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Garmin Forerunner 10 (FR10) GPS watch In-Depth Review


Today Garmin announced the new Garmin FR10 GPS watch. This watch has one purpose, and one purpose only: To compete with the onslaught of $100 GPS watches. From features and functionality to sizing – everything is smaller than other Garmin watches. But, for those looking for a low-priced GPS watch that’s more durable than a cell phone – this line definitely opens up new options.

I’ve been using two units now for a bit, and have been able to get used to all their functions and how they work. Additionally, The Girl also has been using one. Appropriate since one of the two watches is smaller and targeted towards women. So how well did Garmin do in getting out this low-price GPS product? And how does it stack up against the other competitors in this space? Well, let’s dig in and find out.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin sent me two units to try out. These are final production units with final firmware. Once units are available in retail shops I send them 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.


The Garmin FR10 is the first GPS watch from Garmin using a new half-sized box. Given how much space the other ones took up, this likely saves them considerably on shipping costs from the factories in Asia.


Inside you’ll find simply the unit and the USB charging/downloading cable. It’s likely that this was a non-final box, so I suspect you’ll also find some additional paper junk down the line. But for now – you’ve got the two things you care about.


First up is the watch itself, which comes charged though turned off. There’s three versions – the black/red one below, the green/white one (also below), and a pink version. No pink version below.


Then we’ve got the small USB charging cable. There’s no additional power block for the wall, so you’ll need to find your own USB port somewhere. The USB charging cable is what’s also used to download data from the unit and upload it to Garmin Connect:


Now, here’s an important item to note – the colors (flavors) are actually different sizes. Yup, seriously. Check out the watch bands and size of the face itself:


The green watch is a touch bit smaller – enough such that the charging clips won’t match. For us (me and my wife), that’s a pain in the butt because we often have similar watch models and therefore on trips only have to worry about one of us carrying a charger.


The USB charger attaches via a clip that snaps onto the back of the watch. Garmin continues to improve in this area. While this isn’t quite as secure as the most secure charging clip I’ve seen from Garmin (the new Fenix clip) – it’s still pretty solid. Definitely would survive being tied onto a ceiling fan and swung around.


With everything unpacked, it’s time to do a quick size comparison before moving into actual use.

Size Comparisons:

As always, I like to put together sizing comparison with other units in the same rough price range. In this case, I’m looking at watches between $100 and about $130 that seemed appropriate. All but the Garmin FR70 have GPS. As a general reminder, these are all watches I’ve bought – so if it’s not there in the lineup, it’s likely because I don’t have one and haven’t reviewed it. Additionally, there’s only so much room on that rolling pin.

From left to right: Garmin FR70, Garmin FR10 (green/women’s), Garmin FR10 (black/men’s), Timex Marathon GPS, Soleus 2.0 (note: Soleus 1.0 is exact same casing, thus identical in size except colors are changed).


Here’s a look at the thickness of each one. You can see that in general they get slightly thicker from left to right.


And then again, inverted on the counter – so you can see the air gaps under each one.


Many times I’m asked for what the watch sizing looks like on a small female – especially one with small wrists. Thus, ask and you shall receive. On her other wrist she’s wearing the Garmin FR310XT – which is her watch she normally runs with.


As you can see, the green watch is a fair bit smaller. Though she notes she doesn’t mind the larger FR310XT size and simply has gotten used to it. But she’s more of a competitive athlete and wants the additional data.


Overall I think Garmin did a good job at decreasing the size here for the women’s watch. Both of us would have probably preferred it be slightly wider if they could have made it thinner – but this certainly isn’t bad given the budget nature of it.

Update: April 2013: Garmin has also now added an orange version (Men’s larger size), as well as a purple and neutral version (Women’s smaller size). I took two photos of these and placed them next to their other similarly sized siblings:



To start off with your run, you’ll simply tap the upper right button – which starts the GPS satellite acquisition phase. The first time this may take a minute or two, but as long as you’re starting in roughly the same place next time, it’ll be within about 15-30 seconds.


After that, you’re pretty much ready to run! To do so, simply tap the start button again and it’ll start recording.


You can configure two data pages on the FR10, each with up to two pieces (tied together) of information on them.


The choices are as follows (they come in pairs, you can’t get one without the other, pick two pairs):

– Time/Distance
– Time/Pace
– Time/Calories
– Pace/Distance
– Pace/Calories
– Distance/Calories

Also, Pace/Speed can be displayed in one of the following formats (applies to all pace displays above, you don’t get to mix and match):

– Pace
– Lap Pace
– Avgerage Pace
– Speed
– Lap Speed
– Average Speed

(Note: Updated Sept 10th, 2013 with Average Pace additions)

So above, you’d choose one line which then puts the two data metrics on a single page. And then choose another line for your second page. Two pages total.  No more, no less.

While running, you’ll simply press the lower right button to scroll between the different data pages. Additionally, if you’ve got some of the other functions enabled (like Virtual Pacer) – that’ll show up as well as an additional data field. But more on that in a minute. Below is what the data fields look like while running:


If you’d like to set a lap (marker/interval) – which triggers a lap being set. You can also set auto-lap, which I’ll go into in detail in a second.


These lap markers are visible in both the device history, as well as uploaded to Garmin Connect.

Virtual Pacer Function:

Virtual Pacer allows you to specify a goal pace (i.e. 7:45/mile) and then the watch will alert you when you’ve gone too fast or too slow.

This feature actually works a bit differently on the Garmin FR10 than the rest of the Garmin lineup of watches. Neither better or worse per se, but a bit more simplified.

First, you’ll go into the Virtual Pacer menu and configure the pace you’d like to set. If you’re in miles mode, it’ll configure it in minutes/mile. If in kilometers, then minutes/kilometer:


Once you’ve started your run, you’ll notice that you have an additional screen that shows your current pace and whether you’re ahead or behind the actual pace. There’s a tiny bit of lag built in (perhaps 5-10 seconds) – but that’s probably a good thing, as I’ll explain in a second.


In addition, if you’re set to display one of the other data pages, then it’ll throw up an alert if you’re ahead/behind pace. As well as beep:


What’s funny here is that I had set this before one of my runs – merely as a way to get pictures for the review and understand how it works – not so much because I wanted to run a 7:45 pace that run. But in reality, the darn thing was so persistent when I got off that pace, that I just didn’t want to hear it any more – so I ended up running a 7:45/mile pace that evening merely so I wouldn’t have to hear it anymore. It was far more persistent and loud than other units. Which I suppose is a good thing.

In an effort to show you what this looks like, I took this video running over the top of a bridge over the Seine. Because this wasn’t a flat bridge, I was slightly uphill at the start and then downhill towards the end – perfect for showing how the Virtual Pacer works:

Garmin Virtual Pacer Function Video

Now, this differs from other Garmin units which show you how far behind/ahead you are (in distance/time). Thus, not quite as much information as those, but also a bit more straightforward. Make sense? Good.

Walk/Run Function:

The walk/Run function is targeted at those who may be using training plans that incorporate walking into the long-distance running – typically for a short period of time like a minute. These plans have become vastly more popular in the last few years.

In the case of the FR10, you’ll configure a run duration (time only), and then a walk duration (time only). The watch will automatically alert you when you reach the end of either duration.


It’ll simply repeat this over and over until you complete the activity.

This functionality was first introduced on the Garmin FR610 (a $400 watch), so I’m happy to see it drop down to their cheapest watch. Given the target audience, I’ve always thought it was odd we haven’t see it in later firmware updates for other mid-range watches (i.e. Garmin FR210) – maybe that’ll change now.

Auto Lap Function:

Auto Lap will automatically set a marker/lap at the end of a given time period – as defined by you. By default if you enable it, it’ll be every 1 mile. These laps then show up later on in history as well as Garmin Connect. Additionally, it’ll alert you during the run as you cross over the threshold of each lap (audibly/visually).


Auto Pause Function:


Auto Pause lets the watch take control of pausing the recording while your waiting to cross at an intersection. Whenever you drop below the speed threshold (roughly a slow walk), the unit will automatically pause the timer/recording.


This is primarily useful if you’re doing a lot of city running with a fair number of stoplights/signs. Once you start walking fast and/or running again – it’ll kick back on and resume recording.


I don’t tend to use this myself, as I’ve gotten fairly good at just pausing manually when I want it to (by pressing the upper right button on the unit), and then resuming manually. To each their own though.



The FR10 supports cycling…but only just barely. Like a kid eating only about two bites of his vegetables. It supports cycling by merely supporting the ability for you to change the velocity metric from ‘Pace’ (i.e. 7:45/mile) to ‘Speed’ (i.e. 20MPH).

That’s it.


It won’t record your workouts as ‘bikes’ for Garmin Connect to pickup, nor will it even tell you ‘Bike completed’ (it says ‘Run completed’) at the end. Of course, you can easily change the workout from run to bike later in Garmin Connect with a simple dropdown on the site.

Now, to be fair – this is no different than other units in this price category. And additionally, all of the functions noted above in the running section still work just fine in cycling mode. It’s just that for example, you can’t specify a Virtual Partner ‘Speed’ of 15MPH, rather, you’d have to enter it in as 4:00 min/mile.


Still, if you cycle occasionally – or just want to use it around town, it works just fine for recording all your cycling data without issue. And, it’ll easily upload to Garmin Connect for later analysis. Since it records all the same GPS data as a watch four times it’s cost – it doesn’t really matter as much that it mis-categorizes it.

Note that the unit will NOT work with any ANT+ bike sensors (speed/cadence), nor any ANT+ power meters, nor any Polar W.I.N.D. cycling sensors. Really, no external sensors at all. Just wanted to clarify that point.


Finally. Holy mother of cowbells finally. Someone at Garmin finally got it. They grasped that a GPS watch costing hundreds of dollars (or roughly a hundred in this case) should have the same waterproofing as one costing $15 at Walmart. As they say in New Zealand: Give that man (or woman) a chocolate fish!

And thus, the very first running specific GPS watch from Garmin to include legit waterproofing. None of this IPX7 garbage that they use on watches costing four times as much. Ironically enough, introduced on their cheapest GPS running watch.


(You’re noticing the waterproofing to 50 meters deep)

This means it’s completely OK to swim with – something we tested out at the pool last week by swimming with it on our wrists the entire session. And happily, it worked just fine and has been working since.


This also means that you’re completely cool with using it in the rain or other watery adventures – so long as you’re not below 50 meters. Now the real important part of this isn’t actually that you can swim with it. Rather, it’s that it stands a far better chance of day to day water survival – an issue with the IPX7 rated watches that while rated fine for use in the rain, tended to have issues more than those with higher ratings.

Of course, in the pool it’s doing nothing more than hanging out in ‘Indoor mode’ – so only tracking time as a lap meter. But still, better than drowning (the watch, not you).

Indoor Mode:

Speaking of indoor mode, I thought I’d briefly mention it. If you’re hanging out inside and just want a simple timer with lap/interval functional – and don’t care about GPS, then you can go ahead and just tap the lower right button when it starts searching for GPS, which will bring it to this screen:


From there, simply tap ‘No’ to have it go to the timer start page. Note that you won’t get calories here, or distance, or pace, or anything else other than time. Since there’s no ANT+ sensor support, you can’t get other data streams to aid in those metrics. Make sense?


The Garmin FR10 includes a basic backlight on the unit. I wouldn’t exactly say that the backlight on the FR10 is terribly brilliant in comparison to some of the other Garmin watches (like the FR910XT). But it gets the job done and is more than enough.


You can turn on the backlight by tapping the upper left corner button, which then turns it on for 10 seconds, before turning it off. You cannot set the unit to leave the backlight on.

You cannot adjust contrast or brightness on the watch either.

Accuracy/GPS Instant Pace Stability:

First, let’s start with GPS instant pace stability. This is how stable the instant pace feature is on the watch when you run at a near-perfect constant pace. Does the GPS show that same constant pace? Or does it waver like a flag in a hurricane?

It seems as over the past 1-2 years, GPS instant pace display across a number of companies has gone down the crapper, so earlier this summer I started doing videos on all units that I’m reviewing – letting you decide if it’s crap or not.

I think it’s fair to say after you see the video below – that you’d likely agree the FR10 is the most stable instant pace watch ever seen. Heck, it might be so stable you’d think it’s simply stuck on the numbers. But I’m really impressed. Check out the video:

Garmin FR10 Instant Pace example

Which leaves me with one question/comment/statement: Garmin, please take whichever developer fixed this and put him on a solo-project dedicated to fixing it on every other watch of yours. Really, a lot of people would be happier. Like crazy happier.

As for accuracy – we were generally satisfied with that too. I’ve taken it out for a few runs, including one with The Girl, where we both ran together and both with two watches. I ran with the Polar RC3 beta watch, she ran with her trusty FR310XT, and we both ran with FR10’s. At the end of the run, here’s what we say:


In short, the numbers were:

Garmin FR10 Green: 8.54 (The Girl)
Garmin FR310XT: 8.54 (The Girl)
Garmin FR10 Black: 8.49 (Me)
Polar RC3: 8.37 (Me)

The Polar seemed to have trouble with two tunnels into the Louvre we took, where it didn’t seem to record the extra distance there both ways – as it tracked perfectly otherwise. This may be a beta bug, I’m waiting for the final production unit.

On another run, the numbers were almost spot on between my two units (9.62 vs 9.64 miles):


Meanwhile, The Girl found that the FR10 struggled a bit in one specific section with very tight typical European style alley/small street between stone buildings (one-car width alley with 5-6 story buildings) – where the FR310XT tracked just fine – resulting in a bit of a discrepancy (8.23 for the FR10 vs 8.43 with the FR310XT):


Overall however, we’ve found the unit to track well in most normal circumstances, enough that I’m just not worried about accuracy on the unit.


The unit has a history menu on it which shows you past runs, as well as PR’s related to time and pace for your workouts.


When you dive in you can view a given workout, including seeing all of its laps and splits for each lap.


Then, it’ll show you PR’s such as your longest run, fastest mile, fastest 5K, fastest 10K and other bits of running trivia. However, they won’t pull from your existing Garmin Connect account – so it’ll only be stuff on this particular watch. Still, a nice nod to what we’ve seen on other watches like the Nike+ GPS that does this as well.


I did see a few quirks in the history menu with duplicate days, which I suspect is that it just enumerates every activity separately on a given day, as opposed to grouping all (for example) Friday workouts. Kinda odd, but a minor annoyance more than anything.

Use as a day to day watch:

The Garmin FR10 works as a day to day watch as well. While the unit only has 5 hours of active battery life for activities, it will stay in standby (time displaying) mode for five weeks. Meaning that if you run with it a few hours each week, it’ll easily stay in normal watch mode the rest of the time.


The watch will automatically display the time based on your current time zone, which is retrieved from GPS when you turn on the GPS receiver (to start an activity).

In addition to displaying the time, you can also configure a single alarm.


For display of time, you can choose either 12 hour or 24 hours. You cannot choose to display seconds while on the main watch screen – only hour/minutes and Month/Date (i.e. Aug 28).

Various Settings/Configuration Options of Note:

Just to cover a few final items that don’t really fit in any other category:

A) You can change the language to a slew of included languages
B) You can change from metric to statue for distance and pace
C) You can change from 12 hour to 24 hour clock mode (as noted above)
D) You can specify your weight (but not age or height), which then provides very basic calorie calculations, though interestingly as you can see above – they were nearly identical to that of the Polar RC3 doing calorie calculations with the heart rate monitor on. Fairly impressive.
E) You can specify two data pages with two data fields per data. No more, no less. This is not Burger King.
F) That is all.

Downloading and Software:

The Garmin FR10 supports uploading of workouts to Garmin Connect, using the supplied USB charging cable. To start the upload process, merely connect the cable to the watch and plug it into your computer (Mac or PC):


The watch will appear as a USB storage device – just like a USB hard drive/thumb drive.


You can pick the files manually (which are in Garmin’s .FIT file format), or you can simply go to Garmin Connect and let Garmin Communicator (browser plugin) do the searching for you.


From here you’ll click to either upload all new activities – or select specific ones. In my case, I usually just tell it new ones only. Within a few seconds the upload process is complete, and you can see the list of activities:


To dive into a given activity, simply click ‘View Details’, which brings you to the main page for that given activity. Below you can see my Saturday evening run.


Along the left side are the high level stats for the run – from overall time, distance and pace – to elevation information. Elevation information on the FR10 comes via the GPS track. Meaning that it isn’t actually done/measured in the watch – but rather Garmin Connect figures it out based on known elevation data, by using the route.


On the right side of the activity page is further details about your run. First up is the map. You can switch between Google or Bing as a provider, and then change to the various mapping formats that each service offers (satellite, hybrid, street map, etc…).


Continuing down the page is the pace graph, which shows your pace over the course of the run/bike.


You can click over a given portion to see the pace, as well as highlight a section to dive into just that piece:


Now what’s interesting here is that after the pace graph there’s actually no further graphs. Typically there’s also an elevation graph here as well – but for reasons that are somewhat unclear to me that’s been turned off for the FR10 (yet you’ll still see total elevation ascent/descent on the left).

Next up is the splits tab, which allows you to see split information for each of the laps that you either pressed, or had auto-set:


Lastly, you can click on the ‘Player’ tab to click a play button and have your run/bike replayed for you. It’ll show your location on the map, and your corresponding speed up above, as well as the elevation at that point in time. This is why it’s a bit puzzling to me that the elevation map isn’t available on the other page like normal.


In addition to single-activity analysis, you can also dive into a full calendar of all your previous activities, some basic activity graphing/reporting, and then also health graphing/reporting for connected weight devices (like the Tanita BC-1000 scale).

Now – what’s probably the most useful piece of Garmin Connect isn’t actually the activity logging itself – but the ability to search other peoples activities for routes, in particular, when you’re travelling outside your home turf. I’ve used this countless times to find running routes that might otherwise be in the middle of nowhere. But since there’s a gazillion Garmin users, and thus a gazillion people uploading runs – you’re pretty much bound to find a run somewhere.

Additionally, the PR (Personal Records) data that shows up on the watch also shows up on Garmin Connect. Though, I find it far from reliable. For example, it can’t seem to find any of my marathons, nor my 37-minute 10K PR or tons of 5K’s in the mid-upper teens. And why would it show the furthest distance as 9.6 miles when there’s clearly a half-marathon above it and dozens if not 50+ 20-miler runs? Sigh. As an FYI, cycling was just introduced yesterday as well.


At the end of the day Garmin Connect is a good basic platform for sports activity analysis. It’s not really ideal for folks wanting more detail, or lots of analytic capabilities. But at the same time, the FR10 simply isn’t a watch too deep on details itself. Now, the FR10 does record a fair number of details, so you can go ahead and load your FR10 file into other apps (i.e. TrainingPeaks or Sport Tracks) and take it from there. Also, sometimes Garmin Connect can be a little bit buggy – but in general, I find it no more better or worse than other platforms out there from a bug quantity standpoint.


In short, the Garmin FR10 doesn’t really support or have any accessories. Since the unit doesn’t support ANT+ sensors, about the only thing you can buy for the watch is the standard Garmin Forerunner bike mount, which usually costs about $10.


This allows you to wrap it around the handlebars of a bike and then wrap the watch around it as opposed to your wrist.

That’s about it on the accessories front!

Competitive Comparison Chart:

The Garmin FR10 clearly takes on the other ~$100 GPS watches in the market today. Head to head many of the core features and functionality aspects are very close. It’s the details that make the difference. Here’s a breakdown of where things stand (click to expand).

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated January 30th, 2021 @ 4:43 pm New Window
Product Announcement DateAUG 28, 2012June 30th, 2020Feb 2019June 26th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019
Actual Availability/Shipping DateSEP 2012July 2020Apr 2019July 2019Early May 2019
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesOnly via Phone Connected GPSYesYesYes
Waterproofing50 metersYes - 30m50mYes - 30m50 meters
Battery Life (GPS)5 HoursUp to 50hrs with phone GPS (4 days standby)20 hours GPS (and 28 days standby)Up to 17 hours13 Hours
Recording IntervalSmart1sVariable (every few seconds)1sSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessOKGreatGoodGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNoWatchfaces only
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Can control phone musicNoNoYesNoYes
Has music storage and playbacknONoNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNoNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNoYes
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoYes (via phone)
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Designed for cyclingBarelyYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoNoNoYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNoNoNoYes
RunningGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)NoNo (but has accelerometer for indoor running)No (but can track indoor run)NoYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Running PowerNoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoYesNoYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoNoNono
Run/Walk ModeYesNoYesNoYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Designed for swimmingNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)Sorta (waterproof but HR only tracking)No (but is waterproof)YesNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)
Openwater swimming modeN/ANoNoYesN/A
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/ANoN/AYesN/A
Record HR underwaterN/AYesN/AYesN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/ANoN/AYesN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/ANoN/AYesN/A
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoN/ANoN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureN/ANoN/AYesN/A
Change pool sizeN/ANoN/AYesN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/AN/AN/A20M/Y to 250 m/yN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesN/AYesN/A
Can change yards to metersN/AN/AN/AYesN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsN/ANoN/AYesN/A
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeN/ANoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesSorta (Yes but not with GPS)YesYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoSorta (offers structured workouts)Sorta (race mode, but not intervals per se)Sorta (offers structured workouts)Yes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoSorta (offers daily workouts)NoSorta (offers daily workoutsYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeaturePace AlertsNo (but can give out of zone information)Yes (past efforts only)No (but can give out of zone information)Virtual Pacer
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYes (specified distances)NoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesNoVia appNoYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYesNoYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoNoNoNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
Altimeter TypeNoneNoneGPSGPSNo
Compass TypeN/AN/AN/AN/ANone
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)NoNoNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)noNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesNoYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
PC ApplicationGTCPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacN/APolar Flowsync - Windows/MacGarmin Express (PC/Mac)
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectPolar FlowN/APolar FlowGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin Connect MobileiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 10Polar UniteTimex R300 GPSPolar Ignite GPSGarmin Forerunner 45/45S
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In my opinion, the Garmin FR10 is actually at a bit of an odd price point. Had Garmin wanted to sweep the category, they would have sold it for $100 – like many of the other units. Instead though, they priced it $30 higher – which conflicts with some other GPS units (namely the Timex Global Trainer) at $130ish. Further, just $20 more and you’ve got a wealth of options in the $150 to $170 range – all with vastly more functionality (the TGT at $130 is also exponentially more advanced, but significantly larger).

(Note: I included the Soleus 2.0 in there since the price is often down in the $120 range, despite a retail price of $150)

The question is – can they get people to spend $30 more from $99 to $129? At the moment, I think the answer comes down to four additional features that the FR10 has that the other $100 watches don’t: Virtual Pacer, Run/Walk, Download History, and Auto Pause. The first two are most heavily targeted at runners newer to the sport, and thus runners most likely to purchase this watch. In short, would you pay $7.50 per feature over the $99 watches?

Now, I think if Timex were to come along and offer a download cable for their $99 Marathon GPS and have it upload to TrainingPeaks – it’d be a fairly competitive situation given the depth of TrainingPeaks compared to Garmin Connect. Meanwhile, the current download option on the Soleus 2.0 just isn’t competitive with anything given how horrible the software is.

Oh, and if you’re looking at the New Balance GPS Runner watch – it’s the same watch as the Soleus 1.0. Really, exact same watch, just they scratched off Soleus and put New Balance. So anything that applies to that, applies to the New Balance. Make sense?

Pros and Cons:

Here’s the quick and dirty version of what I think of the watch (for those that made it this far in scrolling):


– Inexpensive, cheapest GPS watch Garmin’s made
– Legit waterproofing, up to 50 meters
– Easy to use
– Virtual Pacer, Run/Walk and Auto Pause included (usually on higher end watches)
– Garmin Connect upload capability
– Very very small, especially the women’s version


– Two different sized charging docs could be pain for couples
– Only one user profile per watch (for calorie info)
– No ANT+ sensor connectivity for heart rate or indoor treadmills
– Cycling mode is so-so at best


Overall I think the FR10 makes for a solid GPS watch for someone wanting to spend around $100. At that price point you’ll sacrifice functionality (even over cell phone apps), but you will gain durability and waterproofing. The Garmin Connect software suite is adequate for most beginner to intermediate runners, or advanced runners that don’t care about the analytics side as much.

At that price point ($100-$130) it clearly delivers more than any other GPS integrated watch out there, and I think the extra $30 over the $99 watches is worth it for the download, virtual pacer, and run/walk features.

Expect to see the Garmin FR10 in the Garmin store in Chicago near-immediately, and then in your local running stores sometime this fall. Given the units are done and the firmware complete – I don’t think you’ll see a delay like other watches. Just my guess.

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 FR10 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 FR10 Lime Green (smaller women’s size) – Change drop-down to show color
Garmin FR10 Bright Pink (smaller women’s size) – Change drop-down to show color
Garmin FR10 Purple (smaller women’s size) – Change drop-down to show color
Garmin FR10 Silver/Black (smaller women’s size) – Change drop-down to show color
Garmin FR10 Red/Black (slightly larger, men’s variant) – Change drop-down to show color
Garmin FR10 Orange (slightly larger, men’s variant) – Change drop-down to show color

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

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

ProductStreet PriceAmazonClever Training
2013 Recommendations: Running GPS Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Garmin FR10 Charging Cable (Large)
Garmin FR10 Charging Cable (Small)

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

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

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  1. John

    Really well-written review!

    I have an older Garmin I run with (Forerunner 205) and was wondering if the FR10 will work with the standalone program mine came with, the Garmin Training Center?

    Thanks again for the great write-up!

  2. No heart rate? Come on – how is this even a legit running watch?!

  3. Your picture of the mini Hulk is hilarious!

  4. Ken

    Neat. Any chance the charging/data pin contacts are the same config as the FR210? First thing I thought of was trying to modify the FR10’s charging cable to work on my FR210. I still hate the FR210’s clip. I so miss my old FR205’s cradle.

  5. Alex

    Thanks for your review!

    Is it me or, apart from the lack of heart rate, the FR10 has more features than the FR210 (Virtual Partner, PR on watch and so on) for half the price?
    As a 8 month old FR210 owner, I feel a little bit duped

  6. Johnny

    Thanks for another awesome review. At the $130 price point, it’s a tough decision between this and the FR110 (which can be had for under $150).

  7. Jen

    Pleeeaassee tell me they will make another version of this with heart rate included! I’d certainly buy it then. Without heart rate, no way.

    In fact, why not Just make a FR210 in the small green size please… heart rate and footpod!

    • Phin

      Just get the garmin forerunner 15! It’s around $130 and has foot pod, heart rate, etc. even steps taken! It’s basically a barely better version of this watch!

  8. If I don’t train with heart rate or a footpod, what is stopping me from choosing this over the FR110 or 210?

    From what I recall, the 110 doesn’t even show current/instant pace.

    I have a 305 and would like to keep using Garmin Connect. For running, all i care about is my current pace, lap pace, distance and time. And lap pace is not super critical during the lap, just at the end when I hit lap its nice to see it pop up.

  9. IKON John

    Excellent review, great detail and full of humor! Keep it up!

  10. Disappointed in the lack of features at this price point. I think without HR capability it should be priced around $100. For $130, it should have an HR strap and ANT+ capability included. It would be an immediate purchase for my wife if it had the ability to use an HR strap.

  11. Wow, another great review

    Too bad it didn’t hit the $100 mark, but I agree, the extra features are worth the extra $30. If not for the 5hr GPS use I could’ve considered it as an alternative to my 405.

    Thank you and keep it up! 😀

  12. Great review! I have the Garmin 305 but it’s just too big on my wrist. This would be nice and it has all the features that I use for the 305 anyway.

  13. Anonymous

    Oh so excited about the waterproof aspect…but then read no ANT+…..which means no hear rate. I would gladly pay more to have a low profile garmin waterproof watch like this….but it has to have HR.

    Thanks for the review Ray!

  14. BC

    I bought a FR210 last month ( great respective review by the way). Would like to see these two compared side by side. 210 has ANT, but this one is waterproof (also feeling duped)

  15. Anonymous

    Looking at your comparison chart, the FR60/70 does include Auto-Pause and Virtual Pacer.

  16. Anonymous

    Heart rate measurement is so yesterday. I’m super impressed with the instant pace stability though – one of my bugbears with my FR410, if only that had a pace smoothing like this!

  17. Anonymous

    I am a 110 User and have gotten totally used to (if not dependent on) the avg. pace display. I really like it when racing to ensure I’m hitting my goal pace, rather than trying to average out my current pace. (Does that make sense) Anyway, wondering if this model only shows current, or has a way to display average mid run?

  18. Hi all, thanks for the comments!

    Hi John-
    RE: Import to GTC

    Hmm, I just tried – and while GTC can import FIT files in general, it seems to fail on these ones. I’ll circle back to the Garmin folks and find out if GTC is being updated to read these ones.

    Hi Tristan-

    Glad you enjoyed!

    Hi Ken-
    RE: Pin config same as FR210

    Unfortunately, totally different. Both far smaller, but also sideways under the watch band – making it impossible to snap it on there (going either way from FR210 to FR10 or vice versa). Sorry!

    Hi Alex/Ian/BC
    RE: FR210

    The FR210 does have a few things this doesn’t – notably the three data fields per page, ANT+ heart rate, ANT+ footpod support (for cadence/treadmills), and interval support. Plus, on the cycling side it supports the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor.

    That said – I do agree as noted above that there’s some discrepencies there with feature alignment.

    Hi All-
    RE: Lack of HR

    I agree that had they included HR it would have been killer. Personally, if I were on the team and trying to find a budget device I might have included HR (the ANT+ chip is only a dollar or two), but axed one of the other features (i.e. Virtual Pacer or Run/Walk or Auto Pause).

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Chart for FR60/70

    Sorry, fixed that. Thanks for the heads up!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Pace display

    Only current, no lap or overall average pace.

    RE: Change display

    No method to change display mid-run unfortunately. Wish there was!

  19. for the TIME shown while running, it’s the total time running right?

  20. Correct, total time only. No lap time (but will give you lap time when you press/hit a lap marker).

  21. Does this watch have a vibration alert or just tone?

  22. Tone/Visual only. Though, to be fair – it’s a really dang loud tone – more so than other units. No problems hearing it with city traffic around me.

    Some might describe it as excessively loud.

    • Beth

      I have auto lap turned on but do not hear the alert. Is it possible to adjust the sound or could my watch Forerunner 10 have a malfunction? Just got it for Christmas. Thanks.

  23. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G review!!! As a “new” runner (week 4 of my 5K 101 Training), my hubby sent me the Garmin PR about this new device. I was immediately intrigued and started looking for additional info to determine if I wanted to make a purchase. I did a search and found your review. Now, I REALLY want one!

    Thanks so much for showing the product packaging! I was hoping that it came with a charger/USB connection.

    GREAT job!!! Truly appreciate your hardwork!

  24. Nice review. A couple of typos: ‘realizable’ – reliable. And there’s a ‘sup’ in there too – should be up. (Or maybe s’up? :))

  25. i’d like to see virtual pacer, autopause and run/walk on fr210.

    maybe on the next firmware update 🙁

  26. Geert

    In one of the comments above, on the FR210, you stat “Plus, on the cycling side it supports the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor.”

    This is the first time I heard/read this, and I haven’t seen it in any menu on my wife’s 210. Can you confirm the FR210 supports ANT+ speed/cadence?

  27. Ahhh, good point, just checked my own review – and you’re right, the FR210 does not support speed/cadene sensor. Sorry about that. Teaches me to respond at 1AM my time…

  28. “- Legit waterproofing, up to 50 meters”

    “- No ANT+ sensor connectivity for heart rate or indoor treadmills”

    I suspect that these two “features” are related.

    I mean, if you don’t have to receive any external signal you can isolate better your shell…

  29. Awesome review. if i hadn’t pre-ordered a Bia, I’d jump on this (for my first ever GPS watch).

  30. a


    Thanks for the great site and in-depth reviews in particular. I think I am down to choosing between the new Garmin 10 — cheap and easy — and the Nike+ GPS watch — more features, more stylish. (I know that they’re technically in somewhat different classes.) Any suggestions (from anyone)?


  31. Kat

    Wow, awesome review! Thanks so much in particular for showing pictures of the watches on a small, female wrist. 🙂

  32. Anonymous

    As a triathlete this could be quite handy for racing. I have a 910xt for training but over here in Europe where wetsuits are the norm for the swim the 910xt is a pain to get a wetsuit over. Given the size this could fit the bill quite nicely for the run portion (have a Garmin 800 on the bike and to be honest no watch is going to be all that helpful for the swim during a race, only for stats after) although average pace would be helpful. I used to use a FR60 but like this more.


  33. Thanks for the through review. Showing the lap feature and the garmin connect pages is a key decision point for me.

  34. Cristian

    Hi there!
    Great review as usual!
    Is there something we can do to push Garmin to update the existing GPS watches with the improvement we see here for the Instant Pace?
    Do you know someone’s email address at Garmin that could care and listen us? Maybe if they see tons of complains regarding this they can think about the possibility of adding this because otherwise… I’m really skeptic…
    As you say, how can it be that the cheapest Garmin watch can have such improvements (as the 50m waterproofing!) while our >200€ ones don’t??
    Greetings from Spain!

  35. No ANT+ is a deal breaker…
    We not always run with GPS visibility.

  36. Dick in Austin

    RE: Pace display

    Only current, no lap or overall average pace.
    Does the virtual pace display average overall pace ?


  37. Anonymous

    No heart rate monitor?! I might get it by my girlfriend won’t without heart rate…

  38. Anonymous

    Give me an 8+ hour version of this thing and my money’s yours.

  39. Anonymous

    Interested you say the Soleus has only minimal customisation of display and the FR10 – offers moderate, yet there is no display on the FR that the Soleus doesn’t offer!

  40. Anonymous

    The FR210 does have run/walk, but it calls them intervals.

    It’s the Virtual Pacer where the FR210 people get screwed. We better get that in a software update now.

  41. Anonymous

    It seems people are thinking the new 10 is an update to the 210 where in fact it is a lower model. If you want ANT+ things like HR or foot pod, the 10 is not for you and you will need to move up to a higher model. If you want longer battery life or intervals, you need to move to a higher model. virtual pacer is also a very much watered down version of virtual partner. if you run a 1/2 marathon and set the pacer to 8:00 and run the first 12 at 8:30, you will be told you are behind. if you run the last 1/2 mile on pace, you will be told you are on pace. It does not keep track of how much behind or ahead you are. it is only meant for informing you on your current pace vs the goal pace.

  42. Anonymous

    In some ways, it is an update to the FR210, as the FR210 doesn’t have Virtual Partner.

  43. Anonymous

    For someone just looking for a watch to track distance, total time, current lap pace, never used HRM, and runs more to stay in shape (not elite)…considering FR10 vs base FR110 (one w/o HRM).

    Looks like the MAJOR differences between the two in the above case is FR10 is waterproof FR110 has more data fields displayed at a time. @Rainmaker is one display easier to view while running or compatible? Recommendations? Thanks again for your time.

  44. Anonymous

    Bring back the forerunner 305!!!!!!!!!!!

    nice review 🙂

  45. BC

    Just to be sure… If I’m doing laps in the outdoor pool- it will track my distance?

  46. Andy

    I use my trusty 305 for running and cycling, no ANT+ devices in use. Are there any major things I will be missing out by switching this for an FR10? I think the major thing will be the lack of a massive display I am fond of on the 305, maybe the battery life as well. Other than that, everything is enticing – new functions, way smaller form function, better backlight, …


  47. Anonymous

    how about use FR10 in open water swim? Does its GPS signal work fine in open water?

  48. Anonymous

    Hi, Thanks for the great review. I run 3 x in a week, averaging 14 miles per week and I’m scouting to buy my first GPS watch. Would you recommend FR10 over FR210 for me?

  49. Hello,
    Great review.

    I only use my Garmin FR305 (after referring to the review done by you again!) for running and except for the HR monitor, the FR10 seems to be an encouraging buy.

    Most of my friends do not use HR regardless of the model they have. So, I guess this new offering should set up the market well for Garmin.

  50. I read on the garmin site that the 10 will show average pace only…
    This would be a dealbreaker for me if it´s not able to show instant pace…

  51. Hi Pratoni-
    RE: Waterproofing vs lack of ANT+

    I don’t believe they are related. The only thing extra on the waterproofing is really the O-ring, and sidewalls – which don’t impact any ANT+ connectivity. I suspect the real reason is that it would have completely undercut their products at the $170+ level. Though, quite frankly, I think they did that anyways…

    Hi Cristian-
    RE: Instant pace

    I’ve been pushing pretty hard on this. I think they’re starting to get it. They fixed it on Fenix as well, and that looks a lot better. I’m not sure how far we’ll see them go back on, with existing watches. One avenue is this address: socialmedia.garmin@garmin.​com

    Hi Dick-
    RE: Virtual Pace display

    No, just instant – not average or overall. You can kinda see that a bit in the video of the virtual pacer above, where it’s fluctuating enough to see it’s instant.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Soleus display customization ‘rating’

    On the Soleus you can’t actually CHANGE what you see on the fields, you just rotate through what’s there. The FR10 allows you to change the fields as well as rotate through them.

    Hi Anons-
    RE: FR210 vs FR10

    Indeed, they are different models, with different targets. The FR210 supports things like footpods and HR straps, while the FR10 doesn’t. It is strange though that the FR10 has premium features like Virtual Pacer, while the FR210 doesn’t. But the FR210 has intervals and the FR10 doesn’t.

    It’s clear there’s a break in the feature logic, but sales pressure from cell phones was bound to cause that eventually. The price has shifted down – which happens across all technology devices. Same goes for other gadgets I bought a year ago that now offer more features for less. Ultimately, we’re going to continue to see GPS devices like this have their prices lower due to cell/app pressure.

    Hi Anon
    RE: Display view

    There’s honestly about the same between the FR110/210 and the FR10. The display type is a bit more flexible on the FR10 because they can display anything across that small screen, whereas the FR110/210 is limited in what it can display – sorta like those old watches.

    Hi BC-
    RE: Laps in pool

    Only a really big pool. You won’t get good enough GPS accuracy due to loss of GPS signal while underwater. It only gives it a split second to reclaim distance while above water. For openwater you can kinda get away with that (which is what the FR310/910XT do), but not in a pool. I did some tests once with another watch (check out the FR310XT Openwater tests on the sidebar), as I also show it works in a pool too.

    Hi Andy-
    RE: FR305 to this

    Yeah, ability to get all the display options on the FR305, as well as the customization pieces. Also loss of the mapping functionality, there’s quite a bit. But, it is much much smaller.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR10 in openwater swim

    I haven’t tested it there yet unfortunately. I’d suspect it’d be fine in swim cap (virtually guarantee), but it would largely suck if worn on wrist as far as GPS tracks go. Only the FR310/910XT have openwater swimming mode that can sort out the GPS track mess that occurs while swimming.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Run 3x week

    It’s really up to whether or not you’d use the FR210 ANT+ or interview features. If you’re looking to do treadmill running or add a HR strap, then go FR210. Otherwise, the FR10 is probably spot on.

    Hi Mark-
    RE: Average pace

    I think you might have misread that section on the Garmin site. That particular piece of text on the Garmin site was referring to Average Pace in the on-device history. There’s no average pace offerd on the unit itself, only instant pace (since you couldn’t have instant-pace in history). See above videos showing the instant pace and accuracy. Good stuff.

    Thanks all!

  52. Anonymous

    Great review as usual. Given the improved water proofing of this watch what do you think of using it as a poor mans “under the cap” gps for open water use?
    I noticed it has a removable band, I wonder if a fabric strap kit is in the works, or even a quick disconnect kit?

  53. Absolutely, definitely an option. Next time I’m near swimmable water (right now in Norway, far too cold without wetsuit), I’ll give it a shot. But I don’t suspect any issues in that department, every GPS I’ve tested in OW swimming in the swimcap has done well as long you place it right (on back of hand, facing up when you face down).

    On the kits, I suspect we might eventually see a fabric strap – since those appeal well to both women and men. But at the same time, typically once Garmin announces their accessories for a given unit, they rarely go back and add new ones. Essentially, those product designers have moved onto other areas.

  54. Anonymous

    Hey, awesome blog!
    I am a highschool cross country runner and I was wondering If you could suggest a good gps watch to get. The longest I run is probably 10 or so miles, however that could definitely increase. Interval workouts and the virtual pacer/racer would definitely be helpful but I could get by without it. I have looked at almost all your reviews for running specific watches and I honestly have no idea what would be best for me, do you have any ideas?

  55. Fantastic Review! THANKS! I am not a professional runner (far from it) but having completed a few organised races i want to improve my time, was looking for a GPS watch that wouldnt break the Bank, however i wanted instant pace! (as i struggle with it). This seems to be it and i reckon it will make my first GPS watch. Unfortunately its not available in UK yet, so ill wait i suppose.
    If you can give Garmin any feedback my only comment would be regarding the colours, its great they thought about a smaller size BUT why could they not offer the same black colour only smaller?.
    Thanks for the review…

  56. Anonymous

    Awesome review! Great information! I love viewing your reviews when new gps watches come out.

    I’m no technology buff…Would it be possible for Garmin to provide an update to the FR10 at some point to allow it to use the heart rate monitor, or is that additional hardware that’s required (other than the chest strap)? Just wondering if I bought the FR10 now and later on down the road wanted a watch that was compatible with the heart rate monitor (and assuming Garmin could update this)…would my FR10 get updated for that or would I have to buy a new watch.

    Possibly a dumb question…but I don’t “do” technology!


  57. Hi Anon-
    RE: XC Watch

    I think it’s either this watch, or the FR210 that I would recommend. This one doesn’t include automatic intervals, but I suspect that you probably have more creative intervals that you or your coach prescribes, in which case you can just do them manually on this watch instead. Make sense?

    Hi Gielen-
    RE: Smaller black color

    I agree, no idea why they just didn’t realize them all as small watches…

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Add HR info

    Unfortunately not, the watch doesn’t contain an ANT+ chip in it physically, so there wouldn’t be a way for them to add that functionality down the line. Kinda a shame, given it’s a $1-2 part at wholesale (closer to $1).

  58. Nice review. As always very usefull information on there. I have a 305. Apart from being a great sports watch the thing I really like about Garmin is that without too many difficulties you can use it with a Linux PC (link to andreas-diesner.de) and that you can tranfer your runs from connect.garmin easily to nikeplus (link to awsmithson.com)

  59. Anonymous

    uThanks for a great review! I am planning to run my first marathon and want a gps device that is accurate. I am not a fast runner so as I build up mileage long runs will last 5 or more hours. I like the size/price of this watch but am concerned about battery life. What watch would you recommend? In addition, could updates improve battery life?

    • David

      After roughly one year of use, the battery life for my Garmin Forerunner 10 is down to 4 hours in GPS tracking mode. The firmware has always been updated.

      For my biking rides, this proves insufficient.

  60. Anonymous

    Great Review. I just picked it up for my wife. We have been sharing a forerunner 205.. I think she will like the smaller size and funner look.

  61. Anonymous

    – Time/Distance
    – Time/Pace (current)
    – Time/Calories
    – Pace/Distance
    – Pace/Calories
    – Distance/Calories

    Thank you for this great review!!

    I noticed there was “(current)” written next to only the Time/Pace view. What is the difference between this pace view versus the Pace/Distance view? Is one an instant pace and one an average pace? Which 2 views would you recommend? Are we able to reset the watch to select different views if we’re not happy with the views we selected in the initial setup?

  62. RhodeRunner

    Hi from Rhode Island and thanks for the review! I had the same concern as Anonymous regarding battery life. I’m training for my first marathon and will run probably run it in 4+ hours. Is it really going to last 5 hours? This will be my first GPS watch and I really only care about pace and distance. It seems ideal except for the battery question. Thanks in advance!
    P.S. I’ll definitely buy my watch through your Amazon link.

  63. Doug

    Great review!

    I just got the FR10 for my wife

    We did the Reach the Beach NH this weekend.

    Battery was fine she used FR10 as a regular watch an did two hour runs and it looked like she dropped a 1/4 of the charge.

    – One thing you missed in your review was the battery charge indicator. It has one – I have the FR205 and it does not have one an you do miss it.

    The one issue she has( and it may cause us to return it) is that she wants to know the average pace of the run she is on.

    I think this is a relevant/ useful statistic.

    the four data fields she like are:

    current pace
    average pace

    Is it possible to get these four data fields on the two screens?

    She also did not hear the any beeps for laps completions. I checked and did not see any way to turn off audio alarms. Any thoughts?

    Also, does the FR60/70 have gps? I think it is only motion sensor. I do not think it is far to compare thickness.



  64. Nice review and thank you for including all the photos. I currently use a cheap 9.99 watch for my speed work/intervals on the track and the Nike+ sportsband with sensor for pace/distance. I was hoping the Garmin F10 would combine the features in the two, but it doesn’t appear to do so. Have you done a comparison between the Garmin F10 and the Nike +sportsband? I’m currently running trails and my sensor constantly comes off my shoe. I run in Muzanos so no cool spot built into the shoe for the sensor. I so find it a short coming that the lap/interval on the Garmin F10 can’t be set to any distance or did I read that incorrectly?
    Thanks again for all the info.

  65. Anonymous

    Great review. You are so through with the details. Enjoyed reading and will help me make an informed choice of purchasing this item.

  66. Anonymous

    Hi there,

    Does anyone know how to reset the language back to English on this thing? I accidentally changed it to some other language upon turning it on the first time and can’t get it back. Help!!!

  67. Mark Weidert

    Great review Mr. DCRainmaker. I Just wanted let all of the people who can’t wait for the forerunner 10 know that you don’t have to wait any longer. You can order the forerunner 10 by phone from the flagship garmin store in Chicago(312-787-3221). I had to pay $11 bucks for shipping but since I didn’t see a reliable date for nation wide release I thought it was worth the extra money. I have had the watch for a week now and I can say that I am happy that I went with the forerunner 10. Before I bought the forerunner 10 I had bought the forerunner 610 but i returned it the next day because while the touch screen is a nice feature I just felt like it didn’t justify the
    $400 dollar price tag when the forerunner 10 can give me the information i really needed (pace/distance)for $130 bucks. I would have paid $150 if it had a darn heart rate monitor. Garmin are you listning?

  68. Hi Ray,

    Excellent review as always.
    I wonder if you can turn the audible beep off when in the virtual pace mode. I thought the visual alert is enough and the beeps can be distracting. Thanks!

  69. Hello, Me again!

    The watch is now in UK, its being sold exclusively by Swetshop.

    I went to the shop but they didnt have the black one in yet so I decided to wait a few days …However! as i was looking at watches the FR60 (old now, i suppose) caught my eye. The main feature im after is instant pace and I noticed it has ‘virtual trainer’. I had a look at your review, and now im not sure what i want. 🙁
    Is the virtual trainer on FR60 reliable? I guess it works with the foot pod. In terms of FR60 and Forerunner 10, is it fair to say that even though one has GPS and the other one doesnt they are actually similar when it comes to features, but i wouldnt run out of battery with the FR60?

    I run on a treadmill too and i realise forerunner 10 wont be of any use on the treadmill, however im not to worried about that because i can get info from the treadmill screen, so…

    Confused… any words of wisdom, would be appreciated!


  70. Great review, thanks! Like others, I have a 305 and considering downgrading to the FR10 primarily for its smaller size. For track interval workouts I’ll still use my 305, but for everyday runs, rather than go untimed completely (horrors!) I thought the option of a less-is-more GPS watch would be good. And since I don’t use my HRM regularly either, what else could I be missing?

  71. Awesome.. thanks so much for the review. I am new to GPS watches, so had a question.. is 5 hours on a charge about normal? Curious if the more expensive watches will go longer. What do folks do when they run longer than that time? Two watches? 🙂

  72. Anonymous

    Can the Garmin Forerunner 10 be set to “km” instead of “miles”?

  73. Can the Garmin Forerunner 10 be set to “km” instead of “miles”?

    Email: HausRT@Rocznik.de

  74. Yes miles or kilometres.

  75. Excellent review DC Rainmaker.

    I was originally looking at the 410 but after reading the review here I was sure the FR10 would be exactly what I was after (HRM weren’t a concern of mine).

    I went for the black/red version because it looked like the slightly larger screen would be easier to read.

    After going out giving it a test I can say it lives up to it’s review and does everything as I wanted.

  76. I am also going between the Nike+ Sportwatch and the Garmin fr10. Which would you recommend between the 2? pros and cons?

  77. LL

    Hi DC Rainmaker,

    THANK YOU so much for this review. I called Garmin today to ask some questions about the watch that they were unable to answer (it’s new, so they “don’t know it too well” yet). They sent me to your blog instead!

    1. In your intro, you say that “This watch has one purpose … To compete with … $100 GPS watches.” As a woman with very small wrists (I have to assume much smaller than The Girl’s), I want to commend Garmin for finally making a watch I can wear – one where the watch face itself isn’t larger than my entire wrist. So that’s its other raison d’être.

    2. I am still really confused about the LAP function. I understand that “auto-lap” gives you a split time at the end of each 1 mile (perfect for long runs), and the sample Garmin Connect View Details screen in your review exhibits that perfectly. What I am confused about is the manual lap function. If I use the lower left button to manually set a lap, does that work the same as my SPLIT button on my Timex running watch? I need that for speed-work. For example, I’ll hit start, run 200M then hit the lap button, rest 60 sec then hit the lap button, run 200M then hit the lap button, etc. Will that give me a readout like the View Details screen, but instead of each mile, it will show each 200M? What does it do with the 60 seconds of rest? (Should I just keep using my Timex for speed-work?)

    Many thanks again, Lana

  78. I have always wondered why the standby battery life is so bad with GPS watches.

    With GPS off one would think that these units would last years, and not weeks, between charges.

    Any thoughts?

  79. I have been using a 405 since 2008. The 10 is promising in that Garmin may finally push water proofing to their full lineup since the top and bottom end now have it.

    Not enough has happened with Garmin in 6 years to get me to upgrade.

    What my next watch will have in addition to the 405:

    Significantly improved battery life
    Low profile so it can be worn with long sleeves
    Decent enough design to allow for wear on business trips.
    iOS integration for uploads

    The 610 is close but not close enough to warrant upgrading. Touch screen in a running watch seems gimmicky but it can’t be worse than the old bezels.

  80. how many laps will it record?

  81. Thanks, super-detailed review. Sorry, I might have missed this, but I see that you can pull up an elevation profile. Does the unit give data on elevation gain/loss over the course of a run? I know it doesn’t have an altimeter but does it derive it from the GPS? Thanks!

  82. T

    In regards to the elevation question:

    The watch will pull highly inaccurate elevation data from GPS signals. Garmin Connect offers elevation correction based on elevations linked to known locations.

  83. Barb

    Ray can you please explain the difference between moving time vs. elapsed time on the garmin products? As I understand it: Time is the actual time you did an activity from beginning to end. Elapsed time is the time it took plus any breaks whether paused manually or through the auto pause feature. However moving time leaves me stumped especially since my auto pause feature is off, I even rechecked to make sure it’s off since I don’t really have to worry about stop signs/lights, etc. I’ve looked everywhere for this explanation but can’t seem to find it. Thanks! I’m sure many of us are wondering also.

  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. Still just cannot decide between a Nike Sport Watch and this Garmin FR10. I would really value your opinion! Thanks for the review.

  86. T

    Nike holds your GPS data captive. Garmin lets you export it. This is important if you want to use the data to geo-tag photos.

    That said Garmin has no stated policy on how long they will hold your data before deleting it and they do not allow for bulk exports (1 at a time)

  87. T

    DC Rainmaker –

    Do you have any insight to Garmin’s data retention policy?

    Having my data held with a gun to its head every day doesn’t make me very happy with Garmin Connect.


  88. Hi All-

    RE: FR10 battery life

    Given the 5hr limitation, and if you expect to run more than 5 hours at once, I’d look at the FR210 as a great alternative. It’s got all the same Garmin Connect capabilities I’ve noted above, but tends to hover just below $200. Plus, it allows you to train indoors with the footpod, whereas the FR110 does not.

    As an aside, I would suggest that I wouldn’t think that doing any 5-hour training runs leading up to a conventional marathon would be normal. Most folks for a first-time run top out at about 20 miles. Just food for thought. Good luck, you’re gonna love it (and get addicted!).

    Hi Anon-
    RE: “Current”

    I was merely implying Instant pace vs some other metric. But, you’re right, it’s missing in the other two references. My bad. Same thing across the board – only current/instant pace.

    And yup, you can always change the views on the watch.

    Hi Doug-
    RE: Four data fields on two screens

    No, only the ones noted in the combination above unfortunately.

    RE: FR60/70 with GPS

    Nope, those are both GPS-less and no motion sensor builtin. They both require a footpod. They are awesome little watches though and have far more functionality than the FR10 (or FR210 for that matter).

    Hi Concerned Parent:
    RE: Comparison to Nike+ Sportsband

    I haven’t done a review of the Nike+ Sportsband, just the Nike+ GPS unit.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Language

    Eek, were you able to get it solved? I’m travelling at the moment, otherwise I’d be able to write out instructions but I don’t have it with me currently.

    Hi Alexis-
    RE: Beep

    Yup, you can turn off the sounds.

    Hi Gielen-
    RE: FR60

    The FR60 is an awesome watch, and IF you calibrate the footpod correctly it can be spot-on accurate (see my review on that, it’s crazy). Featurewise the FR60 does have far more features than the FR10 does, from intervals to customization of screens, you name it – it’s there.

    If you’re a treadmill runner, the FR60/70 is a better place to be.

    Hi Orange-
    RE: Missing

    Aside from the workout/interval/data configuration pages, those are the main ones (and of course the ANT+ you noted).

    Hi Jeff-
    RE: Longer than 5 hours

    They get a watch that goes longer than 5 hours. 😉 Or, two watches.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: KM instead of Miles

    Yup, no problem at all (thanks DaveS for answering earlier!)

  89. Hi LL-
    RE: Small wrists

    I’d guess The Girl’s wrist is pretty small. She’s 5’2″, and pretty petite, it’d be hard to be much smaller than hers. Glad you found that useful though!

    RE: Lap function

    Yes, same way. If you press lap it immediately sets a split and that’s visible on Garmin Connect. And it’ll work as you describe in your scenario. During that 60 seconds of rest, it’ll just track your rest. If you want it to avoid that, simply press stop, then lap. Then start again when you’re ready. If you press lap then stop, you’ll have a split second of extra data in there (standing/walking/etc…). That’s how I do it on the track (stop, then lap).

    Hi Unknown-
    RE: Battery life

    It’s primary the GPS draw that hurts the most. Many of these can now go a month or longer with it off. I think we’ll only continue to see that improve.

    Hi Andrea-
    RE: Laps it can record

    There’s no real limit here that I’m seeing, it does have a 7 Activity/history limit however.

    Hi Andy/T-
    RE: Elevation profile

    Actually, a funny story here. It doesn’t record GPS elevation in the track file (many other watches do). In fact, Garmin Connect wasn’t even supposed to be showing Elevation for the FR10. However, when my review came out, they mistakenly hadn’t excluded that watch from the list. Thus, I kinda sorta forced their hand on it (plus, some convincing on the backend that it was silly to remove it). So, you have elevation now on GC for the FR10. 🙂

    Hi Barb-
    RE: Moving time vs Elapsed Time

    It’s right as you described it. Though, I’m not clear on why your’e seeing a difference. Typically the reason is Auto Pause mistakenly being enabled, as you noted – but that doesn’t sound to be the case.

    I wish I had a good answer for you. I’d ring up Garmin support, they may be able to provide some insight. Sorry!

    Hi Tom-
    RE: Nike Sport Watch and FR10

    Sorry Tom, I wish I had some good answers there.

    As T noted, Nike does hold your data captive (like a little island). Whereas Garmin Connect doesn’t (you can voluntarily export). Today, on their site it’s only single-activity exports, but there are a handful of sites/apps out there that will do bulk exports on the fly (either to a downloadable ZIP file or straight into someone elses site).

    Hi T-
    RE: Data Retention Policy

    I don’t, but I’ll poke around a bit. I’d say that I wouldn’t expect them to delete anything, because honestly it hurts them. The activities are a gold mine for them, since it’s effectively the largest running/cycling/etc database on earth. Any deletions from that would be silly. Just my two cents.

    Thanks all!

  90. T

    DC Rainmaker –

    Thanks for checking on the data retention.

    I have asked Garmin twice. Once recently and once back in 2009. Both times the answer was that they do not have a policy. Additionally they will not discuss their disaster recovery planning.

    Bulk exporting data isn’t simple to do. 99% of users won’t mess with it. One bad drive or SAN and it’s bad news for GC users unless Garmin secretly does a great job at DR and just doesn’t want anyone to know about it.

  91. I agree, it should be easier, and directly from their site.

    I will say we know they are doing backups, as they had to do some restoral last September due to an issue introduced with Garmin Connect that corrupted a bunch of activities.

    Beyond that, I’d suspect if they’re using even semi-standard best practices with data redundancy, they likely have some built-in levels before touching recovery (recovery being a separate instance than data high availability). But…since that kinda stuff is my day job (and what I present on weekly), I’ll stop before I get too deep… 🙂

  92. Regarding Garmin Training Center…. I finally got mine to work with it and here’s how: When you plug the FR10 into a usb port, it should mount as a drive on your computer (it does on my Mac.) Open GTC and choose File->import and then navigate to the mounted Garmin, GARMIN->ACTIVITY->xxx.FIT. That file will import fine into GTC.

    I just completed my first run with the FR10, and imported the one file, so I haven’t tested importing of multiple files. I’m just relieved that it works somehow with GTC, especially with all this talk of data retention! I’ve got over 5 1/2 years of workouts in GTC.

    Hope this helps someone!

  93. Anonymous


    Thanks for the great review, I ended up buying the FR10.

    Does anyone know if the FR10 can work with Ascent or RubiTracks? I tried but could only get it to work with GTC or garmin connect.

  94. T

    DC Rainmaker –

    Do you have a page set aside for discussing Garmin Connect in general?

    I have been using a 405 since 2008 and have been (patiently) waiting for Garmin to pick up the speed of development on their site.

    Started messing around with Strava recently but would prefer to have GC be more feature complete.

    Some things I noticed that Strava has that GC is lacking:

    – TCX file cropping to cut off junk data
    – Compete with friends
    – Own a segment. Alerts when you lose ownership to a faster runner.
    – Segments automatically added vs manual courses with GC
    – PRs based on any portion of an activity vs the full activity with GC. Example: Fastest mile might have been in a 10K and not in a run that was exactly 1m long.
    – Track equipment
    – Follow friends
    – Create running clubs
    – Achievements: 2nd fastest time on a course, fastest 5K automatically assigned to activities
    – GOOGLE map everywhere vs the horrible Bing maps with no topo data
    – Full screen maps from the main page
    – Player can show your progress against another runner
    – Displays grade adjusted pace

    There are a host of other deficiencies in Garmin Connect (Analysis, Reports, Goals, Planning workouts, etc are all awful) but it is convenient and has some strengths (Convenience, clean UI, phone app, elevation correction, etc).

    There seem to be recent changes with the GC team over the last 2 years. Some good things popping up slowly with releases. Prior to that I was almost certain that they had no one on development that used the products.

  95. Really super review. Your detail convinced me to buy one. All the comments about HRM make me laugh. If you are a decent runner, you know whether you’re running at 70/80/90% of MHR without a bit of equipment. You learn by listening to your body how hard you are pushing. Anyway reliable HRMs can be had for about $20 these days. Do you really need all the bells and whistles on the one run? Ever heard of naked running? This is a quality bit of gear at a good price.

  96. Anonymous

    Currently have a 110, the 10 looks like a great watch especially with being waterproof. My 110 has just packed up because I got caught out running in torrential rain and the dial misted up badly, so the seal is really rubbish (Garmin are replacing my watch). The major downside with the 10 is the 5 hour battery life (I am surprised it is not an issue to you), this being an entry level gps watch it will be used by first time marathon runners running longer than 5 hours, also as the battery efficiency reduces it will go down to about 4 hours no doubt.

  97. Craig

    It is very annoying that the Forerunner 10 doesn’t record elevation data in the track. I know GPS elevation can be inaccurate, but with most modern watches it is good enough most of the time. Looking at tracks from my Forerunner 110, the elevation graphs are actually pretty good.

    Some websites/software can calculate elevation from their own digital elevation model, but these are often inaccurate. And many websites can’t do this, so you don’t get any elevation data.

    Maybe the Forerunner 10 firmware could be upgraded to record elevation?
    Otherwise, I think the Forerunner 110 would be a better choice for any one that does hilly runs.

  98. Anonymous

    Amazing Blog!!! Most of the comments with questions were actually answered in your more than thorough review. LOL. I guess I really wanted to know everything that you had to say because I didn’t skip a word or a video! Very helpful info. Not only am I a Garmin addict, but I am a guest advocate in a small local running store. I know many runners who don’t give a flip about heart rate, they just want distance, pace and lap time. I had a Garmin 405, when that died I went with the Garmin 410 – certainly not their best watch, but heck! That’s what I was used to, so I stuck with the devil I knew. 🙂 I definitely am considering this as a Christmas gift for my daughter who is just now becoming interested in something other than her iPhone as a running buddy!

    Again – Great Blog. I really appreciate the time and energy you put into your review. Will definitely recommend this to our guests and fellow crazed runners.


  99. Hi DC!

    Great review! I was deciding between the Garmin FR10 an the Nike+ GPS, but your review sealed the deal for me!

    2 questions though, the watch doesnt come with a charging unit, just a USB cable. Can I use the iPhone charger to charge it?

    And I noticed that the charging ports are openly visible at the back, would sweat and water affect them? Well since they’re waterproof but the tiny metal plates are all showing!

    Thanks again!

  100. Johnny

    Can you view your previous auto-lap split times during the run? Or do you just have to wait until after the run and view it in history?

  101. I got the FR10 for my wife. It’s okay but without an average pace it’s kind of useless. She wants to run a half marathon at a certain pace to get a specific time. I assumed there was an average pace as every Garmin FR I’ve ever seen has one. Also, the review shows different displays with some noted as “Pace (current)” and others just “Pace”, like there’s a difference. But, there isn’t a difference, they all show the same instant pace. The only time you ever get an average pace is at the end of a lap (mile). But, the beep is so quiet and high pitched that my wife can’t hear it beep unless she has the watch pressed against her ear. So, she has no clue if she’s ahead or behind pace.

    The Virtual Pacer is also worthless as it just shows if your INSTANT pace is faster or slower than what you set, not if you should really speed up. For example, I set the Virtual Pacer to 10:00/mile then ran at a 6:00/mile pace for about a quarter mile. It was correctly telling me that I was going too fast. I then started walking, and as soon as my walking speed was detected and that it was slower than 10:00/mile it told me to speed up, even though my average pace was still well faster than 10:00/mile. Basically, the Virtual Pacer function is worthless, broken, or both. It’s as worthless as the instant pace, and it just gets in the way of viewing other data (like trying to catch it at the end of a mile to get your average page).

    I’m hoping we’ll see a firmware fix for the FR10 that gives an average pace as well as fixes the Virtual Pacer so it’s even the slightest bit useful. The almost silent beeper is something that also could be fixed by having more beeps or maybe changing the pitch to make it lower frequency (if that’s possible).

    I had a FR305 and now a FR310XT. I was really hoping that the FR10 would be perfect for my wife (being under 5′ tall with very small wrists). But sadly, the F10 is an epic fail in the pace department and this review did not alert me of this glaring omission. Why isn’t the lack of average pace not listed as a negative? That’s HUGE to anyone who runs for a time!

  102. Anonymous

    Hi DCR, really great review & convinced me that this is the one for me! I have been using my wife’s FR205 & wanted one of my own, I don’t use HR so this would probably suit me fine, it even looks better than the 205!

  103. Anonymous


    First of all thanks for the review.

    I was just wondering what you meant by

    “RE: Elevation profile

    Actually, a funny story here. It doesn’t record GPS elevation in the track file (many other watches do). In fact, Garmin Connect wasn’t even supposed to be showing Elevation for the FR10. However, when my review came out, they mistakenly hadn’t excluded that watch from the list. Thus, I kinda sorta forced their hand on it (plus, some convincing on the backend that it was silly to remove it). So, you have elevation now on GC for the FR10. :)”

    Does this mean that the FR10 tracks the elevation for everyone???


  104. Hi All-

    Hi Jen-
    RE: GTC

    Nice! Great tips!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Ascent or Rubitracks

    I haven’t tried it yet, but it generates standard .FIT files, which those apps easily support.

    Hi T-
    RE: GC

    Yeah, GC is a tough area. Primarily because they canned all the folks that were on the GC team back in roughly 2009. That meant all development skill was lost there and it’s taken a few years to pull it back. Dumb move (one that I’d think they’d agree with in hindsight).

    I think we’ll see more focus on making GC more Strava like in the future (in fact, I know they will), it’s just going to take a while. And many of the bugs you note are definitely still an issue.

    In general, I only recommend GC as a good starting point, but for folks doing anything else – there’s so many better options.

    Hi Craig-
    RE: Elevation in tracks

    I don’t think they’ll update it (as much as I’d like them too). I think they are probably realizing they included more unique features than the FR210 at half the price…

    Hi Myba7p-
    RE: Using iPhone wall USB thingy

    Yes, you can plug the Garmin FR10 cable into the iPhone USB wall thing. It’s what I do half the time.

    RE: Charging ports being exposed

    No issues there. In fact, that’s actually how they do waterproofed ports – by making them exposed like that, versus an internal connector.

    Hi Johnny-
    RE: Review auto-split times during run

    No, post-run only. You’ll get the split of the current lap at the end of that lap, but you can’t see back 3 or 4 laps.

    Hi Teckel-
    RE: Average Pace

    Sorry for the confusion.

    I tried to be really clear (repeatedly) as to exactly which fields were offered. I can try and clarify more than when I say (current) and ‘Pace’ I mean the same thing. In my mind, only if I were to say ‘Average Pace’ would that mean Avg Pace.

    It’s strange that you’re seeing issues with the beep. Mine’s actually really loud – louder than normal in fact. Odd.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Elevation Profile

    Sorta. The FR10 itself doesn’t track elevation, but rather, Garmin Connect will provide an elevation map for your route even if recorded in the FR10. It juts takes known elevations and corresponds it to the map.

    Thanks all!

  105. So, I have a 405; the band has broken, but not in a way that you can replace the band. My small wrist just meant too much torque on the joint – lasted 3 years. So, my question is, what I am losing if I go with the FR10? I really want the 610 but am not able to spend the money now. I use Garmin Connect with the ANT stick; I only run; I use it as a watch too because it costs so bloody much that I want to get the dollar value out of it. So, would I be ok going to the 10 or should I hold out for the 610 when I can afford it?

  106. Johnny

    One annoying thing to note that I read from another blog – if you prefer manually pausing vs auto-pausing: “Really, the only major issue I’ve had with the Forerunner 10 is the fact that it resets itself after being paused for 45 seconds.” I actually prefer to manually pause myself.

  107. Garmin Support

    The information Johnny found on another blog is highly inaccurate.

    If you pause your activity, the device will remain on the selection screen that allows you to resume your activity, save it, or discard it for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes have elapsed it will display a 30 second “Auto Save” countdown message that plays several tones to alert you that the Auto Save is occurring. If the countdown expires, it will end your activity, and (as indicated) automatically save it. The device will never automatically erase your data. Pressing a button at any time while the device is paused will reset the 5 minute timeout. Pressing a button during the 30 “Auto Save” warning will terminate the countdown, return to the pause screen, and reset the 5 minute timeout.

    • TN Girl

      When I pause my watch (FR10) during a run the timer starts over when I resume it. Have you experienced this? Also, it has stopped recording distance mid run but the timer kept going.

  108. Johnny

    Awesome! That’s good to know. I’ve had the FR10 for a few days, but haven’t had the chance to actually test out the manual pause.

  109. Hello DCR,
    your review pushed me to buy the FR10 and so far so good! I actually “downgraded” my hardware from 10-years-ago-state-of-art Polar S725X but “less is more”, isn’t it 😉 ?

    Question – referring to Myba7p email. Do you think it’s safe to use any cell phone USB charger? I’m using HTC USB charger (output 5V-1A). I would appreciate your advise.

    Greetings from Poland! Jacek

  110. Hi Jacek-

    I haven’t had any issues with 5V 1A plugs, or any others around me. I mix and match USB wall ports – from Apple to fake-Apple to Motorola to Garmin to Samsung to ones that I have no idea where I got them from – all good. 🙂


  111. I am still interested in knowing your thoughts on going from the 405 to the FR10. Posted originally Oct 18th. Pretty please.

  112. Hi Kristie-

    Sorry! Slipped by!

    Going from the FR405 you’re going to lose the customization of data fields, as well as the 3 fields per display. Meaning, you’re limited to just two data fields per display. You’re also loosing some of the workout functionality and the ability to specify goal-based alerts. Further, any of the graphing functionality, indoor training options (no support for ANT+ speed/cad, footpod or HR strap).

    What about looking at something like the FR210? That would get you indoor training (treadmill), as well as HR data. Also, it gets you basic interval support.

    Hope this helps!

  113. Riccardo

    Excellent review.

    One little problem though, by default the time is set automatically when the watch acquires satellite signals, my watch does not and I have to reset the correct time manually (GMT instead of BST).
    Any feedback?

  114. Jess

    Hi there!
    Thanks for this great review. I am new to the Garmin world and have a (hopefully) quick question! I like that the FR10 keeps you on track with your instant pace, but is there a device that keeps you on track with your average pace and overall goal time? Would the 210 be a good candidate? IE – if I want to finish a race in xx:xx, is there a device that will let me know whether or not I’m on track? I apologize if you’ve already answered this! I’ve spent the last hour reading your reviews and learning a ton and could have so easily missed it. Thanks!

  115. I read your review in detail, but only skimmed the comments so my question may have already been answered. If so, I apologize. You mentioned that the auto pacer is very persistent. Does it provide any leeway(5 sec perhaps) before alerting you whether you are above or below the set pace? Must I run exactly 7:45 pace (not 7:46 or 7:44)or deal with being beeped at?

  116. Anonymous

    Brill review, can you use the walk run funtion for speedwork, ie 2 mins hard 90secs recovery (jog)

    many thanks Riggs

  117. Johnny

    Anon – You can use the run/walk feture anyway you want. Push-ups for 3 minutes and macarena dance for 2 minutes. It just beeps and lets you know it’s time to “run” or “walk”.

  118. Anonymous

    Just set time in auto and it’s an hour out (UK time) my 110 used to adjust to uk time no prob, any ideas

  119. DCR, what’s the likelihood Garmin adds average pace via firmware update? Have you spoke directly to them about this key metric that is missing? My Nike GPS sportswatch has been returned for the 3rd and final time and I’ve got refund in hand.

  120. amychris52

    Question: What would you recommend between the Forerunner 10 and the 210? I am a small female (also 5’2″). I want something accurate for training for a half marathon. Does the 10 acquire a signal much faster than than the 210? Which is more accurate? I am confused about the instantaneous pace. Is this available on both the 10 and the 210? Which has virtual pacer/ partner (and can you explain what exactly that is)?

    I’m very sorry. I read through all the posts, and I just become more confused!

    I can purchase the 10 for 117 dollars, and the 210 for 130 dollars (without hrm). (Garmin is offering a 50 dollar discount until november 15). Based on these price points, which would you reccommend?

  121. Hi Riccardo-
    RE: Time

    Hmm, I have a funny bet. I bet it works now. Does it?

    My guess is they forgot that Europe did DST last weekend, while the US did it this weekend.

    If not, then it’s simply that their timezone map is askew.

    Hi Jess-
    RE: Average pace

    Yes, the FR110 and FR210 do average pace. Though, I don’t recommend the FR110 since it doesn’t do instant pace, nor work with the ANT+ footpod for treadmills.

    Hi Molly-
    RE: Virtual Pacer

    Yeah, it gives you a few seconds (about 10), and then it’ll start beeping. You can kinda see it in the Virtual Pacer video towards the end as I head down the bridge and hit about 7:25, it kicks in again that I’m going too fast.

    Hi Anon
    RE: Walk/Run

    As Johnny noted, you can use it for anything you’d like. Personally, I use it as a fake nutrition/water alert. Every 10 minutes, and then for 2 minutes. Works great!

    Hi Bryan-
    RE: Adding Average Pace

    Honestly, slim.

    It’s purely a marketing thing at this point. They’re selling a watch for $130 that realistically does more in most scenarios than their $220+ watches.

    Hi Amy-
    RE: Small female

    My wife (pictured above) is 5’2″, so for her, she loves it.

    RE: Signal accuracy

    It acquires it in roughly the same timeframe as the FR210, so no change there.

    RE: Instant pace

    Yes, it’s available on both this and the FR210 – but it’s NOT available on the FR110.

    Note that what this doesn’t have, and those others do – is average pace. In other words – your average pace on the entire run.

    RE: Difference in price

    If you can grab the 210 for $130 – absolutely go that route. It gives you indoor training flexibility (treadmill), as well as HR down the road. Additionally, it’ll give you interval support and some minimal display customization.

    Thanks all!

  122. amychris52

    I thought you couldn’t customize display on the 210? And I have read several reviews about people complaining about hooking it up to the computer to upload the run data (with the 210).

    So the 10 doesn’t acquire the signal quicker? I read some people say the 210 took about 5 minutes for signal and that 10 picked up signal within a minute.

    Are they roughly the same size?
    And I thought based on your review of the 10 that the instant pace on it was extremely accurate; much more so than the 210. Is this not true?

    Thanks again for the fast reply! This info will really help me make a decision!

  123. Hi Amy-

    RE: Customization

    As noted, you can have minimal display customization. Not a lot, but you’ll get more data fields displayed, and can change a few options around. Far less than something like the FR610 or similiar. But slightly more than the FR10

    RE: Signal Quicker

    No, it doesn’t really get any quicker. Both watches on average pickup signal in about 20-30 seconds for me. A touch bit longer if I’m in a new place. For some, it may take longer, regardless of which watch you’re on. It has more to do with blockers (things blocking your satellite view) than anything else.

    RE: Same size

    See above, I’ve included them on the rolling pin for size comparison.

    RE: Instant pace

    Not more accurate, just more stable. It’s averaged a bit more.


  124. amychris52

    Thanks so much for your prompt review. It really means a lot!!

    I just went to my local running store and tried on the 210. It was slightly too wide for my wrist at 2.7 in. According to the website (garmin) the female 10 is 2.05 in. So while they are virtually the same length and depth, the 210 seems to be a bit longer.

    I might get the 10 for this reason alone. But your previous comment makes me question this. Would this be foolish? Is the 10 still a quality watch? I’d hate to get the 210 just because it was an awesome deal if it didn’t fit.

    Another question. That website you provide the link and 10 percent off coupon for says they have a 60 day return policy. Would that include open items? Specifically, could I buy the 10 and the 210 and compare then return one?

    Thanks again for the very useful information. It has helped tremendously! And thanks for being so prompt and thorough!

  125. I wouldn’t focus a ton on the sizing. I know it may seem big in the store – but as long as the wrist strap fits, almost all runners find they don’t notice the GPS any more after about 30 seconds of running.

    And this was from the days of MUCH larger units (like the FR305). I know in the store they seem big, but it doesn’t take more than a short run to forget it’s there.

    I believe their policy does include open items.

    Hope this helps!

  126. The beep that’s loud is the Virtual Partner beep. That can be heard a mile away. The lap pace is very quiet and short, so you miss the only time the watch ever gives you any information that’s important (lap pace).

    Also, the Virtual Partner is broken. All it shows is what your current pace is, not if you’re ahead or behind a virtual partner. Lets put it this way. You set the Virtual Partner to 10:00, then you run for a mile at 8:00, it will correctly say that you’re going too fast. At this point, you’re 2 minutes ahead of your virtual partner. Then you slow down and do a mile at lets say a 11:00 pace. As soon as you slow down, it says you’re behind pace, even though you’re still about 2 minutes ahead.

    So, the Virtual Partner is not really a virtual partner. You can NOT use it to reach a pacing goal in a race. If you want to finish a marathon at a pace of 7:45, you can’t set the Virtual Partner to 7:45 and expect to know if you need to slow down or speed up to hit your goal. Actually, you have NO WAY of knowing what you should be doing. All you ever get is a *fairly* accurate instant pace and then if you can catch the lap timer with the quiet beep you’ll know what you did last mile. But, you NEVER really know if you need to speed up or slow down to hit your 7:45/mile goal.

    I think you need to try to use this watch in an actual race and then you’ll understand how useless it really is. An old lap stopwatch would be more useful in a longer race.

  127. After owning many Garmins (210, 410, 610), this 10 is one great little watch. Great quality for the price and the instant pace is the best I’ve used yet. The size and weight is really wonderful on this piece.

    My ONLY real issue is the time records stored on the watch(for mile, 5k, etc) don’t seem to be working properly. You have to run that exact distance (and stop your watch at the exact moment) for it to be accurate. For example, I ran 1.02 miles yesterday and it put that time for my 1 mile time (with the extra 10 seconds for the .02 added). Hopefully they can fix that with firmware later.. Not a huge deal though.

    I highly recommend this watch if you don’t need heart rate or cadence measures. If this thing had heart rate, they would sell a gagillion of these things.

  128. Scotty

    Great review! I used the FR10 for several weeks now after the far more advanced 305. As a stopgap or a first GPS watch it ticks the boxes. I do miss average pace but I was aware of that before I purchased. The backlight seems to have an auto-dark feature when it lights up during alerts at night. Ive noticed condensation forming under the glass when running in cold conditions, but not as bad as a FR 110 I had briefly. As already noted, it hasn`t dealt with the BST to GMT time change here in the UK and it`s on manual now (I`ve just tried auto again to no avail). Re Garmin Connect….I can`t believe that it will show an elevation graph in Player and if saved as a Course yet Connect won`t dsiplay the graph on the main upload page. I know the FR10 doesn`t record altitude so it`s up the mapping software but if Player can display the graph…?? Overall, I knew the specs of the FR10 when I purchased it. It`s basic, small, light and while missing the features of it`s big cousins I think it`s going to be very popular

  129. amychris52

    Joey, (or whoever else),

    I am not interested in heart rate at this point.

    I just need pace, distance, and total time. Knowing mile splits would be nice.

    Which would you recommend of the 210 or the 10 based on these factors? I have read that the 210 can be very difficult to connect to the computer. Is this true? How about with the 10?

    Again, I am able to get these both at the same price.

    If I am reading correctly, you can’t change the display on the 10 during the run? Does that mean if I have it set on time and distance, I wouldn’t be able to press a button and view my current pace? Isn’t that a very big drawback? How come you cant switch midrun? How do you switch it?

    Again, dc, (and others), you say the instant pace is the most stable on this device. Is this a significant factor? How unstable is it on the 210?

    How useful is the interval function on the 210?

    Again, thanks for everyone’s comments! I am certainly buying one of these watches and your insights help!!

  130. Scotty

    amychris 52: I find the Forerunner 10 to be one of the quickest Garmins I`ve owned to connect and upload to a pc. You can view 3 screens while running by pressing the down button on the lower right side…in my case the screens show time & distance, then pace & calories, then time of day.

  131. Anonymous

    thanks for the info. found this device tough to set up – iPhones are so much easier. anyway, i think your explanations of how things work helped. ta

  132. Teckel’s comment above about average pace and the Virtual Pace is spot on. If Garmin updates the FR10 to show average pace, I would purchase this tomorrow. How often does Garmin update their firmware? On a side note, when is instant pace ever useful during a race or time goal? So I’m running a 7:00 mile at this instant .. I still don’t know if I’m on track to hit my goal or improving, sigh.

  133. amychris52

    So I bought the 210! I am wondering though, how do I pause it if I need to use the bathroom or something during a run without resetting my timer??


  134. Ken

    amychris52: Simply hit hit the “start/stop” button to stop the timer and then again to resume. It will not reset. Only holding down “lap/reset” will do that.

  135. WhoDat

    Great review.

    A little disappointed about a 5 hour battery life. No problem for half marathons but I am now becoming a Maniac and need up to six.

    Any indication that I could get six out of it?

    Thanks for the info!

  136. Ken

    WhoDat: Do speed work. 😉

  137. Johnny

    It would be pretty nice if they showed average pace for the entire run. Much rather have that than the “Virtual Partner” – a fairly worthless feature as teckel noted.

    I currently have my watch set up with Time/Distance & Pace/Distance. Would be awesome if I could do Time/Distance & Instant Pace/Average Pace. But as DC Rainmaker has said, there’s a slim chance that there’d be a firmware update for this.

  138. WhoDat

    Thanks Ken! That is always a good recommendation.

    I actually have decreased my time substantially but I am running the Seattle Quadzilla in two weeks and don’t want to burn out until I finish race #4.

    Goal in early 2013 is a 100 mile Ultra. Need to find a Garmin with a battery life of 24 hours!

  139. Ken

    WhoDat: Sorry, now I understand. That’s fantastic. Best of luck with all that.

  140. Kerri

    Thank you so much for your reviews. I just returned the Forerunner 410 because of the dreaded bezel. I run five days a week, and I want a good GPS watch that helps me reach me my marathon goal. Would you recommend the 210 or the 10? Sometimes less is more when it comes to gadgets, so I am leaning toward the 10. What will I sacrifice? Anything super important?

  141. Floater

    Thanks for the great review. As a novice runner this fits the bill perfectly. I don’t know what I’d do with heart rate data (yet) and really just want to record where I’ve been and how long it took me.

    Could you clarify the elevation IS now displayed in GC? I get that the watch doesn’t store elevation but it will be in the graphs right?

    Nearly bought it Friday for £99.99, then yesterday for £91.32 and today Amazon have it for £86.23 (via your link of course) – no brainer!

  142. Scotty

    Kerri as a marathon runner myself I would say the battery life on the 10 may be an issue (but I`ve not used it for more than a 2 hour run yet and it was ok). Also the lack of average pace info on the 10 may be a drawback, although I`m just using the autolap info when running.
    Floater: elevation figures appear immediately on an uploaded GC page, but no graph. If you go to Player, or save the run as a “Course” then (strangely enough) you have elevation graphs.

  143. Melinee

    Thanks for a marvellously detailed review. I have been using my FR10 for a week now, and am delighted with it. The connection with the satellites only takes a few seconds and is remarkably stable, even in the thickest woods. Time, distance, speed and pace all seem very accurate, whether on foot or on a bike. This watch is also surprisingly light and comfortable (even though it’s the slightly bigger black model — I, too, wish Garmin designers freed themselves from silly stereotypes (pink or bright green for women, black for men !). Uploading the data on Garmin Connect is very easy and the site is fun to use. I’m just sorry that distance, pace and speed are measured only in miles/ min per mile/ miles per hour, whereas on the watch itself it is possible to select mile or kilometer.

  144. jlam

    thank you for the very thorough review. much appreciated!

  145. Anonymous

    This is a great review thanks so much! This may be a dumb question but how does the watch determine calories if it doesn’t have a HR monitor.

    • Joan

      Yeah, I’m not crazy about this either. You can see there were like 400 calories different between her two watches. For those of us integrating with My Fitness Pal and needing to eat back exercise points, this is a crazy discrepancy.

    • Rainmaker

      It’s purely mass * distance. Pretty much the standard equation used by most folks that aren’t doing HR data. Speed has very little play in the equation (except at the very upper limits, closer to VO2Max). Meaning it doesn’t much matter whether you walk or run that 1 mile, as you’re still moving the same amount of mass that distance.

  146. Scotty

    You enter your weight during set-up (or later) and this helps to calculate calories used.

  147. Kerri

    Thanks, Scotty. I ordered the 10, and will give it a try. I run in a club, and everyone has a Garmin, but no one has this model so I really appreciate the feedback. I like the size of the 10, and I didn’t need all of bells and whistles on my 410.

  148. Anonymous

    Thanks for your reply Scotty. I am wondering the difference between the 110 and the 10? I have the 110 and love it. Is it more accurate with the calories because it has a HRM? I would like to buy my son one for Xmas and there is a huge difference in price, but I’m not so sure of the huge difference in features?

  149. Scotty

    I had the 110 for a short while but it suffered condensation fogging issues. I remember getting more info from the 110 while running than the 10 gives. I`ve never used HRM but I think the 10 “guestimates” calories more than the other Garmins do. My answer would be that for a simple GPS with limited display options ( 2 lines of data per screen,) instant pace option only, but with an interesting variation on the virtual pacer feature then the 10 is good. Plus you get loads of info after uploading to Garmin Connect (except for an elevation graph on the main page). However, if average pace display while running is important and the 5 hour battery life is a factor then the 110 may be better.

  150. Anonymous

    Thanks again for your “prompt” reply Scotty. I’m still undecided but will have to query the options our son wants. I don’t think calories are a major factor like they are for me so the 10 should be ok. I’m assuming you can get the graph on garmin connect by going further into the pages. It’s great to have someone who knows how these things work because in the shops they have no idea!!! Cheers Lulu

  151. Kerri

    Update: Just received my Garmin Forerunner 10. Super easy set up, works like a charm and looks good. I like the size and (green) color. Thanks for the advice, everyone! So far, it’s a lot less complicated and frustrating than my 410 with the bezel. Also, you get all of the same great maps and detailed info on Garmin Connect.

    Keep up the good work on these reviews, and happy running!

  152. Signal acquisition time: takes at least a minute for me, even when I am out in the open. If I am in the city (downtown Chicago) it won’t acquire at all.

    GMT/BST: still an hour off if I use the Auto function for setting time. Have had to revert to manual.

    Other than that, mostly happy with the watch.

    • Rick McQuet

      There is a software patch that I think is now available for the time zone problem that some users were having.
      When I connected my watch last time, it updated the software, and one of the items said “Time Zone Map”.
      I have not yet confirmed that it works yet.

  153. Scotty

    Hi Lulu. Yes, if you go to the Player tab you get a graph with elevation, and if you save the run as a Course you get one too. If you can see this run you`ll see what I mean. Cheers! link to connect.garmin.com

  154. Hello! Thanks for the review. This seems like a great product, but I have one big question.

    For the pace/distance display, what pace does it show? For example, I like using mile markers as new laps. Will the watch display the pace of the new lap?

  155. Scotty

    Agent, the Autolap notification briefly displays the time of the last lap (1 mile or 1 km) on completion, although a button can be used to mark laps instead. The pace display always shows you current pace, regardless of lap…at least, that`s how I`ve been understanding it.

  156. Kate

    Great review – thank you. Looking at the photos the black version doesn’t look much larger overall but the screen size looks bigger. The coloured one looks to have a big border around the screen, so I’m wondering if the black one would be easier to read with a larger font size? Is it much bulkier than the green?

  157. Nick

    Hi, How would you compare the Nike+ GPS watch and this Garmin 10, obviously the Nike is more expensive but it comes with the shoe pod. Thanks, feedback is appreciated!!!!

  158. M.J.

    Hi, I am very interested in buying the Garmin Forerunner 10. I like to run trails.
    How accurate is this GPS in the woods?

    Thank you,

  159. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for your review. I am a new runner and my head has been spinning reading all the reviews for watches. You answered all my questions and help me sooo much! I need the GPS and never thought there would be a watch that would do that and the interval timming. I had read other review but none of them told me this watch did both. I appreciate all the hard work you have done putting this together. Thanks for the videos too. I wish the battery life was longer because I am real slow but that will not be forever. Thanks again

  160. Simon

    Hi, thanks for the review. So I have a Garmin Edge 500 and am a cyclist. However when I train in the gym or do some spinning. (Spinning bikes are Cadence Compatible) I am looking for a similar priced watch to monitor my Heart Rate. It does not need GPS, but must be compatible with my Garmin Cadence sensor and HRM.

    Please help.

  161. mich chan

    great review – thanks heaps.

  162. Henry Reeves

    Thanks for a very complete review, except for one thing: battery life. Forgive me if I missed your comments on this important feature? If I read the above correctly the battery is only good for 5 hours. In my quick review I did not see many comments about the short battery life.

    5 hours is probably good for most distances of marathon and shorter, but would not work for distances 50K and longer. The other watches you listed all had battery lives of 15 hours and above. Care to comment?

    • Rainmaker

      HI Henry-

      Indeed, it is limited to 5 hours as noted above. The watch is primarily focused on newer runners (less features, simpler, etc…), or runners that are just less interested in the data during the run. For longer endurance races (ultras), it’s definitely best to pickup something like the Garmin FR310XT, FR910XT, Garmin Fenix, Timex Global Trainer, Magellan Switch, or Ambit. As all of those go significantly further. The Ambit and Fenix are most targeted at the ultra runner, with battery upwards of 54 hours.

  163. Dave S

    Do you know if they have altered Garmin Connect so that elevation data isn’t shown for this watch?

    I used to be able to get it by going to Player etc.. but my last run has blank drop down menus above the graph.

    This is on my first run after upgrading the firmware to 2.1? Any ideas?

    • Rainmaker

      Indeed, you’re right – I’m no longer seeing it either. I just shot a note over to the Garmin folks to see what’s up.

  164. Trent

    Doesn’t look like the discount code from Clever Training works…

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Trent – I just checked it real quick while trying to buy one of the green ones (added DCR10BTF to the coupon box) – can you confirm it’s doing the same?

    • Trent

      Yep, you’re right, it works now.

      Buying a pink one for the wife today. Thanks!

  165. Dave S

    Elevation graphs back on Garmin Connect 🙂

  166. TC Runner

    Toot bad there isn’t a black color for small wrists.

  167. TC Runner

    Too bad ….

  168. Dave K

    Great review
    Is there a way to extend the battery life above 5 hrs?
    In your review of the 305 you provide a fix for that model. (I’m having trouble opening the link at the moment)

  169. Alisa R

    Lots of great information about this watch! I was especially interested in the battery life & how long it lasts on the active mode. I liked the information about the backlight and the sizing too! I have the 910 & love it & the 405 & hate it!

  170. Paul

    Thanks for the informative reviews – I’ve spent some time going over a few different reviews and have almost decided on getting the FR10.

    I am wondering about the fact that the FR10 doesn’t measure elevation directly – does this impact on the accuracy of distance readings or map plotting? At the minute I use free running app on a mobile phone and have noticed that it produces wildly inaccurate data from time to time, but it persistently occurs when I am running up or down a hill. I believe this is due to some quirk related to the measurement of altitude data, or perhaps the algorithm used to determine map location and distance travelled.

    Further, if exporting from GC into a third party tracker (i.e. RunKeeper), could I expect to see similarly odd plotting of data points due to a lack of altitude information embedded in the GPX file? Has anybody tried this?

    • Rainmaker

      Nah, no impact. In fact, it actually increases it in some ways. 😉

      Reason is that both GC and 3rd party apps will then ignore the elevation track (because one isn’t there) and instead use the known elevation plot using the NASA data, which is in most cases far more accurate.

  171. fortezzadigitale

    thank you for this very useful post.
    I decided to buy FR10 black/red, arrived today.
    my FR10 needed a firmware update (v2.00->v.2.20) because the DayLight Time Saving issue.
    happy running to all

  172. mike

    I’ve looked at site after site trying to get some data on the resolution of this product, but not one person seems concerned about it. Apparently it’s all about me, me, me and how I am such a special person and great athlete. Please actually review the product instead of you personal life.

    • Rainmaker

      Strange, the data resolution is covered in the comparison table (It’s smart recording, hence every 2-7 or so seconds). And I would have that the other 5,966 words in the review covered a fair bit of ground compared to most reviews.

  173. Rafael Tadashi

    awesome review! A real help for someone who´s choosing which one to buy.

  174. Tracey

    Thanks for taking the time and effort in reviewing these products.
    I found this review very helpful in making my decision, I bought the FR10.

  175. Michael Barella

    Hey there everyone. I’ve had this watch for about 3 months. Really like except lately, I’ve noticed on real cold runs, it starts fogging up under the lens then it goes away. I don’t know if I should send it back or what. Any advice????? I bought it at REI and they are great about exchanges. Any thoughts????

  176. Kathryn Pierre

    Hi there,

    My bloke got me the fr10 for Christmas and I’ve had such fun playing with it today – my first GPS watch! He bought it from the states and we live in New Zealand. My issue is the date seems to be stuck on US time, so it displays a day behind. Are you able to offer me any help??

  177. Kathryn Pierre

    Ah ha! Figured it out – thankfully this watch is so simple that even I can drive it! Thanks for the comprehensive review – I’ve got heaps out of it.

  178. Fabulous review – thank you! Answered every last one of my questions. (And now I want to swim + bike + run in Paris.)

  179. Hi DC,

    I recently bought Garmin FR10 unit (my first GPS watch since using a smartphone).

    I’m courious about your opinion about battery life in not only this particular watch, but also other devices available on the market esposed to quite low (-10) or higher temperatures (25+). Since the battery provides about 5h of training I was wondering, if exposing my watch to rather low temperatures like one above could damage my unit’s battery and dramaticly reduce it’ capacity.

    Do you have any observation on this issue?

    Greets from Poland,


    • Rainmaker

      Hi Krystian-

      I’m assuming you’re talking Celsius.

      The FR10 has an operating range of -20*C to +60*C. In my experience, when you get on the colder side of that, you tend to run into slowness of the digits, and usually the battery doesn’t last as long. Living in Paris, I don’t have good access to temps at either end of that spectrum, so I can’t give you too much real feedback on it. I’ve previously done some cold weather testing 0*F with other Garmin units, and they act as I noted above.

  180. xray777

    now that the 410 can be had for less than $150 is it not worth the $20 extra since you get the ant+ ability and chest strap? I mean is the 410 that bad with its bezel? Cant you just lock it?

    • Rainmaker

      You can lock it, but then you can’t change data pages.

      Personally, I’d rather go with something else, but I really do understand that the extra functionality and customization are worth the hassle of the bezel. In the case of Amazon – you can always return it if you decide you dislike the bezel (note: If you throw it in front of a bus first, returns may be more difficult). Enjoy!

  181. Marcos

    Great review!!!
    You has helping me to choose a GPS watch. Thanks from Madrid, Spain.

  182. Michael

    Thanks DCR, have purchased two of these – one for myself and one for my wife. Looking forward to what promises to be a great watch. Nice work on replying to so many questions here in the comments, too – more patience than I would have!

  183. David L

    Hi Rainmaker,
    first THANKS so much for your reviews – easily the best on the net. Sorry to bother you again on the ‘elevation data’ issue, but I am thinking of buying the FR10 vs FR110 and having access to elevation data is critical for me – at a minimum I would want the ‘elevation gain/loss’ data in the splits table; but graph via ‘Player’ would be even better. Phoned Garmin (Australia) today and they said the data was not available through GC which contradicts info in previous posts. Would you please mind confirming what the story is.

  184. Martin

    Great in depth review! Very well done…Good job. Thank you 🙂

  185. Ian


    If one is in a location (say an indoor track) where the GPS does not work, and one does not have a footpod, can one still record laps manually by hitting a lap button every time around the track. I can’t see how to do it on the writeup, but I am guessing it’s possible. Thanks!

    — Ian

    • Rainmaker

      Yes, you can use it in just ‘indoor’ mode. If you see the section above ‘Indoor mode’, I detail it a touch, but actually, the piece about laps is in the last sentence before that as part of the pool section. Same-same, but different. 😉

    • Ian

      Thanks for the quick reply DCR. I did not make my question specific enough. If one is using the indoor mode, which button does on depress to mark laps? Thanks again!

    • Duncan Birtwistle

      I had this same question before I bought mine. You hit the ‘back’ button (bottom left). Works in GPS and GPS-off modes. Source:link to static.garmincdn.com

    • CathyR

      When using it as a timer with GPS off, I can’t seem to find a way to mark laps. The back button (which someone mentioned will mark laps) doesn’t do anything.

  186. Cathy

    I got the forerunner 10 for Christmas, however, I am NOT a runner, I am a walker…I walk many miles, 3-5 days/week..is this watch useful for walkers? All I see is info for runners, cyclists, etc…If can be used for walking, set it up the same?


    • Rainmaker

      Yup, setup is identical to runners. The unit doesn’t really know about the difference. And for the calorie calculations, it’s a simple mass * distance thing (which means that it doesn’t matter if you’re walking or running). Enjoy!

  187. Cathy

    Thank you very much…excited to try this out


  188. David L

    Hi Rainmaker,
    thanks for your interim reply. Sorry my question provoked a ‘grr’ . . . . Await Garmin’s reply with interest!

  189. Shannon

    DCrainmaker – can you comment on being able to switch between timing and GPS mode within a single workout?

    For clarification, I’m a triathlete looking for a fairly basic and waterproofed GPS watch. However, the 5 hour GPS limit on the 10 is hovering right around my 70.3 time, and then what happens if I decide to move up to Ironman next year? (Which I’m planning on).

    Is it possible to start a regular timer at the swim start, and then turn on the GPS mid-race, say either at the start of the bike or the run? That way I’d be able to keep the overall time consistent, but use the pacing features for when I’ll really need it.

    Thanks a bunch!

  190. Mandy

    Ok, so I have tried to read all reviews, so I hope that I am not asking a question that has been asked..if so i appolized. I have been in search for a GPS watch that works simillar to the nike+ ipod. I am training for a 10k right now and instead of tracking a route with my car for the accurate distance, I would like something that I can tell it I am running a 10K and it will countdown the distance for me and let me know when I reached my distance goal. So that way I can run where ever I want to vs. staying on a pre-tracked route. From what I gather through the reviews this watch won’t. I was thinking maybe the lap tracker feature might. for example if I want to run a mile I could just put in 4 laps and it would beep to say that I’m done.–but not sure if that’s how that works. is there anything out there that compares to the nike+? I can’t seem to find a pair of nike’s that fit well for my feet, but i love the features on it.
    Thanks for your time!

  191. Mark

    Great review my wife bought me one for Christmas. Just done my first run with the FR10 perfect for my needs. Connect easy to use and software upgrade went smoothly. Great value for money.

  192. Jacob

    Hi! I’d like to say that this is a great review! I’m sorry if this was addressed in an early comment and I missed it because there are a lot of comments, but I was wondering if your times while on a bike or your distances when riding on a bike will be saved as personal records? I’d like to see how far and how fast I am going while cycling but I don’t want it to.save that info as personal records since I’m nor actually running. I know I can get rid of the personal records if it does save the biking distances and what not as personal records, but I just wanted to know if you know if this is the case. Thanks again!!!

  193. Ana

    In-depth, indeed! Very helpful review. Already bought the FR10.

  194. Megan Hess

    Thank you for the extensive review. It was very helpful in making my decision to purchase the Garmin FR10. Keep up the great writing and happy trails to you!

  195. Michael

    Just an update. Watch has proven itself as excellent. For those curious about other applications for the improved water resistance, try this; reading my morning paper while playing with the garmin, dropped it into my coffee. Result? No problems!

  196. aspiring

    Hi there, i have just read your reviews on the fr210 and fr10 which were incredibly helpful! i’m just struggling to choose which one would be better for someone looking to run more 500m to 1600m races. i like the idea of the virtual partner in the fr10 so that i can be pushed to maintain a fast pace however i’m a bit confused with the lap splits and how they work. Is there a way in either watch to e.g run one 400m lap, rest for 1 minute then run another 400m lap and aim to beat the time of the first? (i hope that makes sense). Thankyou

    • Rainmaker

      Not entirely. The FR210 would sorta do that within the interval mode – but it wouldn’t so much have you beating your first lap time, as it would having you hitting it the same (in most interval situations you want to nail the repeat time exactly the same over and over and over again).

      Otherwise, what you’re looking for would be Virtual Racer, but even then – it’s only on past workouts. Alternatively, workout mode (also not on either of these watches) would be able to create such a workout, but the times would have to be identified ahead of time.