Update: Currently the FR310XT is on deep sale, and doesn’t qualify for the additional 10% off, however, free shipping is still good!]

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (all colors shown after clicking through to the left) or accessories (though, no discount).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.  Though, Clever Training also ships there too and you get the 10% discount.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated January 27th, 2018 @ 4:29 am
2013 Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
2014 Winter Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar Mount$25LinkN/A
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount$37LinkN/A
PowerTap G3 ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)$790 (hub only)LinkLink
PowerTap Pro ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)$899LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Transfer USB Stick (large sized)$38.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$49TBALink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin Edge Series Extra Bike Mounts (2 sets in box)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin FR310XT Quick Release Kit$20.00LinkLink
Garmin FR405/405CX/410/310XT/910XT Charging Cable$14.00LinkLink
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)$38.00LinkLink
K-Edge Garmin Handlebar Mount X-Large for Edge units (including Edge 1000)$45.00N/ALink
Lifesource UC-324 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale (My recommendation)$109.00LinkN/A
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!$55.00LinkN/A
Power2Max ANT+ Power Meter$970 (no cranks)N/AN/A
PowerCal ANT+ Estimated Power Meter$99LinkLink
SRAM Quarq Cinqo (Original) ANT+ Power MeterDiscontinuedLinkN/A
SRAM Quarq Elsa & RED ANT+ Power Meter$1,600 (with cranks, no chainrings)LinkLink
SRAM Quarq Riken ANT+ Power Meter$1,200 (with cranks, no chainrings)LinkLink
Stages ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Power Meter$699N/ALink
Suunto ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$37LinkLink
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)$70.00LinkN/A
Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale$215.00LinkN/A
Wahoo Fitness ANT+ iPhone Adapter (for uploading workouts wirelessly)$40.00LinkLink

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

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  1. thank you. I found your blog about 15 days ago and i think it’s awesome.

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks for taking the time to write this review. You brought up some great points that have impacted my decision to purchase.

  3. Yes, thank you for the time you put into this. I do not have this fab toy yet so my eyes glazed over and my brain went fuzzy after the unpackaging since I did not have the actual item to play around with in my hands.

    Oh, Polar has that great fabric chest strap and the Polar dudes call the actual heart rate transmitter the “peanut”. Ha, the first time I heard the Polar guys call it that last year it made me laugh. Now you have a “peanut” as well.

  4. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for the review. This is the best one I have found to date. I am debating between the 305 and the 310xt. I have just started training for a marathon and would like to do a half-ironman in the next year or so. Right now I am leaning towards the 305 because of cost and features.

    Can you tell me whether there are different features on the watch itself (e.g. can the 305 do transitions? aside from power meter compatability is there anything the 310xt does that the 305 won’t).

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Excellent review. I only recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed all of your posts.

  6. Thanks for a great review – a lot of care and attention clearly went into this, it is wonderful! I had already decided that I wouldn’t get one – I am waiting for perfect 2-yrs-from-now future device where I can just leave the thing on my wrist for swim, bike and run and have it monitor HR throughout! I am not a data fiend, and I find the Polar set-up (with footpod) suits me very well – but I am really impressed with what you made this Garmin do for you…

  7. Awesome review! The best I’ve found on the net! I’ve told all the people that are following me on twitter about it.

    It would be interesting to do another swim switching the position of the 305 and the 310 in your swim cap to see if the 305 is still better at tracking the swim.

    Again, great job!



    link to twitter.com

  8. Terrific review – as always!

    I’ve been very curious about this one since it was announced and it’s unfortunate that the swim piece is limited by losing signal when in the water … what’s the point?!

    I do like the multi-sport function and wish the Edge 305 I use would do that. Instead you have to just manually note your activities in Garmin Connect.

  9. So, you didn’t have an issue of your 310XT not being able to pick up the signal from your CinQo??

    I did. Mine only works if it’s attached to my top tube, right above the crank. And I’m quite a bit shorter than you are.

    But, my 310XT was one of the first to be released so perhaps they strengthened the device’s antenna and new ones now pick up power even if they are mounted in a visible and practical location?

  10. Great review! Now I can’t wait for my 305 to die – I can’t justify purchasing another toy until the old one’s gone.

  11. DC,

    First, Great Review!

    Second, Have you reviewed the Polar S725x?

    I still have yet to see a good direct comparison between the two products, and I’m torn on which to purchase.



  12. Wow, you really put a lot of effort into that review. Thanks so much! Initially I thought you could wear the 310XT on your wrist for swimming and it would track your distance. So thanks for all of your data on why that doesn’t work as that because that would have been my primary reason to buy one. Right now the cost is just too prohibitive, but if the price were to come down in the next year I would go for it, mostly for the extended battery life on an Ironman. I’m pretty sure 10 hours for the bike and run for me might be pushing things.

    This is sort of off topic, but is there a way to create a workout in SportTracks to upload to Garmin? I had tried to download a plug in about a year ago but it didn’t work, so I’ve been using GTC all the time to create workouts instead.

  13. Great review. Thanks for taking all the time and effort to do it! 🙂

    I have the 310XT and love it. It’s my first Garmin so I have nothing to compare it to but for triathlon it is almost perfect.

    Thanks again for such an interesting and informative post.

  14. As always Ray, great review! Have you seen or read anything about Timex new watch system?

  15. great post I might get 1

  16. Here’s the answers to all the questions up until this point:

    Anon re: Difference between 305 and 310 aside from power/waterproofing

    In a nutshell, no fundemental differences. The 305 does transitions as well, it just doesn’t record the transition times – whereas the 310XT does. Many of the changes you’ll notice are more related to the user interface and the menu’s. The satellite does pick up quicker though. So really the big three changes are: Waterproofing, Power Meters, battery. Outside of that, the devices are pretty much the same.

    triwithms re: Swim position on 310XT

    I went ahead and updated the swim section with what it looks like if you perfectly place it. You’ll see it cleans it up a bit. I did that this past weekend as part of the Nation’s Triathlon, during the swim portion of the race.

    Courtenay re: Cinqo dropouts and 310XT

    I think there’s two possibilities here. From my understand what you’re seeing is fairly common with the Cinqo and the 310XT. My Cinqo is actually a compact version that just came out mid-August, so there may be a chance that they’ve increased the transmission output on the newer devices. I’ll check with them on that as I know those guys fairly well. The other option is a change in the 310XT hardware as far as picking up ANT+ signals – but I’m not aware of any changes there. That said, I didn’t experiance any dropouts once I updated the firmware to 2.6. I had a ton of dropouts on 2.4 and 2.5 – which was related to how the 310XT handled certain power meters (including the Cinqo). If you’re interested, ping me via e-mail and I can give you tons of details around it (I had long threads with Quarq about it).

    Clint-Murphy re: Reviewing the S725x

    Hi Clint. Sorry, I haven’t reviewed the S725x. Though, if Polar sends one to me, I’d be happy to review it.

    Runner Leana re: Downloading workouts to Garmin’s without using GTC.

    Yes! You can do that with Sports Tracks actually. Check out this plugin here:
    link to zonefivesoftware.com

    Nat re: Timex watch system

    I haven’t looked too closely into it yet, sorry!


    Thanks all for the comments thus far, hope this helps!

  17. As always a great and detailed review, I was pondering getting one, batter life was appealing but I think I’ll liberate my wife’s unused 305 which has less than 50 miles on it!

  18. thank you for potentially saving me a lot of money… for now 🙂 I had been pondering upgrading from the 305 to the 310XT with my newfound love of triathlon mostly for the waterproof features, but with the lost signal underwater, I’ll just stick with the 305 a bit longer, and my try your under the swimcap trick! Excellent review, thanks for all the pics and taking the time to post!

  19. Your reviews are remarkable. You are such a gear hound! Thanks for doing all that work. Your comparisons are really helpful. I love having all the data but am not mechanically minded enough to find out on my own which gizmos will get me the data that I want to track.

  20. Hey – great review! I was going to write up a similar one, but now I’m going to just point people to yours!! I’ve got mine paired with a SRM, and am getting similar results as you are wrt power. One thing to note – if you put the 310 in “Other” mode for swimming, it won’t try to record distance and mess up your totals. At least, that’s what I’ve seen so far. (I haven’t tried Other in multisport mode yet w/transitions though.) My plan for races will be to just put it on my wrist for the swim to catch time, then while I’m on the bike, take a moment to switch it to the frame. I am bummed about your review of the wrist strap with the quick release kit. I really like the original strap! The other thing I’m frustrated with is the speed data coming from the SRM when on a trainer. I originally had the 310 paired with a PowerTap and it took the PT speed data over the Garmin’s. But with the SRM it doesn’t. Maybe this winter I’ll break down and get the speed/cadence sensor. 🙁 Anyway, thanks again for this awesome review!!!

  21. Anonymous

    Cheers mate,

    Thanks for your efforts. I really appreciate that you took the time to post this.

  22. Outstanding review — thanks so much for the time and effort that went into this!

  23. Thanks for the review. I was on the fence about upgrading immediately and your review convinced me to wait until my 205 device breaks down.

    For transitions with my 205 I always set up an “other” activity between the biking and running that way I get a measurement.

  24. Thanks for you wonderful review, so great!

    Do you have any knowledge it Garmin is going to update the 310XT’s software so that the user could set the Track Recording to every 1 second, like in 305? The Smart Recording has been a bit of a dissappointment to me, as I want to have very accurate route data of my orienteering trips. If not, how could a consumer suggest it to Garmin so that it will be effective…?

  25. Hi Pellon,

    I’m not aware of any current plans to add 1s recording to the 310XT. However, I am aware that this review was passed around the Garmin engineering team, and it’s also an occasional request on the Garmin Forums.

    My suggestion would be to tag on one of the existing threads (titled Wishlist) at Garmin Forums at http://forums.garmin.com

  26. Great review!! That was very thorough and covered more than what I was looking for.

  27. Great detailed review.

    If you really want HR for the swim, put the 310 under your cap and the HR strap backwards so the trasmitter is on your back.

  28. Thanks Chris!

    I tried it with it on my back (must have forgotten to mention that), but I found it dropped out near constantly. Though, if I correct my form – it does pickup. 😉 Gotta work on getting the ‘cool air across my back’. One of these day’s I’ll swim semi-well…

  29. Very comprehensive review. Pushed me up the learning curve significantly.

  30. Thanks SO much. The battery on my 305 is dying and I am looking at another 305 or upgrading to the 310XT at considerably more expense. Your detailed review has given me ALL the information I need to make a decision.

  31. Excellent. Have been looking for decent reviews on Garmin watches and don’t think I can beat this. Will pass it on – really well done!!

  32. Thank you for the very thorough review. I don’t have any of the cool ‘toys’ yet, and this has helped me in the decision-making process. I appreciate your efforts to write such a detailed review.

  33. I wanted to know how much training you can keep this clock?
    For it is not always able to access your computer to transfer data, how much training do I keep a clock if training takes about one hour?

    Have you tried and you know there are memory device?

  34. The amount of training it will store isn’t exactly a per hour thing, as it depends on how much stuff you’re recording. It notes up to 1,000 laps, but that doesn’t mean much to most people. I havne’t had any problems it retaining about a month of training on it (5-7 activities per week recorded on it).

  35. Just an FYI, on the 305 there is a check box in Multisport to include transitions. If you check it, when you hit lap coming in from the bike it will automatically go to “Transition” a tap of lap on your way out sends it to run.

  36. Would you please advise:

    I actively ran the day I’m running from an hour to three.
    I decided to buy the company Garmin products, but neišsirenku to buy?

    Maybe you can recommend?
    I choose from two models: GARMIN FORERUNNER 305 or 310xt

    Do I need to: monitor nubėgtą distance, running time, speed, and monitor the heart, as well as analysis of training on your computer.

    Your opinion is important: the product and if you have any advice argumentuokite why one or the other.
    I would be grateful 🙂

  37. Hi Krista and Viktoras:

    RE: Transitions

    With the 305 the only catch with that checkbox is that it doesn’t actually record the transition time in a data file. Never been a big deal for me, but for some it maters.

    Re: Choosing between 305 and 310XT

    If you’re primarily a runner (and not an ultra-runner), than realistically the 305 is the most economical choice. Ultra-runners would need the 20 hour battery life (310XT) for a 100m race, but for a few hours at a time, both the 305 and the 310XT can easily do that.

    Both the 305 and 310XT have all the capabilities you describe (distance, time, speed, HR, computer connection, etc..). The 305 is simply a tiny bit bulkier, but it costs about 1/3rd as much. If someone were buying it for me, I’d happily say the 310XT. But if I were paying for it myself and *JUST* using it for the items you specified, then I’d likely choose the 305 given the cost differential. For the triathlete however, having the additional waterproofing, battery life, and power meter capabilities, the 310XT would be a better choice.

    Good luck!

  38. Thanks for this very helpful review. Quick question. In auto multisport mode, is it possible to display more than just time and distance (eg, can you get the 4 data fields that you have chosen, say, for running)?


  39. Lou_S

    Great review.

    I used my 305 for swimming/biking for a couple of years until one day my 305 popped off the bike mount. Tried backtracked to try and find it, but it was gone. Can you comment about the stability of the bike mount? How flimsy is the black wrist strap included with the quick release kit?

    I too liked the black fabric strap from the 305, but am very concerned about having this one pop out of the strap on me again.

  40. Thanks for a great review.
    Q: Is it possible for two persons to use the same watch (not at the same time…), like me and my wife or is it only possible to register one user profile?


  41. David-

    Re: Auto Multisport mode

    Yes, you can modify the four data fields in autosport mode just as you do in regular mode. Note that you do have to simply scroll into those data fields from the default one. But that just takes about 1 second.


    RE: Bike mount durability

    Without a doubt the most improved accessory compared to the 305 is the bike mount. I can’t emphasis enough how darn sturdy this thing is. I’m relatively certain I could throw my bike off a 10 story building, and the only thing still in one piece would be the Garmin attached to the new bike mount. It features a new twist-lock design which makes it very secure (actually, in my opinion, a touch TOO hard to get out). That said, it’s locked. The wrist strap that comes with the kit is a bit thinner, but no more so than any regular watch, just not as thick as the orange band in the default package. Neither of them popped out on me at any time, and I beat the crap out of that watch.


    Re: Two people using the watch

    Yes and no. Two people can use it without issue, but you’d have to manually change the settings each time. There isn’t a second user profile. That said, the ONLY thing this really controls is calorie count, which you can easily tweak post-activity using something like Sports Tracks. For example, my girlfriend on occasion uses my watch and vice versa. At the end of the day she imports her data to her account, and I to mine. Works well

  42. Great! Greate Review))))!!!

  43. AWESOME review… I just wish I had read it before I bought the 310XT (I already had a 305). You went into so much detail – covering EVERYTHING. Excellent job and detail. I especially appreciate knowing where the TCX files are located so I can integrate the new device with the 3rd party software I am accustomed to using (Topofusion).

  44. Great job. I frequent your site and often recommend it to others. Thanks for the thorough review.

  45. First of all, I found your blog while searching for Garmin 305 and 310XT reviews (the Garmin site should get an award for Least Amount of Useful Information). Your blog is amazing. I look at a lot of blogs for a lot of different things, and your blog is one of the best. An example of what a blog should be. Thanks to your review of the Garmin 310xt, I purchased one two days ago and I love it. I have my first triathlon (a sprint) coming up at the end of this month, and I am hooked already. Not only is physical side of it huge fun, but it is a great excuse to buy STUFF (example – the 310xt). You provided more detailed and important information about the 310xt than any other site (again, the Garmin site is a big sack of suck). Thanks, and keep on keeping on. The one disappointment – Sports Tracks is only PC compatible 🙁 Oh well, maybe they will see the error of their ways, and open it up to Mac soon!

  46. Holy crap, that review is so detailed – you sure put alot of work and thought into it. I just got the 310xt and am completley relieved that I don’t really swim as crooked as it makes me look! Am trying to figure out if I need to let the battery completely drain before recharging (that’s how I came across your blog, searching on google for that!) Anyway, great blog!

  47. Hi Carol!

    RE: Battery drain before recharging

    Thanks! Nope, the 310XT remembers how much battery it is left, and will automatically charge from that point back to 100%. When you connect the charger you’ll note it’s current battery state and then it’ll count upwards to 100%. I’d be in trouble if I had to let it die everytime I wanted to recharge.

    Thanks for reading!

  48. Anonymous

    I read your review and learned a lot from it.
    One question please: can I have larger view on Lap’s info while running. I find myself looking at the data each mile but it is too small view.

  49. Hi Joel (anon)

    RE: Larger display of lap while running

    Yup, you can indeed. You can change the display to show up to four fields, and if you show only one field – it will show it super-big. There’s an example photo about showing the super-large display on the bike showing MPH, but you can change that field to show anything – including lap times/splits/etc…

  50. Hi Thank you, Great review. I am torn between which to pick. Its more for running long distances, my main goal in the watch would be calculating distance, heart rate, mins per mile and something in which would help you reach your target IN TRAINING. I would like something accurate and reliable. Do you think the 310xt is more for traitholons? i would like the best for distance running. Thanks a mil,

  51. Hi Caitriona-

    RE: 310XT for running or tri’s

    I think it can go either way – but the 310XT is definitely a triathlon focused watch – but it still works equally as well for running. It’s just that it has extra features. You could look at the 405, which is more running focused – but many folks (including myself) find the touch bezel frustrating on the 405. The 305 is certainly an option – from a running perspective it’s really no different than the 310XT, just cheaper.

    Hope this helps!

  52. Anonymous

    Thanks for this review. I just bought one of these online last night and was thinking of cancelling as I’d spent a lot of money, but after seeing what it can do I’m just going to take the financial hit. It’s going to be worth it 🙂

  53. Roger L

    Well, you just sold me – thanks!

    Nice, balanced review – I appreciate the time and effort put into it.

    Roger. Raleigh, NC

  54. Hi Rainmaker
    This is a fab review, thank you. I am looking to buy a running watch like this for my husband and have narrowed down to the 305 vs 310xt vs 405cx and am stuck to decide between the three! He doesn’t do longer than marathon distance; he runs and cycles (doesnt swim); he is far more of an outdoor trainer than indoor (rarely trains indoor)… I have read that you recommend the 305 over 310xt for runners only on cost basis, but worry about the slow satellite pick-up and also want to get him the best! (loving wifey 😉 ) I havent seen a comparison with the 405cx, but you do mention that at the end of your summary… are you able to recommend anything to help me as a non-runner myself?!
    Thank you!

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Fantastic review! Like many others, I’ve been trying to sort out the “do I upgrade from the 305?” question. The 305 is such an excellent GPS/training watch, but I’m just about ready to make the move to the 310XT. My reasons:

    1) Vibrating alert on the 310: Didn’t see this in the review, but that is NOT a feature of the 305. Actually would find this very useful as I do use alerts on the 305.The 305 are only audible, and I miss a number of them depending on what I’m listening to on the Ipod. 🙂

    2) “Better/quicker” satellite reception: Sometimes the 305 is a laggard in picking up a signal, even if I haven’t changed locations from my training area. I also travel and take the 305 with me, and if it’s a significant distance the 305 can take 5 mins or so to sort out the satellite situation

    3) ANT/wireless data download: Not a big deal, but like the idea in concept. That it is fairly seamless with Garmin Connect is nice, as I do want to have a common server to upload my workout data to. That said, I think that SportTracks is heads and tails about Garmin Connect or Training Peaks.

    4) New heart monitor strap: Again, not a big deal, but like the concept.

    5) Better support for biking & swimming: Think the 310 does a nice job here. Like many others, I would love to have GPS and HRM for swimming. At least I don’t have to worry about the waterproofing though.

    Again, great job on the review. I use Garmin’s in my car and in the plane I fly. They are a great company with great products. I’m not associated with them, but I have to say that I think they have one of the best customer support groups that I’ve dealt with. Another reason that I’m willing to make the investment in the 310.


  57. Rainmaker, what a great blog, many thanks

  58. Thank you for an excellent blog! Very professional and hands-on reviews!

    // Thomas, Denmark

  59. Great review. Thanks for that. Just one question: Does the 310 provide the ability to switch to 1s recording for running or swimming?

  60. Anonymous

    you review is amazing

  61. Tim

    Can this watch be used as a regular watch to tell time and date on the display?

    Also, how do you change the setup to organize different info on a screen?

    Thanks for the great review!

  62. Hi Tim:

    Re: Time display-

    Yup, you can set any field as the time. However, date/day is not an option.

    In fact, in the below post while diving you can see where I’ve setup just the time:

    link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

    To change the display fields click: Settings > Run Settings > Data Fields > (Run 1/2/3/4) > And then edit the fields.

    Super simple and easy.

  63. Maybe you’d be willing to help me with my upcoming gear decision? Currently use SRM cranks with an SRM bike computer (powercontrol 5). That’s the model that still used wires. I am a heavy user of WKO+ . I have been considering going to new set of SRM cranks that are wireless – ANT+ – the question becomes, which computer do I want to use with them? I don’t see any particular advantage to paying the extra $$$ and going with the SRM powercontrol 6. I have been looking at the Edge 705 and then after your review the 310xt.

    at the WKO+ compatibility site it says “* 310XT is NOT compatible with WKO+ at this time.” Yet in your review of the 310xt it appears you say it is compatible as long as you’re willing to copy over the files manually. Is that correct?

    I realize the 705 offers all sorts of cool mapping features that the 310 doesn’t and perhaps even power readouts besides instantaneous (your 705 review was before you had power), but I’m pretty much used to what I would get out of the powercontrol 5 from SRM which was just instantaneous power and avg power over the whole ride. It wouldn’t be until I finished the ride and took the powercontrol data file into WKO+ that I could find normalized power and such. I’m ok with that limitation.

    I guess my main questions are
    a) do you have the ability to manually import the power data from the 310xt into WKO+ and then have WKO+ calculate things like Normalized power?
    b) Whare the differences with power data collection / display between the 705 and the 310?

    I’m a triathlete like you, focusing primarily on IM and 1/2 IM and would love to just go with the 310xt but being able to get reliable power data and calculate NP in WKO+ is essential for me.


  64. Hi Effendi-

    RE: WKO Compatibility

    Currently the 310XT files have some issues when imported into WKO – namely as you noted some of the normalized power functions. The next version of WKO is going to fix these, and I believe they are close to release (I know it has been released to beta testers and feature sets released to the media). I’d be relatively surprised if we don’t see a release in the next 4-6 weeks.

    Do note however that WKO+ and Training Peaks have different engines. So while the 310XT compatibility in TP has been added, it has not for WKO+.

    RE: Differences between 310XT and 705 from a power perspective

    There is no difference in data collection, as both can do 1s recording, though you don’t have the ability in the 310XT to specify zero-averaging functions like the 705 does. From a display standpoint the big difference is the 310XT doesn’t have any ability to set 5s or 30s power averaging modes like the 705 does. So honestly, I find the 310XT kinda unusable from a power standpoint while on a ride since the instantaneous power fluctuates constantly even if you ‘feel constant’. That’s where the 5s and 30s mode is useful – because you can effectively see your real power without all the fluctuations that are normal in power meters.

    So, in summary for your questions… I think very shortly here you’ll be able to use WKO+ 3.0 to do everything you want with the 310XT, just not as of today – Nov 22nd. The one piece from the 310XT that you really ideally want is the power averaging piece. I know that Garmin is planning on releasing some new firmware for the 310XT here shortly, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it added.

    Hope this helps some!

  65. I’ve been putting off a GPS watch out of concern it would not work well in my running environment. I live and run in the dense and vast forest (the Pfalzerwald) that surrounds Kaiserslautern, Germany and represents the largest contiguous stand of forest in Germany. Much of my time is spent on single track trails and paths that wind their way for mile after mile through thick, tree covered terrain through valleys and along wooded ravines. I had always assumed no gps watch would be able to cope with the “cover”. Your in-depth review (excellent in all respects) has changed my mind and, just this morning, I have purchased a 310 XT from E bay (Belgium). Running in deep forests that are often heavily shaded by foliage should provide a real challenge for this watch and could provide a major analysis for the few runners who are faced with the same (so wonderful for running)situation. I’m anxious to see if the XT is up to the task and will let your readers know as soon as it is received and set up. I already have picked out one of the most thickly forested routes for the test. Thanks again for the great review. Garmin should have you on the payroll.

  66. nik


    Thanks for the great review !! i am looking to buy either 305 or 310xT, just one thing i need to know is that !!

    after how long does the battery die out and new one has to be replaced for these watches ?? are these easily available in normal electronic or watch stores?? and it can be done urself or have to be taken to a store??

    2) any reviews coming up on polar or timex HRM watches??

    thanks !!

  67. Hi Plumto!

    RE: Deep woods

    You shouldn’t have any issues. I used mine just yesterday in some rather deep trees without a problem. Hope it goes well.

    Hi Nik:

    RE: Battery life

    The battery lasts about 20 hours on a charge, and then you recharge it. I can’t remember where I saw how many times it will recharge before it dies – though for some reason I thought I heard 1,000 times – so that’d be three years if you charged it every day.

    RE: Polar or Timex reviews

    I don’t have either (well, I had a little cheap Timex watch, but I somehow killed it back two weeks ago). My girlfriend has some Polar ones, but they are a bit older. I’m working to get some Timex units to review. And meanwhile, Polar has some really cool new watches coming out early next year that should help bring them back into being competitive again. So I’m looking at that a bit (threads on Slowtwich from the Polar Rep).

  68. Anonymous

    Rainmaker, thanks for a very informative blog. I have a 305 and have recently experienced a loss of my audible alarms which make it difficult to monitor my auto laps. Through some internet homework, I found out that the 305 does not like the salt from your sweat, so after time, the tiny 305 speaker inside starts to corrode (behind the 4 small holes on the watch underside). I’m interested in replacing the 305 with the 310 for Christmas this year but I am somewhat gun-shy to pull the trigger if the 310 has (or eventually will have) the same 305 problem. Have you heard of this 305 problem and can you comment on the 310? Perhaps the 310 waterproofing is the answer?


  69. Good day mate.

    2 things mainly:

    First, I thought I’d extend my sincere gratitude for what I think is the best web review of the 310XT. I think your review is through and unbiased. No apologies should be made for having it too lengthy.

    Your review has led to my purchase of the 310XT. (Yo! Garmin people… you reading this?)

    The second is really more of a question.

    I have the small (new)footpod with my 310XT. I alternate between 2 pairs of runners. I’m worried that alternating one pod will wear off the clip mechanism and it will end up as another trail donation.

    Have you tried pairing 2 pods to one device? Will it work?


  70. Nik

    thanks for answering my previous question !!

    1)i would like to know if 310XT can be used as regular watch -time/date/alarm features??

    2) once i set time is set according to GPS when i am outdoors, does the time needs to be re-adjusted to current time when i come back to indoors? or it tunes in automatically?

    3) if i off the GPS and use it as regular watch (if it works i suppose), how many hours will the watch run with full single charge???

    4) Are there any versions in 310XT like +elite and + pro versions?? if so, whts the difference??


  71. Thanks all for your comments – I appreciate them!

    Hi Schwitzkopf-

    RE: Issues with waterproofing and 310XT

    I haven’t seen any issues with the waterproofing not holding up. I’ve swam with it a bunch (both on wrist and in cap), and then recently I used it while diving a bit and did 10 hours in the water submerged without any issues. So I think it’s MUCH improved in this area.

    Hi Lesley-

    RE: Switching between two footpods

    Unfortunately, unlike multiple bikes – you can’t have multiple runners or different running equipment. In the case of bikes you can have different sensors, etc… But when in Running mode there’s only one person and just one set of equipment. You can only pair one footpod at a time. Fwiw however, I have both footpods and the little one hasn’t gone anywhere yet in probably a 1,000 miles of running. The little one uses a clip system – so it would be more suseptible to popping off I suppose, whereas the big one actually strings through your laces. So the big one most certainly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    Hi Nik-

    RE: Using 310XT as watch

    Yes, you can use the watch as a watch, but it won’t show date – nor does it have any alarm features from a time management standpoint.

    RE: Time adjustment when indoors

    Nope, it remembers the time – you’re all good there.

    RE: Hours w/o GPS

    Hmm, this is a tough one – I’m not exactly sure. But, I did recently try this on a boat ride where I used it as a simple time keeping device after my wrist watch got flooded. I think I was around 30-ish hours before it gave me a low battery warning. My guess is I could have gone closer to 32-33 hours.

    RE: Different version of 310XT

    Essentially there are two versions – one with a HR and one without a HR strap. That’s it!

    Hope this helps!

  72. Anonymous

    Great review. I’d buy one if the foot pod weren’t so overpriced. Nike foot pod: $19. Garmin foot pod: $99. They have the same features, but the Garmin is 500% more than the Nike, and Nike isn’t known for its low prices. Meh.

  73. Request for Possible collaboration


    My name is Yesh Re, and I own an website that holds reviews for heart rate monitors, an argument I’m very interested in.

    I’ve read your site and found it very professional and appealing. I would be grateful if you’d give me the permission to translate some reviews from your site into Hebrew and put it in the site with a credit link to your site, according to your choice.

    Will be happy to talk to you. My site is well rated and I think this should be of a mutual benefit any way.

    Here is the link for my site.
    So Thanks ahead!
    link to שעוןדופק.com

  74. Great review; thank you! I really appreciated the depth, images and ending comments pro/con analysis. Truely superb!

  75. Anonymous

    Another thanks for such a good review.
    I have owned my 310xt for several months now and your review was not only accurate but helpful for features and uses.
    Travel Safe

  76. Hi DC Rainmaker!

    My name is Yesh, and I own an Israeli website that holds reviews for heart rate monitors, an argument I’m very interested in.

    I’ve read your blog and found it very professional and appealing.
    I would be grateful if you’d give me the permission to translate some this review from your site into Hebrew and put it in the site with a credit link to your site, according to your choice.

    Will be happy to talk to you. My site is well rated and I think this should be of a mutual benefit any way.



  77. Hello!

    I sold my Suunto X6HR a week ago and I am planning to but a new HR monitor. I am hesitating between Polar RS400, RS 800 or any of the Garmins. What would you advise? I am a professional triathlete and the watch would be used mainly for running and cycling, I don’t really need to have the open water swim distance…Please let me know what you think would be the best choice.Thx.


  78. Anonymous

    Really excellent review. Thanks!

  79. Anonymous

    This is a great review, thank you. I was really debating between the 305 or 310. I have read several reviews and your review is the most in-depth review and gives many reasons why a Tri-Athlete would want to go with the 310. Thanks again.

  80. Great stuff rainmakeer. Really enjoy your site.

    Do you have a problem with buttons being pushed on the 310 while in your swim cap? It looks really tight and I can’t believe that the buttons aren’t depressed during the swim.

    I thought about wearing mine during the swim of my next Ironman (Louisville 2010) It isn’t a mass start so maybe the usual beating that comes with a mass start swim won’t be as bad and I will be less likely to have it sink to the bottom of the Missisip!

  81. TIPitek

    Hello. I own a number of electronic devices including a couple of Polar HR monitors and a Garmin 201. I am seriously looking at the 310XT due to the improved features.

    I am wondering whether I need to purchase the HR monitor with 310XT. You already mentioned the 310XT will work with the 201 HR transmitter.

    Question: will the 310XT pick up from a Polar HR Transmitter – the new ones look very similar to the 310XT HR transmitter.\\thanks Teresa.

  82. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

  83. Hello All!


    RE: Expensive foot pods

    Yes, it is unfortunate that they are so expensive. I agree it’s kinda sucky.


    RE: Translating it into Hebrew

    Thank you for the kind words. While I appreciate the offer, I think it might be best to forward them here. I often update content here as new changes occur. Thanks though!


    RE: Polar or Garmin

    Unfortunately I’ve never used either the RS400 or RS800. Though if Polar wants to send me a demo unit, I’d be happy to write-up some comparisons. I think the 310XT gives you quite a bit more flexibility though with just having a single unit. Also, the $50 rebate currently offered is a pretty good deal.


    RE: Buttons being pressed by swimcap

    Surprisingly, I’ve never had a button being pressed by the tightness of the swim cap. I’ve been kinda amazed by that to be honest. But neither the 305 or 310XT has ever caused me any isues there with that.


    RE: Polar HR strap with Garmin

    Unfortunately the Polar’s and Garmin straps/monitors are not interchangeable. Though, fwiw – if you had a PowerTap strap/monitor, they are interchangeable. Sorry!

  84. Anonymous

    Thanks for the thorough review. My husband bought me a 310XT for Christmas, but I already had bought myself a 305, at a much much lower price. Now I know he has to find me another gift 😉

  85. Two weeks into my 310XT and there’s good and bad. The GOOD is the GPS works like a charm. As stated in my original post I was concerned the GPS would be unable to cope with the densely forested areas in which I run to include some deep, narrow ravines with heavy growth above. I was shocked the 310XT didn’t even blink and never once lost satellite. I was also impressed that I could turn on the GPS on the way over to my starting point and it would pick up the satellites while I was driving.

    The BAD?? You guessed it – the heart rate monitor. I am unable to “pair” it with the “watch”. Tried “wetting”, changing position on my chest, using my back, tightening the strap until I winced, NOT using the strap and taping the “monitor” itself to my chest without the strap- NOTHING!! I am so disappointed. I’m unsure where the “contacts” actually are as the black round shiny doohickey that is situated at each end of the strap opposite the snap is obviously plastic and presumably NOT a “contact”. Am I missing something? Omitting a “step”? Ignoring a “trick” someone else has discovered? Even cursing didn’t work!!

    Maybe I should just use the warranty and send it back to the factory?? Anyone have some advice – tips??

  86. Hi Rainmaker,
    Wonderful post!

    I am about to buy a new FR310XT, but I really want to know if I can set a specific workout/race pacing. I read many articles but didn’t find anyone with the same question.
    – I know that we have the multisport function.
    – I know that we can create advanced workouts in GTC, with interval, negative spliting and fartlek training for individual sports, run and bike.
    – I know that Virtual Partner can be set up to pace yourself with the “advanced workout” min/max speed/pace for that interval.

    I was wondering if I can just put all this together. For exemple:
    I have a 90km cycling/21km running for a Half Ironman race/training. I want to ride a sub 2h20min bike and a sub 1h30m half-maraton. It is not smart to just set up an average pace for each sport. It must be splitted: A certain avg speed for the first 45km riding and another for the last 45km and so one. The same for the run.
    Is it possible to create 2 advanced workouts, 1 for bike and 1 for run, with all the intervals you want, and then use multisport function to change sport with just a button press? Is it possible to set a Virtual “Multisport” Partner to pace you through the entire race/training?

    Thank you

  87. Anonymous


    I paddle a surf ski, ocean swim & hike/run mountains on the east coast of Australia in and north of sydney.

    I found your reviews of the Forerunner 305, 405 & 310xt far more helpful than their owner manuals: thanks!

    I am trying to decide between the 305 & 310. I know of ocean paddlers using the 305, but I am inclined to but the water proof 310xt.

    I have one nagging question regarding swimming and heart rate (this is really important to me as I do the same 6km bay swim).

    As swimming heart rate is so important for me, do you think I could attach (eg: tape/velcro) the 310xt wrist watch onto the heart rate monitor? I don’t care about added resistance…

    When you held the 310xt next to your chest underwater (and it read 81bpm) was it accurate?

    If this works I will be one happy chappy…

    Thanks again.


  88. plumto1

    IT WORKS!!!

    Reference my 30 December comment concerning my non-functioning 310XT HRM. On a lark I checked the battery compartment of the HRM and found the negative (on the side) contact was bent back from the battery. With (very) careful use of a jeweler’s screwdriver I managed to coax it back to its designed location and POW! – HRM was immediately paired with my 310XT. Would seem the problem came from the factory so perhaps others with similar problems can take heart.

  89. Anonymous

    Great review!!!!

    The 500 is now out might update that there is not another option for powermeters beyond the 310xt and 705

  90. Murray

    Great review I would be lost without it after purchasing the 310Iam currently on a mac using bootcamp and was hoping to keep all my training files on windows I am having trouble downloading the windows plug in. Is that because it is still using a mac usb. is there a workaround solution? Thanks

  91. Hathi

    Thanks for that awesome review.

    I was wondering if you had any experience with this bicycle mount:

    link to amazon.co.uk

    Is it any good with the Forerunner 310XT? With that mount it’s possible to keep on the nice orange straps, instead of changing it too the black ones.

    Thankx in advance

  92. 310XT

    Hi Plumto1:

    RE: HR Strap being a PITA

    I’ve occasionally seen transiet issues with the straps. I do know there was a manufactoring issue with some of the earlier straps and not being able to pickup signal. I would just give Garmin a quick ring and get it replaced. Sounds defective to me. Their service is super-quick and simple.

    Hi Murray:

    RE: Keeping all training files on the watch

    Yes, one option here is to simply tell the ANT+ agent software to not delete any of the files after it copies them from the watch to the computer. THis is under the options when you right click on the ANT+ settings. I’m not exactly sure where the option is on a mac, as I don’t have one – but I suspect it’s there somewhere. This will allow the PC to then also get the files without the Mac side erasing them.

    Hi Hathi:

    RE: Using the 405 mount instead of 305 mount

    That mount is indeed for the 405, and isn’t ideal for the 310XT. That said, the way it’s designed, it will actually work, though it’s not really the best solution. In a sense, it basically just acts as a bigger handlebar to wrap the 310XT around. Hope this helps!

  93. Whoops, missed two:

    Hi Anon:

    RE: Swimming, Kayaking and HR

    I think you could get HR if it’s literally within an inch or so, and it was accurate. But, what I’ve found with HR and swimming is that the second you stop swimming, the HR drops – so it’s kinda hard to monitor continously. That said, the Polar’s do support this, and perhaps your best option is to wear a Polar on your wrist for HR, and then a Garmin on your head for GPS.

    Hi Ulisses:

    RE: Multisport and Advanced workouts

    Unfortunately you can’t mix the two. So you’d have to basically start a advanced workout for the bike, and then switch to one for the run. While I’ve done similiar things in T2, it’s not entirely ideal. You can certainly quickly run through the buttons if you’re familiar with them though.

    The virtual partner mode is essentially just like a data field, so you can display it whenever you’d like. 🙂

  94. Anonymous


    Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the Australian 310xt and the version for the rest of the world?


  95. Anonymous

    I bought the 310XT a week ago and wore it today for its first triathlon. I have not seen anything from Garmin or other reviews explaining the swimming issue with the distance & GPS inaccuracy. Thank you for explaining this, and the swim cap solution sounds like its worth trying.

  96. Dom S

    Thanks Ray, that’s a really excellent review and I may well upgrade my 305 when the outdoor swimming season begins.

    A couple of small things…
    From my experience, the 305 actually DOES record Transition data in MultiSport mode. Time, Distance and even GPS info etc. were all there, in the same way as the bike/run sections.
    I don’t doubt your findings, so maybe it was dealt with in a software or firmware update?

    The other thing for me is I wish they’d recessed or flattened the buttons as IMHO it’s too easy (and frustrating) to accidentally press the buttons e.g. when removing a long sleeved top on a winter multisport event.
    …or as I found, even scratching my back on the start line!


  97. Hi Anon-

    RE: Differences between Aussie version and rest of world

    I’m not aware of any differences. In fact, when you pickup the 310XT you’ll notice it comes with adapters for a number of countries. That said, I know there are some folks who in the comments are from the land down under and may be able to expand a bit.

    Hi Dom-

    RE: 305 recording splits

    Interesting, I’ll have to check it out. You may be right, it may have been added recently to the 305 – which would be a nice addition. If I can verify it, I’ll update both this and the 305 review.


  98. Great review. Recently purchase one. Had a couple questions.

    1. I used it for the first time on a bus trip I was on. I had it record while riding the bus. I noticed when the info was shown on garmin connect, it never showed the bus going 0 mph when I know the bus stopped a few times. Any idea why?

    2. The first time I used the heart rate monitor, it seemed to be displaying my heart rate at 6-10 bpm below my normal that was on another HRM watch I have. So I checked it a number of times with the pulse on my neck and each time it was 6-10 bpm less than what I counted. Have you heard of that happening at all?

  99. Hi Pete-

    RE: Not showing 0 mph when stopped

    To me this sounds like the Autopause feature was enabled. This pauses the recording below a specified speeds, and thus removes any stops. You can disable this in the menu.

    RE: Displaying different numbers than other HRM’s

    I haven’t seen this as an issue before. I have both a Polar and a CompuTrainer HR strap (different), and when I’ve used them together, they are identical +/- a beat (which would be expected as they update at slightly different rates).

  100. Thanks for great review and continued info. I’ve now gone out and purchased one. I’m in NZ and have got the 310XT,AUS model mentioned in previous post. Only comes with Aus/NZ power plug, not global, can’t see any other difference. New footpods out of stock in NZ.
    How do you upload to SportTracks, 310XT not in list of models, do you use another model, or plugin or by .tcx file?

  101. Hi U10Manager-

    RE: Uploading to Sports Tracks

    I just import the TCX file in via the Text file importer.

    I highlighted it here:

    link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

    And it’s available directly from here:

    link to zonefivesoftware.com

    That way I just point it directly at the directory with the TCX files in it, and you’re good to go!

  102. Jason, Buffalo NY

    Outstanding, incredibly detailed review! Thanks for helping me make up my mind.

  103. tridoc2020

    From one techno/tri geek to another…awesome review. Just purchased my 310XT and can’t wait to put it to use. You site will help ease the transition from my Polar 725X which has worn out from use. One question, I have a Powertap which relays power data as well as cadence data without the cadence sensor. It has a built in cadence sensor in the hub, which understandably is not as accurate as one mounted to pedal crank/rear triangle. Since everything is supposedly ANT+, will the 310XT pick up the cadence info from the hub? Thanks again for the great review. Keep up the good work.

  104. Hi TriDoc-

    RE: Cadence sensor options with power meter

    While I don’t have a PowerTap, I do have a Cinqo (which also includes cadence, though via the hub). On the Garmin Edge’s you can deselect that cadence meter (the power meter will overwrite it otherwise). I just checked, and I don’t see an option to de-select it on the 310XT unfortunately.

    So yes, it will pick it up from the hub – though that may not be what you want if you have a cadence sensor already installed. Someone with a PT may be able to provide more info here.


  105. Hi there,

    thanks for a great review. It has answered most of my questions. I am thinking of upgrading mainly for the battery life as I do a lot of endurance mountain bike racing.

    But the one other thing I want to know and I haven’t been able to find an answer anywhere is about navigation. I often plot a route using an online mapping tool and then send it to my 305 as a course. I can then follow the route. I like to use the “map” screen which has the route as a line, so I can see it is going to turn left ahead and look for the road turning. The 405 doesn’t have this screen, just an arrow. The problem with that I find if I go off course on th 305 I can zoom out and just head back to it. Does the 310 have this screen?

    Thank you in advance.

  106. Hi Tri-

    RE: Course/Route functionality

    Yup, the 310XT is like the 305 in this respect – much better than the 405. Hope this helps!

  107. Thnk you

    Now I just have to persuade the better half that it is an ideal birthday present!

    On last question. My partner has a 405, that won’t be a problem using the ANT+ agent for uploading, it can cope with two devices on one computer?

  108. Hi Trio-

    Yup, no issues with multiple watches and one computer. You can simply name the watches to whatever you’d like. I have a bunch of watches paired on one computer (FR-60/FR405/310XT), no issues.

  109. Wow. Incredible work and the passion shows through.
    I have the 705 but need something also for running. If I don’t want to shell out another $350 for another unit, is the 310XT suitable for the bike (using Peaks, coaching, and need power meter data) and then I could sell the 705. That leave out the mapping. Anything other major drawbacks (you mentioned the data smoothing on power data). Thanks much. Keep up the good work.

  110. I love your review! I admit I was really drooling over your Garmin collection. Thank you for that really detailed review and the nice pictures. Now I want to have a 310XT more than ever! 🙂

  111. Hi Tim!

    RE: 310XT suitable for biking

    Aside from power data smoothing (which I belive is huge), there’s no major drawback of the 310XT. I use it as my backup bike computer when my Garmin 500 or 705 is on the fritz (like today ironically enough). Personally I rarely use mapping on the Edge 705.

    Hi Runningpinoy!


  112. Thanks again. So if I kept the 705, would the 305 be a suitable unit for my running? Or would you recommend not buying “old technology” a spend the extra $100 for the 310xt. No Tris in my future yet.

  113. Hi Tim-

    RE: 305 still suitable for running

    Yes, absolutely. For me, it’s still my backup watch if I forgot to charge my 310XT. And my girlfriend still users hers daily. The Edge 705 + Forunner 305 is a great combo.

  114. I just ran across this
    link to swimovate.com
    swim-oriented gadget and thought two things:

    1. Wouldn’t it be cool if this technology could be incorporated into a 310XT follow-on. That would be a real 3-sport capability.

    2. DC Rainmaker would be the perfect guy to review this.

    No personal financial interest in the company. Just trying to figure out where to spend my limited fitness-gadget resources.

  115. Question on quick release kit..

    When you take out the pins from the original grey/orange band and hook up the quick release portion, is it possible to still reinstall the original band?

    I want to use the quick release bike mount on my stem but I also like the original watch band better, but when I read amazons quick explanation on the kit, it said it “permanently” replaces the original band.. Hopefully this is not the case and they can be switched back and forth..


  116. Fantastic work, very thorough and concise. I paddle ocean racing surf skis and after Waterlogging my second 305, I am going to switch to a 310xt.
    The waterproofing credentials of the 305 are greatly over rated as mine went down with little more than splashing over an extended period. I also think the saltwater has an effect on the contact pins on the back of the unit as they become increasingly less functional over exposure to sea water.
    Question. If I were to buy and attach a foot sensor to one end of my paddle, would it record my stroke rating (cadence)?
    Roger Shipton

  117. Hi Dan-

    RE: Swimmovate

    Funny you mention it. They sent me out a unit to review back about a week ago, and I’ve been playing with it since. Expect a review in 3-4 weeks. I agree that I would expect to see this in future editions of the 310XT (or similiar watches from other vendors). See this post on my thoughts there: link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

    Hi Kyle-

    RE: Quick Release kit

    Yes, you can swap back and forth. However, I’d highly recommend limiting it. The pins are fine, but you can very easily weakend the rubber portion (holes) they stick into on the watch, to the point where it won’t click in tight anymore. I found this in my demo unit after doing it a few times – and a number of other folks have found the same issue. Garmin will fix the watch though if this happens, as a number of folks have reported.

    Hi Roger-

    RE: Ocean Paddling

    I’ll pull down a paddel from my kayak tomorrow and tape a cadence sensor on there. I can’t think of a reason it wouldn’t work, but I’ll double check it. Thanks!

  118. Joe A

    Thanks very much for your very informative and “real world” review of the Garmin 310XT. I have an older SRM powermeter on my bike now and just began running. Can you tell me if the 310XT can be set up to show elevation real time? I know that the GPS calculations are less accurate than an altimeter but it would be great to see elevation gain as you are riding or running. Any experience with the Suunto line as a comparison? Thanks for your reply.

    Joe A.
    Palo Alto, CA

  119. Hi Joe-

    RE: Elevation data

    Yup, you can add the data field called ‘Elevation’ to any data screen you choose to see instant elevation data. You can put up to four data fields per data screen, and there are up to four data screens.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  120. Charlie

    Wow, found this blog quite by accident. Have had the 310XT and cadence for 2 months and love it but your blog taught me so much (I never read instructions, prefer to teach myself) but hadn’t stumbled across the autopause function (no more having to manual stop at lights (and forgetting!). Off to buy a bike mount today (thanks for showing a stem mount as well; I was only going to buy if i could stem mount). This was an very interesting read. Thanks for your efforts!

    Also – for mac users I highly recommend RubiTrack as software in lieu of Garmin own software. Much more accurate as well.

  121. Thanks for the excellent and detail actual usage review. As i just got one, trying to figure out all its functions and uses.

  122. One “regression” Garmin has made with the change from 305 to 310XT is the loss of the barometer!
    Without it, the altitude readings on the 310XT are mostly junk compared to the 305. The 310XT frequently tells me I gained hundreds of feet of elevation while running around a perfectly flat section of beach.
    If altitude is important to you, the 310XT might not be a good choice

  123. Greg

    I have read a LOT of bad reviews (not about fit or feel though) about the new soft HRM strap that comes with the 310xt, spikes in HR etc that seem to go away if you have the older style strap. Can you say anything about your experience with it? Have you seen any odd HR charting with the 310xt’s new strap vs using the older one (even if it is comparing older 305 data to 310xt HRM data?)

  124. Privateer29

    Hi There, Great Post. Convinced me to buy one and have been suitably impressed. One thing though is that I can’t seem to find the .tcx Files for transfer/upload to Training Peaks. I have done a search right accross my c: drive and nothing comes up? Using XP Professional if it makes a difference. Did I miss something? Any advice?

  125. this is got to be one of the most in depth reviews of the watch I have seen. thanks

  126. Hi All-

    Thanks for the comments!

    Hi Chris-

    RE: The altimeter

    Both the 305 and 310XT share using a GPS-based altimeter (whereas the cycling computers like the Edge 500/705 use a barometric altimeter). In both cases, they have their pro’s and con’s. I talk about this a TON in my Edge 500 review and comments.

    Hi Greg-

    RE: Soft strap HRM

    I haven’t had any problems with the soft strap, and personally love it. I know there were some initial production run issues that in theory have been corrected. Also, winter tends to bring out the biggest issues with HRM straps in general due to the cool dry air and lack of moisture. This combined with the tech fabric on many shirts makes the situation worse. Personally, I can’t recommend the soft strap enough – especially since the prices on Amazon are identical.

    Hi Privateer-

    RE: Location for TCX files to TP

    Two things – the good news is that TP also now accepts the native .FIT files during file upload, as well as the TCX files. Check out this post on the Garmin forums for the exact location of these files, this should help as they are otherwise hidden from searches:

    link to forums.garmin.com

  127. Hi. Great review; I’m thinking about the purchase!

    I currently use the Edge 305 for my cycling which is great. One of the main features I use is planning routes by mapping them online (e.g. BikeRouteToaster) and then uploading the .tcx file to my 305. I then “Do Course” on the 305 and it gives me a trace to follow (just a black line on the screen but good enough).

    It’s not clear to me if this is possible with the 310XT. The literature says that Routes are not possible but Courses are??

    Please could you clear this up for me?

    Thanks, Roly

  128. Hi Roly, hopefully noone minds if I answer this. Yes it is possible! that is how I do my bike routes as well.

  129. Anonymous

    Great review Rainmaker!
    It convinced me in buying one,
    keep up the good work

  130. Hi Roly and others:

    RE: Courses to follow

    You’re in luck – I just posted an article on exactly that:

    link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

  131. I could use a little help with my 310XT because I’ve had two major problems.

    I have a lot of problems getting an accurate heart rate. I’ve changed the battery in the soft heart rate strap as well as re-positioned the device. It seems to be overly sensitive and will often give heart rate readings between 200 and 220 when I know I’m not working out that hard. I think part of the problem of the problem is that it picks up my clothing hitting against the sensor if it is really windy. Especially true on the bike.

    I’ve also had a problem with the GPS in the pool saying that I completed a 28 mile swim in 18 minutes. I never thought of putting the device in my swim cap so I’ll have to try that.

    However, is there a way to set the device in multi-sport mode so that the GPS stays off when you start your swim and then turns on when you exit the water and hit the lap button to enter the transition 1?

    Appreciate any help because while I really want to like the 310XT I find some aspects of it very frustrating.

  132. Hi Dillon-

    RE: Heart Rate issues

    There’s a few things leading to this. Typically when I see this it’s due to dryer air (usually colder), where there’s very little moisture to help the contact pass the HR through. This is made worse by the fabric’s most of us use when running now – Drytech/Technical – that actually generate additional static electricty that rubs off on the sensor giving it false readings. Interestingly, Polar has actually reduced this problem a bit using a piece of material to distribute that away from the sensors – unfortuntaely Garmin doesn’t have that.

    What I typically do to resolve this problem is to ensure the little band portion where the sensors are is wet (I’m lazy and just lick it). During the winter I’ll also use standard HR gel, which you can get at any running/bike shop. That really solves the problem for me. Also, if you see spikes on the bike due to the wind, try turning the strap a bit such that the sensors are more on your side or back. It’ll still pickup the HR, and work better.

    RE: GPS during swimming

    I covered the GPS piece in a fair bit of detail above with respect to swimming. But in short, it won’t really do very well in the water – especially in a pool situation given all the constant turning back and forth.

    As for turning off GPS as part of multi-mode, unfortunately, you’ll have to manually turn it back on. It is very much an interesting concept though – I like the idea!

    Good luck!

  133. Dan

    Another possibility on Dillon’s heart rate issues – I have noticed that my HRM can be affected by overhead power lines. Specifically, I often get spurious readings in the vicinity of a rail line that uses overhead electric lines to provide power for the engines. It’s not a 310XT, but I suspect the problem would impact most HRMs.

  134. Hello,

    I was trying to do some searching but couldn’t find this –

    Has Garmin put in an “Average over 3s” or 5s or whatever power reading in any of the firmware updates since this was released?

    I tried the ‘instant’ reading on my 705 today and really didn’t like it, but I would like a device I could take on all three legs of a tri.

  135. Hi Dan-

    RE: Power Lines

    Funny, someone I work with had made that exact comment earlier this week. May be onto something….

    Hi Steve-

    RE: 3s/5s averaging for Power Meters

    Nope, still not there. I keep hoping for it – and will update as soon as/if it changes. It is of course offered on the Edge 500/705, as noted.

  136. Anonymous

    For what it is worth, I truly appreciate your in-depth review. Unless Garmin is paying you, the time to put this together for the general public is much appreciated. In your opinion, I run a lot and have destroyed two 305 in pouring rain. Do you think for that reason I should step up to the 310xt or just keep sending my 305’s back to garmin and continue with my new practice, which is plastic bag with the 305 in it during long runs with heavy rains?

  137. Thanks for the help!

    I’ll try some of the transmission gel especially since I train in Las Vegas where the air is especially dry. I let you know if this helps.

    For instance I was running down a long hill today where my heart rate naturally has a chance to drop, but the 310XT was reading 200-210 BMP. My 6 second heart rate was no where near this high.

    Come to think of it there are some power lines that run above the sidewalk as well so that makes for a double wammy.

  138. Hi Anon-

    Thanks! Garmin is definitely not paying me (and if they are, then I need to find out where that check is going!). The only support I get is if folks use the Amazon links to purchase anything, then I get a small bit back from Amazon.

    RE: RAIN

    That in my mind is probably the greatest hidden asset about the 310XT – it’s waterproofing. Many folks will complain (rightly so), that it’s useless in a tri in the water. Which is true. But what I really like is that I just don’t have to worry about it in the water – period. Meaning, I can swim without a baggie for a long time in the water, go for hours in the rain, and never worry. The sealing (and IPX spec) are just so much better.

    As for whether to get a 310XT over the 305, I guess it just depends really on budget. I love the feel of the 310XT from a usability standpoint, and the extra battery life is handy. But for me, on the bike having the ability to get Power information is very useful.

    Hi Dillon-

    RE: HR

    Certainly sounds like HR gel as a solution. I know when I go to Vegas I usually have to use it, especially in the cooler winter months where it can take a while to workup a sweat.

  139. Anonymous

    How much faster is the GPS acquisition compared to the 305? The 305 would take minutes for me sometimes.

  140. Ray – awesome review as per the norm. Have read your site before, but this is the first time I really needed the review. Just picked up my 310XT and your review was extremely beneficial during my decision-making process. Thanks again, and please let us know if you hear anything on the 3s/5s/etc averaging – that would be huge. Keep up the excellent work. -Rob

  141. LDT

    Thanks. Just rec mine yesterday and its a great training tool. Also, thanks for the sports track info. That was a nice post as well.

  142. Will

    Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful review. I will be sticking with my 305 for now, but this was still useful for talking a bit about the software available on line for analyzing the data? What’s your short take on which of those is best, or what their relative strengths and weaknesses are? (I find TC next to useless.)

  143. Anonymous

    Impressive review, I would like to know if the top of the forerunner is made of glass or some kind of plastic.

    I’m worry about breaking the top of the watch if I make the mistake to let it fall on the ground during transitions.

  144. hi,
    what I noticed in my training today, if i take very
    wind(so the hrm also take wind),
    hrm values rise much, upwards of 200 bpm. in
    descent the same thing happens. why?

  145. Hi Anon-

    RE: 310XT GPS Aquisition compared to 305

    I find it considerably faster, usually a few seconds to acquire at most. Often times my girlfriend (who has the 305), will still be waiting long after I’m already ready.

    Hi Robert-

    RE: 3s/5s averaging

    I too hope something will show up in that area…but thus far, nuttin! I’ll definitely update here when it occurs.

    Hi LDT-


    Hi Will-

    RE: Software options

    I in general find Sport Tracks and Training Peaks as the two best software options out there today for detailed analysis. There’s a lot of good middle-tier applications that can do more generic analysis (like Garmin Connect), but nothing to the level of TP/ST for all sorts. (Golden Chetah comes close, but is primarily focused on cycling today).

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Top of forerunner material

    It appears to be glass from what I can tell. But, I’ve dropped, thrown and just about everything else mine without any issues. I’ve had it fly off multiple times from my bike handlebars onto the road at 20MPH+. No issues.

    Ni Nobrega-

    RE: Fluctuations with HR

    This is due to lack of good contact with the sensors on the strap. Try both using HR gel, or also twisting the HR strap more towards your side. The Garmin straps don’t have any static electricity anti-buildup strips like the Polar’s due, so some of the newer fabric tech shirts (quickdry) tends to buildup static electricity quicker and cause issues. Generally just keeping things wet (via gel or sweat) will fix the issue.

    Thanks all!

  146. hi, thanks for your response. can i use body glide (as used inside wetsuit)?

  147. It would probably work, though – HR gel is sooo cheap (about $5-7), and lasts forever. I’m still using the little bottle I picked up at my local running shop two years ago.

    Basically, like this stuff: link to amazon.com

  148. how do I turn off the hrm, just off one connector, or should I disconnect the two, to stop sending the signal, and save battery life? (I usually just disconnect one)

  149. Great review. Did you ever try the foot pod on your kayak paddle, and if so, how was it at recording cadence?

  150. Ray, I am hooked on your blog its like crack. I am thinking of upgrading from the 305 to the 310XT (largely based on your website’s review). Does the 310XT display cadence during the ride, or can it only be recorded and downloaded?


  151. Hi Nobrega-

    RE: Turning off connector

    You can simply disable that particular sensor, such as the HRM or cadence, by selecting “No” in the menu system.

    Hi Jam-

    RE: Kayaking

    Sorry ’bout that, slipped my mind. I’ll add it to my list.

    Hi Rob-


    RE: Display of cadence

    Yup, shows it in realtime. In fact, check out what I do on my day to day training with cadence here:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    I use it on both the run and the ride – and in both cases on the 310XT it shows it realtime, instantly.

  152. Thank you so much Rainmaker!!
    I really appreciated having such a great review/tutorial.
    I was so frustrated by purchasing and trying to calibrate the Polar RS300X SD Heart Rate Monitor Watch with S1 Foot Pod that I returned it after 3 days.
    After reading your review I purchased tne 310XT even though it’s more than I need..but the ease of operation is worth it.

  153. Anonymous

    Great review thanks for all the info.

    One thing to point out to anyone planning on buying one and using some of their other Garmin kit is that only the Premium Soft Heart Rate Strap is waterproof. The standard strap that comes with the Edge 305, 705 etc isn’t. I made this mistake last year when I wore it under my wetsuit so that it was on and ready for the bike. After a rinse in fresh water and a couple of days drying out it started working again. Regards Dan

  154. Anonymous

    Awsome post mate. This just made my mind up… I dont want a 405 because of the touch bezel (apparently stuffs up when wet) The 305 is the younger brother you want to go to bed!! Good post… You’ve obviously got talent in the reviewing of techno gadjets!

  155. As the others have said, thank you so much for taking the time to take pictures, review the 310XT and state your thoughts. As an ultrarunner I need the long battery life and am tired of the Forerunner 50 not having enough of the bells and whistles. I will be spending my REI dividend on the 310. Thanks!

  156. Hi Seashell-

    Thanks for the comments!

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Heart Rate Strap in water

    Very odd. The normal heart rate strap is perfectly fine in the water, as both myself and many others wear it all the time under their tri suits during the swim leg. I’ve probably done this 40-50 times between racing and training, easily. Odd.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Younger brother in bed as the 305


    Hi Julie-


  157. Charlie Brown

    I have been looking into purchasing this watch for over a year. I stumbled across your brilliantly detailed review. I was sold before I had got half way through reading all the information! Excellent work. I really hope you have Garmin eating out of your hand and your place is full of other stuff to review with similiar high quality. Once I get my hands on the watch I will aquire the optional bits. I look forward to coming back here time and again to extract the full potential out of the kit. Fingerscrossed that I don’t have a dud which will take the shine off the expectation and exploitation! Please do keep up the great good work. Kind regards Charlie

  158. Hi Ray,

    I was wondering about miles vs kilometres.. which does the 310xt use? can you choose? are there region specific versions? I’m looking at ebay for a good price but don’t want to buy one if it won’t do kms

    and I also saw your technology forecasts page: if I’m not into triathlons like kah-razy yet and I think the FR60 would be fine for the time being should I wait a year for the 310xt 2.0 or will I regret it within this year.. and I know you have already told me to probably just go for it, but does your crystal ball say the next version will be flippin awesome compared to the current model or just a small but steady step up the ladder?

    thanks heaps (again!)

  159. Anonymous

    Thanks for this great review, it helps me a lot. I downloaded “Sport Tracks” but cannot select the corrrect device, the 310 XT is not in the list. am i doing something wrong ?

  160. Hi Charlie-


    Hi Keys-

    RE: KM vs Miles

    The 310XT can be switched back and forth to use either one.

    RE: Region specific

    There are not any region specific versions that I’m aware of, as the box ships with the power adapters for just about everything.

    RE: 310XT next version

    I think it would make sense to get the 310XT now. Based on some of the new products this spring, and talking to some folks, I’m not expecting any giant leap of technological significance next year. Garmin is pretty much in the mode of incremental product releases as opposed to being a game changer product.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Finding the 310XT in Sport Tracks

    You need to use the Garmin Communicator option within Sport Tracks in order to see the 310XT. Here’s more details on it:

    link to www8.garmin.com

  161. champion! cheers mate!

  162. Hello and great review!!

    Please can you tell me if the watch can go easily from the watch with the original strap to a bike computer and then back to the original strap? Or do you need to purchase the Tri strap kit as you mention in your extensive blog?

    Many thanks Adam

  163. Hi,
    Is it possible to set the Virtual Partner as the best trip, and race against it ?
    Race against a previous track.



  164. Hi Adam-

    RE: Switching back and forth the straps

    I’d highly recommend the quick release kit in this case. The pins on the 310XT are kinda problematic and after many changeovers can affect the plastic mounting holes on the watch itself (by many I mean…like twice). Fwiw, there’s a new orange-banded quick release kit that’s making it’s way into reseller channels as we speak. It’s available in the UK, and a few vendors in the US – but I haven’t quite seen it hit any retailers on Amazon (or other major location).

    Hi Vincent-

    RE: Virtual Partner Previous Track Racing against yourself

    Sorta. You can race against an older ‘Course’ you have completed – which is accomplishign what you want, which is the best bet. The Virtual Partner is a specific pace without the ability to vary it depending on where you are in the course.

  165. Hi,
    Here is something recent that I learned from Garmin’s customer services. The 310xt HR strap (the soft strap) reacts to most running shirts. I found this out because while running and ridding the HR showed a pulse that is physically impossible for me… 220?
    When I contacted Garmin they said it is a know problem and that the old ugly HR strap does not have that problem.
    so FYI!
    Great blog. I recently started a blog also for my training to IM Brazil next month… yaiks
    Feel free to drop by and say hi http://www.the3rdwheel.com
    Thanks for all the information.

  166. Hello and great review.
    I have problems such on a few cases my workout its not uploaded and disappears from the 310 XT. Its annoying such I’m waiting to get it uploaded and this never happens (Even worst makes the SYNC and delete it from the watch which its not a problem if it uploads to my computer). Not sure how could i Kix this……

  167. Ping Pong Boy

    Thanks for all the useful information and for the incredibly in depth review.

    I’ve been deciding between a Garmin 305 or 310. I use a Forerunner 301 at the moment but as my main run routes take me through woods the GPS accuracy is awful.

    As I only use the Garmin for running and an occasional cycel I see little benefit of the 310 particulary given the fact it is twice the price. Your review has helped a lot though.



  168. I just picked up a 310XL to replace a 305 whose battery isn’t lasting long enough for 50k races. I’ve been testing it over the last week and wondered if the 310 is like the 405 in that you can never fully turn it off? I charged it fully, drained it completely, then charged it again to calibrate the meter. With the watch “off”, twelve hours later I was a bar down on the power meter, and connecting the charger showed 79% charged. Should it really be losing that much juice in 12 hours when it’s “off”? Perhaps the %charged doesn’t directly correspond to battery condition?

  169. Garmin 310XT satellite check in’s.

    I notice on a lot of rides and some runs that the device does not show exact lines of where i have run or biked. It cuts off curves and corners.

    I think i read somewhere on your review that you could set the watch to check in more frequently with the satellites. How?


  170. Anonymous

    Awesome and thorough review…but one of the links for the garmin 310 accessories is incorrect. Your link is for a quick release mounting kit that is not compatible with the 310.

  171. Hi Standing tall-


    Hi Emilio!

    RE: Workouts disappearing

    The only thing I can recommend is to double-check the firmware. I know there are supposedly some issues on the latest edition, but I haven’t run into any. The previous edition though I did run into some of the issues you noted with workouts disappearing.

    Hi Ping Pong Boy-

    RE: 305 vs 310XT accuracy

    The 310XT has a more accurate GPS chip than the 305, so you’ll see some improvement there – especially compared to the 301, whose chip is roughly the equivelent of buying a original Volkswagon Beetle. 🙂

    That said, the 305 is much more accurate than the 301 – so you’ll probably be happy there at half the price.

    Hi Gunk!

    RE: Battery draining

    Nope, I haven’t seen that at all. In my case it’s maybe a percent or two – but what you’re noting is not the norm. The 405 is indeed always on, but the 310XT goes more or less completely off. I’d recommend calling support to get it swapped out.

    Hi SteelStatue!

    RE: Recording interval

    On the 310XT you can only change the recording interval to 1s recording if you have a power meter attached, and then it does it automatically. This is a change from the 305, which you can change manually. There’s a lot of folks posting to the Garmin Forums asking for the ability to set it back to 1s recording…but so far no luck. 🙁

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Link incorrect

    I’ve double-checked them all, and they seem correct. I had one link to the older 305 that I was specifically trying to explain how it was a nice soft strap compared to the 310XT. I’ve cleared up the language there a bit to ensure there’s no confusion. Thanks though for mentioning it!

    Thanks all!

  172. Anonymous

    Great review, thanks. I bought my 310x about a week ago and am still trying to get it dialed in. The other day I went for what I know to be a 25 mile ride and it said I only did 21.8 miles. I did have the auto pause on and noticed it paused on several occasions, especially when hill climbing. I checked out my old 205 and it’s on smart recording as well. So, I think the difference is the auto pause is not as accurate on the 310x. Besides taking it out of auto pause what else can I do… besides ride faster? 🙂

  173. This review was extremely helpful, and I purchased the 310xt and am very happy with it. “Anonymous” above is right, however. The link to the quick release kit from Amazon is incorrect and does not work with the 310xt. I know this because I ordered it and found out the hard way. No worries, though. This is the correct one:

    link to amazon.com

  174. Hi Anon-

    RE: Oddities in distances

    I’d be curious if turning off Auto-pause solves it. I’m wondering if it’s triggering on/off and not correctly getting turned back on – and thus loosing chunks of mileages. Note that you can indeed modify the exact pace that it triggers, which may help.

    Hi Stuvera-

    RE: Wrong 310XT kit.

    Very interesting… Thanks for the exact link it should be, as both seemed right. Weird. I’ve gone ahead and used the link you sent over. Thanks again!

  175. thanks. I’m driving my mates mad trying to work out 305 v 310xt. One of them posted up your link after he said I had just made him pull out his remaining stand of hair. I do a lot of off road running and love the bits where you have to run through streams and the uk weather of downpours so I’m going with the 310xt ………… mostly due to the waterproof feature where I dont have to worry when I get into the bath with it on too lol. My friends and their hair thank you x

  176. Anonymous

    Heard that you took quite the fall at the Rev3 in Knoxville Tennessee. The ride was a little technical but awesome.

    Next time you are in/near the Knoxville area contact me should you and your friends require housing. I have 6 extra rooms about three miles from the transition area.

    Go Vols!


  177. RE: Mac software… Ant Agent only works if you are running a 32 bit kernel. If you are running in 64 bits, you have to switch back to 32. A 32 bit kernel can run 64 bit apps just fine, though…

  178. MC

    great site and reviews.

    just a question on the 310xt.
    thinking of getting it but have read other reviews / forums on the durability (or lack of it) of the 310xt screen.

    do you have any issues with that/baby it alot?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  179. Stupid question…does it works in Km…thanks you…greeting from Argentina

  180. Hi Hightops-


    Hi Dave!

    I might just take you up on that next year! Thanks for the thoughts, we may be in touch!

    Hi Frenchman-

    RE: 32bit vs 64bit on Mac

    Hmm, every interesting, I didn’t know that – not the same as the PC. Bummer.

    Hi MC-

    RE: Durability of the screen

    There has been a slightly higher number of people reporting 310XT screen breaks than 305. I suspect this is because in the 305 the screen was just slightly inset, whereas the 310XT it is not. That said, Garmin’s pretty good about replacing them, fwiw.

    Hi Tacho-

    RE: KM

    Yup, you can change to KM mode easily across the watch in one easy setting.

  181. Anonymous

    With the 50 dollar rebate about to expire, which should I get – the 405cx or the 310xt? I primarily run, but want to bike more, and I considered the 110 but have yet to see a single positive review about it. I know you like the 310xt, but for someone in my situation, is the 405cx a good choice? or is the bezel still an issue?

    Or should I just wait till June and get the timex???

  182. The 405 Bezel is primarily a personal thing, some people like it – and some hate it. I tend to fall in the ‘dislike’ camp.

    To me, the 310XT is pretty much perfect – and I haven’t seen anyone disappointed yet with the 310XT from a functionality/day to day use standpoint.

    Good luck, and enjoy the rebate!

  183. Hi all-

    Note: A new firmware update (2.9)was released for the 310XT in the past few days that in theory will now allow you to more accurately track distance while swimming with the watch on your wrist (through some data point post processing).

    link to www8.garmin.com

    I’ll be testing it out this weekend in openwater (May 29/30th) and look for an update to the review early next week (and a new post about it).


  184. I already have the quick release kit for the 310XT and need to get a mount for my new bike. If I were to buy the bike mount kit for the Edge 500, would it engage with the mount already on the back of my 310XT?

    I think I’d prefer the rubber band option (and lower price) of the Edge 500 bike mount.


  185. IronUmp

    Like just about every other person who has posted here, I want to thank you for a really well done review. After experiencing some problems with my 305 that Garmin tried, in vain, to fix, I decided to get the 310.
    A couple of issues though that I’m wondering if you (or others) can shed some light on:
    1) There seems to be a discrepancy between time of work-out and time “moving,” even if I turn the auto-pause off. Every single workout I’ve done shows a difference from 5 to 30 seconds.
    2) The 310 recognizes the speed/cadence sensor, but somehow is reading the magnet on the crank as the speed when I’m outside, so if I stop pedaling, it briefly shows my speed as zero. Then I think the GPS kicks in and shows the true speed. I also can’t get it to show cadence, which is pretty annoying. I even removed the magnet from the wheel, but still no luck.
    3. Not an issue, but a comment. I like the old HRM strap better. The new one, with that plastic piece held on by snaps (just waiting for those to fail), isn’t as comfortable.
    Thanks again for the tremendous work and time you’ve put in here.

  186. Hi Rob-

    RE: Quick Release Mount and Edge 500 mount

    Yup! Just use the 310XT Quick release kit (which you have) with the Edge 500 mounts. Nothing more, super easy.

    Hi IronUmp-


    RE: #1: Time differences between moving and workout

    Typically when I see the differences it’s if you ever pressed stop in the workout itself (such as at a stop-sign), but I’ve never seen them before if I never pressed stop.

    RE: #2: Cadence/Speed

    Hmm…strange. Try re-pairing the sensor and see if that resolves it. Otherwise, to be honest it sounds like the sensor is dorked up given all the symptoms. You could try swapping the battery first, but I’d just call Garmin support on the sensor. Quick and easy fix.

    Thanks for the comments!

  187. IronUmp

    OK, I’ve got to ask. I tried swimming with the Garmin 310XT under my swim cap and I got a total distance of about 15 feet. The timer still ran, but no real distance registered. So how did you do it? A clear swim cap?

  188. IronUmp

    Nevermind. I just found your link to “How to swim with your Garmin…” (Geez. You covered everything!) I must have had bad placement.

  189. Hi DC Rainmaker,

    Very very informative posting here. Thanks for this.

    Since a couple of days I too own a FR310XT HRM version. Happy as a bug on a rug 🙂 I also managed to add some custom workouts in GTC. Very easy to use software.

    Just one problem remains that I can’t seem to tackle. I hope you can help me with this.

    How can I manage to get the following type of workout into GTC and the FR310? What concerns me the most is when do I get a vibrating signal from the FR310. A, what I call, a linear interval, is easlily programmed into the FR310. No problem and reacts as one would expect. I got to ‘training->workouts->interval’. A training such as this looks like so: 8 x 4 min. with 1 min. active recovery. Very straight forward.

    The ‘problem’ (example) training concerning my question goes like this:

    10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 min. (accelerations)
    active recovery in between = 2 min. (calm jogging pace)

    You’ll notice that I don’t practise HR zone-workouts. I train more or less on the principal ‘go-faster’, ‘go-slower’ kind off workout. What I want is that I get 2 vibrating signals per block of my training (go-faster bit followed by go-slower bit) to give my the notification when to go faster i.e. slower.

    To put it more short and sweet: What’s the (criterium) moment for the Garmin to give a vibrating signal? Does it do that per set ‘goal’, like in the Training Center or in a different way?

    Hope you can help me out here…

    Tx a lot in advance!

    BTW I use firmware 2.9

  190. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for this and other reviews.

    I have two questions if I may:

    1. I understand the 205/305s had a helpful audible alert when you dropped below a set pace/speed. You suggest a ‘work around’ for the 310XT for this issue by using the “workout” feature. My question is: can you use this same workaround for the 405/405CX models? Or, do they have a proper pace alert, or are you stuck with no options?

    2. Can you make the 310XT show a clock (eg time of day) in one of the 4 squares? Or, indeed, as one big main square (as if it was a watch)?

    Thanks heaps

  191. Great review. I am debating which one to get and you totally provided me with the answer.

  192. Great review. I am debating which one to get and you totally provided me with the answer.

  193. Hi IronUmp-

    RE: Swimming with swimcap

    Glad ya got it sorted out, for others, see here:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Martin-

    RE: Workout creation for paces

    For what you want to do, you’ll want to simply setup Speed Zones within GTC for your user profile. Then create a workout (from below) based on those speed zones. You can create as many steps as you’d like. Should work perfectly. Just make your speed zones as wide as you want them to be specific to your workout plan – perhaps even changing them from workout to workout.

    See this guide for how to create workouts:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Scott/Anon-

    RE: #1) 405 workout feature

    Yup, the workout feature works with the 405. Just use the steps in the lin kabove.

    RE: #2) Showing clock in one of the squares

    Yup, you can show it in any one of the squares, or as one big ole square. Most of the time I have a square with it in one of the data fields, but occasionally I’ll end up having it in one big old square if I want to basically ignore all data for a run/bike.

    Hi Jen-


  194. lilbutch43

    I love the watch. But today the watch will not locate satelites. Tried it several times but it does not work. Do you have any idea what i can try?

  195. hey RM,

    you said a while ago that there was a new software upgrade that makes it better during the swim or something – is there an update based on this new software?


  196. I truely can’t decide FR60 vs 310xt.

    I’m a new triathlete and LOVE the sport I’ve been training now for about 2 1/2 months and have done one sprint. I’ve been using Nike+ system for running which is getting annoying now so I’m looking to upgrade. The problem I’m facing is I love the FR60 cause i can be an everyday watch to replace my old ironman timex. It can do what I need for tri’s I just have to practice switching modes. However in the future the 310xt looks to be the best solution just for what I’m getting into and the fact it has GPS. But the price and the fact is not an everyday watch are my drawbacks. What do you think will happen with the price over the next 1-2 years. I’m thinking of getting the FR60 now for a birthday gift, then waiting to get something GPS based. fyi the reason I don’t like the 305 is cause I’m fairly small and think it would be annoying. Thoughts?

  197. Anonymous

    Thank you very much for the review. Truly awesome. Just a quick question. In “History” when I look at data of previous “runs” I got the pace/km (average and max). However I would be more interested in getting the AVG speed and Max speed rather than “pace”. Is there a way to change this setting. Thank you very much for your help.


  198. Hi Lilbutch-

    RE: Not locating satellites

    Assuming you’re outdoors, and it’s not locating them, I would try a soft-reset. Otherwise, call Garmin and get it swapped out. That’s not normal.

    Hi Keys-

    RE: Openwater swim mode

    Yup, check it out here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Andy-

    RE: Which watch

    I’d really look at the FR305. I know it seems big, but many many people who are small use it and love it. My girlfriend is quite small, yet she uses it without even noticing it every day. I promise you won’t notice it past the first 30 seconds of running.

    You could look at the FR110, but compared to the features on the FR60, you’re taking a step back – so that’s something to consider.

    Hi Anon/GMC-

    RE: Pcae vs Speed

    The history should show based on whether you were in run or bike mode at the time of activity. You may want to check which mode you were recording it, so that it shows up right. Hope this helps!

  199. excellent reviews and based on yours i bought my first garmin and know we are going to best friends. i want to workout just so we can hang out. now i dont want to lose my new friend and recall reading that there can be issues with the pins and band coming apart. was this the 310xt or another product ?
    thanks muchly :).

  200. Anonymous

    amazing review – don’t normally comment but as you have taken the time to write this, it’s the least i could do to say thanks – just need to find where to buy it the cheapest.

    good idea about under your swim cap

  201. kevin

    thanks a bunch for all your awesome reviews. i think the 310 is the way i’ll go. i wish there was a watch sized device that worked; i don’t think i need all the technicals you describe. i thought a non gps device might work; but we ride horses in endurance rides 25-100 miles in addition to me doing triathons. we have the 305 right now, and it will pick up a horse HRM, but i can’t figure out how to get the field displaying it to be large enough to read. i assume the 310 would sense it also. i don’t think my horse could keep a foot pod on very long. once again, thanks a bunch for your indepth review.

  202. Anonymous

    Thank you again for all your comprehensive reviews of Garmin products. I have a question for you on the 310XT and foot pod. I’m using the footpod with my 310xt now and am not getting a step count showing in garmin.connect. When I use the footpod with my FR60 it gives me step count but nothing with the 310XT. have you found something similar? Thanks again

  203. Hi Jenez!

    RE: Bands/Pins

    There are indeed a few issues with bands and pins. However, you can get a replacement band/pin from Garmin that’ll mostly resolve the issue. Just ring up support.

    Hi Kevin-

    RE: Display size

    I think the 310XT would be the way to go, the display is brilliant – and you can easily just display one field, making it super-clera to read.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Footpod counts

    I noticed that same thing, but don’t have a good explanation why. I think it’s more of a FR60 quirk, than a 310XT one. I’m not honestly sure what I would do with total step count anyway. 😉

  204. Malcolm

    Thanks – found this very helpful! Please could you let me know if you think this device would be the best for canoeing / surfski / kayaking. My sport is Surfski racing, so it is long distances at sea, but abviously above water. I would not use it for anything else really, so please advise if it is the right device for me?


  205. Anonymous

    Thanks for the awesome review! I have a quick question, does the 310xt display “last-lap” datafields like the 405 does? I checked in the online manual and last-lap-pace, last-lap-distance, last-lap-speed and last-lap-time are all missing from the 310xt but are present in the 405.

    For that matter, does anyone have a comprehensive list of all the datafields of the 310xt in the latest firmware?

  206. Ok So I’m learning more and more about the 310xt and loving it. I posted about problems in timing that I thought it autostopped during a race, but I actually don’t think that happened cause the official times came in and I was 1 second off from my watch.

    What I’ve tried to start doing now is also use the watch for GeoCacheing. But how do you upload coordinates from online and such without manually typing them in on the watch itself?

  207. Mail-In Rebate for Garmin Forerunner 310xt

    link to roadrunnersports.com

  208. Hi Malcolm-

    RE: Surfing/Watersports

    Yes, this is the perfect watch for watersports. I’ve used mine kayaking (whitewater) without issue. Given it’s far more waterproofed than the 305, it’s ideal for it.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Last Lap datafields

    Yup, they’re there. I had a full list of data fields here in this post:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Andy-

    RE: Uploading coordinates

    Go ahead and use Garmin Training Center to create the waypoints – much easier than on the device.

    Hi Don-


  209. Dan Horton

    I just got my 310xt. Thanks for a great, in-depth review! It really helped me decide on the 310xt over the 405cx.

    Have you seen Garmin has updated the firmware to revise the swim tracking?

    Thanks! Dan

    “Changes made from version 2.70 to 2.90:
    Implemented swim code that corrects distance values on open water swims. The distance is not displayed in real-time, but updates when the stop or lap button is pressed. This feature can be enabled only in ‘Other’ sport by going to Settings > Other Settings > Swim > Enabled ? Yes.”

  210. Hi DC another question…I just buy my 310!!! I am very happy…and I have a couple questions… in my trainings (bike) i do laps in diferent times, so i push the lap but when i conect to the pc to download the information i can´t get that data?? I hope you can understand my english is not so good!! the best for you and thamks again from Argentina…Fernando

  211. Anonymous

    My 310XT just broke. The face was shattered last night when it fell 1ft off a chair onto a tiled floor. I read all your awesome reviews last Christmas before buying so I thought I would post this comment.

    The glass face protrudes from the watch, and it doesn’t appear to be very strong glass.

    It seems many other users have had this problem as well (eg: Cracked face reports

    I just got off the phone with Garmin and they are going to exchange a “refurbished” model for $219.

    I live in Sydney Australia and paid $500 for the first model. Now $219 for this.

    If you own a 310XT please be aware of this problem and be VERY CAREFUL!!!

    Its an awesome watch, but this is a design flaw, and I would hate to see fellow users have the same problem because no-one told them about it.

    Thanks again for your reviews.

    Sydney, Australia.

  212. Now this is a review! Thanks!

  213. Thanks for the review! I’m still deciding which GPS watch to buy for canoeing, so this has been very helpful.

    Several other guys have recommended the 305, however I am interested in the 310XT for the extra waterproofing. One guy did state that his 310XT did not have the top speed display that is present on the 305 (though this stat is available when the data has been transferred over to a computer).

    Would you know if the 310XT with the current firmware have this feature? I would be looking to see what different paddling techniques would give me the greatest acceleration and what top speed I can hit over short distances whilst still on the water without having to view the results on a computer afterwards.

  214. Hi,
    310xt have been using for almost a year. And I noticed a lack of programming:
    actively play sports and I need to know HR. Ran bent pulse limit, the clock will set “mode/training/run alerts/HR Alert” I set min and max limits.
    It noticed the lack of:
    I fixed min and max threshold 125BPM 153BPM when I’m running in the range everything is ok, but faster and more than 153, then I’d watch that communicate via high pulse. This is very good, but fled like to 160BPM and then slow heart rate begins to fall, and when it reaches the limit of 153 is nothing to me.
    Let’s say my friend has 305 model gets the same settings for exceeding the limit of that report is a high pulse, and returned to set boundaries receive a warning that the heart rate returned to set boundaries.
    Is this my only problem is whether all 310xt?

  215. Justin

    Hi Ray, recently I downloaded the new 2.90 version from the 2.70 & now my ‘avg pace’ is way off (20 sec/mile) from my ‘avg moving pace’ data field. I have had the watch for a while & this just started happening, and I am not stopping during my runs or anything obvious like that. Have you heard or experienced this on the 310xt? thanks

  216. Anonymous

    I was directed to your blog by a friend after saying I was interested in the 310XT and all I can say is WOW!. Excellent reviews, probably the best I’ve seen online. I’ve just ordered my 310XT and the only negative after reading your review -> I’m now interested in the Tanita BC100.

    Thanks for taking the time to post these reveiws

    Nick (UK)

  217. Greg

    Ditto on the great review. I’m with Tommy on my number one reason for purchasing the 310XT. The vibrating alert. I couldn’t find any other HRM that did this. I bought it even though I don’t do swimming or bicycling. For now I just run 3.6 miles a day on a park trail. I have a difficult time hearing a beep even without using an ipod.

    You should add the vibrate feature to the pros.

  218. If I remember correctly, you say you don’t race with yours. Is that due to the pin popping, lost watch worries? What do you use when racing?

  219. Hey Rainmaker,

    That was an outstanding review!!

    Iam new to GPS watches. Was curious about battery replacement on the 310XT or 405 models. Are they User replaceable or after the 3 year life i need to ship it to the manufacturer?

    Would you recommend the 110 for a newbie mainly for the hills/jungles?

    Thanks in advance,

  220. Hey Rainmaker,

    That was an outstanding review!!

    Iam new to GPS watches. Was curious about battery replacement on the 310XT or 405 models. Are they User replaceable or after the 3 year life i need to ship it to the manufacturer?

    Would you recommend the 110 for a newbie mainly for the hills/jungles?

    Thanks in advance,

  221. Hi Dan-

    RE: 310XT Swim Firmware

    Yup – check out the below:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Tacho-

    RE: Laps

    Hmm, this sounds strange – are you using GTC or Garmin Connect? In GTC you have to change tabs, and in Garmin Connect they show up in detail view.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Glass cracking

    It is indeed a bit of a problem for some – though the price they quoted/charged you is interestingly much higher than what they charge in the states ($100) for the same issue.

    Hi Fai-

    RE: Data fields

    Here’s all the current data fields:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Max speed is not listed on the watch itself, but you can/do see it later on when you download. Sorry!

    Hi Viktoras-

    RE: HR zones

    It sounds like you probably need to instead utilize HR zones via Garmin Training Center so you can set more detailed boundaries. It’s what I use. Check out this post:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Justin-

    RE: Aavg pace

    I haven’t heard of this, I’ll have to poke around the Garmin Forums.

    Hi Nick-


    Hi Greg-


    Hi Ed-

    RE: Racing with mine

    I do race with mine, just not in the water (for most races). Simply because I’m aware that it doesn’t take much to have it either get knocked off my head or whacked off my wrists due to the swim violence and the pins. Once out of the water I use it primarily on the run (and use the Edge 500 on the bike).

    Hi RSL-

    RE: Battery replacement

    The battery is not use replaceable on either the 310XT or 405 (or FR110).

    I wouldn’t recommend the FR110 given the FR305 is cheaper and more powerful. But I also understand some like the look better of the FR405/FR110.

    Thanks all!

  222. Anonymous

    Enjoyed the review (and enjoy the rest of your blog as well). Just wanted to post this link: link to garmin.na1400.info – now your GTC has a decent map 🙂

    But I guess a decent map still doesnt make you choose GTC over sports track (or GC for that matter)?:)

  223. Anonymous

    This is one of the best, most extensive and in-depth reviews I have ever seen. Kudos!

  224. I don’t know if you have discoverd this before, but if you maintain the key entre pressed and press for a 2s the power key, then release the enter button, there is special display on my 310 unit :
    Beta software 2.90
    Since reset 0182:16:41
    Time 02:01:22
    Temperature 28
    Voltage 3,70
    ROM test Pass
    RAM test Pass
    Motor test MOTOR OFF.
    I never see this before, but I discovered it this morning.

    If you press Mode there is a backlight test and something else.


  225. I forgot to say. Start from 310 power off, then press the enter key for 1 s and maintain it when you press the power button. Maintains the 2 button pushed. Then release the power and after the enter.

  226. Great review. No experience with any device and turning into a tri junkie. Do you feel that today this is still the device to get? Or, do you forsee something better coming tomorrow that I will want? Loaded question although the features you describe are all that I want. Thoughts?

  227. Anonymous

    Thanks for the great reviews. Have had my 310xt (based a lot on your reviews) for about a month. For the first couple of times, I successfully used my Timex Ironman/Triathlon heart rate strap with the Garmin. I then did the upgrades and the Timex strap no longer seems to pair. Are you aware of why that would happen? Both ANT. Or was it a coincidental failure? Want to avoid buying another heart strap if there is a way to keep the one I have. Wanted to see if you had insight before buying the Garmin one. Thanks.

  228. Anonymous

    I read your blog after receiving a 310xt to learn how to use it. I am a hiker and wanted more features out of a heart rate monitor, so looked into more advanced sports watches. After narrowing down the features I wanted, calorie burn is a big training tool for my in gym use. I spoke with Garmin to determin which unit best suited my desires. To specify another differnece betweena 305 and 310: (as per the Garmin rep I spoke to) a 305 determines calorie burn based on the activity- as does gym cardio equiptment. The 310 bases calorie burn on heart rate (combined with age, heigth and weight).
    This is actually a pretty significant difference seeing that all the cardio equiptment in my gym indicates I burn hundereds of calories more (or less) than my prior heart rate monitor indicates I burn.

  229. I probably would have bought this watch anyway because it’s orange, but now I feel informed and educated! Thank you!
    Ally 🙂

  230. Jeff14188

    Thanks for the very informative review. I finally decided to put my money down and purchase the 310xt and your review helped my decision. It’s getting delivered tomorrow and I can’t wait to use it!

  231. nettie

    I have enjoyed browsing your blog. Thanks for taking the time to help us all out in making our own best choice. My burning question is if I go with the 305 (I have the Edge 705) with the 305 being discontinued, will that effect customer service if there is a problem? Or at this point would it be in my best interest to go with the 310. I mostly ride my bike, and run a little for diversity. with a 2 or 3 tri’s per season consisting of the sprint or Olympic distances.

  232. Anonymous

    Thank YOU, Thank YOU for all your time and energy doing these reviews.

    I have a question, you mention it lasts a little while in the water. Do you know how log a little while is? I trained for Ironman last year and will again this year. It takes me about 2 hrs to swim 3.8km. Will the 310XT last that long?

  233. Serialpsyclist

    Almost convinced to buy a 310xt. Just a quick question about the running footpod. I am kayaker (multisport/marathon) as well as a triathlete and was wondering if the foot pod could be attached to the paddle shaft to get stroke rate. I figure it would need to be near the blade end of the paddle to get the change in direction to work well, meaning it would possibly spend a fair bit of time playing in the water. Would it be waterproof enough for this? Also would using it like this mess with the speed/distance measuring, ie would it try to work out running stride lengths and adjust speed/distance.


  234. Anonymous


    Thanks for the info! I have a question. I will be running a marathon soon and would like to know how to set up my garmin 310xt to manual mode? Basically, during my race, I would like to press the lap key at every posted mile marker at the marathon and track if I am behind or ahead. Just like those other non-GPS watches.

    In my previous races, I’ve used the auto lap mode with the GPS to track the miles but it is always off. This race will consist of tunnels and building (downtown Chicago) and thus the GPS will most definitely be off.
    So it would be nice if I can track my miles myself by pressing the lap key when I hit the marathon mile markers. Can this be done on this garmin?

    Thank you!

  235. Yen

    thank you for the great review! i’ve recently started running seriously and would like to invest in a HRM. i’m really interested in the 310xt but with the impending release of the 410, i’m a little confused as to which model i should get.

    i currently only run (long distances & sprints) and do the occasional cycling. as for swimming, i’ll have to start with lessons first!

    which would you recommend?

  236. Trying to decide b/w Garmin Edge 500 and 310xt. I have a FR60, and am generally happy with it. I get kind of fluctuating success with the foot pod. My main frustration is using it on my bike. I don’t like the display on the FR60 for the bike and find the buttons frustrating. How do those compare to the 310? I’d like one unit but would rather not get another watch that is really not a bike computer. What should I do?

  237. Hi Anon-

    RE: Routable

    Thanks, appreciate the link!

    Hi Anon-


    Hi 20100-

    RE: Diag mode

    Thanks for the tip!

    Hi Steele Brothers-

    RE: Which device

    Yes, I still think this is the device to get. While there will undoubtedly be new devices next year, the price will only be just as higher (if not higher), and I don’t anticipate significant changes.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Heart Rate Strap failure

    Sounds like a bad battery, and/or just coincidence.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Calorie burn differences

    I’m actually working on a calorie burn post here probably in the next month or so to discuss this very item.

    Hi Ally-

    RE: Thanks!

    Hi Jeff-


    Hi Nettie-

    No net effect on support for the FR305. But, I think in general the 310XT is the device to get.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Water time

    The unit will last hours in the water (unlike the FR305). No issues there.

    Hi Serialpsyclist-

    RE: Paddle-

    I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I’m not sold on long term waterproofing in that scenario. It wouldn’t mess with distance as long as GPS is being used.

    Hi Anon/Run123

    RE: Autolap

    Just go ahead and turn off Auto-lap in the settings menu, and then you’ll be free to press lap. That said, I highly recommend against turning off the GPS (even for the Chicago marathon), as I think you’ll find in general that you’ll get less accurate post-race information.

    Hi Yen-

    RE: 410 or 310XT

    I’d stick with the 310XT. I should have a 410 in my hands soon to test, but I’m generally not a fan of the bezel system. Also, the 410 is definitely not a tri watch – but rather primarily a running watch.

    Hi Matt-

    RE: FR60 vs 310XT

    The 310XT buttons are far easier to use, especially on the bike. If you have a power meter, I’d go with the Edge 500 – otherwise, I’d stick with the 310XT.

    Thanks all!

  238. I found your blog recently, and want to thank you for the time you put into your reviews! They’ve been very helpful!!!

    Please excuse me if this question has been asked, or was addressed in your review.

    So far, it looks like the 310xt is exactly what I’m looking for as far as functions and reliability.

    I see you can set alerts on the 310xt for distance and HR, plus you explained how to set alerts based on pacing….but does it contain a simple interval timer for someone that runs a 3:1 (for example) method?

  239. Dionysis

    Thank you for the excellent in depth review. It helped me very much to decide to byu the 310 XT a few days ago.
    I hava a question about ”Grade” display. According to the manual: ”Calculation of rise over run. For example, if for every 10 ft. you climb (elevation) you travel 200 ft. (distance), your grade is 5%”.
    Do you know when does the watch start calculation? As soon as I press the Start button? The displayed value is an average Grade for my run so far? What if I want to see the Grade for a specific part of my run? (I mean during my run not later on the pc). When I press lap, do I get values from the moment I pressed Lap or from the moment the watch got GPS connection?

    Thank you in advance
    (Athens Greece)

  240. Anonymous

    Sorry for my poor English (I’m Italian). My name is Antonio. Nobody have heard of condensation problem on 310XT. It seem a problem also on Garmin forum.
    I would buy 310XT, but…

  241. Can I delete a single lap?

  242. Marco

    Hello Rainmaker, thanks for the review. Unfortunately I did not really realize what you meant while talking about the lack of pace alerts.
    I have it here, now, and I consider this a HUUUUUGE drawback. Missing such a basic feature every low price GPS watch has (including 305).
    I have read your workaround but it is very limitative actually, because if you do so (using a custom workout) you then miss everything that is not available while using workouts, for example the useless calories alarm, or HR alarm and so on… most important, you loose the autolap feature; so this is simply not acceptable.
    Have you spoken about it to Garmin engineers? What did they say about the lack of this alerts, are they planning to re-introduce them (it’s just a matter of firmware, in fact, and is a simple feature to add)? If not, did they explain what’s the reason for not having them??
    Thank you so much!

  243. Your review is awesome, thank you for writing it. I recently got a 310XT and want to mount it on my Cervelo P2. I’m thinking of putting it on the thick part of the basebar that attaches to the bullhorns, just like in your picture. My aero bars are FSA Vision, just like the ones in your picture. I had two questions:

    1. It looks like the bike mount unit is rounded and designed for attaching to a road-bike style handle bar. Will it still fit very well on the basebar of an aero bar set?

    2. When you mount the watch on the basebar next to the bullhorn, does it get in the way when you have to grab the bullhorns?


  244. In the meantime, the quick release kit doesn’t replace the original wristband anymore, you just detach it from the unit and put a base plate instead of it. Quite practical. Looks like this afterwards: link to bit.ly

  245. UK Runner

    Great Review. Can you post some screen shot of the location map or waypoint map from the watch. I and considering 305 or 310 for Christmas but want to be able to use if for locating myself in emergencies when mountaining as well as a usual watch for the biathalons. I know the 305 only shows the long/lat when creating waypoints but I have read somewhere that the 310 can display your location on the map. Can this be shown in different formats e.g. lon/lat as well as OSGB. I haven’t been able to get to a shop that has a demo version for checking this out. If the 310 doesn;t then I may as well get the 305. Thanks.

  246. Dave B

    GREAT REVIEW. One thing that I just found out that I was extremely disapointed with. Garmin refuses to work with Google Chrome browser at all. Thats fine (by me). But to upload your data, they actually require you to make firefox (or explorer) your default browser for all computer activities. That (to me) is extremely annoying. I think its terrible software design to require a global setting like this to use one application. Granted, this isn’t that big a deal, but give you have such good access, I think you should make this point that they should architect more intelligently than this. The support guy on the phone was VERY ABRASIVE with me when discussing this.

  247. How long do you expect it to be before one can separately buy the New 2010 Premium Soft Strap that is offered with the FR210?
    I want the FR310XT for Christmas, but my understanding is if I get the bundled heart rate strap, I won’t be getting the latest greatest strap.

  248. Anonymous


    Thanks a lot for your review. I was wondering if the 310xt has that function like the 305 that when it detects a footpod it asks you if you are indoors or outdoors and if you select indoor it automatically disables GPS function.


  249. Great review.

    As your original review was back in Sep 2009 is there anything else from Garmin that will replace the 310XT coming out in the near future. Would hate to purchase and find an update released soon afterwards.

    See you have also reviewed the Timex Ironman but no Polar devices. I know it is a personal choice but is the 310XT your best buy in this market?

  250. Thank you so much for the great review. I already have an Edge 500 and had read somewhere that you can use that 310XT quick release kit such that you can put the Edge 500 on that wrist strap. Garmin tells me I am highly mistaken.


  251. Hi,
    This review was great and led me to buy the Forerunner 310XT which is as great as you promised. My only problem has been that the keys recently locked and I can’t unlock them using Garmin’s suggestion of pressing mode and up arrow key at the same time. I emailed garmin support but it could be a few days which is a bit of a problem as the keys are so locked I can’t turn the watch off or soft reset it. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for all of your great work here!

  252. Holly

    I’ve just started using the 310, and it worked well for my first few workouts.
    However it will now not measure the distance, I have tried a soft reset and the satellite signal is still being shown as strong.
    Any ideas?

  253. Josh

    Rainmaker, this was an awesome review. Thanks so much.

    I’m a seakayaker (3-4 times a week) and I see you seakayak as well. Besides liking being on the water, I seakayak for conditioning using a Polar Heart Monitor. I was considering using the Garmin 310XT for this and for the GPS, but you raised some questions about its use in the water. On the other hand, the water related issues you raised had to do with SUBMERSION and the problem with heart rate monitoring and GPS reception.

    My sense is that this would not be a problem sea kayaking, unless I rolled for a second, which is not an issue. Wetness did not seem to be a problem for you.

    So, would it be okay to use sea kayaking?

    Thanks for any help. If possible, please reply to teitelbaum@stanford.edu.


  254. Anonymous

    Make it able to play music and add wireless headphones and it would be the best thing ever.

  255. Today I set my clock to go for a run and blocked everything. Keyboard not execute any command, I can not close, is stuck. I tried to put it to recharge, the batery would not want the load. Now waiting to see what happen if it is totaly discharged.
    Can anyone me a suggestion please? Is happend before to somebody? I bought the Garmin on Ebay and Garmin Romania sent me to repair the ones I bought from.
    🙁 I am very sad. Any hint please?

  256. Great post, I think i’m gonna wait for your FR410 review before i choose which one to buy!

  257. Nice review, i think i’ll wait for your review on the FR410 before i buy one. Thanks

  258. Sniff !!!! I cracked the glass of mine. It was on my bike. I’ve flipped my bike to repair a spoke on my rear wheel, and I forget to remove the 310xt from the handlebar.
    The glass is craked but not totally. The unit still works.

  259. Cully

    I just threw my Forerunner 310XT in the bin. Sick & tired of glitches in the software & erroneous measurements. Too many times I got home to find no data on the watch or suspect readings. I’ve wasted 10’s of hours trying to get maps so it looks like what you show on your blog to no avail. There was no Garmin help desk and the on site help was a joke.

  260. Hi Cully, I’ll have it. And as it is waterproof I can wash it of the bin germs 🙂

    Just send to:
    Nathan Simpson
    PO BOX 283
    Lara, VIC, 3212

  261. Ian B

    Great reviews for all the Garmins. Thank you. I decided on the 310 after reading them.

    I’ve had a link to your site added to my running club’s web site and tell everyone who asks about Garmins to go to your site first.

    Do you know how Garmin measure Moving Time? I’ve searched for more info about this (and the related Avg Pace v. Avg Moving Pace) that you find in Splits on Garmin Connect. Whereas I can recognise that Moving Time is less than actual Time on some occasions(e.g. waiting to cross roads) there are many occasions where I know I’ve been running non-stop and, at worst, have slowed but definitely not stopped. The difference can be as much as 3-4 minutes in an hour. When a run has been largely non-stop it makes it difficult to know whether to tage the Time or Moving Time as the time for the run.

    I did contact Garmin via their web site but have never had a reply.

  262. Hey Ray,

    Awesome review! I recently got my husband the 310XT and he’s loving it. He even got it to sync up with his current speed/cadence sensor without having to install the new Garmin version.

    However, today I tried to do the same on my bike, using the ‘Bike 2’ mode. I know the sensor is working since my Cateye V2C was picking up the data. The Garmin said it detected the sensor, but didn’t display the data (but my – not my husband’s – HR strap worked just fine.) Any thoughts?

    Also, this evening I went to upload the ride to Garmin Connect, but while it found the device, it said there were no new activities to upload (even though I reset the device and the activity appears on the device history). What am I doing wrong?

    (I should mention that my husband updated the firmware just before these two issues.)



  263. Peter pumpkin eater

    Hi great review, it’s now 2011 Feb to be exact, do you have any new updates to the review?

  264. Amazing blog. Thank you so much. Just bought a 310XT and your review is more thorough than anythin else I read.

  265. Anonymous

    Awesome reviews Ray.

    With regards to Ian’s comments (Feb 2nd)
    ‘Do you know how Garmin measure Moving Time? I’ve searched for more info about this (and the related Avg Pace v. Avg Moving Pace) that you find in Splits on Garmin Connect. Whereas I can recognise that Moving Time is less than actual Time on some occasions(e.g. waiting to cross roads) there are many occasions where I know I’ve been running non-stop and, at worst, have slowed but definitely not stopped. The difference can be as much as 3-4 minutes in an hour. When a run has been largely non-stop it makes it difficult to know whether to tage the Time or Moving Time as the time for the run.’

    I had update software & firmware in late Jan only to find training data (total time for activity doesn’t match actual run time). Yesterdays run was 1hr 56mins with a stop and chat to friends (had pressed stop on watch & start when resuming run), only to download data later and TC showed a 15min km!? What the f%#k.

    Also since your review, new data fields have been added such as ‘Power – 30s Avg’& ‘Power – 3s Avg’

  266. Joe Emenaker

    Stunning review. I am awestruck by the thoroughness. As a Forerunner 305 user, I love the quick-release bike mount, and I had feared that (from the looks of the other pictures) 310’s bike mount was simply a little “fake wrist” for you to strap the 310’s normal strap to. Your pictures have quelled that concern. Furthermore, your investigation into the 310’s accuracy in the water (on a swim cap or on a wrist and with a HR monitor) and it’s pairing with ANT+ devices like the cadence sensor and the Cinqo. You seem to have left no stone unturned. I know how much effort it is to write a review like this, and I’m floored. Kudos to you.

  267. Anonymous

    My Garmin is stuck on timer only. It will not reset even when turned off/on or pushing lap/reset and mode buttons at the same time. It located sattilites and has time of day correct but is not tracking distance. What should I do? Buckeye

  268. Hi Nej-
    RE: Alerts

    You can setup alerts of sort via Virtual Partner, or via Garmin Training Center with Workouts.

    Hi Dionysis-
    RE: Grade

    Grade is a ‘now’ value, whereas picking sections would require a PC.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Condensation

    I’ve heard of it rarely – hit up Garmin support and get the unit swapped.

    Hi Ramidos-
    RE: Deletion of a single lap

    Unfortunately, you cannot do that. Though Sport Tracks allows you to modify portions of a run/bike/etc..

    Hi Marco-
    RE: Pace Alerts

    You can do them via Garmin Training Center as part of a workout, which may be the best optioin in the meantime.

    Hi Confucious76-
    RE: Placement

    It will fit fine there. I don’t find it gets in the way, it seems to work pretty well actually.

    Hi Ben-
    Thanks, indeed, they’ve tweaked it a bit now to resolve some of the original quick release kit.

    Hi UK Runner-
    RE: Screenshots of mapping overivew

    There’s a bunch here in this post, hope this helps!
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Dave-
    RE: Uploading data

    You can upload data with Chrome, you just can’t use the Garmin Communicator Plug-in.

    Hi brock-
    RE: Buying new premium strap seperately

    You can do this now on Garmin.com – all single straps being sold are the new 2010 premium version.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Ask if indoors

    Yes, it does if it can’t detect a satellite, otherwise no.

    Hi Nathan-
    RE: New version of 310XT

    See this post:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Amy-
    RE: Edge 500 mount with 310XT

    That’s correct, they’re fully compatible.

    Hi Noreen-
    RE: Locking of device

    Hmm, that’s very odd – haven’t heard of that!

    Hi Holly-
    RE: Won’t measure distance

    I’d ring up Garmin support to get it all fixed (which I’m guessing you’ve done by now). Sorry!

    Hi Josh-
    RE: Use during sea kayaking

    No problems there at all.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Adding headphones

    I’ve heard a few other suggestions like that, though I suspect we won’t see it for a while.

    Hi Mugar-
    RE: Mugar

    Sorry, it sounds like a support issue – but at least you’re talking with them. Bummer!

    Hi 20100-
    RE: Broke after bike flip

    Garmin will fix it for a fee in that case, may be worthwhile before it fully cracks/breaks. I think it’s $80 if I remember.

    Hi Ian-
    RE: Moving time

    Your best bet would be to use Auto Pause so that it automatically pauses the timer when you’re below a given threshold. Combine that with total time (not elapsed) and you’re pretty close.

    Hi Anna-
    RE: Sensor data

    Hmm, very odd – try swapping out the batteries, it may just be a fluke. I don’t think the Cateye V2C is ANT+ though, so it actually shouldn’t work there. Sorry!

    Hi Pumpkin-
    RE: Updates to review

    Largely everything is the same. The only change of note is that the 310XT now supports 30s and 3s power smoothing modes – which are a big deal for power meter folk.

    Hi Carlos-

    Hi Anon-

    Hi Joe-

    Hi Anon/Buckeye-

    Go ahead and let the batteries die out, and then re-charge and try a soft reset. Failing that, go hard reset. And failing that, give Garmin support a ring.

    Thanks all!

  269. hi,
    Thanks Very much for the great reviews, i read them all and then bought a 310XT which is amazing!
    Just wondering if the lap and start buttons can be pressed while the watch is in water? would like to be able to press manual laps while swimming lenghts.

  270. Thank you for your blog & detailed reviews – they are truly AWESOME!!

    After reading all your reviews, it seems like the Garmin 310xt is the best product out there at the moment.

    My only concern is whether the folks at Garmin are about to issue a newer model…
    If I got it right, the 310xt has been around for 2yrs now. Seems to me that an update might be just around the corner…

    Do you happen to have any information about their coming products?

    Thanks again for all your hard work!!


  271. Nice, review Ray. As it was done 18 months ago, any idea when it’s due for a product refresh by Garmin and what the expected differences will be, if any?

  272. Hi Conor-
    RE: 310XT Button Pressing underwater

    No issues at all, works great!

    Hi Vanco & Ash-
    RE: Upcoming products

    See this recent post here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks all!

  273. Anonymous

    Hello Rainmaker,

    Thanks for the amazing review.

    When running through a 1km tunnel, reception will be lost. During this time will the foot pod take over as input?

    Cheers, Maciek

  274. Anonymous

    Can you help me with speedzones. I have succesfully amended and saved new speed zones in Training Center and created workouts. When I download the workouts to the 310, the workouts appear in the device, bu the speed zones do not match what is in Training Center. The speed zones in teh device still reflect the DEFAULT speed zones (RUN, WALK etc) with the associated pace brackets. Any ideas how to get round this?

  275. Hi DC,
    I have an issue with my 310XT HR monitor, and i wonder if you’ve noticed this before. In a race today, My HR showed up as 92-95% during the second half but afterwards the watch (and garmin connect later) only showed a maxHR of 93%. Any idea’s about this?
    Thanks, Conor.

  276. This is a great review, but I have a question. I do several triathlons per year and would like to use the watch in multisport mode. However, if the swim is indoors, then the GPS will turn off after it asks you “Are you indoors?” And I do not have the time to restart the watch after the swim so that it picks up the satellites again. Do you know the best way to handle this?

    Also, I have a cadence meter on the bike for training indoor. Do I just turn that off fir the race and force the watch to use the satellites to determine speed?

    Thanks, and great job.

  277. Hi, awesome overview of 310XT and very interesting thought to put the unit in your swim cap for better sattelite access. 2 questions – how uncomfortable is in the swimcap as an ongoing taining option? With the HRM can you get a better reading off the HRM underwater having the strap on backwards – ie having the monitor sitting over the heart on your back?

  278. Anonymous


  279. Thanks for the review.

    I really wanted the TGT until your spot on the omission of footpod support 🙁

    I’m buying this watch through your Amazon link now 🙂

  280. Brice

    First, the disappointing parts of this watch:

    While it is advertised as a triathlete’s watch, advertised as a “training device that isn’t afraid of the water,” it is useless in the water. A triathlete’s watch it is not. First, they offer a “water-proof” heart rate monitor with it that, while it is “water-proof,” it doesn’t actually work in the water. Seriously?? Second, the water interferes with the devices ability to read and transmit other information. Almost as bad as the HRM’s complete failure, it’s GPS is not always strong enough to move through a few inches of water. So again–“water-proof” is misleading.

    This is a terrific watch for biking and running. However, given the uncomfortable size and the astronomical price, and the dishonesty of their marketing, I would suggest the less expensive, far nicer looking, and longer battery lives of the Suuntos.

  281. Derrick

    Hey DC,
    as noted by all, great reveiw.
    I read though most of the posts but didn’t see a reference to the ” swim mode” software update. Have you looked at the accuracy of the XT on your wirst since the update? or was the open water test you did with the new software calcs?

    March 22, 2011 11:16 PM

  282. Hi Anon/Maciek-
    RE: Footpod taking over in tunnel

    Yes, it’ll take over once the GPS speed drops to 0.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Speed Zones

    Double check and ensure that the zones are correctly matched to the sport mode on the watch.

    Hi Conor-
    RE: Max HR weirdness

    Hmm, I haven’t seen this before – though I vaguely remember someone mentioning it somewhere on the Garmin Forums. You may want to do a quick sweep there (forums.garmin.com)

    Hi Kevin-
    RE: Swimming indoors and mode

    Just go ahead and leave it in GPS mode, it’ll record some slightly useless data there – but all will be well once you head outdoors.

    RE: Cadence meter for distance
    The FR310XT will automatically use the speed sensor in cases where GPS speed shows zero (indoors), and then switch to GPS once outdoors (run)

    Hi Diane-
    RE: Swimcap

    I find it completely normal once I get it situated – I don’t even notice it at all.

    RE: HRM on back

    I’ve tried this, but in general, it’s just not terribly successful. You only get about an inch or two of leeway in the water – and once you add additional air distance after the water, it just doesn’t work out well. Though – if you have really really good form and get some airflow across your back – you might luck out!

    Hi Rajaseelan-

    Thanks for the support!

    Hi Brice-
    RE: Issues

    While I agree on the water issues, I think that from a size standpoint – most folks generally find it pretty normal once you start using it. While the Suunto’s have better battery life, they lack ANT+ compatibility with devices such as power meters and the like.

    Hi Derrick-
    RE: Swim Mode

    Here ya go – I went into detail on it later on, but should loop back and add links to this post as well-

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks everyone for your support!

  283. Hands down one of the best reviews i have ever read! I’ve looked at about 5-6 reviews on this watch and combined they gave me about 1/3 of the info you have on here. Incredible helpful when your looking at spending £250 on a piece of kit, keep up the good work

  284. Anonymous

    Thanks for all of the GREAT info that I will need when I either win or purchase the Garmin 310XT.

  285. Jason Schultz

    Thanks for the great review! I almost bought one today at the National Marathon expo in DC, but decided I’d wait and see if I won… and if I don’t, well, there will be other expos!

  286. Just purchased a foot pod and I tried it on my 305 even though I have a 310 on order. When I power up I get the question “Use footpod indoors?”. If I say yes does it use the foot pod rather than GPS on my outside runs?
    I have a hill workout programmed on my treadmill inside the house but I start my run outside for several miles and then go inside and do my hill workout. I answered yes but my pace seems to be significantly slower outside on the streets. I haven’t calibrated the foot pod.

  287. Anonymous

    a really excellent review. i just have one comment. I read the review fully and perhaps my question/comment is actually addressed/answered albeit in a slightly different way but i thought i would get specific.

    i coach a few people who use the 310xt. a problem i believe with the ‘smart record’ is if you are training indoors (ie no gps connectivity) at a fairly steady state intensity. it is my understanding that if on a spin bike for instance where the only data being recorded is HR and you are keeping that HR pretty consistent then ‘smart recording’ only picks up a fraction of the data. it is not picking up GPS or cadence(at which point it automatically records more frequently) and given the steady state of the HR pattern only records every 30 seconds as nothing is really changing.

    now it comes time to download to Training Peaks. while interpolated curves in a steady ride are ok, the bar chart of time spent in the appropriate HR zones is completely wrong. for example take a 60 minute steady ride made up of 15 minutes w/u through z1 and then 45 steady in z2.

    the data in z1 will be largely collected as the HR is changing as it elevates but then when you hit Z2 and stay steady the smart recording kicks in and records very little. the resulting bar chart will typically show ~15 mins in z1 and virtually nothing in z2.
    have you heard this comment from others ?

    ironically I realise that from a coaching perspective and with respect to an individual workout i know my athlete has been steady in z2 because there is NO data but when i look at a training block across a few weeks in training peaks and wish to see that my athlete has been spending the right amount of time in the right zones i am missing big chunks.

    anyway a great review as are they all.

  288. Anonymous

    I have a garmin 310xt (purchased in dec 2010) and I just bought a quarq cinqo. The garmin is detecting the quarq but it constantly says “multiple power meter detected” Have you heard of this happening before? If so do you have any idea how I might be able to fix it. Thanks

  289. Hi RVickers-
    RE: Footpod warning

    Yes, it will turn off the GPS if you select yes. Your best bet is to leave the GPS on, even when it indoors in this situation. Though it sounds like calibration will resolve your issue (as it will have your paces off otherwise)

    Check out my massive footpod post here:

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Smart Recording

    I do see that occasionally – and actually especially from my Coach with other athletes. Smart Recording is an area that I’m constantly fighting with the Garmin Engineering team over. Thus far, I’m not winning. Ways you can improve it are adding other sensors, which is of course difficult on a spin bike. But if you had speed/cadence sensor, or even a power meter – that dramtically improves data recording (a power meter forces 1s recording). Now, TP should be interpolating the data however, and so between those data points it will record the average and thus in theory give you the correct time in zone charts (at least it does for me). Definitely shoot an e-mail to Garmin support with your exact comment – they do want to hear the feedback and this is exactly what they want to see.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Multiple Power Meters detected

    That’s very strange – definitely never heard of that before. I’d consider doing a soft reset, or also re-pairing the Quarq. Failing that, consider a hard reset and an upgrade of the firmware as well. Failing all of that, definitely ring up support. That’s very strange.

    Thanks all for the comments and support!

  290. Hey Ray, thanks so much for your in-depth reviews. I always come here first if I am going to buy gear.

    I just (TODAY) purchased a 310XT – it took me a while to decide, I was worried about the size (I am not very big) but in the end after checking out all of your GPS watch reviews I went with the 310XT. I clicked from your blog to get it so hopefully you get some $ towards a future giveaway 🙂

  291. Anonymous

    Thanks for the great review. Is the 310XT, or this generation of Garmins generally, better at picking up reception than the FR305when turning them on in the city (for lunchtime runs)?

  292. Anonymous

    Great review, thank you very much…

  293. Fantastic review but we’ve come to expect that of you!
    One question- What would be your take on using the 310XT vis a vis the Edge 500 for triathlon training?

    I currently use an Edge 500 and have a Power Tap. Have you ever tried using the Edge 500 under your swim cap for recording your swims etc?
    Thanks and keep up the super reviews!

  294. Fantastic review. I would like to use this for rowing. The main feature missing is rating. I’d like to link the cycling cadence sensor to the seat motion as others have done previously. Unfortunately, the output is alleged to be out by a factor of 4 and a bit erratic. Is there a way to get a different output by smoothing over two intervals rather than one and also displaying as strokes per 15 seconds rather than strokes per minute?

  295. mark71

    Thankyou for an amazing resource! I have just purchased a Garmin 310 after reading your reviews, and am finding your ‘how to’ guides very useful as well.

  296. great review thanks for spending the time.

    I did have a question, apologies ifs its already been asked.

    Do you know if there is a 310xt version 2 coming out? its been nearly 2 years since you wrote the review, and the 310xt being available. surely garmin are in the process of a new release?

    i ask as i’m interested in purchasing the 310xt but looking at the timing i think it might be worth waiting for a newer model. your thoughts?

  297. Hey.

    Would you happen to know what forma is the heart rate data? I believe the gps is tcx, but is heart rate .hrr like polar or something else?


  298. The unit has not locked during long runs or several marathons in the Twins cities metro… I’ve heard about 310 xt and wondering I should get. Is there any significant upgrade in the 310xt?

  299. THanks for a great review. I’m currently using a 705 hidden in plastic on my ocean 310xt ski, now I’m heading to Nepal and would love to record my journey, day by day, trekking up to Everest base camp etc. I won’t be near internet or computer so, how many hours of recording should I expect the 310xt to store .. my needs are 14 days at 10 hrs a day, with heart rate, altitude etc.
    Does the 310xt display altitude on the run accurately?

  300. Anonymous

    I read a lot of reviews daily about many things as a part of my job and the reviews provided in this site is absolute top class, among the best I have ever seen. Keep up the good work!

  301. Your reviews are amazing!!!!! I finally decided to buy the GF310XT and running the other night I realized the backlight does not work !!! I´ve emailed garmin but have received no answer. I guess I will have to return the unit????What do you think????? Thanks again.

  302. Bo Westerberg

    Nice reading and that you share your experience in this matters. My question is what you recommend for product for mostly running (both trails and in forrests). Today i am using a 305 and i am choosing between 310 or the new (at least in Sweden)610?

  303. Anonymous


    Great review. I am a cyclist and am looking for a wrist cycling computer. Im debating between the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, The Suunto T6D, and The Polar RS800CX.

    Which one would you reccommend? And do you think the Garmin is especially suited to someone who just rides? I’m put of the Polar becuase my Dad’s S725X is extremely hard to use (even when reading the manuel several times, does the Garmin suffer from the same issue?

    Thank You

  304. So, like many others, I do want to thank you for your help! I have shared your site with many of my clients and friends 🙂

    My watch has two problems I hope you can help with:
    1. After an incredible half ironman a couple weeks ago, I felt awesome during my bike and run, and after not really knowing how to look at my splits there on my watch (do you have a link for this) I got home to sync, and NOOOO, it had reset, and nothing to be found.. no link, or any proof that I just did that 70.3.. it has reset itself a couple of times.. any hints or wisdom?

    2. Two weeks ago I tried using during my first open water swim, worked great, worked for my brick run after.. but then after that my watch hasn’t picked up any distance during any run, or bike.. though I haven’t tried it to swim again. I see total time, and I see cadence on the bike, but the distance, and pace/speed is nada..

    I went for my long run, and total time was there, but no pace, or milege alerts.. Nothing was recorded when I tried to sync.

    I went for a 65 mile ride, and after one stop, it sparked on, and then stopped and said I only went .11miles, no alerts, and I hope to Goodness I can go further than over 3 hours! but then again, when I tried to sync, nothing is there?

    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you! Keep up the INCREDIBLE work!

    Jessica 🙂

  305. I’ve seen a few comments referring to the new/old configurations of the quick release kit for the 310xt. I am trying to decide which to get and, while I really like the ability to use the orange/gray band with the new kit, I don’t like the bike mount quite as much. Those rubber bands make me nervous.

    Which one should I get?

  306. mubbinstuff mom

    My son made a recent visit after his graduation and casually mentioned a GPS running product. His goal is to participate in an ironman competition. I didn’t even know such products existed and I didn’t know where to begin finding out about making the right choice. Luckily, I found your website. So much valuable information! It gave me the ability to make an educated decision. I settled on the Garmin 310XT with all the appropriate accessories as recommended by your extensive article. I know he is going to be thrilled when it arrives. Thanks so much for your expert thorough information.
    P.S. No, I am not adopting!

  307. Anonymous

    Great review,

    I do a lot of hill races and train on similar terrain. Can you tell me if the 310XT will will give an accurate distance regarding this or does it just give the distance as if you were running on flat ground?

    Thank you.

  308. Anonymous

    This may be an odd question, but can you this as a simple watch, too?

    Also, are any new models due out in 2011?

    Thanks. Great review.

  309. New firmware for 310XT has been released. Version 3.70. 1 change includes an every second recording option plus many other fixes.

  310. Anonymous

    Hi DC, thanks for all your research and explanations. Its very interesting and valuable. I already have Edge 800 and looking to buy a watch now. I prefer the Garmin 610 watch, primarily because of its size, but 310XT seems to have more attractive options (waterproof, multisport). I know its difficult to tell, have you heard any rumors on when a new allround Garmin watch will hit the market? I still have time.

  311. Anonymous

    Hi DC, thanks for all your research and explanations. Its very interesting and valuable. I already have Edge 800 and looking to buy a watch now. I prefer the Garmin 610 watch, primarily because of its size, but 310XT seems to have more attractive options (waterproof, multisport). I know its difficult to tell, have you heard any rumors on when a new allround Garmin watch will hit the market? I still have time.

  312. Anonymous

    what’s your opinion on the time of day issue?
    mine doesn’t keep it updated while off and it’s updated only when satellites are locked. that just causes issues with time requested to lock satellites (always higher than 1 – 1,5 minutes, even more if coverage is low).
    I have read many 310 have this issue and that garmin has replaced a lot of them …

  313. Scott

    Hi Ray,

    Ongoing thanks for all your ongoing reviews and thoughts. Love your blog and mailbag!

    I have been having big troubles updating my 310XT firmware for months and months. I go through the process (including updating ANT+ and Garmin update/upload) and the blue bar goes across the screen indicating my computer is downloading something… But it never seems to actually get sent to the 310XT?

    Is there a way of “pushing” / “forcing” the update from the ANT+ to the device? Any thoughts?

    Many thanks,

  314. Hi,
    Thanks for your review. Extremely comprehensive and it helped me make the decision to buy one of these watches.

    I have a quick question for you, I’ve been unable to find answers on many forums, and perhaps it’s simple knowledge that I’m not aware of, never having used a GPS watch before. I’ve used GPS extensively in other fields however, and am just after your basic habit pattern for using the watch.

    I find that once I finish a workout and come back inside, it takes a while for the watch to realise it is inside. Once it finally does, it switches to ‘indoor mode’, which is great. However, when I start up the watch inside, prior to a workout, it starts attempting to acquire satellites, as you would expect. Once I walk outside however, it seems to take an inordinate amount of time to reacquire the satellites (about 15 minutes in extreme cases). The workaround I’ve been using is to sit it outside on the porch for about 10 minutes prior to my workout, but given that everything I’ve read has said there is ‘amazing satellite acquisition time’, I can’t help but feel as though I’m doing something wrong. I’m wondering if by letting it think it’s still outside while it is actually inside (and thus getting poor satellite signal), it’s sending the watch false almanac data or something similar.

    I was just wondering what your habit pattern is for when you turn the watch on prior to a workout, and what you do at the end of a workout. IE, do you let the automatic ‘indoors’ algorithm determine when you are inside?


  315. Hi,
    Do you know if there is a planned update/new model for the Forerunner 310XT? When is garmin going to release new watches this year.

  316. Wow, what a review. You should really work for Garmin. I just got my 310XT. I’m competing in my first sprint Tri this saturday. I’d love to talk to you about using the multisport and the transition part. Adebe@aol.com.

    Rev. Alan

  317. Awesome review. I do have a question regarding the Garmin device roadmap though – is there any update to this watch coming soon?

    As a triathlete I’m in the market for a new watch but would be happy to hold out for the next gen model given the improvements on multisport they’re (hopefully) bound to make.

  318. Anonymous

    Rainman: First and foremost thank you for going the extra mile on writing this review. I wish I would have seen it or at least my wife would have seen it prior to getting me the 405cx for Christmas in 2009. I was totally let down by the 405cx. I am on my second one. The first one failed miserably, the start/stop button got stuck in the depressed mode and locked everything up. I swapped it out for a refurb last summer. I received the second one (thank you Garmin; you rock) and did not get the opportunity to use it (Shoulder surgery, followed by foot surgery) as much as I intended. Recently I started to use it both running and biking and for no apparent reason the light stopped working, bezel freezes up during my runs. I came to realize that this bezel technology is half baked. To top it off the unit will not sync with my computer….been on costumer service calls with Garmin and to no avail we could not get it fixed. After doing some research I decided to try and get a 310xt. Garmin was gracious enough to make it a reality today. So I will be sending in my 405cx and getting a 310xt (refurb) in its place. After reading your post you reaffirmed my decision on the 310xt. The question I have is related to a feature that was originally available on my old Forerunner 301 (Navigating w/ map) and noticed it was gone on 405cx. I am stationed in Quantico and do a lot of trail running and off trail treking; Would you happen to know if this feature is available on the 310xt? Once again great work on your blog and I plan to recommend it to my buds! thanks

  319. Anonymous

    Thanks for your review – the level of detail you’ve gone into is very useful. I’m facing the dilemma of choosing a new device. I run and cycle and use the HR functions for HR analysis and performance analysis. I now need to include way-point tracking data …. the question is .. do I get a gps & a HR monitor or will the 310XT be able to do this all?

    From your review I see that it tracks your route – but have you tried to follow a route on the bike and the run? Regards WASP

  320. Daniel

    Hi Rainmaker,

    do you now if there is an updated version of 310XT i.e. 315XT or 320XT comming this year? I’m very interested in the 310XT but will wait for some months if it is around the corner

    Thanks for wonderful reviews!

  321. GARMIN 310XT SUCKS! after upgrading to newest 3.70 firmware all watches in the world stop working! be careful NOT TO GO for upgrade now!

  322. Having just replaced a lost 301 with the 310XT, I would opine:

    – Garmin could have made the
    screens a lot more readable.

    They have very nearly the same
    area to work with as on the
    201/301, but have decreased
    readability to the point where
    the 310XT is basically useless
    unless worn on the wrist during
    an activity that permits stoping
    hand motion long enough to read
    the screen.

    For starters, a screen with a
    single field could occupy the
    the entire display as in the 201.

    As it is, the device really isn’t
    suitable for paddlers or others
    need to read it from, say, 5

    OTOH, it’s the only game in town
    with auto-pause on the laps.

    – The connection for recharging is
    good – making it truly waterproof
    like the 201 – as opposed to the
    301, which is faux-waterproof bc
    the USB contacts will corrode.

    – The BlueTooth connection for data
    transfer is a step *down* from
    the 301: more actions required,
    takes longer. If I were doing
    it, I would maintain
    waterproofness but enable a hard
    wired connection by adding two
    more contact points where the
    existing ones are for charging.
    (like on the 201)


  323. Your in-depth reviews are absolutely amazing. When shopping for a tri-watch, I came here for my research and then purchased from Amazon using a link on your page. I ended up with the 310XT and have been 100% satisfied. Until yesterday. Went on a 90+ mile bike ride, watch worked perfectly. I got home and tried to upload the workout using the ANT stick and as soon as the ANT software ‘found’ the watch, the watch shut off. I checked – it was not a battery issue. I tried it at least 6 times, no dice. To top it off, the workout was deleted from the watch. Today it did the same w/ a run workout. I’ve updated the software, restarted my computer… have you heard of this or experienced this? Thanks!

    PS – Congratulations on the wedding!

  324. I love my Garmin 310xt. I use it for races and training. Have you heard if garmin is going to come out with a new version soon?
    Thanks, Steve

  325. Thanks for the great review! Does anyone know if there’s a screen where you can see cadence and HR when cycling?

  326. Robert

    does this quick realease kit work with a FR 305?

  327. So are you thinking it might happen at interbike? I am so itching to replace my 2 year old 310xt. I saw that you are doing the NYC Urbanathon. That looks super fun! I am a triathlete from NYC and thinking that could be a nice change.

  328. (Part 1 Answers)

    Hi Caratunk-
    Thanks, glad you’re enjoying it!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Reception

    Yes, the FR310XT has a newer chip than the FR305, including hotfix technology for quicker pickups.

    Hi Dr. Arvind-
    RE: FR310XT vs Edge 500

    The Edge 500 would work fine under the swim cap, but for running it won’t show pace but rather only MPH/KPH – so it’s not quite as ideal for all three sports.

    Hi Shane-
    RE: Stroke per 15 seconds

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to change it. Sorry!

    Hi Mark-

    Hi Ediz-
    RE: New FR310XT

    No clarity yet aside from some confirmed news from Garmin that a new Garmin watch that does support power will be out this fall. Details here:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Andres-
    RE: HR Data format

    The TCX includes the HR data, as well as GPS.

    Hi Distance Measurement-
    RE: Issues with locking

    Go ahead and do a soft reset, that will reset the satellite cache and get it all straight again.

    Hi Chris-
    RE: FR310XT Storage

    Hmm, that might push the limits of the FR310XT’s storage capacities. I think you’ll be close, but it really depends on data points. Your better bet given the altitude and recording capabilities is definitely the Edge 705

    Hi Anon-

    Hi Niko-
    RE: Backlight failure

    Yup, just ringup Garmin via phone and they should get you all set.

    Hi Bo-
    RE: Forest running

    Either the FR310XT or FR610 will work great. For just running I’m preferring the FR610 simply due to the smaller size.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Choices between watches

    I’d go with the FR310XT due the the buildin GPS and complete versatility of it. But that’s just me.

    Hi Jess-
    RE: Missing files

    If you’re missing files, on your computer check out the BADFITFILES folder within the Garmin sync agent. The Garmin forums have details on it in the ANT Agent subforum (http://forums.garmin.com) – often times you can grab the file there.

    RE: GPS data missing
    It sounds like the GPS got turned off in the process, perhaps going into indoor mode due to lack of satellites on the swim.

    Hi Not2shabbyaggie-
    RE: Quick release kit

    The new quick release kits have the orange strap and a better design, definitely go that route.

    Hi Mubbinstuff-
    Thanks! Sounds like the perfect choice!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Terrain

    It’ll give you accurate distance in this case.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Wearing it day to day

    Yes, though you’ll be limited to about 20 hours of battery since there is no standby mode. A better choice would be the FR610, FR110 or FR210.

    Hi Jon-
    RE: New Firmware

    Yup, it’s pretty sweet!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: New Garmin

    Yup, see earlier link in comments for info.

    Hi Petter-
    RE: Time of day issue

    Garmin is saying it’s affecting a small number of units, and while I’ve seen folks reporting it, I’ve also seen plenty more saying it doesn’t. It hasn’t affected me, and I know for those it does affect Garmin’s good about swapping them out.

  329. (Part II Answers)

    Hi Scott-
    RE: Never ending updates

    I wish I had a good answer here. Sometimes when it happens to me I just use a different computer. The other times I just leave it on the desk for hours and it finally goes. No idea why sometimes it ponders life so long. Wish I knew!

    Hi Chris-
    RE: Long sat times

    Go ahead and do a soft reset, it sounds like it has a bad satellite cache. The soft reset will clear that up and you won’t lose any data.

    Hi BCS-
    RE: New model – see the link above for details on that. Thanks!

    Hi PAB-
    Thanks, and hope the race went well!

    Hi Russell-
    RE: Device roadmap – see the link above for details on that. Thanks!

    Hi SemperGumby/Anon-
    RE: Map on FR310XT

    Yup, you can create courses on the FR310XT. Check out this course post on how to do it:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    And enjoy the area around Quantico – tons of great trails in/near there. 🙂

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Waypoint data

    Yup, the FR310XT will automatically correlate all of this, so you’ll be good to go there!

    RE: Tracking route

    Yup, I’ve done that too. It works well as long as your fine following a breadcrumb. Whereas the Edge cycling series has maps (Edge 705/800 – I recommend Edge 800)

    Hi Daniel
    RE: New model – see the link above for details on that. Thanks!

    Hi 7in1-
    RE: New firmware

    Sorry to hear that, though I’ve seen a number of folks (including myself) upgade successfully. Though I have also seen a few new issues crop out. The Garmin Forums have all the details and some fixes.

    Hi Pete-
    RE: Single field

    The FR310XT includes the ability to make a single data field take up the entire screen. You can change it in data fields.

    RE: Connectors eroding

    While I understand your concern, I’ve been the crap out of mine over the past two years including more water (swimming with it etc), and I’ve yet to hear of a single FR310XT contact corrosion concern. I think you’re all good there.

    RE: Wireless Connection

    The FR310XT uses ANT+ for transfer, as opposed to blueooth. Once you’ve got it setup it’ll automatically transfer it without any user interference – just when I walk in the door in fact.

    Hi Kafka-
    RE: Working missing

    The workout may be in the BADFITFILES folder, see instructions above in this comment. Thanks on the wedding, I appreciate it!

    Hi Scribby-
    RE: New Forerunnner

    See link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Da42-
    RE: Cadence and HR while cycling

    Yup, you can set a data field to do this – I do it today and have HR/Cadence/Distance/Time. Here’s a good post on data fields:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Robert-
    RE: FR305 quick release with FR310XT

    Unfortunately not, they’re completely different…like apples and oranges. Sorry!

    Hi Michele-
    RE: Interbike

    Garmin has confirmed that it WILL NOT announce a new Forerunner at Interbike. I suspect we’re looking at either the last two weeks of October or the first week of November. Roughly. See ya at the Urbanathlon!

    Thanks all, and sorry for the delay here – been a bit of a crazy few months with wedding and honeymoon, just getting a chance to catchup on all the past comments.

  330. Anonymous

    Thanks a lot for the long thorough review. After reading this one and other reviews (garmin 305) I decided that the 310 was the one for me, and after doing a firmware update, I dont think there are any cons, just pros. Two questions, how long is the wrist strap on the quick release mount bike kit? When I used the original straps that come with the watch on my little wrist, I only have two holes/rows lefts. The only reason the strap stays put and doesnt come lose is because of the two little teeth on the little belt that you use to wrap around the extra strap left over. Second, I have read reviews of people complaining about the cadence sensor breaking and not being water proof. Are these people throwing their bikes in the pool or what? I dont bike under rain, but I have gotten caught under heavy rain before. Any coments on this? Thanks

  331. Hi Anon-
    RE: Strap length

    The quick release strap is essentially the same length as the regular strap.

    RE: Cadence sensor

    I ride a LOT in the rain, and have never had problems with the sensor and waterproofing. On the breakage side, I have broken one sensor, but purely because I accidentally kicked it and then it went into the (spinning very fast) spokes of my back wheel, completely decapitating the little speed arm. On the bright side the cadence part kept working. 🙂

  332. Hey Rainmaker,

    I am new to your Blog – but an instant fan.

    I was reading you review on the Garmin Forerunner 310XT (that I just purchased) – great review. Thanks !!!

    However when reading about the software part – I was thinking if you tried link to endomondo.com and if you considered reviewing the “social network” part of being a runner … Running can be a lonesome sport – thus it is really facinating that you are now able to share your work-outs, personal bests, goals etc with a community of freinds.

    Thanks for your feedback

    your fan in Denmark

  333. Anonymous

    Hello and thankyou for your review!

    I´d like to know if Time Alert can be configured to repeat every 10min. to remembre you to drink. Is there any function to do this?

    Thanks a lot!

  334. Hi Jor-el
    RE: Endomondo-

    I’ve actually played with it a bit on the phone side, but haven’t uploaded my Garmin files to them. I think there’s definitely some interesting potential between them and others like them, such as Strava. I’ll add the idea of doing a review of the more social oriented sites to my list. Good one!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Alert timer

    Yup, configuring a 10-minute alert is easy. Btw, if you’re looking for a way to do run/walk timers, there’s not one in the FR310XT, but there is a run/walk time in the FR610. This allows you to configure it for something like run 10 minutes, then walk 2 minutes, then repeat. Just food for thought.


  335. Anonymous

    thank you for the blog! The depth and the precision of your reviews are exceptional!
    After an exhaustive reading of your posts I decided to go for the 310XT coupled to the SportTracks. No regrets!
    I’m using it mostly for the running, but also for the mountain hiking (French Alps), where the long battery life time is a serious plus.
    If I could add my bit to the wish-list for a future “perfect” product of Garmin that will replace the 310XT:

    the compass of the 310XT is not a true magnetic compass, but rather a direction of your movement calculated from your GPS track. So when moving slowly or when GPS signal is weak/lost, the compas info shown by the 310XT becomes a complete nonsense, and the map also. A real magnetic compass would be very useful for the people who hike with the device.

    You have already analysed the lack of the elevation precision, no need to add something here.

    And I let my self adding n+1 for a Mac version of SportTracks!

    Please keep on your technically very sound and in-depth reviews, the details are what we’re reading your posts for.
    Congratulations with your wedding, best wishes!

  336. Anonymous


    Recently ive been having trouble transferring data to my Garmin connect page. I was wondering what im doing wrong. Sometimes the data disappears from my watch but doesn’t appear on Garmin connect and other times its on the watch but not transferring. Can you help?


  337. Anonymous

    Very Very Very Helpful! Exactly what I needed to know! Thank you!

  338. Hi Anon/Alex-
    Thanks for the comments!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Doesn’t show up on Garmin Connect

    If it doesn’t show up on Garmin Connect, but does show as transfers, check out the ANT+ folder structure and look for a BADFITFILES folder, which contains activities that may have errors in it.

    Thanks all!

  339. FYI – A new firmware for the FR310XT has been released, largely to fix issues that were found in version 3.70 released earlier this summer.

    Changes made from version 3.70 to 3.90:

    Fixed the rapid fire auto pause issues being seen with cycling
    Fixed the countdown timer
    Fixed an issue with custom workouts showing instantaneous pace instead of average pace
    Fixed an issue with high alerts in custom workouts causing the activity not to upload to GC
    Improved elevation gain and loss
    Improved map drawing
    Fixed issues with courses
    Fixed issues with heart rate zones
    Fixed an issue with the naming of custom workouts
    Fixed an issue with locations being deleted after updating software
    Fixed the odometer not accruing mileage
    Fixed an issue where lap times were always recorded in whole seconds
    Fixed an issue with the Avg Lap data field showing incorrect data. Now, the Avg Lap time field shows the average times of completed laps
    Fixed an issue with the device reporting an incorrect GPS version
    Made a change to fix the swim setting not being retained after sport change

    You can head over here ot grab the latest firmware: link to buy.garmin.com

  340. Markus1NYC

    Quick (hopefully) question on the 310XT – about a minute or 2 after ending a workout, the watch will beep and show Recovery Heart Rate. To me, this is very valuable info, which I’d like logged. But I can’t find where (if at all) on GarminConnect site it gets logged. Am I just being unobservant?
    Thanks again for the great blog and info!

  341. Hi DC Rainmaker.
    I bought the Edge 500 a couple of months ago not being aware of all the features the 310XT had.
    I’ve recently purchased a 310xt, and I wonder if there are any features that I’ll miss if I give my Edge 500 away to a friend.
    Any help would be appreciated!.

  342. Bud Flint

    Greetings from the UK 🙂 … Is it only me but has any manufacturer thought about providing either an external gps antenna so you can attach on your head/back or a head strap? …. break the assumption that GPS signal needs to be picked up on your wrist in the device … anyway good stuff on your blog … still hesitating on buying one 🙂 Cheers for now …

  343. Anonymous

    Do you know if and when a new model of the forerunner 310XT is coming?

  344. WOW, I went from 3.2 to 3.9 and wish I didn’t. I can’t upload through ANT agent. (Fails to upload) Can’t upload manually, just seems to lag. Went to pending uploads and deleted from there, still nothing. Very frustrating.

  345. Anonymous

    Thank you for taking the time to do this post. It has been the only productive information that I have found regarding this product.

  346. Dennis

    Thanks so much for your extensive review which is well written and very informative. I recently bought a pre-owned 310XT upgrading from a 305 because of its short battery life. My wife and I go on bike rides that cover over 100 kms and the 310XT’s juice delivers. I came across articles that show shattered face glass of the 310XT after being dropped face first. I assumed that this would be a reinforced part of the device like the recessed screen of the 305 but it doesn’t seem so. Your thoughts on this? Thanks and keep up your good work!

  347. Are you aware of a quick release Velcro/fabric strap made for this yet?

  348. Greetings from the Philippines! Great review…very informative. I’m just curious if I can use my Adidas miCoach HRM with the 310XT?

  349. jessr

    Thanks so much for all of your reviews…love how thorough they are and they’ve helped so much with my decision. Just got a 310xt and am loving it. Bummed that there isn’t a fabric strap available for it (hoping maybe the one for the new 910xt might work?!)

    I know the recording time for 1 second recording on the 305 is 3.5 hrs, but do you know what it is for the 310xt?

    Also, I have it set to auto-lap every 1km’s so I can get the lap time alert after each km. On my 305, in ‘history’ (on the watch) I could view each lap time as well as the accrued time for the distance (ie. could see what my overall time was for 5k, 10k, etc), but I can’t seem to do the same on the 310xt? I also can’t see the accrued time for each lap on Garmin Connect. Do you know how to be able to set it to show both (when looking at my data after the run); lap time as well as accrued time?




  350. Hi

    great review, and I’m almost sold. Just one question…
    As well as tri, I am into hill walking, and am in the military, so would be ideal if I could use the device to display my location for map reading purposes. I’ve checked out the manual at Garmin.com, and it looks like it will show location as a lat and long. And it suggests you can change the units, but doesn’t specify what do. Is it possible to get the unit to display current location as a UTM Grid, either on the map screen or when recording a waypoint?



  351. Anonymous

    Thanks for writing this review it provides an awesome insight into the watch and its capabilities.

  352. The best review I’ve ever read about hte 310XT. GREAT 🙂

  353. Love the site Ray. I bought a 310xt based on your comparisons after ruining my FR405 in my last tri – I forgot to take it off before the swim. On the plus side it was my best swim time to date.

    Andyway, the amazon price here in Ireland was not the best so i put something in the tipjar – you deserve your cut.

  354. Anonymous

    great review. will you have a close look at the 910xt?

  355. That new $239 price from REI makes this now very tempting and I was considering the 305 before the price drop on the 310. Has anyone found a soft strap for it though. How about the RoadID strap with the 310 (like many figured out how to combine with the 305).

  356. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for the review. The only thing I don’t see in the review is how well and accurate the 310XT counts laps in a swimming pool. Any thoughts on this?

  357. Great information! Love the very detailed article. I am a former DI swimmer who is now venturing towards triathlons; now a proud owner of a 310XT.
    I was a bit frustrated when i first got in the water and wasnt able to get a ongoing record of my heart rate in the pool.
    After reading your article I tried the good swim cap trick and was able to get some much smoother data whilst swimming outside; thank you!
    One thing that i found pretty cool from an indoor swimming perspective (I live in MN…)is the ability to utilize the 310XT as a tracker of HR between sets.
    For example; if you are swimming in a pool that has a shallow end you are able to stand up (with chest above water) in between your sets and see how your heart rate is respoding after each subseuqent effort. For example in a interval set of 3x(5×100) I was able to see how my heart rate was linearly increasing in between 100s and also in between sets. Therefore, it was yet another neat way to incorporate the 310XT for swimming training. Have you done any indoor swimming workouts with the 310XT? And if so, any other suggestions?
    Again, thanks for the very useful info on the watch’s many functions!

  358. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this incredibly useful review!

    FYI: When setting up, the device did not have the “Athletic Level” question. Garmin online support explains that due to software upgrades, this is no longer required. It is still in the quick start guide, but no longer a parameter to enter.

    Keep up the great work!

  359. Thanks for the great review. Do you think the 310xt will start to come down in price with the release of the 910xt?

  360. Anonymous

    Re your answer to post 335 about the lack of a run/walk option-why not use the intervals instead? For example a 10 minute segment for the run,and then a 1 minute segment for the walk,and specify in advance the number of repetitions.This is exactly the same as a run/walk option.

  361. Anonymous

    Excellent review, have had the watch for almost 2 years now and biggest flaw is calories burned. I have had my watch sent back to Garmin multiple times for errors but not this. Any ideas of what to do to correct low readings before Ai send it back again?

  362. Anonymous

    Hi everyone. I invite everyone to purchase link to sklepgarmin.pl

  363. Anonymous

    Hi DC Rainmaker,
    I have been browsing the web trying to make a descion between the garmin forerunner 305 and the forerunner 310xt. Your blog is very helpful and both watches seem to be great. This would be my first gps watch and just need advice on which one to get. The forerunner 305 is in my price range and seems nice but the 310xt seems even better but the price is much more. Can anyone give me advice on either of them.


    Thank you very much for the great information. I have been using the 310XT for two weeks (Chrissy pressy),and found it great but with few instrutions difficult to use. Your information was exactly what I was after and for that I can not thank you enough.

  365. Anonymous

    Very well-done review. I decided to get a 310 because I had gone through 3 305’s in the past 3 years or so. I suspect they failed due to water intrusion even though I didn’t swim with them–I do have a bit of a perspiraton problem (I’m not the best biker or runner, but I am the best sweater). I also do a quick rinse of the watch after use to avoid salt acccumulation. Though the 310 is new, so far I like it. A couple of other questions for you: 1.) It seems you have to have the 310 switched on to get the data transferred, whereas with the 305 it just has to be in the dock. True? 2.) Do you have to unsnap the HR sensor thingy from the strap to turn it off (and perhaps save life on the little disk-shaped battery inside the HR system)? I am sorry if you answered any of my 3 questions elsewhere, but I got lazy and quit reading all of the comments/responses. Many thanks for your review and in advance for your response to these questions. Dave

  366. Ray

    If you could get a 310xt for 190 dollars right now. Would you buy it or just spend the extra cash on the 910xt?


  367. Hi Silvers!

    Yeah, for $190 – I’d pickup the FR310XT, that’s steal! Unless you really really really want swimming (or, want the TSS/NP/IF features on a power meter).

    (And if you still want swimming, you could pickup the Swimsense for $160 and still be $40 cheaper).


  368. Cool, Thank you for the information.

  369. How long do data transfers usually take? I have the 305 and am thinking of upgrading because I like the idea of wireless uploads. But I have heard from some people that say that the wireless transfers don’t always work. What has been your experience with data transfers? Will data start transferring the moment I step in the door and be finished by the time I take off shoes?

  370. great review puts some of mine to shame. I use the 305 still (2012) great piece of kit but lacks in a few areas

    1. swim: doesn’t seem to pick up HR properly when strap very wet eg at end of each pool length i pop out of the water to get a hr reading with the watch on the side…too low
    2. still seems to be no way of getting footfall/foot cadence/foot length info…is that right
    3. would be interested to know cheapest (2012) power meter that works…i have already spent my 2012 tri-budget (oh dear!)
    4. can’t find anyway of attaching to handlebars for sensible road usage as my arm rests/tribars close together

  371. Anonymous

    Thank you. Great review.

  372. “Though the manual doesn’t clarify what this setting actually impacts, a bit of poking around reveals it controls some of the calorie calculations.”


    it impacts on body fat calculation method done by Tanita DC-1000. If No is selected I get some 18% of body fat while if ON is selected it’s slightly above 10.

    Hope this helps.

  373. Sorry, this was regarding:

    “Are you a lifetime athlete?”.

  374. I’ve had my 310XT for ~3 years and no issues uploading data to GTC until I recently upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7.3 (Lion). Watch not recognized by ANT Agent 2.2.0, nor is it recognized by this garmin site: link to www8.garmin.com

    I have latest everything 310XT firmware, GTC, GAA, G WebUpdate, and G Communicator Plugin.

    Contacted Garmin and they sent me a new USB Stick. Nothing.

    did a soft reset, but don’t want to do a hard reset just yet, as I have 2-3 weeks worth of runs I don’t want to lose.

    Any experience with this? Any thoughts?

    Seems Garmin doesn’t know either, although I’ve read a couple forums with similar issues, but only solutions that work for a few, but not others.
    link to forums.garmin.com

    You seem to have as much experience with this stuff as anyone else I can think of. Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.
    Kirk Nelson

  375. Anonymous

    I’m looking for a possibility to use Garmin 310XT longer than 20 hours (on a bike). I have read in Internet, this Garmin can work and record track during charging. The display is not readable then (because of charging progress bar and the clip) but the equipment works. Do you know the type of external battery which will fit to Garmin 310XT?


  376. Hi Kris-

    Any USB battery pack will work. I talk about this a bit in the FR910XT review, and since the FR910XT and FR310XT share the exact same connector – it works on both:

    link to dcrainmaker.com


  377. Great review. I’ve been having some accuracy issues with the timex run trainer, quite unfortunate. I’ve been thinking to possibly go back to the garmin forerunner 305, which I previously had. If you suggest going back to garmin, would you also recommend the 310xt over the 305? Money is not too much of a problem. I am a highschool athlete. Which watch do you think would suite my needs. I mainly want superb accuracy. Thanks in advance,

  378. Great review. I’ve been having some accuracy issues with the timex run trainer, quite unfortunate. I’ve been thinking to possibly go back to the garmin forerunner 305, which I previously had. If you suggest going back to garmin, would you also recommend the 310xt over the 305? Money is not too much of a problem. I am a highschool athlete. Which watch do you think would suite my needs. I mainly want superb accuracy. Thanks in advance,

  379. Hi, I’m thinking about buying a GPS Watch (just for running). I run distances from 10K to 21K and train almost on a daily basis.

    I’m not sure what to buy, if the Garmin 310xt or the Garmin 610, the price difference is about $100 … but everywhere I read it’s all wonders with the 310xt. Which one would you recommend?

  380. Robert

    Hello DC!
    I’d like to ask you:
    -is it possible to software upgrade to v3.7 not to v4.2?
    -are these softwares available in the net, or just the newest v4.2 on the garmin official site?
    -if v4.2 software on the watch is it possible to downgrade to older software?

    thanks for your answers!
    Best regards,

  381. Thank you for your post. Incredibly useful. My 305 conked out and am moving to the 310 now. Many, many thanks.

  382. Thanks for your review. Excellent.
    Can you help me please??
    Can you add a new Sport Mode to the 5 existing ones (Run, 3 x Bike & Other)..
    I have 4 bikes I’d like to set up.
    Thanks in advance.

  383. Eric

    I’ve read a bunch of your reviews now and the have all been very helpful. Thank you for that. I have the Forerunner 310xt with the BC-1000 scale. I, for some reason, have a reading showing up from 2007 on my Garmin health data. Not sure how it got there, so I deleted it. However, every time I sync new health data or a workout, the reading from 2007 shows up again. I’m assuming the reading is stored in the watch somewhere. So, my question is, is there a way to delete the erroneous reading from the watch?

    Thanks in advance.

  384. Anonymous

    Thank you for your professional review.A quick question:Is there a difference in calorie data when wearing a heart rate strap and when not wearing one?

  385. Anonymous

    thanks for all your hard work on these reviews. Many of us on here value them tremendously. So much that we are willing to spend hundreds of hard earned dollars on these gadgets. After a month of reading your reviews snooping around other sites and being on the fence about a handful of the products I decided the 310xt w\ hm was best bang for my buck. Your review totally sold me! Thanks again man and keep up those reviews!

  386. Alan Bosmeny

    DC Rainmaker,
    I’ve looked at all the comments and did not find this question. During the multisport mode when I competing in a try, the 310XT only displays the elapsed time for the swim, bike and run. Is there a way to get it to display actual time for each? I’d like to see what my time during the race and not after.

    Rev. Bosmeny

  387. first of, awesome awesome review..
    quote:” the 305 actually had an option to change recording rate but the 310XT does not (which, I’ll talk more about in the cycling section).” unquote.

    i just bought mine and the 310xt now has the recording rate in two options, under the settings menu: data recording – smart recording which records an average of a point per 4 secs, and record every sec, i use the latter and it is awesomely accurate… havent tested it in an iron man so i dont know the life of the battery in this mode.

  388. Great review BTW. How does it compare to the Timex Run Trainer. they are priced similar.

  389. Anonymous

    Thank you for some really great in-depth reviews! 🙂 I was wondering if you could shed some light on whether it’s possible to set up a preferred cadence zone so that the watch will alert you if your cadence drops too much? Thanks in advance!

  390. sbhulnick

    Thanks for the great review. I was looking at Edge 500 bundle for cycling or 305 forerunner. I now know I will be going forward with the 310XT.

  391. Anonymous

    I am having a heck of a problem downloading the Garmin ANT Agent. I have an old G5 Mac with the Power PC G5 processor and using Leopard OS -X Version 10.5.8 on my MAC. When I try to download the agent, it says the Intel PC cannot be found. This application requires an INTEL processor. There was comment on a website that power PC is not supported and have to use Beta. Not being a Mac guru, I’m not about to go fumbling around. Anyone else run across this. I can’t be the only one with a 7 yr old Mac.

  392. I may have missed it in earlier comments, but I have the 210 and I got caught in a torrential downpour on mt vernon trail on my bike on sunday and now my garmin is 0.4 miles off which is significant in training. Would you recommend the 310xt over the 210? or is there another you would recommend over the 210 and 310xt — I am a cyclist and runner, not afraid of the rain and will be doing a tri in may.

    Thanks in advance


  393. Just to clarify – was it .4 miles off because of the rain, or because you ran .4 miles somewhere else?

    The reason I ask is that I’ve never had accuracy issues in the rain (including on the Mt. Vernon trail) – so that’s super-odd.

    That said, either watch is good for what you’re looking for. The FR310XT definitely gives you more functionality of course, but neither watch should normally have issues in rain or even Thunderstorms. :-/

  394. Anonymous

    Can we use old training in virtual partner mode?

  395. Hi,

    Thanks for your in-depth reviews. It is helping me a lot. I just want to ask, I am looking at buying either Garmin 410 or 310XT. Which would you recommend? I do plan in engaging a triathlon in a year or two.

    Hope to hear from you.

  396. Without question, the FR310XT. The FR410’s touch bezel drives me nuts, plus the unit isn’t fully waterproofed like the FR310XT. For a triathlete, you’ll want the FR310XT.


  397. I have had the 310XT for about 2 weeks now. Every time I try to transfer the data I have to pair the watch to the computer again. Have you ever had this problem? It can’t seem to find it. If I go through the pairing it does but only once.

  398. Tony TT

    Hey Rainmaker,
    310XT or Edge 500? Maybe you can nudge me in one direction or another. I am pretty much a 50/50 cyclist and runner. Cycling in summer, running in winter, a bit of overlap in spring and fall. I would rather not have to buy both. You say that the 500 does not display running pace, only kph. Can the pace be extrapolated when the data is downloaded? Also, with the 500 on the wrist, does the arm swing motion create any data distortion?

  399. Anonymous


    thanks for the extensive and detailed review.

    Having the 310XT myself, I agree to most of your findings.

    But especially helpful was your hint, to wear the GPS under the cap for swimming. It really works 🙂

    Now I can finally get good tracks for swimming, too.


  400. Hey,

    Thank you so much for your excellent review about the 310xt! I love it… and once you get started, you find other stuff that is interesting… and suddenly you spend hours reading :-)awesome!

    I just got into triathlon this last season and I just recently bought a garmin forerunner 310xt. I got it from MEC and I thought it was new. Unfortunately, I found out that it was used (at least a couple times..) I went back, got a bit of a discount and decided to take it anyway. But now, reading through your blog, it said that there should be an initial setup to put all your personal info in… I ve put in my data (height, weight, gender, age etc.), but you also mentioned that you could put the activity class in (from 0 to 10)… and with my “used” watch, I can t do that… so I am pretty confused and wondering if this would only be an option to put in that information while doing the very first initial setup or if I just couldn t figure it out…
    I tried everything, but can t find it anywhere…Do you know what I mean? Do you know anything about this?

    Thanks a lot in advance, and good luck in the future with all your races and training.

    Take care, Linda.

  401. I had my 310 set to auto lap and ran a half marathon. There was a 1-mile tunnel that we went through. As I entered the tunnel, the 310 lost signal as I expected (my older 205 and 305 also lost signal the last times I ran this race). As I exited the tunnel, the 310 regained it’s signal. For some reason, it didn’t interpret the distance as though I ran it. It simply dismissed the data and didn’t add it to the total distance. From that point forward, I could not tell where I was relative to the total distance. Does anyone know if it behaved that way because the auto lap was turned on (set for autolap distance)? My previous Garmin 205 and 305 always added the distance as I exited the tunnel. Thanks much!!

  402. Anonymous

    Does this give both “instantaneous pace” as well as average pace?

  403. Yes, it gives both instantaneous and average pace. You can configure the screens like the Garmin 205 or 305 to display the two paces together. I like to watch my distance, elapsed time, instantaneous pace and average pace on the same screen.

  404. EJ

    thank you!!

    I’ve spent the past little while hopelessly torn between the Polar FT60 and the Garmin 310xt. Maybe I’m a dinosaur, but I was really digging the polar web site. Your review of that other Polar watch and this one have tipped me towards this one – I needed the gaps bridged between standard reviews (very watch-centric, ignoring the analysis part at home on the computer) and the empty, deviceless accounts I was limited to in fooling around online on their respective websites. Your review bridges those gaps perfectly.

    The only hesitation I’ve got is the watch glass… I break things. Ok, I break everything, always have (I tend to get military grade stuff because it lasts longer, but I can’t afford it if it exists for this). But I have a plan, and I hope it will work: optically clear protective film (the thick 3M stuff, if I can find it). I’m hoping it will protect the face just enough, cushion the inevitable fall just enough, that I won’t have that issue. Again, your luck there has me hopeful.

    If the 410 had better battery life, I’d be more inclined to lean that direction (but why is it so cheap on Amazon right now? that gives me pause too), but I habitually wander off on all day on rides or runs and get slightly lost – it would be less handy to have my guide back home die on me.

    Again, thank you!

  405. ben

    Thanks so much for this VERY detailed review. I wish all products I was researching, performed this amount of review and took half the pictures you did. I was debating on picking up the 310xt during cyber monday (tomorrow) and now I know what I’d be getting myself into before even logging on. I’m training for my first ironman (WI.) next year and I think this watch would by far exceed my expectations and needs for a gps training watch. Thanks again for your review and time and commitment. It’s been a huge help.


  406. Allison

    Your site is amazing! Such a great resource and I love that you explore every way to use equipment and post lots of pics — so helpful! Quick question: What’s the difference between the Garmin quick release kit and the Garmin bicycle mount? I some attachment for my 310xt to my bike for ironman training. Does either work well for triathlons?

    • Rainmaker

      No diference in terms of the bike-mount portion. But the Quick Release kit includes the all-important wrist strap, and the backplate so that the unit can attach to the bike mounts. Without the backplate, you’re SOL on attaching to any bike. :-/

  407. Thanks for your reviews of the 310xt and 910xt.
    Still trying to figure out which model to buy. I will use it for running and cycling (road and mtn). Not swimming. Looking for pretty basic measurements: HR, time, pace / speed, and I do need to have overall elevation gained when riding. Does the 310 give you this? I’m sorry if I missed the answer to this question.

  408. Dwain Smith

    Fantastic Review. Purchased 310XT 1.5 years back. Love it. BUT, after recent 5k, 310 data transfer failed. Tried reset, hard reset, deleted history, still same problem. I did find that if I went to Garmin site and did manual upload the information was on the laptop. But when i added the scale data, it did not transfer via manual upload. Anththing else to try before sending back to Garmin for repair? Reload SW to laptop? I just want my 310XT functioning again. Help please!

  409. Holly

    I use my 310xt to spin and ride with others….however I always see “multiple power meters detected” and “multiple heart rate monitors detected” – even after paring the 310xt with my device. These massages flash/vibrate for the entire duration of my workout. It’s super frustrating and I worry that I’m not collecting accurate data.

    I’m not sure what to do to prevent this issue? Should I be pairing my devices (Powertap and Garmin HR monitor) miles away from other devices (as opposed to a good 30 feet?) Any suggestions are welcomed!

  410. Friend, thanks for the great review! Greatly influenced my choice. I had many doubts about which model to buy. You can update by using the 305xt in Portuguese language? Thanks in Brazil and when I can be your guide to cycling routes!

  411. Ray

    Great review. It opened my eyes to the features of the 310. One question: why wouldn’t you mount on the stem of the tri bike like you did on the road bike?

    • Rainmaker

      In my case, the position of my aerobars is actually too tight to allow for the FR310XT to get in and rotate. It’s setup as a fairly aggressive position for shorter-distance triathlons.

  412. Hi, you don’t really cover the altimiter in your review…it has one correct? I’m mainly a trail runner and want to know my elevation gain and decline.

  413. SByrstall

    I want to thank you for your in-depth review. I was looking at getting a Polar RC3 but upon further research the 310 was looking better, even from a price perspective.
    I’ll be getting my watch in about a week and can’t wait to get my first race under my belt with it.
    Again, thanks a lot.

  414. Bruce M Wallace

    I purchased and just received the 310. I must have pressed the wrong button when I first started with the watch and did not go through the setup wizard. I think I have gone through all the menu’s and entered everything correctly but can’t find where I enter what “activity class” I am. Does anyone know where enter this or how to get back to setup wizard? Thanks.

  415. Youngseon

    Thank you for great review.

    Today, I received 310XT with the latest firmware version 4.5.
    But, there was no 10 question procedure for initial setup right after I turned it on.
    I am wondering if the firmware version 4.5 skips that procedure.


  416. Astonishing website, stress-saving reviews – thanks so much for this.

    I’ve been trailing through the posts trying to find info on likely new models. In the post on updates you note that you don’t have the inside track (and good thing too I expect), but I wonder if you could hazard a guess as to new models coming out in the next few months (it’s Feb 2013)?

    My position is that I’m a new runner, using my iPhone with a variety of apps – currently Endomondo Pro for the intervals – and pooling everything on dailymile. I want to get a watch instead, and am gravitating towards the 310XT, but the question of its longevity is perhaps more pointed now than it was before the 910xt was released. I’m doing about three runs a week, working through Daniels Running Formula (which I love), but within the next two years plan on tackling a marathon and shorter triathlon (if i can get my swimming going). It would be a bonus if it could provide data for more sports though (cycling – mtb, road, velodrome, water sports, er..horses) – it’s part of my challenge to try all the olympic sports (see below), so given that I’d really like a device which has a lot of future proofing.

    So: as time has moved on, is it still worth getting the 310xt or waiting – 910xt is too pricey for me right now.

    Thanks again – such a great website.

  417. Michael

    Your site is an incredible resource…thanks!

    I had a 305 until I wore out the buttons. I now have a 310 XT. What I’d like to do is synch the Garmin with my ipad (my old netbook was such a hassle to turn on and get online with! I just use my ipad with a Zagg keyboard now). Obviously, there is no spot for the USB ANT stick, so I picked up a wahoo ant+ that works with the Ipad or my 4S…but Daily Mile and even Garmin won’t support it. Any ideas?


    • Rainmaker

      The Wahoo option can still be utilized to e-mail the files to yourself, which you can upload to other services as well.

      Ultimately though, Garmin doesn’t “support” the solution – but it does work just fine, and many use it daily to upload their workouts to many services (including Garmin Connect).

  418. Michael

    THANK YOU! I wasn’t using the right app, but “yahoo fitness” did just what I’d hoped it would.


  419. Michael

    Make that “wahoo fitness” 😉

  420. Paul Pritchard

    How will I connect to my I pad 3 if I buy this garmin 310 xt please.

  421. Francisco Batista

    Hi Rainmaker!

    All the reviews are very complete and helpfull! Thanks! I have a question for you: I was searching for the fabric strap of the 405 to put on my 310xt and i saw a strap from the 910. Did you try to put it on the 310xt? do you thing that it will be bether than the 405′s strap?

    Thanks a lot from Brazil! 😉