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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.

Running:

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:

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.

Swimming:

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…

Accessories:

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:

IMG_4253

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:

IMG_4262IMG_4268

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.

IMG_4304

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

GC-30dayGraph

GC-DailyMetrics

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

Price

Garmin FR310XT Base Unit (without HR monitor)

$349

Heart Rate Strap (Classic Strap)

$25

Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft Strap)

$45

ANT+ Cycling Speed/Cadence Sensor

$35

Quick Release Kit

$15

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

$25

Power Meters (PowerTap Wireless)

$899

ANT+ USB Stick

$33

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

$279

Bike Mount Kit

$13

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:

image

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

SportTracks:

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 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 3rd, 2019 @ 9:10 amNew Window
Price$170$249$399$399/$499 (cellular)$349
Product Announcement DateAPR 2, 2009Oct 15th, 2019Sept 5th, 2019Sept 10th, 2019Sept 5th, 2019
Actual Availability/Shipping DateJUN 2009Oct 2019Sept 5th, 2019Sept 20st, 2019Sept 5th, 2019
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
Data TransferANT+ WirelessUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTBluetooth SmartUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART
WaterproofingYes50 meters50 meters50m50 meters
Battery Life (GPS)20 Hours13 hours20 hrs (just GPS), up to 6hrs GPS+Music6hrs GPS on time (18hrs standby)
Recording Interval1s or Smart1s or Smart Recording1s or Smart RecordingVaries1s or Smart Recording
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYesYesYes via phoneYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatMost timesGreat
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Visual/AudioVibrate/VisualVibration/Audio/VisualVibrate/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Can control phone musicYesYesYesYes
Has music storage and playbackNoYesYesYes
Streaming ServicesN/ASpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadioApple MusicSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoYesYesYes
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
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)NoYesYesWith 3rd party appsYes
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoYesYesYesYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoYes (with cellular version)No
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesNoWith some Connect IQ appsNoWith some Connect IQ apps
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesN/AN/AN/AN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNoN/AN/AN/AN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesNoYesNoYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNoNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesNo (but can track treadmill via accelerometer)YesWith 3rd party appsYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Running PowerNoNoWith 3rd party appsNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoNoNo
Run/Walk ModeNoNoYesWith 3rd party appsYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Designed for swimmingPartialYesYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYsNoYEsNo
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingNoYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterNoYesNoYesNo
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)Distance, no strokeYesNoBasic stroke type onlyNo
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)NoYesYesBasic stroke type onlyYes
Indoor Drill ModeNoYesNoNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureNoYesNoYesNo
Change pool sizeNoYesYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsNo14M/15Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150Y/M1y/m to 1,500y/m+17M/18Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsNoYesYesVery limitedYes
Can change yards to metersNoYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsNoYesYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsNoYesYesYes (goals)Yes
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Designed for triathlonYesNoNoNot reallyNo
Multisport modeYesNoNoYesNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesWith 3rd party appsYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesSortaSorta (Pre-loaded)With 3rd party appsSorta
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNoNoSorta (Pacing feature)No
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesYesNoYes
Day to day watch abilityNoYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYesYesYesYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoNo (but some 3rd party apps can)With 3rd party appsNo (but some 3rd party apps can)
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoYes (to pre-saved spots)With 3rd party appsYes (to pre-saved spots)
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoWith 3rd party appsNo
Back to startYesNoYEsWith 3rd party appsYEs
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoWith 3rd party appsNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNOWith 3rd party appsNO
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Altimeter TypeGPSGPSBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeGPSN/AMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)NoYesNoYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYEsYEsNoYEs
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYesnoYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)YesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNo (Yes for VIRB camera control)NoNo (Yes for VIRB camera control)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)nonoNono
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYEsYEsYesYEs
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoYesNoYes
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYes--No-
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressNoneGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectNoneGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/Android/WindowsiOS/Android/WindowsiOS onlyiOS/Android/Windows
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkN/ALink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkN/A
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 310XTGarmin Swim 2Garmin VenuApple Watch Series 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Summary:

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:

Pro’s/Con’s:

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

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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896 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!

  3. Anonymous

    Does this give both “instantaneous pace” as well as average pace?

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    Ben

  7. 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. :-/

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    Sincerely

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

    Thanks!

    • 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).

  19. Michael

    THANK YOU! I wasn’t using the right app, but “yahoo fitness” did just what I’d hoped it would.

    Michael

  20. Michael

    Make that “wahoo fitness” 😉

  21. Paul Pritchard

    How will I connect to my I pad 3 if I buy this garmin 310 xt please.

  22. 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! 😉

  23. Barry in Ottawa

    Hi there DC Rainmaker: I have owned my Forerunner 310XT for over a year and it has been working great, until about 2 months ago. When I get back from a run and download the workout on Garmin connect, it does not appear to have recorded the map of where I ran. It records all the info I have programmed into the field section of the watch, but the map will not display. I have also downloaded the most recent upgrade. Any suggestions? Thank you. Barry Dmitruk

    • Rainmaker

      It sounds like it was perhaps in GPS-off mode? Are you running with a footpod (to get speed/distance)?

      Normally that mode will reset each time you turn the watch back on again (to GPS-on), unless you cancel it.

  24. Edwin

    Hello DC,

    First of all great review. I think it helps people a lot to actually see with your pictures and data what this watch does and does not.

    I have a practical question. How do you start this watch when it is under your swimming cap and you are standing at the starting line of a triathlon ? Do you start it and then put it onder your cap or do you start it under your cap and if so how are you sure it is started if you don’t see the watch ?

    Thanks,
    Edwin

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Edwin-

      Practice makes perfect!

      I just memorize the buttons. Which, is really only one (start/stop), and as long as you put the device in facing the same way each time it’s easy. It’ll buzz on your head so you know it’s started. I usually start it about 5-7 seconds ahead of the actual wave start.

      Enjoy!

  25. Hi Ray,

    I’ve decided to buy 310XT but before that I want to know if I can download workout files on a Linux machine. It will be great if you know anything regarding this issue.

    Thanks.

  26. Edwin

    Hello DC,

    Can you say something about the ski icon which you see at the “Other” sport modus. Can you change it in a swim icon and can you also change the name “Other” in “Swim”, maybe there is a sofware update for it ?

    • Rainmaker

      Unfortunately not. In the FR910XT the ski icon changed to a swim icon for swimming mode. But no way to update it like you can on some of the Polar watches.

  27. Wendell

    I was looking at the Edge 500 to replace a dead wired bike computer, and am now wondering whether you think that the 310XT is a good option instead? I stopped running a number of years ago, but do walk, nordic walk, as well as bike, and like the idea of geo-caching and tracking where I am at any given point in time.

    • Rainmaker

      It’s a good option, though the prices are about the same. Given you are doing other activities, it does make sense to pickup the FR310XT instead. Plus, you can pickup the quick release kit and easily attach it to your bike and also your wrist. Enjoy!

    • Wendell

      Thanks for the quick response. The 310xt is currently on sale for $50 off the regular price at Costco. The Costco package includes the hrm strap, which means that with a speed/cadence sensor the 310xt is the same price as the Edge500 on its own without any ANT+ accessories.

      Is the display as readable as the Edge 500? That’s the key draw for me as I need something that is easily read while using the device since I don’t wear my reading glasses while exercising.

    • Rainmaker

      The display is actually slightly more readable than the Edge 500. Both because of the quality of the display, but also the glass on top is less reflective in the 310XT than the Edge 500.

      The only thing you lose however is the Edge 500 can display 8 data fields at once, while the FR310XT can only display four at once. But keep in mind you can have multiple data pages (each with 4 fields), and all you have to do is just press the up/down key to change to a different page mid-run.

    • Wendell

      Brilliant. With the automatic scrolling feature, I’d set that to display what I want on a rotating basis anyway.

      Thanks so much for all this help — and what an outstanding site. I can’t imagine the time investment you are making here to benefit so many folks.

  28. Orlan

    Hi Sir,

    I am still trying to decide if I would buy the forerunner 305 or this model. I’m quite confused because the price of the forerunner 305 in amazon is more expensive than the forerunner 310 (both with HRM), considering that the latter has better features and waterproof. I was thinking that maybe the FR305 is more durable than the FR310. It’s been a long time now since your review of the FR310. Based on your experience with the two models, are they both reliable and durable.

    Thanks.

    • Rainmaker

      Yeah, the FR305 isn’t made anymore – hence why the price is so much higher. They stopped making it about 18-20 months ago. Definitely go for the FR310XT. It’s far more durable than the FR305, and newer (with more features and functionality).

      Enjoy!

  29. Orlan

    Many thanks Sir!

  30. David

    Hi Rainmaker

    Recently I lost my 2 year old FR305 ( damn bike ride) so I am thinking about getting a 310xt, do you know If I can still use my HRmonitor strap from the 305 or do I need to get a new one with the 310xt?
    Thanks for this great blog, trully impressive 🙂

    Cheers
    David from Portugal

    • Rainmaker

      Hi David-

      Yes, absolutely. The FR305 straps are ANT+ enabled, and the FR310XT is ANT+ capable. No problems using them together.

      Enjoy!

  31. D Brow

    Really great review, thank you so much.

    I’ve just ordered one of these… I was just wondering, like with older versions if you go ”exploring” trying to find new routes and get lost, is there a function that can guide me back to where i began my ride?

    Many thanks.

  32. rick

    hi there, can you change the fields on the navigation screen, when you have the compass screen showing, the 2 data fields to the right of the direction arrow, thanks

  33. Wendell

    The high-end HRM strap that is included in the bundle package has so-so reviews online. The cheaper old-style rubberized strap gets superior ratings for comfort and longevity. What was your experience with the new strap in terms of comfort, and perceived durability?

    • Rainmaker

      It’s fine, though all the Garmin straps have occasional spiking issues. I personally prefer the soft-strap over the rubber straps.

  34. K Opsata

    If you use moleskin behind the center section of the new Premium HRM strap it will not rub the skin off, on long hot, sweaty runs. TIP – cut the moleskin a little wider than the strap itself so the edges are not touching your skin. Also, only use the moleskin on the center section of the strap, not on the pickups.

  35. D Brow

    Hello again,

    Sorry I was just wondering one more thing.

    With respect to the battery charge, you state above that you get a low battery warning on the device. I received my 310XT last week and have been testing it out. My battery got down to one bar left and still no warnings had occurred so I opted to charge it as i don’t want it to run out of juice on a ride/run (upon plugging it in the screen stated that there was 18% charge) – thus you can safely assume each bar represents 20%.

    Do you know at what % remaining battery the ‘low’ battery level warning appears and also what this equates to in terms of time/distance left cycling/running… Just so i know if i can still go on a quick 20 miler say with one bar left?

    Thank you once again in advance.

  36. Craig

    Hello Rainmaker

    What is your opinion of the “manufactured refurbished” Garmin 310XT and the like? There are some good deals on ebay for Garmin 310XT, but the majority are manufactured refurbished…this makes me a little hesitant. Are the watches still worth buying?
    I read your Garmin HQ visit post, so I am thinking that maybe it would not be a bad deal to get a Garmin refurbished watch.

    • Rainmaker

      I’d have no problem purchasing one. They’re effectively new units by time they get back.

    • Completely agree. I purchased a manufactured refurbished 310XT with heart rate monitor for $139 from Buy Dig and it’s working out amazing. The one thing to note when buying a refurbished product is that you’ll need an invoice from the company (not from eBay) for Garmin’s warranty to work. Thankfully Buy Dig was nice enough to supply that so my watch has its warranty!

  37. Eli

    Seems like if you have r-r interval recording enabled and do a century bike ride the ride will show up under history on the watch but no data will be available to download under \History or \Activities.

    Wonder why there is both a TCX and a FIT file recorded when it seems like everything in the TCX file is in the FIT file and the FIT file is so much smaller, Seems like disabling the TCX file generation would make the device able to record much more.

    • Rainmaker

      The .FIT file is all that’s created by the watch. The .TCX file is created by the ANT Agent after transferring to the computer. The reason for the .TCX file is that when the FR310XT first came out, .FIT files were new, and no 3rd party apps supported them. Today, most modern apps support them, though some apps still depend on the .TCX files. Given the ‘cost’ of space for any of these files is ultra-tiny, it’s no big deal on any computer built in the last decade

    • Eli

      that makes more sense then recording both. Just wonder how my century ride disappeared while the older activities and the short test activity I did after are still there. Guess next time I should break up rides into 50 mile lengths.

  38. Ralph

    Hi Rainmaker
    I’m living in Switzerland and reading your page as often as I can. Very useful – appreciate your work!
    In my preparation for a 100k I was looking for a watch with battery power over 8h – found it – after reading article about forerunner 301xt. Thank you for your work!
    Regards,
    Ralph

  39. Bernhard

    Hello!

    First of all thanks for your excellent reviews. I have a hopefully not too daft questions, but I can’t find a definite answer to it: Is the 310XT that is sold without the heart rate monitor actually the same watch as the one with the heart rate monitor? Or in other words:if I save myself a few quid and go for the version without the HRM, can I use the chest strap of my 405?

    Thanks
    Bernhard

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, exact same unit. And what you describe doing is what most folks do when upgrading from other Garmin watches. Enjoy!

  40. Bernhard

    Thanks very much! Just ordered the 310XT!

  41. Ching Zhi Yun

    Hi DC Rainmaker,

    I need a watch that provides me accurate speed and distance for paddling. Much of my friends and coaches are using the 310XT, I would like to ask is it still worth to buy it or i should invest more on the 910XT as its a newer model.

    My main usage is for Paddling on water, Kayak or DragonBoat. Using it to coach as well. Thanks. Looking forward to your reply.

    • Rainmaker

      The FR310XT at sub-$200 is an awesome buy. Looking at what you plan to use it for, you’d get nothing out of the FR910XT because you wouldn’t be using a power meter or the swimming metrics. Save the cash and enjoy the FR310XT.

  42. Rock

    My FR305 got wet and I can’t get it working. I am looking to replace it. Does the 305 heart rate strap work with the 310XT?

  43. Adam

    Hi Ray!
    I love your reviews! I bought the garmin 310xt off of reading this review actually
    But I didn’t buy the heart rate monitor that came along with it and I’m kind of regretting that.
    Are there any other heart rate monitors that are compatible with the garmin besides its own?
    Thanks again

    Adam

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, you can get anything with the ANT+ logo on the back. Essentially, any strap except a Polar one.

      So, as long as it says “ANT+” in the name, you’re good. Timex, Garmin, Motorola, Magellan, CycleOps, etc.. all offer them. Though historically Garmin’s strap is the cheapest (they have three variants of it).

  44. Don

    I am looking to upgrade from a FR 305. I’m looking for a watch to use in ultramarathons. So I need long battery life, but I probably wont use many of the swimming features (at least for now). Which is the better buy? The 310xt at around $230 or the 910xt at around $330?

    • Eli

      The 310xt is $170 on clevertraining now

    • Rainmaker

      Indeed. And actually, since you’re a FR305 user, you can send in your old watch and get $50 off. So that FR910XT goes from being on sale at $299 to $249 – only about $20 more than you had planned at $230.

  45. Stijn

    Dear Ray,

    First of all, thank you for your awesome reviews!

    I’ve just started doing triathlons and I’m looking to buy either a 310XT of 910XT. I’m still a student, so tempted to go with the 310XT. However, this review is already from september 2009. This seems kind of old, so is there a new version coming soon which I can better wait for?

    Sincerely,
    Stijn

    • Rainmaker

      I’m constantly updating it – so it’s actually pretty accurate. You can check out the FR910XT review, which has more comparative information in it between the two.

      There’s no new FR310XT/910XT coming this triathlon season. Hope this helps!

      Enjoy!

    • Stijn

      Thanks for your quick response. Since my bday is coming up next week, I decided to treat myself and go with the 910XT. Ordered it from clevertraining via your site, so some small $$$ should be coming your way now… 😉

  46. Wendell

    Ray — I am still vacillating between the 310XT and Edge 500 and now am suffering from information overload. How would these units work if I wanted to use either cross-country skiing in the winter?

    Also what issues should I be aware of vis-a-vis signal interference between my Polar RS200 and any ANT+ device when using it? I now have the option of getting either unit for free (I could even get the 910XT for free if I wanted, but I think it’s wasted on me as I don’t swim other than paddling in the ocean with a boogie board on family holidays) – both without the HR strap however, I’d need that separate along with the cadence/speed sensor.

    Great site — I hate opening up one of your reviews only because I know how much time I have to put into reading it. I have yet to read one of your reviews in a single sitting — how on earth to you find the time to do this stuff???

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Wendell-

      For cross-country skiing the 310XT is definitely your better bet. For example, the Edge 500 doesn’t do pace, only speed (MPH/KPH).

      No interference issues with the Polar and ANT+, I’ve always done testing (even with two straps on), and no problems.

      As for time…not sure. Wish I had more of it. 🙂

  47. JK

    I am confused to choose between 310XT and FR410. I used to track my run using Android Apps but now wanted to go for a proper GPS watch so that I don’t spoil my phone. My budget is around $200 and I will be using it in India. I will be using it primarily for running and occasionally for cycling.

    Since 310XT was launched way back in 2009 will it be pulled from market in the near term?

    I prefer to go for 310XT as I get some additional features compared to FR410/610.

  48. Michael Shina

    Can you tell me is there is a way to increase the text size on the display screen?

  49. Randy Lorge

    Is there any way to check the 310’s calibration? I road a 1/2 IM course this weekend and I was off by 1.25 miles. My training partner wore his 910 and was almost perfect with 56 mi. As I read your article, which was great by the way, (thank you!) I wonder if it could have been due to slight signal loss during the ride, Your thoughts?

    • You can look at satellite reception during the ride, but that tends to not be terribly useful.

      I’d look at the map and see if there were any spots were anything went ary (i.e drastic shifts off of the actual road you rode).

  50. Wendell

    I pulled the trigger and ordered a 310XT last night. It is coming to me via a corporate award system, so I am not paying a penny. The downside is that it will take a couple of weeks to get to me because of the way the program is set up. Thanks again for your work on these reviews and in keeping them up to date with the comments section.

  51. AJ

    I was wondering about the battery life of the 310xt. Your reviews are great but I was wondering if since release they have changed the watch to have an off gps mode that would allow for extended wear time beyond the 20 hours for it to be a feasible regular watch? Any comments on this would be much appreciated.

    • Whoops, replied to the thread instead of your comment.

      “There is a GPS off mode on the watch but I do not know how much it extends the battery by. I wonder if anyone has tested that out!”

    • Rainmaker

      It does save the battery, but I haven’t tested it to see exactly how much. I did test the FR910XT in this method though, and it’s rated at 20hrs and with the GPS off in ANT+ recording mode you get about 55 hours. I’d expect the FR310XT to be a touch less, but in that ballpark.

  52. Ralph

    I bought this watch two weeks ago. Had Timex IRONMAN before. Garmin 310xt is massiv better. If you like to do an ultra (more then 4h running) you do not like to have the concern about the battery life during the exercise. I’m now happy about my new watch 🙂 Only thing I had problems with the Heart Rate Strap: My cheast was bloody after 40k – so I wrote to garmin. Short mail conversation later Garmin sent me a former model of the strap and I sent back the new one. Perfect support from Garmin side!!! To buy this product was a realy good descission (taken after reading dcrainmaker side 🙂 Thx again!
    Cheers from Switzerland
    Ralph

  53. Elizabeth

    Ok so it’s about four years after your first review of this product so it’s pretty dated but of all the reading I’ve done on garmins I’m STILL drawn to this one. I can’t decide! I’ve been a runner for 6 years and I’m also a swimmer but I can basically hold my own in water distance since I mainly swim in a pool. I love that I could stick it in my swim cap but since it has been a few is there another you’d recommend? I really am concerned with pace and absolutely distance. I don’t want to spend $400 dollars on the glass screen 610 or whatever version. Help pleaseeeeee!!! Is this watch outdated and I should be considering a new version? Or is it still worth the general 250 asking price?

    • Rainmaker

      the FR910XT is the most recent variant of the FR310XT. But for the money (these days close to $200, usually around $212), this is pretty much the most full featured deal on the marketplace today. You’re not going to go wrong with it.

  54. Markus

    Great reviews, Mr. Rainmaker 😉 Thanks a lot!
    I’m a bit confused about Virtual Racer. My small Garmin flyer says the 310XT has both, Virtual Partner and Virtual Racer, Garmin’s website in German says it has only Virtual Partner while the website in English says it has Virtual Racer as well.
    Can someone help?
    Thanks!

    • Rainmaker

      Hmm, interesting. I’m seeing conflicting stuff here as well. Says no here: link to buy.garmin.com

      But then I wrote about it a bit later on in a different post elsewhere. I need to see when exactly it was added in and update accordingly.

  55. Wendell

    My new 310XT arrived via courier today — and I am stoked to try it out — unfortunately this weekend may not work as I am booked solid with several things. At least it’s now in-hand.

  56. First off, awesome job with this review! You never cease to amaze me with the great lengths you go to to inform your readers. Thanks to this review, I recently purchased the 310XT and I LOVE it! This watch has served me well over the last couple of months that I’ve had it. The battery life is phenomenal and plus its waterproof! I can use it for well over 2 weeks without charging, and that’s running over 30 miles a week. It isn’t exactly the prettiest watch, but the orange is kind of cool. Here’s a review I did (which doesn’t even compare to yours): link to forkstofeet.com
    A friend of mine also recommended the 305 for me but I didn’t like the reviews on the satellite loading times. The 210, 410, and 610 look more sleek and casual, but really I kind of like the look of a small computer on my arm, lol. I’m sort of a geek, so that’s a plus for me. I have also heard of complaints about the sensitivity of the bezels on these devices. I would recommend that people look at their budgets and needs before purchasing a GPS watch. These watches can get pretty expensive. But, then again, running is probably the cheapest sport around.

  57. Wendell

    Was able to run an initial pilot with my 310XT on my daily morning walk with my wife. All worked perfectly — although I do need to still work through how to set up the scrolling data so I can get the current time displayed every so often. I was so impressed with it’s ease of use — turn it on, press start and off we go. It was quite a treat to see the map of our walk by the Ottawa River and get data regarding pace, speeds, etc. Tomorrow I’ll get on my bike — although I don’t yet have the HRM or the speed/cadence sensor.

  58. Edwin

    Hello DC,

    Is it possible to upload your activities to your smartphone(Samsung), if so what app(software) do you need ? and what hardware do you need; for example if you need the usb stick I need a cable with an usb end to connect with my phone, I think.

    Simply asked what do I need to make this work ?

    Thanks.

    Edwin

  59. Scott

    Hi DC. I use to have the 910xt but the heart rate monitor started to read erratically so I returned it. Thinking about trying the 310xt now. Does the 310xt download the grade data to garmin connect so that you can see it after the ride? Thanks.

    • It transmits elevation data to Garmin Connect, but not actual grade information. Garmin Connect doesn’t show grade, but some sites do. For example Training Peaks does, and when I upload data from my Garmin, training peaks will automatically calculate the grade.

      The challenge is that while grade is displayed, it’s not actually recorded. So it has to be mathematically determined each time.

  60. Brian

    Hey again!

    So, I’m returning the Timex Marathon my wife bought me for my birthday. I’m debating between the Garmin FR10 and 310XT now. Is the extra 50 bucks worth the extra functions? I occassionaly do traithlons but at the moment I’m running more. I like to cycle though. Also wondernig if people use these types of awtches for events like tough mudder.

    • Given the other events you’re looking at, I’d go FR310XT over FR10. if it were just running, then I’d stick with the FR10, but since you’re doing multiple sports, I’d go with the multisport device.

  61. John

    I am a beginner triathlete and am training for my first sprint triathlon. I am looking at the timex global trainer and the garmin 310XT.

    Which do you recommend? Or should i consider another watch based on your experience?

    Garmin is lower priced (~$220 vs. $240) and I hear that the software is better.

    Thanks.

    • FR310XT, easily. Given the price point (which, btw, should be closer to $169 w/o the HR strap this week), and the features, the FR310XT wins easily.

  62. Hey Ray, I have never found such an indepth review like the ones I find here in your blog. I suggest anybody looking for real reviews from a real user to make this blog their first stop and if you can’t find it here then you can go anywhere else but this blog defenitely must be your first stop.

    I guess the time you spent into the gadgets world + your running experience make a great mix for you to inform and give precise info to help people make a well informed choice.

    I am a newbie in sports and also in gadget things but I wrote about why I chose the 310xt at link to squidoo.com but of course i just give my point of view and it is not an actual descriptive review of the watch. I just explain the things that made me choose it.

    Way to go man! Keep it up!!

  63. gil

    Super review, just purchased 310xt.

    The quick release kit sent to me is quite different from the one you describe as there is no auxillary “flimsy”wristband. Rather they have you taking the orange wristband pieces off, attach the back locking piece and they have a new base piece where you reattach the orange band straps back on by screws
    (which I already lost and asked garmin for replacement). This extra base makes the profile of the unit even bigger. Have not tried it in a race yet. Also the bike mount is different. Basically a small piece of plastic held to the bike by a circular strap (not zip ties). Mounting can be in the stem or handlebar.

    is is better to use this on ones wrist in the swim or in the cap (never tried this).?
    First race coming up…how do you set it up for a race to start in the swim and move through each of the stages.

    Again super review.

    • Yup, they started shipping the orange variant about 2 years ago I think. Similar concept though, just re-enforced a bit.

      In general, I’d go with swim-cap if you want the most accurate distance. Also, be wary that with the unit on your wrist you do run the risk of it being yanked off if in a rough swim segment. It’s not super-common, but I do hear of it happening about once every 2 months.

  64. Evgeniy

    Hello. I bought a watch garmin forruner 310xt. After a few workouts I decided to download them to garmin connect. When I uploaded the garmin connect trainings were named “untitled” why they don’t have a name?. I not properly loaded? Or in the garmin connect you need to manually sign? Tell me what to do at the training was the name.

    • All uploads will be marked as ‘Untitled’. You can click on that text on Garmin Connect to rename it to something more descriptive – such as “Sunday Run”. Enjoy!

  65. Faisal

    Hi Ray, I really appreciate your reviews.

    Can you please recommend if the 310xt is still a good buy. In this rapidly changing world of technology 3 years is really a very very long time and do you think that this watch is showing it’s age now?
    Thanks

    • Absolutely, it’s definitely still very relevant. With the exception of not doing indoor swimming (or doing outdoor swimming as well), it’s still among the top 3 triathlon units out there. The others would be the Garmin FR910XT, and the Suunto Ambit 2/2s.

      Given the prices these days, it’s a steal.

  66. martins

    You wrote:

    At the moment, I know of no device that can be worn on your wrist and track distance in an open-water situation

    Maybe you should check out the poolmate link to swimovate.com

    And write a review about it.

    Nice review and thanks!

    • Correct, it’s not an openwater watch (and I have reviewed it). 😉

      Also, that was a few years ago. Nowadays, the Garmin FR910XT and Suunto Ambit 2/2s can do it.

  67. martins

    ahh just found that it is not meant for open water swimming link to totalimmersion.net

  68. So I took my Forerunner 310XT for a short swim.
    Result: Moisture on the inside of the glass and a non-responsive unit.
    Strange since improved waterproofing capabilities was one of the selling points for 310XT over 305.

    Anyone with similar experiences – solutions? I have seen problems reported with 405.
    Did Garmin announce a product recall I missed?

    I got the unit in October 2010, so unfortunately no warranty.
    Too bad, especially since I am starting training for tri.

    • It’s definitely not normal.

      Typically from what I’ve seen, waterproofing issues fall into one of two camps. First is a manufacturing defect. These tend to enumerate themselves almost immediately, in the first few weeks. The second is a use-caused issue, such as dropping the unit on concrete or similar, causing a small usually/sometimes invisible crack in the casing (usually around the glass edge) that lets tiny bits of water in, causing the moisture you see.

      I wish I had a better answer there. Typically Garmin will replace units out of warranty for about $85US.

  69. Janus

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for your quick reply.

    I have no reasons to believe the unit has been dropped on a con concrete floor or similar. But of course I cannot really be 100 pct. sure since I do not have the unit with me all the time. Until recently it has been used primarily for running.

    I have mailed Garmin as suggested. Keeping my fingers crossed for a solution. Mini-tri coming up in three weeks – and I dont think I can do it without the right gadget. Or: Maybe destiny is simply telling me to stop, or to get the 910XT 😉

    Meanwhile my 310XT takes a dry dive:
    link to flickr.com

    Kind regards,
    Janus

  70. Sudhir

    Between 910XT and 310XT, which is more accurate (distance wise and elevation wise)? I am contemplating between these two models. Thanks!

    • They are both fairly similar when it comes to distance accuracy.

      Elevation accuracy depends a lot on which FR910XT firmware version you’re on, as they seem to break it about every other one. That said, in theory the barometric altimeter in the FR910XT would be more accurate than the GPS one in the 310XT.

  71. Michal

    Hello Ray!

    I am just about to order a new watch for triathlons based on your response to my question regarding power meter support. I currently have the Forerunner 305 and about to upgrade to 310xt. It’s got a really good price online but I would appreciate your advice on the choice between 310xt and 910xt? Is it worth extra 200 dollars? A few notes: I do not use the watch in the pool as I swim with the club and not just laps so it is pointless for me to use it in there. I would use the watch for triathlon races and training with the powermeter. I do not really care about the barometric altimeter that 910xt has. Is there anything else that 910xt is better at? Thank you in advance!

    • As you noted, the FR910XT would definitely be better in the pool (since it does it, but the 310XT doesn’t). But if that’s not of concern, the other major area of difference is the power meter piece.

      In that case, the core difference is that the FR910XT contains the TSS/NP/IF metrics, which are used for doing realtime analysis of effort when training with a power meter. If you don’t use those metrics at all today, then that’s not of issue. Additionally, the FR910XT also supports left/right power meters, and while there are only a few on the market today, that’s about to expand coming months.

      Beyond that, the differences are all pretty minimal. You get a touch bit better battery on the 910XT, but for most the FR310XT is plenty. Also, the 910XT contains a barometric altimeter, which can (but not always) produce better graphs and data.

      Hope this helps!

  72. Michal

    Yes, Ray. Thank you very much for your help! as for the power meter work, I got a Powertap G3 and I have never trained with any of these devices before so I don’t think the above mentioned metrics will matter much straight away. So I guess the 310xt is a sensible choice…

  73. waldo

    What is the navigation piece like in the 310xt? Is there some sort of track-back functionality? If I’ve wandered off in the woods and want to go home, how useful will the device be?

    Thanks!

    • Janus

      Hi waldo. Yes there is a get-me-back-in-unknown-area feature. It’s doesn’t provide a map, but you’ll get bread crumbs, distance and an arrow; a kind of “boy scout orienteering” as DC Ray wrote, reviewing 305 🙂 link to dcrainmaker.com

      Janus

  74. karthik

    Hey great review. i just purchased my new garmin 310 XT and the device doesnt switch on. i mean, the backlight gets on, and the buzzer tone. rest nothing else. no text, no nothing. can u please help???

  75. Masa

    Hi Ray, Thanks for great reviews always. and sorry to send you the question via such older review.

    I am 310XT user and recently got 2nd power meter (stages) in addition to my powertap. I have edge800 as well but just keep the edge and want my 310XT to pair only stages. However, my 310 XT never forget the powertap. Always i see “Multiple power sensor detected.” message. Even if I tried soft/hard/factory reset with remove the powertap battery, it never forget the powertap.
    Do you know the exact procedure to unpair an old powermter from 310XT?

    I wanna do is just record a few rides with both powertap and stages to identify how much drift they gonna have.

  76. willmie

    You a genius mate.Have a blissful summer

  77. Anastacia

    Hi Ray! Thanks for this wonderful review! I know you have made this review quite some time now. Just wanna ask if your 310xt is still working? I have read other reviews which mentions that the unit doesn’t last long (lasts roughly a year only). Given the expensive price tag, I want something that would be durable given that I’ll be using it for tri-training. Hoping for your response!

  78. Terry

    Awesome blog, thank you so much

  79. williamson de Lima Santos

    Hi, I’m from Brazil.
    the information I got here is nice for me. I am just a ordinary person that likes to run. Actually I consider myself always a beginner because I do it just to be in a good shape an physically well.
    Sorry about my ( may be fool ) question:
    Does the 310xt can help me in my trains? for example, I walk x minutes an than run y minutes for 10 km. ( or for 1 hour). What I want know is whether this gear can advise me ( show me or sound it to me) the turn to run and the turn to walk in a configured fashion way. In others words, when I start doing my training I would like to have one way just to configure the gear to automatically tell me to walk and after this time walking, sound me (or buzz or show in the screen ) to start to walk again and so on.
    Is this possible on a 310xt. ?
    I asked this because I’m 56 years old, and I usually run/walk at night and sometime is really difficult to see the screen and it would be more comfortable just doing my planed training without having to look the watch time to time. It would be really nice just run/walk following the advices emitted by the gear instead of be looking to it several times along the run.
    Please , if it is possible, could you answer to my own email?
    WLSANTOS@GMAIL.COM
    I will appreciate very much.
    thanks in advance.
    best regards,
    williamson

    • The FR310XT doesn’t contain a run/walk program, but the FR910XT and FR610 do contain run/walk functions.

      In the case of the FR310XT, you can use repeating alarms (i.e. every 1KM, or every 10min) to automatically do something similar. Not perfect, but in the ballpark.

  80. SDB

    Hi DC,

    I’m SDB from Catalonia.

    I would like to ask you a question about forerunner 310xt (and 910xt and edge 500).

    I used to run with forerunner 305 but “he” passed to a better life … when I went to run on the mountain, I used to follow a routes/tracks and it worked fine.

    But now, I have the 310xt. When I’m navigating, the thick black line or the entirely map constantly disappears. If I’m on route and if I set the points closer than 20 meters inside the gpx file, it works fine, but the problem is when I’m off-route.

    There are multiple threads about it on forums, but specially this one:
    link to forums.garmin.com

    Others:
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com
    link to forums.garmin.com

    This problem is well known in a forerunner 910xt and edge 500 also.

    I asked to garmin but they don’t answer me.

    Do you know something about it? or how to solve it?

    Thanks,
    SDB

  81. KK

    I have small wrisrts was wondering is there a fabric band (like the one for 305) for the 310XT? Love the review! Thanks!

  82. Romain

    Hello!

    Very impressive website, thanks a lot for all the reviews.

    I just bought myself a 310xt and it is working just fine.

    You have mentioned that you have contact with Garmin. Do you know if they plan to introduce the uploading of waypoint (to use also the watch for Geocatching), this is the only defect I can see on this watch so far.

    I am also afraid to loose the watch while swimming as a friend lost two 310xt during IM and triathlon 🙁

    • No, Garmin doesn’t plan any further updates to the FR310XT. The Fenix does support geocaching.

    • Romain

      Thanks for the reply!

      Would have been a nice feature.

      Have you ever lost a watch while swimming? Including the cap trick!

    • I haven’t. But I know those certainly have. It’s far less likely with swim cap. The challenge with the FR310XT in a race situation is really getting it whacked by someone else. The pins aren’t terribly strong compared to newer units.

  83. Eugene

    The code DCR10ZTG doesn’t work on Clever Training…
    Error msg was ”
    THAT COUPON CAN ONLY BE USED ON SELECTED PRODUCTS. NONE OF THE ALLOWED PRODUCTS ARE IN YOUR SHOPPING CART. (DCR10ZTG)”

  84. I just ordered my watch! Thanks so much for all the great reviews and help in the comments! Also used your discount code at Clever Training.

    • J.Griffin

      For those still shopping – Amazon price for the just the 310 is 180.80 w/ free shipping. Currently my trusty 305 is still working, the 310 will be my replacement and I’m hoping that maybe towards the holidays the prices really drops (like below $150).

      Just don’t wanna pay $300-400 for the latest 610/910. Even w/ the current rebates seems too much. Garmin need to release some new killer (bug free) versions at better price points.

  85. Eugene

    Hi Meagan, when did you order the FR310?? I tried but code does not work…:(

  86. Lindsey

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the great review. Based on that, I’ve just bought the 310XT! Just one question, in the initial set-up, it didn’t ask me the last two questions you mention (activity class and lifetime athlete). As soon as I put in my height it started looking for satellites. I tried resetting the watch and went through the process again but the same thing happened. Any ideas or advice for me please? Thanks!

  87. Alfonso

    Thank you for the super complete review.

    One question, do you know if Garmin or any other manufacturer will ever come out with a device that you can actually wear on your wrist when you are swimming and that it actually works?

    Thanks a bunch,

  88. flamesniper

    Howdy! Your review really helped me and I am very pleased to be the new owner of the 310! I managed to bum a HRM off of a friend and it synchs well with the 310. However, I want to know how to setup the 310 so I can track calories burned at my crossfit classes too – I don’t know how to do this though and google was not much helpful. Advice would be much much appreciated!

  89. David

    Hi! I was wondering if I should buy the 310 or the 910 now or wait a bit till Garmin releases a “newer” watch. They both have a few years running and maybe the will release a newer model soon.

    What do you think?

    Maybe I´m just stupid for wanting the latest.

  90. Joao Baccile

    Hi! First of all, sorry my english! I really don’t speak very well.

    Thank you for such awesome review!

    Well, I’ve just bought this watch and there is something that made me confused. After a recharge, twice, I’ve just looked some functions and then I’ve turned off the 310xt. The day after when I turned on the watch, a message appeared talked about a low battery. Do you know why?

    Thank you in advance!

    Best regards,

    Joao Baccile from Brazil.

  91. Dennis

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for the awesome review, and that you still reply to comments after several years! Based on your review I bought this a few months ago. Been loving it since and use it almost every day. As of late I started to have some issues. Not specifically with the watch itself, but more with Garmin connect / ANT+ agent.

    For some reason the ANT+ agent crashes when it tries to transfer data. After a restart of the agent I have to enable pairing again. Then the upload works. But I have to do this after every single workout. Another feature that never seem to have worked is: after creating workouts / planning workouts on Garmin connect, to download this to the watch. Same goes for HR zones I setup in Garmin Connect.

    Did you encounter any of these issues? or did the functionality change over the years?
    Thanks in advance!

    Kind regards,

    Dennis (Netherlands)

    • Dennis

      Yes, using 2.3.4, as this is the latest version since feb. 12, 2012.

      Also, the second link seems to target windows XP….running windows 8, although that shouldn’t be a problem…It worked fine for the first few months (besides the pushing of workouts to the watch, this never worked)

    • You’re best bet may be to see if something changes on your computer recently – especially if you know of the date, you can use the Windows System Restore functionality to ‘roll back’ the system settings of your computer. The feature is in the Accessories area and doesn’t impact things like documents, etc…

    • Eli

      Have you looked though and/or posted here? link to forums.garmin.com

    • Dennis

      No major changes on the computer. More affraid something isn’t working properly within the watch, as pushing workouts from garmin connect never worked. or maybe the usb stick for the ANT+ Agent. I tried switching usb ports as well. No results
      Just in case I sent a mail to the technical support team.

      Tomorrow I will install everything on my other notebook to see how it works there. As this notebook is kinda outdated.

      Thanks for all the answers/support.

  92. kimla310

    First, thanks for an amazing review! I’ve been running with this watch for a couple of weeks and have a question that the manual can’t seem to answer for me – (probably my fault, but still…)
    Virtual Partner and auto lap: do these work together? I have VP turned on, and I typically run with auto lap on as well but the only alert I get is the auto lap markers. I can’t seem to make VP work– ever!
    Thanks for your help!

  93. Wendell

    For the first time today, I experienced disappointment with my 310xt …. battery went dead during a bike ride along the eastern run of Ottawa River Parkway. Of course, I didn’t think to look at the battery meter last time I used it so I guess there is some onus on user-to-device interface.

    All in all, I am very happy with this device … it does exactly what I want it to do. I am looking forward to giving it a go in the winter as I try cross-country skiing this year.

  94. Compliments for this best review ever I read about all the functions of the 310xt. I do posess and use it almost two years now and I had some troubles in uploading. So I googled and read your review. I learned a lot but I still had tot contact Garmin to solve the problem. Unfortunately a hard reset was necessary. But really you deserve a lot of compliments about all the ins and outs about the 310. I will mention you in my dutch blog.

    Keep running etc.

    Dorothé

  95. Lovey

    I have had a Garmin Forerunner 305 since 2010.
    About 2 weeks ago, it fell apart, literally. Garmin said I have two choices. They can replace it with a refurbished unit for $80 OR give me up to $80 towards another unit.
    I loved my F305 but it doesn’t have heart rate based calories for indoors because it goes by distance. I can’t use it for spin class, boot camp or strength training.

    I want to use it mainly for running (primarily outdoors) and indoor workouts like spin class, boot camp or strength training. If it is water resistant, I can swim with it but that’s not a must. Especially since it probably wouldn’t read my HR underwater anyway. I just track my swim by total time and distance.
    I have a different non-Garmin bike computer with cadence

    Any recommendations?
    Should I get the same unit or trade for something else?

  96. Al

    Hey DC, thanks for all your reviews. I’ve read many of them and finally decided on the 310XT. Glad I picked it btw.
    I have a question though regarding when you first turn it on for the first time. My watch showed a couple of tips and went directly to the stats display screen instead of asking the questions on set up. Is that common for a NEW watch or did I get duped with a refurbished one sold as a new? I got it for a fairly good deal ($170 w/HR monitor).

    Also, I’ve done some comparing between the 310 and my cell phone GPS running program. While the road courses seems to be identical in terms of recording distance, the 310 tends to be a bit off on the track. It usually laps about 10 meters before the phone GPS which seems to be more accurate by the track markers. The pace on the 310 also seems to be more generous (both road and track). Is that common? and is there a fix?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks for any help!

    • I think the initial firmware got changed slightly. But it usually does initially ask those. Try and double-check and see if it’s up to date on firmware, that may help any track issues.

      As for on-the-track accuracy, it’s really tough for any GPS device. See this post on that a bit: link to dcrainmaker.com

  97. Simon

    Hi,
    I am looking at getting a GPS Heart rate monitor watch and have checked your reviews on the Polar RC3 and the Garmin 310XT. I mainly ride mountain bikes but do run and swim. Which would you recommend. I have only used Polar before, and was put off Garmin for it not being a day to day watch which I would prefer, and I see this is different with the 310XT. I alos notice there is not much different in price. Do I get as much Heart rate training information with the Garmin as I would do with the Polar?
    I look forward to your reply.

    thanks

    • From a data standpoint, yes, the FR310XT gives the same data during the activity and afterwards. From a training standpoint (guidance/coaching), the Polar’s tend to do a bit better job there with some of their coaching features. Though, there are new training plans on Garmin’s site too.

  98. Mary

    Hello!

    Awesome review – thanks so much! I’ve been a loyal Forerunner 305 runner for the past 6 years, but marathon training in the heat this summer has been tough. I’ve had a ton of problems with the watch shutting off mid run and the sound is completely gone (I blame this largely on sweat corroding the inside). Looking to upgrade before MCM in two weeks and am wondering if the Forerunner 310xt is a good replacement… or if another watch is coming out soon (seeing as your review is about 4 years old!). Right now, I primarily use it for marathon pacing etc but am looking to get into triathlons (though the forerunner 910xt is a bit fancier – and pricier – than I need). Also found the 310xt for a great price on heartratemonitorsusa.com – have you ever heard of/used this site? Advice would be appreciated – thank you!

    • If you’re just doing running, I’d encourage you to check out the just announced FR220/FR620. If you’re looking at tri’s though, then checkout the FR910XT, or the Ambit 2s.

      As far as sites, you can support the site here and pickup any of those devices and also get 10% off your order upon checkout. Just see the links at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

  99. Jim

    Hey DC
    I just read your “Fenix” review while researching it. Amazing work. I’m an ultra-marathoner & was really taken by the battery life of the Fenix. Your review saved me a pile of $$$, so thanks for that.

    I started researching the FR 310XT and I’m pretty convinced i’ll get one. I’ll never be a sub 20 hour hundred guy, but this will work well for 99% of my training runs. My question, if the backlight function is set to stay on, how does that affect battery life? Also, what is the most current version of Firmware installed on the new devices?

    Keep up the very good work. tkx/jim

    • You can set the backlight to turn off after a specified period of time (i.e. 15 seconds), or, to simply stay on. It definitely impacts it, but I don’t have a solid number there honestly.

      The new devices should have the latest version, but if not, no worries, it only takes about 4-5 minutes to update it.

  100. victor m

    Thanks for the review – this is an awesome tech site!
    Would one assume that a strateye wireless cadence detector communicate with a garmin 310?

    thx

  101. simon

    Well I was deciding between the RC3 and the 310XT for some time, I have used polar previously and was happy with the way they worked. But I thought I would try the Garmin to see. I got the unit 310XT. It was bigger than i expected at first, and being used to the polar and the way they worked, It took me a time to understand anything with the 310xt.. I downloaded the manual and read it.. since then I LOVE the unit. setting the screens for the info you want was awesome. I have linked it to Strava and since then I have had a new lease of life with my training! If you want a good heart rate monitor with a GPS that is waterproof this is the unit..

  102. astrojuan

    Hi DC, I left my 310xt charging overnight 3x..will this damage the battery or does it have a special feature that will automatically stop charging the unit once full.

    Thanks,

  103. Gabriele

    Hi DC, thanks for your reviews always apprecciated !

    I’m thinking on buying the Forerunner310, and I was asking how precise and stable is the instant pace during running. Is it comparable with the one from Polar RC3 (I’ve seen in your review that the instant pace is great with the RC3)?

    Another “concern” is about spikes in the HRM, since I’ve seen that a lot of pepole had something to complain; is this problem been solved with latest firmware ?

    Thanks a lot !

    • It’s pretty comparable on pace – you don’t see many (any) complaints about the FR310XT instant pace.

      For HRM spikes, it’s really a strap thing. If you pickup the newer HRM3 strap it’s generally a lot better (though not perfect).

  104. DexTan

    i just noticed a SWIM setting you can toggle On and Off under the OTHER sports (4.5 firmware), what does it do when i turn it on for actual swimming?

  105. DexTan

    thanks Ray!

  106. Henrik Olesen

    Hi

    Thanks for all the interesting information. I have a FR310 and is very happy for this, but I have now got a problem, when I start does it not go further than the screen saying “Garmin”, at the same time does the start/stop button seem to be locked or moving very little, thus I suspect it can be dirt under the cover pushing the button down !
    Anyone who have experienced anything similar and know how to solve this ?

  107. Adam Casson-Crook

    Hello

    Can you tell me why my Garmin 310xt turns pairing off everytime I turn it off. Then when I upload my stats everytime I have to repair with the ANt agent?
    Thanks Adam

    • It shouldn’t stay on. It’s supposed to turn off as soon as it pairs with the computer. Once paired, it’ll remember it and not broadcast the pairing announcement. At that point it’ll automatically transfer the files anytime it comes nearby – no further changes to pairing mode required.

  108. Becky

    I’m looking for a new GPS for running and biking. I like to be able to use it for intervals, especially if I can set the workout ahead of time. I had a Garmin 405 in the past that stopped working after a run in the rain. I’ve been using an app on my phone but have been frustrated by the inaccuracy. I had decided on the nike+ GPS but then saw the FR310XT for not much more. Which would you go with?

  109. Kristoffer

    I am really enjoying your site, and especially your reviews!

    One question; How is the size the Garmin heart rate monitor strap? Will it fit a small woman (5ft 2inc) and barely 50kg? Some straps tend to be a bit big (even if its one size fits all), so you’ll ending up with buying a special strap as well.

  110. Philip

    DC, I have a couple of random questions/issues about the 310xt for you. Have you had an issue with the watch hanging at the boot screen for 5-15 minutes? This happens to me once or twice a month and it is really annoying, especially if you are running with a group and want to log your own data. I am thankful that I have good buddies that have been willing to wait for the watch to catch up (although they are used to it taking 2 minutes or so to get a lock), but I feel like I waist a fair amount of time just waiting on this watch to get a fix. My watch has had the 4.2 firmware on it pretty much since I bought it.
    The heart rate stopped reading anywhere close to accurately as well. I recently purchased an HRM3 strap and was able to reuse the transmitter from the original (HRM2?) and now it works fine. I was a little disappointed with Garmin on that one since it was only a year and a half old.
    Did your backlight at night stop working? It worked for a while for me but now it does not turn on. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Have a good one!

  111. Matthew Talbot

    Hi Ray

    Im amazed and impressed that you are still responding to comments on a post you wrote in 2009. Im hoping you can help me shed some light on. It’s related to the 310 so Im hoping you may be able to help

    I recently competed in a tri and during the swim my (wrist attached) 310 recorded three times according to Garmin Connect:
    Time: 20:54
    Moving Time: 13:32
    Elapsed Time: 25:42
    The Elapsed Time is the actual swim time I posted. This has happened the other time I used it in a tri also. Do you know what is going on?

    Additionally there are a few advanced features on the 310 that I cant find any details on, specifically the courses and map. Any ideas where I could look for that?

    Thanks
    Matthew

  112. Noël

    I purchased the 310XT this spring and have been very happy with it – until yesterday. It suddenly won’t communicate with my computer. I tried a hard reset but that hasn’t helped. Any suggestions?

  113. Michael

    For Canadians, costco.ca has the 310xt at $45 off – $179 for a limited time.

  114. Richard

    Great reviews….. I am looking for the 310 to work in open water situations, in the review the loss of satellite signal threw up some very inactive results on the original watch, has this been improved at all?

    Many thanks

    R

  115. Rita G

    I’ve found your reviews extremely comprehensive & useful. However, I want a GPS HRM watch for my main leisure activity of walking and hiking. I’d like a decent battery life for those holidays when I’m doing a long distance trail, so 10 hours should suffice. However, often I only go out for an hour or 2 so don’t want too much complication. I don’t swim or do triathlons, nor do I cycle (well haven’t for decades). I’ve used Polar and Suunto in the past but my main issue with Suunto is that the HRM plastic sensor connection to the strap breaks after a while so I’m leaning to Garmin. Any advice, I’m feeling overwhelmed?

    • Rita G

      I’ve finally decided to get the TomTom Runner HRM GPS watch. Partly because of battery life, partly the satellite acquisition and finally the straightforwardness of the watch user interface. Hoping it lives up to expectations but thanks anyway for the comprehensive review and analysis.

  116. Thanks as always for the review (that I believe I’ve read at least 5 times since posted). I’m finally making the plunge and getting the 310xt as my first GPS/HR monitor.

    Question: I’ve see the 310xt on clearance or at least on really good sales recently. I understand the price has come down since it was introduced in 4/2009 and they’ve since introduced the 910xt, but is there any reason to believe that they might be reworking the 310xt for a new version coming out in the next year or so? Just curious.

    Thanks again!!

  117. Noël

    Thanks for your advice. The ANT agent in the Windows tray said “disabled” so I enabled it. When I checked the pairings on the watch, it was on. At least now the watch says “Transferring Data.” However, no data is actually transferring. When I hover over the icon it says “Receiving Forerunner 310X exercise data.” None of the data shows up in Garmin Connect. Sorry to be such a techno weenie, but I just don’t know what else to try.

    Thank you for all of the assistance you provide. It is so appreciated!
    Noël

    • Assuming it completes, you may want to check that the account is actually sending to Garmin Connect. You can right click that same icon and look into the settings. Then from there ensure the dropdown with your watch name says to transmit to Garmin Connect.

  118. Noël

    Thank you, thank you! It worked perfectly this morning!

  119. Richard

    I changed from a Motoactv to the Garmin 310xt a few months back, and I love it. Maybe not as many features as the Motoactv, but a lot less bugs. One problem I have however is that sometimes when I look at my runs I find the GPS position is off by maybe a block at the beginning of the run. After a few hundred meters it seems to correct itself. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there a solution? I seem to have a good satelite signals when it occurs.

    • Marilyn

      I was just about to post a similar problem. Just bought my 310xt after lots of research (this blog particularly). My first run was great – the GPS was spot on. However, yesterday I drove to a different location to start my run. Satellites were acquired very quickly. But distance and pace were way off throughout the run. When I looked at the map of the run on Garmin connect, it was completely inaccurate. It showed my starting point as being way across town from where I actually was, and shows me running through a lake! Is there any way to determine if the GPS is correct before I start my run? I’m pretty disappointed as I was happy with my iphone running app except for GPS inaccuracies. I love the features of this watch, but I need it to work consistantly.

    • Richard

      Marilyn there is a post here:
      link to dcrainmaker.com
      On how to create maps and upload them t the watch. I haven’t tried it, but I presume it would allow you to check your position on the map before starting the run.

  120. David

    I have had my 310 XT for about 18 months with no real issues. Today it suddenly died! No screen display, no sounds on pressing buttons and no beep or charging image when connected to charger. Any suggestions? Is there a reboot function?
    Thanks

  121. Travis

    Do you know, if with the quick release kit, will this fit on the older K Edge mounts? Love the blog by the way

  122. Travis

    I have a K Edge mount coming from chainlove.com. I’ll post my findings to confirm. Was concerned about if it’ll end up mounted sideways based on some of the pictures I saw of a Garmin Edge computer and the 310XT with the quick release kit installed.

    • Travis

      As a fyi, the older model K Edge with the 310xt quick release kit doesn’t quite work. It positions the face of the watch sideways. I purchased the older 2 piece model K Edge. I’m not sure if the newer model is adjustable or not. Seems like it may be looking at pictures.

  123. Axel

    Hello Ray,
    I decided to pick the 310XT over the 410 and did not repent for a minute.
    However, there is one aspect that bothers me but that, I think, is a general issue.
    When I set a target pace for a training I have a hard time keeping up with the alarms of the watch.
    I have noticed that the alerts are not in line with the actual pace I am doing.
    For example if I set the target pace between 5:00 and 5:30 min/km the watch keeps saying “Speed up” or “Slow down” even when I’m doing 5:15 min/km. It seems to me that it is taking some kind of average data. If I fall under the desired speed it will still keep alerting me for a long time even after I get back to the defined pace zone. Same thing happens If I speed to 4:30 for a longer period (the watch will say “Slow down”) and then go back to 5:10, the watch will keep saying “Slow down”.
    Apparently the watch, at least for pace, is monitoring the average pace of the interval in a workout and not the actual pace. If I keep the pace in target for a long period, the alerts will totally disappear – as relatively short deviations from the target will not affect the average, which the watch seems to be monitoring.
    Am I correct or am I doing something wrong? Is there a trick to fix this?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Cheers,
    Axel

  124. Jerome

    The 310XT was released over 4 years ago. Any idea if a new version is in the works and if so, a tentative release date?

  125. Jerome

    Then, the 310XT will be just fine for a duathlete like me, since it seems that most of the 910XT (pricey) improvements, besides the barometric altimeter, are for swimming.

  126. Luke Jahn

    Great Review!

    It has been a few years since you wrote this review, would you still recommend the 310. I mostly run but I have thought about getting into triathlons so i was thinking maybe the 220. Any thoughts?

    • I’d definitely recommend it for triathletes, especially at recent prices.

      As for mostly runners though, I’d indeed look instead more towards the FR220, since it’s much slimmer and lighter, as well as having Bluetooth Connectivity. Functionality-wise, outside of phone connectivity (uploading via phone, and LiveTracking), the FR310XT has far more features/functions. It just is also a lot bigger.

  127. ChrisH

    Great Review.. Thanks for all of this informations 🙂

  128. teesee1

    Would you recommend this over the FR210 to an amateur runner that doesn’t really bike or swim as seriously as I run? Also, would this be decent if you were to wear it all the time (its design just doesn’t look so much like an everyday watch)? Because I’d prefer something that I can wear as if it were an ordinary watch.

    • No, not generally. If you don’t bike/swim, then ignore the FR310XT (unless you want the advanced features). Instead, check out the FR210 as you noted, or the FR220 is even nicer.

  129. Mário

    The suunto cadence pod and de Wahoo cadence sensor are compatible with the 310xt?

  130. Kelvin

    Hi mate, i am torn between the FR310XT and the TomTom Multisport. I am a rookie triathlete, which one do you recommend over the other?

    • In general, if you don’t mind the size, you’ll find that the FR310XT is far more functional. The only exception is that the TomTom Multisport measures in-pool distance, whereas the FR310XT doesn’t.

    • ms

      Ray,

      I’m on the fence between garmin 310xt and Tomtom Multisport yet a swimming-pool functionality is a must for me which kinda kills garmin unless I’m missing something like a software update etc.

      Is 310xt really nothing but a stopwatch in a pool? Is there any other alternative to Tomtom that covers running, cycling and indoor swimming in a single device (i.e. 310xt+swim is a no go)?

      Tomtom seems like a solid piece of hardware and I like how much they’ve improved software since the launch but it seems that there’s still a long way ahead of them to get the watch working properly. Is there a ‘third way’?

      This will be my first proper sport tracking device other than Endomondo on my phone so I don’t want to go for the high end of the market without fully realising what do I expect from a watch i.e. ca. EUR 400 units are of no interest today.

      cheers,
      M

    • Correct, nothing but a stopwatch in the pool. Beyond the TomTom, there’s also the FR910XT, Suunto Ambit2/2s, and now the Fenix2. The Suunto Ambit 2s got a nice price cut this weekend as well.

  131. Eugene

    310XT is going for $169.99 at Clever Training now…just ordered and waiting for delivery…:)

  132. Kelvin

    Thanks for the reply, i also ordered mine with the HRM from amazon. Good value at USD$186

  133. Bart

    The Garmin 305 only shows lat/lon for position data. Does the 310xt provide UTM coordinates as well or is it also limited to lat/lon?

  134. Rob

    DC: I just started looking for a GPS watch for my birthday present and came across a number of your reviews. I mostly cycle, with the occasional run mixed in. I don’t wear a watch but would make an exception for this one, when traveling, if it is light enough and looks good. What do you recommend? Was looking to stay under $300 but could go up for new technology.

  135. Paul in London

    Hi! The 310XT is now 100GBP (160USD) cheaper than the new FR220 here in the UK, which is quite a big difference.

    I’ll mainly be running but also cycle up to 100km, say once or twice a month in the summer months, and am also curious to use a GPS watch for hill trekking. However, running is the main thing.

    I also like the ability of the 220 to load preset Garmin training plans for 5km and 10km etc as I am quite new to running and want to improve. Can the 310XT do that? Would I have to manually upload programs? Is it a lot easier on the 220?

    What would you recommend? The cash saving of the 310XT is nice but not the decider.

    Thanks

    • You can download those workouts to the FR310XT, but it won’t stick them on the right days. For most, that’s OK. On the FR220, it’ll stick them on the correct days like a calendar.

      In general, if you’re doing cycling and trekking, the FR310XT is probably a better choice.

  136. Emma Larard

    Hi, I bought a forerunner 310XT based on this great review, however I’m stumped about the initial set up. It asks the 8 questions up until activity level and lifetime athlete which it doesn’t ask about and just goes straight to connecting to satellites. I have run the initial setup wizard again from a menu on the watch but it still doesn’t ask these two questions. Any chance you know why? I have been able to set that I am not a lifetime athlete on a different menu on the watch but not the activity level. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • They changed the ordering in a later firmware update, for reasons that aren’t quite clear. Ultimately, I wouldn’t worry that you couldn’t set activity level, as long as you were able to set everything else.

  137. Kelvin

    Hi, bought the 310xt based on the review instead of 910xt. Subsequently, also purchased the garmin swim for lap swimming. Saved quite abit with this combo and i can also wear the swim as an everyday watch, which is a huge plus for me. Main advantage is the garmin swim is really much smaller and lighter, more suitable for a swim instead of the 310 or 910xt.

  138. Solhrar

    hello Rainmaker
    As you have done to change sport modes name?
    Example: Bike1 by bike-Cervelo

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    thanks

  139. John Lambert

    A first class review that has enabled me to buy the 310XT with confidence after owning a 305 for nearly 6 years. Many thanks.

  140. Lindsay Clowes

    Hi, your site is THE best in the entire world for information on sports stuff – thank you!
    I’m hoping you might be able to help. I recently bought a Garmin 310xt (after reading your reviews) and am struggling with obtaining heart rate data. When I switch the Garmin on most of the time it doesn’t connect with the HRM. Sometimes it does, but then loses the connection after a couple of minutes. I’ve reset everything a number of times, but nothing seems to work. Do you have any suggestions? or who I could contact re support? I’m not in the US.

    Lindsay

    • Hi Lindsay-

      It sounds like the HR strap may just have a bad battery in it. It’s a quick and easy swap of a CR2032 coin cell battery. Even though it’s new, every once in a while I see straps where somehow the strap got turned on and stayed stuck on pre-purchase.

      If that doesn’t work, then ringing up Garmin support would be the best answer.

      Cheers.

  141. Mauro

    Superb review!
    Thanks for the tips and tricks!

  142. J

    Thank you so much for your amazing reviews! I have used them extensively to decide on my first tri watch (upgrade from running with my phone and using Runkeeper) My first triathlon is in March and I can’t wait for the watch to arrive!

  143. Nick

    Just more kudos to Mr. Rainmaker for the awesome compilation of info. After much agonizing and analysis between the Edge 500 and 310XT) I purchased one of these on Rainmaker’s advice and could not be happier. If you’re considering the purchase, I also recommend. Best thing since sliced bread, and it just simply WORKS!

  144. Nick

    If anyone is curious, it works just fine recording HR while located in a backpack (H.A.W.G.) for mtb riding. Super-cool to see all the HR, elevation, time, map, etc later at home, but for mtb, don’t need it on the bike. Also, didn’t notice the HR strap under my pack, or straps, they don’t interfere.

  145. Just got my 310XT yesterday and I have noticed some things that might be helpful to others as well:
    – the watch does come with the new smaller ANT+ USB stick.
    – it also comes with the new version of the premium HR strap, with the grey parts, not the old one that was completely black.

    Now I just can’t wait for my Half IM challenge in the summer!

  146. Pavel Nikolaev

    Hello,
    Great review, based on which I bought the Garmin 310xt. My question is how can I clean my HRM strap ?
    Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Pavel Nikolaev

  147. Matteo

    I was thinking to buy the Garmin 310xt I was wondering if it can be used as a normal watch to see time and date.

    Kind regards
    Matteo

    • No, there’s no watch mode. You can turn off GPS, and you’ll get about 40-50 hours – but remember, it’s a rather large watch and ultimately most would say it looks kinda funny as a day to day watch.

  148. George

    Thank you for your great reviews. I have a question for which I would appreciate your comment. I recently purchased a garmin 310xt. when I run I also use Adidas micoach iphone app and in the last few runs the distance shown on the one device is significantly different from the other. Today on a 35 minute run the final difference was 500meters (6,15klm on garmin 6,65klm on iphone). The difference was not constant on each klm but was increasing.. Always the garmin shown a lower figure. Please note that I am usually running in a park, under trees, following a running trail. Thank you

    • Yeah, in general phone GPS units can be somewhat rough. I’d look at the tracks of either and look for any issues (spots where the unit says you went somewhere that you didn’t).

  149. Pavel Nikolaev

    Hey,
    Hi again and thanks for your advices. I have experienced a strange “problem?”. Yesterday I left the watch for the night almost full charged and this morning it was turned off. I connected the charger and it began charging from 33%… Is this a normal condition/behavior?
    Thank you so much for the advices.
    Kind Regards,
    Pavel

    • Hmm, I’ve seen that once or twice in many years. I suspect it simply had the charging indicator messed up internally. Usually once it drains itself it automatically sorts itself out from there on out (as it likely did).

    • Pavel Nikolaev

      Hi,
      I had discharged it, charged it and now everything seems to be “very :)” operational. Basically everyone who has the same problems should do the same…
      Thank you for the advices.
      Kind Regards,
      Pavel Nikolaev

  150. mucher

    Thanks for the review – I ended up buying the 310XT – and, bummer – the friend bringing this over from the States had his luggage stolen (it was in his carry on which disappeared). So I ended up with a bare watch and the HR strap (no transmitter, just electroes) – they were in hist other bag. just checking what are the cheapest options to get an ANT+ stick and a HR transmitter – looks like Suunto Movestick Mini would work with the 310XT – and a MOTOACTV HR also seems compatible – anything else you’d recommend?

  151. Nick

    Does anyone know if it deteriorates battery life (or damage anything) by leaving the transmitter attached to the strap all the time? The snaps on mine are very tight, and I’m concerned about damaging the transmitter or strap with continued force removing it. I actually have to use my little pocket knife to unsnap it easily and would like to leave it assembled if it won’t hurt it. I see Garmin recommends disconnecting it for “exended periods” of storage, but I use mine nearly every day. Thanks!

    • No issues at all. The strap goes into a hibernating state after a few minutes of non-issue. As long as it’s successfully going into said state, you’re good to go. I always leave mine connected.

  152. Nick

    Great news, thanks again DC.

  153. Luke

    Question for you: Ive been using the 310xt for some time now and I love it but one thing bugs me and I can’t figure out how to change it. When it “auto laps” each mile cycling it gives me the average for the last mile in a min/mile format (which is great for running) but is there a way to have it give my a MPH avg for the last mile cycling? Thanks for the help!

    Luke

  154. chris schnepp

    I have had a 310xt for about three years. The glass kept misting up inside so I eventually contacted Garmin who have replaced it for £78. I used the new one last week on a bike ride, on a coldish sunny day and it misted up in the corner for about 15 mins. I wear it on my wrist and never use it in water.I rang Garmin and they say this is normal. Do you agree?

  155. Courtney

    This review is super helpful. I just signed up for my first half ironman and I think its time to invest in a tracking device. Fairly new to the sport, I am not sure it is worth spending money on the 910xt. I love the idea of a footpod, but I dont see the myself purchasing a power meter anytime soon. I like that the 910xt has a bike route breadcrumb functionality, does the 310? And swimming wise, I was a collegiate swimmer, so I’m not so worried about tracking certain aspects of my swim, so much as being able to record time and distance. Any suggestions on which device may be a better offer for a semi-new triathlete on a college grad budget? Thanks!

    • Both the 310XT and the 910XT have breadcrumb trails, you’re good there.

      The other option would be the TomTom multisport, which is priced fairly well. But honestly, the 310XT is the cheapest yet one of the top 3 most powerful tri watches, so…I’d go there.

  156. Kris Ann

    Thank u for ur detailed and organized reviews. There really is no other site that covers it all with an unbiased view from an athlete’s perspective.

    I am going to upgrade to a 310xt from a fr110. I noticed ur 2011 updates, how do I make sure I get the most recent version of the watch when I buy online?

    • You’ll setup with Garmin Express (just released last week), and it’ll automatically keep your unit up to date.

    • Wendell Wagner

      Garmin Express, unfortunately, has been quite the debacle. It won’t sync across to my Garmin Connect account, so it won’t set up my 310XT. There has been talk a-plenty about this on Twitter — even a phone call to Garmin Support resulted in their not knowing about the issues, nor how to fix them.

      It appears to be beta software that they have released without full capabilities across devices. For new users, this is likely not a problem, but is a documented (albeit not by Garmin) problem that many of us existing users hope goes away soon.

      For anyone interested, here’s the error message that keeps rearing its ugly head when you open up Express, it recognizes your 310XT and then:
      ———-
      We’re Sorry
      There’s a problem with our servers, which means that Express is temporarily unavailable. We’re working as fast as we can to get it back up and running. Please try again later.
      ————

      This has been going on now since Monday. And I’ve had one update to boot since then of the Express software.

      Very disappointed in this Garmin snafu.

  157. Georgia

    I just want to thank you for your reviews. I bought a garmin forerunner 310xt because of all your reviews. You really should be working for Garmin 🙂

  158. keith chant

    Getting a 310 to talk to Garmin Express (which I’d agree is beta software) is here:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    It worked for me.

  159. Lovey

    I have a Garmin 310xt (got it for Christmas).
    Is there any other way to transfer data to my computer other than the ant+ USB stick?
    Sometimes it doesn’t work. I went for a 4 mile run yesterday and it would not transfer the data. I tried manually hitting the transfer all on the watch, unplugging and replugging the ant stick back into my laptop and restarting the watch. Nothing. I know it auto feeds to Garmin Connect but I also upload my workouts to BeginnerTriathlete.
    Any suggestions?

    • No, the only way is via the ANT+ stick.

      That said, there are a lot of tricks to getting the data off (and sometimes, the data did transfer but is in a BadFit folder on your computer). Check out the Garmin Forums for details on all the tricks.

  160. paul in Cardiff

    Love your reviews and your website. I bought my 310XT mainly because of your review.

    But after 24 months it has stopped working. Will not switch on or charge. I am awaiting a reply from Garmin support in the UK but has anyone else seen this problem?
    It has not been abused or mistreated and is used a couple of times a month on my road bike.

    Has anyone else since this problem and is it terminal?

    • Two items to try:

      1) Clean off the contacts with an eraser (on the back of the FR310XT). Sometimes buildup of gunk can cause poor charging.

      2) Do a soft reset of the unit. Failing that, a hard reset of the unit. link to support.garmin.com

    • paul in Cardiff

      No joy i’m afraid. Watch is not responsive at all. It is as if the battery is not even in the unit. I have tried the soft and hard reset.

      Still waiting for Garmin to email me back but not very confident that they will. think i might have to facebook spam them!

    • Honestly, I’d call them. Assuming you’re in the UK you’ll get to talk to the Garmin UK folks, which are actually quite solid. Far faster than e-mail. Just my two cents…

    • paul in Cardiff

      Stuck it out and finally got through to them. They gave me some other tips on getting it switched on but nothing successful.They want £74 to replace the unit with a new one with 3 mth warranty.

      Using a battery eng where i work (dont ask) we did some other investigations. The charger is working fine but the power appears not to be getting to the watch battery because something has (probably) come loose inside.
      Trying to decide whether to replace it via Garmin or buy a new unit from Amazon for £140.
      Just a little annoyed that without being mishandled it just seems to stop working after 24mths!
      Thanks for your help anyway.

  161. Steve daft runner

    Thank you so much for this well informed and unbiased review. I bought one this morning based on the review alone.
    Many thanks
    Steve B

  162. Joseph

    Thanks for the review. I have a massive problem – purchased the HRM but even though the device is detected, no data is being sensed. Did all the checks and and changed new battery – used it in my long run and spin class but no success. Do I really need to buy another HRM strap?

    • Hmm, that’s very odd – especially assuming you have the data field shown for heart rate. In any case, I’m betting a quick ring to Garmin might resolve it, usually their phone support is pretty good.

  163. Venkat

    I own a 310XT watch for the past two months. I have been training for my half marathon. When i go for long runs, I find the calories burnt calculation is completely incorrect and way below the average values. For example, my 12 mile run showed total calories burnt as 316 and another 8 mile run shows 216. Can you please tell me what could have possibly gone wrong and any suggestions to fix it? Thanks.

    • Juro

      Have you entered and thoroughly checked all your user profile settings i.e. weight, height, age etc?

    • Venkat

      Hello Juro,
      I checked my user settings. It looks correct to me. Also this doesn’t happen always. On my shorter runs of 3 and 4 miles it gives correct calorie measurement. Does this have to do with my hear rate monitor then?

      Thanks
      Venkat

  164. willmie

    Hi,Rainmaker,
    I’ve been using 310XT for a year now.Used it for my Horse Training activities.Also am using the a V-Max Equine Heart rate monitor which I get it separately.The reading of my horse heart rate is clear.All data transmitted are accurate on speed,distance,elevation and heart rate.
    However,on activities,I notice there is only listed either for Running,Swimming,Cycling or Other activities.
    Can I reprogram the setting listing Horse Riding as the default activities set in the 310XT?
    If it is possible,how?
    The GPS tracing when on Endurance or Hacking all data transmitted on GPS is excellent.
    Thanks.

  165. Allison

    This is a wonderful review but several years old. I am wondering if you feel the 310XT is still a good choice? I am wanting to do a little more triathlon training, but not too serious. I have five kids thus find myself doing more inside training since it wouldn’t be very responsible for me to leave them at home while I go for a run or bike :-). Therefore I like the “multisport” ability of this watch plus ability to use a foot pod and cadence/speed sensor to track stuff while still having a reliable watch for when I am able to get outside and when I participate in a race. Thanks.

    • Robert

      Well I have the same doubt like you. Is it possible that 5 years old watch is in the same range like the watch which is 2 years on the market (like Polar RC3 GPS)?
      Ray?

    • It really is. Ultimately, the RC3 was a ‘good/ok’ GPS, whereas the FR310XT was way ahead of anything out there competitively. Obviously, it’s bigger than units on the market today, but from a functional standpoint it’s really quite solid and has far more features than the RC3.

  166. Zeninho

    Hi Rainmaker!
    I wanted to thank you for your excellent website! Not only you post great product in depth reviews but also a lot of useful information for enthusiast like myself.
    I read a lot of your reviews before buying my first GPS unit. I went for the FR310xt and got it last week. I´m really happy with it.

    I have one question:
    Can I have more than one runnig profile? In other words, can I use on of the BIKE modes to track running activities?
    I´d like to have two different running settings, one for long runs and one for intervals training. In the first I´d only put some data fields in the screens and in the second I´d put more information about previous laps and stuff like that.

    I hope I made myself clear.

    Once again thanks for taking the time to do things so thoroughly!!

    Regards,
    Zeninho

    • Hi Zeninho-

      Unfortunately, in bike mode everything is set to speed, not pace. That said, you could use the ‘other’ mode, which I’m pretty sure allows you to set ‘pace’ instead of speed.

      Cheers.

  167. Russell Hunter

    Dear Rainmaker,
    many thanks for your very comprehensive review of the 310xt. Can it be set to show speed in km/hr instead of miles/hr?

    thanks,

    Russell

  168. Georgia

    Thank you. Very happy with my 310XT. Bought because of you and your awesome reviews.

  169. Tom Albrecht

    I have a 310xt, and I’m curious if there’s a Garmin replacement in the pipeline. With the Fenix2 freshly out (and the 910xt), and with the 310 having been out for several years now, it seems like the product development cycle might be coming around. Unless they don’t want to have anything for a low-end triathlon watch, but Garmin seems to like to have something for all parts of the GPS watch spectrum. Thoughts?

    • The 910XT was the successor to the 310XT, and the 310XT was the successor to the FR305.

      One has to remember though that the 310XT started off at the same price as the FR910XT ($399), but once the FR910XT came out it slowly went down in price. Some day (not anytime soon), when a FR910XT successor comes out, you’ll eventually see a slow decline in the price of the 910XT.

    • Tom Albrecht

      Ah, that makes sense. Would you view the Fenix2 as the successor to the 910XT?

    • No, the Fenix2 is viewed as an adjacent product line, and not a direct replacement to the 910XT. Sorta more a stop-gap than anything else.

  170. Asyraf

    Can i connect Garmin Edge 510 & Garmin Forerunner 310XT to Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor both at the same time?

  171. Hello and thanks so much for all the effort and detail you put in your reviews….

    Just wondering if your wife could pop on the 310XT and if you could take a snap as I’m a similar sized person at 5’2″ and I’m hoping the gadget is going to fit before I go spend £150 on it!

    Keen to get this older version one for cycling and running (aiming for a 10K PB in 2 weeks) and considering getting into triathlons despite my poor swimming!

    Very much appreciated. Thanks, Lorna

  172. Eduardo Iglesias

    I have just ordered my 310xt from Amazon!

    Thanks for this great review (well, for all the great reviews, the most extensive and completes I’ve ever read).

    Just one question about the settings (that I couldn’t find here or in Garmin’s page or manuals):

    In the initial settins, it is possible to set the weight in Kg and the height in meters/centimeters?

    thanks!

  173. Shannon

    Hi,

    Might you know if the latest Garmin 310xt compatible with CC-RD300W Strada Wireless speed/cadence sensor?

    I’ve just got a coach use uses training peaks and I want to share my bike, run data with her. I already have a Cateye Strada so I’m hoping to save some cash by not having to buy another sensor.

    Ps. I’m from Newfoundland so not only do I love your blog for the detailed work you do, I also dig that The Girl is from back home and an international superblogger (that’s you) raced there!

    Hope you’re recovering well from the swimcident.

    Cheers,
    Shannon

    • In doing a little research, it appears not unfortunately, as it doesn’t look like that’s ANT+. Though, I’m having problems getting the ANT+ site to load at the moment (thisisant.com) to triple-check against the Product database and ensure it’s not listed there. If it is listed there, then you’re golden.

      And great to see a Newfoundlander! Looking forward to getting back later this summer/early fall. 🙂

  174. Carlos Garcia

    Hello – Great information as I was looking to upgrade current Timex Global Trainner to the Garmin 305 or 310XT and your reviews provided to me a better understanding of what I was looking for and fuctions relevant to these trainners partners! Outstanding work! take care! Carlos

  175. Shirin

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for a thorough review! My running coach from my triathlon group recommended that I look into this watch for tracking my running and cycling, though I was nervous to make the purchase. Your review was really helpful, and I know I’ll be re-reading it when the watch comes in to figure out all the features.

    Also, I also wanted to thank you for a wonderful race report of the Paris marathon. I’ll be running Paris next year and your race report just made me so excited about what to expect!

  176. Grahame Gertsch

    I just love my 310XT, purchased on your recommendation. Hardware is fine, but Express sucks! I cannot connect to my account – the error message saying that the server is down has blocked me for weeks. My Garmin forum help requests go unanswered.

    Ray, do you have any info on this issue?

    • Wendell Wagner

      This has been a problem with Garmin Express since it was introduced a few months back. The most recent version of Express fixes this. Update your Express version by checking for the most recent sw update. To do this, simply click on “Settings” (the gear in the upper right hand corner of the product window), and select “Check for Application Updates”. You should be running v3.1.9.0 or later.

      The issue was that Express was unable to work through some files on the actual device, and as a result could not connect to the Garmin Connect server. All fixed now — at least I got it running fine yesterday after calling Garmin support and being directed to update the sw.

      After you have updated, make sure that you exit the ANT+ Agent which runs in the system tray. Once you connect to the watch, it will then spend some time transfering data from the watch. Mine took about 15-20 minutes. This depends on how much information you have on the watch. You’ll need to remove the ANT+ Agent after you are confident that your connection to Express is working properly. The two do not work together.

      The UI for Garmin Connect also changed this week ….. it’s very Google Now cards looking to me. Not bad, but not necessarily the nicest interface either.

      Best of luck.

  177. Grahame Gertsch

    Thanks Wendell. Your advice worked a treat.

    • Wendell Wagner

      You are welcome. After having played a bit more with both the new Connect interface and Express, I have found them to work pretty well together. Express is for managing the device, while Connect allows you to manage your activities.

    • seth

      Does this work on a mac? Last night I tried to connect mine for the first time in a while (usually just sync with phone) but I wanted to download some workouts to the device and I couldn’t connect- was having the same “server issues. Will follow these directions tonight.

  178. Juanjo S.G.

    Hello, first of all great review.
    I would like to así you about your recommendation between 310 vs 220. I only do running.
    I have read and it seems 310 has more information and characteristics than 220, but obisuly 220 is more recent so it has better things , like connectivity. But, which is better? Which provides you a better information about your running?
    Thanks a lot

    • Roger

      If you are interested in live tracking or Bluetooth connectivity with your phone, you might go for the 220. However, in my opinion the 310XT is better in all other respects. You can have many more data fields, you get a virtual partner, cycling mode and courses, so you get much more information about your running. I have a 310XT and I would definitely buy it again even though there are newer devices.

    • I would agree with Roger’s points. You may want to read my full recommendations here: link to dcrainmaker.com

  179. Tony

    Interesting thing happened when the 310XT GPS firmware updated on the weekend; the run distance appears to have lengthened by around 30m per km. A course I’ve always seen as just on 3kms was 3.1 this morning.

    Has the fix made the GPS more accurate or less accurate I wonder?

  180. Pat da silva

    Thank you for this review – it is very helpful.

  181. Adam

    If I understand numbers correctly, it seems that 310XT (which is 5y old watch) has longest 1s-GPS-recording battery life of 20hrs!!! That is on top of state of the art, brand new devices like Fenix2 or Ambit2 !!! Considering the fact that batteries and memory chips are probably the most improved parts of electronics in latest years, it’s kind of shameful for the newer devices 🙁
    Looking closer, even my FR305 (an eight year old device) has battery life greater that most of new watches (latest garmins and ambits).
    I can understand new chipsets, extra connectivity, in some cases magnetic compass, but come on… so many years, so much improvement in the area of batteries… new devices should all already exceed 25hrs easily!

    • Except that the device size is much smaller now. The vast majority of consumers want smaller devices, over having 20hrs+ battery life, since the vast majority of runners (roughly 99.99%) don’t need that much time on a single go. And most of these devices are a fraction of the size of the FR310XT.

    • Also batteries haven’t really improved much in energy density. So supply of energy hasn’t increased. (lion batteries have been very stagnant in improving) Energy draw? There have been improvements but garmin really doesn’t develop their own chips so aren’t really on the cutting edge of new technology in that regard

    • Adam

      size wise – it’s obvious, I cant argue with that. I might be the one from the niche then 😛 of users who dont really mind the size (5y+ with FR305 got me used to bulky watch on my wrist) and would appreciate longer battery life. And I dont mean “on a single go” – what about simply on a multi day extensive use with limited access to power (multi day hike or bike ride)?
      Anyway, I give my vote for a new 315XT as bulky as older brothers with 50hrs battery life (maybe Garmin will give me Christmas 2014 present :-P)
      cheers

  182. Grahame Gertsch

    For ultra marathoners, there is only one choice out there: the trusty 310XT. I’m running the 90k Comrades Marathon (in South Africa) on Sunday, and hope to finish in 10 hours. My previous Garmin 610 gave up at 48k on a 50k ultra!

  183. ernesto

    Hi, I m spending some days at rhode island, I’d like to buy a gps watch, and was thinking between this one, that reminds me my old, bulky but nice and missed 205 or the 610 which is more new, but I want to buy it on line…do you have any experience with 610 refurbished ones (factory refurbished)? they match the price of a 310xt brand new… what would you recommend me to do?. I live abroad, so I don’t know if I would be able to use the warranty if anything goes wrong..thanks a lot.

    • Robert Black

      I purchased a refurb 610 with hrm a little over a week ago. It looks like new. My longest run so far has been 2 hours 8 minutes and when I hooked it up to the charger it said 74%, taking that in mind I’m hopeful it’ll last the stated 8 hours. It’s all good. The warranty is the same as the new units and is worldwide, They have iirc three services centres located in the UK, USA and China should there be a problem. Although I’m sure I’ve read somewhere along the line, Items purchased in the USA need to be returned to the USA. Please correct me if I’m wrong? I got mine in the UK from Handtec for £154 delivered

    • ernesto

      Thanks a lot a very interesting opinion! Maybe I ll take the 610

  184. praveen

    l am trying to raise my voice with Garmin, asia marketing. sad part is its under warranty and i have to pay courier charges only because Garmin has failed me.

    Since last few days I am unable to either recharge or switch on garmin forerunner 310 xt . Even tried to reset it by pressing power and mode buttons but nothing is showing. please help .

  185. praveen

    Dear sir,

    sorry to inform you that my garmin sports watch forerunner 310 xt has stopped working since 31st may 2014 . i was doin heart rate based training and all the efforts went for a toss. it was purchased on 9th february through amazon.con
    screen is completely blank with no sign/beep even while charging it. when i press power button with up arrow key it reflects software loader, but other than that it shows no any sign.
    i have tried to hard/soft reset watch by googling internet and watching you tube vidoes but all are of no use. i met with several garmin sellers localy to get any possible solution.
    when i wrote to garmin , received a reply from garmin, asia marketing which was absurd.
    As per mail received from

    Jessica Liao

    Sales & Marketing Department

    Garmin Corporation

    No.68, Zhangshu 2nd Rd., Xizhi Dist., New Taipei City 221, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

    Tel:+886-2-26428999

    Fax::+886-2-26429099

    i had to follow this process
    To perform the master reset:

    1. Power off watch (press and hold Light, Yes on prompt)†

    2. Press and hold Start/Stop and Lap/Reset

    3. Press and hold Light (three buttons should now be pressed in)

    4. After first beep, release Start/Stop

    5. After second beep, release Lap/Reset

    6. Release Light

    There is no button as called light. totally absurd idea.later on she asked for $38 for courier charges for rma and repair. garmin is taking indian users for granted and putting us in trouble just becuse their watches are faulty.
    what a shit. holy crap!11 if they have to replace/repair they shold arrange for collection if the watches are within warranty.
    if possible please try to help else the negative publicity will ruin you and your business leave aside loyalty….looking forward for positive response before it goes viral on social media / internet….

    • The light button is the top left button (aka power).

      As for shipping back charges – there’s no targeting of India users, Garmin requires all people to ship back their devices to them at their own expense (even under warranty). So that’s the same whether you’re in the US, Europe, or India. That’s the way most tech companies work (there are some exceptions, but not many).

      As for ‘negative publicity’ ruining my business…try and be friendlier around here (it’s the way things work). Alternatively, you can go and rant elsewhere on the internet. Cheers.

    • Doug

      well said DC! awesome reviews!

  186. Richard

    Just got the new Garmin connect and I’m loving it. Don’t be so hard on Praveen I think he’s just confused, and thinks you are Mr Garmin!

  187. Genevieve

    Hi Ray,
    Awesome awesome website! Can’t believe how complete the in depth reviews are, very preofessional. I’m checking to by my first gps watch, and can’t decide between the garmin 310xt and the ambit 2 s on sale. I like to swim, but never in open water. What would you recommend as far as quality and friendliness of use? I currently use the app nike plus and need to move on to a more precise device!!
    Thank you, have a great time in Florida!
    Gen

    • If you’re doing indoor swimming, go with the Ambit2S, since the FR310XT doesn’t support that. Enjoy!

    • Gen

      Hey, I finally bought the 310xt a couple days before your reply:(
      Now I got the watch and I am wondering why I’m not being ask about the activity class and the type of athlete I am. I’m ‘searching’ in the watch and I can’t find where to enter these specs. Also, on Garmin learning center, this watch is no longer there. Any advices?!
      Thank you so much
      *I swim outside:)

    • I don’t have a 310XT handy at the moment, but I vaguely remember something about activity class changing on the 310XT in a subsequent firmware. Sorry!

    • Gen

      Hi again,
      I’m sorry but I don’t know anyone to talk to after trying with garmin and wahoo customer service. I’m trying to couple the watch with a wahoo key. The wahoo app works fine, but when it comes to the watch, it tells me: ‘CPLR Unknown’ (or xxxx Unknown) – and then ask Yes or No. Garmin customer service won’t help me because (quote) : “The Wahoo app is a product of a third party company so Garmin will not be able to provide any support or troubleshooting for this. The Forerunner 310XT will not be able to pair with this regardless of the company because of the Ant+ protocol being the method that your Forerunner transfers wirelessly with. ”
      I bought the wahoo key after reading posts and thinking I could use it on the ipad, without the ant+. Did I miss something, or misread? I’m confused and upset (not at you).
      Thanks if you have 2 minutes to bring light in this matter:)

    • Have you tried Wahoo support? I know folks are still using it, so it should work.

      But I haven’t tried it recently, and definitely haven’t heard of that specific error from anyone unfortunately. 🙁

    • Gen

      Thank you for the quick reply, you amaze me at how good you take care of your readers.
      Have a great weekend:)

  188. Bryant

    After several years of use, my Forerunner 305 has finally stopped working. After reading your great reviews, I have decided to get the Garmin 310XT. My question to you is, will my old HRM from my old 305 work with the 310XT? Thanks!!!

    • Yup, it’ll work just fine with the 310XT. Enjoy!

    • Leslie

      Bryant – I am interested in how you like the 310XT compared to the 305? I’ve had my 305 for years and love it, but it is definitely on its last legs and I need to make a decision about purchasing another one. Also, a few years ago, my 305 gave up the ghost as far as the alarm sounds no longer working.

      I am leaning toward the 310XT more for battery life and GPS than anything else as I do ultra trail running, but would also like to have the sound back. The size of the 310XT isn’t horrible (I’m a female), but it is big. I can, however, choose to attach it to my hydration vest instead of wearing it.

      Thanks ~

  189. Petmoreno

    Hello Ray
    I’m thinking about buying the garming 310xt, but I have several question due to the long time the watch is in the market and a supposed update of garmin watches during next month. Then:
    – Should I wait for new model of garmin watches? Despite the 310xt is a very good watch, I’m not really sure about buying a almost 5 years old model. Moreover, it is expected to have an update of 910xt and/or 310xt, then probably the 910xt will be cheaper (to 310xt price), and I could get this model
    – Related to the longevity of the 310xt, what about the firmware update? Will Garmin provide updates for this watch?
    Thanks!!

    • Garmin no longer provides new updates for the FR310XT. Even the FR910XT is pretty much stagnant now. Check out my recommendations post from two weeks ago regarding buying new tri watches right now: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Dennis

      I’m kind of in the same boat. My FR 305 body broke where the strap attaches so I only have one half of the strap to hang on to while running. This was my second 305. The first ended up going bonkers when sweat got in through the speaker hole. Then this happened with my second one. The 310 would probably be fine for me but I’ve seen similar kinds of issues with body breakage on the 310 so the 910 seems more appealing. If I could get the 910 for around $250 as with the recent sale and rebate then I’d buy that vs. spending $170 for the 310. Just not sure how long I’ll have to wait.

  190. Willmie

    Hi,
    After 6th years,your site still hit in my reading list .Congratulation.

    I have a bit of problem lately with my GARMIN 310 XT,purchase 2 years ago,mainly for my Endurance Horse Riding and Eventing Cross Country Training and Competition.
    Lately ,the GPS signal cold not be detected and it when off ,when the trying to detect the GPS signal afetr a 30 sec.I have to unable the GPS Status while it searching for the GPS positioning .I have to UNABLE the GPS function to enable the Time of the Day function.As for others function such as heart beat reading,Speed and Distance which is my major used ,needed the GPS Activation to be enable before any reading could be detected.

    I have tried in vain reading and re-reading the GARMIN 310 XT off and on line trying to solve the problem but the problem still persist. I have tried to RESET ,AUTO LOCATE and MASTER RESET to FACTORY DEFAULT SETTING ,following the instruction in the Manual on and off line but fail.
    Pleased could you advise.
    Thanks.

  191. Jonas

    I have had mine for a few weeks now. It works great and is not a big as everyone says it is (at least if your not too small – I’m 6-2). The readability of the large display is very nice, even for younger people. The interesting thing is that these were still being made last year. My package says that it’s from 2013. I got it from Amazon in Germany. It also includes the newer, much smaller ANT+ USB stick.

    There are two things concerning ergonomics that could be a bit better (for people with skinny wrists):
    – The soft strap could be a bit more fleixble
    – The back of the watch could have a slight curve to it. Being flat makes it more uncomfortable that it has to be.

    The biggest problem with the watch is the pc softare from garmin. It’s very finicky. My communicator plugin doesn’t work any more. i can still upload workouts, but I can’t plan any new ones (like intervals) and send them to the device. This is a bit annoying. I might have to reinstall everything :(.