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Garmin Forerunner 210 In Depth Review

There was no doubt when the Forerunner 210 was announced that the goal was to offer a more feature rich version of it’s slightly older brother – the Forerunner 110.  The Forerunner 210 touted new features such as foot pod support, additional data fields and intervals.  But, would it be enough to warrant its price?  And, what little hidden features would I find along the way?

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews, as I mentioned when I first got the device – Garmin sent me this FR210 for a period of 60 days as a trial unit.  Once that period has elapsed, I send the whole beaten box back to the folks in Kansas.  Simple as that.  Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints.  If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can.  But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

While Garmin Forerunner 210 is the latest and most streamlined running GPS available, how does it stand up to real world pounding? For that…onto the review…

Unboxing:

Now, it’s time to unwrap it.  Of course, you’ll first have to bask in the glory of the shiny box:

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Now…let’s tear it open. After you’ve dissected the box, you’ll have an assortment of parts in plastic bags lying about:

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After removing the bags, you have the following:

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First up, you have the watch itself.  This comes with a handy little yellow tag reminding you to charge it prior to use. Once you remove it, you’ve got the all important piece lookin’ back at ya:

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After that you’ll find the required charging and data transfer cable.  This is unique to the FR110 and FR210, and does not interoperate with any of the other Garmin fitness units besides the FR110 and FR210.  It uses USB to both charge and transfer:

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The kit also comes with a wall charging block, that allows you to connect the USB cable for non-computerized charging via an AC outlet.

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Then you’ll find the tiny coin-sized foot pod (assuming you picked up the bundled package), useful for running indoors on treadmills:

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Next is the ever important miniature paper manual:

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And finally, last but not least is the new 2010 edition of the premium heart rate strap – which aims to reduce heart rate spikes and dropouts:

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We’ll get into the heart rate strap a bit later on in the accessories section. With all the parts and pieces complete – let’s get onto seeing how big the watch really is.

Size Comparison:

The kitchen rolling pin has slowly become a staple of my reviews – and not just because I find it to be a really useful object for making pie crusts.  No, it’s also great for showing comparative watch sizes.

So, here’s the roundup of all the major GPS watches on the market today:

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Above, from left to right: Forerunner 110, Forerunner 210, Forerunner 405, Forerunner 310XT, Forerunner 305.

And here’s the side angle, to see how high each one is:

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Getting Started/First Use:

After you’ve successfully freed the FR210 from its cocoon of packaging, it’s time to start using it.  First up is the task of turning it on.  Which…requires all of about one button press.

Once the watch is on it’ll walk you through a series of questions aimed at giving you more accurate data – and for this first part in particular – more accurate calorie measurements.  First though, it starts off with allowing you to choose your language:

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And then lets you pick either miles or kilometers:

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From there you go through weight, height, and fitness class – which are all aimed at better calorie calculations (more on that later).

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After this, the watch is ready to roll.  Well, almost.  It first needs to phone home.  The satellites do that.  See, like most GPS units, this one relies on satellites to set its date and time.  So give it a good view of the sky and a few moments and you’ll be up and running:

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Once you’ve got satellite reception – it’s time to head outdoors!

Running:

With the Forerunner 210 built for running, there’s no doubt that it excels at getting you going quickly.  The core design principals of the FR210 are the same as its earlier sibling the FR110.  In both of these watches the goal was to design a watch that’s both easy to use and hard to get confused by.  Garmin wanted to eliminate the race starting line problem of folks being in odd states unable to get the watch simply started due to being in the wrong mode or data field set.

So, when you turn on FR210, you’ll notice you don’t have many configuration options when it comes to data fields and configuration.  First off, let’s start with the data fields available.

Data Field options

The Forerunner 210 adds one new data field over the Forerunner 110.  But that one data field is critical: Instant Pace.

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The previous watch only had either lap average pace, or overall average pace.  The reason for this was that folks new to GPS based speed and pace found that the instant pace jumped around too much – due to the way the GPS watches handle slight changes in satellite reception and changing accuracy information.  While the end-state information would be correct, the interim display was often hard to follow.

By averaging this information over a longer time period, you removed the jumpiness.  However, it also removed the more detailed instant-pace for those that wanted it.

So, the instant pace field is now available on the FR210 – like all other Garmin fitness units except the FR110.

In addition, the FR210 has the following data fields available on it:

– Pace/Speed: Lap Average
– Pace/Speed: Overall Overage
– Distance: Lap
– Distance: Overall
– Time: Overall
– Time: Lap (added in firmware update)
– Heart Rate: Current
– Heart Rate: Zone

As you’ll probably note from the above, the list is a fair bit more limited than many of the more advanced Garmin fitness watches like the Forerunner 310XT – or even the older Forerunner 305. This is again due to the desire to keep the watch simple.  Further, while the data isn’t displayed on the unit itself – all data is recorded, so you can easily access this information post-run through a variety of software applications (which I’ll cover later).

Finally, as I’ll cover in the intervals section – there are a few other data fields that are shown when interval mode is invoked.

3/26/2012 – Updated Note: In firmware version 2.50 Garmin added lap timer feature. The page shows the current lap distance in the top timer field, the lap time in the middle, and the lap pace in the lower

Auto Lap:

Like nearly all devices within the Garmin fitness line, the FR210 contains the Auto Lap capability, which allows you to automatically have the unit create lap markers at pre-determined distances.  Lap markers are essentially the way you create ‘splits’ within a Garmin device.  These laps are recorded and viewable later on through any software application that can read the Garmin .FIT files (virtually everything out there).

You can setup Auto Lap via the Configuration menu:

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You’re able to specify a minimum lap distance of .25 miles, and a maximum lap distance of 2.0 miles.  You can also set a minimum lap distance in kilometers as well.

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Note that you can use both auto lap and manual laps/splits together at the same time, should you choose/need to.

Intervals:

Another key feature added to the FR210 that the FR110 doesn’t have is the capability to build and execute intervals.  Now, this feature is different than the full capabilities of ‘Workouts’ that you can build in Garmin Training Center.  Instead, it offers a more simplistic view on intervals.

Using the interval functions you have the following options – all specified in either time or distance:

1) Warm-up Length
2) Interval Length
3) Rest Length
4) Number of intervals to complete
5) Cool-down length

To set these up, you walk through a series of prompts on the watch – a wizard of sort:

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Once complete, you’ll head out for a run.

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I used this on some recent interval runs I had scheduled and it worked quite well.  In addition to all your normal display pages, you’ll also now have the capability to display how much time is left in a given interval.  And it’ll display which interval you’re on.

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I find the display of the interval and time left pretty useful – especially when you have a high number of short intervals and don’t want to get mixed up.

During the rest interval, it’ll also tell you how much time you have left – you can differentiate rest from run, due to the little man bending over dying:

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(Sorry for the slightly blurry photos – these were taken while I was actually doing my real workout – a workout that was giving me quite a beating)

Finally, the unit has tones that’ll let you know the final three seconds of the interval – which is pretty sweet as you can completely ignore the watch until it yells at you.  Though…sometimes I wish I wouldn’t hear the beeps at the end of the rest interval…

Heart Rate Monitor:

The Forerunner 210 includes the capability to read your heart rate through the use of any ANT+ heart rate strap.  Depending on which package you purchase, your FR210 will come with such a strap.  If not, you can purchase one of a number of different ANT+ heart rate straps in a variety of price ranges between about $35 and $90 (which I discuss more later on in accessories).

You can display your heart rate on the watch on one of the data fields, which will always be available to you during your run.

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In addition, this data is recorded continuously for later access through Garmin Connect or other compatible applications:

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Also, the unit allows you to setup heart rate zones – quite a few in fact – that allow you to map your heart rate numbers (i.e. 165) to specific zones (i.e. Zone 4).  This is useful if you train more by heart rate zones, as opposed to numbers.

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It should be noted that while the heart rate straps are all waterproof – they won’t actually display heart rate readings in the water.  This is because the ANT+ signals are unable to penetrate more than about 1-2” of water.  After this distance, the heart rate signal will dropout.  In addition, as I’ll discuss later on – the waterproofing of the FR210 doesn’t really convey well to swimming with the unit.

Finally, it’s important to note that the FR210 includes the latest update to the Garmin Premium Heart Rate Strap.  This new version aims to fix many of the dropouts and spiking issues seen with previous iterations – including previous soft strap versions.

In my testing, the new version of the soft strap solves about 95% of the spiking/dropout issues I’d previously see – a significant improvement over the previous soft strap.

The new ‘2010 Edition’ (for lack of better marketing term) of the soft strap is available on all premium Garmin units, including the FR210.  It will be available shortly to buy separately, but as of today – is not yet available for purchase individually.

Indoor Use/Treadmill (Foot pod use):

The second major item added to the FR210 is the capability to use a foot pod.  A foot pod is critical to gathering distance data in cases where you don’t physically move anywhere: such as a treadmill or anywhere else indoors.  Because the watch normally depends on GPS satellites for distance, without such a foot pod you’d be unable to gather distance data indoors or in areas without GPS coverage (such as long tunnels).

Depending on which bundle you purchase, your Forerunner 210 may come with a foot pod, which looks like the below:

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The small pod simply snaps onto your shoe, and is about the size of a quarter.

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You’ll want to calibrate the foot pod using a track or other accurately measured distance.  It’s very important that it be an exact distance – and not an ‘estimated’ distance.  For example, while trail markers along the side of your favorite running path are generally ‘accurate’, they probably aren’t accurate enough to get a very specific distance to use for calibrating your foot pod.  For this, I recommend a track.

Once calibrated, you’ll be good to go.  Though, even without calibration – it’s fairly accurate.

When the unit finds the foot pod, it’ll note on the screen and ask you if you want to run indoors:

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When it does this, if you choose ‘Yes’, it’ll turn off the GPS and record and display speed and distance using the foot pod, as opposed to GPS.

However, regardless of which mode you’re in (indoors or outdoors), the unit will also record running cadence (turnover) as well.  This is useful if you monitor your running cadence.

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Note that the FR210 will work with any ANT+ foot pod, including those not manufactured by Garmin.

Calories Measurement

The Garmin Forerunner 210 will utilize one of three different calorie calculation methods, depending on how much information you provide to it.  The most accurate of the three requires external testing, however, the second most accurate requires nothing more than a heart rate strap.  And finally, the third method using simple speed/distance/weight provides rudimentary calorie calculations.

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These three methods are outlined below:

1) New Leaf VO2 Test Profile: This method requires testing at one of a number of New Leaf testing centers around the country.  New Leaf is actually a 3rd party company that’s developed a pretty comprehensive way to determine calorie burn based on VO2 tests that are done.  The tests are not terribly unlike your common VO2 max test, and involve you being hooked up to tubes and wires.  The tests though are sport-specific, meaning you complete a running test to allow the Forerunner to determine running activity calories.

2) Firstbeat Algorithm (Current – 2nd Generation): The Firstbeat algorithm is the most accurate Garmin device calorie measurement that can be done without external testing. The calculation uses  user inputted variables including gender, height, weight and fitness class.  It then combines this data with heart rate information from the ANT+ heart rate strap.  Specifically, it evaluates the time between heart beats (beat to beat) to determine estimated MET (Metabolic Equivalent), which in turn is used determine actual work expenditure.  Finally, this metric also ‘learns’ you as an athlete on a given device.  Meaning, over time it has a weighted algorithm to note changes in your fitness level and adjust calorie burn accordingly.

3) Speed/Distance Algorithm: This is the most basic method of determining calories, as it is only used when a heart rate strap is not enabled/used (default). Given the lack of heart rate data, the unit will simply use speed/distance, as well as the weight you entered in the device setup.  The reason this is less accurate (65-80% accurate) is that it can’t differentiate how much effort you’re expending to travel a given distance – which while less important for running, is quite important for cycling.  For example, if you’re coasting down a 7 mile descent, you’ll burn virtually no calories compared to ascending the same mountain.

I recently put together a fairly comprehensive look at the different calorie calculation methods that Garmin has made available on their fitness devices.  This post can be found here, and includes information directly from the Garmin engineering team during conference calls regarding the subject.

At Night/Backlight:

The Forerunner 210 includes an easily readable backlight, giving you a way to still see your watch in the dark.  The backlight can be activated via a quick tap on the upper left button – which is simply marked ‘light’ (insert light bulb moment here…).

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The light stays on for 10 seconds, before fading back to darkness.  Unlike some of the more advanced Garmin Forerunner watches (FR310XT and FR305), the backlight display time is not configurable on the FR210.  This is likely due to the desire to better manage battery life for a device that is intended to be worn as a regular watch.

Compatibility with ANT+ Scale:

Strangely, this feature isn’t listed anywhere on Garmin’s site – but I stumbled on it by accident when I went to take the above photos at night in a dark room.  The FR210 is compatible with ANT+ scales, which – at the moment – is pretty much just the Tanita BC-1000.

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The unit will wirelessly connect to the BC-1000 after you’ve pressed both the ‘Light’ and ‘Lap’buttons at once, after which it’ll ask you to step on the scale.  Once you’ve done so, your weight will be shown to you, and then recorded for later uploading to Garmin Connect.

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Garmin Connect features a basic weight history graph where you can record weight and other  metrics transmitted by the BC-1000 scale:

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To learn more about the Tanita BC-1000 scale – check out my In Depth Review on it.

Cycling:

While the FR210 is clearly built for running, they have made a few concessions to still make it functional when on a bike.  Namely, Garmin carried over the FR110’s capability to switch from displaying speed in ‘Pace’ units, to in MPH speed (or KPH).

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This allows you to then display in miles per hour – such as 15MPH – rather than minutes per mile (4:00/mile).

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When on the bike you have a choice of wearing the watch on your wrist, or picking up one of Garmin’s rubber bike mounts, meant for the Forerunner series.

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These rubber mounts simply pop right onto you bars, and then allow you to strap the watch over it – just like your arm:

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You can also zip-tie the rubber mount onto your bar as well, though I find that generally unnecessary (as long as your rubber mount isn’t on your roof at 60MPH without being secured).

But, for as cheap as the rubber mount is – it’s perfect for the occasional bike ride.

The unit itself functions identically when using the watch in ‘bike’ mode, the only difference is the speed is displayed in MPH instead of minutes/mile.

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And don’t worry, if you forget to put the watch into bike mode (aka setting it to ‘Speed’) prior to starting an activity, you can easily change it later, or just change the activity type in Garmin Connect.

Swimming/Aquatic Adventures:

Like the Forerunner 110, the Forerunner 210 is not waterproof.  Not in the slightest.  You may remember my FR110 fail when I killed the media trial unit that Garmin sent me.  I had gone to do my swim workout, and after 20 minutes it fogged up, by the end of the day it was dead.

The FR210 carries the same waterproofing as the FR110.  Suspecting this, I asked the Garmin folks this time before I swam with it to confirm this – so I wouldn’t kill another yet on them.  They were able to confirm I should avoid the pool.

While it’s fine in the shower and in the rain – sustained immersion is not in the books for the FR210.  I’ve had no problems with using mine in the shower 1-2 times a day for the past month.

So, if you’re looking for a watch to use in the pool – this is not the one for you.

Sport Device GPS Accuracy

I’ve had a lot of questions around sport device GPS accuracy – and how well they perform.  In my testing with the unit, it’s been on par with the Forerunner 310XT – which was one of the units I recently did a comprehensive two part GPS test with.

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To read more about those tests, and how GPS units designed for sports handle, check out the two parts:

GPS Accuracy Part I
GPS Accuracy Part II

Battery life:

Battery life is an incredibly difficult thing to measure.  While it sounds ‘simple’ to capture in theory, in reality, there are so many variables.  Especially with a device such as a GPS based fitness watch.  There are many properties that can affect battery life on the Forerunner 210, including:

– GPS enablement
– Backlight use
– Use of heart rate/foot pod ANT+ device
– Use of alerts/tones

While some of the items have a smaller battery footprint (specifically, recording of additional ANT+ accessories), others have a larger impact.

For me, I tend to put battery life into one of three camps:

1) It seemed just about right
2) It seemed too short
3) It seemed to last forever, so long…that I forgot it ran on batteries

In this case, I put the FR210 in the first camp – of being ‘just about right’.  Every once in a while I charge it (once a week), but otherwise it just records my normal training workload easily.  All while at the same time acting as my day to day watch.

Of course, you probably still want the official answer on battery life from the manual, which is as follows:

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In my testing, I’ve found that the above battery life statements are fairly accurate and in line with what I’m experiencing.

Other sports/adventures:

One of the big things I like to note about GPS based devices is how versatile they are.  Even though this device is aimed at runners – it’s hardly limited to runners.  I’ve used the Forerunner 210 over the last month as I’ve travelled more than 40,000 miles around the globe.  Twice.

I’ve used it to record flights over the South Pacific:

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And I’ve used it to record long car rides across the vastness of India:

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All of this can be then uploaded to Garmin Connect, and then exported out into standard GPX files.  GPX files are the internet standard for distributing GPS-related data.  So once in GPX format, you can utilize them across literally thousands of applications and sites.

For example, I can import my data into Google Earth should I want to:

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The options are really limitless, just a matter of where your adventures bring you.  Best of all, with a device that looks like a normal watch – you can easily take this GPS recording device anywhere.

Day to Day watch

While it may be obvious given its size, the FR210 acts great as a day to day watch.  For the past month I’ve travelled around the world and simply used this as my normal watch.  In fact, it’s kinda nice travelling with it, as it’ll automatically set the correct time based on satellite reception.

In addition to simply displaying the time, you can set a simple alarm to remind ya to wake up:

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Given the battery life of the watch, this is by far the best combined day to day watch and fitness device that Garmin’s made to date.

Accessories:

The Forerunner 210 has a number of compatible accessories that you can either buy individually, or with one of the bundled packages.

Heart Rate Strap

Ok…hold onto your seats – this is gonna get messy!

Garmin introduced a slightly new heart rate strap with the Edge 800 – and that same strap is being carried through to the Forerunner 210.  This new strap aims to reduce many of the spiking/dropout problems of some of the previous straps.  And based on my testing – it does a pretty good job of this.  It’s reduced those problems for me by about 95%.  There’s still an occasional spike – but mostly they’re gone.

This new strap looks like this:

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However, be aware – there are still two older (more common) types out there, which compared, look like this:

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The new 2010 edition of the premium soft strap is currently only available with the bundled FR210 and Edge 800 units, however, Garmin has confirmed will eventually be sold separately as well.

The previous heart rate straps can be bought individually for about $65 for the non-2010 premium soft strap version, and about $35 for the old school classic edition.

Foot Pod (for indoor treadmill use)

One of the major new adds for the FR210 (over the FR110) is the ability to add a foot pod for indoor use.  There are a slew of different ANT+ foot pods out there, and all of them will work with the Garmin FR210.  However, some of the FR210 packages will include a foot pod – the Garmin variant – which is shown below.

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Out of all the foot pods I’ve tested, you can’t beat this tiny little foot pod, about the size of a quarter.  Plus, the battery lasts forever (at least a year).

You can pick this up for $60.

Rubber Bike Mount

Perhaps one of the best priced accessories out there, the rubber bike mount is great for when you want to mount the watch to your bike’s handlebars (or any similarly sized object).

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The rubber bike mount costs about $13.

Tanita BC-1000 Weight Scale

One non-Garmin accessory that integrates with the FR210 is the Tanita BC-1000 Wireless ANT+ Weight Scale.  This scale uses the ANT+ protocol to communicate with the FR210, allowing it to wirelessly record your weight and body fat readings, which are then transmitted to Garmin Connect.

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The scale retails for about $279, and you can find my full In Depth Review on the scale itself here.

Other accessories that aren’t supported

I wanted to briefly call out two items that aren’t supported (read: don’t work) with the Forerunner 210, mostly because they tend to work on many of the other Garmin fitness units, and thus could cause some confusion.

First up is the most common one – the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor. This would allow you to ride your bike indoors on a trainer and still get speed/cadence/distance.  Unfortunately, this is not enabled on the FR210.

Second, is less common – but still out there, which is ANT+ power meters.  No ANT+ power meters are compatible with the FR210, since it’s primarily aimed at runners and not cyclists.

Software:

Downloading Data/Connection:

The Forerunner 210 connects to your computer using an included USB charging/synchronization cable.  This cable in turns makes the FR210 appear to your computer simply as a mass storage device – or basically, just like a USB thumb drive.  This will be familiar for Edge 500, Edge 705 and Edge 800 users.

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Quick note: This next section is more for geeks than regular users. As a regular user, you can just skip to the next section titled ‘Garmin Connect’.

Once plugged in, on a Windows PC it will look like this:

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If you were to drill down into the the activities folder, you’ll see a list of files.  One for each activity.  These files are stored in Garmin’s .FIT file format, which is an encapsulated binary format designed to maximize file space.

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Of course, a file unto itself isn’t terribly useful (especially because if you open it with Notepad, you’ll just see junk).  The good news is that as a normal user, you’ll pretty much never look at these pieces.  Instead, you’ll fully utilize Garmin Connect…

Garmin Connect-

Garmin Connect is Garmin’s official activity management site, used to display and analyze all your Garmin fitness activities.  In the case of the FR210, you upload activities using either the Garmin Communicator plug-in for automated uploads, or individual file uploads on computers without the plug-in.  The plug-in is compatible with both PC and Mac.

Simply plug in your FR210, and communicator will find it, and the activities you’ve left to upload:

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After uploading the activities, you’ll want to open a given activity up to see how things went. Garmin Connect will show you details such as pace, distance and time – as well as elevation using the units GPS altimeter.

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You can also display lap and split information, if you used either Auto Lap, or simply created manual splits using the lap button:

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And finally, you can re-play your activity using the Player, which overlays your exact speed/pace/heart rate and other metrics, directly on a moving map:

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Garmin Connect offers a fair bit of other functionality as well, including a health section to chart weight (either manually, or using the Tanita BC-1000 mentioned earlier).  You can also plan out goals and keep tabs on your progress via the calendar.

I recommend Garmin Connect as a good starting point for using the FR210.  But I find that most advanced users will want something with a bit more analysis capabilities, which is why I discuss two additional 3rd party applications that I use to analyze my runs.

If you’d like to explore Garmin Connect a bit mere, here’s an activity of mine using the FR210 that you can use to poke around a bit.

Training Peaks-

Perhaps one of the most well known sport activity management platforms out there – Training Peaks offers an online suite that gives users far more detail and analysis capabilities than Garmin Connect does.  Training Peaks is available in a variety of flavors from free to not-so-free.  I personally use it to upload workouts and share them with my coach, who is able to follow my account.

Most users of Training Peaks will download the device agent, which allows quick and seamless uploading to the site.  Though, you can always choose to just upload files using the website instead.  The device agent is available for both Mac and PC.

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Once uploaded, you’ll go ahead and open the activity in Training Peaks:

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The site allows far more control and analysis over splits, bests, and averages.  Perhaps my favorite feature is the ‘bests’ section, which allows me to see per lap (or entire activity) my best and average paces, heart rate, and cadence.

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I generally recommend either Training Peaks or Sport Tracks (next) for those users looking to get more detail out of their workouts.

Sport Tracks-

With Sport Tracks 3.0, ST has introduced the capability of importing Garmin .FIT files – which is the file type that all of the new Garmin fitness units use, including the Forerunner 210.  Sport Tracks has two versions – a free version which supports up to two plug-ins and some limited reporting, while the full version costs $35.  Sport Tracks currently only works on a Windows based PC.

To import a Forerunner 210 activity into the watch, simply start Sport Tracks and then select to import files:

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Once imported, you can drill into a given activity, but it’ll start you with an overview page of your activity:

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Sport Tracks includes quite a bit of reporting and extension capabilities – allowing you to manage pretty much any device ever created on the planet – especially with its plug-ins.

However, perhaps my favorite feature is its ability to create ‘virtual splits’.  On the left hand side I can create splits based on any distance or time I’d like – I’m not just limited to what I actually recorded in the file when I ran my run:

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I’ve written a fair bit on Sport Tracks in the past, so I recommend you check out my Sport Tracks 3.0 post for more information on all the latest features there.

Summary:

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I find that for 95% of runners, the FR210 is the perfect running watch.  It offers a completely streamlined look and an easy to use interface.  It’s also the best overall introduction into GPS enabled fitness devices, without the complexity of some of the other units out there.  With the addition of footpod support and instant pace, this product line is now a realistic option for serious runners.

The remaining 5% of runners this watch isn’t ideally suited for are those looking to create and download complex workouts to the watch, or that want more customization of the display.  For triathletes looking for the one-size-fits all watch – this unit isn’t really it.  While I (probably more than anyone else) would love to see a FR210 sized device with the firmware from the FR310XT – it’s important to understand this is a runners watch, and not a full triathlete’s watch.  That said, as a triathlete – you can be sure that on the majority of my runs, I’ll be using the FR210 over my FR310XT – simply because it’s smaller.

Pros/Cons

No review would be complete without the pros and cons list – after all, a good percentage of you probably skimmed down to just this one section. 😉

Pros:

– Small and streamlined look – not bulky
– Adds foot pod support
– Adds interval support
– Adds ‘instant pace’ support
– Easy to use, ‘simply works’
– Functions as a regular watch, includes alarms
– Great battery life – 1-3 weeks in standby watch mode depending on use
– Easy to use download system and mass storage platform
– Well integrated Garmin Connect platform for activity management
– Uses .FIT format – so compatible with all major up to date 3rd party platforms

Cons:

– Not waterproof for extended immersion (but safe for rain/showers)
– Doesn’t include support for downloading workouts from computer
– Doesn’t allow the user to change data fields
– Doesn’t take advantage of other ANT+ accessories for cyclists (cadence/speed sensor and/or power meter)
– Isn’t really suited to the triathlete, aside from running

Comparison Charts

Here’s a chart I put together comparing the features with Garmin’s other popular recent GPS based running/triathlon watches – you’ll likely have to click on it to expand to a readable size:

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated February 22nd, 2021 @ 5:17 am New Window
Price$179.00$599$499$399/$499 (cellular)$279
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2010May 2019Sep 2019Sept 15th, 2020Sept 15th, 2020
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 2010May 2019Sep 2019Sept 18th, 2020Sept 18th, 2020
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBBluetooth Smart (smartphone)Bluetooth Smart (smartphone)Bluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX715fffff0m100m50m50m
Battery Life (GPS)10 hours60hrs, up to 150hrs UltraMax40hrs, up to 100hrs UltraMax7hrs GPS on time (18hrs standby)6hrs GPS on time (18hrs standby)
Recording IntervalSmart1-second1-secondVariesVaries
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatMost timesMost times
AlertsAudio/VisualAudio/Visual/VibrationAudio/Visual/VibrationVibration/Audio/VisualVibration/Audio/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Can control phone musicNoNoYesYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNoYesYes
Streaming ServicesN/AN/AApple MusicApple Music
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNoYesYes
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoYesYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoYes (with cellular version)Yes (with cellular version)
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)YesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoYesYesNoNo
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/ANoNoN/AN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/ANP onlyNP onlyN/AN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoYesYesNoNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNoNoYes via 'Fall Detection'Yes via 'Fall Detection'
RunningGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoYesYesNoNo
Running PowerYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoYesYesNoNo
Run/Walk ModeNoNoNoWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Track Recognition ModeYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeN/AYesYesYEsYEs
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesBasic stroke type onlyBasic stroke type only
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesBasic stroke type onlyBasic stroke type only
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoNoNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/A--YesYes
Change pool sizeN/AYesYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A15y/m-300y/m15y/m-300y/m1y/m to 1,500y/m+1y/m to 1,500y/m+
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesYesVery limitedVery limited
Can change yards to metersN/AYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AYesYesYes (goals)Yes (goals)
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Designed for triathlonNoYesYesNot reallyNot really
Multisport modeNoYesYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Auto Start/StopNoYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoNoSorta (Pacing feature)Sorta (Pacing feature)
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoYesYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Back to startNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsWith 3rd party apps
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricBarometricBarometric with real-time watch faceBarometric
Compass TypeN/AMagneticMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)YesYesYesNo
ECG FunctionalityNoNoYesNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesnono
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)YesYesNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
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 CapableNoYesYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
PC ApplicationGTCNoNoNoneNone
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectNoNoNoneNone
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS onlyiOS only
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Backcountry.comLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLink
REILinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 210COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series SE
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

With the Forerunner 210 priced at a base price of $300, you may wonder why you’d purchase it over the usually similarly priced FR310XT – which has exponential more features.  And the answer all comes down to one thing: Size.

I receive an astounding amount of e-mail each week from folks looking for the perfect athletic sports watch that doesn’t look like an orange brick strapped to their wrist.  And while I disagree that the FR310XT size is really that big – I also understand the concern.  For example, you’d never wear the 310XT as your daily wrist watch – thus an indicator of its size.

In addition, Garmin notes that the FR110/210 models are aimed at folks that just want an easy user experience.  They talked about times where they went to the start of races and found folks with FR305/405/310XT’s that had gotten themselves into a state where they couldn’t even start the race – as it was showing all the incorrect data fields.  With the FR110/210 – that’s basically impossible.

Finally, the FR310XT (and similar models) aren’t designed to be ‘always on’, whereas the FR210 is.  It’s designed to show you the time for weeks on end.

So in part, you’re paying a premium for size.  And the other part is for the ability to have a simpler watch.  Less is more, anyone?

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 items).  You can pickup the FR210 (various options below). 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.

Garmin FR210 (black color)
Garmin FR210 (limited edition blue/green)

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.

ProductStreet PriceAmazonClever Training
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1
$37.00
$37.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2
$69.00
$69.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3
$50
$50
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)
$28.00
$28.00
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)
$45
$45
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
$10.00
$10.00
Garmin Forerunner 110/210 Charging/Download Cable
$16.00
$16.00
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)
$70.00
$70.00

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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688 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    AHHHH! It’s finally here. Thanks for the great work as always Rain.

    • I LOVED your in-depth review, wow thank you.
      Quick question, although it’s apparent that the Garmin Forerunner 210 is suited to runners, you did touch upon cycling. I wanted to know if it would measure my calories and what else if I was on a spin bike? I mainly do spin classes and cycle outside. I imagine it would tell me how many kms I am hitting when I cycle outside as well as calories, but I would love you to confirm.

      P.S – If I buy the watch in the US but want to use in Australia do you know if I would have any problems recharging etc.

      Thanks for the amazing work!
      Jackey

    • It’ll track your calories indoors (or outdoors) as long as you have a HR strap. Here’s a bit more detail on calorie calculations with Garmin units: link to dcrainmaker.com

      As for Australia, no problems at all. The unit uses a standard USB plug, so you can plug it into any USB charger you have handy (from phone, etc…), or just use the included one with a simple plug adapter ($1-$2). It’s what I do when I’m down under. 🙂

      Enjoy!

    • Aaron

      Does the 210 offer any kind of vibrate/audible alert tones to tell you if your current pace is too fast/slow for a given workout?

    • Vinny

      If your to pick between FR15 or FR210 what would it be? … I can’t decide which one

    • Easily the FR15. Enjoy!

  2. Nick

    Thanks for the detailed review, but how accurate is the current pace? In the other garmin models the pace can jump between +/- 0.5min/mi or greater.

  3. I’m in the market for a new watch thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I feel like I need a waterproof one for the whopping 3-4 Tri’s I do per year.

  4. SSB

    Wow that was long. And I’ll admit I stopped reading when i saw your handlebar tape. But I had to hit page down about a million times to just get to the comment section to tell you you need new handlebar tape.

  5. loves_running

    another brilliant review, thanks.
    Same question as Nick, how accurate is current pace?

  6. Accidentally found the scale sync? If you didn’t know about it, wonder if Garmin even know it works 😉 Great review…but i just don’t see a $350 price point when you compare it to the 310xt or better yet, the 305…O well. Thinking it might be about Fr-60 time…

    Thanks for the review!

  7. Thanks for the great review. I picked up a FR210 a short time ago and used it while doing the Tour de B-cycle in Denver. The TdB is done using the Denver B-cycle bike sharing system, switching bikes at each of 50 stations over a route lasting several hours. Because of the frequent bike switching in this event, a typical bike-mounted GPS would not have been possible. The instant speed function worked great while on the road. Though the TdB is not really a race, it was very exciting to see the data. I’m hooked; I’ll be using the FR210 daily.

  8. Great review, as usual !
    Any idea why Garmin Connect has started using “bing” maps instead of Google Earth? In my area I’ve lost a lot of resolution!

  9. Great review!

    I received my fr210 yesterday and your review is very usefull for me.

    Thanks.

  10. I’m pretty sure the foot pod is supposed to be mounted the other way around (or so says the manual). Does this have any influence at all?

  11. Rob Mc

    Great Review, shall read in greater detail when I get home tonight, been waiting for this but got too excited and had already bought one, now to read the details and get using it

  12. Great review as usual. I have ordered it. I would like to know your opinion on the the maps change in Garmin Connect, from Google Maps to Bing. There is a lot of discussion if you check garmin foruns. Thanks for your hard work.

  13. Ben

    I have the watch and am a little disappointed that you can’t switch between current and average pace on the fly. What’s the chance this will be updated in future firmware updates. Seems like a no brainer to me.

  14. RE: Footpod

    Funny, I usually end up mounting the footpod different ways somewhat at random – since I semi-often move it around between shoes.

    I asked the Garmin folks if it actually mattered any which way it goes, and they said nope. They confirmed what I suspected – which is that as long as you calibrate it the same way you use it, you’re good to go. They just put the arrow there simply for support’s sake, but that in the end, it doesn’t matter which way.

    RE: Current Pace

    I’ve found the current pace to be fairly accurate – in tune with other models. It seems like they may have just slightly introduced a bit of rolling average with it to help stablize. But keep in mind, the purpose of instant pace is to add back in ‘instant pace’ just like all the other Garmin models already have. Previously, it had both lap avg and total avg, as a way to reduce bumpiness against current pace.

    RE: Bing Maps vs Google Maps

    As with all mapping providers – different ones excel better than others at various areas. Mapping providers have to ‘invest’ in a given country/region at a specific resolution level, so in one area Bing is better than Google – and in others, it’s vice versa.

    In this case, for US folks – I find Bing maps actually provides slightly better coverage and with more detail. While overseas, it tends to be a bit more spotty. As someone who travels quite a bit – I hear your pain on this and will definitely convey it.

  15. Fonz

    Awesome review! I’ve debated heavily between the 210 and 410 but this review (and your previous comments on the 405) has convinced me that the 210 satisfies all my current needs. If in the future I need something that can handle the run and the bike I’ll upgrade to the 310XT. Thanks for the consisten awesomeness!

  16. Ray,

    Thanks for the review. Great as usual. One thing I noticed you left out (and if I missed it I’m sorry – it’s a long review!) is discussion of price as compared to other models. While I think the FR210 is a compelling option for runners, the FR410 is only slightly more expensive with some key firmware additions (I know you haven’t reviewed it yet, but still…) and the 310XT has been on sale frequently for the same base price as the FR210 (admittedly, with the old HR strap).

    I think something like this should be mentioned, either in the body of the review or the Pros/Cons, because price is an important measure of value, and I just don’t see the value in the FR210 compared to the 310XT or the FR410 right now.

  17. Luc

    Great, detailed review! I have no questions, they’ve all been answered.
    Thanks for all your great work!

  18. Ken

    Great review as always, Ray. I’ve had the 210 for some time now and got to use it at the NYC Marathon on 11/7. Not since, due to posterior tibial tendonitis. 🙁 Anyway, one comment of yours I need to comment on. “Garmin wanted to eliminate the race starting line problem of folks being in odd states unable to get the watch simply stated due to being in the wrong mode or data field set.” I don’t think they’ve succeeded here, since waiting at the start line with the GPS synced will make you confirm every five minutes that you want to keep it in timing mode. Quite annoying as you’re preparing for the start of a marathon. That’s the one thing I miss about my 205, that I can put it into timing mode and leave it until I’m done. I wish they had an option for that. If Ryan Hall really uses a 110, I wonder if he also has to do this dance while waiting.

  19. Anonymous

    just a little correction:

    Swimming/Aquatic Adventures:

    Like the Forerunner 110, the Forerunner 210 is not waterproof.

  20. Excellent review Ray!
    Add my name to the list of those eagerly awaiting the 310xt in a 210 form factor. While I agree the 310xt isn’t the behemoth some make it out to be (like my wife, who calls it “the command center”), I do look forward to a more normal watch size. Until that day, and until the day my 310xt dies, the convenience of one day-to-day AND workout watch will remain a dream.
    Thanks again.

  21. Great review. I am a very happy user of the FR210, having downsized from a FR405CX. From a running perspective it tells me everything I need to know (HR, pace, distance). For the particular session I am doing each day I can figure out the rest. For cycling I use and prefer the Edge500.

    One note about the charging/data cable. I had an extra charging cable for my FR405, and it does in fact charge the FR210! However, since it only has two pins, instead of four, I assume it will not work for data transfer.

  22. Great review. Have you had a chance to spend much time with the 410 yet? Any initial thoughts?

  23. Mark J.

    Great review Ray. BTW, I bought a 310xt less than a month ago and it came with the newest premium soft strap also, which is great.

    Keep up the good work.
    -Mark J.

  24. Ray, as always great write-up and thanks for the review. Will be interested to see what you have to say if you get your hands on the new-improved touch bezel of the 410.

  25. Anonymous

    Thanks for yet another great review. Your attention to detail helped me greatly in deciding which Garmin to get. (I just finished buying from one of your links to Amazon.com — the watch plus a number of other Christmas gifts)

  26. Thanks all for the comments, and also for the minor corrections (no matter how many times I re-read the 40-70 page reviews, I always seem to make one or two spelling mistakes) – I’ve got everything updated.

    RE: 410 vs 210

    I just opened the box tonight from Garmin and took my initial unboxing photos and got it configured. I’m hoping to be able to use it this weekend, but I’m under Dr’s orders to not run until then (the never ending cough).

    The 410 does feature a re-engineered bezel, designed to break out the single touch sensor into four quadrants (under the covers).

    RE: Added pricing pieces

    Per request, I’ve also added in the pricing section, with some of my thoughts there.

    I also added a tiny bit more on the Tanita scale as well.

    Thanks all for your support using the links, I appreciate it!

  27. Re: Pricing

    those are great points that I didn’t really think about. as a day-in-day-out watch..far superior. Also, i guess i’ve just gotten used to the the 305 as a ‘clunker’ and so its not a factor anymore. For the serious runner/marathoner, i now see the appeal.

  28. As always, great review Ray. I have the 310xt and you don’t even notice you are running with it. I would probably not use either watch for my daily watch. It was purchased for a particular purpose – training and tracking it’s data. I do, however, understand why people would want the smaller watch. Also, hoping you give one away soon as it would be nice to have another backup 🙂

  29. Great Review, THANKS!
    One thing keeps me wondering: You state that you get these devices from Garmin and have to send them back after review.
    How comes you can line up all those watches to compare them in size?
    Do you buy all those watches after your review them and send them back to Garmin?
    Sometimes I get the feeling that you are the official-independent-garmin-press-blogger. The Edge 800 was reviewed from you right on the day they introduced it. Your comment on the bing-maps makes me also wonder. No word of criticism on that bad decision from garmin to switch from google to bing. No offence but sometimes I’m surprised. Just that. Happy training!

  30. Amy

    Ray – thanks for that super detailed review. I have been seriously considering the FR210 for a while and you have helped me make up my mind. This watch is exactly what I’m looking for and I will be ordering one very soon. Is it okay to buy oneself something wonderful and expensive when one should be shopping for others? :¬)

  31. Anonymous

    How does the 210 display heart rate information while doing intervals? Does it swap places (or scroll) with the interval timer field? Or is HR not available during interval workouts?

  32. Hi Georg-

    RE: Watches

    Yes, I end up purchasing them all after I send then back. I do this mostly so I can continue providing feedback on reviews, as well as responding to the many many many questions in these posts and others. Without the watches, I’d be unable to always provide an exact response. When folks use the links through Amazon, that in effect pays for the watches, and thus the supported reviews (it also pays for Giveaways, travel costs to Interbike, etc…).

    RE: Bing

    It really depends on Bing. For some people – it sucks a lot, for others, it’s actually an improvement. For my area, it’s actually an improvement – along with for many within the US. While for most overseas, it’s a higher level of suck.

    I work in the IT industry, and specifically – often work with both of these organizations that provide mapping. I understands the in’s and out’s of how maps are bought from 3rd party companies – what resolutions they choose for certain areas, why they choose certain reslutions. Why one company will choose to buy India resolution at 15m – yet buy Pakistan at 8m. I also understand how the rights are then sold to Microsoft and Google, and the decisions on how they’re made by customers such as Garmin. I understand why Garmin would choose one vendor over another. It’s not something they did just for fun, but rather for a business reason likely just related to price of service.

    The reason I say all that first – is that it’s harder for me to get upset about things that I understand. Meaning, I really do understand why they’ve made the decision they’ve had. I understand why Training Peaks continues to use the crappy Mapquest maps they do. It sucks, but I’d prefer to focus much of my sway (for what little I have) on fixing the device themselves – especially since so many folks use different online products than Garmin Connect anyway.

    Sorry…probably a longer answer than you wanted – and probably not the answer you wanted.

    Hi Amy-

    RE: Buying gifts for oneself

    Absolutely! 🙂

    Hi Anon-

    RE: HR display

    Yup, in fact – check out the photo taken during the ‘Heart Rate’ section, just below the red/pink heart rate graph. The one where I’m holding a water bottle. The middle 170’s number is my HR, and that’s during an interval set, I just have a different page displayed.

  33. Oh, sorry, missed one-

    From Georg-

    RE: Getting Edge 800 day it was released

    There’s a few ‘influential’ organizations/blogs that got them that day. BikeRadar.com, Me, and two others I can’t remember offhand.

    I get (and have) similiar products from other companies that have yet to be released – some I talk about immediately, some I have to wait. I try and balance being able to provide feedback to various companies on everyone’s (your) behalf, and at the same time also give you the most detailed information I can the day it’s released – instead of just some fluffy stuff.

    From thier side (Garmin, Wahoo, Zeo, Timex, Withings, Tanita, Polar, ANT+, etc… – basically all sports tech companies), they obviously enjoy what PR they get – though it’s not all good. Everyone’s been on the wrong end of me finding crappy products, and that includes Garmin (go check my FR405 review, or my past rants on Garmin Connect).

    I try not to be defined by labels that some would like to apply as ‘Press’, or ‘Beta testrr’, or ‘Random person’, but rather navigate my own definition of what I want to provide. Sometimes that’s press, sometime’s that ‘Tester’, and sometimes that’s just little ole Ray. At the end of the day, I’m still just an athlete like you – and if a device is crap, I try and give that feedback up front to get products changed…and if that fails – tell the world.

  34. Pete

    Great review thanks. It’s got me considering changing up from my (non-GPS) Polar S275x, as finally there’s a GPS watch that can realistically be used as a day to day watch as well, without silly low battery life.

    What I’m interested to know (I couldn’t see this in the review, but apologies if I’ve missed it) is when using it in cycling mode, can it display Distance and Speed at the same time?

    Also, regards the handlebar mount, I would assume you could fasten it round a Polar handlebar mount, rather than buying a Garmin one?

  35. Great review!

    I’ve been waiting for this watch for a long time and just ordered the 210 from your Amazon link. Hopefully you can use the referral money to buy some new bar tape. Damn dirty trigeek.

  36. Ray,
    Can you give more photos of the watch with the different data fields. For example, with the 310xt, I like having time, instant pace, heart rate and distance. Can the 210 do that on one screen or do you have to flip?

  37. Vijesh

    Ray,
    You take a wonderful amount of pictures but have you ever thought about adding a video section to your reviews? Something that shows the form factor or menu interface for each device.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  38. Anonymous

    Hi –

    I have the FR60 and it has multiple sport modes. If I pick the “running” mode by mistake and do a regular non-running workout – the watch doesn’t compute calories properly (it’s not even close). I am considering the 210, but am worried if I’ll be able to use it for non-running workouts and get accurate calorie computations. I always wear he heart rate strap, if that helps. Do you know?

    Thanks!

  39. Hi Pete-

    RE: Display Modes

    Yes, in cycling mode you can iterate through three data screns, which do display speed and distance at the same time.

    RE: Handlebar mount

    Yes, it works on the Polar mount as well (I happen to have one here).

    Hi JMilliron-

    RE: Bar tape

    Yes…that bike needs some love…Thanks for helping!

    Hi Gene-

    RE: Data fields

    You can do heart rate/distance/speed on one page, but you’ll have to flip pages to see all four, as you can only get three items on a page with the FR110/210.

    Hi Vijesh-

    RE: Videos

    I do it on some reviews (like the Edge ones primarily). I’ll record something for the data fields and add it in. That’s an easy one that should help to clarify what folks see. Just gotta go brave the cold!

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Calorie modes

    The FR210 uses the firstbeat algorithm, which is purely HR beat-based, whereas the FR60 didn’t.

    Check out the full details of the differences here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    In short, I think you’ll see more accurate results, since really, the HR methods on the FR210 even in running mode are aimed at measuring effort via HR, not via speed/distance.

  40. Pete

    Thanks for the follow-up, I’m thinking more and more, this could be the replacement for my ageing Polar. It’s a shame that Polar seem to have lost the way a bit, and models like mine, for instance, don’t have a modern equivalent, but as a plus, it gets you looking at brands you might not otherwise.

  41. Pete

    Oh, one other thing. With regards the 2010 HR chest strap, is there an easy way to check that’s what I’m getting if I buy one of these. It looks hard to tell in the photos if there’s much difference between the 2010 premium strap, and the previous premium strap.

    Where it’s on sale in the UK, mentions it comes with the premium strap, but doesn’t say which one.

  42. All FR210’s and Edge 800’s have the new 2010 strap. It’s only a ‘guess’ if you pickup the FR310XT, in that it had to have been packaged after August 2010.

  43. Pete

    Thanks for that, looks like my order will be going in soon 🙂

  44. Thank you for the excellent review on the 210. I bought the 110 after I read your review of it. I’m a runner and it is the perfect training partner.
    I’m glad you mentioned your trip to India, I spent many years there and I enjoy hearing about different experiences people have while visiting such an interesting country.
    Hope you smash your training and your races
    Have fun
    David

  45. Pete

    One other thing, how many workouts can the watch record before it runs out of memory? ie do you have to upload to computer after each workout, or can you do it less often?

    Thanks again.

  46. I find it mind boggling that this $300 watch isn’t waterproof. I would have bought it if it was. Instead I picked up a cheap and cheerful 305 on Craigslist. Even though its over 3 years old, it still does more than the latest models. A strange product release strategy to say the least!

  47. Anonymous

    Hi,

    I’m not sure which watch to get, the forerunner 210 or the forerunner 305. PLEASE let me know what you would recommend? Obviously the 305 is cheaper but does the 210 do anything a lot better than the 305? Is it worth the extra money?

    Thanks!!

  48. Sportsfreund17

    Hey Rainmaker,
    the weight scale connectivity is specified on the entry page of the manual where the buttoms are descriped.
    And it turns on after pressing the light buttom while the training mode is activated. That means: press page/menu five times and then light and it will turn on the Tanita weight scale.

  49. Hi Anon-

    Wow, interesting. I thought I looked through that for it. Strange, there it is.

    What’s odd is it’s not listed anywhere on Garmin.com as a ‘feature’. Given folks do indeed choose which watch to buy based on the feature charts – I’d hope it ends up there.

    Thanks for the tip though!

  50. GavTris

    Re: Foot pod
    With the exception of looking at cadence, unless I have missed something in your reviews (unlikely, given how comprehensive they are!), I don’t really see what value a foor pod adds. If you’re on a treadmill, the treadmill tells you how far you have gone, surely!
    Still trying to decide between the 310XT and 210…
    Thanks for the excellent content.

  51. Anonymous

    Hi Ray

    I have 2 questions for you.

    1. Do both the 410 and 210 have the SiRFstarIVTM GPS chip in them ?

    and

    2. Are there any improvements in the waterproofing design of the 210. I know of 4 people whose display fogged up under normal running conditions with the 110 so IPX7 is really meaningless as far as I am concerned. My second FR110 has fogged up again under normal conditions. Why has a cheaper timex wrist watch better resistance to water than a $300 gps watch. Also following the Fr 210 garmin thread, the problem still exists and it is quite a common occurrence. So to pay $300 for a gps unit with minimal resistance to moisture seems crazy. Any thoughts.

    Thank you

  52. I am having a heck of a time deciding between the 410 and 210. I like the functionality of the 410 but having gone and put one on the other day, it is really thick. I want a watch that I can wear daily as needed. Do others get used to the size of the 405/410 or do they not wear if other than for training? If money is no object, which one would you choose? Thanks!

  53. Anonymous

    Hi,
    Thanks for a thorough and clear review. I am also debating whether to buy the 210 or the 410 and will highly appreciate the comparative review you refferd to earlier. Any thoughts\conclusions already?
    Thanks, Hami

  54. Great review! If I understand your review correctly, you see total distance, average pace, and instant pace. If you are running with automatic laps, is it possible to see both the average pace for the run and the average pace for the lap (instead of the instant pace)?

  55. Anonymous

    Thank you another great review.

    One thing I would still like to know is does the new Garmin FR210 measure the heart rate R-R intervals? The RR information is required for e.g. Firstbeat ATHLETE software: the data is used for calculating the EPOC and TE values. Currently the Polar and Suunto HRM’s are the only ones that record the RR information, I think.

  56. Anonymous

    Great review. IRT the new heart rate monitor strap. I have the “old” premium strap and after months of spikes and issues, I went out and bought the heart rate monitor gel with no improvement. Today (xmas) during my long run I finally realized the issue. Where the band connects to the monitor, in cold weather, sweat/moisture was freezing in the button snap causing my heart rates to spike above 200.

    When I wiggled the clasp, the heart rate would plunge back to normal.

    Next step is to figure out a way to seal the area until the new heart rate monitor is available for purchase.

    Figured I’d share the epiphany….

  57. Jaime

    I’ve also been frustrated by the spikes I get with my Garmin 310XT. For now, I have resolved the issue by using the Polar Wearlink+ strap instead, which has proved to be more consistent.

  58. anton

    Great review! But there is one thing I don’t understand.

    If using the F210 with a foot pod in outdoor mode, what is actually recorded by the foot pod? Is it only cadence or does it register distance as well?

  59. Anonymous

    Your review was very helpful. Wife got me a 405cx for my new found running habit (2 yrs, just did first full marathon). But living in Seattle area (Tumwater) I feared I would hate the bezel and the bulk. While I would like to try a tri, I think a pure running watch would be better. The smaller size of the 210 sounds appealing, and your high review sealed the deal. Hope I’m right. Found this on discount for $249 through Amazon. Didn’t link through you ’cause I feared it would be gone if I didn’t order immediately (happened last week with the same deal-someone beat me to it). But for future purchases, I’ll try to link through the site, really helpful.

  60. Anonymous

    Any idea if the 210 has a once per second GPS update rate like the 305 and 310XT? The distance measured on trail runs with lots of curves seems to be more accurate with a faster update rate.

  61. gman

    Ray,

    I just got a FR210 and love it, wear it all the time!

    Question – is it OK to wear it in the shower?

    Thanks again for your excellent blog!

    Gary

  62. SoCal TrailRunner

    Great review, very helpful! Quick question… can you use the 210 as a normal stopwatch without having to go into training mode, acquire a GPS signal, etc? I currently have a 405 and often need immediate access to a stopwatch, which it can’t do.

  63. Anonymous

    Does the 210 feature a heart rate graph in the watch in the same was as the 405/410 does?

  64. Anonymous

    Does the 210 show instant and average pace at the same time? I like to see both while training racing. It seems like you have to choose one or the other.

  65. Hi Gavtris-
    RE: Foodpoint value

    For me, the ability to have that data show up after the workout – and in particular, paces and speeds for complex workouts. Additionally, it recorded cadence – which I find valuable in training. Thanks!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR410 and 210 chips

    My discussions with Garmin stated that the FR410 has an older chipset that came in the original FR405.

    RE: Waterproofing improvements

    No, there are no waterproofing improvements between the FR110 and FR210 – I confirmed this with the Garmin engineering team.

    Hi Jamie/Hami-
    RE: FR410 or FR210

    I’d go with FR210 (well, I’d go with FR310XT…)

    Hi Jan-
    RE: Views

    Correct.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Heart Rate RR

    It uses it, but does not record it seperately in a viewable fashion.

    Hi Anton-
    RE: Footpod in outdoor mode

    In this case, just cadence – unless the GPS drops (i.e tunnel), in which case it’ll pickup speed/distance and takeover.

    Hi Anon-
    Thanks!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Recording rate

    The FR210 uses smart recording. The FR310XT also uses smart recording unless you have a power meter, then it’s 1s. The FR305 has the option to switch back and forth.

    Hi Gman-
    RE: Weraing it in shower

    Yup, I do all the time, no issues in three+ months.

    Hi SoCal Trailrunner-
    RE: Normal stopwatch

    Yes, you can tell it to stay in indoor mode, and it functions that way.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR210 heart rate graph

    Yes, identical – both show the graph the same way on Garmin Connect (or any other application)

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR210 Instant and average pace

    On one screen it’s one or the other, but you can just press the button to swap to a different page and have it shown there.

    Thanks all!

  66. Any idea if the Garmin foot pod can track cycling cadence on a bike?

    I don’t know much about the internals of the foot pod, but I’m guessing it has some sort of accelerometer-based movement detection.

    If that is true, then it seems like it might just be possible to “fake” the pod into thinking that a pedal stroke was a rounded stride step.

    ….in which case, the FR210 should be able to do speed, distance, HR and cadence on a bike….indoors or out.

    Have you ever given this a try?

    Thanks!!

  67. Hi Bookblogger-
    RE: Using Footpod for Cycling Cadence

    It ‘kinda-but-not-really’ works. For example, I used it on some Spin bikes back two weekends ago at a hotel. I just had my running shoes on. While it would record cadence – the cadence was significantly off (about 50% roughly) compared to actual cadence. And it dropped out a fair bit as well.

    Not ideal unfortunately. Sorry!

  68. Josef

    Maybe I missed this, but how many “pages” does the 210 have when you hit mode/page. I’m assuming 2. Is that correct? GREAT review, by the way.
    Also, when you run with the 210, do you miss not having the cadence in real time? Just curious, as that’s one thing I like about the 410.. and i’m trying to decide b/w the two. Thanks again!

  69. Hi Josef-
    RE: Pages

    Three pages actually, though, some of them overlap a bit.

    The cadence doesn’t bother me too much actually, since I only rarely use the Garmin on the run for cadence but instead use a cheap little beepy cadence meter with me. Recording is more important to me.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Rainmaker,
      prior to considering a specialist running watch, i was using running apps on my phone to track my runs. After some time, I found them to be very unreliable. I then began to consider the nike+ sportswatch and i found your review on it, which was incredibly helpful. I eventually decided to go for the garmin FR210 after reading your review(fantastic again). I would like to thank you for helping me make the right choice and thanks again for the fabulous reviews, you really do put your heart and soul into them! An in-depth review like yours was just what i was looking for, you leave no stone unturned! Keep up the good work!

  70. am I correct that it is not possible to show the current laptime while running? I’m planning to use this watch for orienteering, and I’m considering this watch instead of the 405, which is very popular for orienteering usage here in europe, because of its simplicity. But without actual laptime support, this watch is nothing for orienteering as well as our interval trainings in the forest. thanks in advance and I’d love to hear from you.

  71. Anonymous

    Hi, excellent review. Does the 210 have a countdown timer?

  72. Thanks for the really indepth review. I found it very useful.

    I’m new to running and will soon run my first half marathon, so excuse my ignorance if this is a very basic question.

    I noticed that the 210 doesn’t have a start/stop or resume feature, so what do people do when they need to pause, e.g. for a bathroom break? Doesn’t the interruption distort the pace and other times?

  73. Anonymous

    Thanks for the great reviews! To make sure I’m clear on what the 210 will display when running:
    For the pace that is displayed, can you choose between instant, lap average, or overall average?
    When using the heart rate monitor, can you flip back (while running) to the display that includes the overall time?

  74. Anonymous

    For amateur running, just running with Heart rate strap, are there any reasons to buy the 210HR instead of the 405CX?
    Can actually get the 405CX slightly cheaper, but lets assume same price.
    Guess the new Heart rate strap is an advantage. Anything else? or has the 405CX more advantages ?

  75. Great reviews! I spent quite a bit of time reading your reviews on the 110, 210, 405 and 410. They were very thorough and helped me to ultimately pick the 210 based on my needs. I picked it up last week and love it!

    But today I noticed that Nike released the Nike+ SportWatch GPS in partnership with TomTom. Other than RunTheLine, I haven’t seen a good review on it yet. These guys raved about it saying it was better than any Garmin or Timex they ever tested. But they didn’t actually get into specifics as to why. The review seemed a little more like a fluff piece. Any chance you’ll be getting your hands on a unit to test? Knowing how thorough and comparative all your other reviews have been, I’d love to see you try this out and give all of us your thoughts and advice.

    Thanks!

  76. JDL

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. JDL

    Thank you very much for the incredible reviews. Alas, I am really struggling between purchasing the 210 and 410. I know you say that the 210 is perfect for 95% of the runners out there, but I am worried about losing some of the 410’s advanced features. I am predominately a runner, and in training and running my marathons, I want to be able to hit very specific paces per mile to hit goal times. I am really looking for a good watch that allows me to see all my data quickly and keep a good consistent pace. For instance, is the 210 stuck on one data field only, meaning I can only ever see my avg. lap pace OR my instantaneous pace? Suggestions? Thanks DC Rainmaker!

  78. Hi Ray. I have a question. Yesterday I ran 16 miles on my Garmin 210 and when I passed the information to my computer did not register the calories. Says 0 calories. I used it for 10 minutes a few times and the same, does not register the calories. Thanks for your help!
    F.

  79. Tim

    I read the comments & reviews so hopefully this isn’t a repeat question. But will the 210 display last lap splits? I mean during a run and not post run using software. Say I go for a 5 mile run and at it beeps to mark off miles as I have it set at. When it beeps at mile 2 is there any way for me to see that last mile split displayed? Would be a deal breaker otherwise. Last lap splits are as important as current pace in my book since one is just a continuation of teh other. Any answer to this would be appreciated.

  80. Ken

    Tim, the 210 will show your last lap pace for I think 10 seconds, then resume the normal timing. Is this what you’re asking for?

  81. Tim

    Ken: Thanks, that is exactly what I wanted to know. Maybe it’s time to finally join the GPS watch world now that wearing one doesn’t have to qualify as strength training.

  82. Fernando, when my 210 did this I had to reboot the watch. It has worked fine since.

  83. JAA

    I am a bike racer and occasional runner. I user a Power Tap and love the LYC….it’s simple and does the job. I only use a PTap on my road bike….so when on my mtb or cyclocrossbike – training and racing I want a gps w/ HRM – mostly as post ride/race analysis / review and upload to Training Peaks. I have a 205 – so no HRM. It works fine. I have a Polar S720? but it’s getting long in the tooth and doesn’t record HR in enough detail. I”m looking for a watch that captures distance/time/hr/gps essentially. The 210 seems to fit that bill…. During a race I’d glance at time/distance/hr on occasion….

  84. Great review, I’m bookmarking your page.
    I have never used a heart rate monitor but heard from a family member that his Polar watch picked up a fellow runner’s heart rate during a race when he wasn’t wearing his own HRM. Should I be concerned about similar situations with the 210 if I don’t intend using the HRM?

  85. Anonymous

    Nice review! It looks like the watch band is integrated into the watch casing, do you know if the band can be replaced if it ever cracks or breaks?

  86. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review. I am debating between the 210 and the 310xt – one of my problems being the fact that my wrist is 5.75 inches in circumference.

    Thanks for the thorough review.

  87. Is the 210′ screen a littlebigger than the 410 and 610. It seems the viewable parte is bigger thant the other 2 newest models. Do you notice any difference when looking at the numbers? I’m a little myopic (and getting older…) so i’d prefer bigger numbers on the screen…

  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. Thanks for an outstanding review of the FR210. I loved all the details both in text and supporting pics.
    I was actually ready to pull the trigger on a Nike+GPS SportsWatch, when I happened to be linked to your site by a Nike customer. Based on your fine review, I changed my mind and have already ordered the FR210. This is my first sports watch, so I’m really happy to have visited your site first. THANKS!!!

  90. Steve E.

    Just a couple of comments in my first two weeks of owning the FR210:
    1: It started fogging up from underneath the glass by about my 6th or 7th event (a run). The next one after that (bike) it did it again. I found other instances of this issue online. Other than sweat, it hasn’t been submerged in water.
    2: I left it on the charger last night (USB to computer on all night) and came out to a dead battery just before going on a 50 mile bike ride. Very frustrating as it charges slow, even in the wall charger
    3: Charging connection is horrible. It takes very little movement for it to disconnect from the charger. Since the watch is heavier than the clip, it will fall over and disconnect. You must keep an eye on it!

    I like the watch for what it does for me on the bike and run (I have another bike computer for other data). However the issues I’ve found aren’t acceptable regardless of personal feelings of “what I’d like to see” on my watch.
    I’m planning on returning it to REI, but am waiting until they get the FR610 in stock, which (at $150 more) should fix all of my issues above and give me more functionality (that I may not really need at this point).

    I love the review format, and am wondering if you’ve had any of these issues with yours?

  91. rpg_suz

    That was an amazing review; exactly what I wanted. The detail contained here was incredible. Wow!

  92. Thanks for the detailed reviews. After reading your reviews on the various Garmin devices, I selected the FR 210. I completed my first run this morning with it and uploaded my data to GC and TP. It’s so awesome being able to look at all that data. Thanks again.

  93. Anonymous

    When using the 210 for a run, what does the display field look like? If using the HRM version, what is everything you are displayed? I would like to know because I have read you cannot customize what you want displayed.

  94. KeithC

    hi! I really hope you can help me out on this! Does the FR210 come with the virtual ghost runner function? The one which shows you how far behind or in front you are of a current pace setting? And does it also come with the function where you set a particular heart rate and if you drop out of the zone, it sends you a signal?

  95. I would of been completely sold on this watch over the 610 if it could hold 4 data fields at once. Since it only has 3, its like its showing you incomplete info. I want to see distance, time, pace, and heart rate all at once like on the 610. Only problem with the 610 is that it is very pricey. Does the 210 atleast have the ability to scroll to other data pages of information while you run?

  96. Anonymous

    [blockquote]Does the 210 atleast have the ability to scroll to other data pages of information while you run?[/blockquote]

    I got one a couple days ago, press the page/menu button to scroll though time elapsed, heat beat, and current time. It works very well, and I live in Manhattan!

  97. Hi Alain-
    RE: Laptime while running

    Correct, it does not show laptime while running – I really wish it did!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Countdown timer

    No, it does not.

    Hi Chicago-
    RE: Stop/Start/Resume

    Yes, you can start/stop without resettting the activity, if as you mentioned you stopped at the bathroom. It does not affect the activity pace.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Pace

    Yes, that’s correct.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR210 over FR405

    Yes, you get to avoid the touch bezel on the FR405/FR410. 😉 It personally drives me crazy.

    Hi Aaron-
    RE: Nike+ Sportwatch

    See the sidebar for my Nike+ Sportwatch In Depth review. I certainly wouldn’t say the Nike+ watch is more advanced than the FR210, in really any category.

    Hi JDL-
    RE: FR210 or FR410

    Suggestion: Go for broke with the FR610 instead of the FR410. Much better. That said, regarding data fields, now, you can swap between the fields that you noted.

    Hi Fernando-
    RE: Calories

    Double check that your weight/height is entered in correctly. Also were you wearing the HR strap?

    Hi Tim-
    RE: Lap Splits

    Here’s what it displays:

    – Pace/Speed: Lap Average
    – Pace/Speed: Overall Overage
    – Distance: Lap
    – Distance: Overall
    – Time: Overall (no lap time is offered)
    – Heart Rate: Current
    – Heart Rate: Zone

    Hi JAA-
    RE: Right watch

    This indeed seems like the right watch for you. Not too complex, but still meets your needs.

    Hi Marida-
    RE: Picking up others HR straps

    No, the Garmin’s use ANT+, which are individually paired to a given strap. No issues running with 30,000 other runners in a marathon at the same time. 🙂

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Band replacement

    Only via Garmin support

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR210 vs 310XT band circumference

    The bands are virtually identical all the way around the Garmin lineup.

    Hi Pablo-
    RE: Screen size

    The numbers can be made bigger on the FR405/FR610, but not on the FR210 since the data fields are set sizes.

    Hi Greenhaven-
    Enjoy! I think you made the right choice!

    Hi Steve-
    RE: Issues

    It sounds like something in the watch is defective, I suspect due to the water issues. I saw something very similiar on the FR110 initially when it had water issues – almost identical to what you describe. The FR210 is basically just the FR110 with a few new firmware features, but same exact case painted slightly differently.

    That said, I think you’ll love the FR610!

    Hi RPG_Suz & Russ-
    Thanks!

    Hi KeithC-
    RE: Virtual Pacer

    No, the FR210 does not include Virtual Pacer.

    Yes, it does include listing HR zones.

    Hi Thomas-
    RE: Scrolling data

    Yup, as Anon noted, you can display all those items – three at a time – by simply scrolling through the menu’s. Enjoy!

    Thanks all!

  98. Is it possible to have the foot pod calibrated by the watch itself, using the gps? In fact, is this possible with the other models (410-610) too?

  99. Thanks for the marvelous report, which is even read in Holland!
    One question, which I hope I can explain in English..I bought the FR 110 last december, but can’t use it while training interval, because it doesn’t have a lap function. So now I use my old Polar instead. I understand that the FR 210 does have the lap function, but is it possible to start/stop during the interval manually, instead of having to fill in the distance and pause on forehand?

    Hope you understand the question…

    Thanks again,
    Karin

  100. Anonymous

    Hey and thanks for great review. One question: 210 only shows dist, pace and HR at the same time, or am I wrong? I would like to see also the time that I’ve been running. I think 610 is able to show all these four features at the same time. Is it easy to check the time during running or should I get the 610 instead of 210?

    Thanks,

    Andy

  101. PLopes

    Hi ray, thanks for the review. One question about the workout function, how’s it different form other garmin products(ihave the edge 705)? can I create several workouts trough the unit and load them as I please? or does the unit only acepts one workout at a time?

    Hope I made myself clear…Thanks in advance

  102. Jim

    Just curious. You are in your 20s, right? And undoubtedly in good shape. How can a HR of 174 be zone 5 (in the photo)? I’m 44 and a 174 HR for me is the upper end of zone 4.

  103. Jim

    What happens when the strop on this watch breaks? Looks to be a permanent part of the watch. Is it replaceable?

  104. Breanne

    I have read all of your reviews on the fr60, 210, and 410 and am still having trouble deciding which one will work best. I need to buy a watch within the next week or so. I will be running at a D1 college next year and I’m looking for my first running watch to have the following features:
    -small due to my small wrists
    -display accurate distance and instantaneous pace
    -be compatible for both long runs and interval/uptempo training
    -work well in the cold, hot, wet, and dry
    -easy to navigate while running

    I’m looking forward to not having to map out routes prior to running and also to improve my pacing. Thanks!

  105. Ben

    Thanks for the great research and review. I suspect that the same character flaw that requires us to have all this information strapped to our wrists is the same that leads one to such detailed analysis.

    I used the link on this site to purchase my 210 about 3 weeks ago. The 210 is a great new training partner. There was no doubt that it was the right watch for me based on your review.

    Thanks again for your work on behalf of us all with running OCD issues.

    Happy Trails…

  106. Hi Pablo-
    RE: GPS Calibration

    No, on this watch it doesn’t support GPS calibration. The others you can though.

    Hi Karin-
    RE: Interval override

    Yes, by pressing lap you can override to the next portion of the activity (i.e., cut work or rest segment short).

    Hi Anon/Andy-
    RE: Fields displayed

    The FR210 can only show three at a time, but you can iterate through fields by taping the page button. The FR610 does indeed show all four. I love the FR610, but the FR210 is still a very solid watch for running. The FR610 just gives you more data display and flexibility.

    Hi PLopes-
    RE: Workout function

    The FR210 doesn’t support the workouts like the rest of Garmin products, just the basic interval function.

    Hi Jim-
    RE: HR zones

    In this case I didn’t change them to my actual zones. My real zones are in Z4A/Z4B/Z4C style, which doesn’t work well for the Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 concept. In my case, my Z4B is 174…

    RE: Watch band
    Not sure about breakage replacement.

    Hi Breanne-
    RE: Which watch

    In your case, I’d go with either the FR210 or FR610. I wouldn’t go with the FR410. The FR60 is good, but I think the the FR210/610 are better in that you can go via GPS or footpod, should you want to. If you don’t want routes, then the FR610 is your best bet – as neither the FR210 or FR60 support this.

    Enjoy!

    Hi Ben-
    Thanks!

    Thanks all for your support!

  107. Anonymous

    Ray, does the 210, if purchased with the HR strap but not the foot pod combo, come with the latest (2010 as you call it) HR strap or the older one (not plastic but the soft one)?

  108. Yes, all Garmin units these days shipping with ‘a premium HR strap’ come with the new version instead. The only exception being if you stumbled into a unit that had been sitting on a store shelf since pre-September 2010 (pretty hard to do).

    Enjoy!

  109. hi rainmaker, i am thinking of getting the fr210 mainly for cycling and day to day wear however, my question is that when i want to use it indoors on the cycle trainer, won’t the foot pod record my speed etc rather than the incompatible cadence sensor, or what will the foot pod record exactly??

  110. Unfortunately the running cadence sensor won’t measure speed/distance on a bike indoors. It sorta measures cycling cadence, but the data is usually only 50% of the cadence rate, and very spotty.

    The FR210 doesn’t support the GSC-10 bike sensor (nor does the FR110).

  111. Sebek72

    Nice review,

    I found it very usefull.

    Is there a watch where you can set intervals were each intervall has a differrent time?

    Thanks

  112. Filo

    Wow! These reviews are amazing.

    I have a couple of questions:
    – I am currently a proud owner of a 305 but would like to change it as it’s way too bulky. Though I love the fact I can have Distance/Hear Rate/Speed/Time on at the same time. I gather this is not possible with the 210 or am I mistaken ?
    – the other option I guess would be moving to 610 but that’s $$$$ and a touch too much for my needs (I rarely move from the setup above in the 305) though I am planning to do my first marathon in a few months (NYC). Any views on this ?

  113. Just a comment: The charger that comes with the 210 also works on the 310. Yes, there are 4 pins on the 210 charger and 2 on the 310, but it still works.

    My 310 charger clip broke – a common weakness? – so I tried the 210. No problem.

  114. Anonymous

    Awesome review. Thanks for the tips!

  115. Milloga

    Greetings from Spain

    Training of different duration or different distance to the forerunner 210 intervals can be set

  116. Homer

    Thanks for the great information!

    What is the maximum number of intervals that can be set? Could it be used for pacing a very long run?

  117. Choosing between a FR610 and a FR210… I want to use the watch for running and for geotagging my photos (so I have to wear it a whole day, the bigger watches don’t appeal then).

    The FR210 has a bit more battery life and looks a bit sleeker (although both at 1.4cm diameter?).

    If this watch meets my basic running needs, then I’m sure I think I’m getting this one. Because the problem is, I’m the kind of person that fiddles with gadgets too much, time I could be running 😉 (FR610 might not be the best option then)

    For example, is it possible to make a ‘test-run’ to train for a 10K with this watch? The workout needs to look like this:

    1) Warm-up Length — 1.00 minute
    2) Interval Length — 10KM
    3) Rest Length — 0KM
    4) Number of intervals to complete – 1
    5) Cool-down length — 1.00

    Or something 😉 – Basically I need a beep when at 10KM so I don’t have to look at the watch all the time. And I need to see how long I’m running since the 10K started (on my watch, during the run) and in how much time I ran it (on my computer, when finished).

    Another function I could miss with this one is the Virtual Partner, but I could just calculate the pace needed and go to the Pace/Average to see if I’m on schedule, if I’m not mistaking.

    My questions are, I’d be grateful if you could answer them:

    1 – What features will a non-pro runner miss on the FR210?

    2 – Are these worth the price difference? In other words: could you advise me witch watch is the best for my use?

    (My uses)

    – Track a path during the day, import GPX-file into Aperture for geotagging pictures (it doesn’t support .FIT)
    – Use HR as an indication wether I’m running at the right pace or have to decrease/increase intensity.
    – Get a map of the path I ran, without doing it manually using google maps and Photoshop 😉 (with GPS of course). This, for posting on my blog, see an example.
    – See the distance I ran, yep that’ll be useful 😉

    Thanks in advance for your response and nevertheless thanks for the review(s)!

  118. Christine

    Thanks for a great review! A friend of mine has the 110 and highly recommended it. She thought the footpod was an option for the 110 – your review taught me otherwise! Great job!! I purchased the 210 bundle through your link.

  119. Anonymous

    I started the process thinking that I would get either a Nike+ SportWatch GPS or a Garmin 405/410, but after reading your detailed reviews, I decided on the Garmin 210.

    Thanks so much for the great reviews and for the time you take to make them top quality.

  120. Hi Sebek-
    RE: Interval Customization

    Yes, the FR405/410/305/310XT/610 all permit this.

    Hi Filo-
    RE: FR210 data fields

    You can see all of those data fields, but only three of them at the same time. You can go ahead and press the page button to see others though. Yes, the FR610 does cost more, but has significantly more customization. I love my FR610 and use it constantly now as my primary running watch.

    Hi Hans-
    RE: Charger clip

    Yup indeed, I often do the same thing for charging (data download doesn’t work of course).

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Thanks!

    Hi Milloga-
    Thanks!

    Hi Homer-
    RE: Max interval numbers

    Hmm, I’d need to double check on that, but I’ve set quite a few. And yup, you could use it easily for pacing a long run – I do all the time.

    Hi L3art-
    RE: Workout creation

    Yup, you can create that with the FR210.

    RE: Virtual Partner

    Unfortunately not – wish it was there, but with avg pace you get virtually the same thing except missing the little runner man.

    RE: Missing Features

    I’d say customization of workouts, creating really advanced ones. The FR610 also supports 1-second recording as well.

    RE: Price worthwhile

    It depends, I love my FR610 – but prior to that the FR210 was more than good enough for 99% of my runs (only some of the more complex intervals would require a different watch, such as varied warmup sections).

    Hi Christine-
    Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it!

    Hi Anon-
    Thanks! I think you made the right decision, and I hope you enjoy it!

    Thanks all, and sorry for the delay here – been a bit of a crazy few months with wedding and honeymoon, just getting a chance to catchup on all the past comments.

  121. FOG inside, fog inside, … even in dry conditions.

    Never buy this watch.

    Frederic

  122. Most awesome! Thank you very much for this it was very helpful! I decided to go with the Garmin 210 based on your review!

  123. Thank you for your AWESOME review.
    After reading numerous amount of reviews, I found your review to be the most detailed and useful.

    I end up getting FR210 and i have used it for a few times now.

    What can I say, I love it..!!
    Would definitely recommend it to people who don’t need advance funtion and people who like a GPS watch looks like a normal watch XD

  124. I’m thinking of getting a GPS watch not for running per se, but rather for obtaining co-ordinates of plants and animals. Everything sounds great about all these watches – except they don’t appear to have a GPS co-ordinate screen and altitude. Not one of them! I’ve spent the past few hours looking at your reviews and its not mentioned – once. Does this feature from a GPS just not warrent consideration?

  125. Anonymous

    It should be noted that connecting to the PC via the proprietary USB Cable is quite of a hassle and that it works very unreliable.
    Me and my training colleague use two ForeRunner 210, both have the same buggy connection: The intial connect needs several tries until it recognizes the device. The connection of the single pins has to be mounted very exact.

  126. Anonymous

    For long bike rides and runs, I like to see how many calories I have burned so that I know when I should consume some kind of nutrition. Is there a way to get a display of this during activity? Also, I prefer to see my HR in %age instead of BMP. Is there a way to switch the display?

  127. Anonymous

    DC-

    Thanks for all your hard work, as someone who works in another sports industry I can easily say that you have the most comprehensive reviews by a blogger/consumer reviewer that I have seen.

    One request to help me help you. Can you add the watch only ($199) FR210 Amazon link? I don’t want the heart rate monitor but would love to support your reviews by clicking through from your page.

  128. Hi Samie & Vamp,
    Thanks!

    Hi Admin-
    RE: GPS coordinates/altitude

    It gets it afterwards, but of course not on the unit during use. The reason being this units was a upgrade to the FR110, which was basically aimed at the running crowd that wanted a super easy to use running watch. While many others like yourself (and myself) would love to see additional features, Garmin’s been fairly focused on making a super-simple watch being the priority at this price point.

    Fwiw, I’d look at something like the FR305 ($125) as a good alternative.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: USB Cable

    They’ve made some improvements in the FR610 over the FR210 from a cable standpoint, but I’ve never had the issues that you described on any of the FR110/FR210’s that I have. It almost sounds like something might be defective there.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Nutrition consumed

    There isn’t a nutrition alert on this watch. Sorry!

    RE: Calorie display

    Unfortunately you can’t display calories while in the activity, though you can afterwards in the unit history (or online).

    RE: HR Display

    You can’t configure it as a %, but you can configure the zones instead to show. Not perfect, but may achieve what you want.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Amazon link for $199 model

    Thanks!

    Sure, no problem: link to amazon.com

    Or, you can also just click on the Amazon logo on the right hand side of the page and then search (if you wanted something else). Thanks for the support, I appreciate it!

  129. Dear DCRainMaker, Thanks for your thorough review. I just want to let your readers know that REI has the Garmin 210 on sale for $184 until Labor Day, and Garmin is providing a $50 rebate if send in your old Garmin. I used the Forerunner 301 for the last six years until it pooped out…and while it hurts, I traded it in for the 210. So I got the 210 for $134 plus tax…not bad. Thanks again!

  130. Tom

    Great reviews…couple of questions and some comments on the watch. I just bought it at REI for a great price of $185.
    Questions:
    1. Does the 210 only show body weight when paired with BC-1000 scale? Other Garmin watches in your BC-1000 review showed bodyfat% and hyration %.

    2. What is the difference between Training Center vs. Garmin Connect? Any additional features or benefits of one over the other, other than the fact Garmin Connect requires internet access?

    3. Firmware update? I see on the Garmin support page that there is a “webupdater to automatically keep your operating software current” I assume this is a firmware updater. Is this useful? Would Garmin be able to add features (see 1 above). Have any bugs been identified/fixed?

    Comments:
    Mountain biking – This watch worked great. It captured my test ride fairly accurate vs. my regular bike computer. Distance was only off by 0.5miles on a 25 mile loop that included canyons and forest cover. Love the Garmin Connect analysis and Playback feature. Would be nice to see how long you I was in various HR zones and also be able to compare “best” times. But I see the other 3rd parties offer that. Will look into it.

    Thanks again for all the great reviews!

  131. Hi Ray, firstly thanks for the great site, its part of my daily reading, I purchased a 210 back in Dec. 2010, partly based on your review and it being within my budget, while I’ve not had any problems with the watch the heart rate strap is causing me untold problems over the last two months, I’ve read some other online posts regards the usual troubleshooting methods, reseting watch, replacing battery etc, If you’ve any insights regards monitor problems I’d love to hear them, the problem is basically while the watch can pair to the straps the readings are intermittent or no readings at all (99bpm during a hard spinning class) any help much appreciated
    thanks Rob

  132. Anonymous

    Very nice review, and these are on sale this weekend so I was considering one, but not sure it will give me much more than I have now. I use a FR60 with footpod and have been happy with it thus far. I don’t generally use the heart monitor strap. What is the 210 going to do for me that I don’t already have, and does it work with the ant+ stick so I can simply bring the watch near the computer for transferance of data?
    Thanks so much.

  133. Errico

    Great review! One question… what is the minimum incremental unit for auto lap? I’m trying to find out if auto lap can be set for every 1.01 or 1.02 miles.

  134. Hi Tom-
    RE:Body Weight

    Yes, it shows body weight.

    RE: Training center vs GC

    In short, TC is the desktop client, whereas GC is the web client. They continue to add small features to the desktop client – but by and large you really want to use GC instead on the web. Satellite maps as well as health tracking, being the biggest.

    RE: Firmware Update

    They would be able to add features, though I haven’t seen them do so yet with the FR210.

    Hi Shamrock-
    RE: HR Strap issues

    For all things related to heart rate strap issue resolution (somewhat regardless of brand, though mostly Garmin focused due to issues with earlier straps), I suggest seeing the following:

    Troubleshooting your HR strap issues Part I:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Troubleshooting your HR strap issues Part II:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    An interium solution using the Polar strap with the Garmin transmitter:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    The best possible solution:
    Pickup the new Garmin 2010 Premium Soft Strap HR strap. Any of the individual straps you buy off of Garmin.com will be the correct/new version. And in 99% of the cases, if you buy it off of Amazon.com it’ll be correct too. The new strap is pictured here (in the accessories section):
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Comparing to FR60

    The only major difference between it and the FR210 is that this includes GPS. From a functionality standpoint, the FR60 actually has more features (advanced workouts, full waterproofing, etc…). So in short, not much else aside from GPS and mapping.

    It doesn’t use the ANT+ stick, but instead the USB clip (see photos above).

    Hi Errico-
    RE: Min Auto Lap

    .25 miles

    Thanks all!

  135. Hey- I just started running 10k’s, and about 20-25 miles a week. Would you get the 305 for $138, or the 210 for $199? I just want the best bang for my buck. Thanks!

  136. rory

    thanks for the detailed, helpful review

  137. @cuso11
    I want to know this too, I’m moving over from using Nike+ and looking to pickup a forerunner. Not sure if I should get the 305 or the 210??

  138. Thanks for the awesome review! I know you mentioned that the screens are not customizable but how many features can you show on a basic screen? I know it shows distance and pace, but can it show HR and time as wel on one sceen? if not, is all of that accessible some how?

  139. Nicolas

    Thank you for this great review!
    Just a quick question, does the workouts created through the Garmin Connect web interface could be uploaded to the Forerunner 210 ?

  140. Great review! I’m doing an ultra next year and would like to know if there is a way to keep my Forerunner 210 working beyond the 6-8 hours stated in the manual. Garmin has an external battery pack, but it is very expensive. What options do I have? How do I get it to work with my Forerunner 210? Your insight is highly appreciated.

  141. Hi Cuso-
    RE: FR210 vs FR305

    It’s purely a budget decision. If just running, probably the FR210. If you want to use it for more, or using it for advanced workouts, etc… then the FR305 is better. It really comes down to form over function, or style over price.

    Hi MikeyS-
    RE: Data per screen

    Up to three pieces of information per screen, semi-customized. See some of the shots above, there’s only a few ways it displays – so the included shots are the limit of it. But I show HR, Distance, pace at once.

    Hi Nicolas-
    RE: Workouts

    No, the Garmin FR210 does not support imported workouts from either the Garmin Connect site, or GTC. The watches that do are the FR305/FR405/FR410/FR610/FR310XT/FR910XT. Or, put another way, the ones that don’t are: FR110/FR210.

    Thanks!

  142. Ben

    Has there been a firmware update so the 210 registers every 1 second instead of 3?

  143. No, it still uses smart recording.

  144. Anonymous

    Hello,
    My wife purchased me the 210 for our recent anniversary. I have one question about the watch. How does it notify you when you start/stop the next portion of an interval workout? I would find it irritating to have to constantly look at your watch in order to be aware of the next stage of the workout.
    Thanks,
    georgeleeiv@gmail.com

  145. Nishad

    Quick question regarding Auto Lap on the 210.

    Does it show a pop-up notification with the lap time as in other models? Also, is the backlight paired with the Auto Lap as in the 310XT?

    Thanks for your time!

  146. Anonymous

    Thanks for the great resource!!

    What is the battery life with the GPS disabled? For long ultras the hour and speed from the pod and hrm would be fine.

  147. Jason

    Wonderful review! Thanks!! After reading your review, I bought the 210 from Amazon using your link.

    Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!

  148. Anonymous

    don’t buy this watch!
    after few month, using it just for running (no swim, no bath and no excessive moisture), the window is foggy and the watch is switching on and off. Same thing append with a friend.
    In summary, don’t buy this watch!

  149. Ken

    11:22 AM: This was a known issue and Garmin replaced that run of 210s that did that. Have you contacted them and given them a chance to make good?

  150. Hi, I was wondering, does the Forerunner 210 allow for two different users to create two different “accounts.” Would like to share it with my wife.

  151. This comment has been removed by the author.

  152. I have had this watch for almost a year now and I love it, but beware of one thing. The straps are molded pieces of the watch, wear out the strap, and the watch is done or MacGyvered. I wore mine as a day to day watch, it wore out the straps (they cracked) after 9 months, and had to have the watch replaced. It was still under warranty, so I was lucky. Now, it is solely a running watch. I love the size, simple function, and lack of worrying about sleeves, rain, and sweat like the 405 I almost kept. It is more accurate than Runkeeper is with my Droid, and even loads faster. Overall great watch, wish the straps were interchangeable.

  153. @Nathaniel: You create accounts at Garmin Connect page. There there is an Upload button. This will trigger plugin installed on your computer. There you can choose what you want to upload.

    In other words – FR210 don’t care at all how you use the data. It just creates 1 .FIT-file per run. All you will have to do is just pick the correct run and upload it to the correct accout!

    Yes, you can share it!

  154. @Nishad: In the latest firmware for the watch they have added one more Lap screen. So you can check it there afterwards. Otherwise you DO get “pop-up” followed by sound beep if you have sound enabled. It stays for a couple of seconds and then disappears. It it NOT possible to add any illumination.
    In the AutoLap settings you can only choose the distance. There is also possible to turn off Lap Timer at all. Not sure what it does thou.

  155. Mark

    Thanks for a very thorough review. Sounds like the watch for me. BUT! Wandering whether anyone has used one skiing and can it cope with the cold??
    If any help can be offered or any other alternative options then help would be greatfully received as this GPS thing is a bit of a minefield.

  156. Anonymous

    Hello 🙂

    Thanks for the awesome review! I was wondering though… I just got the 210 after returning the 110 womens model and I noticed that on both watches, the “page/menu” button seems to be pushed in. When I place my thumb over it, it feels completely flat, making it hard to hold the button down to get to the menu. But when I see pictures of the watch online, the button can be clearly seen when the watch is held upright. The button on my watch looks pushed in though. I thought it was very unlikely to get two defective models from different stores. Does the grey menu button on your 210 appear to be inside the watch instead of sticking out a bit like the other 3 black buttons? Sorry if this makes no sense. I’m going to try calling Garmin again next week & hopefully someone can tell me if mine is defective. Thanks! 🙂

  157. Anonymous

    I just purchased the 210, how long it need to charge for the first time? Thanks.

  158. Anonymous

    amazing amount of work you put it to all this. I am very impressed. I have had a 201 for years which I use for cross-country skiing. I mostly track mileage with it. I have used a Polar hr in apst but gave up when I got the 201- 2 watches was one too many. I would like to get back to using a hr monitor and am contemplating the 305 (which my wife has) but would prefer smaller. Most skiers have trouble with the 405,410 with gloves. Do you think the 210 would tolerate the snow, cold and do you think it would be ok with gloves? I have never had any problems with the 201 and the 305 is also fine in the snow. Thanks Philippe

  159. rob

    Great review. Thank you so much. I read this about the same time as I got an offer from active.com, so I just bought mine at a nice price.

    If anyone is looking to get one at 20% off (also no shipping, no taxes), go here:

    link to heartmonitors.com

    Use promo code:
    ACT20
    or
    heartmonitors20

    Codes are good for discounts on other watches/products. Valid through Christmas Eve.

  160. It seems that a recent firmware update has added “lap time”:

    link to gpsinformation.org

  161. JBGH

    3 runs and it’s DEAD! 4 months ago, purchased a 610, it was also DEAD after several runs. I’m done with Garmin.

  162. Thanks for the great review! Just had one more question: does the current time get display on the screen while training (GPS and HRM enabled)?

  163. Thanks for the great review! Just had one more question: does the current time get display on the screen while training (GPS and HRM enabled)?

  164. Barthuz

    This review was so helpful!
    Wanted to buy the 310..but thought is was a bit expensive. You’re review showed that the 210 model meets my requirements..so why pay more for extra options I won’t use?

  165. Anonymous

    I just found your blog a week ago and I love it!! I can’t decide between the garmin 210 and 305. I’ve read both reviews and both sound good. I would use it solely for running, and I only run about 20 miles a week- nothing too intense! I’m afraid the 305 might be a little too big but I also like the shape. Any advice? Thanks!

  166. Hi there, My 2 year old FR305 is having a battery issue right now and it has never been consistent with uploading to the internet to training peaks, garmin connect or map my ride. Sometimes I get lucky and it will upload and other times, restarting, reconnecting, etc. and I just give up. Presently I am just running with occasional bike rides. Some summers I do tris, just depends on my mood for the season. I have the option of returning it for full refund and getting a different and new model (perhaps the FR210 as the $400 models are too expensive) or dealing with garmin about a new battery. Doubt if computer connection situation can be remedied? I know you like the 305s and professional coaches encouraged me to buy it, hands down. What would you do? Thanks. Love your blog.

  167. I have a question regarding the latest firmware update that includes a lap time. Once downloaded how do you use this feature? When I specify a new lap, the total time and specs is still shown rather than the lap specs.

    Cheers,
    Sarah

  168. Ken

    Sarah, you turn it on or off in the settings. If enabled, it adds one more page/screen that you get to with the menu/page button manually.

    Hope that helps.

  169. Anonymous

    Hello,

    Great site.

    Just to add to post 156 I think it is…

    “I was wondering though… I just got the 210 after returning the 110 womens model and I noticed that on both watches, the “page/menu” button seems to be pushed in. When I place my thumb over it, it feels completely flat, making it hard to hold the button down to get to the menu. But when I see pictures of the watch online, the button can be clearly seen when the watch is held upright. “

    I am having the same problem with mine. Is this a design issue that they have? Has this happened to anyone else?

  170. Jason

    Any thoughts about the functional benefits of an FR 210 over an FR 305?

  171. Thanks for your detailed reviews! I’m considering buying the FR 210 for running. However, I’ve read some negative reviews with the 210; that the heart rate monitor and even watch have stopped working after a few months. While I don’t need the additional functionality that the 305 and 310xt offer, they don’t appear to have as many bad reviews of parts failing. I just want a reliable watch that’s going to work and allow me to monitor my pace, distance and heart-rate. I purchased the 405cx, but had to return it because it was so big there were 1/2 inch gaps on either side of my wrist so I really want something that is going to fit tight to my wrist like the 210 does. What have you experienced with long-term dependability of the 210?

  172. Hi I see a few comments about the inside of the screen fogging up. I first bought the 210 in April 2011 and had it replaced in October due to this fault. On the first run the new watch was the same. December saw the replacement go back to Garmin who refurbished the replacement. First run and guess what it’s fogged up again.
    So not only an I going to have to pay a third time for postage I’m going to have to spend more money to upgrade to the 610. If this problem was supposed to have been rectified as a known Garmin fault then I’ve been rather unlucky.

  173. Mark Z

    Hey there!

    I apologize if this has been posted in the past before but I have searched to no avail.

    I just recently bought a 210 and everything seems to be going well so far. The only discrepancy I see is that on my garmin connect page, my average pace does not match up to my timing/pace chart. Take a look here…

    link to connect.garmin.com

    As you can see, my avg. pace was 7:58. That makes sense as that is what I thought it would be. But, just to the right on the pace chart, you will see that most of the points on the chart indicate that I was running low to mid 7 minute miles. There is no way that averaging all of those out would equal 7:58 miles. Why is there a discrepancy?

    My only thought on this is that it is using my avg. moving pace data, which would still not make much sense. Avg. moving pace says 7:17 and shows that I was stopped for about 2 minutes. This is not the case. I was running the entire 24 minutes and definitely did not average 7:17. I get the whole idea behind avg. moving pace and it seems to be flawed because it is just based on moving time by distance. However, that should not affect what my garmin watch actually recorded me doing while I was running. If for some reason this chart is showing moving pace, how do I change it?

    Thank you in advance for the help!

  174. Anonymous

    A beginner here who used the polar RS100 for a long time but just changed and bought the Garmin 210 forerunner last week on a trip to London. I do not have the foot pod with mine. Just have the watch with the heart strap.

    Please let me know where I can see the calorie count during or after a work out in the gym….mainly cardio, chunk of which is running on the treadmill.

    I have enjoyed reading your reviews,sadly not very tech savvy but need to step up the game if I want to make the best use of my new watch.

  175. John Smith

    New guy here looking at gps watches. Ive recently started running cross country and im torn between the forerunner 410 for the added features and the forerunner 210 for the smaller size (my wrists arent exactly big). I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on the two. Thx

  176. Hi, I’m impressed by your detailed independent reviews (as well as the occasional humor!) Questions:
    1. Garmin 210:Heart rate notification of exceeding a zone or limit- A salesman told me that on the 210 there is no alert during your run if your actual rate exceeds a limit or zone. Is this correct?
    2. Will the Garmin Ac adaptor work in Australia (240V), if purchased from US?
    3. Can the 210 be used to measure walking and kayaking time, distance and heart rate?

  177. Congratulations for your review and all your articles. I bought a FR 210 one month ago and I’m very satisfied. The only problem is that the beep volume is very, very low and sometimes it just stops beeping ! After stopping and/or resetting the device it restart working. My reseller tells me that it’s a common problem of Garmin Forerunners. :-/

  178. Thanks for a great review. I am looking for another Garmin – after 4 years of dealing with the bezel issues of the 405, I am ready for a change. Yesterday’s run in the rain was my last straw with the crazy bezel issue (even if it is locked). So, just to be clear, if I set the lap interval to automatically record at 1 mi increments, it will not display that mile’s time briefly on the display (as the 405 does).

  179. Amazing in depth reviews, I just got my 210 and I am loving it already. I missed the Amazon links when I was in a rush but i found the Tip Jar. Thanks for the information, and I’m passing along your blog to all of my running and tri friends!

  180. @Micaela
    To see the lap time/pace you have to enable the “Laps menu” in the options. When set to ON it adds an additional page to the FR. (I’m sorry my FR is in Italian and I don’t remember the correspondent english voice)

  181. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the excellent review. The information was very helpful and your way of explaining was both unbiased and understandable. I will most likely be purchasing this watch, primarily because of this wonderful review. Thanks again, and keep it up!

  182. I purchased the 210 because of your review. I am very satisfied with my purchase. It works great and is extremely accurate.

  183. Rob

    Best this Garmin 210 or the motorola motoactv?? Thanks

  184. Anonymous

    Thanks for great reviews.
    Have been using a FR 210 extensively for 12 months, and the wristband i now breaking in at least 4 spots. Do you know if Garmin provide spare wristbands or do I have to buy a new watch?

    Polar Bear

  185. There isn’t seperate wristbands for the FR210, though, ring up Garmin support and they’ll likely swap it out for you without too much issue.

  186. Anonymous

    can you please tell me whether the instantaneous gps time during activity once the data is downloaded on to the computer.

  187. Yes, it’s visible there.

  188. Anonymous

    Thanks for the great review! Helped explain the features and functions enormously. May sound like a silly question but could you clarify the difference between choosing “lap pace” , “average pace” and “current pace”. Basically what would I choose to know
    1. Exact pace I am running at during a run
    2. Average lap pace I am clocking up during a run
    3. If the answer to 1 above is “current” and the answer to 2 above is “average pace” when and what would you choose “lap pace” for?
    3. What pace is recorded for a run in history. Is it the average lap pace according to the distance and time run regardless of what “pace” function is chosen.
    I have set it to kilometer, pace format and lap is 1km. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Dim

  189. Anonymous

    I just got a FR210 and cannot figure out how to enter heart rate zones for different sports. I’ve set them up but don’t see how to do one for run and one for bike for example. Can anyone guide me? I’ve checked the manual and FAQs on the Garmin site. Maybe this watch doesn’t allow it? Got it at REI so I can return and get something else if needed.

  190. Hi DC – I have a question I can’t find the answer to – maybe you can help?

    I want to track cadence (strides/footsteps per minute) when I walk/run.

    Am I correct in thinking that the Forerunner 210 needs a foot pod to do this, but that the 910XT can do this *without* a foot pod?

    If so, I’m interested to know what technique the 910 uses to capture/calculate this info.

    Thanks!
    SM

  191. Correct, for the FR210 you’d need the footpod. Same goes for the FR910XT. It doesn’t at this time utilize the internal accellerometer to detect cadence (they could do it however down the line, they just don’t today).

  192. Emma

    Hi Ray,
    I can’t thank you enough, you’ve been incerdibly helpful!

    I have a few questions about the 210:
    1. Can you mention the dimentions of the package (approximately)
    2. Does it include the USB stick (Amazon only state with/without heart rate monitor)
    3. Does the watch calculate the heart rate zones according to the formula (max. heart rate = 220-age) or can I decide what zones are suitable for me specifically?

    Thanks again!

  193. Hi Emma-

    1) Roughly 5x5x3″

    2) The FR110/FR210 uses the USB clip, and not the stick. So it does include the clip for data transfer/charging, but not the USB stick like the other Forerunners.

    3) Yes, both. Note that on the FR110/FR210, you can only specify zones for the entire watch, and not just biking or running.

    Hope this helps!

  194. Anonymous

    can i read % of max heart rate and average (bike) speed on this watch?

  195. Anonymous

    Fr210 vs Polar rcx3 gps

    Hi,

    First of all congratulations for the reviews are fantastic.

    If I had the opportunity to take at the same price which would you recommend?

    I’m looking for hart rate monitor primarily for running and then even if it were possible for the bike.

    The rcx3 has also the part of a bike, but for a new product missing of advanced workout and Time and Distance intervals(That has the fr210).

    Also being new I do not have feedback from other people about any problems.

    The ideal would be the 410 that has the advanced management of workout that has not rcx3, but I do not like the bezel function.

    This would be my first heart rate monitor.

    I have a small wrist and I tried them and they both go well, I would not go on the timex tun trainer, because it seems too big.

    I have not tried the rcx5 but for now it’s too expensive.

    Thanks

  196. Anonymous

    Suunto Quest

    What do you think about this product? Compared to the forerunner 210?

    Thanks

  197. I haven’t tried out the Quest, sorry!

  198. Anonymous

    novice runner

    The forerunner 210 guides you through workout? I want a product that will guide me during training not to overdo it.

    I wish to tell me when to increase or decrease the speed or walking if necessary, for a recovery time and then start to run

    Thanks

  199. Morgan

    could i also use this to record heart rate/calorie info during gym days (strength training, etc)?

  200. Hi Anon-

    The FR210 will guide you through an interval workout, but not beyond that specific type.

    Hi Morgan-

    Yes, you can. You’ll go ahead and set it to indoor mode, and then just use the heart rate strap for calorie information.

    Enjoy!