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Garmin Forerunner 910XT In Depth Review

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(Updated: May 1st, 2013)

The Garmin Forerunner 910XT represents the next generation triathlon/multisport watch from Garmin.  The watch builds on many areas that the FR305 and then FR310XT had – including a slimmer profile then either of those watches, and a new pool swimming mode to track your distance while swimming laps.  But are these changes and others enough to get you running to pickup the latest model? Well, stick around and I’ll explain.

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 – Garmin sent me a development unit to try out.  It’s almost identical to that of the final production unit that’ll be on store shelves in a bit (may have slight color differences).  Once units are available in retail shops I’ll send this back to Garmin and then go out and buy my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road).  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 athlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, 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.

So – with that intro, let’s get into things.

Unboxing and Size Comparisons:

First, let’s start with some unboxing.  When you first (finally) get your FR910XT, it’ll look pretty much like this:

Garmin FR910XT BoxGarmin FR910XT Back of Box

A few short seconds later you’ll likely be tearing through the box, in which case, it’ll probably look something like the below (though, admittedly, a lot less pretty).  This is where you’ll find more plastic baggies than a Costco bulk container of them would contain.

Garmin FR910XT Unboxed

Once you remove all that plastic, you’ll have the below setup.  On the left side is all your power goodness (which I’ll detail in a second).  In the middle you’ve got the watch and manual.  And on the right side from top to bottom, you’ve got your USB charging clip, USB ANT+ stick, and heart rate strap (in two parts).  The little white piece of paper was bonus from having an early beta kit, as I had to add my own sticker – officially FR910XT #17!

Garmin FR910XT Unboxed and Unwrapped

Here’s the power plugs.  The unit comes with three different types: US, Euro, and UK.  Of course, some of those adapters are used in a slew of other countries.

Garmin FR910XT Power Adapters

Then we’ve got the heart rate strap.  This will include the strap and the transmitter pod.  Note that this is a different strap design than the previous premium strap.  Check out the heart rate accessory section later for the exact details of what’s changed (and it’s good news there!).

Garmin FR910XT HR StrapGarmin FR910XT HR Strap Transmitter PodGarmin FR910XT HR Strap Transmitter Pod and Strap

Next we’ve got the ever exciting manual.  You can also download it from Garmin’s site.  Just wander over here.  Though, there’s pretty much nothing in the manual that I haven’t detailed beyond normalcy here.

Garmin FR910XT Manual

Then we’ve got the USB charging clip.  This plugs into either your computer, or the provided AC power block.  It does NOT transfer data.

Garmin FR910XT Charging Clip

The below USB stick is what does the data transfer.  It does this via ANT+, which is a low-energy transmission method used to communicate with Garmin devices wirelessly.  More on this later.

Garmin FR910XT ANT+ USB Stick

And finally…the watch itself!  Here’s a few quick shots before I powered it on.  Of course, by the end of this post, you’ll likely be tired of seeing FR910XT shots.

Garmin FR910XT Side Profile ShotGarmin FR910XT Front Profile ShotGarmin FR910XT Wrist Band

And once we’ve got it all turned on, here’s the unit in shining glory!

Garmin FR910XT

For those familiar with the FR310XT/FR405/FR410 charging clips, the FR910XT uses the same two pronged system.

For comparisons sake – I went ahead and pulled out the trusty kitchen rolling pin and compared it to a number of other common triathlon focused watches.  Starting first, I went with just the Garmin lineup (left is FR305, middle FR310XT, right FR910XT):

Garmin FR305, 310XT and FR910XT Size ComparisonGarmin FR305, 310XT and FR910XT Size Comparison - sideGarmin FR305, 310XT and FR910XT Size Comparison - Face Height

Then I broke out both the Timex Global Trainer and the Polar RCX5 Triathlon watch.

Garmin FR305, FR310XT, FR910XT, Timex Global Trainer and Polar RCX5 size comparisonGarmin FR305, FR310XT, FR910XT, Timex Global Trainer and Polar RCX5 size comparison

When upside-down you can really see more clearly the thinner profile of the FR910XT compared to the FR310XT – given there’s a slight air-gap below it.

Garmin FR305, FR310XT, FR910XT, Timex Global Trainer and Polar RCX5 size comparison

As you can see, the FR910XT is the smallest multisport watch that Garmin has made to date, being both slimmer than the FR310XT and FR305.  Though while it’s still bigger than the Polar RCX5, keep in mind the RCX5 does not have GPS integrated into it, and instead requires a separate pod.

I figured I’d compare it to my other two favorite Garmin running watches – the FR210 (left) and the FR610 (center).

Garmin FR210, FR610 and FR910XT Size Comparison (Forerunner)Garmin FR210, FR610 and FR910XT Size Comparison (Forerunner)

And finally, two more comparing the size of the watch on a human wrist (mine), with the FR310XT.

Garmin FR310XT and FR910XT on wrist size comparisonGarmin FR310XT vs FR910XT size comparison

With the comparisons all set – let’s dig into the details!

Running:

Garmin FR910XT Changing Sport Mode

I’ve changed up the review format a bit this time, to give a brief overview in running and cycling separately and then dive deep into the features that are available across both sports. So after the Running/Cycling/Swimming overview, head down into the detailed feature by feature sections.

The FR910XT is like most other GPS watches in that it’ll record the details of where you went, how fast you were going, and how long it took to get there.  Once it’s done, it’ll save this information and then upload it to Garmin Connect, allowing you to slice and dice the data till your heart’s content.  I talk about much of this slicing and dicing later on in the Garmin Connect software section.

Garmin FR910XT and running around track on Garmin Connect

Of course, first we’ll want to start with what you see while you’re running.  This is completely customizable, but to give you a feel for things, here’s a sample data page that I often use when running:

Garmin FR910XT four data fields

In this instance, I can see my lap pace, my lap distance, my heart rate – and my footpod cadence.  But you can customize this any number of different ways however you see fit.  Later on I’ll talk about the data fields and customization.

One of the other features I dive into later on is the ability to create a Virtual Partner, which allows you to pace against a little computerized person for a set pace.

Garmin FR910XT three data fields

Of course, these are just two of many different running features that are shared across both run and bike.

Run/Walk Function (new):

A new feature specific to the FR910XT and running is the watches Run/Walk functionality.  This has become popular in recent years as a way to try and keep a consistent overall pace in an endurance event, such as a marathon or longer.  Essentially the idea being that if you manage the walking aspect of it, it’ll keep it from snowballing into just non-stop walking.

Typically this is setup based on a specific time, such as 10 minutes of running and then 1-2 minutes of walking.  The FR910XT now supports the ability to create these alerts, along with all the normal alerts you can still setup (time/distance/calorie).

Garmin FR910XT Run/Walk Alert Setup

I’ve actually found a more interesting use for the Run/Walk alert though – which I’ve mentally relabeled ‘Nutrition alert’.  See, a typical time based repeating alert (say every 10 minutes) is normally a good way to remind you to take in nutrition during training or a race.  But I’ve often found that I sometimes mentally find an excuse where I say “Oh, let me just get over this hill and then I’ll take some gel”, only to realize 10 or 20 minutes later I haven’t taken anything.

With setting up a 10 minute and 2 minute alert combo – I’m basically giving myself a 2 minute window to take in my nutrition, at the end of which it reminds me again.  It’s been working pretty well for me this season – and I’ve really reduced the amount of missed nutrition opportunities.  You can of course customize the run and walk alert portions for as short or long as you wish.

Cycling:

Garmin FR910XT Multiple Bike Setup

The FR910XT has made a number of small updates from the FR310XT that will definitely appeal to cyclists.  Starting off is the ability to now customize up to five different bikes.  Each bike can then store a slew of different saved parameters, such as ANT+ sensor details (power/speed/cadence) and wheel size/bike weight.

Speaking of which, the FR910XT supports the major cycling ANT+ sensor types including Power Meters, Speed-Only sensors, Cadence-Only sensors and combination Speed/Cadence sensors.  It also supports ANT+ heart rate monitors as well.  And in the event of a power meter that sends cadence information (pretty much all of them), it’ll happily pick that up too.

Garmin FR910XT Bike Speed Cadence Sensor Setup

The FR910XT is designed to be worn either on your wrist, or on the bike mount quick-release system.  Which is just like the cycling focused Edge 500/800 from a quarter turn mount standpoint.

Garmin FR910XT Multiple Bike Selection

Unfortunately, with my development unit I didn’t have a quick release kit available yet – so I instead used the old school rubber Garmin bike mount.

Garmin FR910XT Bike Mount (standard Forerunner rubber mount)

Not exactly aerodynamic – but for the purposes of this week’s posting, it’ll do.  On the bright side, it’s easily out of the way and also a bit easier to take photos of.  Once my quick release kit arrives I’ll update this section with new goodness.

Garmin FR910XT on Garmin Forerunner Rubber Bike Mount

While cycling the FR910XT can do essentially everything your normal bike computer can do – except now it’s powered with GPS and ANT+ sensor data.  If you’re familiar with the cycling only Edge 500, it does everything that unit does.  The only difference is the FR910XT displays 4 data fields at a time versus the Edge 500’s 8 data fields.  Obviously the FR910XT does tons more in other areas though (swim and run namely).

Garmin FR910XT on Garmin Forerunner Rubber Bike Mount in Aerobars

As noted previously the FR910XT shares almost all of the features between the run and cycle portions, which means that I’ve consolidated them down below for easier reference.

The only areas that are a bit unique to the bike are the data fields.  For example, 3s power (and all power meter metrics) are displayed while cycling, but not running.  I’ve made it easy for you though and consolidated all the data fields the watch contains within the Data Field section below.

Garmin FR910XT on bike aerobars with bike mount

So let’s talk about a few new and unique things that will appeal to cyclists.

Barometric Altimeter (new!):

For years cyclists have managed to get barometric altimeters within their bike computers, while runners have had to put up with GPS based altimeters.  Now in general, GPS based altimeters work just fine – but they aren’t as accurate for more complex elevation situations (mountains), or for determining things like grade – which requires a better understanding of the elevation changes.

That’s why I was excited to see that they’ve integrated a barometric altimeter into the FR910XT, over the GPS altimeter that was previously used with the FR310XT and FR305.

This means that when you look at altimeter data, it should map to reality better than GPS data.  But remember, even if it doesn’t, you can always use altitude data correction on Garmin Connect to turn on/off elevation correction.  This correction uses NASA imagery that’s accurate to about a meter, and can overwrite your existing elevation data.  Simply turn it on/off on the left hand side of each activity:

Garmin FR910XT Elevation Correction

Note that because the FR910XT uses a barometric altimeter, by default this will be off.  And in general, I find that the altimeter data produced by the FR910XT is pretty accurate (like that of the Edge series devices for cycling).  Much smoother and cleaner than GPS based elevation data.

Also note that the barometric altimeter is of course accessible while running too – so it’s not just a cyclist feature.  I know this is of special interest to ultra marathoners.

Power Meter Support (major changes):

As previously announced at Interbike, the Edge 500/800, FR310XT and now the FR910XT will all get the TrainingPeaks metrics of TSS (Training Stress Score), IF (Intensity Factor), and NP (Normalized Power). [Update note, it has since been announced that the FR310XT will NOT get the power update]

The FR910XT will also be getting Left/Right power to be able to support not only the Garmin Vector pedal based power meter, but also other pedal/cleat based power meters such as the Brim Brothers Zone and O-Sycne’s power meter.

These metrics will also start appearing shortly on Garmin Connect as they rollout new feature updates.  As of this initial post, the FR910XT I have doesn’t have the updated metrics in this beta firmware version, but I’m told it should very shortly.  One of the key partnerships with TrainingPeaks was to ensure that the metric seen on TrainingPeaks is the exact same metric displayed on the Edge/Forerunner units, which is also the exact same metric shown on Garmin Connect.

Back at Interbike it was noted that Garmin as a company recognizes that Garmin Connect isn’t for everyone and that the more advanced/elite athletes will naturally gravitate to TrainingPeaks as a platform and that they want to ensure there aren’t discrepancies across the two from a data standpoint.

Swimming:

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The biggest change in the FR910XT is the ability to support lap-swimming and record distance, speed, strokes and more.  For years no Garmin product has supported the ability to gather lap data while inside a pool.  But now the FR910XT does exactly that.  Additionally, it also supports the same data while openwater swimming.  But first, let’s start with the pool, then move to openwater.

Lap Swimming:

As noted above, the biggest benefit of the FR910XT over the FR310XT is likely the ability to record pool distance and lap information.  The unit does this using an internal accelerometer, which measures change in direction and acceleration to determine what you’re doing.  This is important because when you’re doing your workout in the pool, you need to be cognizant of this with respect to extra movements.  But I’ll talk more about this in a minute.

To use it in the pool, you’ll switch into Swimming Mode, and then from there into pool mode.

Garmin FR910XT Pool Lap Settings

After you’ve changed modes and selected Swimming > Lap Swimming, you’ll then be confronted with this option on pool length:

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As you can see, you can select the common 25M, 50M, and 25Y lengths, or simply customize your own…perfect for all those whacky hotel pool lengths.  Except, as of present, the only pools supported are those between 22m/y and 100y/m.  This is somewhat problematic for those that swim in shorter pools.  I’ve talked with Garmin about this (as recently as February 2012), and am hoping to see a change to allow shorter pool lengths.

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With that set, it’s time to hop in the pool and get swimming.  Using it in the pool is much the same as you would use while running or biking.  The start/stop buttons control whether or not the timer is recording, and the lap button records laps (or sets/intervals).

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While you’re swimming you’ve got realtime access to four data pages, each with up to four pieces of information on them.  For me, I’ve found that I’m really looking for three key metrics during a set: Time, Distance, and Pace.

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I’ve then setup two data pages that I use frequently – one showing me that information for the current lap (i.e. Lap Distance, Lap Time, Lap Avg Pace, Lap Stroke Rate), and then the whole set again for ‘Last lap’.  This is useful in that when I finish a set and press lap, I can easily see what the last set was.

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Today the watch does NOT support the ability to pre-create workouts on it for swimming mode, like you can for running or cycling.  I asked Garmin about this, and it’s on their radar, but no time commitment yet.  What you can do however is setup both time and distance alerts.  These alerts can be configured for preset times, such as every 500y.  Once it hits the alert, it’ll beep, buzz and display a warning.  You may not hear the beep, but you’ll feel the vibration, so it actually works pretty well.

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Once you’re done, you can see the total information for each and every set via the history menu.  This shows total (workout), sets/laps/intervals, as well as even lengths.

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In fact, that’s an important distinction between the FR910XT and something like the Pool-Mate Pro, which doesn’t show per-length data afterwards, just per-set data.  The Swimsense does however show per length data.

After our swim is complete, we’ll want to upload it all to Garmin Connect to check out the data.  While I talk about Garmin Connect a fair bit later, I’m going to tackle the swim portion of GC now.

Once you get the workout uploaded using the ANT Agent, it’ll be visible on Garmin Connect (speaking of which, if you already have a Garmin device, be sure that you do indeed update the ANT Agent to at least the Nov 28th, 2011 build – the reason is builds prior to that don’t know how to deal with the swim files, and will fail).  This is how a workout looks in the overview page.  We’ll walk through the key segments in a second.

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First up is the Summary and Swim Graph, towards the top.  The Summary is simply your total distance, pool length setting used for that session, total time (including stoppage), and average pace for the workout (not inclusive of stoppage):

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Meanwhile, the Swim Graph is an interactive guide that shows you each length as part of a set (interval), which is in turn part of the overall workout.  You can slide left/right to see other sets and the distances/times.

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Above you can see the total Interval time, and the individual lengths, along with the total distance.

The next section includes a listing of all your intervals along the left side.  Also, you’ve got more timing information including Avg and Best paces per 100y.  On the right side you’ll see segments for timing (basically, pace), then strokes (per length per arm).

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Finally, continuing down further, you’ll see the remainder of your intervals, and then on the right side you’ll see your SWOLF and efficiency scores.  These are essentially metrics that look at stroke length by taking stroke rate and the length of the pool.  It’s like a golf score.

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In addition to the overview page, you can also crack open a separate detailed page to check out all of the above information on a per-interval basis…without the fancy graphs.  At the end of which, you can export to CSV.

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The swimming mode supports a number of different metrics, starting with the following stroke types being recognized, along with the terms the watch uses to identify/display those swim strokes:

– Freestyle (FREE)
– Back Stroke (BACK)
– Breast Stroke (BREAST)
– Butterfly (FLY)
– Combination of strokes (MIXED)
– Unidentified Stoke (RAY mode…oh, wait…UNKNOWN)

Here you can see some of the stroke information being displayed:

Garmin FR910XT Swim Stroke Recongnition

Since I predominantly just swim freestyle, my experience is focused on that.  Even if I did swim backstroke, it’d likely be so horrendous that it would probably just simply display “FAIL, TRY AGAIN”.  So, I don’t try.

In addition, the watch also displays the SWOLF score, which is your efficiency score.  Lower is better.  All of these metrics can be displayed as data fields.  I talk about the swimming data fields later in that data field section – but here’s what’s available to choose from for swimming:

Garmin FR910XT Swim Data Fields

Note that the FR910XT is like the FR310XT and is waterproofed to 50 meters deep.  This is different from a watch like the FR305, which is only waterproofed to 1 meter deep at 30 minutes.  Also note however that no Garmin watches will record HR data while underwater, due to the ANT+ protocol being unable to transmit through water (has a transmission distance of about 1-2” underwater).  However, the HR strap is waterproof and most folks just leave it on under their triathlon suit/top.  Once you depart the water the FR910XT will automatically pick it up in a few seconds and start recording data.

Note: For a super-detailed look at the swimming metrics side of the FR910XT – check out the post I did on a detailed comparison between the Swimsense and FR910XT.

Troubleshooting Pool Swim Data

I wanted to briefly talk to this, since I’ve seen a number of folks ask about accuracy in the pool.  Some have had the distance issues where the unit reports longer than normal.  And a few people have issues where it reports shorter.  With that, I wanted to provide some tips based on my using it for the past 5+ months.  During which time, I’ve had it measure distance in a pool wrong only once – due to having to stop mid-way down the lane and converse with my lovely wife.  Yup, just once.  So I figured I’d share my tricks to accuracy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the unit measures distance purely on accelerometer data.  That means that it’s measuring what your wrist is doing, and in particular, changes to direction and acceleration.  Thus, you have to keep in mind that any movement you make while the timer is running is being analyzed.  The watch is constantly thinking “Is this a stroke?”, “Was that just a new lap?”.  Keeping that in mind is critical to accurate data.

1) When you’re not actively swimming back and forth, pause the timer.  I know that there’s some guidance that says you can just keep it going, but honestly, that’s wrong.  If you’re standing at the wall waiting for your next set – just pause the timer.  That tells the watch to stop looking at whether or not you should be swimming.  And thus, it won’t increment the distance until you press start.

2) Separate out your laps/sets using the lap button.  If my workout calls for 1000y warm-up, then a 500y build, then a slew of 100’s, I’m going to press lap between each section.  Thus, at the 1000y marker I press lap to create that set.  At the 500y marker, I press lap.  And then after each 100y I press lap.  In the case of the 100’s, I’ve got a short rest at the wall, so I FIRST press stop, then I press lap.  If I pressed lap then stop, it would incorrectly start a new lap that I haven’t started swimming yet.

3) Be strong on your wall push-offs.  Because the 910XT is looking for changes in acceleration, you want to ensure that you push off the wall strongly.  Fast being the key.  It doesn’t matter if you do a flip turn or an open turn (I vary sometimes for fun), it just matters that you do it with conviction.  If you ever-so-slowly do a turn at the wall and make it more graceful than Ms. Daisy, the unit might never actually detect an acceleration change, and thus, no new lap.

4) Be aware that passing someone mid-line is an acceleration change: Folks have reported issues with sudden surges to pass another swimmer mid-way down a lane being counted as a new lap.  This is an area where Garmin could improve the logic a bit, but my advice here is to try and ‘soften’ the acceleration/deceleration just a touch to not trigger it.  I realize of course that when it comes time to pass someone mid-lane, the most important thing is doing it quickly – but just offering some options.  Or, do it at the end of the lane (again, not always possible).

5) Pause when in drills: Because the unit is looking for one of the recognized stroke types, it will only be accurate when you’re doing one of those stroke types.  So if you’re doing a bunch of drills with three pieces of swim equipment and look like a fish out of water, it’s best to pause the timer.

6) It won’t work if your arms aren’t moving: This goes hand in hand with the above, but if you’re doing kick-only drills, the unit simply won’t measure that distance.  For these, I just pause the unit.  The time is counted in total activity time, but it doesn’t try and incorrectly record laps (which it will, trust me).

7) Don’t leave the unit running when you go to the bathroom: I only mention this, because I got an upset e-mail from someone that indicated that the unit incorrectly added a lap when they went to the bathroom while leaving the timer running.  I really wanted to note that technically they probably did go 50y round-trip, but decided against it.  Again, remember, as your arm swings, it thinks your swimming.  So as you get out of the pool, walk to the bathroom door, open the door, go to the bathroom, and do it all again in reverse, it’s prime time for the unit to think you’re swimming.  Just pause, you’ll be happier later. 🙂

So, you did all that and you still got a bad nugget in there?  Well, unfortunately on Garmin Connect there isn’t a way to adjust lap/length distance (someday I hope).  But, there is one application that can: SportTracks.  If you use SportTracks and download the Swimming Plug-in, then you’re able to edit swims.  Note that SportTracks doesn’t cost money if you use less than two plug-ins, though the Swimming Plug-in costs $10.

Here’s what the main overview looks like (of the plug-in for a given swim session).  Essentially, you can see the sets are expandable, along with each length within it.  Along the top you have all your sets and lengths as well.

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But let’s dive into the primary item of interest: Changing incorrect swim items.

First, is the ability to change the stroke type.  You simply click on either a length or set, and then choose the correct stroke:

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Next, we have the ability to ‘split’ or ‘join’ lengths that are incorrect.  This is useful if the unit didn’t catch a turn at the wall and you need to make it show that you did 100y instead of 50y.

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You can adjust the time for each length as well during this.  And finally, you can adjust the number of strokes for a given length, as well as just straight up delete the length.

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Make sense?  Cool stuff.  Also of note is that if you happen to have a Swimsense watch, this plug-in works with that as well.

Now, there’s no doubt that all of us wish this were simply in Garmin Connect, but since it’s not, there’s at least an alternative.

Openwater Swimming:

In addition to lap swimming, the FR910 has an improved openwater swim mode that was introduced on the FR310XT a year after its release.  You may have seen my previous in depth openwater swim mode post with the Garmin product team on that and how it works.  In many ways, the FR910XT follows much the same trend.  The key difference though is that with the FR910XT you also now get stroke metrics.  Further, the accuracy is a bit improved – now pretty repeatedly within about 10-15% of actual distance.

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For those not familiar, the goal of openwater swimming mode is to allow you to wear the watch on your wrist and get a rough distance measurement.  I say ‘rough’ because it’s not quite perfect.  See, the way GPS works every time your arm drops below the surface of the water GPS signal is lost.  That’s to a large degree just the nature of GPS signal strength.  So each time during your stroke recovery (the part above the water) it has to reacquire GPS signal and then plot a data point.  The challenge is that sometimes it doesn’t quite get an accurate GPS point during that split second recovery.  That’s where the ‘openwater swimming mode’ comes in.  It uses an algorithm to make a guess at where you actually swam, and determines a distance.

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Looking at the FR910XT, you’ll see two improvements over the FR310XT in openwater swimming.  The first is a cleaner GPS map track.  In the past, the track would be all over creation – quite literally.  Now, smoothing has been introduced to make the map look a bit more accurate.  Take for example a swim I did on a recent vacation with the FR910XT.  You can see my swim around the island pretty clearly – no immediate or obvious problems with the route (this was on my wrist):

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Of note is the very slight differences with the FR310XT (older) where you can see a bit more detail in the route, as it’s not smoothed as much:

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Oh, and here’s my swimming with the unit on my wrist (going through the channel above):

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For those that are curious, here’s the two distances as reported by the units:

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Now, it wasn’t quite perfect on other days either, especially in shorter loops.  For example, I would daily do this about 400m loop around the resort.  In doing it daily for a week, it was interesting to see the slight variations each day, especially compared to where I actually swam.  Now, what may have impacted things slightly is that it was dumping out most of the days I did these short swims (something about swimming in openwater that has low visibility isn’t really my cup of tea).  It’s possible the rain storms were impacting satellite reception.

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What I found was that one of the most important items was getting a good initial fix above-water before you started swimming.  Meaning, instead of pressing ‘start’ when you initiate your first stroke, just give it about 5-7 seconds to get one good satellite point dropped before you start.  That made all the difference between a good clean line and one missing chunks/distance.  For example, see below when I didn’t get the fix initially (I started/stopped in the same place):

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So what about distance measurement?  Well, most days I swam with three GPS units.  A FR910XT on one wrist, a FR310XT in my swim cap, and the new FINIS Hydrotracker on my swim goggles.  And almost every day, they were within 10%-15% of each other.  It’s hard in these situations to say exactly which one is correct, since I didn’t have a specific measured course to work from.  But I think that the stroke information benefits of the FR910XT on your wrist outweigh the distance accuracy benefits of putting it under your swim cap.

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I have found that historically the most accurate method for capturing distance is to place it on my head under my swim cap.  I talk about that in more depth here.  This way I still get an incredibly accurate GPS track – as well as a pretty picture.  The challenge with that method is it completely negates the benefits of the FR910XT when it comes to capturing stroke information.  Which, we’ll talk about now.

 

With the FR910XT you get stroke information due to the internal accelerometer.  This requires you to have the unit on your wrist (indoor and outdoor).  But assuming it’s there, you’ll get this information during the full duration of the swim.  As you can see below mid-way through my openwater swim, I’m getting this information (along with distance) in real-time:

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And below you can see the total time (upper), total distance (lower right) and then 100/yd pace (lower left).  The pace fields are new to the FR910XT.

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Once home and with the data uploaded to Garmin Connect you’ll get slightly different data than indoors.  Primarily, aside from distance, map and pace data, you’ll only be getting basic stroke data.

imageimage

So while you don’t get some of the additional efficiency information like you do in a pool, you do gain the ‘Player’, which allows you to replay the whole swim – pace information and all.  Stroke is converted to ‘cadence’ here, which essentially means they saved development time by re-using the bike/run metrics.

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Finally – there’s been some questions on wetsuit removal with the FR910XT on your wrist, primarily because trying to remove a wetsuit with the FR310XT on your wrist was a bit of a pain.  Well, the FR910XT was specifically designed to enable quick wetsuit removal.  And I thought there’d be no better way to do that than demonstrate exactly how quickly you can remove a wetsuit with the FR910XT on your wrist…thus, time to turn to the video:

As you can see, it pretty much slips right off!

And finally, again note that I have a fair bit more on swimming with the FR910XT in my detailed FR910XT vs Swimsense post.

Calorie Calculation and Heart Rate Display/Recording:

Like most fitness devices, the FR910XT does calorie estimation based on your activities.  The FR910XT does this in a few different ways, depending on exactly how much information you give it.  This section will be pretty high level, but if you’re looking for more detail on all the different calorie methods, check out my Garmin Calorie Measurement In Depth post I put together last year with the help of the Garmin engineers.

Option #1 – New Leaf Profile (most accurate): The FR910XT supports the ability to have a VO2MAX taken at a New Leaf testing facility, and then have that data used to generate calorie burn metrics across your heart rate ranges.  This is the most accurate consumer-grade method available today for calorie calculations.  The test takes about 10-15 minutes…and is rather painful since you’re pushed to your absolute max.  But once complete the computer will generate a small file that you can import via Garmin Training Center to your FR910XT which will then subsequently updated on any and all Garmin devices you own.  For a detailed look at how this all works, check out this post here on my experience getting New Leaf Testing.

VO2Max Test downloading data to New Leaf for GarminVO2Max Test Mask

After the Garmin ANT Agent has transferred the profile to the watch, you’ll see the below message:Metabolic Profile Downloaded for calorie consumption - Garmin Forerunner 910XT

Option #2: FirstBeat Algorithm (2nd generation): The Firstbeat algorithm is the most accurate Garmin device calorie measurement that can be done without external testing.  But it’s actually not developed natively by Garmin.  It’s developed by a Finnish company (Firstbeat Technologies) that has its roots in calculations around Olympic athletes, specifically Nordic skiing.  Their 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.  This makes the system one of the more accurate non-invasive options (read: doesn’t require a laboratory), within about 10% accuracy.  Firstbeat has published a fascinating white paper detailing the technology and accuracy rates.  And just to be clear here – you have to wear the HR strap for this to work.

Heart Rate Data from Garmin FR910XT

Option #3: Speed/Distance/Weight Calculation (least accurate): This is the least accurate and 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.  This speed/distance algorithm does not consider or evaluate the impact of elevation change.

Garmin Connect Summary Page

Outside of calorie calculations, it should be noted that the FR910XT can easily record heart rate (HR) data in either a given sport, as well as just sitting around.  For example, I often use my Garmin watch to record my resting HR by simply putting on the strap and then starting the unit (you don’t even have to record to display HR).

Within a gym environment, if using a heart rate strap you’ll get calorie burn metrics appropriate to your heart rate.  That may not be fully representative though of your actual calorie burn since most of the HR burn metrics used are primarily aimed at aerobic activities such as running and cycling.

Sport Features (across multiple sports):

In the past, I’ve placed all of the below features into either the bike or run sections to demonstrate them.  But since they are common to both sports (and in some cases, to swimming as well), I’ve decided this time to mix it up and make a ‘Sport Features’ section that shows off these major areas across all sport types, to help reduce confusion.

Auto Lap:

Out of all of the Forerunner features, Auto Lap is probably the most commonly used.  Auto Lap enables you to automatically create splits/laps based on predetermined distance intervals of your choosing.  For example, you can specify to automatically create a lap every 1 mile (default), or every 1 kilometer.  You can also configure Auto Lap for as little as every .01 miles/kilometers, a nice change from the past.

Garmin FR910XT Auto Lap TriggerGarmin FR910XT Auto Lap Customization

Many runners will use Auto Lap on longer runs so that later on they can easily see the mile by mile splits in applications like Garmin Connect.  For example, if you look at the below data from a long run I did Sunday, you can quickly and easily look at the mile by mile splits without having to splice the data manually:

Garmin FR910XT Auto Lap Display

On the bike, Auto Lap works exactly the same way.  However, because of the speeds being discussed in bike versus run, most folks tend to change Auto Lap here to a higher value – like 5 miles.

Auto Pause:

While Auto Lap (previous section) is heavily favored by runners, Auto Pause is heavily favored by cyclists.  See, Auto Pause enables the watch to automatically pause recording when you reach a certain speed threshold – which is configurable.  Take for example the scenario of a cross-town jaunt on a bike where may hit numerous stop signs or stoplights.  With Auto Pause you can remain hands free and the watch will automatically pause recording at each red light you hit.  And then resume it when the light hits green.

Garmin FR910XT Auto Pause Resume Settings

You can either use the default speed settings (configurable for both bike and run differently), or customize them yourself.

For me, I only use Auto Pause when I’m in a city environment, as I prefer to manually control it otherwise.  And in running, I tend to also just manually press pause/resume myself.  But I also completely understand those that use it.

Also note that for cycling with a power meter, it’s generally recommended not to use Auto Pause, as it’ll skew your Normalized Power metrics afterwards since it’ll make it appear as though you’ve had no rests (depending on the software used).

Alerts (Vibration/Audio):

The FR910XT contains a few different alerting mechanisms, but my favorite by far is the vibrating alerts.  These are most useful because if you’re running along in a loud environment (or just with a big fluffy winter hat), it can be hard to hear.  Or, if your gasping for breath on the track…the same thing.

You can enable either beeping alerts, vibrating alerts, or both within the settings page.  I prefer just to leave it on the default of both.

Garmin FR910XT Vibration Tone Alert Settings

You’ll configure the alerts separately for each sport (Swim/Bike/Run/Other), with the run page offering the most alerting options (since it includes the Run/Walk alert section I talked about earlier).

Garmin FR910XT Time, Distance, Calorie, Run/Walk Alerts

Garmin FR910XT Heart Rate (HR), Cadence, Power Alerts

Within a given alert type, you can then set more detailed configuration options – generally based on either a trigger (distance) a high/low watermark setup (HR/Power/Cadence).

Garmin FR910XT HR Alert Customization

The nice part is that unlike previous watches, this allows you to customize as high or low as you’d like.  No worries about having too small or two large of a number.

Garmin FR910XT Distance Alert CustomizationGarmin FR910XT Time Alert Customization

Note that you can’t configure whether or not it vibrates or beeps on a per alert basis – that’s a setting across all alerts (vibrating, beeping, or both).

Virtual Partner:

Virtual Partner allows you to pace against a set speed or pace. This is useful if you want to run a 5K at or better than a certain pace, such as 8:00/mile.  Or any other distance/pace.  I’ve used this in the past when trying to pace longer distance races – such as a marathon in an Ironman, and wanted to be able to keep just slightly ahead of my goal pace.

Garmin FR910XT Cycling Virtual Partner

It also allowed me to instantly see the impact of slowing down (or walking), as the ‘little man’ then gains on you.  The inverse is true if you speed up though.

Garmin FR910XT Running Virtual Partner

As is always the case though with any GPS based pacing in a race – be aware that more than likely you’ll be running longer than the actual race distance due to corners and crowds.  Thus, you’ll want to take that into account during your pacing strategy (read: set the pace slightly faster).  For more on that, check out this in depth post on how to pace with a GPS watch.

Virtual Racer:

Virtual Racers is new to the FR910XT, and allows you to race against existing courses and workouts.  Because it measures your race progress based on a given point in the course, this enables you to pace more appropriately to a course that may have difficult terrain (such as a large hill).  This is different than a Virtual Partner because in the VP scenario the little pacer would keep a constant speed over the hill, whereas in the Virtual Racer scenario it would adjust to a much slower speed for the hill.

Garmin FR910XT Virtual Racer

What’s cool here is that you can go onto Garmin Connect and download any workout you can find (yours or someone else’s).  For example, you can find a workout for the Boston Marathon at a given pace, and then race against it.  Or for cycling, you could go grab one of those Team Garmin-Cervelo files from the Tour de France and attempt to hold on. Or not.

Simply select to download the course from Garmin Connect, and it’ll end up on your Garmin FR910XT.

Intervals:

Interval mode enables you to setup a simple interval workout and then have the watch guide you (thus in effect yell at you) through the workout.  When you setup intervals you’ll be specifying how long the warm-up is, the number and distance/time of work intervals, the rest interval, and then the cool down.  Once you’ve got all that specified, you click start and hold on for dear life.

Garmin FR910XT Interval CreationGarmin FR910XT Interval Configuration

This mode is great if you’re new to intervals and don’t have a lot of complex pre or post-main set work and just want to focus on reaping the rewards of speed work.  The warm-up and cool down portions can also be specified using either time or distance.  And of course for either running or cycling (not swimming).

Garmin FR910XT Interval Workout

If however, you have a more complex workout regime, you’ll want to use Workout mode (below) instead of Interval mode.

Workout Mode:

Workouts differ from intervals in that they are infinitely customizable – for any sport.  In the past I’ve used workouts for actually creating a race plan to then execute on either during the bike or the run.  You can do an endless array of ‘if/then’ type statements, allowing you to dial-in your exact workout or race plan and then let the watch own you for that session.

You can configure these on either Garmin Training Center, or Garmin Connect (new).  Since the feature was just added to Garmin Connect, I’ll create an example there – using a workout from a few weeks ago.  This is a running workout, but I’ll also create a quick cycling one:

Garmin Connect Workout Creator - Running Workout

In my cycling example, you can see how I’ve gotten more complex with it, enabling me to specify any number of parameters for either training or racing.

Garmin Connect Workout Creator - Cycling Workout

To get it to your watch, you’ll simply click “Send to watch”, which brings up this screen:

Garmin Connect Workout transfer to FR910XT

Once on the watch, you’ll go into the menu system and select workouts:

Garmin FR910XT Workout Selection

From there, you’ll see the available workouts that you’ve synchronized to the watch.  To start a workout, merely select it…and then prepare to follow the directions, one step at a time during the workout:

Garmin FR910XT Workout Selection on watch

Note that you can actually create workouts manually on the watch itself (in a pinch).  But I find this to be fairly slow going, sorta like painting a room with a toothbrush.

Garmin FR910XT Workout Creator on Watch

Workouts can be configured for cycling or running.  I suspect we’ll eventually see a ‘Swim workout’ option arrive though.

Courses:

Courses allow you to specify a route online, and then get a breadcrumb trail of the route while on the watch.  This is somewhat different than what you might be familiar with on a car GPS where you see road names (as well as on the Edge 800 cycling GPS).  In the case of the FR910XT (and all other Forerunners), you get a bit of a breadcrumb trail to follow.

First though, we’ll go onto Garmin Connect to create the route.  Note that you can also use MapMyRide/MapMyRun to create and download courses too.  And in general, those programs give you more options (and information).  The online course creator was actually just added to Garmin Connect back in mid-September, so I’m optimistic we’ll see more features over time (such as elevation graphs, ability to add water stops, etc…).  In the meantime, it works as a good basic option.

Below I roughly sketched out my Sunday long run.  Because the map doesn’t quite have all the trails I use, it’s not a perfect representation of the route.  You’ll note I can change the speed/pace in the lower box and it’ll give me an estimated time of arrival (AKA: When I find my couch and TV).

Garmin Connect Course Creator

Once you’ve created the course, you’ll go ahead and select to send it to your device:

Garmin Connect Course Creator transfer to FR910XT

After that’s done, it’ll be queued up for the next time you plug the USB stick in and synchronize.  Now we’ll go to the watch.

On the watch, you’ll go into the courses menu and find the course we want.  Once you select it you’ll see a breadcrumb trail of the whole route. This is just an overview of sorts.

Garmin FR910XT Course Display

After you press start, you’ll see it’ll start giving distance information until the next point, as well as all your regular data fields.  I find that despite not having the actual road names on them, they are still pretty valuable if you’re out for a long ride/run and need a rough map.  In this age of cell phone mapping though, I suspect most of us would just grab the phone in our back jersey pocket (if riding) if we needed more detailed information.

Data Fields:

Like it’s predecessors the Forerunner 910XT offers the ability for you to customize your data fields.  In fact, when you look at the major differences between Garmin’s lower end watches (FR110) and their higher end watches (like the FR910XT), the biggest differentiator is data field customization.  So I went ahead and created the following chart of all of the data fields currently offered on the FR910XT.  Note that like almost.every.single.other.Garmin.device in history, this tends to change over time – with new data fields usually added in firmware updates.  I’ll update this list from time to time as new fields are added.  Here’s the fields sorted by sport as of October 4th, 2011:

Swimming – Lap Swimming:

Garmin FR910XT Data Fields - Lap Swimming

Swimming – Openwater Swimming:

Garmin FR910XT Data Fields - Openwater Swimming

Cycling:

Garmin FR910XT Data Fields - Cycling

Running:

Garmin FR910XT Data Fields - Running

You can configure up to four data fields per data page, and you have up to four data pages to use per sport (Swim/Bike/Run/Other).  In other words, you have lots of customization options.

Garmin FR910XT Run Data Field Customization

Here’s a three view with four data fields, three data fields and one data field.  You can also do two data fields, which simply splits it upper half/lower half:

Garmin FR910XT Run Data Field Customization - Four fieldsGarmin FR910XT Run Data Field Customization - Three fieldsGarmin FR910XT Run Data Field Customization - One field

Note that you can select to either manually iterate through the data pages, or you can choose to automatically have it scroll through the data pages – at a setting of slow/medium/fast:

Garmin FR910XT Auto Scroll Settings

Note if you want to see data fields offered on other watches, as well as how I configure my data pages, check out this post here.

Finally, also of note is that the FR910XT supports both smart recording and 1-second recording rates.  Smart recording means it records data points based on changes to data, while 1-second recording just records at a simple 1-second interval.

Garmin FR910XT Smart Recording and 1 second recording

In general, I always recommend 1-second recording – especially for cyclists with power meters, or those users using the device without any ANT+ accessories.

Multisport Mode (Triathlon Mode):

Multisport mode within the Garmin family is unique to the three multisport mode watches: the FR305, the FR310XT and now the FR910XT.

Multisport mode enables you to setup a recording session that’ll take you from the start of the swim, to the end of the run – all while recording swim/bike/run and the transitions separately.  More importantly, it’ll automatically change the settings and data pages/configurations you’ve set for each sport, as you transition between them.

To setup multi-sport mode head into the Settings page and select Auto Multisport.  From there, you’ll be presented with this menu screen to select which sports you want to add.

Garmin FR910XT Multisport Mode

Once in that you’ll see you can add or enable the different legs that you plan to participate in.  You can include transitions if you want.  This is where if you’re doing a duathlon you can set that up as well.  Or, you can just add as many sports as you like.  You can’t edit the names however – it’s either Swim/Bike/Run/Other.  Adding a ‘Beer Garden’ step doesn’t appear to be an option.

Garmin FR910XT Multisport Mode - Edit LegsGarmin FR910XT Multisport Mode - Select Sport

During the event you’ll advance to the next sport by pressing the lap button, which will automatically transition you from sport to sport.  As you’re doing this, the FR910XT will let you know which sport you’re in (serving mostly as a reminder to get rid of the wetsuit prior to the bike):

Garmin FR910XT Multisport Mode - Begin SwimmingGarmin FR910XT Multisport Mode - Begin Running

Once you’re done with the event (training brick or race), you’ll have a small pile of files – one for each leg.  This is actually more useful than a single giant file because this way you can analyze the legs independently as you would expect: Swim, Bike, Run (and transitions).  Note that the watch will also record everything with one big time as well, so you can track total time and see that too.

Indoor Use:

I just wanted to briefly touch on this, simply as a means to answer any questions.  Since most of this section is alluded to in other sections, I’ll keep this short.

Treadmill Running:

When running inside with the FR910XT, your best bet is to pickup an ANT+ footpod.  Garmin makes one for less than $50, as does a number of other ANT+ companies.  The footpod attaches to your shoe and the wirelessly sends both speed as well as cadence to the FR910XT.  Here’s what one of the units looks like on a running shoe:

Garmin FR910XT ANT+ FootpodGarmin FR910XT ANT+ Footpod Detected

When indoors, it’ll send both speed and distance, as well as cadence. And when outdoors it’ll send cadence (turnover), to match up with the GPS signal.  Additionally, if you end up in an area with bad GPS signal (GPS speed = zero), the unit will switch to the footpod for speed/distance.  You can also set the watch to switch over to using footpod for speed, to help even out some of the speed jumpiness sometimes associated with GPS speed.  This is called changing the speed source:

Garmin FR910XT ANT+ Footpod Speed Source

I talk tons more about the ANT+ footpod here in this post on ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about the ANT+ Foot Pod’, as well as a bit at the end of the accessories section.

Indoor Trainer (Cycling):

While indoors on a trainer you can use the Garmin GSC-10 ANT+ speed/cadence sensor (or any other ANT+ speed or speed/cadence combo sensor), to record distance and speed.  Of course, keep in mind that speeds and distance indoors on a trainer are fairly meaningless because they can be easily changed by adjusting gearing and resistance without changing effort.  Meaning that I can change my indoor speed from 15MPH to 30MPH with no additional effort, merely by modifying gearing and resistance.

That said, there is some value in this data depending on the type of trainer (as well as just our human nature curiosity, enabling us to record it in our training logs).  So, if you pickup the $30 sensor (see accessories section), you’ll be able to do just that!

Garmin FR910XT with indoor cycling trainer

Of course, the sensor works indoors just as well as outdoors, so it’s always useful in the event you go through a long tunnel as well.  The sensor will automatically be used in any scenario where the GPS speed drops to zero MPH, but the sensor speed is providing more accurate data (i.e. 20MPH).

To learn more about the speed/cadence sensor, see my post on ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about the speed/cadence sensor’.  Or also see the brief mention later on in the accessories section.

Dryland swim trainer:

While I’m reasonably certain the folks in Olathe, KS had no intention that the FR910XT would be used on a swim trainer bench – it actually works just fine.  I got on the VASA Swim Trainer and got to work.  Well, actually, both The Girl and I used the trainer.

Garmin FR910XT Indoor Swim Trainer

The only obvious caveat being that since you don’t do flip/open turns on the bench (well, unless you fail in a big way), it won’t know when the end of the lap is.  I resolve this by simply knowing that roughly every 18-19 strokes I’m going to be at 25y, and thus I can simply pause for about 1 second, flick my wrist, and then it’ll record it as a flip turn.  Just like magic.  The LCD screen on the Vasa Swim trainer also tells me distance – so I can monitor that for when to ‘pretend flip’ as well.

Garmin FR910XT with indoor swimming trainer

See…it’s all about thinking outside the box…

Skiing:

Garmin FR910XT in Skiing Mode

In addition to being an avid triathlete, I’m also a longtime skier.  In fact, far before I ever did my first triathlon, I ski raced while growing up as a kid.  So any chance I get at skiing (a bit harder now in DC compared to Seattle where I grew up), I take out a Garmin and see just how much I’ve skied.

So on a recent trip to Seattle I grabbed the FR910XT and took it out for the day.  Because the unit has a barometric altimeter, it’s a bit better suited for the constant up and downs of skiing, over that of a GPS based altimeter.  Though, that does assume/require that it gets its initial GPS-assisted altimeter fix correct.

Once that’s complete, it’ll easily track your total distance, elevation gain, and descent information.  For skiers, it’s all about total vertical skied.

When using the unit skiing you’ve got two options for attachment.  The first is just using the normal strap, likely in between your coat and your gloves.  The normal strap isn’t quite large enough to go over your ski jacket.

Garmin FR910XT in Skiing Mode on wrist

The second option is to pickup the extender strap – which I talk about later in the accessories section.  This solves the problem by significantly increasing the length of the strap to be able to get over/around winter jackets.

When you’re skiing with the FR910XT (usually in the ‘Other’ mode), you can setup any data fields you’d like.  For me, that’s primarily just distance, max speed, and total descent.  But, you’ve got all the normal pages and data fields accessible to you.  Here for example, is my max speed that day:

Garmin FR910XT in Skiing Mode Max Speed

Afterwards, you’ll be able to pull up the full GPS track and total elevation ascent/descent from Garmin Connect – or any other site you upload the file to.

Garmin FR910XT Skiing Altitude AfterwardsGarmin FR910XT Skiing Map...a rainy day.

I’ve skied with Garmin units for years, and never had any issues.  Though, a couple things to keep in mind.  While I definitely trust the FR910XT’s new strap system (far more secure than the FR310XT or FR305), keep in mind that I’d still generally recommend you start the unit and leave it inside a secured pocket or backpack.  The reality is that if you’re flying down a run and crash, you could easily manage to have the unit go flying…and depending on conditions, you may never find it.  Just food for thought…

Paddleboarding:

Many have asked as to whether or not the FR910XT is capable of recording stroke data while paddleboarding.  So on a recent vacation I gave it a shot.  Well, actually, The Girl and I both gave it a shot.  And since she looks better than I, we’ll go with the photo of her:

P1010909P1010930

What we found was that while the unit easily recorded speed, distance and time – it did not accurately record stroke information.

P1010937P1010938

As you can see above, it believed I was only stroking at 7 strokes per minute.  In my case, that was significantly under, as that would have been only one stroke per 9 seconds – a pretty slow stroke rate.

I suspect the issue comes from the fact that the FR910XT simply isn’t designed at this point from a software standpoint to understand the paddleboarder stroke.  Now, given that Garmin has added a professional paddleboarder to their sponsored athletes lineup for 2012, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see them add this sport profile in the future.  Since the accelerometer that’s in the FR910XT is 3D, it could recognize this stroke – it just comes down to the unit’s firmware being updated to do so.

Ultra-Long Use (56hrs+ on single charge):

Upon your request, I decided to find out exactly how long the battery would last if you turned OFF the GPS, and just let it use ANT+ for speed/distance (via footpod or bike sensors).  I ended up writing a pretty detailed post on how I did the test, and the full set of results.

In short though, the answer is on a single charge the device will last approximately 55 hours with multiple ANT+ streams (heart rate, power, speed/cadence) feeding data to it.  Data storage/retention was never an issue.

IMG_7248

To see the full story behind the tests, and some of the other offerings that can go even longer, check out my post on it.

Backlight/Light:

The FR910XT offers a backlight that clearly illuminates the entire screen.  By default, the backlight will stay turned on for 15 seconds before turning off.  But I prefer mine to stay on permanently – that way when I’m doing night runs or rides I don’t have to keep pressing the light button.  To change this, within the backlight settings, simply adjust the length of time to remain on:

Garmin FR910XT Backlight Timeout Settings

Once in a dark place, you can very easily see the display.  You can also adjust contrast as you see fit as well in the same menu as above.

Garmin FR910XT Backlight in dark room

Note that obviously, backlight length will affect battery.  The brighter and longer, the less battery.

Band and Screen Improvements

One of the biggest concerns in the past with the FR310XT has been the band not being strong enough to withstand the usually rough conditions of an openwater swim start – with people whacking away at your wrists.  Many a Forerunners have been lost to ocean and lake due to this and the quick release kit.

However, it’s clear some thought went into the FR910XT’s band design, because it appears as though this thing is built like a tank.  When I pull on it, the band doesn’t budge or bend.  You’ll notice the band is now more streamlined to the watch – which should reduce the number of places it can have forces pull on it:

Garmin FR910XT new strap pins

In addition to the default band that comes on the watch, they are also offering three additional replacement bands: A quick release kit, an extender band (useful for big winter parkas), and a soft fabric strap (more comfortable).

I’ve detailed these more later on in the accessories section down below, but here’s a quick peek:

IMG_3614

(Above: Extender strap.  Below: Fabric strap)

IMG_3644IMG_3658

(Above: Quick release kit)

The most significant thing you’ll note though with the band improvements is the use of a pretty substantial pin system – a monster of a pin really, which should reduce/eliminate some of the band breakage/loss issues that the FR310XT had.

IMG_3628

Also of note is that the display on the FR910XT is slightly set into the watch – as opposed to being a single sheet of glass on top like the FR310XT.  This should hopefully reduce breakage issues.  Of course, if you run over the watch with your car, or smash a rock against it…it’s probably going to act like most electronic devices and break.

Software:

The FR910XT uses the Garmin ANT Agent software to download workouts from the watch to the desktop client.  It does this across the ANT+ protocol, which is a wireless protocol similar to Bluetooth…except low energy like Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE).  With your computer, you’ll plug-in the ANT+ USB stick, which allows your computer to connect wirelessly to the watch.  The wireless distance it can cover can be pretty impressive – such as across a few rooms in a house.

Garmin FR910XT Sync to Computer

But you don’t have to worry about cross-talk with ANT+, each device is uniquely paired.  In fact, that’s one of the first things you’ll do with the ANT+ Agent:

Garmin FR910XT ANT+ PairingGarmin FR910XT ANT+ Pairing Confirmation

Once you’ve paired the watch to the computer (and you can pair it to multiple computers should you wish to do so), it’ll automatically download the workouts and place them locally on your computer (Mac or PC).  From there, it can also automatically upload them to Garmin Connect.  I always check the box to upload to Garmin Connect, even if I don’t use Garmin Connect for day to day workouts – because it ensures I have a backup copy of my workouts no matter what happens to my PC.

Garmin FR910XT ANT Agent Configuration

Once you’ve uploaded your workouts, they’ll show up online in Garmin Connect, which I’ll talk about below.

Garmin FR910XT ANT Agent Data Sync

If you’re using a 3rd party application, then the files are available to those applications on your local computer.  You can actually browse to them yourself, should you want to.  The locations vary depending on your operating system version and platform (details on all OS’s here).  But on a Windows 7 PC, they’ll be at the below location:

Garmin FR910XT Data File location

Now that you’ve got the files uploaded or entered into an application, let’s go through some of the more common ones.

Garmin Connect (included, free):

Garmin Connect is Garmin’s online fitness site that allows you to store, manage, and analyze your workouts.  Think of it as a giant training log, but one that allows you to also share your files with others.  In September Garmin Connect got a pretty significant number of new features added to it, and this seems like a great time to talk about those features as well as some of the more common ones.

When you upload workouts, you’ll be able to see them in either calendar view or activity list view, such as the below:

Garmin Connect Uploaded Workouts

Once you’ve selected a given workout, you can go ahead and dive into more detail on that specific workout, like the below map.  You’ll see everything from workout totals, to small charts depicting the different recorded ANT+ metrics (i.e. heart rate, speed, cadence, power, etc…).

Garmin Connect Sunday Long Run

Garmin Connect Charts and detail with FR910XT

In addition, you can select to replay activities matched to charts and maps.  It’s a bit gimmicky, but it can be fun to replay longer runs/rides/events and watch the numbers change as the map and/or terrain shifts.

Garmin Connect Charts and detail with FR910XT

Some of the newer features are the most interesting.  For example, probably the feature that excites me the most is the workout creator.  In the past, you had to use the downloadable Garmin Training Center application (which btw, works just fine with the FR910XT) to create workouts.  While this software was functional, it is/was also lookin’ pretty old.  So the online version is much appreciated.

It’s online here that you can create complex workouts like the below.  This is my mile-repeat workout I have later this week, but by creating it here I can also add the slightly more complex warm-up & cool-down pieces I have – whereas the standard interval function couldn’t quite do these:

Garmin Connect Workout Creator

Outside of creating workouts, you can also do searches across Garmin Connect for a given location and find workouts to download.  This is sorta like MapMyRun/MapMyRide – and is great for finding valid courses/routes.  This is one area where Garmin Connect has a slight advantage over those other services in that it’s automatically placing all run/ride/activity data up on Garmin Connect, so if someone’s done something somewhere – you’ll likely see it.  I used this during a trip to Jordan (country) to try and find a route in the middle of nowhere…and it assisted perfectly in my initial route planning.

In addition to route finding, you can also keep some basic health information up there as well.  For example, if you have a weight scale such as one of the wireless ANT+ scales, you can keep track of weight-related metrics.  I cover that down below in the Weight Scales section. And finally, you can do quite a bit of reporting on the site as well,  such as total activities and analysis by type and goal setting too.

Let’s move onto a few other non-Garmin options.

TrainingPeaks (3rd party):

TrainingPeaks is one of the largest 3rd party software options.  They have two versions, one is free and one is subscription based.  Regardless of whether you pay, the entirety of TrainingPeaks is a website (except the device agent software you can install to upload files).  I use TrainingPeaks as my primary method of tracking my training efforts.  The major reason for TP over Garmin Connect is the advanced analytics.  Additionally, it provides a completely seamless conduit between myself and my coach – something that my other software favorite (SportTracks) can’t do.

While at the time of this writing TrainingPeaks doesn’t officially support the FR910XT yet, it still works just fine.  I was able to simply select the watch from the right-side dropdown and it automatically grabbed the .TCX file to upload to Training Peaks (the Garmin ANT Agent software creates both a .TCX and .FIT files from the FR910XT, for backwards compatibility with older applications).

Garmin FR910XT with Training Peaks

From there I was able to log-in and see my run without any issues at all.  If you’re looking for very advanced analytics in a web based form, there’s really no other option out there today that has as many features as TP and is completely web based.

SportTracks (3rd Party):

Another non-Garmin option is SportTracks.  SportTracks is a Windows only client application that allows you incredibly in depth analysis of your workouts.  Perhaps one of the biggest strengths though of SportTracks is the ability to allow community developers to extend the application with plug-ins.  As a result, there’s a ton of totally cool functionality that’s been added over the years (some for a fee).  SportTracks as an application has a free-mode with some limitations, and a paid mode for $35.

Because the ANT Agent software exports out both .TCX and .FIT files (the Garmin FR910XT initially records it in .FIT file, and then the ANT Agent makes another copy of the file in .TCX), SportTracks has no problem consuming these files today:

Garmin FR910XT with SportTracks

Once imported, the files act just like any other activity within SportTracks – allowing you to slice and dice the data as you see fit.

If you’ve got a Windows based PC, I definitely encourage you to check it out (free or otherwise).

Accessories:

The FR910XT has a number of accessories that are compatible with it.  The vast majority of these are built on ANT+, which means that if you have an existing ANT+ accessory from an older device (or a different companies device), it’ll work just fine.  For example, if you have a Heart Rate (HR) strap from a FR305, that’ll happily work with the FR910XT.  Note however that no Polar straps or equipment is compatible with the Garmin units.

Heart Rate Strap(s):

Depending on which version you pickup, the unit will either come with the Premium ANT+ Heart Rate Soft Strap, or it’ll require you to pick one up.  You can utilize any existing ANT+ strap (such as one from an older Garmin unit), but it does have to be ANT+.  Meaning, a strap from a Polar or similar unit won’t work.

Garmin today itself offers two straps – one is the classic strap, and the other is the newer ‘Premium Soft Strap’.  However, an even newer premium strap was tossed into the mix last summer.  This new one solves almost all the issues of drops/spikes of previous soft and classic straps.

Garmin Heart Rate Strap Options

Note that the FR910XT bundle includes the newer premium soft strap HR monitor, which is different than the older soft strap one.  This new strap resolves virtually all of the issues of the existing soft strap, based on my day to day use of it over the past year.  Of course, if you’ve got an older strap and have some HR related issues, start here.

Speed/Cadence Sensors:

This sensor allows you to use the FR910XT indoors on a trainer, as well as record cadence information outdoors.  Additionally, you can sometimes increase your speed accuracy a hair if you use the speed sensor outdoors (automatically occurs actually).

Garmin Bike Sensor Scan on FR910XT

Power Meters:

The FR910XT supports ANT+ enabled power meters, such as those made by CycleOps (the PowerTap), SRAM/Quarq (the Cinqo), SRM, Power2Max and more.  I own a Quarq Cinqo and the unit is easily paired to the power meter by going into the bike profile page and pairing the power meter.

Garmin FR910XT Power Meter Detection

As noted earlier, there have been significant changes in power meter data files – most notably the addition of the TrainingPeaks metrics of TSS (Training Stress Score), NP (Normalized Power), and IF (Intensity Factor).  Also, the FR910XT supports Left/Right power for the upcoming Garmin Vector pedal based power meter, and the Brim Brothers Zone cleat based power meter (as well as the O-Sycne pedal power meter down the road).

Garmin FR910XT Power Meter Configuration

It should be noted that the FR910XT is NOT compatible with any of the Polar power meters, including the new Look/Keo Power System pedal based power meter.  This is because that system is reliant on Polar’s W.I.N.D. protocol, and not ANT+.

ANT+ capable power meters start at $700 from CycleOps (PowerTap), go through $1,500 (Quarq Cinqo and Garmin Vector) and top out at over $2,000 (SRM).

Running Footpod

The footpod allows you to gather pace, distance and cadence data while both indoors or outdoors.  For example, if you’re running on a treadmill this would be required as GPS won’t show you moving.  Outdoors it’s useful if your route takes you through a tunnel where you’d lose GPS reception.

Garmin ANT+ Footpod

The foot pod easily snaps right onto your shoelaces in a matter of a few seconds.  After which you’ll want to calibrate it on a track to ensure the highest level of accuracy.  I’ve found that after correctly calibrating the footpod, I can actually get both GPS and footpod data to align exactly.  Pretty impressive.

You can pickup the footpod for about $50.  If you’re interested in learning more about the footpod, check out my ‘More than you ever wanted to know about the footpod post’.

Quick Release Kit:

IMG_1572

There is a new quick release kit available for the FR910XT.  The new kit aims to reduce some of the issues that the previous FR310XT quick release kit had around pins breaking – usually during a rough swim start – and causing the watch to be lost to the fish.  Overall however, the goal of the quick release kit is to allow you to quickly remove the watch when you exit the swim and then lock it onto your bike, then remove it again for the run.  Thus it comes with both a wrist strap, and a pile of bike mounts.

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The FR910XT quick release kit uses a two-piece screw design that pulls the two screws tight into each other.

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This requires you to actually use two screwdrivers at once – which can be a bit of a challenge.  But you only have to install it once.

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Once installed, the back of the unit is more flush than previous versions – again aiming to reduce the ability for the unit to catch its edge on something.

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When you look at the bike portion, it uses the industrial strength rubber bands to allow you to quickly move it wherever you’d like (the mounts).  And since an extra box of a few mounts only costs about $9, it’s easy to get more mounts for more bikes in the future.

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Here’s a quick video showing me clipping in the watch into the quick release strap – just to give you an idea of how the quarter turn mount system works:

The kit includes the usual wrist strap, two bike mounts, a slew of rubber bands and two screwdrivers.  And it costs $22.

Fabric Strap:

IMG_1547

The fabric strap is a nice throwback to the Garmin FR305 quick release days when there used to be a fabric strap instead of the rubber one.  I always preferred this and found it more comfortable.  This time though it isn’t a quick release strap – but is nice and comfortable.

Like the quick release strap, there’s some dualing screwdrivers required because the pin system is still just as strong.  But once you get past that, you’ll be good to go:

IMG_3644

Note that the strap offers a bit less ‘extension’ than the regular strap – so be mindful that if your wrists are a bit larger, or if you’re trying to put it around a heavier coat – it may not reach.

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The strap costs $25.

Expander Strap:

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This is a new entrant to the Garmin fitness accessory lineup – but is much welcomed.  This allows you to finally use your Garmin Forerunner on a big winter parka – perfect for skiing!

Unlike the previous two straps – this one requires no tools, and only takes a split second to install.  You just simply attach it in the same manner you would normally secure your strap band.

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Once it’s done, you’ll have significantly increased the band length.  Here’s a before and after:

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The expandomatic costs $10 on Garmin’s site.

Weight Scales (ANT+ Wireless):

The FR910XT is wirelessly compatible with any of the ANT+ enabled scales on the market.  As of today, that’s essentially just three scales, though Tanita is aiming to bring ANT+ to nearly a dozen more scales here shortly.

ANT+ scales work by sending your weight data (and in the case of the Tanita BC-1000 also your body fat and hydration data) to the watch wirelessly.  This is then uploaded to Garmin Connect via your watch.  Thus every time you synchronize your watch (such as when you upload your workouts), it’ll also upload any weight scale data points as well.

In the case of the FR910XT, the scale is typically triggered by the watch (only the Lifesource scale is the other way around).  You press the light button on the FR910XT, which triggers the ANT+ Weight Scale search protocol. Once that’s done, your scale will start blinking and beeping.  This is your queue to step on the scale (unless you think the scale is a ticking bomb, in which case it’s your cue to run like heck).

Garmin FR910XT with Tanita BC-100

After the scale has completed it’s weigh-in, the number will display on the FR910XT:

Garmin FR910XT with Tanita BC-100 Weight Scale

Which is then automagically transmitted to Garmin Connect and visible there:

Garmin Connect Tanita Weight Scale detail via FR910XT

As of today, there are three scales that offer ANT+ compatibility.  They are as follows:

Tanita BC-1000 – Weight/Body Fat/Hydration– $280 (My review here)
Tanita HD-351– Weight – $150 (A little snippet of thought here)
Lifesource UC-324 – Weight – $110 (A little snippet of thought here)

To make this slightly easier to understand, here’s a picture of them all with the key things you need to know:

Tanita BC-1000, Lifesource Scale, Tanita HD-351 ANT+ Scales with FR910XT

Good? Good. Onwards!

Battery and battery extension options:

The FR910XT is designed to last about 20 hours – or essentially enough for a 17hr Ironman finisher (the time limit for the Ironman event).

However, it’s quite understandable that you may want to go for an activity longer than that.  In fact, two years ago I did just that with a FR310XT, where I had it recording for over a day, during a long journey on a boat to a remote island where Great White Sharks were (trip report here).  At the time, I used a simple AC adapter with the FR310XT, which worked well.  As long as you started the activity, it would keep it recording in the background.

Well, the same is true of the FR910XT.  Except now I’ve anteed up the stakes and used Garmin’s solar power charger and extra battery (single bundle).  Technically, Garmin actually uses a system from PowerMonkey, and rebrands it.  Either way, it works well.  Now, in order for it to work with the FR910XT (or FR310XT), you need one minor sub-$5 item – a USB mini to regular adapter.  This is the one you want.

Once you’ve got that and the external battery/solar power system, here’s what you’ll have:

Garmin FR910XT Power Extender Battery Solar Pack

(Above: FR910XT, Solar Panel, Battery Pack, FR910XT Charger, USB adapter)

Now that you have it all out, you’ll connect the pieces.  They really only fit one way, so it’s pretty self-explanatory:

Garmin FR910XT getting charged via battery pack

Note that the solar panel charges the external battery pack.  The external battery pack in turn provides power to the FR910XT.  You can either charge the battery pack, or charge something from it.  You can’t do two at the same time.  Though, since the FR910XT’s battery lasts 20 hours, that’s plenty of time to refill your solar charger.

Garmin FR910XT getting charged via solar pack

With that, you’ll be set to go for just about…forever.  Once you clip the charging clip on the unit will show the normal charging screen.  But if you simply press the mode button you’ll be back to the regular display fields.  It’s not super easy to manipulate the unit since the buttons are covered, but you can attach/detach the charger as often as need be.

Garmin FR910XT Charging Clip

Also note that again, you don’t need the solar piece there.  That’s like the cherry on top.  You can simply have the battery pack hanging out in your bag (or elsewhere), charging the FR910XT.  I don’t see this as particularly useful for runners, but I’ve long since learned that people use the Forerunner devices for numerous other activities – hence why this will definitely appeal to someone.

Downloading FR910XT to iPhone/iPod/iPad without computer:

Finally, last but not least I’ll show off how to use the Wahoo Fitness iPhone dongle to download your FR910XT workouts directly from your watch to any number of online services (or just e-mail the results to yourself).

First you’ll need the Wahoo Fitness dongle, which works with just about all the iDevices.  That’s the little white thing hanging off the bottom of my phone.  It simply plugs into the dock connector like a power cord.

Garmin FR910XT Downloading via Wahoo Fitness iPhone Dongle

Then you’ll go into the pairing menu (seen above) to get the watch paired.  This only takes a second and doesn’t affect your computer’s pre-established paired relationship with your FR910XT.

Once that’s done, it’ll list out the available workouts for you to download from the watch.  You need only tap to select which workout(s) you want and then click download.

Garmin FR910XT Downloading Workouts via Wahoo Fitness iPhone Dongle

It’ll download the workout to the phone, by grabbing the .FIT files.  Once it’s done that, it’ll allow you to upload to pretty much all of the major services from Garmin Connect to Training Peaks to Nike+ to MapMyFitness and more.

Garmin FR910XT Downloading Workouts via Wahoo Fitness iPhone Dongle

Or you can just e-mail the files to yourself (including CSV versions).  Pretty cool.

Today you can do this on a handful of Garmin watches, including the FR60, FR310XT and FR610.  You can read more about this in my past post on it here.

Summary & Overview:

The FR910XT represents an update to the previous generation triathlon focused FR305 and FR310XT.  The goal of all of the multisport watches that Garmin makes has been to offer a watch that ‘does it all’ – and in the case of the FR910XT – it really does seem to deliver here, covering the major asks/gaps of past watches.

Without question, the biggest changes in the FR910XT boil down to the addition of an indoor swim mode – effectively making the watch a complete swim/bike/run watch as opposed to just a bike/run watch.  For the cyclists and ultra runners, they’ve added in a barometric altimeter.  And for the runners, they’ve added in walk/run mode – becoming more and more common for longer distance endurance pacing.

Of course, the FR910XT isn’t necessarily for everyone, as I believe it’s important to identify your rough category of watch needs and find a product that fits.  So looking at watch recommendations, you’ve got a few different basic categories:

1) The Triathlete: No question, if you’re a triathlete – this is the watch if you want a single device that does it all.  There’s simply no other product on the market today that can do recording in all three sports with respect to distance and recorded data, especially in the pool.  The only advantage the Polar RCX5 has is that it can record heart rate in the pool (the FR910XT can’t).  But the RCX5 can’t do distance in the pool, nor does it have an integrated GPS, ANT+, or power meter support.

2) The Casual Runner: The casual runner should probably look at the cheaper FR210.  In general the FR210 is probably a better entry level watch in that it’s simplified enough where you can just go out and run.  By the same token, I still believe that for 95% of runners, the FR210 is a perfect fit.  As for the FR910XT and casual runners, bringing the FR910XT to the table for a casual runner is like bringing a gun to a knife fight.

3) The Advanced Runner: The FR610 is really aimed at this market.  But if you want the additional barometric altimeter (such as an ultra running in the mountains) – then clearly the FR910XT is your best (and only) bet.

4) The Pure Cyclist: You probably want the Edge series of devices, so check out the Edge 500 – it’s the best bet here.  If you need mapping, then check out the Edge 800.  Of course, if you dabble between running and cycling, then that’s where the FR910XT really shines.  The only thing you really lose coming from the Edge 500 to the FR910XT is 8 concurrent data fields down to 4 concurrent fields.

The FR910XT will be available later this year for $399US without a heart rate strap, and $449US with a heart rate strap.

Comparison Chart:

Over time this comparison chart has slowly grown.  You’re best to simply click it and view it in all its full screen glory.  The goal here being to compare the most popular GPS based multisport watches that I’ve reviewed thus far.  You can click on it to expand it and make it readable.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 29th, 2019 @ 12:32 pmNew Window
Price$399$599-$1,149$1500$199$599/599EUR
Product Announcement DateOCT 4, 2011Aug 29th, 2019March 13th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019
Actual Availability/Shipping DateJAN-APR 2012Aug 29th, 2019April 2019Early May 2019Early May 2019
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes (with Galileo too)Yes (with Galileo too)YesYes (with Galileo too)
Data TransferANT+ WirelessUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi on Pro onlyUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 100mYes - 100m50 metersYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)20 Hours25hrs to 148hrs (depends on model)28hrs GPS, 48hrs UltraTrac13 Hours36hrs GPS, 60hrs UltraTrac
Recording Interval1s or Smart1S or Smart1S or SmartSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1S or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYesYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual/VibrateVibrate/Sound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYEsYEsWatchfaces onlyYEs
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Can control phone musicYesYesYesYes
Has music storage and playbackYes (Pro Only)YesNoYes
Streaming ServicesiHeartRadio, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon (Pro Only)Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadioNoSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Contactless-NFC PaymentsYesYesNoYes
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesYesYesYes
Group trackingYesYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoYes (via phone)Yes (via phone)Yes (via phone)Yes (via phone)
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYesNoYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYesN/AYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYesN/AYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesYesNoYes
Crash detectionYesYesYesYes
RunningGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)Yes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)NoWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)
Running PowerWith extra sensorWith extra sensorNoWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationNoYEsYEsYesYEs
Race PredictorNoYes, plus PaceProYesNoYes
Recovery AdvisorNoYesYesnoYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for swimmingYesYesYesNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)Yes
Openwater swimming modeYesYEsYEsN/AYEs
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYesN/AYes
Record HR underwaterNoYes (with optical HR or HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM)WITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Soon with optical HR)N/AWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYesN/AYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYEsYEsN/AYEs
Indoor Drill ModeNoYesYesN/AYes
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No (it'll show rest time afterwards though)N/ANo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)
Change pool sizeYesYEsYEsN/AYEs
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths20m/22y to 100y/m14M/15Y TO 150Y/M14M/15Y TO 150Y/MN/A14M/15Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYesN/AYes
Can change yards to metersYesYesYesN/AYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYesN/AYes
Indoor AlertsYesYesYesN/AYes
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for triathlonYesYesYesNoYes
Multisport modeYesYesYesNoYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYEsYEsYesYEs
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYEsYEsVirtual PacerYEs
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesYesNoYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesYesYesYes
Day to day watch abilityNoYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoYesYesNoYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoYesYesNoYes
GeocachingNoVia GPS coordinatesVia GPS coordinatesNoVia GPS coordinates
Weather Display (live data)NoYesYesYesYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesNoYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoYesYesNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoYes (Pro Only)YesNoYes
Back to startYesYesYesNoYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoYes (Pro Only)YesNoYes
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoYesYesNoYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometricNoBarometric
Compass TypeGPSMagneticMagneticNoneMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)YesYesNoYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)YesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)NoNo (can control VIRB though)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)YesYesNoYes
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesYesNoYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYEsYEsNoYEs
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesNoYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYesYesNoYes
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesYesYesNoYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express (PC/Mac)Garmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Amazon LinkLinkLinkN/ALinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkN/ALinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkN/ALinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 910XTGarmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Pro’s and Con’s:

Finally, no review would be complete without the infamous pro’s and con’s section.  The reality here is that the previous generation FR310XT was and is fairly well liked, and the FR910XT simply built on that and tried to rectify the most common requests.  Thus, there are very few big ticket ‘Cons’ left for the FR910XT without getting to personal preference items:

Pro’s:

– Added indoor lap swimming mode, recording distance/speed/strokes
– Added barometric altimeter
– Added Run/Walk reminder feature (which can be used for all sorts of other things, like nutrition)
– Added Virtual Racer feature, ability to race past performances/others
– Now supports TrainingPeaks Metrics (TSS/IF/NP), also pedal based power meters
– Accurately tracks distance, heart rate, pace and a ton of other metrics
– Connects to ANT+ foot pods, power meters, speed/cadence sensors
– Connects to ANT+ weight scales and gym equipment
– Wirelessly downloads workouts via ANT+ to computer

Con’s:

– Doesn’t record/display heart rate while underwater
– Doesn’t really work as a normal day to day non-sports watch (battery only 20hrs)
– Openwater mode is good, but still not fully solving openwater distance to high degree of accuracy
– Only supports one person at a time on watch, can’t split between husband/wife
– [Update]: Current bug in firmware version 2.70 makes multisport mode less useful – recommend staying off that firmware version

As always, thanks for reading, I appreciate it.  If you have any questions – feel free to post them below, I try to answer as often as possible.  Thanks!

Found this review useful?  Or just want a sweet deal?

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 exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the FR910XT through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Garmin FR910XT base unit (unit only)
Garmin FR910XT unit with heart rate strap (select dropdown)
Garmin FR910XT triathlon bundle (unit + HR strap + speed/cadence sensor + quick release kit) (select dropdown)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit 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.

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

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated January 27th, 2018 @ 4:29 am
2013 - DCR - Gear I Use: Swim
2013 - The Girl - Gear I Use: Run
2013 Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Triathlon Watches
Left/Right Capable Bike Computers
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar Mount$25
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount$37
PowerTap G3 ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)$790 (hub only)
PowerTap Pro ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)$899
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00
Garmin ANT+ Transfer USB Stick (large sized)$38.00
Garmin ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$49
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00
Garmin Edge Series Extra Bike Mounts (2 sets in box)$10.00
Garmin FR405/405CX/410/310XT/910XT Charging Cable$14.00
Garmin FR910XT Quick Release Kit$18.00
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)$38.00
K-Edge Garmin Handlebar Mount X-Large for Edge units (including Edge 1000)$45.00
Lifesource UC-324 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale (My recommendation)$109.00
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!$55.00
Power2Max ANT+ Power Meter$970 (no cranks)
PowerCal ANT+ Estimated Power Meter$99
SRAM Quarq Cinqo (Original) ANT+ Power MeterDiscontinued
SRAM Quarq Elsa & RED ANT+ Power Meter$1,600 (with cranks, no chainrings)
SRAM Quarq Riken ANT+ Power Meter$1,200 (with cranks, no chainrings)
Stages ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Power Meter$699
Suunto ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$37
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)$70.00
Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale$215.00
Wahoo Fitness ANT+ iPhone Adapter (for uploading workouts wirelessly)$40.00

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  Further, you can always e-mail me at the address on the sidebar.  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.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

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1,523 Comments

  1. Nancy

    Absolutely love your site, it has helped with many decisions over the past couple of years. Having said that I have a question that I know has been asked so I am looking more for of an opinion…. Last year my husband and I transitioned from running into triathlon and with that has come some sizable monetary equipment purchases. What we hadn’t changed out yet though has been our Garmin 305 forerunners. With two of us entering the sport at the same time it has been a costly summer so we waited until now to seriously look at upgrading the Garmins. We are both completely sold on the 910XT’s (thanks to your site) so this week I managed to sell my used 305 and promptly went to start searching for the 910XT.

    We live in Canada so the international site purchases present slight challenges in shipping, customs, and warranty issues so we went into our local Running Room to have a look. Here’s the conundrum: The salesperson advised us to wait saying that the 920XT has just been announced and that we should hold off. She discussed the new features it will have and said even if we decide not to purchase the 920XT we should wait on the 910XT because the price will drop once the new ones up for sale.

    She seemed very knowledgable about the new release talking about the slimmer design and new feature for running indoors on treadmill but of course did not have a date they would be coming in. I know you’ve answered this question multiple times on this site about no official release announcement but has something changed recently or is she just talking from rumors??? This is an expensive little device and if I hadn’t already sold my 305 I’d totally wait however; here I sit with no device other than my iphone apps. In your opinion, should I sit tight as it is the off season and the snow is already on the ground or are we that far off from the release that I should bite the bullet and carry out the original intentions I had last night with the 910XT?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Fabio Reis

      Nancy, curiously I just bought my 910XT (last week) and asked today to DC (at twitter) the same question.

      He answered this:
      Ray Maker @binho_pires I would expect to see something next year in time for the core of triathlon season, based on historical timelines.

      I think it answer your question.

  2. Steven

    Absolutly amazing product review, i read it twice already 🙂
    I searched and didn`t find an answer regarding the watch funcionality as a “watch”, is there any software update, that i could use the watch as daily watch, just to see what is the time?

    • Doug

      There is a data field in all modes called ‘time of day’ but I would think you’d be charging your ‘watch’ every couple of days if you used it all the time.

      The running joke with my wife was spending a lot of shekels on ‘a watch that doesn’t tell the time’

      Depending on your urgency it may already be worth hanging on for the next iteration as by the latest FR620 has metrics not available to the FR910, i.e. Garmin are not developing it any more. Ray does warn further up the next release could be summer 2014 though!

    • Yes! I use it ass my everyday watch. Under each training/sport mode you can add a “time of day” function. although there are lot’s of stats/functions you will catch on soon. if you buy use Rainmaker’s code above — best deal I could find online anywhere for the tri-pkg.

      PS I need some friends on Garmin Connect, so considering adding me!
      link to connect.garmin.com

      Good luck with whatever watch you choose!

      Sincerely,
      Frank

    • Keep in mind though that it won’t show you things like day of week (some people request that). Non-GPS battery time is about 50ish hours.

  3. Dave

    I use a 20 metre pool to train in. Is that correct that this watch will not record data for 20 metre pool?

  4. Fabio Reis

    DC,
    Do you know if alerts work while in a multi sport activity? For example, during a tri race? It would be nice when you are swiming, it alerts you each 100m or something.

    Also, it is possible to use auto-lap while in a multi sport activity?

    Thank you for your all support. Really aprecciate it.
    obs.: when your gonna visist Brazil? 😀

    • I haven’t heard of any issues with alerts in multisport. Autolap within multisport is a yes (you used to not be able to do it on the FR305, but can on the 910XT).

      As for Brazil…in a few weeks. More once I firm up plans.

  5. Richard Lim

    I am under-utilizing my 910XT – mainly for hiking, walking and jogging. For me, one key function is the map/course function. I noticed that the map refresh is rather slow and not consistent. For hiking, I zoom to 30m scale and sometimes, the 910XT cannot re-draw fast enough to alert me to turns. And I am not a particular fast walker, just doing around 6kph. Using firmware v3.0.0 This is when I left the 910XT solely showing the Map screen.

    When doing auto-scroll, the map screen is total useless as it never had a chance to show the map/course before the screen changes.

    Other than that, I am quite happy with the 910XT.

  6. Mário

    Hi,
    I’m a regular user of Garmin devices and a decided to try Suunto but my first experience don’t have been god
    I bought a new Sunnto Ambit 2 Black and in one month of use it crashed 5 times and I could not finish my trainings, even crashed during a marathon!
    A message appears on the Suunto Ambit 2 display “Connect to movescout”. When I connect moveslink could not synchronize and at the end I forced firmware update. I emailed Suunto support and they said to reset and reinstall the software on the computer. I did that and it crashed again!
    But the problems continued and now I’m finally returning to Amazon for refund.
    I don’t know now what to do! I think I will buy the Forerunner 910xt. Or should I by another Suunto Ambit 2?
    Do you know if the suunto cadence pod is compatible with the 910xt?
    Best Regards

    • No, the Garmin units are not compatible with the cycling cadence pod from Suunto. These accessories are all private Suunto-ANT, and not ANT+. The single exception being the Suunto footpod, which is dual ANT+ and Suunto-ANT.

  7. Todd

    Ray,

    I’m having issues with my 910xt dropping the readings from my new Garmin Vectors. It only happens outside, when wearing the watch on my wrist (inside and/or on TT bars it seems to be ok). At first, I thought it was maybe the new Vectors, but it seems that it may actually be the watch’s radio reception capabilities. I started some back and forth on a Garmin forum, and also did a little research and saw a few other folks with power meters were having issues with the 910xt dropping the signal while riding outside. Have you experienced or heard of any related issues? I have a ticket started with Garmin support, and I want to try and provide them with as much info as possible since I don’t think this is a completely isolated incident.

    As always, thanks so much!

  8. Ethan

    Thank you the great review. Do you think I should still by the 910 even though it is a couple years old? Do you think I should wait for a new iteration?

    Thanks

    • It depends on whether or not you plan to use the device actively during the winter. If you see something for next season, it may or may not be available immediately, so you might not have a device until mid-season – if they release anything.

  9. Ebert

    Do you think garmin will add support for running dynamics (hrm run) to 910XT in the near future?

  10. mike murphy

    I started rowing indoors and on the water. Is there a function I can use for stroke rate and any other info 910xt can give me?

  11. Daniel

    Ray,

    I’m considering buying a used 910 (for about half the retail price) and I was wondering for “how long” will the watch continue to be useful? I mean, will Garmin continue to update it (satelite accuracy etc) after they release a new unit? I’m not a tri athlete, just casual runner.

    • I wouldn’t expect any further feature-focused updates from the FR910XT. You may get a small bug-fix focused one, but even that might be asking a bit too much.

      That said, it’s still a great unit and ultimately the top of it’s class from a functionality standpoint. If you look at the FR310XT (pre-FR910XT), that still remains incredibly popular.

  12. Jay Pepper

    Thanks for the info on the 910. I have had the 405 for years and have done 10 plus marathons and a 100mi, I decided to sign up for my first Iron man in Aug. Any other recomandations on a tri watch?

  13. todd

    I just purchased a 910xt after this review. so far i like it. However is it normal for the sound alert to be dim? it was loud and distinct the first day, but the second day its noticeably dimmer. i don’t remember if it was this dim after i updated the firmware.

    the vibration is strong at least.

  14. Jonatan

    I hope the next version “920XT” has a more robost barometric altimeter or some other system with more reliability. I’ve had to ask for warranty twice already because of the same issue.

    I don’t know if the Fenix for example has the same kind of problem.

    Both times I was on the edge of loosing the warranty, you can call it luck but it’s a pain to give up on one of your main training tools for about 3 weeks to get a replacement. Plus, who knows, maybe next time this won’t be the case.

  15. Juan

    Hey Ray: I´m a runner trying to transition towards thriathlon. Is the 910xt the correct watch for my training or should i get a Garmin Swim and a bike computer (separately) first? Thanks!

  16. Daniel

    Ray,

    I got the 910 based on your review, and holy crap it is great! I swapped from the Nike+ watch to the FR910, what a difference is all I can say 🙂

  17. Tim

    Hi Ray

    Great reviews. Really love the whole website.

    I’m a triathlete and have so far been training with my iphone (using runkeeper) for both running and cycling. The stats are good but to improve my runnning I really want to move to a watch that will tell me my pace etc in real time (as opposed to intervals with runkeeper). I also want to introduce heart rate to my training sessons (both indoor & outdoor).

    I am now torn between the Garmin 620 & the 910XT. Obvioulsy I swim several times per week and I would also like to see my swim stats.

    The new 620 looks serioulsy impressive. Can I simply ask… as a fellow triathlete, on a day to day basis, are you using the 910 or the 620 more?

    The reason I ask is I’m thinking of investing in a run watch for 2014 whilst holding out for the the 920 (possibly for the 2015 season).

    Many thanks, Tim

  18. Armando

    Hi Ray

    Maybe you all ready said something about it but I coudnt find it in your review.

    I have two bikes, a MTB and a roda bike with power meter, I need diferent data fields on the 910XT for each bike, but if I change the data fields on the MTB bike profile it will change the data fields displayed on the road bike profile. Is this normal? is it posible to have data fields for each bike?

    Thanks for your very helpfull review!!

  19. Garry

    Ray,

    Terrific review. This looks like an awesome piece of gear, but …I don’t have one. 🙁

    I was talking up the benefits of lactate threshold training with a buddy and low and behold he got a 910XT in his Christmas stocking. Now he wants me to show him how to get his lactate threshold from it.

    I am using an ancient Garmin 301 with HR that has an algorithm built in to compute lactate threshold. Some people questioned the reliability of that calculation (which the shop told me was why it was dropped) but when I cross checked it using the Conconi method on a treadmill, the results compared within a single beat.

    It was so cool in training to get a notification from the unit that your threshold had moved up 3 beats. Nothing like positive feedback from an all-knowing electronic device. And I won’t part with the 301 until it dies (and I have a backup unit when it does :)) because of it.

    To the best of my knowledge that calculation was dropped in subsequent Forerunner versions and I couldn’t see any indication that the 910 has it (but I have to confess I didn’t read every line of this review). Can you confirm that? Is there an alternative or substitute data point on the 910 or will I just have to strap him into my spare 301 for a while?

    Thanks for your help.

  20. Steve

    These are really great reviews, thank you for all the time, attention, and detail you’re putting into them. No chance I could test out all these choices.

    I’m making a transition from 1/2 IM distances tri’s back into trail running with an eye to some ultra distance racing. Still going to stay with triathlon but more at the Oly distance so the swim/bike elements are necessary but not nearly as much as solid GPS functionality off road. I had an IM Run Trainer that was an epic failure in the woods so wondering if you had a feeling either way between Suunto Ambit 2 and the 910XT for trail use? Battery life is important too since I expect to be out there for quite a while. I read both your reviews but couldn’t really get sense either way.

    Thanks again and please keep it up!

    • I talk about it a little bit in my gadget recommendations guide early on: link to dcrainmaker.com

      But ultimately, for trail use, you’re probably better off with the Ambit 2, since it’s really designed more for that, and since it can cross into triathlon easily (about the only areas it falls down is around power meter detail), it’s probably a great choice for you.

    • Steve

      Thanks for the quick reply Ray, that other post was also very helpful. I guess I’m just a little gun shy about signal retention in the woods since I’ve had such rotten luck with other devices. Based upon your research and talking to some other folks though I think I’ll go with the Ambit 2.

      Cheers!

  21. Juan

    hi Ray! Thaks for your reviews, they´re my go-to place for gadgets. I´m a runner transitioning to triathlete. Should i get the 910 or other gps watch? Is the 910 close to being outdated for a newer version?
    Thaks a lot.

    • I’d focus on when you need the watch. If it’s for an early season tri, then you could/should bite now. If you aren’t certain, then you could see how the Polar V800 shakes out. As for a new FR910XT variant, I’m sure one will be out this year – but whether that’s April or August or October remains to be seen.

  22. Mario Geyer

    Hello dear Ray, a super report, as always, I’d rather wait now prefer to the new model, expected in April-October, perhaps 920XT Forerunner. What do you think it is possible that Garmin integrates an optical heart rate sensor in the new model?

  23. David

    Hi Ray, I have really fallen in love with your website. I have question for you about my 910XT. I ran a PR in a 10K on a very flat course today. When I uploaded that to Training Peaks, it said that I have a new Threshold Pace (which I expected). But I ran the 10K at about 8:00/mile. The recommended Threshold Pace was 7:14. I was really confused by this. When I looked at the data a little more closely on Training Peaks, I noticed that the elevation signal was very noisy. It goes up and down by a foot or two almost every second. This ended up giveng a Normalized Pace of 7:14. Link link to tpks.ws. (But strangely it says the total elevation change was 52 feet gain, 89 foot loss. That sounds pretty close to what I expected for the course). I’ve never had the unit do something like this before. Is there some obvious possible external cause for this?

    • It looks like the barometric altimeter was shifting a bit there. It may have had an incorrect initial elevation fix (it uses GPS to do so), which meant over time it corrected…the problem was it just took 40 minutes to correct, thus, you see that downwards trend.

      Within Training Peaks, you should have the option to do elevation correction. When you do this, then afterwards you’ll want to tell TP to also recalculate your metrics on that run (which does things like NP/NGP).

      That should help a little bit.

    • David

      Well within Training Peaks, I can only do the correction if I have a premium account.

      As a work-around, I used the Garmin elevation correction, and re-exported the .TCX file. Then uploaded that to Training Peaks. That workout had a NGP of 7:13/mile. That workout is here: link to tpks.ws.

      BTW, Strava considers the GAP for the original workout as 7:54/mile, which seems much more reasonable for the very minor hills along the course.

      So my question now is two-fold,
      1. Is there actually something wrong with the Training Peaks calculation? (I understand that NGP is one of their “secret sauces”.)
      2. Is the noise in the original barometric altimeter indicative of a problem with my 910XT? (I’m actually on my second 910XT, the first one was replaced due to a faulty barometric altimeter.)

    • 1) Yeah, I do see oddities with NGP/GAP from time to time. My coach has pointed them out to TP as well. Not entirely sure there’s much we can do there.

      2) It could be, though, it may just be something else. I haven’t played around too much with good steps for troubleshooting the 910XT’s altimeter. Outside the obvious of a hard reset.

    • David

      Just wanted to follow up on this. I had another 10K PR with a bogus NGP afterwards (this time in the other direction, my NGP was slower than my average pace). After working through many things with training peaks support, we found that the problem is that TP utilizes the “PACE” field in the data file, if present. So if you run with an uncalibrated footpod, your NGP will be equally uncalibrated. What they are doing does make sense, but it’s not obvious. So back in January, I had just gotten a footpod. But I was only using it for cadence, and had never calibrated it. This past weekend, I changed from “quick laces” back to normal laces for the race, I didn’t bother calibrating the footpod, because I wasn’t going to look at instant pace during the race (HR only).

      Might want to put a note about this in your “everything you need to know about footpods” article.

  24. pes

    HI there! What about the overall lifetime of the battery? Iam using it every day for swimming, running and cycling. Almost 1000 hours a year. Do anybody knows how long can this great device working? How many cycles of recharging does it survive? 400 or 600 in a good condition (dont know to 75% for example)? I am just thinking about getting the Edge 500…you know…to relieve 910 from that “hard work”. Dont wanna to destroy it in one ore two years.

    • I’ve yet to hear of anyone on the FR910XT note that their battery was dying due to excessive use (since it’s been out now two years). So I think you’re definitely good there.

  25. Mario Geyer

    Hi Ray, I have 3 questions:
    My Forerunner 310XT shows with a 4-field display in stopwatch data field after an hour only the hours and minutes, not seconds. Is that with the 910XT also the case?
    Displays the Forerunner 910XT at a distance of over 10 km the distance with 2 decimal places after the decimal point?
    The Forerunner 910XT has no normal day to day watch function. Do you think that then the successor gets this function (and also the 2 other functions, if no)?

    • Same on FR910XT with four data fields.

      Not 100% sure on KM over 10KM with decimal places offhand.

      I don’t know about a successor and whether it would have a watch mode. I’d suspect that depends on the exact form factor. If it ‘looks’ like a FR910, then probably not. If it looks like a normal watch, then probably.

  26. Mike 9

    Hey Ray, love your blogs, tests and reviews, they’re always informative. I have a 910XT and love it, but I have one quick question about it. Somehow I’ve set it to measure my swims in miles, not yards. I’ve been through all the setup screens but just can’t figure it out. Any help would be great, keep up the good work!

  27. Love you site. Great in depth reviews. This review guided me from Polar RC3 GPS towards the Garmin 910XT HRM. Got the unit today. Love it! 🙂 Cheers!
    Haris

  28. Juan Sánchez

    Hi There!
    I have an issue with multiple bikes.

    On bike settings, I go to “bikes”, then I see: bike 1, bike 2, etc. I selected bike 1, 2, and 3. and then DONE.

    When I go to the previous menu I only see “bike 1” (my road bike) as an option.If I selct thi, I can go to bike details without a problem, but only to the details of this bike. It means that I cannot input my MTB settings and my second road bike for that matter.

    I tried to deselect “bike 1” to see if this gives me another choice, but I could only deselected bike 2 and 3.

    If you have some suggestions, I´ll really appreciate it.

    Cheers!

  29. Is it possible to change the length of the “recovery time” in the “recovery heart rate” feature in the FR910?
    Is it possible to turn this function off?

    Great review! Thanks!

  30. Dagfinn

    Hi

    It looks like i have some problems with my HR straps.
    2 HR straps for the 910XT have stopped working for me.
    Luckily Garmin is amazing replacing them. But it bugs me anyway.
    Could the new HR strap for the 620 maybe fix this issue?

    link to strava.com

    As you can se from my run, it looks like im taking it kinda slow…

  31. Sam K

    Hello,
    Firstly, would just like to say fantastic review, and great reviews of other products. I have emailed Garmin support about the 910xt and the log data when in multisport mode, however I haven’t had a reply yet, I’m comparing the Suunto and Bryton equivalent; Suunto replied and stated the watch does not record separate log data for each discipline (swim-bike-run) and the Bryton doesn’t either, so my question is, does the Garmin 910xt when used in multisport/triathlon mode record separate gpx files for each discipline, the swim-bike-run?

    Many thanks, I look forward to your comments.

    Regards
    Sam

  32. Great review!

    I am a swimmer and a casual runner. Is this the product for me?
    My needs are heart frequency and metrics on swinming and running.
    It looks like a winner but do you know any other product?

    Thanks in advance for any help on this.

  33. marcus

    Hey Ray,

    Thanks for providing so much information. Your site is by far the best resource.
    Quick question, I have my 910 for a little over a year. Today the unit stopped starting up. I hear the start up beep when I hold down the power button but no display comes up. When I hold down the up arrow button and the power button at the same time I get to the software loader. Do you have any idea on how to reset or restart this device. It seems that this is not an uncommon problem judging from the discussion groups on the Garmin site. Maybe you have an idea.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Marcus

  34. I was wondering if there is any word on a new version of this watch, or if they plan on integrating the running dynamics from the 620 into this watch?

    Thanks

  35. Mike Robinson

    Hi Ray. Thanks as always for a great review. I got the watch because if it. One question:

    Can I log laps manually while in multisport mode? I want to log laps during a triathlon by the lap button will send me to the next phase of the race rather than recording a lap during the current phase.
    Thanks!

  36. David

    If I have a properly calibrated foot pod connected to my 910XT, am I better off turning off the GPS for working out on a track?

  37. David

    Another quick question (maybe). I rode my first century this weekend. Afterwards my calories burned number seemed really low. This was also my first long ride with a power meter installed on my bike. I noticed that the calories is very close the the kJ. I realize the watch probably used that number. But if there is a lot of coasting, my heart rate is still elevated during those rest breaks, shouldn’t that count for something?
    Just for comparison, 2 people that I rode with had calculated calorie values much higher than mine.
    I weigh about 155 lbs, burned 2633 calories (2633 kJ work)
    Friend #1 weighs about 180, estimated calories 5250 (no HRM)
    Friend #2 weighs about 260, estimated calories 6400 with HRM
    I know since I am lighter, my calories should be lower. But it seems quite a bit lower than it should have been for over 6 hours of riding.

    Thanks for any insight.

    • Hmm, there’s a lot of items that can impact the calculation, roughly in order:

      0) Power Meter to give exact kJ (which isn’t actually exactly calories)
      1) Heart Rate Strap (and thus, by extension, how hard one works)
      2) Weight defined on unit
      3) Height
      4) Age
      5) Activity Class

      Looking at calorie burn on a bike, I’d guess you’re numbers were reasonably accurate (as disappointing as it may seam). I think Friend #1’s numbers were way high. And Friend #2 is a bit of a hard nut to crack because the weight is considerably higher.

  38. Dutchman

    Hi Ray,

    Been looking at your website a lot, great pieces of work! Really appreciate you making so much time to get such detailed reviews.

    I’ve been wondering 1 thing, and I think you allready awnsered my question more than once in the past couple of years, but I’d like to ask it anyways, cause of the slight difference in the before seen questions.

    I really like my auto multisports mode, but I find it very hard to use while training. For example; I’m going to do 10x200m (on set times like 0:38min.) with 200m rest running today and directly afterwarts I’d like to lap my transition time and then go on a 20km ride.
    In my very positive, hopefull and dreamlike state I’d think it possible to set workouts for these sports in auto multisport. Yet now I can only make separate workouts and I will not see a switch in sports as I would like to have.
    I can see that when you train on endurance base instead of intervals the problem wouldn’t be there.

    Have you found a better way to train such methods? Or am I the only one using nearly only intervals during training?

    Thanks again for all your hard work, hope you’ll still keep enjoying it for many years to come! Be sure to know that we do!

    • No, unfortunately you can’t mix the two modes right now. For me, I only just don’t do multisport mode outside of races. The reason being that at the end of the day the data all gets split up anyways on Garmin Connect (or other sites).

      Just my two cents…

    • Dutchman

      Thanks for the reply Ray.

      I’ll keep it for racedays aswell 🙂

      Have a great weekend.

  39. Thought I’d post an update on the barometric altimeter issues – I’ve now sent my 910XT back to Garmin 4 times and have had it replaced each time due to a fault with the barometric altimeter. It broke again last week for the 5th time, once again reporting that I was at 63,000ft for my entire ride.

    However, thanks to a friend pointing towards a forum post online I’d seen that some people had success when this happened simply by cleaning out the holes in the back of the watch with hot soapy water and a toothbrush. I gave it a go and it seems to have worked… At least, my run this morning has the proper ups and downs in it!

    link to alananna.co.uk

    Quite why Garmin have never suggested this I don’t know, but if that’s all it takes it would have saved them a lot of money, and me a lot on postage and kept everyone happy.

    Has anyone else had success with this?

    Al.

  40. Pepper Trinidad

    Hi. I’ve just started going into triathlons. Was planning to get the Garmin FR910XT, but I found out about the new Fenix 2. What do you suggest I get? Thanks.

    Pepper

    • I’ll provide some direct clarity within my Fenix2 in-depth review in the next few days. Else, I talk about it a fair bit in the current Fenix2 post and subsequently the comments.

  41. Charlie Tuke

    Hi Ray, I love your site and your reviews, great work and always the first place I come to for new technology and tips on training whilst travelling the world. As ever you have much better information on the product than Garmin themselves!
    I have recently started using courses on the 910xt, I am doing mountain marathons and instead of buying a stand alone GPS i have been using my 910xt. I have got courses on the watch and follow them fine(is there any way to make the off course alert messages less sensitive?) but I have not got to grips with all the info being displayed, a funky graph and heading in the main mode and other bits in the gps mode. Garmin themselves seem unable to shed any more light on it. Can you change the field you view like in the run/ swim/ bike / multi options?
    Have you ever thought about having a donate or buy me a beer button on your site? Keep up the great work,
    Charlie

    • Yup, you can change the view in those modes simply by pressing the up/down button. Is that what you mean? And then you can customize those data pages to show what you want.

  42. Graham WT

    Hi

    Your reviews are superb, I don’t know how you find time to train!

    I’ve been using the 910xt for about 16 months (it was my 2012 Xmas present). I’m about to go onto my third unit! Each time the problem has been with the barometric elevation measurement which seems to get stuck at 10,014 metres!

    The first one went wrong in July last year after seven months and the second one went wrong in March 2014 after eight months!

    Garmin’s customer service has been first rate each time but I have been left thinking that there may be some bug in the barometric measurement system.

    Second point I wanted to mention is that the Lifesource scales don’t seem to be on the market any more.

    Keep up the great work

    Graham

    • Graham… I’m on my fifth one with exactly the same issue regarding the altimeter. However, I seem to have fixed it this time with a simple clean. Take a look here:

      link to alananna.co.uk

      I didn’t expect it to work either but it seems to have and quite why Garmin have never suggested this in the past I don’t know.

      Al.

    • Mark

      Mine gets a simple wash / rinse (in clean water) after every run to keep the sensor holes clean, and after 12 months + of 3-4 runs a week, I’ve never had any altimeter issues (other than those one would expect – from dropped data under heavy tree cover).

      Just sayin’ …

      😉

    • SOunds like a plan Mark, although mine does usually get a rinse in the shower after most workouts too, but then it gets used quite a bit more than yours if yours only get used for 3-4 sessions a week.

      I’ve also heard that people who swim a lot with theirs tend to experience the issues with the altimeter more so than those who don’t. Mine generally gets used for 3-4 swim sessions a week, and a couple of open water sessions in the summer, 3-4 bike rides a week, 2-3 run sessions a week and 2-3 circuit training / weights sessions a week. Plus the odd windsurf sessions and hill walk etc. I’m onto my 5th unit from Garmin now with the others lasting on average around 5-6 months before the altimeter has stopped working.. I suppose at 304 uses a week, you’ll get at least another year out of yours in comparison! 🙂

      It’ll be interesting to hear of the thorough wash in hot soapy water with a toothbrush concentrating on the barometric altimeter sensor holes works for other though.

      Al.

    • Mark

      ” […] (other than those one would expect – from dropped data under heavy tree cover).”

      Which should have gone onto say … when I’ve lost the GPSr lock, and not been able to correlate against known survey data (otherwise it makes little sense, being a barometric altimeter n’ all) … tho’ not that matters anyway now, as the GC site won’t currently let you switch between corrected / uncorrected elevation data.

  43. Graham WT

    Al

    Brilliant! Thanks for that. I’ve already sent my unit off but I will be sure to try the solution when my new unit suffers the same problem!

    Graham

  44. Jon

    I was looking at the suunto ambit 2. I run, bike, and hike. Would you recommend this, the Fenix, or the 910xt?
    Thanks

    • If you do a lot of hiking, I’d focus on either the Fenix2 or Suunto Ambit2, since they have more hiking related features, while also doing tri stuff like run/bike/swim.

  45. Mike

    Great reviews!

    2 questions – is the 910 going to get updates to support the new HMR Heart Rate monitor?

    Secondly, when you do a race, do you wear your HR monitor under your kit or do you put it on when switch into your bike gear?

    Thanks for all the information!

    • 1) No, there are no plans to add HRM-RUN support to the FR910XT (for running dynamics).

      2) Yup, always wear it under the wetsuit and then under my tri suit. Everyone does, completely normal.

  46. Gregor

    Bought a 910XT in mid Fed and it worked for a few weeks but now it will not upload to Garminconnect via Ant agent. It searches for devices without finding any. I also have a Garmin Swim. The pair with devices is enabled on the Ant agent and with the 910 the data transfer is set to enabled and pairing is on. But neither 910xt or garmin swim are found by Ant agent. I suspect some software downloaded from Garmin and it messed it up as there is a check for updates and it has updated recently. I don’t have time to call Garmin during the day due to my job and email support generates a http status 500 page when I try to log in so no progress. Thoughts? Have you heard about this issue before.

    Great reviews. Very helpful.

    • Double-check that you haven’t recently installed Garmin Express, which may be the source of your issue. Otherwise, I’d also check out the Garmin Forums. Ultimately, there are a ton of different reasons why it might have broken. 🙁

  47. Julien Guegan

    You say that you recommend using 1s sampling over smart recording, but don’t go into details about why you do so. I prefer using smart mode because that way, I don’t have to carry my charging cable to work and only charge once a week.

    I have a power meter (P2M) on my bike, and intend to use the 910 as my main and only display on my racing bike (for power, HR and cadence.)
    I have tried the 1s sampling for the running to see if I could get more accurate reading on my running speed, but it made no difference, with the reading jumping in values as soon as I go in the woods or don’t run in a straight line. I am hoping to solve this by using the foot pod mini from my Suunto Quest (the 910XT recognizes it although the Quest didn’t anymore.)

    So, I don’t really see the pros of using 1s sampling. Will there be more lag on the bike in showing values? I would have thought only the recording is affected, not the sampling…
    Or is the extra data only useful for analysing the data? I am not doing much with all the stuff I upload on Garmin Connect right now, and I believe what I have got is enough for my coach to get a clear idea of what I am doing…

    Thanks for your reviews by the way, they are very helpfull. They got me decided in bying my P2M type-S and the Garmin 910 XT to assist me in my quest to Kona! ;o)

    • The key reason I recommend 1s recording is for post-activity analysis, especially for those either doing trail running (where direction changes frequently) or with sensors. For example, sometimes it can go as long as 16-30-seconds (rare, but it happens), without recording a shift in heart rate. That’s a long time. Usually it’s every 4-7 seconds.

      In your case actually, the unit will automatically switch to 1s recording with a power meter. 😉

      There’s no hit to battery, just to storage, but realistically the unit holds far more data than most people can generate in any reasonable time-frame. And there’s no hit to display lag, nor any change in display lag.

    • Julien Guegan

      Thanks a lot for your reply! You’re the man!!!

      I had the feeling the battery was going empty quicker since swithcing to 1s sampling which would only make sense if it was acquiring less data, instead of just writing less… The big battery hog has to be the GPS not writing to memory.

      You are right, Recording space is not a pb since I upload regularly and don’t keep any record on the watch.
      And since I use a footpod for running and a power meter for cycling on the training that matter, I guess I’ll be automatically doing 1s sampling.

      Thanks again!

  48. Steven Kim

    Great review bud!

    I currently have the FR610 but I have moved into ultra running and want to get a watch with more battery life. I also cycle and want to swim, eventually try my hands at a triathlons. I am close to pulling the trigger on this watch but wanted to check with you to see if you have heard of a newer model coming out. Something like how the 610 was upgraded to the 620….maybe there is a 920 coming out? Thanks in advance Ray.

  49. Celesta

    Hi
    Love the info on the products here!

    I will be doing a multi-day trail run in a remote area at 3500-4200m altitude with restricted opportunity to download data and charge a GPS watch. I expect the even twill take me ~30 hrs to complete and have been looking at using the Garmin 910XT or the Ambit 2. I have been told that the memory of the Ambit 2 will not be sufficient for something like this and that data will be overwritten. In contrast the garmin 910 will record at 1 s GPS with sufficient memory space. Can you comment

    Also to confirm- the Ambit units require that the unit be connected to Movescount and a computer to amend workouts-is that correct

    • Correct on both counts, the 910XT will have no memory issues there. The Ambit2 will be short in 1-second mode.

      And yup, the Ambit requires a computer to upload. No Bluetooth support.

    • Celesta

      Thanks so much for the reply!

      So for the ambit 2 there is the 5 s GPS option as well-Will this still be insufficient memory? BUT in any case changing these options on the run is not available as you need to do this via Movescount?

      Any idea when suunto will release their software updates for the ambit 2?
      Guess I have a recent bad customer service experience with Garmin so am trying to find every reason not to get another one.
      Thanks again.

    • Correct, you must do through Movescount.

      The software update for the Ambit2 will be coming mid-April, which adds the various 2R features.

    • Ricardo

      But do u think the 910xt’s battery will last for the 30 hours??

    • No, the 910XT is rated at about 20hrs, with most folks getting around 18-20hrs.

  50. Rich

    Great review – Thanks. I just received a 910xt for my 60th bday replacing an old 210. As a frequent runner and occasional marathoner it may be more than I need, but living in hilly Athens, Greece, I already appreciate the elevation feature. I also just discovered your website, which is far better than the online users manual from Garmin. Thanks again.

  51. Woody

    Any idea why training peaks device agent will not load my files? It loads in Garmin connect. I get to TP DA select the device and the download button is dead…..???
    Any help appreciated.

  52. Sean

    Have this queued up in my amazon basket just have to hit click but having last minute jitters when reading about ppl on their 3rd unit and distances being out 10-20%. Will be using for tri but I would do a lot more OW swimming than the average triathlete. Season starts end of may am training at the moment without HR or accurate pace data. Shoul i wait till the end of the month to see if garmin announce 920XT or just plow on?

    • OW swim workouts will vary, it’s a bit of the reality of the technology. Sometimes it’s spot on, sometimes a bit further out. Usually within 10% though.

      There’s no FR910XT replacement coming this month or this season.

    • Margie

      Thanks, I was just wondering whether or not to but the 910 today. I am a triathlete and already have the 510 bike computer so I don’t need the Garmin for the bike. Now the question is will I be happier buying the swim watch and the FR220 or the 910. Price wise it is about the same but I am losing the OWS functionality and multisport possibilities but I get a better running watch? Any thoughts? I dislike “bulky.” Thank you for all that you do!

    • Personally, I actually prefer the Garmin Swim over the larger 910XT. It’s just tiny, doesn’t require charging, and can basically sit in my swim bag 24×7 and then will sync to my computer when it gets near.

      As nice as multisport mode is, and to some degree OWS mode, I tend to prefer a dedicated device for each sport.

    • Samuel Prokop

      So do you have a device for each leg of a Triathlon ? I can see that for swim to bike since you can essentially get out of the water and hop on your bike and start your device already on your bike and leave the swim device on but do you put on a specific device @ T2 then to start your run ?? I thought I would enjoy my 910XT for the Triathlons and i do like the run portion of the data but truth be told I really do not like having this thing on my wrist for the bike and I really miss ALL the data on a single screen the edge 500 gave me. I may just get a used edge 500 back in my stable of device and leave it on the bike permanently….

      What’s your favorite set up for Triathlon data recording during the races ?

      Thanks
      Sam
      p.s. such a great blog…..

  53. may

    hi! just bought my 910xt few days ago! i am doubt of using the multi sports, as i am into triathlon. would there be anything for me to press from swim to bike to run? or is it by just entering the multi sports thats it! everything is recorded? sorry but i havent done any simulation yet to test the multisport. hope get help. thank you

  54. Sarah Williams

    How do you pair the HR monitor? It picked up the cadence sensor right away, though it is not finding a HR sensor. Do you have to wear it for it to find it? Does the HR Sensor have to be charged?

  55. David

    I believe I have found a bug/feature in the 910XT version 3.0.0:
    I had this happen to me twice. The first time I thought I just didn’t pay attention.
    If you calibrate the footpad using distance (at an outdoor track), then continue your workout afterward as part of the same workout, you will not get any GPS data from the workout. It seems the act of calibrating by distance turns off the GPS.

    I did not consider this expected behavior. Should I file a bug report with Garmin?

  56. john

    2 questions:

    is the difference between the garmin 910xt hrm and fitness watch the chest strap? if i have the strap already i should just save myself the 50 no?

    where are you guys vacationing in the paddleboard photos. looks like bora bora

  57. I’ve got a 910xt and had problems with the swim mode (it’s a long history and garmin support service have send me 3 watches already). Well, I figured out something that garmin have not noticed (and I confess: I did not read all posts to find out if some one has faced the same problem, but…). In order to use the indoor swim mode after u have done a swim practice the device must be turned off, otherwise it won’t get swim metrics.

  58. Samuel Prokop

    I recently got a 930XT as I started to race in Triathlons, however now it seems that Garmin Express doesn’t support this device ?? am I missing something ?

  59. I’m off to do a brick with my new 910xt.

    You wrote … “To setup multi-sport mode head into the Settings page and select Auto Multisport”.

    … how to ‘head into the settings page?.

    thank you!

  60. robbie

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Thanks for informative info, made my purchase decision easy. I notice you mention the watch has internal meters for swimming metrics etc. in the case of running with the watch on a treadmill, would you still need the external foot-pod or is the watch capable of measuring distance on its own.

    Thanks very much again

  61. Hi Rainmaker!
    Have you done any reviews on the new ANT+ technologhy. (I assume the 910XT is not ANT+?)

    Should we wait until the next version comes out … seems like there will be a whack of new products coming on the market with ANT+.

    • ANT+ is the protocol used for sensor communications, and in the case of some Garmin watches – the transferring of data from the watch to the computer, including the 910XT.

      All Garmin devices continue to support ANT+ sensors, and Garmin continues to expand ANT+ sensors (such as remote controls and other items).

      ANT+ doesn’t have a specific version though, rather, individual sensors have device profiles and sometimes those profiles have varying feature sets.

  62. christopher Clarke

    any chance you happen to know if a newer version of this is coming soon? It seems to have been a long time.

    • I do not expect a new version ‘soon’ (this season). They did just release the Fenix2, which is sorta like a more advanced sibling to the FR910XT.

  63. TonyH

    Hi Ray,

    on the http://fellrnr.com website (very interesting site!) the guy has found out that the Forerunner 910XT WITH FOOTPOD is the most accurate GPS up to now.
    Can you tell me why the use of the footpod is so important and how does it influence the accuracy of the Forerunner 910XT? I always thought that when you use a footpod, the watch will use the footpod instead of the GPS for distance measuring.
    I am sure you can help me with this.
    I still have the Forerunner 910XT.. maybe it’s only a matter of buying a footpod to have a very accurate GPS 🙂
    He also came to the conclusion that the Forerunner 620 isn’t very accurate.

    Thanks a lot!

    TonyH

    • Check out my FR620 review, and search for ‘Fellrnr’, and take a look at my thoughts on it. Ultimately, while he does really persistent and detailed stuff – it’s only measuring a single course…over…and over…and over again.

      As for the FR910XT, you can select whether to use the footpod or GPS.

    • TonyH

      Thx Ray,

      in a personal email, he stated that when you use Garmin 910 or 310 XT together with the footpot, the unit combines both the GPS and the footpod to ‘smoothen’ the distance accuracy.
      He also states that the footpot takes over automatically when GPS reception is bad.
      Can you confirm this?
      I am very thankful for his and your answers.

      I thinks that GPS accuracy and testing will never be a mathematical certainty (hope I say it the right way).

      Greetings

      Tony

  64. TonyH

    This is some extra info I found on his site:
    GPS Accuracy. I’ve Analyzed the Accuracy of GPS watches, and I’ve found that there are wide differences in accuracy. The Garmin 620 and Garmin 10 are especially poor. Interestingly, adding a Footpod to the 310XT/910XT improves their accuracy noticeably. I’ve not tested all the watches yet, but more devices will be added as time allows. (My testing methodology requires me to run 100s of miles with each watch.)

    • George S

      I had a 310XT that I completely trashed so I moved up to a 910XT. I found it to be terribly and consistently inaccurate even with a foot pod. I tried two 910XT’s with the same results, and finally ended up buying a new 310XT. I have found it to be very accurate with the foot pod. I think the foot pod fills in when the GPS loses the satellite for a second or two. Makes a big difference when the GPS doesn’t record you going around a corner and draws a straight line cutting across it.

    • Tony H

      Thx for the answer.
      When you use a foot pod with the 310XT, are there certain settings you have to change?

    • Yes, you need to change the speed source from GPS to Footpod. That’s it, quick and easy.

      You can see a bit more on how that works in this roughly related post on it here: link to dcrainmaker.com

  65. Dessaulg

    Hi Ray. My 910xt did not show the % grade for the last 2 bike rides i did over the weekend in Mont-Tremblant and the elevation gain is way out of whack. When I looked at my data in Garmin connect this morning, each activity (run, bike) showed an elevation gain of over 6,000 meters, where it should not have been more than 500 to 1000 meters tops (on the bike rides) and maybe 200 on the runs.
    Have you ever seen this issue before

    Guy

  66. Clare

    I am torn between the Garmin 910XT and the Polar V800!!!! I prefer the Polar Running options/ feeds/ stats but prefer the Garmin’s swim (granted we don’t really know if the swim on the Polar will be like post all 2014 updates yet). Do you think the Polar swim option will eventually be as good Garmin? Do I purchase with the hope? Of the three sports, running is my main sport with only really getting into cycling and swimming right now. Currently I am ‘just swimming and just biking’ i.e. no real work outs or speed work etc. but want to change that with the aid of a watch…………………recommendation???

    • I think the challenge is that as planned, there is no swim option the V800. They said it’ll come “later in 2014”. Whether that means July or December remains to be seen.

      Generally speaking folks are quite happy with Garmin’s swim implementation. As a footnote, Suunto’s is very accurate as well. I found their pool swimming spot-in initially, but that their openwater swimming took about 3-4 months until it really got solid. I suspect we’ll see Polar follow a similar pattern as they’ll take some time to have the V800 ‘learn’ openwater swimming algorithms. So, at the end of the day, if you’re just a swimmer and cyclist, then honestly the V800 isn’t your best bet for this season. Next season absolutely it might be.

  67. Ollie

    Can the elevation be shown on a graph whilst running?

  68. Rob

    Ray, in you opinion would it be “safe” to get a used 910xt at this point? Is there any fear of lack of support when the replacement comes out next year? Or would getting the Fenix2 be a better bet with the newer technology/support?

  69. Chris Cronin

    I apologize if you have addressed this question elsewhere, but I am seeing a lot of sales on the FR910XT — any chance a new version of this watch is on the horizon?

  70. Bernard

    Hey,

    What’s the difference between virtual partner/pacer and virtual racer. I know you set virtual partner to run at a flat rate, but I have seen reports that this is what virtual racer does too? I thought virtual racer ran at the pace you ran before, where you ran before, e.g slowing up hills?

    Also is the virtual racer feature on the 910xt identical to the one on the FR610?

    • Virtual Partner: Set for flat-rate as you described, such as wanting to maintain a 7:30/mile for an entire event

      Virtual Racer: Designed to compete against a past effort on the course, or a downloaded effort from someone else.

      And yes, the virtual racer features on the 610/910XT are the same.

  71. Dara

    Thanks for the review, I recently had my 220 stolen and am debating whether or not to buy the 220 again or switch to the 910xt. With the sale and rebate available they would be the same price. I was having several battery issues with the 220 that Garmin was trying to resolve. I’m worried that I will have some firmware issues with this watch as well based on reviews that I have read. I mainly run, swim, and outrigger canoe, which would be the better choice? Thanks for your amazing reviews!

    • Ugh, that sucks on having it stolen. Sorry to hear that.

      Given that you swim as well as run, I’d go with the FR910XT as a better replacement. Obviously, it’s not a day to day watch like the FR220, but it does track swimming. For the canoe, when I kayak I use mine often. It doesn’t do stroke metrics while canoeing, but it’s a bit more flexible.

      On the flip side, you’ll lose the uploading and connectivity via the phone though. So just something to keep in mind.

  72. Piotrek

    Is Run / Walk can work together with the Virtual Racer or Virtual Partner?

    • Definitely with Virtual Partner, but I’ve never tried it with Virtual Racer. The Run/Walk function is basically just a glorified alerting system.

  73. Alistair

    Your reviews are a fantastic resource. I was going to grab a 910xt during their sale but remembered the issue about pool lengths under 22 yards. Do you know if this was ever updated? I emailed garmin, too, and am waiting on their answer. Thanks!!

    • No change there. At this point, I wouldn’t expect a change. The FR910XT won’t likely get any new updates (short of some bizarre unseen bug issue).

    • Alistair

      Thanks. Pity about that. I meant to follow up with another question but you were too efficient in getting back to me! Is it possible to change the pool length after uploading data to garmin connect, thereby getting more accurate results when you view the info (but just use the watch for counting laps/splits/etc. while in the pool)?

  74. PhilK

    Why isn’t the 910xt getting updates anymore?

  75. Andrea

    As leading GPS factory they should fix at least:

    1 – Vector communication issue;
    2 – pool lenght down to 15 m;
    3 – running/cycling PR sync with GC

    • What Vector issue? I haven’t heard of any. As for PR’s, those came almost two years after the 910XT was released.

    • To clarify, I haven’t heard of a Vector-specific issue. There are some folks running into issues with crank-located power metes, including Vector, Stages, and even Quarq while in aerobars. But it’s not software-addressable from what I’ve gathered, but rather focused on the placement/location of the antenna and the placement of the device.

  76. AD

    First of all, THANKS a lot for your website, this is truly a goldmine of information.
    I have just purchased the 910xt ( thanks to your review and the current sale ) and so far, i am quite happy about it.

    I did play quite a bit with the different menu and config but i have not been able to figure out a way to have specific units per sports.
    For instance, i’d like to see the speed of the bike in KM/hours but i care more of the pace in min per miles while running.

    This may sounds strange, but as a European in the US, the paces of the running races are all in min/miles but i am used to the km/h for the bike.

    do you know if there is a way to have speeds/pace and distance units per sport ?

    thanks in advance !

  77. bruvio

    Hi
    I just got the 910xt and I wonder if there is any way to modify the odometer of the bike so I can set the actual km I rode my bike

    • Yes, on the 910XT go into the settings while in bike mode, and then dive down to your individual saved bikes (by default it’ll just say ‘Bike 1’). Then from there into bike settings and you can change the odometer mileage. Enjoy!

    • bruvio

      Hi,

      once I’m in bike settings I can only change the weight of the bike. it doesn’t allow to change the mileage

    • Once you select mileage (one line below weight), press enter, and then it allows you to increase/decrease the mileage.

      If it’s not working, double check you have the latest firmware.

    • bruvio

      thanks!
      It worked syncing to Garmin Connect, although the firmware was already up to date.

  78. Kirk

    Hi Ray, I have heard that Garmin now but would like to present a successor to the 910XT at the end of this year!!! But I did not get more information. Do you already have more information?

  79. I am training for my first Ironman. I am having a hard time deciding between the 910XT and the FENIX2. I can see that the 910XT and the FENIX2 provide all of the metrics that I am looking for (and more) from a training perspective. My local tri-shop 910XT is on sale for about $100 less than the Fexix2 right now. My concern is the 910XT battery life. How long can I expect the 910XT battery to last running the GPS and ANT Heart Rate Monitor? My goal is to complete my Ironman in less than 14 hours. If something goes wrong and it takes the whole 17 hours to finish will the 910XT battery last? Thank you for your response…

    Rob Erdelen

    • The FR910XT actually gets battery battery life than the Fenix2 if you have GPS and ANT+ heart rate (about 20 hours), versus the Fenix2 is around 12-15 hours.

    • Thanks so much! I will be picking one up tomorrow!!!! Also thank you for the valuable information, without your review and input I would not have been able to narrow my options to the the 2 that I was stuck on. Your Awesome!

  80. James

    Do you know if it possible to have your pace displayed in multisport mode rather than the icon of the sport? To my knowledge the display screen in multisport mode only shows overall time, distance, and sport icon. I’d rather see my pace than a picture of the bike. I would prefer the display screen of what is displayed in single sport mode, i.e. run, bike, or swim.

  81. TriAmateur

    Hi,

    Fantastic website. You helped convince me to get my wife a 910XT about 18 months ago. With their deep discount this week and my desire to start doing triathlons and swimming more, I’m interested in upgrading from my six year old Forerunner 205.

    Now that you’ve had a 910XT for a long time, and new options such as the Ambit2 S and Fenix 2 are available, do you still think the 910XT is a good watch? How have you found accuracy, battery life, bugs, etc. to have been over the long term?

    Thanks!

    • I think between the 2S and the 910XT, they’ve really grown to be very similar watches these days. The 910XT has a bit more flexibility though when it comes to things like workout creation (and of course, vibration alerts). Whereas the 2S does a bit more in the hiking/navigation front. The 910XT has a bit more battery life than the 2S, and both units are fairly bug-free these days.

      The Fenix2 is a really solid option and now has more features than the 910XT (and I suspect more are on the way). For some (most?) people it works fine, but there are a few scenarios that it struggles with. The Fenix team does seem to be iterating very quickly on firmware updates, about every 2-3 weeks with one just last night.

  82. Gene

    Hi,
    As the 910 has a barometer, can it use the measurements to trend whether the barometer is rising or falling, and therefore predict the weather like the Fenix1/2 or Ambit2?
    Thanks, G

  83. David

    So this morning I went on a short bike ride with my 910XT, and uploaded it to Garmin connect. After briefly looking at the graphs, I subsequently uploaded to Training Peaks and Strava. But I noticed the elevation correction was ON. I turned it off and all of my graphs disappeared. I tried turning the elevation correction OFF. Then I tried deleting the workout and re-uploading, but still no graphs. I tried looking at the workouts on a different computer, same thing. I checked other bike rides, they all graph correctly. On the dashboard, the “little map” shows correctly. Any ideas what might be going on there?

  84. Great review!
    Although having spent ages scrolling to bottom of ‘all’ the comments, I thought I’d make one myself.

    I’ve been reading 3 of your reviews side by side (910XT, V800, tomtom multisport-cardio) all morning. Yeah, my triathlon training just got serious!

    From reading all 3 in detail, I want one that works now, tried and tested. Safe to say the 910XT won hands down.

    So, firstly thanks for the time and effort spent on the reviews. And for those who are in the market to go for 1 of the market leaders in GPS watches, I’ve done the research through the reviews of DC rainmaker (and other unmentionable sites), and although he may need to stay ‘neutral’ in his opinion, for the ‘I want one now’ person, go get the 910XT.

    Many thanks

  85. Paul E

    I’m really riding the line between the 910XT and Fenix2.

    The things that have me leaning to the Fenix2 are the VO2max, navigation features (wife and I are planning trip to Grand Canyon and this would be nice for the hiking), and the longer life.

    Has the longer life claimed by Garmin really held up when using GPS mode? I want to be able to hike for a couple of days without charging the watch and still be able to have a functional set of bread crumbs to follow back should I need to do that.

    I could use my iPhone and a battery pack for my tracking (I use MotionX GPS for hiking with topo maps enabled), but that seems silly if I have a GPS watch meant to do that).

    I see both do SWOLF for swimming and the multisport is nice and easy to transition.

    Seeing as the Fenix2 is newer and have more features added, it seems like the 910 is nearing its development life if it hasn’t been labelled with no new development stuff already.

    Most of the use will be tri-related, but the hiking features are nice as we have great trails around here and tracking that and using it for geocaches would be nice, but not nearly as necessary.

    Could I get your input on what you think the better choice would be for me? I’m sure I’d be happy with either one and get more data that I get now with just a GPS app on my iPhone. But if the Fenix2 has more potential in the long term (I’m not too concerned about the BT vs ANT+ issue right now as I can use my iPhone to have people track me w/o using a GPS watch for it – MotionX will do that for me).

    My gut is telling me Fenix2. Are the bugs being reported on sites like yours and Amazon for the Fenix2 accurate and if so, are they being addressed quickly? My concern is really about acquisition times of devices and satellites and dropouts of either.

  86. Mirek

    Why my average pace does not comply with total distance and time ??
    I am using 210 and 910 xt . Last run (I ran aginst VP to keep desired pace nad reach desidred time) after checking data in GC I noticed that average pace * distance is not equal to time ?
    My run = 21.2 KM = averave peace 5.38 = should be 1:54 total time.. but I got 1:59 ? how comes ?? I checked the few other runs /trips and for all there is allways small or big difference .. Am I doing something wrong ?

    link to connect.garmin.com

    activity link above

    Thks for advice..

  87. bruvio

    I just tried the workouts and it was amazing. i did a fartlek but I see 20 steps it’s the maximum. Does anybody know where can I find Garmin ready workouts? I train mostly for half-marathons, marathons (3h) and olympic triathlons.

  88. Dessaulg

    Hi Ray. My 910xt did not show the % grade for the last 2 bike rides i did over the weekend in Mont-Tremblant and the elevation gain is way out of whack. When I looked at my data in Garmin connect this morning, each activity (run, bike) showed an elevation gain of over 6,000 meters, where it should not have been more than 500 to 1000 meters tops (on the bike rides) and maybe 200 on the runs.
    Have you ever seen this issue before

    • Double-check as to whether or not the ‘Elevation Correction’ option is enabled in the lower left corner of the activity.

      If not, it sounds like your unit might have it’s barometric altimeter holes blocked (could be gel, sweat, salt from an ocean, gummy bears, whatever). Plop it in a bowl of warm soapy water and gently use an old toothbrush on the two tiny holes on the back.

  89. bruvio

    I’ve used my 910xt for the first time in the pool.
    I wonder: how can I deal with intervals? I mean if I am doing 100s reps @ 1:40 (rest included), should I hit the lap buttun when I touch the wall (let’s say around 1:25) and at the end of the rest?
    I did this yesterday, so now I have stored intervals during which I was basically resting…
    I am a bit confused actually

    is there any help you can give on how to use the watch during swimming workouts?

  90. Kenny

    Is there any thing different I should be doing with the 910xt if swimming laps in an outdoor or indoor pool? I haven’t been able to find any different settings to adjust. Is there any advantage in using open water swim mode for outdoor pool lap swimming? Thanks for your fantastic reviews!

  91. Alistair

    My nearest pool is at the college where I teach and it was built in the 1930s. It’s only 60 feet long so below the length available on the 910XT. Is it possible to change the pool length after uploading data to garmin connect, thereby getting accurate results when you view the info (but just use the watch for counting laps/splits/etc. while in the pool)? I asked Garmin this question 3 weeks ago and no-one returned my email.

  92. Matt

    If you’re doing a brick session and you come off the indoor turbo (no gps) and hit the transition button to head out for the run will it automatically turn GPS on? and wont this then take a bit of time to find satellites? Thanks, great site!

    • It will take a tiny bit of time. One way to reduce that is before you start the session, put the GPS in the window and let it get satellite in its current location (just like you’re about to start a GPS run). Then go back to the turbo and start that with no GPS. Once you exit again, it’ll use the hotfix technology to greatly reduce re-finding satellites.

  93. Samuel Prokop

    I have a question for you. How do you get the watch to record auto splits AND the workouts details? It seems that when I click the Do the workout the watch doesn’t start the timer and therefore doesn’t record the normal 1 mil split data for instance when I run ! ON your screenshots you do show the splits ?? Do you need to start the workout and still click start to start the timer ?

    Thanks,
    Sam

    • Mirek

      Samuel – Yes to start the workout you have to “click” DO Workout on your watch and than push start button to start the timer.
      I had interval workout today = 10 mints warm up – than 5 rounds of (5 mints run at 4:20-4:45 + 1 minute easy jog) and 10 mints cool down.
      It records intervals or parts of the workouts as a separate laps.
      U can check here:

      link to connect.garmin.com:80

      I love this watch more and more every day 🙂 Wanted to buy Fenix 2 first but really happy I got this one .. no issues, absolutelly flawless , nice, precise, easy to read…… I swim / run / bike..

    • Sam

      Thanks for replying. I will do that next time. I also read in the manual that “auto lap” feature is disabled while doing a custom workout. I guess it’s so the custom workout can records the lap for each event of the workout. Although it does make sense I would still like to be able to see the mile by mile breakdown of these workouts. Today i had a <a href="link to connect.garmin.com run (10 min warmup – 25 minutes tempo – 10 min cool down ) and it would have been nice to see the mile by mile break down.

    • Mirek

      Yep autolap is disabled duruing intervals and custom workout. In fact autolap function does not really makes sense during interval and cusom workouts so thats no issue for me.
      But the custom workout screen that appears during custom workout is pretty “smart” . Once your traget is time/Pace its showing remining time and actual pace , in case your target is time/HT it shows remiing time and HR, etc…+ you can allwas scoll to your pre-set data screens.
      So not really missing the atuloap beep with average pace info..

  94. Brian T

    Great review! So I just have to know, where on Earth did you take that vacation? The pictures from your open water swim are breathtaking!

  95. Matt Dreyfuss

    Has anyone had issues with the HR data dropping out? I am now on my third HR strap in under a year (at least Garmin has replaced them for free) but this past weekend during a 70.3 my heart rate faded during the run and displayed an extremely low and unreliable heart rate. This also happens occassionaly mid-ride with both HR and Power. My watch also randomly shuts off when transferring data, I’m wondering if this is an issue others have had or if this might be an issue with my watch?

    • Adam

      I have had everyone of those problems and more. Just wait till your power button quits working. Or your barometer starts reading funny. The only fix is to buy a new one or refurb from garmin.

  96. David

    Has anyone else noticed that the 910XT calculates some open water swim metrics incorrectly? I have specifically seen 2 problems, but garmin doesn’t want to seem to acknowledge them because neither shows up in the activity.
    1. On the watch, if you review the workout, the strokes per lap are cumulative. I had auto lap set to 500 for my swim yesterday and my strokes per lap showed as: 249, 496, 738, 980, 1234, 1542, 1876, 2194, 2487, 2773, 2838 (not a full lap). This throws the distance per stroke calculation off for all of the laps except #1.
    2. In GC on the activities list, the total strokes, and average strokes are also wrong. For this particular workout the total strokes was 17398, with an average of 1582. I imagine this is related to issue #1. (My average stroke rate as reported by GC was 27/min which sounds about right. The workout was about 105 minutes which makes about 2835 total strokes, the same as reported on the final lap.)
    When I reported this to garmin support via e-mail, they recommended:
    I would recommend making the suggestion to include metrics for open water swimming in the Connect software at the following web address:

    link to garmin.com
    Our engineers regularly read these suggestions from our customers.

    I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

    So I suggested an idea to make the number correct. But this is quite frustrating.

    A valid idea would actually be to but these numbers into GC, where they would be useful.

  97. Mike

    I read somewhere that the watch to replace the 910xt would be coming out this year. I can’t find where I located that info. Can someone help? Trying to decide which watch to buy based on release time frames.

  98. Heather Most

    In the con’s list at the end of your review, you say that this “Only supports one person at a time on watch, can’t split between husband/wife”…is there a way to utilize the software for an AM training session/PM? so that when either my husband or myself wears this, it can, somehow, show both sets of data? I’ll wear it mostly and I’m the early bird…but the hubs would wear it after work/evening. Any tips? Thanks.
    I’m one that reads manuals cover to cover for new gadgets I get…this review was through, extensive, not too much, perfect. Thanks!!!

  99. Dessie Duffy

    Hi DC

    I’ve being in contact with you before and have always found you advice very helpful and knowledgeable. I’m hoping you can help me with this. I have the Garmin 910xt, Garmin GSC10 Spd + Cad sensor and recently I purchased the Garmin Vector pedals. The 910 and cad sensor work perfectly together but when I introduce the power metre my cadence will go up to about 70rpm and back to zero and stay there. Am I right in saying that there is a cadence sensor built into the pedals, is there a conflict between the pedals and the magnet to pick up the cadence sensor? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Correct, Vector has a cadence sensor built in. There’s no conflict between the two – it’ll rank each one appropriately. It definitely sounds like something is odd though. You may want to post on the Garmin Forums in the Vector sub-forum. The Vector guys are incredibly quick to respond there.

  100. Mat

    Hey, I was reading your Fenix2 review where you mention that transitioning in multi sport mode from indoor swimming is not possible, it has to be outdoor swimming. Does the same apply to the 910XT?

    cheers 🙂

  101. Ron

    I bought my wife this watch, and she loved it for a little less than a month. She tried to power it up for a run, and the screen stayed blank. The watch would vibrate like it was doing something, but the only message the screen ever displayed was “Software Loading” for a few seconds, even after a system reset. I called Garmin support, and though they were helpful, the final outcome was to send the watch back. Very disappointing.

  102. Jim M

    When I switch to swim mode – pool swimming, my GPS switches off – is this normal????

  103. bruvio

    I’m noticing issues when uploading a swimming activity (tcx file) to strava.

    If you look at the data I get on strava it seems that I am faster than Phelps (on garmin connect the numbers are fine though)

    what do you think?

  104. Graeme Anderson

    Hello, great review as always! I have one question, after you finish say a marathon can you check your lap times on the watch before syncing it your computer?

  105. Jack

    Can I now download the 910 XT data to Garmin Connect with my Samsung Galaxy S4 without a cable or ant+ external device?

  106. torrey saylor

    this may be a dumb question, but i cant figure out how to find the max speed screen to have that displayed as one of my four for running. my old garmin showed average speed, max speed, distance, and durration. i know this 910xt i just bought MUST have a max speed display, but ive looked through like 5 forums and help pages today and cannot for the life of my find a step by step instruction of how to get the max speed displayed .

  107. Serginhoovs

    Overall, today, does it makes sense to buy 910xt, or buying Fenix2 is better idea?
    910xt is cheaper, but Fenix2 is only at the beginning of its lifetime, so there will be firmware updates…
    And what about GPS and accelerometer algorithms – is it better in more modern Fenix2, or 910xt on par with Fenix2 in that question?

  108. Sam

    I recently added a foot pod to my running shoes so that I can record more accurate info with my runs on the treadmill. I however have several questions which I would appreciate some input on.

    1) in the run settings do you have to manually change to speed calculated via footpod as opposed to GPS in order to be accurate on the treadmill ?
    2) when you turn the watch on and it goes into satellite acquisition and you click enter. it asks if you are indoor. If you answer yes what does it do ?

    This am I ran on the treadmill (speed 7.0) and the machine showed a pace of 8.34 m/m whereas the garmin showed a pace of 9.54 m/m ??? What gives ? right now I have speed set up to be calculated via footpod and not GPS ! Is that the reason ? I am confused. Obviously i want it to be right 🙂

    Thanks
    Sam

    • 1) Nope, as long as GPS is off, it’ll automatically pull from the footpod (actually, it’ll do that even if GPS is on, but that can introduce the occasional error).

      2) Yup, if indoor that’s exactly it.

      Be sure you’ve calibrated the pace outdoors first – or calibrated it on the treadmill for about half a mile. See this post for a bit more detail: link to dcrainmaker.com

  109. John Vickers

    Great review thanks and I bought one on the strength of it, moving on from the Timex Global Trainer. Two things I miss from the Timex are that you cannot change the Garmin’s config from the PC and you cannot save your config either. Am I right in this or have I missed something?

    John

  110. ivan

    When launched the new Garmin 920XT?

    • Garmin hasn’t made any new product announcement there.

    • petmoreno

      I’m very interested on this . I’m waiting for the new garmin 920XT, so 910xt will be cheaper and I could get it. As you recommend in one of our entries, I’m saving my money for new movement in garmin catalogue 😉

  111. TexasTri77

    Love this website. Used it at length to decide which tri GPS watch to buy. I finally settled on the 910 and bought mine about a week ago. I love it except for one thing. The current pace while I am running never seems to be correct. I have used the watch several times and I have been putting slow base miles, around 9:30s. But everytime I look at current pace it shows 7:15 or 8:05 or 8:35. The last run I did i averaged 10:32’s because it was about 100 degrees here in Texas but I was having the same problem, seeing current paces in the 7’s and 8’s. It even logged my fastest pace at 6:35. I can’t run a 6:35 pace to save my life! Has anyone had this problem? Might i just have a defective watch and need to return it? Thanks in advance for any help.

    • David

      It sounds like you are in the ballpark of minutes/kilometer. Check that you have your speed/pace units set to statute.

    • TexasTri77

      I’m in miles. But reading other blogs and this one as well, i guess accuracy on the instantaneous pace is not that good.

  112. Jim M

    I have been using my 910 for about a month now in the water and running and biking, I love it. But today, I noticed a scratch on the surface of the lens. It is no a crack, just a scratch,

    It doesn’t seem to have harmed the unit because everything seems to be working ok. Is this something that I should be worried about??? Should I get it repaired???

    • Scratches are generally normal/fine. The only time you really run into trouble is if the scratch occurred during a face-down drop on concrete, which could damage/minimize waterproofing.

  113. Andreas

    Hello,

    is there any information about a forerunner 910xt successor?

    BR,
    Andreas

  114. Jim M

    Hi DC

    I am using the cadence sensing device with my 910 and I am curious. Once the 910 has paired with the cadence device, how does it track speed and distance – from the device or from the GPS??

    Also, the scratches on my lens, should I put and coating over the scratch or just leave it alone.

    Jim McNamara

  115. András Beck

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve purchased a 910XT recently for “multisport training”,as my RC3GPS wasn’t so good for swimming 🙂 However, upon I’ve start my custom workouts (created on Garmin Connect), for example a 6.6 km long slow run, AutoLap just simply doesn’t work. It is set to distance, 1KM,but it doesn’t registering the “lap” by 1km. Is this because of the custom workout? How could I set it to work?

    Thanks in advance!

    BR,
    Andras

    • Correct, when in a custom workout mode, the lap function (and recording of said lap) is used to delineate the different portions of a workout. Thus, why autolap isn’t working.

    • Ted D

      I would suggest breaking up the long slow run into 1km intervals with the same target for two reasons.
      1. 1km laps
      2. target alerts are based off the average target for the entire interval. With one large interval – target alerts may be of less value.

      -Ted D

    • András Beck

      Thank you very much for the help 🙂 I was surprised first,but now it’s clear 🙂

  116. TexasTri77

    2 questions. First, is there an easy way to search the comments to this post? I am a new Garmin 910 owner and have questions that have probably been answered on here before. Second, I just did my first tri with the Garmin 910 and was pleased. One thing I didn’t like was the history of my swim (Leg 1). It showed my pace in minutes per mile, instead of minutes per hundred yards. Can I change this?
    Thanks in advance.

    • To search comments after the review page loads press (CTRL+F) on your keyboard, which will open up your browser search dropdown that searches just the words on the page.

      For the swim leg, you can’t change the history display metrics on the unit itself, but online at Garmin Connect when you look at it there it’s more normal /100yds.

    • TexasTri77

      Thank you very much.

    • Brandon Weavfer

      I loaded my info to GC. It shows my my open water swim pace as min/mile as well. I have to be doing something wrong. I can’t find how to fix it. Any ideas?

  117. Maylanie

    Boy that was a lot of info to digest. Thank you for all that you do. Honestly that is a lot of work. Could you please recommend a watch that I could use primarily for SUP stand up paddle boarding. I do fall in so please keep that in mind. Have researched some of garmin. Found your site to be more informative. I know in your earlier post 2011 2012 you stated the 910XT did not work well. They currently post it as being on their but not with the 310. This is mainly all I do daily so its honestly all I would need it for. Hope you can help. Mahalo!

    • Unfortunately none of the units out there today (from anyone) accurately track stroke information for SUP. That said, none of them have issues with tracking distance and/or location. And for the FR310XT or FR910XT (or the Suunto Ambit 2S), they’re all totally waterproof.

    • Maylanie

      My heart dropped but again I think I will save myself some money and go with the 310. I was about to shell out for the more expensive one because Garmin actually mentioned paddle boarding in its ad online under explore and shop. Im new to this and wondered if the heart monitor is really important? Im 49 so I dont know if age has anything to do with it. Im very healthy which has made me lax on monitoring anything but I think its time. So with or with out heart monitor??? Also my heart leaped when I seen you had responded so soon. I was reading through your stuff tip almost 4am. Its a lot but so necessary. Thank you for all the love and passion you put into this. My teens would eat me alive if I asked them to research all this stuff. We are blessed with people like you!!! Mahalo Rainmaker!!!!

    • HR is interesting, but one often needs some specific guidance as to how to use it. Meaning, just monitoring it can be useful information – but actually coaching/training against it is where you can get the most gains.

      You can always buy the HR strap later if you want, the bundle prices these days aren’t much of a savings (if at all), so it’s mostly a wash cost-wise.

  118. dick

    Hoi Ray.

    If you must make a chose between the Garmin 910xt or the mew Polar V800 what wil you recomment me?
    I will use it for running and biking.

    Dick

  119. We’ve had innumerable issues with 910xt’s NOT being able to be uploaded via the wireless ANT connection. Garmin has done something via Express to really screw things up on their end. We’ve got clients GLOBALLY who are having the same issues. I am furious – Kansas does not seem to care. They really, really do not. We’ve uninstalled and reinstalled everything, multiple times, to no avail. This is TOO COMMON to not be an endemic issue. I wish we could boycott Garmin at this time, but there’s literally nothing else out there. Osync? Oh boy. W 3.1 here we come. Joule? Well, yeah… but the interface isn’t much better. We need a tri watch that works, and uploads data to the sites of our choosing. It is NOT ETHICAL to sell something that doesn’t work and isn’t supported. I wish I had your connections, Ray. I’m hoping that Garmin will listen.

    • In what I’ve seen (both of Garmin Forum issues and elsewhere) is that in almost every case of people having issues with ANT+ enabled devices and Garmin Express – most people aren’t un-installing the ANT Agent.

      Though, in the Garmin Express update last week – it includes improvements for the 910XT sync process.

      I don’t think it’s accurate to say they aren’t supported. The FR910XT certainly is supported. But shouldn’t your customers contact Garmin directly for tech support? That’s important for two reason: First, it removes you from tech support. And second, it actually lets Garmin understand the scope of a problem. Ticket numbers count when it comes to bug fixes, since tickets cost money (phone especially).

      On the flip side, going away from ANT+ agent transfers is a key theme in what we’ve seen over the last 18 months from Garmin. For them, the ANT+ file transfers are just a pain in the butt support-wise. That’s why you see all new units using USB, Bluetooth Smart and the higher end ones using WiFi.

  120. That’s just it – the clients can’t upload. They call and the techs are unsuccessful. The process takes over an hour. The techs then give up. Then when we call the clients, they tell us of their frustrations. We are responsible for dozens of sales, and while that pales in comparison to their overall volume, it’s important to us and to our clients. The 910’s all worked flawlessly until the proprietary discussion you highlighted a few months back, and now, none of our clients can get us their data, nor can we get our own data off of 910’s. It’s been a nightmare and it’s 100% garmin’s fault. They need to fix this. It’s a serious issue.

    • That’s really strange. I know of many early teething pains this past spring, but at this point things have been really quiet – and especially not an ‘nobody works’ issue. I wish I had an idea as to why that group is having problems (or why tech support isn’t able to help). :-/

    • Charlie Tuke

      All working peachy for me, however I gave up on Garmin Express and stuck with ant agent in windows 8, works every time. I am still in old look Garmin connect as the new look is a real step backwards for me, I often export to map my run as my trainer prefers it and that happens seamlessly.

    • Jim McNamara

      I am using the 910 xt with Garmin Express and the New Garmin Connect with absolutely NO problems. I have transferred AND uploaded at least 200 times over the last 6 weeks and have had zero issues.

      BUT with me, there were no agents involved AND no existing drivers. I downloaded and installed Garmin Express and it went in easily and it updated my 910 and has worked with 0 issues.

      I do have some software experience from my work and a lot of times this happens because of conflicts in drivers. A good test that I would recommend would be to take an out of the box computer or some computer that has none of this installed on it {no ant drivers etc.}, Load the Garmin Express and see if that works. Another idea would be to contact a really good computer repair shop – like Geek Squad or someone like that. They might be able to isolate driver conflicts.

      I am not trying to focus the problem away from Garmin, but to their defense – if the don’t know what is on the computer that is having trouble, they are kind of handcuffed.

    • Chris O.

      I had some issues when first using garmin express. Same as reported by Richard. Just would not work. I had been using Ant agent ever since I bought the 910xt. What I had to do to get it to work was slightly painful. Despite “unistalling” Ant agent, my first attempts at express failed.

      What I had to do to get express to work was uninstall ant agent, uninstall express, then find the garmin user area for file storage and delete everything. I use mac so this folder was under ~/Library/Application Support/Garmin. I deleted everything in the Garmin folder (all that was there for me was ant agent stuff). I then re-installed express and was able to get my 910xt (and my 405) setup.

      Everything seems to work fine and workouts automatically upload to garmin connect then get synced to training peaks. There is still one catch for me, the express GUI no longer works, i.e. it never shows me my devices anymore, it only ever shows me the getting started screen, but the watches upload just fine and garmin connect will send data to the watch with no issues.

      Hope you can get it figured out! Good luck.

  121. Ashutosh Audichya

    Dear sir iam from india and luckily while seeing the review on sports camera I came to visit your in depth review and purchased gopro hero 3+ thanks for it and now I hv purchased garmin 910 xt forerunner sir hats off to u what a in depth review by you keep it on.
    Regards

  122. Ashutosh Audichya

    Dear sir iam from india and luckily while seeing the review on sports camera I came to visit your in depth review and purchased gopro hero 3+ thanks for it and now I hv purchased garmin 910 xt forerunner sir hats off to u what a in depth review by you keep it up.
    Regards

  123. Ashutosh Audichya

    Very usefull reviews I am from india hats off to u what a art thnx to u sir

  124. Jan Aniolek

    Hi I have a specific question about any of the watches having back-to-start or rout-back to start function.
    Is there any watch (ambit 2 or garmin 910xt for instance) that you can enable this function (back to start) and the watch would still keep on recording your run (on the way back)? In other words, can you activate this function, while being in the middle of a run, without ending it and would the watch continue recording your run albeit showing the way back on the screen (preferably letting you switch between the back-to-start screen and other data screens)? Or is this function just an emergency function? Thanks for any replies.

  125. Menachem Korf

    Does the 910 have auto pause for biking?
    I just did a 60 mile ride and it had my avg at like 11 mph when I was doing more like 15. I think it counted my stops too.

    • Chris O.

      Yep. Make sure the 910 is in bike mode, then mode->settings->bike settings->Auto Pause. I set mine to “when stopped” and works pretty well. Just make sure when you are stopped none of your sensors are near their pickups …

    • Menachem K

      Thank you!

  126. Tod A

    910xt is failing to save data which causes the sync to fail and makes the watch useless. The run, during I hear and check my mile splits to see my pace all seems well when I stop the timer continues to go on not sure why? I then go to sync my watch and get a failed message, when I look at the history on the watch the only data saved was the total time and total distance the splits and map are lost. The watch has been used now for 366 runs and has failed to save data 3 times now 2 out of my last 3 runs. The reasons I use the watch as only a runner is the battery life, my short runs are 1 hour and most are 90 minutes to 2 hours long, I also like to hit the trails a lot and the elevation changes are very helpful when analyzing the run.

  127. TexasTri77

    I will be on a cruise ship in a few weeks and will be running around the deck. I know my metrics according to GPS will not be accurate since the ship will be moving. I would still like to know my heart rate and the time that I have been running. Is there a way to use my 910 to monitor my heart rate and measure my time without having to use GPS?

    Thanks.

  128. Paolo

    Do you already have any news when the successor of 910xt will be released? thanks!

  129. takeshi

    In Europe the list price had been reduced by Garmin and is nur 399€ with HRM (before 449€). So I just guess the is something new coming.

  130. BillM

    I look forward to seeing what the successor will be to 910xt, however I’ll be waiting a while after release to see wether it is buggy or not before I buy. I use mine with mio link for hrm and it does all I want so will only upgrade if optical hrm integrated into the watch.

  131. Josh Potter

    Hi Ray,

    Quick question, what do you think the new Garmin 920 could have, in terms of features, that would be better than the 910? I used to have a 910 but sold it so I could buy an 810, unfortunately, I had a very poor experience with the 810 (constantly crashing, lost all my data from my touring holiday before I could upload it, etc.), but I’m thinking of getting a 910 again (I’ve not run in a while but I’m considering starting it up again), or going for a Garmin 500 as it seems to be a solid unit, although I’m not sure how feasible running with it would be – or just waiting for the new Garmin watch.

    Cheers

    Josh

    • I don’t know, they haven’t released anything. That said, I would surmise it’d likely just be a culmination of features from ‘nearby’ units like the Fenix2, FR620 and probably some chunks from the Edge 1000.

  132. 920XT at last! DCR will no doubt have much more info and pics to come. But here is what is thee so far:

    1.It comes in black/blue
    2.Comes with the HRM4 (HRM-RUN) strap
    3.Has Running Dynamics like the 620 (vertical oscillation, cadence, ground contact time)
    4.Looks like the 910XT
    5.But has a colour screen!
    6.The screen shows the regular metrics but with alternate ways of viewing ie graphical
    7.It is also an activity tracker able to count steps and the like.
    8.Text/call notifications via your mobile phone using the ‘CONNECTED FEATURE’ and the ‘NOTIFICATIONS FEATURE’
    9.More advanced recovery/fatigue/VO2/predictor metrics
    10.Swim mode drill logging
    11.All that the 910XT can do (hopefully)

    and it looks like this:

    [IMG]http://the5krunner.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/garmin-forerunner-920xt-triathlon-watch-2014.png[/IMG]

  133. Richard Wharton

    If it still won’t upload easily, then they haven’t accomplished much. I’m still furious about this. We have tried everything. Uninstalls, reinstalls, go with ant agent, ditch ant agent, go with express, ditch express, it’s an absolute nightmare. Garmin really need to rethink the entire user experience. Unfortunately, they’re the monopoly, so no one else will even attempt it.

  134. Paul Frylink

    For anybody in Australia who wants a good deal on the 910XT (even with all this talk of the upcoming 920), Amart sports has the heart rate bundle version on sale at present for $AU349 until 5 October.

  135. Shekhar

    Hi Ray
    love your reviews. Thanks for the great work.
    Today I grazed my 910xt against the corner of a window jamb (an innocuous nudge actually…) and damaged the cover (bezel??) at the right side corner of the glass. While the glass is intact, I am afraid the corner of the plastic bezel is chipped.
    could you please tell me –
    1) is the plastic cover (bezel) replaceable? ( is the plastic cover, front, back and all, actually a sheath under which the watch is placed?)
    2) could such a damage compromise its water-tightness? (i often use it for open water swimming)
    I was quite surprised and hugely at the amount of damage done by a graze that was really quite light. i always wear chunky watches, (casio pathfinder being often), which I keep unwittingly grazing against something or the other. Nevertheless, the casio, like most other, keep taking such innocuous skims rather well and haven’t anything on them that shows. However, the 910Xt is extremely disappointing. For a watch that’s quite pricey and for the purpose for which it has been made, one expects it to be rather robust. Also, just to mention, the HRM that came with it, died on me within the first six months. The foot pod, exerts its recalcitrant self every now and then.
    well, i just hope to use this watch without having to give my right arm for repairs :-). can i get by easily or am i just f***ed! 🙁
    Pray tell………..
    caio 🙂
    shekhar

    • Eek, that’s a bummer!

      1) It’s not user-replaceable, but is from Garmin via their support team
      2) Unfortunately, yes. In fact, the vast majority of time when I hear from folks that see water inside their FR910XT, it’s because some days/weeks earlier they had dropped it on concrete on it’s face, causing tiny little cracks in the glass. So it depends a bit on if you think the glass got any damage there. I suppose in some ways it’s likely the same out of warranty cost whether they replace the glass now or replace the whole thing due to water (usually it’s a set price like $80US for any out of warranty swaps, regardless of the issue).

  136. Jim McNamara

    I contacted them about MY face scratch and they told me that replacement cost is $99.00US.

  137. Shekhar

    Hey Ray
    Thanks a lot for your immediate response. I don’t think I’ve cracked the glass. The corner gash, though has just stopped short of the glass, may have compromised the water tightness. The cover, what is it?. Is it a sheath that can be replaced ? ( even if only by garmin). In event of water ingress, does it screw up the watch ? or does it just remain below the plastic sheath creating a visual irritation.?
    Thanks again.
    Ciao
    Shekhar

  138. Shekhar

    Hi Jim
    Thanks for the info. Though, at $99.00US every time the strong winds blow, I wonder how long we can afford to use a 910xt. One would expect it to have a stronger built, especially since it’s a triathlete’s watch…… or does garmin expect us to use all we have to…. first, protect the watch and then use whatever is left of our resources to peruse whatever it is that we peruse….. 🙂
    Ciao
    Shekhar

  139. shekhar

    Hi Ray
    Thanks…..but really, the casing could have been a trifle more rubberized to enhance its shock resistance, especially the 910xt’s, owing to the multi-roles its got to play….well, Garmin knows best 🙂
    ciao
    shekhar

  140. Gusthavo Marini

    Anyone have issues uploading swim data from FR910XT theses days? I can’t upload it. Garmin Express sync but not showing new swim data. I did a test now with a Running activity and upload normally. Any suggestions? Using Mac Os. Tks a lot.

  141. Andrea

    Oh Yes,…..the TE for example is not up loading anymore

    • Gusthavo Marini

      I just saw my account at Trainnig peaks and all data was synced with garmin and is showing @ training peaks but not at the garmin connect….

  142. Cristian

    Using Garmin connect on Mac Os to sync swim data from a FR910XT. some parameters doesn’t download, m/strk and Eff. Any suggestions? Thanks

  143. Russell Davidson

    How do I get the FR910XT to show my current bike speed whilst riding?

  144. Gord

    Hi – Just ordered then cancelled the 910XT when I read that it doesn’t display or record temperature, even though it has a barometer. Is this correct? Thanks.

  145. Jim McNamara

    I love my 910 – I use it for my performance data but I also have a sigma on my bars that I can use for temperature and pressure.

  146. Lydia

    Question: does the 910 have the same capabilities as some garmin in that if you download the garmin connect APP to your iphone, will the 910 automatically transmit data via Bluetooth?

    • No, it doesn’t have a Bluetooth chipset in it, so it can’t talk to the phone directly unfortunately. The new FR920XT released a few weeks ago does, as does the FR220 and FR620 (and to a lesser degree the Fenix1/Fenix2).

  147. Ivan

    Has anybody tried polishing a scratch on the screen? Is the screen glass or plastic? 🙂

  148. Jim M

    I am having some trouble with my 910 picking up the correct heart rate from the strap. It pairs up fine but often doesn’t display the rate and many times it is incorrect.

    This has just been a recent thing. When I first got it – it worked fine.

    Does it need cleaned or does the module need a new battery???

    Anybody else having this problem????

    Jim M

    • Gord

      Hi Jim, I’ve been using Heart monitors for more than 20 years. First Polar and now with my Garmin. In cold weather you can loose your contact around your chest due to dryness especially when cold but can happen on a long descent and at other times. I only use saliva on mine and regularly loose contact, the chest elastic does stretch so you need to keep it tight which isn’t too comfortable. I’ve often wondered about using the stuff they smear on you for a ultra sound scan? but you can buy some special stuff that may help… I just live with it…

    • Chris O.

      Hi Jim, another (and unfortunate) possibility is the strap has a failed wire to the pickups. My wife had this happen on hers and she had similar symptoms to what you described. The test for me that determined a bad strap was I put her module on my strap and it worked fine. I put my module on her strap and it behaved crazy, so isolated the problem to the strap.

      I also experience the same problems as mentioned by Gord regarding the strap going dry. I too only use saliva, but I did try a gel once and it seemed to help, but on long runs the gel still gets defeated by sweat. So like Gord suggested, make sure the strap is tight, mine goes bonkers when the strap gets loose.

  149. diegho

    Hi, I have run for the first time in a 400m track today, to do a 5k time trial, I ussually do in a track but I am never sure about the distance.
    My 910xt recorded around 420m per lap!! At the end, 12.5 laps were in my garmin 5300m instead of 5000m!!
    This is really too much. I know it cannot be 100% accurate, but it TOO BAD.
    There is 62 seconds difference between the watch 5k and the track 5k.
    :-((

  150. Billy

    Hi Jim, I have the 910xt Forerunner and an iPhone 5. I downloaded the app on the weekend but couldnt find an information about how to connect my Forerunner with my mobile. Apparently I need to activate my bluetooth; but did not find the setting for it. What am I missing?

    Many thanks!

    P.S. Great blog btw!

  151. Jim McNamara

    Something really scary happened today to my 910. I finished my training and when I tried to upload – my 910 shut off and then when I turned it on, it was hung up!!! I would not upload AND it would not turn off – it was frozen on the start-up screen.
    Finally – when I connected the charger, it seemed to free up, but then it wanted to upload 186 activities instead of just the three that were new.
    I let it complete the transfer to Garmin Express, but the upload to Garmin Connect website would not complete – and the 910 continued to show transferring data. So…….
    I shut of my closed Garmin Express – shut off my computer and turned off my 910.
    .
    Then with my computer off – I started my 910 and it worked – so I cleared the history.
    Then I turned on my computer and Garmin Express was free and clear and my activities were up on the website. But the other activities 183 of them were not there – I don’t even know what they are??
    .
    Has this happened to anybody else???

  152. What, one more had the same issue I had!
    link to forums.garmin.com
    And then all the people on the Garmin forum…
    What is happening to Garmin?
    My 910XT also trashed 6 weeks worth of data, the past two weeks had not been uploaded, now it seems to be lost forever…
    That is really really bad.
    The data history is the primary reason for buying these expensive devices.
    Users have been reporting this since at least sometime back in 2013 and it is still not fixed. That is completely unacceptable.
    DC, you should really try to shout out to Garmin and make them aware, this does not seem to make it outside the support team into the engineering when we ordinary customers report it.

    • Did you contact Garmin support?

      What you describing is pretty rare (and, given there’s less than a dozen comments over three years on that post, even rarer). Occasionally consumer electronic devices just have corruption issues, be it a laptop or a phone. Still, unless you open a support case, you won’t likely get a resolution.

      As for issues I bring up with Garmin, I generally try and folks on widespread issues or ones I can easily replicate. For something as apparently rare as this, it’s tougher.

  153. Bryant

    DC,

    Appreciate your thorough reviews. I’ve owned the 910XT now for approximately 2 years. Asides from the seemingly common altitude issue, the unit has performed great.

    For about six months now, none of my data has sync’ed to Garmin Connect. I’ve read the forums and it seems to be a relatively common issue. There are no error fault codes when I sync data, it just doesn’t show up in GC.

    Needless to say, it’s pretty frustrating, and I’ve essentially defaulted to my cell phone to run strava, and used the watch just to track my swim data while swimming. I gave it another shot at troubleshooting recently on a new laptop to no avail.

    I’m not a huge techie, but for the life of me, all the troubleshooting steps have not worked. I’m thinking this is Antagent/Garmin Express thing. I’m interested in the 920, but don’t want to spend $500 for a device that will have the same results. Have you noticed any of this in your testing? Any solutions for the 910 that have worked well for you? As I mentioned, I’m pretty sure I tried them all, but anything’s worth a shot.

    Regards,
    Bryant

    • Bryant

      Didn’t read the post above me, but actually my issue is seemingly similar to the thread UZD wrote on. I will say there seems to be quite a few topics on the garmin help forums on how to TS the issue which leads me to believe it quite a common error. Again, the odd thing I’d say in my case, it I get absolutely no faults. It says successful sync, but no data appears.

    • I haven’t seen that in the 920XT. That’s likely in part because the FR920XT doesn’t use the ANT Agent sync process of the 910XT.

      In fact, some of the challenges people have with ANT Agent sync is a significant reason why it’s not there. It was a mess for Garmin to support when it came to troubleshooting. USB is much easier when things to wrong.

    • Bryant

      At the risk of making myself look like an idiot, I found the solution to my problem in the post above and wanted to share for those that may have the same issue. What worked for me was the complete reboot. It didn’t delete any data in garmin connect, but now everything sync’s up just fine. Did a few tests runs…no issues to GC…no issues to Strava.

      Odd that you would have to do it but I guess such is most tech stuff.

      DC, thanks for the reply, and that’s exactly why I may still go to the 920 for the USB function alone along with all the other cool new stuff you mentioned in that review.

  154. Jim McNamara

    I solved my problem when I realized that when my 910 was trying to synch with Garmin Express – it was not completely loaded after I had booted my computer.

    I am convinced that the problems with ANT+ is the way that it is run on the computer. It communicates nicely with my hear-rate monitor and my cadence monitor AND with Garmin Express when it is fully loaded and running.

    I thing the functionality of the computer affects the GE.

  155. Jim McNamara

    I have made the commitment to use an electrode gel on my heart monitor strap because of the erratic pickup. Is there anybody else who uses gel – and if so….what kind do you use. Amazon had a lot of choices but the reviews left me confused.

    My heart rate read problem is definitely a contact problem {probably due to colder drier weather } and I want to try the gel to see if it improves things.

    • JL

      I had lots of issues in cold and dry weather with my FR220 that uses the same HRM2 chest piece. The problem in my case was due to static electricity from shirt flapping against the HRM (try googling “Flapping jersey syndrome”, it’s quite a common issue). It’s easy to diagnose: when you see erratic readings, try keeping your shirt away from HRM chest unit for some time and you’ll see HR data returning to normal. Then try flapping your shirt against it and enjoy crazy HR numbers 🙂 I have seen >240bpm by just tapping fast on the chest unit.

      Some have said that Garmin’s new HRM3 (and HRM-RUN) chest pieces are more static-proof, but I have no personal experience there.

    • I outline the different HR gels I’ve used here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • BillM

      I used gel for about a year or so and then switched over to optical hrm placed on wrist. Not sure why anyone would use a chest strap now as optical so fuss free.

  156. Op E

    Hello Ray

    Thanks for the amazing review as always. Looking to score the 910XT during Black Friday – do you know if there are any plans to allow for running dynamics using the HRM monitor? Do you feel that is enough to waver between the 910 and 920?

    • Unfortunately no plans there to add Running Dynamics to the FR910XT.

      That said, I wouldn’t let that be the key decision point. I find it’s a fun little metric to look at the first few weeks, then you mostly never look at it again.

      For me, the biggest reason for the FR920XT is probably the potential with Connect IQ.

    • Op E

      Thanks Ray – appreciate the quick response – 910 it is I think.

    • BillM

      I’m guessing not, but any chance garmin would add cadence info using the internal accelerometer . I guess if it can do swim metrics it could surely manage cadence info and save me swooping my footpod over between shoes?

  157. Tibo

    Would you still recommend to buy this on if you don’t want to spend more than 250 dollar?

  158. Excellent information, I didn’t even know that there were so many gadgets that can be used with the Garmin 910xt
    Thanks for sharing!!
    link to the30kwall.com

  159. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    It’s prettíy tough for me to accept that Garmin does not make it possible to pair 910XT with Tempe.

  160. Jurgen

    Great report,
    I’am doubting between the 910xt and an ambit 2s 2 or even 3(but that last one is quit expensive). I have wondering what your gut feeling tells you about the quality different between the Garmin and the ambit?

    I am not a tech freak so to be fair the 2s will just be fine instead of the 2 or 3.

    quality could maybe make the difference between an 910xt or an Ambit.

    • Quality wise they’re both very similar. Some might prefer the ‘look’ of the Ambit series, but when it comes to returns due to hardware – both devices are pretty strong and very rarely is that cause for concern.

  161. Matthias Loh

    Hi there,

    A Merry christmas to you and an awesome new year ahead.

    I have been wearing 910XT and has bought a 920XY recently- merely a month ago only. I have tried to erase all activiities in my 910XT but the memory is still quite full. What should I do to make sure I have a decent memory space ? Pls advise.

    Also, I have tried usign my 920XT to run in the gym by switching to “Run indoor” but failed to get my activities recorded. It seems that it cant detect gps. Is the 920XT design to be able to run indoor ? I am quite confused wih this as my purpose is to run indoor when I travel on a business trip.

    I look forward for your professional advice.

    cheers and kind regards

    • When you run indoors, you don’t need to wait for GPS as it won’t find it, just press start after changing to that mode.

      For the FR910XT, it’ll automatically delete off older activities. Alternatively, you can tell the ANT Agent software (through options on it) to delete off activities after transferred.

  162. Jim McNamara

    Merry XMas to all here!!!

    I am still having pick-up problems with my 920XT HR chest strap and am looking into replacing it. Which strap is best to use that is compatible with the 920????

    Thanks

    Jim McNamara

  163. Jim McNamara

    Yea – used the gel ‘Badda Bump’ but it didn’t work very well.

    The problem began when the weather turned cooler and drier.

    Think I should keep on trying it??

    • Yeah, sounds more like a lack of sweat/moisture issue. I’d try it again, but also try changing the position a bit. Some folks have a fair bit of success rotating the strap just a bit so it sits partially on the front and partially on your side. Also, try moving strap up or down a little bit.

  164. Robert White

    Hi Ray,
    Merry Christmas
    The enter button on my 910xt has stopped working – obviously this brings many issues – i can’t switch from one sport to another – i can’t press yes when it asks me if it is indoors. etc The watch is now out of warranty – Can you please advise how i would go about repairing.

    Thank You
    Rob

  165. Simon

    Hi Ray, thank you for your reviews.
    I just bought a new 910xt. It works fine, but I have noticed in the data on Garmin Connect that there are some gaps in the velocity graphs, both in running mode and cycling: the speed goes zero for a point, then it goes normal, for 1-2 times on average during a 1 hour activity. During the training I had any pause in that points, and I was running/cycling along open roads, supposing a good gps reception. If I turn the plot from “time mode” to “distance mode” that points looks messy, like sudden a jump back in distance or something similar.
    Does it happened also to you? Do you think it is normal or I should write to Garmin?
    Thank you, and happy new year!
    Simon

    • Hmm, that’s an odd one. I’d double-check that you have AutoPause set to off though – as perhaps that engaging or something. Else, I’d hit up Garmin support.

    • Simon

      Thank you. Yes, that functions are all disabled. I have noticed that such bad points are visible only in Gamin Connect Modern…. while on classic or on Strava they are filtered/corrected. The spikes should be related to missing positions in the data. Maybe it can be a normal behavior, but it is strange that nobody else noticed it… maybe because there are not so much people using Connect modern?

    • Laura

      I’ve noticed the same thing with data from my 310XT. I’ve been noticing strange jumps in the graphs in Modern mode when I switch from “by time” to “by distance”.

  166. Steve Maffey

    Hi,
    I have recently purchased a 910xt and have just about learned how to use it. However, I would like to clarify one thing, please. The unit comes with 5 heart rate zones as standard and I have worked out how to input the relevant information. But is it possible to change the number of zones from 5 to 4? I have entered an Ironman event and my training programme lists everything in 4 zones.

    Many thanks,
    Steve.

  167. Brandon

    Can my 910 calculate calories burned with only a heart rate monitor (no GPS and no footpod)?

  168. Rob White

    Hi Ray,
    I contacted Garmin with the issue of the enter button not working on the 910xt they advised it would cost £77($120) -I will send this off to get repaired and when returned use it for my swimming.
    I really fancy using the 620 as my running watch after reading your review – 620 price here in Scotland around £300($450)- though i’m a wee bit reluctant to fork out such a large sum if it isn’t going to last 2 years.(i asked Garmin about extended warranty – they don’t do it)
    In your experience/opinion how long should a Garmin running watch last before buttons stop working etc- i was expecting the 910xt to last 4-5 years without any series issues.
    Thanks again
    Regards
    Rob

  169. Alex JB

    Great review and although this unit is superseded by the 920, I can’t justify the extra cash for te featured of the 920.
    Only thing that has me worried is that you say the 910 is no good as a watch because of its 20 hour battery life.
    Surely it gets a week with the GPS off?
    I have a 405 right now which has the stupid bezel but does have a time/date mode, is there no time mode in the 910?

  170. Alex JB

    Great review and although this unit is superseded by the 920, I can’t justify the extra cash for te featured of the 920.
    Only thing that has me worried is that you say the 910 is no good as a watch because of its 20 hour battery life.
    I have a 405 right now which has the stupid bezel but does have a time/date mode, is there no time mode in the 910?

  171. Luke Miller

    Thanks for the great review. I’ve been using my FR910XT for about nine months now, and have only just read this, so I have unfortunately been missing out on some useful tips. This comment actually concerns two Garmin products, so I hope I’ve put it in the correct place.

    I have only just learnt that this watch has a barometric altimeter, which came as quite a surprise given the following. On Friday I completed an 80km cycle around Oxford (UK). The watch claimed that I gained 811m in altitude on the ride. When I used the elevation correction feature on Garmin Connect, this stat changed to 546m, which is a swing of 265m! This seems like quite an inaccuracy for a ride which I would describe as quite flat. This makes me question the overall accuracy of the altimeter in the watch.

    Thoroughly confused, I sought help from MapMyRide, which suggested the route has a total climb of 589m, which is closer to the corrected value above. (This seemed to be the general pattern for some other rides that I checked: MapMyRide was slightly over the corrected value, but far under the value recorded by the watch.)

    What then can we conclude about the barometric altimeter? I said this comment was about two devices: I am currently at a stage in my cycling where I want to go for long tours on my bike, and am considering buying the Garmin Edge Touring (or Plus version) to help me navigate. Should I get the Plus or the normal version? The Plus comes with the barometric altimeter which should provide more accurate readings over the ordinary version, but given the example above, is it really worth investing another $50 in this technology? Is there any evidence to suggest that the altimeter in the Touring Plus is better than that of the FR910XT? If not, should I expect even wilder/ more inaccurate results with a simple GPS altimeter?

    Thanks in advance,
    Luke

  172. Sheri Mounteer

    How do you get this thing to “pair” w/ the heartrate monitor?
    thanks,
    Sheri

  173. Richard Wharton

    Given all the vitriol, I am more than convinced that the entire 910 population needs to demand that Garmin replace this flawed device with 920’s and guarantee that they won’t make it worse with firmware screw ups for at least two years. No joke.

  174. Leandro Quintanilha

    Hi Ray
    is the older garmin usb stick (from a 610 model) compatible with the 910xt? I am trying to transfer my activities made at 910xt with the 610 usb but the garmin express cannot find the device. Do you have any tip to help me with this issue?
    Thanks.

    • Yup, exact same stick (and fully compatible).

      Double-check though that you don’t have both the ANT Agent and Garmin Express running at the same time. Oftentimes the ANT Agent might still be running/installed, which is blocking the connection.

  175. Graham

    Hi
    I’m now on my third 910XT and this one has just failed. The first two had barometer problems and were replaced by Garmin. This third on is fully charged but won’t switch on at all! I’m hoping they’ll respond to me and ship a replacement (I’ve only had this one since April last year and none of my 910XTs have ever lasted longer than a year).
    It goes without saying that I’m not overly impressed with the 910XT. For this reason, I’d wait a very long time until I bought the 920XT!

    • Gord

      It might be worth asking them to replace it with a 920 for the reasons you outline. I had six 305’s in my first six years and got my payment refunded on the last one but suspect they would have given me an upgrade….

  176. Thanx for your awful reviews! However one question:

    Is there still no way to create your own laps/splits during workout mode or multisports mode? The Autolap feature starts a new lap after every km, however this isn’t a kilometer regarding to signs put up by race officials…. on my Polar S710i I just press the Lap button and it sets a lap marker until I press the next time.
    Thanx for commenting on this!

    • semmelmi

      Every garmin watch I have owned – including the 910XT – you could press the lap button anytime you want- If you have auto lap turned off, this would create a lap every time you push the button. If the feature is turned on, this would create a lap and restart the count to the next lap – so if you press lap at the .77 mark, the auto lap feature puts the next lap at the 1.77 mark (assuming it’s set to every 1.0)

      Keep in mind that pushing the lap button during a preprogrammed workout session skips to the next programmed interval though!

    • Semmelmi is correct – Garmin does not have a dual-lap system, behind that of autolap. For the simple reason that sport transitions are triggered by the lap button.

    • > Keep in mind that pushing the lap button during a
      > preprogrammed workout session skips to the next programmed
      > interval though!

      That’s exactly the problem, bad news. Maybe it’s not even a problem, it’s just, that I used Polar since ages 😉

      Thanx for infos and help

  177. Brenden

    DC
    Thanks heaps for your review. It has been unbelievably useful and has definitely helped me use it closer to its potential than if I hadn’t had this great resource!

    Cheers
    Brenden

  178. Mike

    Ray – been following your reviews since the introduction of the 310xt – youre reviews and blog are always informative (understatement) and inspiring!

    Just want to let your readers know the 910xt is on sale right now at REI for $269.93