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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 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:20 am New Window
Price$179.00$299$599$499$399/$499 (cellular)
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2010Mar 24th, 2021May 2019Sep 2019Sept 15th, 2020
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOCT 2010March 2021May 2019Sep 2019Sept 18th, 2020
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTBluetooth Smart (smartphone)Bluetooth Smart (smartphone)Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX7Yes - 30m15fffff0m100m50m
Battery Life (GPS)10 hoursUp to 30 hours60hrs, up to 150hrs UltraMax40hrs, up to 100hrs UltraMax7hrs GPS on time (18hrs standby)
Recording IntervalSmart1s1-second1-secondVaries
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreatMost times
AlertsAudio/VisualVibrate/VisualAudio/Visual/VibrationAudio/Visual/VibrationVibration/Audio/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Can control phone musicYesNoNoYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoYes
Streaming ServicesNoN/AN/AApple Music
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNoNoYes
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoYes (with cellular version)
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Designed for cyclingBarely (Speed mode only)YesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoYesYesYesNo
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AYesNoNoN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/ANoNP onlyNP onlyN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoYesYesYesNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNoNoNoYes via 'Fall Detection'
RunningGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYesWith 3rd party apps
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoYesYesNo
Running PowerYes with 3rd party devices (not built-in like Vantage V/V2)YesYesWith 3rd party apps
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoYesYesNo
Run/Walk ModeNoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Track Recognition ModeNoYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeN/AYesYesYesYEs
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesYesBasic stroke type only
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesYesBasic stroke type only
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoNoNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/AYes--Yes
Change pool sizeN/AYesYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A20M/Y to 250 m/y15y/m-300y/m15y/m-300y/m1y/m to 1,500y/m+
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesYesYesVery limited
Can change yards to metersN/AYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AYesYesYes (goals)
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Designed for triathlonNoYesYesYesNot really
Multisport modeNoYesYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesYesWith 3rd party apps
On-unit interval FeatureYesNoYesYesWith 3rd party apps
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesYesYesWith 3rd party apps
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Auto Start/StopNoYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNo (but can give out of zone alerts)NoNoSorta (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)NoYesNoNoYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoYesYesWith 3rd party apps
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoYesYesWith 3rd party apps
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Back to startNoYesYesWith 3rd party apps
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoYesYesWith 3rd party apps
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
Altimeter TypeGPSGPSBarometricBarometricBarometric with real-time watch face
Compass TypeN/AN/AMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)NoYesYesYes
ECG FunctionalityNoNoNoYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYesno
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoFTMS (Bluetooth) onlyFTMS (Bluetooth) onlyNo
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 CapableNoYesYesYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYesNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesYesNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
PC ApplicationGTCPolar FlowSync - Windows/MacNoNoNone
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectPolar FlowNoNoNone
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS only
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Backcountry.comLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLink
REILinkLink
WiggleLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 210Polar Vantage M2COROS VertixCOROS APEX ProApple Watch Series 6
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

    Hi, plan to test suunto quest?

  2. Anonymous

    Hi, congratulations for the reviews.
    From garmin no news on the possibility of bringing the
    capabilities of the 410 to 210? It would be the perfect product. New version of 410 more slim and without bezel function?

    Thanks

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. dve

    Hi,
    I am still confused about current pace. Other reviews I have read have said that this is not a worthwhile feature, as it bounces around so much. You seem to indicate that it has smoothed it out on this watch to make it useful. Could you elaborate? This is my main deciding point between the 210 and the 110. Thanks for the great review

  5. Hi, I need to run intervals 5x1km around 170 bpm and rest betwen intervals should be walking untill my heart rate will be 126 bpm. Which button I should push between intervals when I need separate intervals (star from time 0:00) but I also need information about duration of my rest. Should I use FR 210 this way or I have to set intervals before. Thank youe.

  6. Hi there,

    Great review.. Does the 210 though have virtual mapping capabilities so my husband can track me the computer while I’m out running. I hear the 305 does but its such a big unit I want something a bit more streamlined if possible.

    TIA
    Fiona

  7. Hi Anon-
    RE: Suunto Quest

    At the moment, I do not, though, things may change.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Capabilities of FR410 to FR210

    It’s unlikely. At this point, the next version of the FR410 (without a bezel) is essentially called the FR610 (which works great). The only reason the FR410 is so much cheaper, is because nobody wants it. 😉

    Hi Dve-
    RE: Current pace

    It really depends, it’s smoothed out some, but not perfectly flat, as that’s just the nature of GPS technology today. If it were perfectly flat, then it would eliminate usefulness in short intervals (since smoothing is just averaging). Personally, I don’t have any issues with the instant-pace option in the FR210, but I could see how others might want it even more smoothed.

    Hi Rossi-
    RE: HR intervals

    To demark an interval, you’ll want to press the lap button. With the FR210, you can’t program a HR-based interval, but you can just do them manually, which makes it work fairly well. Once you’ve reached that 126BPM, just press lap. It’s what I do for mine and works great.

    Hi Fiona-
    RE: Live Tracking

    No, none of the Garmin units today have this (Forerunner series). Only the Garmin GTU10 has this (oddly enough, one sitting next to me as I type this). I suspect we’ll see this integrated in the cycling computers this fall (Edge 800 replacement), but nothing in the running side until at earliest next year (just a guess).

    Hope this helps!

  8. Anonymous

    Thanks for the comprehensive review, I’m looking at my first purchase so very helpful for a newbie trying to figure out where to start with what’s available.

  9. DC Rain Maker,

    I am looking at the Forerunner 210 for my wife. She is into running/walking and cycling and needs a watch that can track her calories. During the winter months she spins/indoor cycles. Can this unit calculate calories soley using the heart rate monitor with the GPS off? Or does it need the foot pod to calculate calories without the GPS.

    Thanks.

  10. Yes, as long as the HR strap is worn, it’ll do HR based calorie calcs.

    See details for FR110/210 here: link to dcrainmaker.com

  11. Nestor

    This is a great review. Thanks for putting the time and effort to write this detailed review.

    Would you happen to know if the Garmin 210 can track interval distance in meters? I plan to train with the FIRST marathon program, and would like to track 400, 800, 1200, and 1600 meter runs. Thank you.

  12. Yes, you can do metric. It’ll show meters for what I think was the first 400m, then switch to kilometers (portion thereof). But even in kilometers, it’d be easy to track…on a track. Enjoy!

  13. Anonymous

    Great review!!!

    I have a 410 and at the end of my runs, I like to review in the history my mile/lap split times. My question is can you do the same on the 210, or do you have to download data on the PC to see lap/split times.

    Thanks.

  14. Kokum

    Hi! Thankyou for an amazingly thorough review!! I was wondering if the 210 can be used just as a heart rate monitor to determine calories burned for indoor activities (eg a spin class or aerobics class) or only when running?
    Thanks again for your time and effort, I look forward to buying a watch through your site when I’ve made my final decision 🙂

  15. Hi Anon-

    I don’t have a unit on me at the moment (travelling right now), but I don’t believe the FR210 will show lap/splits in the unit’s history. It will of course show them afterwards.

    Hi Kokum-

    Yes, you can use HR to track calories. See this post on how:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

  16. Aaron Knight

    Does the 210 display heart rate as a percentage ? (same question for 110/410/610) ??

    Thanks heaps, it is just my preferred view and have it set that way on the edge 500.

  17. Morthen

    Thank you for an excellent review. I can´t get the watch to show time and HR in the same window. The last thing a want at the end intervals etc. is consentrate on changing windows on the watch. Is that only me, or do you know if there is an update on the way?
    Never seen a sport watch without this feature before.

  18. Thank you so much for your in depth reviews, I read through several before deciding to purchase this watch. The one bit that is a little misleading is this:

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

    I understand the watch is made for primarily running, as you also mentioned in the review, however the above quote kind of implies that the watch at least has a “bike mode” to switch to beforehand… as far as I can tell (and google can tell from me searching) this watch does not have a bike mode. You can switch to speed vs. pace, but that does not inherently make it a “bike” activity on garmin connect, or mapmyrun. I’m fine with changing it on garmin connect, but I generally use mapmyrun more often, since I have friends with non-garmin devices that I keep track of, and mapmyrun does not currently allow you to change activity type when imported directly from the device.

    If there is actually a bike mode, it is lost to me, or maybe I missed some crucial step… but the menus are pretty simple and I feel like I should’ve been able to find it by now… :/

    • Fabian

      Does anybody can confirm that there is such thing as a bike mode? I didn`t find it anywhere.

    • Sorry, correct, ‘bike mode’ is simply switching the display from Pace to Speed (MPH/KPH). This is pretty much the norm on cheaper GPS watches, though once you break about $150-$200 you tend to get a special cycling mode (which ultimately just does the same thing).

  19. Does the Garmin 210 alert you if you’re above or below your heart rate range? I ran with a 305 this morning to try it out, and it beeped and visually told me I was over. Will the 210 do this?

  20. Shawn D

    I want the ability to track my pace during a run. For example, if I’m doing a 10 mile race and want to beat a previous PR of 1:30:00. Will this tell me if I’m on pace or if I need to “hustle” up a bit?

  21. Jorie-

    Hmm, what about importing into MapMyBike instead? I know it’s not the same front end, but is the same backend (MapMyFitness). From most users perspective, the change in display from minutes/mile to MPH does the trick, especially with being able to change it afterwards.

    MapMyRun is the first mainstream app I’ve heard of that doesn’t allow you to change it after. 🙁

    Wish I had a better solution!

  22. Aaron Knight

    DC , could you still answer post 216 please , Aaron

  23. Anonymous

    I am considering buying the 210 and came across your review.

    I just wanted to say “WOW” to the fact that you’re still responding to people’s questions on an article that you wrote 1.5 years ago.

    That’s amazing, and it’s easy to see you love what you do. Take care.

  24. Hi Aaron-

    I’m travelling for the next 8 days, so I don’t have one on me. However, in checking the Garmin Forums, one of the Garmin Support guys confirmed that it does NOT display HR as a percetnage.

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Sorry!

    And thanks Anon, I appreciate it!

  25. Jenny

    Rainmaker, I just received the 210, but was wondering just one question. I love that it is sooooooo very simple and ridiculously easy to use, that is why I bought it. I was wondering if you can set your pace on this one so it beeps when you go past your pace. Maybe that is only with the 305. A friend of mine has the 305 and that is what hers does. Either way, I know this does just what I would need it to do. As long as I can see the pace I am going at that really is all I need. What a great idea they had with making this model. I am not very tech savy so this is wonderful. Tried the MIO and could not get that to work and it did not have the functions of distance , pace and speed. This is wonderful and if it was not 90 degrees outside today I would be using it today.

  26. Jenny

    Rainmaker, Another question. How do I check the average pace when finished with a run? Along with my previous question which was can you set your pace so it beeps when you go below or above that pace on the 210, I know the 305 does. Thanks Jenny. … Great review by the way. Very very helpful.

  27. Anonymous

    Great review. I really like the way this watch functions based on the review but my main question is about fit. I have a Forerunner 405, and it is very uncomfortable. The way the hard plastic wraps around on the top of the watch, it ends up digging into my wrist bone. Is this a similar design, or does it have a normal, softer all around strap? I would go check one out somewhere, but i’m living in Germany and can’t seem to find them anywhere. Thanks.

    Andy

  28. Anonymous

    Great review, I bought mine on the basis of reading it.
    I have to say though, not waterproof is an understatement, if it rains in the same county as this watch it’s steamed up for the next week!

  29. Hi DC Rain,

    re: mapping. Your comment in your review of the FR210 then below, my question.

    ‘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:’

    If a friend sends a gps of his ride, is there a program that can convert it to ‘ at 0.81 mi R on Division St’ or if I map a route, can it be converted to what my bf calls ‘progressive directions’?

    Thanks so much for doing this!

  30. Anonymous

    Do you know if one could connect the Garmin USB cable into an Mac USB wall charger to charge the FR210 i.e. any issue with amps differences between iPhone and FR210 chargers?

    I don’t have the Garmin wall charger and was hoping to just use my Mac charger.

    Thanks

  31. Anonymous

    anyone know if the software will run on a Mac?

  32. If you had to choose between the Forerunner 210 and the Motorola Mototv – just for the running data (my husband is a soldier who has to run two mile PT test) which would you recommend???

    Thanks ins advance

  33. Deb

    Thank-you for doing such a thourough job of testing all the watches. You are amazing, I would never have such patience. I have been loving my Garmin 210. Until, the heart monitor quit working. I changed the batteries in it but, still won’t sync. It is only 6 months old. Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas for me?

  34. Ken

    Deb: Call or email Garmin. It’s still under warranty.

    Ray: I think you need forums for your site. 😉

  35. sharon

    Hello –
    I just purchased the 210. During a run, can I see current pace and overall average pace (even if it is between 2 screens)? I can’t tell for sure.

    thanks.

  36. Ken

    Sharon: in the settings, change the pace in “Display” to Average. That’s in the Setup menu. That will be the average for the entire run.

  37. Ken – Yup, forums are indeed coming. 🙂

  38. annie mac

    You are amazing. Keep up the good work. There is so much info here, all my questions were answered, and I’m clicking through to buy on Amazon next. Your reviews are a godsend, I will pass them along wherever I can!

  39. sharon

    Hi – I should have been more clear, can I see BOTH current AND average of my run while I’m running. I did discover the Average run feature (thanks).
    I hope my question makes more sense.

  40. Ken

    Sharon: No, unfortunately you’re limited to the three fields, and the additional lap screen. So the main screen will only show one type of pace. I’m not sure if the lap screen uses the same pace setting as the main screen, though, or actual lap pace.

  41. Lori J

    When I upload my run to Garmin Connect from my 210 it will not always read the elevation on the elevation chart, it will not show any hills. Can this be reset?

  42. Try changing the ‘elevation correction’ switch on the left side of the activity on Garmin Connect.

  43. Lori J

    I tried that. It didn’t work. Any other suggestions?

  44. I do like my Garmin FR210 for running, but for long bike rides, I can’t rely on the battery lasting. Sometimes it’ll die after 3+ hrs, today it died at 71/2 hrs. Any reccomendations for a watch or bike computer that will last longer?

  45. I like my Garmin FR 210 for running, but now we’re doing longer bike rides – and sometimes the battery will die after 4+ hrs, and today, surprisingly it held out for 7 1/2 hrs. CAn you recommend a watch/bike computer that will give me all the cool upload-able info and mapping whose battery will last?

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. My 210 never started the setup process – it just shows an odd data screen with temp and time since last reset. Any idea how to start the setup process?

  48. Thanks for the great review and information. I just ordered a 210 using your Amazon link.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. I hope this isn’t a duplicate post, but I don’t see my earlier one after 2 days. Anyway, I have a new 210, bought based on your excellent review. My only problem with it is that I can’t hear the interval chimes. This is important to me, as I use it for run/walk intervals. No volume control or vibrate option that I can see. Am I overlooking something? If not, is there a GPS watch with similar capabilities that does have better interval volume control? Thanks for your work.

  51. Jeroen

    Hello, DC Rainmaker.
    Thanks for your great reviews. It helped me a lot in making a choise.

    I have my Forerunner 210 about 9 months now, but i have a problem. The wristband is starting to rip. I wear my watch every day, and also for sporting.
    I called Garmin for this, and they said it can not be replaced. The only sollution is to buy a new watch.

    I think this is something very important to know before purchasing this garmin Forerunner 210. Be very carefull with the wristband.

    greetings

  52. Mountain Biking Watch Recommendation
    Hi love all you re reviews & although I currently use a Garmin Oregon 450 with the ANT+ HR strap for logging basic HR/Distance/Time/Route mountain biking data to Garmin Connect I am considering a new watch which can also double as a backup GPS/HRM. Thus based on your familiarity with the products you have tried are you able to recommend a daily use watch for mountain bike riding, ideally with the ability to see at least Current HR & Distance, time ridden? I was looking at the 210 but from what I can gather it wont show these fields? Thanks in advance

  53. You can do those three with the FR210 (Heart Rate: Current, Distance: Overall, Time: Overall). No problems there. Enjoy!

  54. Anonymous

    QUEST vs 210! 🙂

  55. Gerard

    I too would like to see you review the Quest. As I am torn between the Quest and the 210. It appears they are very similar in functions and price. I am running a marathon in Jan. and am in need of a new watch.
    Also would like to know your thoughts of Garmin Connect vs MovesCount.

    Airborneshark@yahoo.com

  56. Gerhard

    HI. First off, I love your site/posts! Now the question: I have runs with elevation gain of 9000ft. I noticed altitude measuring on the 210, but can I see this while I run or only afterwards on my computer? If not, can the 610 display it while I run? If not, any other reviews you want me to read that’s not a brick on my arm?

  57. Thank you for your great reviews. I got the Garmin 210 and am 100% happy with it. I am in a running club and they like to put the screen shots on their website. How do you put an elevation graph or mile splits on a site?

  58. Hi Gerard-

    I’ve looked at the Quest, but for now have things pretty backed up in the product queue side. Sorry!

    As for GC for MC, they are both roughly on the same level (alright). GC does a bit better with workouts and the ability to find other routes, whereas MC does better with things like social integration, ability to comment on other workouts, and following.

    Hi Gerhard-

    RE: Altitude
    Only afterwards on the computer with the FR210.

    On the FR610, you can see it during the workout however.

    Hi Jack-

    I use the snipping tool to do it, just by taking a screenshot. Alternatively, you can use the little widget option within a given Garmin Connect workout and put that on a website so a person could look at a given workout in detail. And finally, you could export out via CSV file – but that’s sorta a pain. Also check out the ‘Splits’ tab within a given activity on Garmin Connect. Might work for simple copy/paste.

    Enjoy!

  59. Anonymous

    Hi there, thanks for the thorough review.
    I couldn’t make up my mind whether to get 210 or 410.
    But after reading your reviews, have bought 210 and using it for a month now, and loving it! (Apart from the wired upload feature, this has become somewhat annoying…..)

  60. I noticed that the review says that the 210 can take new leaf metabolic data. Has anyone tried this with a 210 and succeeded?

  61. Steven

    Hi Thanks for taking the time for the reviews and responses. I’m looking at my first GPS watch – I need mostly basic functions (time, distance & pace) but accuracy of distance measured is by far the most important consideration for me. Which of the 210, 610 and 10 is most accurate at measuring distance?

    Also, I’d love the auto start function after stopping at traffic lights, but this is missing on the 210 – do you think there is any chance this will be added as a firmware update to the 210 in future?
    Cheers

  62. Johnny

    Question about battery life. If I’m doing an all day hike or an ultramarathon that lasts more than 8 hours, can I turn off the GPS and switch over to the footpod in order to complete my activity in whatever time and it will record my distance, pace, time? Any idea what the battery life would be for foot pod use without gps?

  63. I’ve had my 210 for about 10months now and am wondering if you have ever experienced these issues when testing your 210 or other Garmin watches?

    1. It usually takes 3-5 seconds for the watch to start after pushing the start button.

    2. Looking back into the history of the watch it takes up to 5mins to read the data, and sometimes even times out.

    3. Sometimes after uploading, especially to Strava, the mode button freezes and the only cure seem to be cursing at the watch.

    Thanks,

    Zach

  64. Anonymous

    Your site really is amazing. Thanks for providing such awesome, in-depth reviews.

    Like many others, I’m torn between the 210 and the 410. The 410 seems to actually be CHEAPER than the 210 nowadays.

    Are both models capable of providing alerts if my heart rate drops out of a given zone? Having never used one of these watches, how often do you really need to make use of the touch bezel while out on a run? Thanks!

  65. Great review. One thing that I noticed that may have changed is this, listed in your cons.

    “- Doesn’t take advantage of other ANT+ accessories for cyclists (cadence/speed sensor and/or power meter) “

    My co-worker recently purchased this watch (I’ve got a 910), and when we ride the spin bikes at our work gym, the ant+ sensor on the spin bike does show speed and distance on his watch, along with the Heart Rate from his HR monitor. I have yet to take my watch down to see if it picks up Speed and Dist as well.

    Again, thanks for the great reviews.

  66. Hey, Thanks for the great review. I have had my 210 for almost two years and it has been great until the last month or so.

    Mid-summer the heart rate started getting very erratic and then quit. So I replaced the battery. Ever since then I have experienced a rather curious phenomenon. When I start my run my heart rate is high – definitely outside of the zone where I want it and I don’ t think it is really beating so quickly. Then as I get into my run when I start pushing myself my heart rate falls further and further. The harder I push, the lower it goes.

    I have replaced the battery a couple of times and reset the watch butte nothing seems to “cure” this problem.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    krister

  67. Hi DC,

    First, I loved the review but I steel with some doubts.

    Well, i had a simple polar f60 watch, it do not have any gps, and only control my HR, time and calories burn.

    Now, I’m looking for a watch to use to run and cycling/mountain bike and sometimes do the two sports at same time. What you think about this watch for doing that?

    I will have the correct informations? (In the future I would like to buy an edge 500 or 800 ou a dakota 20, but well…at the future only 😉 )

    One more thing, for what I wanna do, between the garmin and the nike+ sportwatch, what you think it is the best one?

    Thx and continue the awesome work 😉

  68. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker,
    First of all I want to say – amazing reviews. Thank you very much. If I finally pick the watch I want Ill definitely support you through amazon.

    One question tho, which watches have the navigation function that can guide you back to the starting location (through a compass or an arrow) I saw that 610, 410 have it and the new Polar Rc3. Do other Garmin watches have it also ?

    Thank you !

    Bart

  69. Anonymous

    Hi Ray. Congrats on getting married and thanks for the amazing reviews. I’m trying to decide between the 210 and the 310xt. I’ve read both of your reviews and the one thing I can’t figure out is if I can configure 2 pages on the 210 as indicated below. I currently have an old 205 and I’m spoiled by seeing both current and average pace. It seems like page only swaps the middle item.

    Page 1: Total Distance, Total Time, Current Pace
    Page 2: Lap Distance, Heart Rate, Average Pace

    Thanks!

  70. thanks for the review. i have been running with the 205 for a few years and love it but its bulky. there are a lot of features i don’t use so i thought i would downgrade a bit and buy the 110 so i could have a smaller watch. i got the 110 home to find out it didn’t have the few essential features i wanted. mainly the average pace of the entire run displayed during the run (not lap pace and not the average page after the run is finished as the 110 does – doesn’t really help me once the run is over). when i am doing a long run average lap pace doesn’t do the trick. So i ordered the 410, which i have now received and is still in the box. I’m scared about the bezel. So i am now researching the 210 at someone’s suggestion saying it WILL give me my average pace during run of the entire distance. IS THIS TRUE? looking at the 210 vs, 410 vs, 610. please help.

    thanks!

  71. and by the way. if you can just tell me which watch to buy i’ll do it without question 🙂 210 vs. 410 vs 610. you give me the numbers and i’ll order it on amazon asap (see my comment above.) and thanks!!

  72. Ken

    ltancredi: The 210 can do current, average, or lap pace. I thought the 110 had the option of average pace as well as lap, though.

  73. Anonymous

    On the 210 when you’re doing run/walk intervals, can you switch in between the interval time to the overall time like you can on the 405?

  74. Hi DC,

    Thanks so much for your in-depth reviews of the GPS watches which help us understand exactly what all the functions do – they are incredible!

    I have placed an order for the Garmin 210 as a result, but unfortunately do not have the option to support you, being from Australia. (If there’s a third way, please let me know!)

    All the best!

  75. Hi Ray, love your site, pure convert! Bought my hubby a 210 in May this year & he loves it. His only gripe is that it takes too long to find a GPS signal (sometimes he can run for 2k). Checked thru the site & no one else seems to have this issue. Do you have any suggestions??

    • eml

      Ideally, you should stand still while searching for the GPS signal. Sometimes I just place my watch on my car while I do some warm-up exercises – it catches the signal significantly faster compared to when I walk around with the watch on my wrist.

  76. hi mate, do you know if the 210 has the auto pause feature?

  77. No, it doesn’t. Sorry!

  78. Great review!!! Perfect for helping me make my decision on what Forerunner to get. Thanks so much!!

  79. Anonymous

    Thanks to Garmin, I now own a Timex!
    I purchased an FR 70 which fogged up within weeks.
    I returned it and purchased what I thought would be a much better product: the FR 210.
    I have now returned four FR 210 watches, each one due to fogging issues.
    Garmin’s product is better suited as a solarium than a GPS heart rate monitor.
    This product is by far the worst I have ever used.

    • Sue

      Well, I have had my 210 for 5 months now and it worked perfectly. I loved it! Until I got soaked by rain whilst running, since then the watch fogged up and I tried everything.. Put in a bag of rice to clear the condensation (which works for about 5 mins), recharged several times just to find it dies after 30-45minutes, performed the reset as instructed by garmin.. Nothing worked. Now it goes back, as it is under guarantee. At the moment there is no gps watch on the market that would fit my wrist (female with really really small wirst) and meet the expectations, I hope Polar will come out with a great triathlon watch in 2013!

  80. Hi hi,
    I just wanted to let you know, that I purchased the Garmin Forerunner 210 via your amazon link. I was little bit worried about the gps signal here in Czech Republic, but it’s perfect. I just did a walking try and it shows it nicely. Now I can start training for my very first half marathon in Prague 2013.
    Thank you for all your information.
    Julia SS

  81. Shannon Gallagher

    With respect to compatibility of the 210 with power consoles on FreeMotion indoor bikes, I posted a comment in the reviews of Ant+ enables spin bikes.
    link to dcrainmaker.com

  82. elizabeth

    I was going to purchase a 110 and emailed garmin to find out that the 110 will only work properly in temps from 41-104 fahrenheight. I live in Montana and do almost all of my winter running way under 41 degrees, so I’ll try the 210.
    In case anyone is interested, Garmin gave me a list of watches that will work in subzero temp’s:
    Forerunner 910XT- (-4 upto 140 degrees)
    Forerunner 610 (-4 upto 140 degrees)
    Forerunner 210 (-4 upto 140 degrees)
    Forerunner 310XT (-4 upto 140 degrees)

  83. Andreas

    Hey! Great review! Let’s say you’ll use the watch during a weightlifting session, can the watch count calories there too?

  84. Darin

    Thanks for all your time that you put into your reviews and addressing questions! I was wondering if the 210 can use the foot pod for the instant pace function?

    • Darin

      To clarify my question above – I would like to use the foot pod for instant pace but still use the GPS to track other data. thanks!

  85. Philip

    I just purchased the 210. The manual indicates that it is not recommended for swimming, and that Heart Rate will not be tracked while swimming. Has anyone used the 210 for tracking Heart Rate while swimming? I was told by the sales person (who seemed very knowledgeable at REI) that this would be possible. If I cannot use it for multi-purpose activities I may return it. I don’t do advanced training so am reluctant to buy the 310 or other more sophisticated device. Would the Polar FT 40 or something else be a better product?

    • Rainmaker

      No, the ANT+ transmission means it only goes about an inch underwater. Occasionally you can get some success with the HR transmitter on your back, but in most cases the dropouts are pretty high due to half the stroke (and thus your wrist) being underwater. Additionally, the FR210 isn’t designed for swimming from a waterproofing standard, and will die very quickly. The casing is sub-par, and as noted above, I killed a FR110 in under 20 minutes (it’s the exact same watch, just a different version version).

      It doesn’t look like I showed examples of it in this reviews, but many of my other Garmin reviews show examples of pool swimming and the HR transmission issues.

      Same goes for any other Garmin swimming (as far as HR transmission goes).

      The Polar RCX5 has underwater HR for swimming, but you sacrifice a fair bit in functionality.

      The challenge in general with underwater HR is it’s actually not as useful as that on land. The reasons are twofold. For guys, keeping the strap on your chest while pushing off the wall is very difficult (especially if you’re fairly fit), it’ll usually slide right off no matter how tight you pull it, because of the waterpressure. And second, with the display on your wrist stroking, the only opportunities for viewing the HR are at the end of each length – either 25y/m or 50m away. So not quite as responsive.

      For a swim-only HR device, check out the FINIS Aquapulse as well (see Product Reviews).

      Anyway, hope this helps!

  86. Daniel

    If it acts like a USB file system when connected, can you load files to it that are not associated with the watch? That would be cool to have an e everyday watch that could also carry a small quantity of files. I guess it wouldn’t have a massive memory capacity.

    • Rainmaker

      For fun, I just tried it. Yup, stuck a small JPG file on there, no issues. Note however the whole storage space is only 5.11MB (including source files), it gives me 5.02MB free.

  87. Dale

    Hi
    I know you said that the watch is not waterproof but is the heart rate monitor?
    So could I swim with the heart rate monitor on but the watch by the side of the pool?

    It might be a silly question but humor me pls

  88. Hi
    I know you said that the watch is not waterproof but is the heart rate monitor?
    So could I swim with the heart rate monitor on but the watch by the side of the pool?
    It might be a silly question but humor me pls

    • Rainmaker

      The strap is waterproof – no issues there.

      The challenge is communication-wise, ANT+ won’t transmit underwater more than an inch or two. So if you’re not right next to the watch (at the waters edge), it won’t otherwise get signal. Some folks will leave the watch on the pool deck, and then as they complete the set they’ll grab it and pull it next to the strap underwater (which is fine for a short bit). That sorta works.

  89. Ook

    Hi Ray, thank you for your review. I just bought Garmin Forerunner 210 yesterday. Now, waiting for my first running gadget.

  90. Natalie

    Hi Rainmaker,
    I was really happy with my 210 until I realised that I could see how far I had run into the last km, but not the total time that I had been running. Had I run 5 km or 6? 30 minutes or 36? Is it possible to display total elapsed time since starting the run, and also record (manually if necessary) the split times? If so, how?

    If I stop the watch, then the total elapsed time and distance is displayed, but I can’t find how to display the elapsed time since the start of the run on the same page that I record my splits.
    Regards
    Natalie

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, you can simply set Distance – Overall, and Time – overall. Those are in addition to the lap-related fields. You can see some of the examples about 1/3rd of the way into the review of that. It’s just within the settings.

  91. Matt

    Hello.
    I do about 30/40km running a week, using a phone app, not very accurate.
    Going for a watch now would you recomend fr10, 110,210,410?
    All within £50 of eachother.

    Please help, need one asap.
    Cheers

    • Rainmaker

      Hmm, if you don’t use HR or indoor training, then I’d go with the FR10. Otherwise, I’d pickup the FR210 (for indoor footpod support, as well as HR).

      Hope this helps!

  92. Matt

    Thanks for advice, though you might say that. I just like the gadgets of the 410 (but probably wouldn’t use them).
    Great site by the way.

  93. Ed

    Hey,

    I recently taken up running and have put in for a local half marathon, I’m fed up of having to calculate distance and pace with online calculators etc. I want to purchase a watch but due to there being so many on the market I’m having a tough time of deciding.

    Main functions I’d like:
    HRM
    Current and average pace
    distance
    calories
    Virtual pal
    Anything standard that I’ve missed.

    I’m not looking to spend stupid amounts of money, upto about £150-175. I also do a small amount of cycling to work and would find it helpful to have the capabilty to use on that but not essential.

    Awesome reviews

    Cheers
    Ed

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Ed.

      The FR210 doesn’t do Virtual Pacer, so that makes it tough for your scenario. The FR10 does do it, but it doesn’t do HR (but does do everything else).

      You could see if you can pickup the Garmin FR310XT for under that price range (it’s pretty close), as that does everything you need, though in a bigger form factor.

      Alternatively, you could pickup the FR410. While I don’t like the touch bezel at all, it does do everything you’re looking for at that price range. Hope this helps!

  94. Ed

    Thanks for that, I was edging towards the FR410 so think you’ve made my mind up.

    Cheers

  95. Matt

    Hello.

    Thanks for the advice, just got my 210 and registered it with Garmin. It says it is refurbished, should this matter? The guy in the shop never said anything.

    Cheers

    • Rainmaker

      That’s way wonky. A running/etc store sold you a refurb product without telling you? Not cool.

      That said, there’s really not much to worry about from a product standpoint…but it is concerning at a general product level.

  96. Karen

    I just got a Garmin 210 for Christmas – I am totally computer challenged!! So, everytime I want to “upload” my run I get the message “No device found. Please connect your device and try again” – it is connected. I’ve manage to upload 2 runs but I never get it the first time. Also, can I just use the HRM – I wanted to see what my resting rate is in the morning.

  97. Laura

    Love your site! I spent hours reading all your reviews and purchased a 210 to facilitate/document my first marathon training program. Took it for a spin this morning and it’s simply amazing what this can do, especially after the data are uploaded. The only thing I miss is the Auto pause function. Any chance they can add this to the 210 as a firmware update? I don’t see how that would make it more complicated to use…

    anyway, keep up the great work!

  98. I just wanted to thank you for your great reviews. I read several of your watch reviews before finally settling on getting this one. Your thoroughness is incredible, and honestly- without your review I’m not sure I would have ended up with a GPS watch that I was happy with.

  99. Jakub

    Someone here wrote a long time ago: “…the 210 will show your last lap pace for I think 10 seconds, then resume the normal timing”

    Can someone confirm this? Cause that feature is really important to me.

  100. Simon

    Hi there! Really awesome, your detailed reviews!

    I do still have a few questions, though.
    I am a track athlete (decathlon) and my running sessions do not exceed 45 min. Some of the interval trainings are rather short and laps about 500m.

    So I would need a watch that can
    – locate the position at quite short intervals (like 1s, as not to cut the corners).
    – set intervals in 1s steps.
    – show distance of each lap as precisely as possible (1m)

    Can you recommend something for that? I have seen, that the FR210 uses smart measuring and can set intervals only in 10s steps. Can this be changed somehow (e.g. Software)?

    Thank you a lot!
    Simon

  101. Sheila

    Thanks so much for the review. I’m a new runner and think the 210 wil be perfect for me. Ordered from Clever Training and got the 10% discount and free shipping! Can’t wait to get it!

  102. paolo

    thanks a lot for the rewiews. L’ho comprato in Italia e qui lo uso. Lo trovo molto valido e la tua recensione è davvero interessante e ben fatta. I buied and use it in Italy and I’m very satisfacted about your rewiews. The only problem I’ve noted is about the first part of the heart rate. Often at the beginning of the race, the heart rate is very high about 180/190 beats. After 2 or 3 minutes its become “normal” and goes on for all the time at the right pace. All in all i’d rebuy it immediately.

  103. Chris

    I see talk about firmware updates in March 2012 for the FR210. I just bought one – how do I know if it has latest firmware? If it does not, how do I download it? Many thanks!

  104. Nancy Fraser

    Love my 210, but after 2 years of use, now having trouble uploading data. Any suggestions?

    • Rainmaker

      When you plug in the unit, does it show up as a hard drive on your computer? Additionally, if you go to Garmin Connect and choose ‘Manual upload’ and select the file manually – does that help?

  105. Meggie

    Love my FR210! Best running watch I have ever had! Accuracy is amazing

  106. Kelsey

    Does anyone know of a replacement strap for the watch itself? Mine recently became victim to my dogs mouth…not wearable anymore. I’d rather not pay for a new watch if possible.

    • Rainmaker

      Unfortunately, it’s all one piece. But, my bet is that if you rang up Garmin support they’d probably help you out getting it swapped out.

  107. Sean

    Thanks very much for your in-depth reviews. It was a great help in deciding which Garmin to buy. I ended up getting the 210. Haven’t even charged it yet but wanted to say thanks! I’m very excited to get it all charged up and take it for a trail run in a few days. Up to now I’ve had to totally guess at my distance and pace on the trail. Excited to ‘finally’ see what I’m doing ;). Cheers!

  108. Hector

    Great review. A lot of important info.

    I´ve heard the battery is only usefull for about 2 years and is not replaceble. Do you know anything about it?

  109. Kristopher

    Hi Ray!

    Any idea when the ‘next generation’ of watches from Garmin is coming?

    Thanks for your awesome and insightful reviews! 🙂

  110. Vicki

    Hi. Thanks so much for the in-depth reviews. In trying to decide what running watch to buy I was relieved to find some straight forward information and opinions. I bought the 210 after much research and contemplation and am very happy with my purchase. I used it for the first time today and it was a great source of motivation. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  111. Daniel

    Hi! Thanks for the great reviews. After careful deliberation, I went with the 210. Based on your reviews and other reviews I read, it sounds like the 210 is designed better than the 410. Was looking at the 410, but the bezel issues scared me away. Love the 10% off at Clever Training!
    Thanks,
    Daniel

  112. Damn it man!

    I read quite a couple of your reviews and it’s YOUR FAULT I bought I Forerunner 210 with a foot pod and HRM.

    I can’t say how HAPPY I AM to have bought it hehe 🙂 !! Just took it for my first run (ironically, after “healing” from a busted IT band) and i am very grateful for your useful reviews!

    Keep up the good jobs!

    Also, like you’ve said. This watch is great if you are a begginer runner (like me) who’s training to run a marathon!

    Good times ahead!

  113. Ohad Koren

    Hello,

    I want to by a Garmin running watch.
    Money is no issue at all.
    I just want it be the most comfortable possible (this is way I am considering the 210).

    What is your opinion?

    • Rainmaker

      They are all pretty similiar. The FR210 is less bulky, so it’s a good bet over something bigger like the FR310XT/910XT.

  114. Paul

    I got this watch for Christmas & find it easy to use & motivating to get out & run with it.
    i believe the 110 mdl had auto pause, if you stop running the timer would stop & re start when tou start running
    is this feature on the 210.

    thanks for spelling it all out for us great job.
    Paul

  115. Marice

    May i ask what to do if the GF210 suddenly shut down and does not respond (for no reason!)? I have been happily using it for 7 months on a daily basis, it never happened before..it was a present, I cannot claim the warranty ;( Battery was not drained..

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Marice-

      Try doing a ‘soft reset’, and see if that helps bring it back. Usually does the trick (no losing of data). Failing that, you can try a ‘hard reset’, but that causes a loss of data.

  116. ohad koren

    Hi,

    I went to a Garmin store yesterday to buy the Garmin 210.
    The Seller told me there is a sale and he can sell me the 610 for additional 30$.

    I am not that big fan of computers and won’t use most of the features.
    I do enjoy very much the customized display option and the vibration feature.
    I also ride a bike.
    I don’t mind the 30$, just want to make sure I’ll enjoy the watch.

    What bother me the most with the 610 is that it’s not as comfortable on my wrist as the 210 (which is lighter).

    I would appreciate your opinion very much,
    Thx

    • Rainmaker

      Absolutely, if you can get a FR610 (new) for only $30 more, jump on it, and run out the door quickly. Just my two cents..

  117. Andrea Bertoldo

    Forerunner 210 for me is the best Garmin product as the Fr305, but it has a problem,
    around zero degree (centigrad) and under this temperature (i’ve used it at -18 degree in the mountains) on the display appear a foggy circle that don’t permit to read information, what do you think? Is it only my unity or is a common problem?

    All the best,
    Andrea

    • Rainmaker

      The fog could be due to moisture. The unit has lackluster waterproofing, so if anything got in there, it could be problematic. The other challenge is that the unit isn’t designed for that temperature (per the specs).

  118. Pepe

    Hello, first of all nice review, it’is incredibly amazing.
    I only want to ask one thing, did you say that this FR210 can connect with other ANT+ devices?. I mean, if I go to the gym, and there, the machine has ANT+ connectivity, will I be able to connect them and save my data on the watch?.

    Thank you very much for your answer.

    • Rainmaker

      The FR210 doesn’t connect to Fitness Equipment (such as a treadmill), but does connect to ANT+ footpods (for use on a treadmill), and ANT+ heart rate straps.

  119. ohad koren

    Hi,
    I did as you advised: I went to the Garmin store, bought the 610 (which cost only 30$ more than the 210) and flee…
    The seller didn’t catch me 😉
    Thanks!

  120. Katherine

    Hi,

    I came across your site while I was looking for an answer to a problem I’ve been having with my 210. I’ve had it for a little over a year and really like it, but lately after it locates a satellite and I start a run, it won’t record distance. I have to stop and start or reset several times before it will actually start to record the distance. If I just let it go and start running, it will eventually start recording (after between 1-2 miles). Suggestions?

    Thanks so much!

    • Rainmaker

      Hmm, that doesn’t sound right. Sounds like perhaps a bad satellite cache. I’d recommend doing a soft reset (no loss of data). That should fix it up.

  121. Pallydub

    Great site!! I am a soccer referee and am looking for a watch to track my distance during a game, as well as HRM to track my progress. During the game there is a lot of stop and go. My Timex Trailrunner had a separate GPS unit that would turn off if standing still, which would happen during the game and at halftime. The Timex died, so am looking for a new one with GPS built in, I like the 210 and seems like it will work. I am used to a countdown timer, does not appear the 210 does that?? Are there any GPS watches that don’t use a rechargeable battery?

    • Rainmaker

      Only the Polar RCX3 and RCX5, but those have separate GPS pods – which puts you back in the same position as before.

      I’m not aware of any units that have user replaceable batteries (the Magellan Switch allows you to ADD an extra battery to the back of it, but it still has an internal battery too).

  122. Pallydub

    Looks like the Timex Run Trainer has the count down timer, another spot on review! Where do you find the time???? 🙂

  123. Ricardo Jaramillo

    Great review!

    Can you see the time of day while you are running?

    Thanks.

  124. Pallydub

    Now I am thinking, some would think that’s scary……..since my primary use will be using my new watch to track my distance and HR while refereeing soccer games, would the foot pod be better than the GPS due to the constant change in direction? When using the watch to train, I like the GPS.

    • Rainmaker

      You could use the footpod, and it would definitely give you very accurate distance. However, the GPS side would need to be disabled for footpod use.

  125. Thanks so much!!! I just bought this watch and have to say, it wasn’t easy to decifer between all of them.

    So glad I stumbled into this review. My watch hasn’t arrived yet but glad to know I made the right choice. I wanted something small and easy to use, but with most of the bells and whistles.

    Can’t wait to set it up! Appreciate all of the details you provided.

  126. Kiwi

    Great site!
    The FR210 meets all my needs for running and MTBing.
    The only thing that is putting me off is that some people report moisture problems inside the unit/screen.
    I’m not planning to use it for swimming (of course), just normal use under “normal conditions”, e.g. sweat while running + occasional rain + maybe shower (I tend to forget to take my watch off;).
    Is this something to really worry about? Is there a design flaw with this watch?
    Thanks!

    • Rainmaker

      Under normal conditions (no swimming), no, it’s not something you really have to worry about. Have there been rare cases of it with that? Sure. But the vast majority of folks I hear from that have had that issue can usually be pinpointed to some swimming.

  127. Dawn

    Thank you for such a thorough — and clever — review of the Forerunner 210! I’m going to get one through your link. I have a Forerunner 405, my first GPS watch, and while it’s been fun to chart my runs, it’s been frustrating (the bezel is crazy-making) and overwhelming: too many features. Sometimes I’ve realized I haven’t recorded anything at all because I touched the wrong part of the watch. It’s also HUGE for my female wrist, even with the smallest strap. I just want something that works, that fits my arm and is not such a pain as I’m trying to make the bezel work when I’m about to start a run. My first half marathon is in 5 weeks and looking forward to a simpler GPS watch to record what I’m doing without the hassles. Thanks again!

  128. Ricardo Jaramillo

    Great review!

    Can you see the time of day while you are running?

    Thanks.

  129. Zach R

    I have been looking at your reviews over and over again trying to figure out which watch to get on my budget. I am training for a sprint triathlon this summer but my main focus is a marathon in November. If all goes well I’d like to do a longer distance triathlon next year. So, I think I have my choices narrowed to the 210 or the 310 (910 is over my budget). My problem is that I want the extra features of the 310 but I usually don’t like older tech. Since the 210 is a bit newer should I go with that or is the feature set of the 310 enough in your opinion to recommend it still today, 3+ years after its release? Not sure if you’ll ever see this, but I want to add my thanks to the many commenters before me for helping clear up the muddy waters of training watches.

  130. Marie

    Bought the Garmin 210 after reading this review 2 years ago! Been happy with it until now. When I went to plug it in to my computer to recharge, I got the “Saving activity” screen prompt and then blank. Blank screen with the light on. I tried every reset out there available – soft, hard reset, etc… and nothing works. 🙁 Daily Mile, Garmin Connect, and my computer do not even detect the watch to upload my activities. Anyone had this issue happen to them? Is my Garmin 210 dead?

  131. Sam

    Hi ,

    I need to purchase a new HRM, am happy to spend whatever it takes to get the most accurate calorie count possible. I run, cycle and train inside at the gym, so need something that can do a wide range of activities. I am also a woman with small wrists, so nothing toooo bulky. Any suggestions??

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, the FR210 is a solid choice and the slimmest choice that supports both a footpod (for running), as well as a HR strap for calorie-based consumption.

      The FR10 doesn’t support ANT+ devices, thus no HR strap. And while the FR110 does support the HR strap, it doesn’t support footpods (so no treadmill usage). Hope this helps!

  132. Sam

    Thanks! I just purchased the FR210 online based on your recommendation. Thanks for putting together such a detailed review, it’s actually the only detailed review I can find online. What I really want it for is accurate (as possible) calorie count across various workouts – running outdoors, training at the gym indoors, some treadmil and also including toning days (weights and machines). I likely won’t use the footpod indoors, so I’m guessing when indoors this monitor will use the heart rate to estimate the calories burnt. Thanks again

  133. Ricardo Jaramillo

    Can you see the time of day while you are running?

  134. Dennis

    Thanks for the review. I am now a proud owner of a Garmin 210. Have been using it for a couple of weeks. Is there a way to change the display size of instance pace. I find difficult to read this when running – need to slow down flick the light on to be able to read! Perhaps I need a pair of glasses now!

  135. Ray

    With now over 2.5 years of release do you think it best to wait on getting the 210 or should I wait for a new release of this unit. thanks

    • Rainmaker

      It’s still one of the best units on the market – if not the best in this particular segment. However, check out both the Timex Run Trainer 2.0 (my review will be published later today), as a very viable alternative. Same goes for the Polar RC3. If you don’t care about HR/footpod, then go the route of the Garmin FR10 and save a bundle of cash.

    • Ed

      Isn’t Garmin coasting at this point? Do they care so little about product development that they’ve sat on this watch for 2.5 years? It seems like they care more about their car and aviation solutions than sports… maybe they are freaked about the new Apple and Android watches and see their clock getting cleaned in this market. Any view, Ray?

    • Rainmaker

      Typically Garmin carries an interest in a given product for about a year, and then things fade. With the FR110/FR210, they weren’t really ever designed to be updated as much as something like the more advanced FR910XT or Edge units.

      I do agree it would be nice to see updates, but at the same time they are lower priced watches and thus updates would really only eat into their higher priced watches. So it’s more of a business decision. I don’t like it, but I do understand it.

      I think their answer to the phone side is the FR10, which is priced well to bite into that area. Of course, the challenge is that the FR10 has in many areas more features than the FR110/210 despite being significantly cheaper.

  136. Sam

    Does garmin 210w display calories while you workout, or only at the end in history?

  137. Sam

    Oh no! Well back to the shop the Garmin goes. Next I will try the Polar RCX3 as I’ve heard this displays calories whilst you are working out. Any idea’s on where I could see a review on how accurate the calorie count is \ any issues with this watch?

    Thanks again

    • Rainmaker

      The calorie section I have above details the FR210 fairly well. I found with the RC3 it tracked quite nicely with other watches, and the calorie counts seemed right. Getting accurate calorie information is always tricky, and very complex to validate externally.

  138. Stephan

    I just would like to say thank you for sharing your stories, reviews and experiences. I bought the FR 210 thanks to your feedback and it has arrived today. I can’t wait to test it…
    Thank you for all your efforts!

  139. Tyler

    Does anyone know if you can use the stopwatch feature without gps on? I know you can on the Timex Run Trainer. I don’t need gps when on a track for intervals. Thank you.

  140. John

    Hey,

    Nice in depth review, thanks for taking the time.
    In your comparison table you say that alerts on the 210 are LAP ONLY. Is this true? Garmin actually says: “You can also set up heart rate alerts to notify you when you are above or below your targets.”
    link to buy.garmin.com

    I see there’s questions about that in the comments.

    Cheers,
    john

    • Rainmaker

      Strange, that value in the table should actually say Alerts: Sound/Visual (not vibrate). In either case, fixing it in a second. The row is focused on how the alerts notify you.

      But yes, you can specify HR alerts.

  141. Matthieu

    Hello! Thanks for this review, I think this will be my first watch. I’ve got one question though (I’m not sure about what I read, so I prefer to ask).
    Is the “current Premium Soft Strap HRM” a “good” one, or should I get the “latest Premium” ?
    Because I found a watch + the current premium for 150 euros (about 195 $) and I consider buying it…

    Thank you for your answer and your advices!

    • Rainmaker

      It’s messy. There’s a new-new-new strap (Spring 2013) that’s hit the distributor catalogues in the last week or two. I don’t know where things stand with getting that out the door though and into FR210 units that have been built.

      Typically that takes months to go through existing inventory before new straps are added to newly built units. I’ll try and get some clarification from Garmin next week.

  142. chris f

    Question: If I have the garmin strap can I buy this version link to amazon.com ? I am under the impression that if they are selling it W/O heart rate monitor, then the watch is incapable of tracking it. I have 2 garmin straps laying around (FR410 and Edge 500) FR410 was stolen and I actually liked that watch, bezel never gave me the issues you hear about.
    Thanks

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, absolutely. You’ve already gotten ANT+ straps (both the FR410 & 500 use ANT+), so you’re good to go!

  143. Jon

    Great review. I’m trying to decide between the 210 and the 10, and I was reading through a bunch of your other reviews. I came across the wahoo dongle that works with some of the higher end watches. Do you know if there is any compatibility with the dongle and the 210? I mainly use my ipad and if I could avoid having to connect to my actual computer, that would be ideal.

    • Rainmaker

      Unfortunately neither watch support ANT+ downloads via the dongle. Sorry!

      (As for deciding between those two watches, it primarily comes down to whether or not you want ANT+ connectivity for heart rate and footpod/treadmill support.)

  144. Tyler

    Thanks Ray! I got the 210 over the 610. Just didn’t know if the 610 was worth $350 when I don’t really need the virtual pacer. I appreciate answering the questions and you’re awesome reviews!

  145. Ivan

    Question: Can FR210 be connected to PC using ANT+ stick (or to ANT+ enabled smartphone), and download data without wire connection?

    Tnx!

  146. Stephanie

    This was a great review very helpful. I had one question: Am I able to set up an alert or alarm every mile or so without the interval setting? Or would I just use the interval setting and instead of “resting” I continue running?

    Thanks!!

    • Rhett

      My wife has a 210: just enable auto-lap and set it to 1-mile and it will beep every mile and put up the lap stats for a few seconds.

  147. Joe Meehan

    Does it have to be a Garmin HRM, or can I pair it up with my Wahoo?

    • Rainmaker

      As long as you have the ANT+ Wahoo HR strap, you’re good. However, if you have the Bluetooth Smart one (Blue HR), then no love, as that’s BT Smart vs ANT+.

      Wahoo has only made two straps – the ANT+ ones (all good), and the Blue HR ones. The Blue HR have a blue logo on the front.

      Hope this helps.

  148. Andrew

    Im looking more for a GPS watch for pacing during races, but am considering a heart rate monitor. I seem to be stuck between the FR10, 210 and 405cx. The main thing I want to use the watch for is to monitor my current pace. Do you think heart rate monitor is worth the extra money? Any recomendations?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  149. Andrew

    Thanks for the reply. Between the FR10 and FR210, which keeps better pacing? I have read both reviews (as well as many more) and am still a little uncertain. Any insight is appreciated.

  150. Wendy

    Thanks for your great reviews. They were very helpful in my decision to buy the 210. I got it without the heart rate monitor. If I purchase one, will it show heart rate and calories used if I’m simply exercising inside, without a footpod? Like a polar watch does?

    • Rainmaker

      It will show HR, but not calories during the activity. Only afterwards. No footpod required, just a heart rate strap (for both).

  151. BR

    Kudos on AMAZING reviews Rainmaker — as a thanks I’ll definitely purchase through your site!

    After spending many hrs going back/forth on your reviews, I remain torn between the FR10, 210, and FR70. I am primarily a runner/recumbent bike (indoor) cyclist (no outdoor biking) who would like the watch & software tracking to push me to get more serious and also into swimming. Money is not an object (though I don’t want to throw it away). I *would* like HR monitoring (I understand the most critical element to improvement); auto-pause, auto-lap, walk/run, virtual trainer also helpful. Wireless transfer a plus. Would like to connect with Garmin Connect. Altitude and actual GPS coordinates (I am in NYC) not an issue.

    Elsewhere you recommend FR10 for the low end runner-focused watches, noting its more advanced features (walk/run, auto-pause, virtual trainer) than the 210. Its clear display, ease of use, & newness are appeal greatly, as does cost But no HR monitor — big bummer. No wireless transfer – some bummer.

    Here & elsewhere you recommend the 210 for medium range as appealing to 95% of runners. But the 210 lacks auto-pause, walk/run and virtual trainer modes, does not sync data wirelessly; and is not pool-friendly so if I get into swimming I’ll need a Garmin Swim. I mostly run/indoor bike in NYC so GPS tracking is not really important — just need the basic distance/pace/split data.

    Re-reading all your reviews for the 10th time and going back/forth between the 210 and FR10, it now seems the FR70 might work for me even though you don’t mention it much recently: it has HR monitor; most of the FR10 modes (sans walk/stop); wireless sync of data; ability to use Garmin Connect, and I can swim with it.

    Thoughts? Agree/disagree? What would you get based on this criteria? Can manually pause the FR70 if I run into a friend (or uncooperative stoplight) on a run? Can the FR70 footpod be set for use with recumbent bikes rather than treadmills? Finally, your earlier reviews note a lot about the ANT+ scale by Tanita , but later ones seem to drop that (and many users post problems). Is there a better (or any) choice for a good ANT+ linkable scale measuring weigh/body fat %?

    Thanks again for your impressive and details reviews; would that all professional reviewers were as good.

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, you an pause the FR70 mid-run, but the footpod won’t be applicable for recumbents.

      The best choice for weight scales that are ANT+-able are the Lifesource ones (see reviews page up above, scroll to the very bottom). $100, good deal, though no body fat%, but that kinda sucks anyway (did a post last summer on it, also in reviews at end).

      What about the FR310XT? These days it’s down to $200 these days, so basically in the ballpark of the FR210.

  152. Mike

    Thanks Rainmaker!

    Running my 4th Chicago marathon this year and figured it was time to upgrade from the stopwatch I wear on my wrist to something a bit more sophisticated. Came across your reviews in my research and was hooked. Tried to balance what my needs were versus all of the options available and compared the Garmin 10, 210, 610 and the Timex Run Trainer 2.0. I finally decided to go with the 210 today, bought on Clever Training with the discount code! At this point I just have more trust in the Garmin product than the Timex. Can’t wait to start training with it!

    • Rainmaker

      Thanks for the support on the site Mike, I appreciate it!

      And good luck later this year!

    • BR

      Tx for reply. 310XT too big for me (shld hv specified), so between 210 and 70 given above, what’s your call? [Tx for scale info, and again for terrific reviews (and answers!)]

    • Rainmaker

      That’s really tough. Honestly, I’d forgo the cadence sensor and instead gain the GPS side of things (nearly always accurate distance/speed, and maps). Just my two cents.

  153. Eilene Brauner

    Great review! Is this watch good for walking also?

    • Rainmaker

      Sure, no problems there. Works the same as running. Oddly enough, my Mom uses her FR210 for walking some times.

  154. Eilene Brauner

    Thanks so much for your response! I’m thinking about getting the FR610 in white instead. I do lots of HIIT training & walk. My knees are bad so I can’t run anymore. Would the 610 be good? I LOVE the GPS!

    • Rainmaker

      Assuming you’re looking for calorie metrics, the FR610 will do that (just as the FR210 would), so no problems there. From a walk and interval standpoint, you can use the lap/interval button to split up the different pieces of your training (on either the FR210 or FR610). Enjoy!

  155. Eilene Brauner

    Thank you so much! I have always used a Polar…but I LOVE how the Garmin uses GPS for measuring everything! It’s awesome!

  156. adrienne

    Thanks for the review and discount code. Ordered one today through Clever Training. Seems like a great deal too! Thanks.

  157. Lisa

    Love the review. I bought this watch based on it. I would like to start doing some interval training. I have a training plan that gives me workouts based on intervals to be run at a certain pace.

    For example: 2 miles at 10:30 a mile then 5 miles at 9:20 a mile then 2 miles at 10:30 a mile. I know I can program the intervals for a set number of miles but is there a way to get my target pace in there so I don’t have to try and remember it?

    Thanks!
    Lisa

    • Rainmaker

      No, unfortunately you can’t set the pace on the FR210. Some of the more advanced watches have it, but not the FR210. Sorry!

    • Kristine

      Lisa, as crazy as it might sound I actually write my interval times or distance on the inside of my arm…it comes off with a little eye makeup remover:)

  158. Please tell me, Using the interval functions does the watch automatically marks the intervals as Laps ???

    Best Regards

  159. Katie

    Great review! I’m looking into investing in a Garmin watch. One quick question before I make my decision, are all the display screens pre programed? Or can you chose which 3 you want to see on each? (total disitance, time, lap time on one then next screen HR, current pace, and distance) Sorry, I’m sure you already responded to something like this, but I’m not about to read alllll these comments haha. Thank you!

  160. Katie

    Great review! I’m looking into investing in a Garmin watch. One quick question before I make my decision, are all the display screens pre programed? Or can you chose which 3 you want to see on each? (total disitance, time, lap time on one then next screen HR, current pace, and distance) Sorry, I’m sure you already responded to something like this, but I’m not about to read alllll these comments haha. Thank you!

  161. Filipe Alves

    Hello Rai,

    Between the Garmin Forerruner 210 and Polar RC3 GPS, which is best for you?
    And you think it’s important to purchase the watch with HRM?

    Thank you.

  162. Tara

    I am very close to purchasing the Garmin 210, but I still need to know what stats the watch will show me during my run. Can I view instant/current pace AND average pace AND current heartrate at the same time? What are my options for changing the stats I want to see? Will I need to scroll through screens as I run? Basically, I want to know which stats are available to me on the watch while I’m running. Thanks!

  163. Gal

    Hi
    I see the FR210 is almost 18 months old .
    Is there a replacement model?
    Thanks

    • Rainmaker

      No. The FR210 in some ways, as it has features the FR210 doesn’t, but lacks the ANT+ piece. Perhaps something in the fall.

  164. adam

    Is there a way to get better battery life out of this thing? Again, it powered off for me on a hike after being fully charged — this time after 5:46?

    Not as much fun if you can’t capture the full hike in it’s brutal detail. Something else have better battery life? Maybe its time to switch brands — i also had a 410 with the touch that was unusable.

    • Rainmaker

      It sounds like the battery may be going. I think Garmin will swap it out for around $20 if it’s still under warranty.

    • adam

      me again with the battery life. The210 is fairly new — maybe 2 months old. My sense looking at multiple traces is that the 210’s battery doesn’t have a lot of margin for these longer hikes. If you’re partially obscured from the satellites by tree cover and the side of a mountain, it’s going to expend more energy.

      This would fit with it lasting longer (7:58) on Mt. Rainier which is very very exposed.

      I may have to go to a Fenix to get enough battery capacity for the longer hikes.

  165. Jason

    Setting the intervals up seems pretty easy ( I plan to test for the first time tonight) but can you run through how to set up the warm up/cool down length of time please? I see the area to select a warm up but not how to choose the time frame.

    Cheers.

    • Rainmaker

      I’m travelling at the moment and don’t have one with me, but I believe offhand the warm-up is manual, you just press when you’re done and then it goes into the sets.

  166. Syaful

    Hi DC,

    Wierdly garmin listed Virtual Pacer as one of the feature of this watch.
    link to buy.garmin.com

    • Rainmaker

      I show ‘No’ next to Virtual Pacer on that graph, are you seeing differently?

      (Note: It’s very possible – and in fact quite likely that in the 9 or so hours since you posted that someone at Garmin monitoring comments via e-mail notifications on this post saw it, and fixed it – so I’m not doubting what it may have said this morning…).

  167. TommyB

    Hi,
    Great review. I’m very keen for a GPS watch for running. But I also do a lot of cycling. The thing that attracts me to the 210 is it’s relatively sleek, so I can carry it around all day on my wrist.
    Trouble is I also do a lot of cycling and would like to view my cadence. Is there an equally sleek watch that also records cadence?
    How easy – with road buzz – is it to view your mph as you’re travelling along? Can you get the mph to display in the centre of the 210?
    Many thanks.

    • Rainmaker

      If it’s on your wrist, it’s pretty hard to see it, since it’s on the outside. But if you put it on the little rubber bike mount, then it’s super easy.

  168. Michael

    after 1 year of experience:
    useless for biking, because of missing auto-stop.
    no default indoor/outdoor at power on, it costs “hours” to get the watch ready to use indoor.
    my conlusion: good size/weight. ok for running. very poor for multisports. batterylife acceptable.

    • Rainmaker

      If you press the ‘Page’ button while the satellite screen shots up, you can simply select to disable the GPS and go into indoor mode. Only takes a second.

  169. joe z

    Hi
    Awesome review.
    Do you know if I can use the polar hear rate strap (latest model) with a garmin 210 (just to save on buying the garmin strap too as I just upgraded my polar strap but I want a new GPS enabled watch)?
    Thanks!
    Joe

  170. joe z

    Hi,
    I bought the fr 210 2 days ago, went for a 28 km run, halfway through it started fogging up. The next day the moisture was gone. Went for another run, now it is completely fogged up!
    I never washed it, nor showered just ran with it! Sweat from my wrist and 30 deg C does that?
    What can I do?
    Thanks
    Joe

    • Honestly your best bet is getting it swapped out. It’ll die eventually. Given it’s only two days old, either store you bought it from (likely quickest), or Garmin (usually takes a few days longer).

  171. joe z

    Thank you so much for your valuable input and support.

    But seriously guys my $20 timex has better sweat proof capabilities than this fr210.

    Such a disappointment from Garmin! Back to my old polar.

    J

  172. Mark mills

    Fantastic reviews, have been engrossed for hours, thank you?

    I have read the review repeatedly with regards to using the footpod on a spin bike, while searching I found this usaspinbikesforsale.com/indoor-cycle-trainer-garmin-foot-pod-retail-packaging , which seems to indicate it can be used, however it looks the same as the normal running footpod.

    Now a bit confused? Due to being stuck in Iraq, my running is fine but have to stick to spin bikes, whist training for IM South Africa, all my spin videos use cadence or PM, but I cannot permanently attach to bike.

    What do you think, is this footpod new? Or if the same as you have detailed in your review, any suggestions for good gps,hrm, cadence and everyday watch.

    Thanks again for great reviews, wouldn’t go anywhere else now

  173. wout

    Any advise on buying the FR210 or Polar RC3 GPS. I read a lot of FR210 complaints about fogging …

  174. joe

    Stay away from fr 210

  175. joe z

    dear Rainmaker,

    To be fair to your followers, I think you should declare the obvious flaw in the content of your page not to mislead your readers into buying a product that has proven time and again to be defective.

    Your great reviews are thorough enough but this post might be misleading. I bought the FR 210 based on this review and now have used it for 3x 1 hour runs and it is completely fogged up and useless.

    Thanks again for your efforts

    A dedicated follower.

    • Hi Joe-

      If yours is fogging up, then it really sounds like you have a defective unit and as I noted a few days ago you should ring up Garmin support and have it swapped out. As you can see by many others here, it’s simply not normal. Sometimes things happen and bad lemons occur. That’s normal for any company and any device (Garmin or Polar).

  176. Sayeed

    Hi there!

    I’m new here but just wanted to say that I think it’s a great site.

    I also have a question. 😉

    I’m a casual runner looking to buy a running watch and will most likely settle on something like the FR10 or the FR210.

    That said, since I do multiple sports for exercise I was wondering whether there is a way to use a watch with a transmitter to use while skipping? Say to count skips or even calories burned?

    • Neither watch has an accelerometer in them, so neither will capture skips. The FR210 would capture calories burned via a HR strap however, while the FR10 wouldn’t (it doesn’t contain ANT+ in it).

  177. EVAN

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for your site–all of these reviews are fantastic!

    I was recently using the $100 Soleus watch, and am looking to upgrade. My main complaint was that there were times when I wanted to use it primarily as a stopwatch (with the added benefit of having some stats at the end of the run), and it seemed incapable. For instance, on fartlek runs it was impossible to see the time for the lap I was currently on. Likewise, for track workouts I couldn’t just glance down for my 400m split during an 800m rep, nor could I tell how much time I’d spent on my recovery. For these workouts, I’d have to use the chrono feature on my old Timex Ironman watch and wear the GPS watch on my other wrist!

    So, the question is: does the FR 210 have sufficient data field displays so that I wouldn’t have to wear two watches at once? I don’t do any workouts that are so complicated that I can’t remember them (and so don’t need to download workouts in to my watch), but I do some workouts that are more complex than just 5xmile or 10x2min pickup.

    • Yes, you can get lap time and lap distance (which is how I do intervals manually with it). Check out the ‘Data fields’ section above for the full listing.

      Enjoy!

  178. OperationOne

    data mining question: FR210 does still record speed data from footpod if GPS is ON? if does, how can that be displayed (post workout)? cadence from footpod is stored somewhere (and never displayed on FR210) and can be displayed with software (i’m using SportTracks 3), but i wonder if speed data from footpod can be extracted in some way also when GPS speed data are present. thanks!

    • It’s using the GPS for speed when the footpod is on. Some Garmin units like the FR610 do support changing the speed source.

    • OperationOne

      so, speed from footpod is recorded in memory only when GPS is set to OFF or when GPS signal is temporarily not available, is it right?

    • OperationOne

      i have to upgrade to FR610 🙂 i usually run in a strange GPS environment (quite good track records, but with crazy changes up-and-down in istant pace) due to heavy tree foliage, and i need to read pace from footpod for accuracy 🙂 thanks!

  179. Stefan

    You mention a sort of “bikemode” where you toggle speed and pace, is there a quick way to get to that menu or is it menu/settings/format you need to click to get to this?

  180. Kristine

    is there any way to get the average heart rate from set intervals? I get the average pace per mile, but can’t seem to find where an average heart rate can be found, just the real time HR? Great website!

  181. Jared

    Great website! Love the reviews! I’m finally taking the plunge and getting a Garmin GPS watch. I’m deciding between the 210 and 610. I think the 210 fits most of my needs but the 610 has a few nice features like auto pause, virtual pacer, pace alerts, vibration alerts, and ability to view splits on the watch. I can get both at a discounted price with the 610 being $100 more. In your opinion, is the 610 worth that much more for the extra features?

  182. Stefan

    Thanks for your reply on MPH versus pace, but I was more curious if you have found a “shortcut-button-combo” to get to the Format-Setting, or if you have to go through all settings? Great Review by the way, helped me get the 210 over the 110, but already dreamin about the 610 😉

  183. Don Pedro

    Hello all,

    I use FR210 and actually I feel they are brilliant for such a running beginner as I am.
    Three questions:
    1. Is it any chance to set an activity type on watches BEFORE starting the activity, not after synchronizing with Garmin connect or Endomondo?
    2. Being in mountains my watches became fogged (not all display, just partly). After going back to valley – they are fine. Is it ok? Should I worry about that?
    3. Are there any new watches which can do everything FR 210 can, but newer and probably cheaper? 🙂

    Thank you!

    • Hi Don-

      1) Not with the FR210, beyond setting it to MPH or Pace.
      2) If it’s getting fogged up, pressure Garmin support to swap it out, it means there’s condensation inside.
      3) No, not really. The closest is the FR10 – that’s cheaper, but it doesn’t do HR, or intervals, or footpod support.

  184. joe z

    Hi guys
    My FR 210 pace seems to be off. How do I set it up for actual vs average pace? Is the actual just the last lap’s pace recording?
    Thanks !
    J

  185. Karen

    FR210 or Suunto T4C?

    I am offered a Suunto T4C with HRM for $120 (2nd hand) and thinking if I should get it or buy a brand new FR210 in Amazon for $250 with HRM and wait for a month to be delivered. Polar RS300x also comes to mind. I don’t really need the GPS, just an HRM watch to monitor my BPM for my running and biking. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • I haven’t tried the T4C, so I can’t comment there. However, I’d in general say that if you’re just looking for a HRM, then you could really go down to the FR110 instead of the FR210.

  186. Karen

    Note: I want the design of the FR210 that’s why I didn’t consider the FR405/410 though I can get it less $50 than FR210. Polar is also at the bottom of the list since I want to be able to wear the watch when I’m not running. 🙂

  187. Netherlands

    Hi, you have a great website!

    I have a question regarding Interval training. Can I program the following interval training?
    3 x 3 min, 3 x 5 min etc and after each interval a 1 min break/rest.
    Thanks for your reply.
    NL

  188. DArla

    I have only had my 210 for about a year. It does not hold a charge for more than an hour and the connection to charge it is so finicky. It does not work at all now. Any advise?

    • Try getting an eraser and cleaning the contacts on the unit, and see if that helps. It sounds like with the connection issue it may be failing to fully charge.

  189. Isaiah

    I love your site and reviews and just have a few questions. Basically, I’m trying to decide between the FR10 and the 210 and was wondering about your thoughts on the following:
    1. Lots of people seem to have a real issue with the 210’s cable/adapter/charging connection. Any thoughts on how to make it work well?
    2. On the 210 can you look at both average pace and instantaneous pace on the same run?

    Thanks

    • I don’t think the issues are widespread to be honest, and in-line with what I see with watches from other companies. I think the slight challenge is that the FR210 charging pins aren’t as deeply set, so if you bump it hard, it may pop out of the holes, thus not charging.

    • OperationOne

      FR210 doesn’t allow to show both average and instantaneous pace, during running: you have to choose only one (i use only instantaneous pace,)
      i’ve never had any issue with cable connection (more thani 1 year of use, 3/4 runs per week), just take care of the contacts with a minimal cleaning and everything goes fine 🙂

  190. Marathonrunner

    I bought my first 210 in nov 12. It has to be replaced 3 times in 7 months for moisture inside (note that I can not swim, so it is not form swimming as suggested before) !! Last month one of the buttons did not work anymore. So now in about 9 months my 210 has to be replaced for the fifth time. Lets say this: NO GARMIN ANYMORE FOR ME!!!

  191. Richard

    Very thorough review of the FR210.

    I need to replace my worn out Nike Triax Elite. Is the 210 a suitable replacement? Or should I spend the extra and select the 610? I do however have two questions that apply to both models.

    1. Do both models have an odometer that stores total distance of all runs?
    2. On both models can you save runs to the watch and download the information at a later date?

    Thanks

    • OperationOne

      – FR210 does not have an odometer; all runs can be easily analyzed via software after downloaded;
      – yes, FR210 and 610 stores everything on its internal memory, ready to be downloaded later. my 210 have onboard more than one year of running sessions 🙂

  192. April

    Hi, I just purchased the 210 from your review I read here. However, every time i’ve used it, it tells me my calories burned are always 0. I’ve used it hiking and running outdoors, as well as indoors on treadmill, I don’t have the foot pod yet so I know it won’t show much indoors, but shouldn’t it show at least my calories burned from the heart rates?

  193. Nicolas

    I just purchased one of these and i’m hoping i can get it to do something. i’d really like to be able to configure it to show my “instant” pace and lap average pace on one screen without having to flip through the screens. i know other garmin products do this but can’t figure it out with this one if it’s possible.

    thanks ahead

  194. Judith

    Can I send courses to the 210 from Garmin Connect? The software has the button to do so, but it’s not working.

  195. RemQuito

    Intervalfunction on the track

    Congratulations Rainmaker with your interesting blog and very active community! And thank you all for your help and issues.

    • Recently I’ve bought a ForeRunner 210. Because GPS-distances never are 100% accurate (especially in curves), I experience some problems in using the intervalfunction on the track. Sometimes the watch wants to let me run more than the desired distance, and sometimes less. Of course I can push the Lap-button manually to shorten an interval or rest, but I found out that sometimes it jumps two laps (my manual interruption and the automatic lap).
    • Is the intervalfunction rather designed for the road (where you don’t know the exact distance), and do I on the 400m track better use the manually laps in the normal metering?

    • Yeah, tracks are difficult for all GPS running watches on the market, mostly because of the largely turning nature of them. Typically I see most GPS units get each 400m loop at .24, .25 if you’re lucky.

      For me though, I just go manual splits when on a track.

  196. Andrea

    Thank you for the in-depth review!

    The only thing that I *really* miss on the FR 210 is the possibility to show both lap and total pace. It displays only either of those two. I miss having the possibility to look at those 2 pieces of information simultaneously during my training/races. Unfortunately, the FR 610 was too expensive for me…