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

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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.

Unboxing:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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).

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Running:

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.

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

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

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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).

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Auto Pause Function:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cycling:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Waterproofing/Swimming:

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.

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(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.

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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:

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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?

Backlight:

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.

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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:

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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):

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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):

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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.

History:

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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):

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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…).

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

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Accessories:

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.

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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 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated September 12th, 2021 @ 3:27 pm New Window
Price$129$199$229$149$129
Product Announcement DateAUG 28, 2012June 2nd, 2021Mar 24th, 2021June 30th, 2020Feb 2019
Actual Availability/Shipping DateSEP 2012June 2nd, 2021Mar 2021July 2020Apr 2019
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesOnly via Phone Connected GPSYes
Data TransferUSBUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTBluetooth Smart
Waterproofing50 meters50 metersYes - 30mYes - 30m50m
Battery Life (GPS)5 Hours20 hoursUp to 20 hoursUp to 50hrs with phone GPS (4 days standby)20 hours GPS (and 28 days standby)
Recording IntervalSmart1s/Smart1s1sVariable (every few seconds)
AlertsSound/VisualSound/Visual/VibrateVibrate/VisualVibrate/VisualAudible/Visual
Backlight GreatnessOKGreatGreatGreatGood
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYes (all Connect IQ Apps)NoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Can control phone musicNoYesYesNoYes
Has music storage and playbacknONoNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNoNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNoNoNo
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoYes (via phone)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Designed for cyclingBarelyYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoYesNoNoNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionYesNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)NoYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)NoNo (but has accelerometer for indoor running)No (but can track indoor run)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Running PowerNoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYesYesNo
Race PredictorNoYesNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoYesNoNoNo
Run/Walk ModeYesYesNoNoYes
Track Recognition ModeYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Designed for swimmingNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)YesYesSorta (waterproof but HR only tracking)No (but is waterproof)
Openwater swimming modeN/AN/AYesNoNo
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesYesNoN/A
Record HR underwaterN/AYesYesYesN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AN/AYesNoN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesNoN/A
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoNoN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureN/AYesNoN/A
Change pool sizeN/AYesYesNoN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A20M/Y to 250 m/yN/AN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesYesYesN/A
Can change yards to metersN/AYesYesN/AN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesYesNoN/A
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeN/ANoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesYesSorta (Yes but not with GPS)
On-unit interval FeatureNoYesSorta (offers structured workouts)Sorta (offers structured workouts)Sorta (race mode, but not intervals per se)
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesHas daily suggested workoutsSorta (offers daily workouts)No
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeaturePace AlertsVirtual PacerNo (but can give out of zone information)No (but can give out of zone information)Yes (past efforts only)
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNoYes (specified distances)
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesNoNoVia app
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYesYesNoYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
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 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Altimeter TypeNoneNoGPSNoneGPS
Compass TypeN/ANoneN/AN/AN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)NoNoNoNo
ECG FunctionalityNoNO
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoYesYesYesNo
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesNoNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoYesNoNoNo
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 CapableNoNoYesYesNo
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 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
PC ApplicationGTCGarmin Express (PC/Mac)Polar Flowsync - Windows/MacPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacN/A
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectPolar FlowPolar FlowN/A
Phone AppGarmin Connect MobileiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Backcountry.comLink
REILink
WiggleLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 10Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar UniteTimex R300 GPS
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

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):

Pros:

– 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

Cons:

– 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

Summary:

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 PriceAmazon
2013 Recommendations: Running GPS Watches
2014 Summer Recommendations: Running Watches
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
$10.00
$10.00
Garmin FR10 Charging Cable (Large)
$19
$19
Garmin FR10 Charging Cable (Small)
$19
$19

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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723 Comments

  1. Chris

    Isn’t the Run/Walk feature on the FR10 the same as intervals? Is there anything preventing you from using it as such?

    • Rainmaker

      A bit different. Though, you could certainly use them casually that way, no problems.

      Intervals on other Garmin watches (and well, any other unit out there), are defined as:

      Warm-up period (i.e. set a 10-minute warm-up)
      X Length of Work intervals (i.e. 5 minutes ‘hard’, or 1-mile)
      X Length of Rest intervals (i.e. 2 minutes easy)
      X Iterations of interval (i.e. 7 times)
      Cool-down period (i.e. 5 minutes).

      So the FR10 could be used in a walk-run format to get that middle part, but you couldn’t control the number or the warm-up/cool-down. Of course, as you noted, it’d be super-easy to just use that functionality for the main part and manually do the warm-up/cool-down.

      Enjoy!

  2. Hasan

    If I can get FR10 or FR410 with the same price (no hrm on the 410 so pretty same deal), which one should I choose? HRM is not important for me but somehow the 410 has more features and shows more than the FR10.

    • Rainmaker

      The 410 is definitely more feature-complete, but, it’s got the touch-bezel, which I personally hate (drives me nuts, hard to use). Some folks like it though. I think you’ll find that a lot of folks have have had 410’s and picked up the FR10, really end up liking the FR10 more than the 410. Not all, but many.

  3. Hasan

    Thanks Ray.. I started to run about 3 months ago to burn fat.. and getting to love it more and more. one of the things that make me spirited is using runkeeper on my android phone. but my phone suddenly blacked out maybe because of the sweat :). then running is not the same without tracking my progress.

    so I started wanting the gps watch and not really easy to pick one since the price is not “cheap”. Your review is the best and most thorough, so thank you!! 🙂

  4. Grace

    Thank you so much for the great review! I just got my Garmin Forerunner 10 today. Is there any way to completely turn the watch off to save battery life? (sorry if I missed that in your post).

    • Rick

      On the 210 it’s not labeled or obvious, but you hold down the “light” button for a bit and then a 3 second countdown to power-off starts. Keep holding and it turns off. I think older Garmins had that button labeled as light/power. Try it on the 10 and see.

  5. Mustafa

    Hi,
    Great Review! My Garmin 405 recently broke and i’m looking for a new watch that isn’t too expensive and this caught my eye. I’m a competitive runner and saw that this only shows instant paces. If you turn on the auto-lap feature of 1 mile, will a popup on your watch display your lap time during your run? I’d really only need mile splits and I don’t ever use the other features on my 405 like a virtual trainer or setting up work outs. I also saw the Garmin 70 and read your review on the 60 and how accurate it was and was wondering your opinion on which would be better.

  6. EternalFury

    I would bet that stable instantaneous pace is in fact the average of the past 5-10 seconds. With the level of accuracy these GPS chips have, there is nearly no way to get a stable instantaneous pace.

  7. Chris

    Excellent run down. FYI your site was recommended by the salesman when my wife bought me the Garmin for my birthday.

  8. John

    Thorough review. Really well delivered.

    I’m interested in tracking my distances on a basketball court. How effective would the Garmin Forerunner 10 be in these environments, bearing in mind you move in different directions continuously?

    • Rainmaker

      Unfortunately not, especially on a basketball court. You could probably get away with it on a Football/Soccer field, but a basketball court is just so small that it’d be tough once you factor in GPS accuracy – it’d just be all over the place. Sorry!

  9. Hi,

    There’s a new update for the watch, i just downloaded it. The update added Pace/Speed item under Run Options to allow the user to choose the type of pace or speed displayed on the training pages. Have not tried it myself. Maybe the wish of some guys here to have the current pace to average pace have been granted. 😀

  10. Ania

    Hello from Poland! Thanx for detailed reviews. I’m deeply considering buying garmin fr 110 or fr 10, and yesterday I spent 4 hours reading Your both reviews, including all the comments below, ufffff :-). But, I still have some questions :

    1. I already know, that fr 110 isn’t waterproof – as fr 10 does – so, can it occur a problem, while running with the fr 110 in rain (i used to run a halfmaraton in pretty heavy rain, my 3atm Sigma didn’t even notice it ;-);
    2. I’m interested about the revelation, Mr crack 3d wrote above – does the new update really allow to display average run pace (i understand, that’s supposed to be the SPEED item ), when PACE is just the current pace???
    Am impatiently looking forward to the answers !! 😀

    • Dave S

      Re: #2

      The option to choose between whether the watch displays Pace or Speed has been moved from Settings to Run Options from v.2.20

      The good news is that the options have increased, you can now select from the following:

      Pace (instant pace)
      Lap Pace (average pace for that lap)
      Avg. Pace (average pace for total distance)
      Speed (instant speed)
      Lap Speed (average speed for that lap)
      Avg. Speed (average speed for total distance)

      This will be a useful addition for people who wish to use the Avg. Pace to aim to finish a race (or just run a certain distance) inside a certain time.

  11. John

    Hi, new runner here.. and recently purchased the Forerunner 10. I understand most of the features, except one..

    Run Options, Laps, Lap Key – what is the purpose of “Lap Key”?

    I’ve googled, but all I see is that you can turn it on / off. Thanks to enlighten me.

  12. Ania

    Thanks a lot, Dave, but maybe my understanding of English isn’t so perfect – what’s the difference between pace and speed ?? 😀

    • Rainmaker

      Pace is a ‘runners format’. So, for example 7:10/mile or 3:46/kilometer. Always displayed as minutes:seconds (i.e. 7:10) Minutes per kilometer. Or Minutes per mile.

      Speed is a cycling format. So, for example 23MPH or 15KPH. Always displayed as ## (Miles per hour or Kilometers per hour).

  13. Erica M

    Garmin just made an update to the Forerunner 10. “In addition to viewing your time, distance, calories and current pace you can now choose what type of pace you see. Choices are current pace, average lap pace (average pace in the current lap) and average pace (average pace for the duration of your current activity). We have even added the ability to view lap speed and average speed for those of you who prefer speed over pace.” Source: link to garmin.blogs.com

  14. Ania

    Thanks again for all the answers – even to my a bit silly questions 🙂 In fact, after reading whole reviews, I shouldn’t have asked them, as all was already said 🙂 Owing to you, THE CHOICE is made – fr 10 for it’s possibility to run in the romantic rain 🙂 And i hope, that I can stand the 5h gps battery life 😉

  15. I tried the update this morning, ran 5k. I have set auto lap, virtual pacer (7:00 min/km) and average lap pace in my fr10. While the average lap pace is displaying 6:42 (4min in my first lap), alert for the virtual pacer starts to beep and said that i’m behind pace. Does that mean that Virtual Pacer uses the Instant Pace?

  16. Na

    I recently bought my first Garmin watch, the FR10. I was wondering if this model is able to import course/routes of other runners, or .gpx files of trails – which I can then use to guide me?

  17. Silas

    I’ve been reading your e-pages, responses to comments, and recommended you to a few friends ever since I discovered you 4 months ago. Thank you, DC! I’ve been happy with the Garmin Forerunner10 that I bought through Amazon.co.uk. I now want to get a Tanita body composition set of scales. It would appear that one cannot download the info gathered on a Tanita though my FR10 to my account with Garmin Connect. If that is unfortunately so, which set of scales should I buy, and to which web-site should I up-load its readings? Silas

    • Rainmaker

      Thanks Silas!

      Unfortunately, the FR10 doesn’t support scales, so there isn’t a good option there. You could get the Withings WiFi scale and then use the little utility I posted on last week in my ‘Week in Review’ post to convert it over to Garmin Connect. Not ideal, but it does work.

  18. ET

    Thank you so much for this awesome review on this watch as well as your other gps watch reviews. My head has been spinning trying to figure out which one I wanted, what the differences were, etc and you answered all my questions PLUS more. By far, all your reviews were the best and most informative I could find online. I also have to thank you for the discount code! After reading all your reviews, I purchased the pink Garmin Forerunner 10 through clevertraining.com for the cheapest price I could get online. You not only informed me but saved me money, too. Much props to you and I am now your newest reader. Keep up the great work!

  19. GE

    These reviews are some of the best I have seen. Been thinking about GPS after getting rid of my foretrex 301. Looking for running, MTB & a little bit in the water for capturing speed in Kitesurfing. Looked at Byton watches and Garmin/Bryton GPS bike comps but keep coming back to this little neat unit. Seem the pace reading is ideal for basic running needs. The byton watches seem a little complicated to scroll through.
    Ok for the bike it won’t give me a breadcrumb track or capture high speed for the bike like the dedicated bike gps but you can always view this later on the PC. I assume you can use a lap to create a waypoint on a map if you found a good MTB track? Will this show through Garmin Connect/Google Maps or is it just internal to the unit?
    Also I read around that this is not really designed for in the water, rather rain proof. Don’t quite understand the 50m rating then??

    • Rainmaker

      Definitely not accurate, it’s fully waterproofed, and actually the very first non-triathlon watch Garmin has made that has been waterproofed to 50m.

      There’s a strange contingent of folks out there that keep on hampering saying that 50m rating is only good for showering. Fundamentally not true. There’s an entire certification process (around IPX levels) for differing waterproofing levels. I find that oftentimes you’ll hear this from scuba-diving folks (I’m a scuba diver too), that are trying to convince customers to buy more expensive things. And the folklore has spread.

    • Jon Wallis

      Garmin’s website states for the FR 10:

      “Water resistant: yes (50m)”

      link to buy.garmin.com

      That’s means it should be

      “Suitable for swimming, white water rafting, non-snorkeling water related work, and fishing.”

      according to the decidedly non-official definitions of water resistance classifications – there’s no certification process for manufacturers’ statements of “water resistance”, and exactly just how water resistant a watch is depends on the individual manufacturer.

      See link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Rainmaker

      Normally Garmin uses the IPX standards for waterproofing. It usually does this when it does crap jobs of waterproofing – i.e. IPX7. These are standardized waterproofing levels that follow a specific test typically done in labs to an international standard:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      In the case of the 50m rating, it hasn’t published a corresponding rating to it, which is far better than just doing IPX7 yet again.

      As GE noted, it’s fine for general use – and, I’d easily throw snorkeling in there. That section in Wikipedia is widely repeated, but really not terribly accurate. Just like there’s “No official standard for deeper water resistance”, there’s also ‘no official standard for information pertaining to lack of official standards’. 😉 In other words, it’s just one what person thinks and wrote in Wikipedia.

    • Jon Wallis

      In other words, it’s just one what person thinks and wrote in Wikipedia.

      That’s not actually how Wikipedia works, but I know what you’re driving at 🙂

  20. David G.

    Your review was great! I got my FR10 for a Christmas present and have been using it since then – much better than the old sports watch with stopwatch mode!

    I have run into a couple of problems:

    1) My FR10 takes 3-5 minutes to acquire a satellite signal, not 15-30 seconds! A real pain in the tush when you’re lining up for the start of a race and not sure if your location will be found before the race starts! I live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina (near Hilton Head), so I should be pretty good latitude-wise. But when I’m taking my training runs, I go and stand out at the end of my driveway with clear sky all around (except for a tall pine tree about 30 feet off to the SE) and wait … and wait … while “Getting Location” bounces back and forth for several minutes until FINALLY I can start the timer. I just ran in a 5K in Marietta, GA, last weekend and the same thing occurred there. VERY FRUSTRATING!
    2) Once I get started running, the elapsed time & distance can vary by 20-30 meters over the course of a mile. So if I run my regular route (down our street and out along a bike path and back), I may hit the 1 mile mark anywhere over a 30 meter range of landmarks. Not a major issue compared to other running GPSes, from what I hear; just wondering if this is the usual “your mileage may vary” accuracy to be expected.

    Other than that, I’m glad my daughter got it for me for Christmas!

    • Rainmaker

      Hmm, definitely not normal on #1. You may want to ring up Garmin and have the unit swapped out on that.

      But #2 is fairly normal. The accuracy of these GPS units is about 1-2.5%, so a 20-30 meters is within that.

  21. Jamie

    Really great review – thanks so much for being so thorough!

  22. Adam FG

    Having just picked one of these up and updated it to the latest firmware it looks as if Garmin have added average pace, lap pace, instant speed, average speed and lap speed to the possible data fields. Am I right or was it a dream?

  23. Sharon

    Thank you for the in depth review, just what I was looking for. I want to purchase a basic GPS watch to help with my running outdoors, I tend to run way to fast and get winded to soon, sounds like this will do the trick.

  24. Rob Denning

    Now that’s what I call a helpful review! Thanks so much for being thorough.

  25. John

    I am looking for a gps watch but bounce between riding and running during the week. I take long rides and use a HR monitor but haven’t yet on runs. I would like to use the watch for training on marathons in addtion to long hikes. I am going between the 10 and the 310xt. Two extremes due to size. Do you have any suggestions.

    Thank you.

  26. Warren Anderson

    Your comprehensive review convinced me FR10 would perfectly suit my needs down-featuring from the FR 305 I’ve used since 2007; I was spending way too much time creating Workouts and Courses, and while I review the HR data, I don’t train to it. First run today with FR10–perfect! No chest strap felt awesome. Trusted Garmin to make all the correct choices in the limited defaults and I think they nailed it, especially with 2.20 update. Love that it turns GPS off automatically after SAVING workout and it becomes a slim watch. Thank you DCR for your great service to the Garmin user community!

  27. Miguel

    thanks for this superb review! definitely the best one can find online! just bought my FR10 and can’t wait to recieve it… anything else about elevation in GC? does the new update affected anything to this? I am running a trail next WE and I will test it.

  28. GE

    Having owned the device for three weeks, mainly based on the above review, I am over the moon with it! Only run with it so far so not tried it for watersports. Will do at some point.
    With the update I now put the device to average pace, and use the instant pace on the virtual pacer (something that I thought might be a bit gimmicky) to make sure i’m not pushing myself too fast. This works well for me.
    I was worried about the beeping on the virtual pacer getting on my nerves. No problem, its not really loud, but loud enough to hear with traffic noise, and more importantly if you are ahead or behind pace it only warns you once, unless you regain pace again. This is good if you want to set it above your pace for flat sections of a hilly route, least its not shouting at you the whole time!
    Only found it once take more than 30 seconds to capture signal. If you find the progress bar not moving that fast, move location by a couple of metres. This seems to do the trick for me.
    Functionality wise, its not much to a mobile phone but in practical use its miles ahead.

  29. 2bpattyb

    GREAT review! Thank you! I have a question for you? Can the screen show average pace? I only run by average pace.

    Thanks!

  30. Familygal3

    Why oh why, do they not make the smaller version in black?? I am not a fan of green and I can’t stand pink. As a woman, I would prefer the smaller size. Is there any consideration by Garmin to offer black in the smaller size?

  31. Ania

    To Familygal : Have you tried it on? I’m also a woman, pretty small and slim, with really thin wrist 😉 and I definitely preferred the men’s version !! While running, everything is much better visible, with BIGGER LETTERS 🙂

  32. Tim

    I just purchased a Forerunner 10. I noticed that it only times in 1 hour increments adn tehn resets to minutes, etc. Is there a way to set the display that will show a contiuous time. i.e Hours, minutes, etc.??

    Thank you!

    Tim

  33. Graham Bell

    A comprehensive and thorough review. I think I may just buy one now. Thanks DCR!

  34. Mike Aylmore

    Great review, thanks! Sorry if someone has already asked but can the watch be charged during a run? i.e.if I run an Ulttra that lasts longer than the battery could I plug into a powermonkey and continue to track my run or does it have to stop tracking to charge?

    Cheers

  35. Jon Wallis

    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.

    It really doesn’t mean that at all, sadly.

    The water resistance is a “static” measurement (at best). Any movement whilst it’s submerged means the effective pressure will be greater, and the water resistance consequently less.

    A watch that a manufacturer says is water resistant to 50m is probably ok for swimming, but nothing more. If you actually took it to 50m of water (or rather less, in reality), and moved even slightly… well, you’ll be buying a new watch.

    • Rainmaker

      It’s funny, lots of folks like to repeat what you’ve written – but in reality, I’ve taken many of these watches down to their specified depths (usually the 30m ones) without issue and used them without issue (minus GPS).

      What you describe may be true of $15 watches that have that specified on them, but in most cases, with major companies such as Garmin/Timex/Polar, these generally his what they’ve specified.

      Of course, it’s somewhat of a moot point, since this watch has very little value 50m below the surface.

  36. Jason

    Thanks for such a great review. I ended up getting the FR10 in December as a birthday/Christmas present based on your review. As a person who does not need a lot of data and semi-regularly calibrates my running paces to HR zones, this watch has everything that I could need.
    My friends that run with Garmin 500’s in their pockets are constantly amazed at how steady/accurate my pacing has been and it definitely saved a half-marthon from overcooking the first two miles.
    If you are familiar with using something like the “Daniel’s Formula” of establishing training paces the only thing you may miss about not having HR is the annoying strap.

  37. Cameron

    Was looking to purchase one of these to use for low level tri’s and some running. Can anyone tell me if i could conceivably use the manual lap feature to time the legs of the triathlon and the transitions as 5 separate ‘laps’?

    • Rainmaker

      Technically, yes. However, they would all show up within a single sport (i.e. running, or cycling, etc…) on Garmin Connect. So if you didn’t mind that running showed up as MPH instead of minutes/mile (or minutes/kilometer), then you’re good.

      Now the 3rd party software Sport Tracks could actually then take those legs and split them up into separate workouts, and then you could assign them different sports (swim/bike/run/hangout). It’s not terribly clean, but it would work.

  38. GREG

    So how does the Garmin compare to the Timex Run Tranier 1.0 ? I just need a watch thats simple to read while on the move.I have the rt 1.0 but its a tad more lavish than i really think i need.And now doesnt the Garmin show avg. pace also? Would it be stupid to get my money back for the rt 1.0 and get the Garmin?Man its hard to beat $116 from Clever.

    • Rainmaker

      The FR10 vs the TRT1.0 is sorta like a VW Bug vs a Minivan, in terms of size (and utility). If you aren’t using cadence/HR, then I’d go FR10. If you do plan to use those, I’d like at either the TRT2, or the FR210 as viable alternatives that are still small (the TRT1 is pretty big).

      Enjoy (and thanks for the support via Clever Training)!

  39. GREG

    Thats the Garmin FR10 i meant and ive never needed Hr or foot pod so hummmmmm.What to do.

  40. Clint

    I am new to the garmin FR 10. When using garmin connect it lists my time and moving time as different. Even though I am using auto pause. What causes this? Should I just go with time? I was on a track, does it have to do with a lost gps signal? Moving time was about 30 seconds less than time on garmin connect. I am really confused as I was told that if you are using auto pause these should be identical. Thanks for the help guys!

    • Rainmaker

      My understanding is moving time excludes paused time. In general, I refrain from using Auto Pause while running. I personally prefer to stop and start. The scenario where auto pause works best is straight-line running across a city/locale with lots of stoplights. In that case, it doesn’t confuse turns with drops in pace, as there are no turns.

    • Clint

      ok thank you, I will try turning it off or not going on a track and use it.

  41. georgemoe

    Another great review Ray and supportive comments by the DCR community. Just the watch I was waiting for and the recent addition of avg pace is even sweeter.Just ordered one today!

  42. familygal3

    Ania,
    Thanks for your advice to go ahead and order the larger black size even tho I am a woman. I just got my black FR 10 a few days ago via CleverTraining. You were so right! It fits just fine and the numbers are so easy to see. I really love the way this watch works. So easy to use right out of the box. And thank you DC for the great work you are doing here. Carry on!

  43. Gesant Ryklief

    Awesome running tool. Gives all the feedback I need. Pity about the battery life which makes it unsuitable for ultras. Must get one.

  44. gomes

    What is the diference between “Recording Interval Smart” and “Recording Interval 1s” ?

    • Rainmaker

      Recording Interval Smart means it records at about every 4-7 seconds on average.

      Whereas 1s = once per second (1 per second).

      Once per second is always better.

      Enjoy!

  45. Gomes

    Ok, but were we see thet difference?
    Its on the web site on map detal or oder data record?
    What is the real vantage for 1 second record?
    (ps: sory may English :-))

    • Rainmaker

      You’ll primarily see it in pace jumps. For watches like the FR10, where heart rate isn’t in play, it likely won’t matter quite as much. In the cases of watches where other data sources are there, then it’s sometimes important otherwise the lag can be significant.

      For the FR10, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  46. jan

    thanks for the great info! was looking if can use the FR10 with biking & looks like can. Mostly to be able to track distance & see where went on map.

  47. Selina

    Very helpful review, thanks, I was actually thinking of getting this watch =)

  48. Warren Anderson

    FR10 might be the most useful Garmin product I’ve ever owned. Don’t miss the HRM for training at all, except maybe if doing a new activity like SUP or surfing and curious what my HR is. Display is so legible and gives vital info and nothing more: my set-up is Time & Dist., then Pace & Dist. Who cares about kCal in the middle of the workout? One of the most awesome features is that after saving your data it auto-switches to a fantastic digital watch using almost no battery (GPS turned off) and you just keep wearing it for time/date/alarm. Works great with Training Center (manual import from the TC menu–easy) which then simply uploads to Garmin Connect with another menu command. Garmin Connect analysis fills in some gaps such as max speed, stopped time and plotted elevation which are missing from TC. I’d make the beep louder (and sell it for $99), but that is a tiny comment about an otherwise-perfect activity/sport GPS watch.

  49. Loki Kolr

    First of all thanks for such a comprehensive review. I just bought this watch (it’s in the post) but now notice that it’s not listed as a compatible device on the TrainingPeaks website. My coach has just set me up with a TrainingPeaks account so I’ll need to use that from now on. You mention in your article that you think it’s possible to add data from the Forerunner 10 to TrainingPeaks but I can’t see anyone else online who’s done it. I’m wondering have you or anyone else actually tried it, does it work, is there a step-by-step guide somewhere? Or should I return the Forerunner 10 unopened and go for a 110 instead (which TrainingPeaks lists as supported). I’d appreciate any advice!

  50. Betty

    Thank you so much for your in depth review helped me make my choice, I ordered the pink Garmin forerunner 10. I did use your code for the discount,(thank you) but, had to pay $19.99 for shipping to Canada, still seemed worth it to me with your discount made it more bearable. Customer comments were informative as well,Great site!

  51. Mark

    This is a great site. I serve in the military so I run frequently but I have never personnaly used any GPS watch whatsoever. My wife is a runner and does numerous races and has been asking me to buy her a GPS watch for the last couple weeks. I know very little about them other than I always like to run next to the guy with one. To make it worse, my wife knows even less than I do. I began researching different types, styles, features, etc. and came across your site. I read through you whole blog and got everything i needed to know and more. I ended up going out and buying my wife the pink FR10 locally and I’ll be buying the FR610 for myself off clevertraining because I like some of the features with the watch. I know you reccomended the 210 for a beginner GPS user like me but I really like the 610. Anyways, thanks for the site, keep up the good work!

  52. M

    May I confirm your Rep#268 that
    finally the latest firmware update of FR110 now allows to show average pace ??

  53. M

    Sorry * FR10 now allows to show average pace

  54. M

    Thank you so much but Virtual Pacer still show only current pace, right ?

    as well as Auto lap will show later after finish run, not show during running ?

  55. Dav Nadz

    Hey Ray, just ordered a drunk-tank-pink one for my mom based on the strength of your review and CleverTraining discount (thank you!). She won’t use it as much as I do my 405, but it’s the same(ish) price as a FitBit or Up, but _with_ a GPSr and shiny maps on Connect!
    And to the folks who can’t understand the lack of sensors- yes there are folks who just want to walk in the park and will never connect an ANT-anything. They don’t even know those things exist, and two data fields are plenty. Please no flames, what I’m trying to say is this is perfect for non-techies.

  56. Elizade

    Thank you for your comprehensive review of the Forerunner10 – I live in Asia where the exchange rate makes a Garmin a pricey buy so the points of comparison between this and the 210 really helped. I bought one (from a local vendor, though, because CleverTraining is too far away) and so far, am happy with it though I’ve only used it for two weeks. It’s simple, straightforward and a lot more useful than the iPhone app I was using while running (which I could not check as the phone would be strapped to my arm).
    Thanks to all the comments as well that let me know there was a firmware update for average pace and average lap pace – it’s great to be able to see how fast you are going, while you are running. The device is helping me train for an upcoming race, and as a first-time GPS watch user, am very happy with the decision to purchase. Thanks again, am now a fan of your site.

  57. Cristian Capelli

    great review
    if I set my reported pace as Average Lap, will I get the lap time while running using the AutoLap option?

  58. Warren Anderson

    I think I understand your question because I have set mine up the same way. Auto-lap is every mile with no way to adjust the distance. If one of my data fields is set to PACE, during any given lap the averaged pace for that lap will be displayed. When the mile has been completed, the watch will beep and display lap number and then the elapsed time for that lap (which is the same as the pace: time for a mile). Then the PACE for the prior lap will be forgotten and change to the averaged pace for the new lap. Early in the lap, the PACE may change a lot if I slow down or speed up; as the lap gets closer to a mile, the PACE won’t change. BUT, you can still manually start a new lap, and then the PACE will reset to that lap. So if in the middle of a mile of running I have to walk, I manually press the lap button and now PACE immediately shows my walking pace. The “instantaneous” pace is a fairly long average of the recent speed and therefore less noisy and meaningless than other watches, and since the auto-lap will show you your pace for the last mile if you hear the beep and look, instant pace might also be useful for you.

  59. Ty

    Hi DC,

    I’m considering this watch over the 610 or 910xt because of its design and simplicity (although I do miss a lap time data field).

    There is one thing that I’m somewhat unclear about, though: When measuring speed/distance, do these watches incorporate the vertical distance that I’ve run? The FR10 lacks an altimeter (even a GPS one, if I’ve understood things correctly). Does this mean that the 10 systematically underestimates the speed and distance in comparison to the 610 or 910xt?

    Also, somewhat off topic, when do you think polar will update its RS800CX?

    Thanks!

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Ty-

      It doesn’t account for vertical drop in the distance, but from my testing with a unit that does (the Fenix), there’s such little difference that it’s so tiny to not matter. If you look at my Fenix skiing post you’ll see just how small this difference is even for significant vertical drop – let alone your average running route (that doesn’t have 45* drops).

      Hope this helps a bit!

      Fenix skiing:
      link to dcrainmaker.com

      Oh, and no news on any Polar replacements… 🙁

  60. Will

    FYI, the Soleus 1 & 2 do not get 20 hours in training mode, it’s closer to 8.

    • Rainmaker

      I got a fair bit more than that. I didn’t charge it for over two weeks, and ran four times a week with runs upwards of 90 minutes each, and still had battery left over. :-/

  61. Betty Collins-Menne

    Thank you so much for your extensive review and because of it I did purchase through your link a Garmin Forerunner 10 and I absolutely love it.

  62. Alan

    Have trouble with forerunner 10 dropping the GPS and it doesn’t say info after it drops the GPS .Any suggestions!

  63. Chris

    Thank you so much for your detailed review. I have held off buying a GPS watch because of size and price, this looks like a good entry-level GPS. I appreciate the picture on the female, I have small wrists as well and hate how most GPS watches take over my arm.
    Still mulling it over but will absolutely buy through your links

  64. oldSAP

    Hi Ray, one of my friend’s FR10’s wrist band has been torn. would you happen to know if the soft wrist band replacement with velcro for FR405 (link to amazon.com) or 205/305 (link to amazon.com) would fit the FR10?
    Thanks

  65. Dan Simon

    As usual, great review! Thanks for the great detail and lots of photos.

  66. James

    Hi. Cheers for all your awesome reviews – helping me heaps in deciding what GPS watch to get. Trying to decide between the trusty Garmin range with this Forerunner FR10 or up-speccing to the Nike GPS watch. Mainly want to ensure they give me the time that last 1km took at each km. Can both do this? If so, disregarding aesthetics and data manipulating online… Which would you recommend?

    Thanks heaps!

  67. Syaful

    Hi,

    What’s your say for this watch against Nike+ GPS SportWatch. Which one is better value and function.

    Thanks

    • Rainmaker

      They’re both a bit different. The Nike+ watch offers more social ‘cheering’ type functionality, while the Garmin offers a bit of a cleaner dashboard for analyzing your runs. All the functional differences between the units are within the comparison table.

  68. Oranj

    I like my pace in minutes/mile but my distances in km. Is it possible for the watch to display this? (a friend has a FR410 where you can do this)

  69. Carolina

    Thank you so much for your detailed review. I had just purchase it and had my first run. I was very interested in keeping a pace while running long distances. Even if the instant pace shown keeps going up and down, the beep alerts of “ahead” of “behind” worked and help me keep a pace. I noticed that, because I was more times “ahead” than “behind”, the overall run was faster than expected. This won’t be very good in a long distance.. I need to play more with it and keep trying.. Thanks for your great review!

  70. Alejandro

    Excelente revisión! Muchas gracias!

  71. kim

    I love your review!!! I came looking for a review on its capabilities in regards to swimming since I want to take it out for a swim tomorrow and I can not afford to replace it if it malfunctions. I’ve had the watch for a few months now and I find most of your review accurate. My only two complains about the watch would be the amount of time it takes to get a hold of a satellite and its accuracy. Sometimes it takes minutes for me to get a signal, and thats frustrating when I am running on a schedule. Also, I train on a track twice a week and it seems that the GPS marks a mile about 10 meters before I finish a lap (I run on UC Berkeley’s Edwards Track so I know it a standard 400m track). I love the watch but accuracy to me is very important. I guess that I get what I pay for.

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Kim-

      You’ll have no problems swimming with the watch, though you won’t get accurate swim data because of the impact on having the watch underwater for half the stroke. But it’ll count time just fine, and is fully waterproofed for that (and many folks use it swimming).

      As for tracks, they are really tough for every GPS unit today on the market. Primarily because of the continually turning nature means most GPS units end up being about .23-.24mi per .25mi lap.

  72. M

    Hi DC,

    My Garmin 10 did not show Elevation in this run >> link to connect.garmin.com

    I really do not know why ?

    • Rainmaker

      Because Garmin/Garmin Connect keeps changing things for whether or not they show elevation. For I think the 4th time now… :-/

    • M

      So it mean Garmin 10 will never show Elevation till next change from Garmin, right ?

      While my friend use Garmin 910 and 610, but they can see Elevation, so only Garmin 10 will be affected?

    • Rainmaker

      Essentially. It’s just a line of code in the site that basically says the FR10 users aren’t worth it. It sucks and is stupid, especially since every other free website on the planet offers elevation information based on GPS route.

      I’ll poke Garmin again about it today and see if we can get it swapped back again.

    • M

      Thanks DC, will wait good news.

      At first I bought FR10 because of Elevation but now its disappear…

    • Anonymous

      If you want action, you might want to point your pitchforks in the right direction.

      I just uploaded a Forerunner 10 activity, and elevation was applied properly. The issue M has experienced is a UI deficiency, and nothing more. There isn’t someone at Garmin pushing the “We hate Forerunner 10 users” button on a whim. Note this post on their forums from product support:
      link to forums.garmin.com

      All devices that don’t have barometers, have elevation corrections automatically applied. Every once in a while, you might notice that one of these activities uploads and incorrectly defaults to GPS elevation. For any device other than the Forerunner 10, there is a handy-dandy elevation correction enable/disable button you can click to fix this glitch. Unfortunately, the Forerunner 10 doesn’t have GPS elevation at all, and, as such, this one-click-fix doesn’t exist, and activities that fail to fetch elevation when they are uploaded are stuck in limbo.

      This should probably be handled automatically by connect, or at the very least, there should be a “fix me” button, but your contacts at Garmin are going to have a hard time filling a request to “turn elevation back on for the Forerunner 10” because it hasn’t been turned off.

      In the mean time, if this happens, the (annoying, but simple) way to fix it is to export your activity and re-upload it (or delete it and re-upload the original).

    • M

      Many thanks ! Now it works
      I delete it and re-upload the original.

  73. Jessie

    Thanks for your review, very helpful. I
    Im from Québec Canada.

    I dont Know what to do ! Purchasing fr10 or TRT 2. My first choice was TRT2 but i Read comments about GPS bugs and the acuracy and the quick gps reception are very important for me. II absolutly want to wear a day to day watch. My question is : witch one to choose ? CAN I ignore the bad comments on the gps bugs(gps stop surching signal) or this is very anoying and i must chose the fr10 ?

    ( sorry for my english, i speak french and try to be as clear as i Can ! )

    • Rainmaker

      Both are good options, and I wouldn’t necessarily let the bugs of a few users override the many who don’t see issues.

  74. M

    Hi DC,
    Regarding Run/Walk function it can set second only x.00 or x.30 ?
    Cannot set 10,20,40,50 seconds ?
    Thanks in advance.

  75. ed

    Thanks for all your great reviews.
    I just ordered the pink version for my g/f via your affiliate link w/ clever training.
    I’ve been really happy with my 305, so hopefully this 10 will be really similar with garmin connect and sport tracks.

  76. westbrook83

    Hi guys!! First of all, great review Rainmaker 😉 Thanks to all the info provided, I finally decided to purchase it. I’m a triathlete who had the oportunity to try for a while the 910xt (which obviously is a much more complete watch) but couldn’t afford it. I read your review and though this FR10 might do the job, and this is my experience just in case it can complete somehow your great review.

    – Running and Cycling: No doubt that this gadget is a very good option if you dont care about HR and you’re planning to run a triathlon like a half ironman or shorter due to the 5h baterry.

    – Swimming: I tried it in the open water and in a 50m swimming pool with plastic roof. I can confirm that as you believed, it does provide a very poor measure when wearing it in the wrist. On the other hand, it works perfectly when carried under the cap. I swam 1000m and the measure it provided was 980m (not that bad…). You just need to modify the distance when loading the sesion and that’s all.

    So…as a conclusion, what will I use it for? (Running and biking is clear)
    In the swimming pool, I like the lap function and the posibility to press LAP and STOP to make a pause while swimming. Then you restart and you can keep all the information in the same file. If I swim in open waters, I like having it under my cap, so that I can have a better idea about how far did I go.

    For competition: For sure…I wont be swimming with it in the cap and then put it on my wrist during the transition…I believe I would get nervous and it could fall…lose it…Therefor, I would just wear it all the time and press LAP every time I enter the transitions and change from one sector to the oder, knowing obviously that the information provided during the swimming sector is just bull*****it.

    Once again, thank you vey much for you review. It helped me a lot to make a decision.

    P.S.: Has anyone had problems with water leaking inside the watch? Some people told me not to swim too much with it because they had bad experience with watches like this one whiche were supposed to be waterproof as well.

  77. Gareth

    Fantastic review RM many thanks. Really helped me decide to go for it. Bought the other week and I really like it. Came on here again tonight as your review is better than the manual!! Much obliged 🙂

  78. Sela

    For those complaining about a smaller size in black, there is now a blk/silver in the smaller size.

    Is the discount link no longer any good?

    • Rainmaker

      Still good! I just fixed what looked like a broken link on the first one. Should be good now! Also, the smaller Black/Silver unit is now available as well as noted.

  79. Daniel

    Hi, thanks for the great review! i went and bought this watch about an hour ago as my first gps watch and think its going to be great! a feature that i will find very usefull is the run/walk timer without the gps, this would be very usefull for using with a punchbag (e.g. 1 minute on the bag, 30 secs rest and so on) im just wondering if it will be upto the constant shock of punching a punchbag while on your wrist? what do you think? thanks, atb, dan.

    • Rainmaker

      I think as long as you don’t punch the watch itself you’re likely pretty good. I’d see this as on-par with swimming on your wrist (figuring a given 3,000y workout would be 30-40 strokes per 50y, so hitting the water some 2,400 times. I know it’s not the same, but the shock of hitting the water is actually what kills most non-waterproofed watches.

  80. Graham

    Hi mate,
    Thanks for the review – I bought one of these in preparation for a run I’m doing tomorrow after reading it. Any chance you could add a footnote to your review about the average/lap pace/speed update? I thought this was a fantastic little bonus when I saw it, and I’m sure others would appreciate it too 🙂

  81. DS

    I like everything I’m reading about the FR10, except still not clear about the final answer on elevation. When data is uploaded, are there elevation graphs at this time or not? That is one feature that I think is important in a GPS watch. Thanks.

  82. Bryan

    Hi Ray,

    Can i use this for triathlons? i really don’t need the exact split times. Can the FR10 track me continuously during the swim, bike and run? Just a recreational triathlete here. Thanks.

    I hope you could answer my inquiry.

    • Technically it’ll track your time across all three sports. However, it won’t split them. Nor will it track distance while in the swim.

      Honestly, I’d really look at the FR310XT instead. It’s cheaper now, but I think there’s some sales being looked at over the next couple weeks to cut a few dollars off of it. And for a recreational triathlete you’ll get way more bang for your buck than over the FR10.

  83. runLB

    Thanks for such a detailed and great review! I read this and others and bought the FR10 to use on basic runs. I have a FR305 to use for specific interval type training runs when I want to program an advanced workout with lots of steps and changes. I love the fact that Garmin took note and added the pace options so you can get average pace per lap or average pace per run during the run.

    I’m going to try the run/walk feature to use for basic intervals. A question if anyone has tried this. Can you turn on the run/walk in the midst of a run? So I do a manual warmup for however long/ far I want, then want to start the intervals. Or do I have to have the intervals running the whole time and just ignore them until I’m ready to actually start running the intervals?

    Also, is there any way to totally disable the calorie information? I don’t need it scrolling around on the screen and throwing numbers at me that I really don’t care about.

    Thanks!

  84. phoros

    Hi Ray!
    I won’t be original: great site, excellent reviews. I spend here a lot of time.

    I’ve bought FR10 several weeks ago mostly after reading your review and I’m very pleased with it. Not a single issue, works perfectly in every aspect, it’s really the optimal choice for the beginners (who I am btw). The only thing I’m starting to miss are more complicated workouts/intervals/repeats. I’ve started to run more lately according to Jack Daniels’ plans and sometimes I find it difficult to do the time/distance math during running. I don’t expect Garmin will arm their cheapest GPS watch with such a complicated software.

    My question is: does Garmin plan to release a 610 successor in the nearest future? You mentioned this somewhere at the page speaking about summer or autumn.

    Cheers from Poland!

    • I would guess we’ll see some successor announced during the fall running season. But whether that means announced with immediate availability, or announced but with 1-3 months later availability is really the question at hand.

    • phoros

      Thanks a lot for this whisper! There’s no rush, I’ll wait patiently and with some curiosity as well. I considered 10 and 610 in April – chose FR10. Today I’d choose 610. Though as I mentioned I’m happy with FR10, get used to it and I like it very much. In the end of the day it gives me time, distance and pace – that’s all I need for now.

      Thanks once again, all the best to You & your Wife and I stay following.

  85. Nickala

    Hi!

    Thank you for so much helpful information. I am needing a new watch and bike computer, so I was considering a GPS watch to combine the two puroposes. This one does everything I’d like it to do, but I was wondering about battery life. My rides are 1hr in the morning, and 1.15 hr in the evening. Do you think/know how often I’d need to re charge and if the battery would be able to handle both rides and a day of regular time telling use?

    Any info would be great, and thanks again for being so thorough!

  86. Christina

    Great review… Thanks for explaining all of the features extensively and including photo’s & video. Really helped make my decision easier. I purchased the FR10 today at a local running store since I had trouble with the link on your site… wouldn’t apply the discount to the watch and got an error screen when trying to check out after I entered the code . However, I had no trouble with the link and code to the bike mount! I’ll be traveling to D.C. in the near future and signed up for one of those running tours in the city…. Excited that this watch has the auto pause feature (like my larger 305 model) so I can try it out on the tour with all the stops along the way! Thanks again… Keep on reviewing!!

  87. Sarah

    Hi just wondered which you prefer this or the forerunner 110? I only road run up to 1/2 marathon. Thanks Sarah

    • They’re both slightly different. The FR10 really has almost more features than the FR110, but the FR110 does have one feature the FR10 doesn’t: Heart Rate tracking. If you don’t care about that, then definitely go with the FR10. Otherwise, the FR110 is a better bet (though I’d recommend the FR210 over the FR110 since the FR110 doesn’t do instant pace – only average pace).

  88. Sarah

    That’s great thank you. Your reviews are brill. I was looking at the 210 as well so that is good to know.

  89. Christina Klein

    I’ve been using my FR10 on runs for several weeks now and it’s been great! I connected it to my bike as well. The one feature that I miss from my 305 is the instant pace. It would be the perfect watch if Garmin included that on their next FR10 update… when they come out with an even smaller women’s version!

  90. Jigsy

    So if I buy an F10 now, it has Average Pace option? Or do I have to install something?

  91. Himanshu Agnihotri

    Good helpful Review. I use mobile GPS appliactions like Sportstracker which when i compare with my pedometer data gives me shocks. Lot of difference in reading. My first query is about accuracy. Will it be accurate as my pedometer. Secondly I share my walks on twitter/facebook..kind of keeps me motivated. Will i be able to do so in Garmin Connect. Pls advice. Thanks.

    • phoros

      You can share activities from Garmin to social services with one click, no problem here. I’ve moved from mobile GPS to this watch several weeks ago and couldn’t be happier. With accuracy as well.

  92. Michele

    Is the walk/run feature on the FR10 essentially equivalent to the interval feature on the FR210?

    • phoros

      Not exactly. It’s just the looped alarm of run and walk periods, buzzing in background when set on. Unfortunately the times are limited to 10 minutes and graduating 30s. If I remember Ray’s review of 210 it can be used for more complicated workouts.

  93. Andrew Douglas

    Today while running with the FR10 I stopped for about 10 mins to talk to a friend. I had pressed the #2 button to stop the timer. When I was ready to head out again I noticed that the FR10 was showing the time of day and the date. I pressed the #2 button again hoping that the timer and tracking would continue where it had left off but all I saw was the unit getting the location. I went into history and there was my run completed. I went into settings to see if I could prevent that from happening again. No luck. Maybe the FR10 displayed briefly a warning about ending the timer/tracking because of no activity but I did not see it.

  94. Monika

    I’m amazed by all your reviews ! I was just told about your website yesterday and have been reading on here for the past few hours ! I run mostly to stay fit so between 3-6 miles a day. Bike sometimes as well. Do tons of hiking… Still, wanted to get some GPS watch mostly to track distance, calories etc. Nothing crazy. Can’t decide whether I should get something with a heart rate monitor or not… So far I’m between the FR10, FR110, FR210 and TomTom Runner. Have asked around but everyone seems to be saying something different….. I’d like to not go over $200-$250 if possible. Do you have any suggestions ? Please and thank you 🙂

  95. Donal

    Your reviews are really excellent and cover everything needed. It’s been my main source of info in deciding on my first GPS watch, the Forerunner 10 as it happens. Thanks for your help.

  96. James

    This would be my first running watch. I run a lot of wooded trails. how accurate is the GPS functionality when running in wooded areas?

  97. Ja'far

    Am I the first one to have the strap fall off the FR10? Today I ran in pretty hot conditions – 42C – and the strap has come off. It is too loose now over the connecting pins. I don’t think I can get a replcacement here in Saudi Arabia. Can you recommend a better watch for hot conditions? Thanks in advance.

    • Ja'far

      Oh, I see now this has been partially addressed above; I searched for “strap” but not “band” before posting.

  98. Traci

    Thank you for this website!! Have loved my FR305 but battery is starting to fritz. Love the features of the FR10 but worried about the battery life. I’m a 4:15-4:30 marathoner and doing one in October. Is it truly only 5 hrs? Here are the features I want:
    Current pace
    Avg pace
    Time
    Distance
    Auto lap
    RELIABILITY:)
    I can pay more if need be, I just know I won’t use all the additional features of some. Is this watch my best bet?

    • It’s true, 5 hours is about it. You may want to look at the FR210 instead – that’s probably a better bet if you’re looking for longer battery life, and it still has all the features you noted above.

  99. Patty

    Does this Garmin show average pace or only current pace? I can’t seem to get a clear answer anywhere I look. Amazon reviews say it only shows your average pace at the end of each mile. I’m looking for a watch where I can glance down at any given time and check my average pace, not my current pace. It’s important to me when I’m running a race to know whether I need to pick up the pace a little or slow down a little. The current pace won’t help me too much with how I’m doing overall, just how I’m doing at that exact moment. Thanks for your help.

    • phoros

      It shows one (and only) of those:
      – current pace
      – lap pace
      – average pace.
      And the same with speed. You choose one of them in settings and it’s the only kind of pace/speed you can check while running.

  100. Kris Steven

    Awesome review website. I just got a forerunner 10 and was frustrated with it until I read your site. THank you!!!!

  101. jen

    I am on my SECOND of these, after returning the first because even when fully charged, it wouldn’t turn on, the light never worked ever, and I couldn’t charge it in my car. REI gave me a new one. Now it is giving me problems too. Fully charged, it can’t find a signal. Standing in the middle of the road! I just ran 5 miles, I got to 2.5 before it caught the GPS signal.

    This thing is a PIECE OF CRAP. I want to return it for yet another but at this point, I have no faith in this stupid watch. Suggestions?

  102. E.T. Moore

    Thank you so much…awesome review for my new watch. My running store (Runners Depot, Coral Springs, FL) told me to disregard the package directions and come to your site. They were right. So glad I did. Thanks again Rainmaker!

    “E.T.”

  103. runLB

    In general, I love the FR10. I have the FR305 which I use for workouts when I want to do an advanced program, but now 90% of my runs I use the FR10 because it’s so much smaller. Up until today, absolutely no complaints at all and I’ve recommended it to several others who also really like it.

    Today however, it did something weird. It dropped 1.3 miles of my run. It stopped recording about 4 miles into my run at just a random spot on my run where there was no reason I would’ve stopped it (no road crossing, not a water stop, etc.). It didn’t go into the mode where it starts warning that it’s going to shut off the GPS functionality, so it appears that it was in some weird state of just not recording. At the next water stop, I stopped it as normal, realized the mileage was off, then started it again to continue my run and it tracked along fine after that, just 1.3 miles shorter than my friends.

    Has anyone else experienced something like this where it just decides to not record a portion of your run?

    Thanks!

    • phoros

      My unit guesses sometimes my position rather than records it. It’s clearly visible in Garmin Connect later. It’s due to number of satellites and smart recording (instead of 1s), it’s pretty obvious and happens relatively rarely. But I’ve never experienced a situation you described.

      Few weeks ago though the watch started to have big problem with catching the location before the run. I removed all workouts from the watch and did a master reset. Since then – it flies and works like a charm. Maybe it has to be done from time to time like in other devices?

  104. GREAT review! I was just given money for my bday to apply to a running watch that I’ve wanted for YEARS! Yippee. I was really liking this one, but I hate how you can’t connect the foot pod up for indoor treadmills!

    What kind of watch would you suggest that has all of these basic features, and also the foot pod? I’d also like BASIC cycle options too… Since I’d like to get a bike.

  105. Pam

    Great review! Quick question – I have a FR10 and I love it but one thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to toggle to the clock to show the actual time during a workout (or even to toggle to the clock when I pause my workout). Is there a way to check the clock while running?

    • runLB

      While running, push the bottom right button twice. First push goes to your second data screen, the second push goes to the time of day. Push the same button again to go back to your first data screen.

      Now as far as viewing the time while paused, I have no idea. I think you have to actually be running to see the time of day.

  106. Warren Anderson

    Getting fine scratches on the crystal, despite being reasonably careful. Anyone else experiencing this?

    • phoros

      Nope. I use it everyday for three months in any conditions AND treat it not so carefully – it’s in perfect shape, not a scratch. I really like this watch. For many reasons.

  107. Michael Barella

    I need some charging advice. I had a forerunner 10 and loved it. I was charging it whenever the battery got to half way. After a while, a full charge wasn’t lasting too long. I contacted Garmin and got another forerunner. I’ve had it a couple of weeks and no problems. Should I wait until I have 1 bar left on the battery or does it matter???

    • I generally charge my devices fully about once a week, sometimes more frequently if use dictates. Given the FR10 only does 4-5 hours, I’d do it such that if you plan a long run, you definitely have a full charge. For any run under 2 hrs, I’d go with no less than half-charge.

  108. Kerri Ter Mors

    We bought this watch for our son who runs high school cross country. He runs a 5k and needs to run each mile at a different pace. His 1st mile needs to be 5:50 so if we set it at that it will pace mile 2 and 3 also at 5:50, and they need to be faster times. Can we pace miles 2 and 3 at different times on this watch? I hope this make sense.

    • Unfortunately not. That would require use of the more complex “Workout” function, which allows you to create custom workouts. The FR610, FR310XT, and FR910XT all have that capability.

  109. anniejune

    Hi, I want to buy my teenage son a GPS watch, as he is now into running and triathlons and want to find out if someone can tell me a good watch, on the cheaper side that would fit his wrist – maybe unisex? Thanks.

    • Honestly, if he’s into triathlons as well, I’d look at the FR310XT – unless he finds that too big for his wrist (but I encourage him to try running with it for 30 seconds, as most people forget it).

      The FR10 is a solid watch, but it won’t really measure metrics related to triathlon (i.e. swimming), nor does it have any sort of multisport mode.

    • anniejune

      Thanks Rainmaker, this site is so helpful 🙂 I really appreciate this feedback, and will go and have a look at the FR310XT for him.

  110. Jeff Whittle

    Man, can’t tell you how much I appreciate this really thorough review. Went straight to Clever Training from your link and bought one. 10% discount, free shipping. You rock.

  111. Arun

    Hi Ray,

    First of all, thanks for such a amazing review of a product. It’s hard to find such detailed feedback that actually makes sense. Great work.

    I have a question, as I am planning to buy my first GPS watch (only knowledge being your blog) and I am what you may call a “first day at the park” runner. I had a budget of about $200, so did start of with a few options (TGT, Nike+, FR110, FR10).

    Now after reading your FR10 review, it seems to fit most of a starter’s needs (not sure how bad not having Avg Pace, HRM and Cycle history is) and is also the cheapest at $130. But just as I decided on FR10, I found a couple of refurbished FR405CX, priced around $130 as well. Now that has got me confused.

    I know the FR405 is outdated, but from what I read it appears that it would still offer more functionality (except water proofing) over a new FR10. Which one would be better at that price? What are your thoughts?

    Cheers and thanks again for this wonderful blog.

    • No, stay the course – go the FR10 instead of the FR405. Yes, the FR405 has more features, but it also has (in my opinion), the incredibly annoying touch bezel. I’d happily run with the FR10 over the FR405 any day.

      Also, on average pace – it was added in a firmware update (which reminds me I need to briefly note that in the review).

  112. ranga

    brilliant review. as someone said earlier, thanks for all your hard work.
    i just got my FR10 yesterday and i am eagerly looking foward to my first run with it.
    i cannot believe though that some people go to the trouble to point out typo`s to you. ducking idiots.

  113. mike

    Any chance of comparison pics (for size) between the FR10 and the new FR220 coming out? I like the FR10 (bought) but looks like double the battery life on GPS with the FR220, plus more features.

  114. Brian Collins

    Hey!
    Great review! I live in Nairobi Kenya so my first question is if you have heard of any problems with the GPS working well in international settings like Kenya? Also, will the 5600 ft elevation give it any issues?
    Thank you

  115. GE

    Almost coming up to a year using my FR10 for both MTB and running (more the latter as it is designed for).

    Loads of positives, as mirrored by all the comments above.
    I have recently noticed a drop in battery life, to around 3ish hours which means I’m often charging it twice a week rather than just once. do about 3-4 hours a week using the watch.
    I also have real trouble locking the watch to the GPS in new locations. I will take the watch off whilst stretching, put on a wall or the car. Sometimes 5-10 minutes to lock on. Once it ‘Remembers’ a location I rarely have an issue, apart from outside my house (??)
    My other issue is if you like to see your records it would be great to have these sectioned depending on activity – however I realise more expensive models would fulfil this.

    Yet to use Kitesurfing but will do on my next session!

  116. stan

    How is the GPS lock on this watch? Some comments seem to suggest that it takes sometime. Will it find the gps signal as I am running (like the Garmin 610) or do I need to take it off and place it on the ground? Also, how long does it take on average – is it comparable with the other Garmin watches?

    After suffering for a year with the Soleus 1.0 I don’t want another watch that cannot locate GPS while moving…

    cheers

  117. GADEMZ

    Hi
    Which chipset does forerunner 10 use SiRFstar III or SiRFstar IV?
    tnx

  118. Bryn

    Great review as always! Thank you very much! Hoiw do you find the time toi take all the photos, wrirte it all and everything!!! Fabulous! Cheers. Bryn

  119. Nick

    Hey Rainmaker,

    Thanks for the great reviews. I’m really torn between the FR10 and FR210. Specifically, what I want is to be able to measure Lap Time and Lap Distance. Therefore, if I wanted to run a ladder (.25, .5, .75, 1 mile) I want to be able to figure out the distance and time of each rep by manually pressing the lap button. Am I right in understanding the FR10 doesn’t have this, but it would be possible on the FR210?

    Also, within this price range, would there be other models you would recommend into looking at?

    Thanks,

    Nick

    • Unfortunately not, you’d have to manually track the distance side of the lap as it doesn’t display that.

      It’s definitely possible on the FR210 (I do it all the there) – though, if you’re looking at the FR210, I’d highly encourage you to look at the FR220 as it’s just coming onto the market in the next 3-4 weeks.

  120. Nick

    Thanks for the great answer and the great review. I had looked over FR220, but wanted a watch for the training program I was about to start this month. Went with the FR210 instead! Using CleverTraining discount plus the garmin rebate, it was only $155!!

  121. mitch

    Many thanks for your so thorough reviews. I’m all set to buy the forerunner 10 and was wondering if the usb charging cable can be used with a standard mains plug/usb charger (i’m in the UK). There are cheap chinese versions of these available for about $2 but having suffered with all the various Apple charging devices not working on upgraded editions of ipods etc I’m waring of buying anything.
    It’s a pain having to find a plugged in computer every time i want to charge but can leave a plug in by the front door on a permanent basis.

  122. Jalil Madueno

    Kindly take note of the wristband problem the model has. I already replaced mine thrice as they keep falling of in 3-8 months time. It’s a design flaw i believe and how the charger latches to the watch contributes to the problem. You should avoid touching the wristband while removing the watch from the charger Garmin should redesign their wristbands in future models.

  123. MITCH

    Hi Rainmaker, I’ve just got my Garmin 10 but an struggling to work out how to add the “average pace” upgrade you mentioned. I’ve registered with Garmin Connect and, with the watch connected, I clicked on everything i can see that looks like a potential upgrade but if it’s happened I can’t see it.
    Very grateful for your time in offering all this help.

  124. Marek

    Hi,
    First of all, great review, thanks!
    And now the question. Since men’s version of the watch is bigger can I count on longer battery life or the opposite? I do not see anyone asking that question before.
    Best regards,
    Marek

  125. mitch

    Hi DC, thanks for that. I spent a wild saturday night combing through all 420 comments on this review and eventually worked out that average speed appears under “run options.”
    Got it going yesterday and all good – watch would be pretty useless without average pace, in my view.

  126. Gene van den Broek

    “Pace/Speed can be displayed in one of the following formats ”
    – Pace
    – Lap Pace
    – Avgerage Pace
    – Speed
    – Lap Speed
    – Average Speed

    In reference to the recording of speed- can you see your max speed (ie 28kph) in garmin connect and ideally see the spikes in speed similar to the picture you provided with the spikes in pace graph? (ideally I want to see the top speed for repeat sprint work-ie top speed for each 100m run)?

    thanks,

  127. Gene van den Broek

    thanks – great review

  128. Ally

    As a majority of comments above mention the 210, which would you reccomend? I do like the 3 fields of the 210, and the foot pod idea, but those are not must-haves for me. i also do not train with a heart rate monitor. I like the size/colors that the 10 offers. also the Virtual Pacer. I could use the run/walk setting as an interval timer. Uhg…. I am vey conflicted within myself. Any advice you could give to me?

    • In general, if you think you’ll want to run indoors with a treadmill – then I’d go FR210 (or FR220) instead of the FR10. If you don’t think that’s an issue, and if you don’t need much customization – I’d go FR10.

      Enjoy!

  129. Zach Peters

    I’m trying to decide between the Garmin Forerunner 10 and the Nike+ GPS Sportswatch. I’ve read both your reviews and don’t see any major differences, other than the fact that the Garmin isn’t compatible with a heart rate monitor when the Nike is, and the Nike data can’t be exported to Excel when the Garmin data can. Hard to determine which flaw is worse. Any thoughts?

    Ps- I read your blog posts often and always appreciate your reviews and stories!

    • That’s about the gist of the differences. I would say that if you read through the comments on both this post and that post, you’ll probably find your answer. In general, you’re really hard pressed to find someone upset with the FR10…really hard pressed.

  130. runnington

    Thanks for yet another very detailed and helpful review!

    I apologize if what I’m asking has already been asked, but I haven’t had time to sift through all the comments (I’m #436!)
    Given that you can only choose 2 data pages with 2 data fields per page, can I choose to pair Average Pace on one page and Current Pace on the other data page in a single run/workout? I’m almost set on buying the FR10 but I would just like to know before I commit.

    Thanks in advance and keep up the good job!

  131. Manuel

    Hello,
    Thanks for the review, it was very useful and very professional!

    I have one question, if you have to choose between the Garmin FR10 and the Timex Global trainer wich one would you pick ?

    Thank you very much!

    • Two fairly different units. The TGT is for higher-end user, and is really quite large compared to the FR10. It connects to footpods, ANT+ heart rate straps, power meters, etc…

      The FR10 is for pure running, doesn’t connect to anything, but is simple, small, and easy to use.

  132. Marios

    Hi, i use my forerunner 10 in an open sky swimming pool. The gps was working, i swim a 2 km distance but the watch was showing 6.8 km. I know that the watch is not for swimming but i am wondering why there is a big difference. Thank you.

    • Each time your arm goes underwater it loses GPS signal. When it comes back up again it has to find GPS signal, which results in it often being off hundreds of feet. That being off each stroke or so quickly becomes pretty ugly. Check out your GPS map to see why.

  133. Tania

    Hi there,

    Awesome review! I found this very useful and informative. I am looking to purchase my first GPS watch and am very keen on the Garmin Forerunner 10. Does the watch also have the option to measure distance in kilometers?

    Thanks,

    Tania

  134. Rakesh Singh

    I am facing the issue of wrist band. It has come out and I am not able to paste it with adhesives. Not sure from where I can order it / replace it.

    I am based in India and I bought this watch F10 from US

    • There’s a screw there. You can probably ring up Garmin support and get a new screw sent out (though, I’m not sure exactly which support desk you should call).

      Alternatively, you can order a new wrist band kit (includes everything). You can likely contact Garmin India as a starting point for getting replacement parts: link to garmin.co.in

  135. Rakesh Singh

    Hi, Thanks.
    I think, in F10 model, there are no screws. I will recheck it.

  136. Barbara

    As a new runner (6 months) I love my pink Forerunner 10 which I bought when I started running. Although with the 220/620 coming out, I want one of those, trying to choose which one though…

    One of the small bugs I have with the FR10 is the weather data when I upload my runs. It’s not a big deal at all, I barely look at it, but sometimes I’m interested. Anyway, I live in Dubai and after the first few runs it no longer registers the weather. It says “Sorry we do not have weather for this activity”. It used to work. When I was in Australia for a few weeks it managed to have data on the weather for every run.

    Any thoughts? Is there a way I can fix it? Like I said, not important with regards to my actual running data, just wondering if it can be fixed.

    Also, I wish the run/walk option could be more than 10 minutes. Anyway, this is the main reason I want a 620/220, to send workouts to the watch! Yay! And vibrate alert, for when I’m listening to music.

    • No way to fix it that I’m aware of. It comes from a variety of providers, but it is interesting your seeing some workouts without it. I can’t remember the last time it didn’t pull weather from one of my locales (and I travel a ton).

  137. Katrina

    Hi, thanks so much for the great review. I’ve had the FR10 for almost a year, and in general it’s bern great, BUT, the battery dissapoints me. It can’t hold a marathon run for more than 4 hours. Sometimes it just blanks in the middle of a training and I’m suddenly without time or distance info, and it doesn’t save the rum. It started bugging after a few months of use. I checked with Garming support, they just said reset it blabla. Everytime it makes contact with the charger it blanks or I have to reset it. But when it works fine, it’s great. I want to buy a new Garmin one that mostly has a longlasting battery (10h+) and that I can trust through all the marathon, even ultramarathon. Which one would you recommend? Thanks!

    • Hmm, the unit does only have 5 hours of life, but I would expect it to generally get pretty close to that.

      That said, if you need 10 hours (but not more), than check out the FR220, which is a good upgrade from the FR10. Alternatively, see what sales bring for units over the next two weeks, especially on the older units like the FR210 (another good choice).

      Beyond 10 hours gets you into a different price bracket and device range, mostly towards much higher end watches.

  138. William Curtis

    I have been using the Garmin Forerunner 10 for about a year. Maybe because mine is older it does not give “average speed”. It does however do a great job at displaying the pace you are running, the distance you have run, and your time. It also beeps at split miles, and give mile times at the end. I am a casual runner, and love the watch for its simplicity. If you are looking for a basic watch to tell how far you’ve run, give you splits, and give you your times, I recommend this watch.

  139. Puffolino

    My wife needs a simple watch for the weeks, which will have enough space to save all runs – I want to import all data to the GTC when she returns…
    So, how memory has the FR10?

    • The FR10 includes about 900KB of available space for saving files. A typical workout recorded on the FR10 is roughly 10KB per hour. Thus, you’ve got about 90 hours of workout recording time before you’ll need to download.

  140. Rodrigo Valle

    Hi Ray,
    I am wondering if the FR10 can be used for lap swimming in a pool.
    My idea is:
    – Not use GPS (obviously)
    – When uploading the file to Garmin Connect or other websites, change the sport to “Swimming”
    – Press STOP/START to pause when resting between sets
    – Press LAP when starting a new set.

    What I am wondering is what will the file look like.
    Will the rest times between STOP/START presses show up as actual time in the log file, or is the logging completely halted when the watch is in stop mode?

    My hope is that I will end up with a file that contains the total time for each set and correct rest time between sets. Is this correct?
    Also, I guess the end result will be the same on any FR watch except for 310XT/910XT/Swim.

    Thanks!
    Rodrigo Valle

    • So I played around with this a bit the other day in the kitchen (just as good as a pool in this case). In the case of the FR10 while in indoor mode if uploaded to Garmin Connect and switched to swimming mode, it won’t show any of the separation for the paused time. Just lap splits.

      The Swim and FR910XT does however show the paused time (check that out in those reviews).

      Now, if you’re talking the raw file, then yes, it does as it records everything in UTC, so you could parse it that way.

    • Rodrigo Valle

      Thanks for your reply, this is indeed the greatest review website I have ever seen.

      As for the faux-swimming mode, I understand.
      So it won’t work as seamlessly as I would expect, that’s a shame. Maybe I’ll just get both the FR10 and Swim and tell my wife someone stole my wallet… 🙂

      Thanks!
      Rodrigo

  141. Gaelyn

    Hey there

    I am looking for a very basic measuring watch: TO track how far I run and how far I cycle. Can this do that?

  142. Adrienne Cornelius

    I’m having a hard time deciding between the forerunner 10 and the forerunner 110. I plan to use it for half marathon training. I pretty much just want to know total distance, total time and the split time of each mile. I’d like to be able to review these pieces of information at a later date.

    I have been carrying my cell phone using the map my run app. This app is great in that it stores all the desired information, however, I am leary of how accurate it is.

    Basically I want a quality, durable, accurate watch that will trace and store (on computer is fine) workout summaries. I’m an ex collegiate heptathlete and not a super competitive distance runner but would love to track my progress.

    What to do? Foreunner 10? Forerunner 110? Or something completely different?

  143. runLB

    Adrienne – the FR10 will work great for what you describe. Those are the features for which I use it on a regular basis. Admittedly, I have a FR305 that I use for some special workouts where I want to program the heck out of the Garmin and have it tell me my intervals to run, but the FR10 is what I use for 90% of my workouts now.

    Question for DC or anyone who knows: Is there something I’m missing that will allow me to see my lap time instead of total time when using the manual lap mode? I was doing a track workout yesterday and switched it to manual lap mode, but during a lap, I want to see the time into that lap, not the time into the whole workout. I know it give me the lap time when I press the lap button at the end of the lap but I want to see where I’m at time-wise during the lap. Am I missing that setup option somewhere? Thanks!

  144. skim1124

    After reading the great review and the informative comments, I bought the FR10, my first GPS watch. It was brought to me here in Bangladesh a few days ago, and wanted to let everyone know that it’s working great so far. No problem at all with the satellite pickup and after uploading the data, I can see my route on Google Maps and Google Earth.

  145. Paul

    Thanks for the detailed review(s). Ended up buying an FR10 and it’s suiting my needs nicely. Honestly, your reviews and how-tos are far more useful than Garmin’s documentation – not only in terms of making a purchase decision, but in using and understanding the features of the device. Cheers!

  146. Andrea Z

    Thank you so so so much for all of the work you put into your reviews! I’m a recreational runner who is just getting into GPS equipment, and your watch reviews have been invaluable [ I’ve spent way more time on your website than I should have, especially during finals week ]. I currently have the Nike+ sportband [ which I should have researched more before buying, since the lack of a backlight really stinks. What kind of watch//band doesn’t have that these days?! ], and recently tried the Nike+ GPS watch because I loved the simplistic Nike website . . . However, I’m a really small girl, and I absolutely hated the clunky thing on my wrist, especially since I’m also looking for a day-to-day watch. That said, it came down between this watch and the Timex Run Trainer, since I have a regular sport Timex that is currently breaking. Even though I could have gotten either within ten dollars of each other, I chose the Garmin . . . The notifications of PRs is what convinced me! However, I’ll miss the hourly beeps of my Timex . . . maybe if Timex introduced that feature, I’ll go back. What that tangent really meant, in regard to you, is thank you thank you for being so detailed! Most sites wouldn’t have included those two little details, both of which matter a lot to me, as you can see. It’s the little things.
    Also, I ended up buying the Garmin through your Clever Training link, so thanks again for the 10% off, and I hope my contribution really helps! You deserve a lot for these.
    Cheers!

    • Size-wise, good call, the TRT is actually much bigger than even the Nike+ GPS. 🙂

      Thanks for the support!

    • Andrea Z

      I took my FR10 on it’s inaugural run today, and I’ve been having a ton of fun checking out Garmin Connect! However, I’m a bit concerned about my new watch — on the run today, I had some fog occurring within the screens. Did you experience this? I don’t know whether it’s normal or if I should be worried. It was only like 20 degrees Fahrenheit out. It wasn’t enough to affect visibility, but . . .
      Anyway, thanks again for all that you do!

  147. iyah

    thank you for this review and because of this me and my bf bought same watch!! it’s our first GPS watch and this really made our life more easier while running! no need to carry heavy devices such as phones!

  148. Meagan W

    Hello, thanks for your great reviews. I am so torn between the FR10 and the new 220. I am a triathlete but mainly want the watch for running and cycling (and don’t use a cycling computer). I am really only interested in “simple” functions like pace, distance, time and would prioritize these working seamlessly above anything else. However, I also do want a long battery life so as to not need to recharge every day and a slick slim design (small wrists!). On those points the 220 looks like it may win though in the comments section under that review it seems some have concerns with the GPS not tracking as well as other watches. Thoughts?

    • I wouldn’t be as concerned at this point with accuracy issues. It appears to be impacting a small number of people, but given how many people have the unit, we’re not talking numbers that are widespead. As I noted in the comments this morning. Forums and posts like reviews tend to only attract folks with technical issues. Very few people tend to post that the unit is working perfectly for them (in fact, almost nobody). Thus things end up lopsided.

  149. Josh

    When will we, or won’t we, see a HRM version?

  150. Josh

    I’d still love to see a slightly more expensive version that offered simple HRM capability along with stopwatch capability. That makes it the perfect all around watch. Ok maybe adding an alarm feature too. The gps on this thing is just spot on and simple.

  151. Kerry Harpur

    Hi I just got the FR10 but nit tested it out yet. I am doing my first Marathon next October but don’t envisage being finished for at least 5 hours. Will the battery last. I don’t want to loose any data on such an historic run. Thanks.

  152. Derick

    Hello DC Rainmaker. Awesome–and very thorough–reviews. Big ups to you for this site! Here are my 2 Q’s: I need to replace my recently deceased Garmin Forerunner 205. I don’t want a HR monitor, but would like to see time, distance, average pace of the whole run, and current pace all on one screen. It appears I can’t do that for under $150, which is my upper limit. It appears that the Soleus GPS Fit will show time, distance, and average pace all on the screen at one time, but I can’t tell if I can push a button (while running) to see current speed or if I have to set it for current speed beforehand, run with it set like that, and only get average speed at the end. Also, it appears that the Garmin F10 will show any two of the functions I want on the screen at any time–like you wrote, “choose any two pairs”–but I can’t tell if it lets users change screens (while running) between, let’s say, time with pace (set to current pace) and distance with pace (set to average pace), which is what I’d like. Can it do that? I am basing my purchase on your answer. Thank you very much for your detailed and enjoyable reviews!

    • Yes, the FR10 allows you to change the screen while running to your other ‘choose two’ pair.

      Looking at your budget, you may also want to look at the FR210, which keeps on dipping down into the $150US level on and off (a few times over the past 4-6 weeks).

      Cheers!

  153. SRF

    Awesome Review…. 😀 I do have a question for “the Girl” though …. Of the Garmin Forerunner 10 watches (the female fit and the male fit) which one does she prefer considering size, viewing data, and overall fit?

  154. Rick S

    Bought my wife this watch (ok, she picked it out and the color).

    Thanks so much for providing way more information / directions than Garmin did. An utterly worthless ‘manual’ – more like ‘keeping pressing buttons and eventually you’ll figure it out’.

    You listed the screen options (and combinations that can be chosen) so one doesn’t have to keep playing with it and writing them down. Garmin apparently couldn’t even bother to do that; they should be ashamed at such minimal (skeletal) documentation. For free, DC Rainmaker does it 5,000 times better than Garmin.

    The Forerunner 10 found the satellites WAY faster than my aged 305 – like in less 20 seconds!

    I see there’s no more ‘Training Center’ – on the net only it appears. Will we see a ‘subscription’ needed soon? Bet so…

    Thanks very much DC Rainmaker. Garmin – how about actually having someone else write up a manual that explains things? Please?

    • Training Center has largely been replaced by Garmin Connect. Training Center is the older download application for PC’s/Mac’s, but these days Garmin Connect does far more, and doesn’t look like it fell out of the 1980’s like GTC does.

      Enjoy!

  155. Rick S

    Thanks Rainmaker. But let’s see if a subscription fee pops up sometime soon… I know there are advantages to this, but…

    And I thought I was among the few who’d been into TGU… But Ilopango? Now there’s a turn onto final!

    Another FF — my record (retired now) was 226 days in hotels in one year. But almost all domestic US.

    RICK

    • Ahh yes, the TGU approach, good times! Haven’t been to Ilopango though.

      I suspect at some point Garmin may want to monetize GC, but right now they can’t because Strava (and everyone else) will laugh at them. Down the road (perhaps 1-3 years), if they increase features enough anything is possible.

  156. Rick S

    Ilopango (San Salvador) in dry season requires a steep turn onto final and always used to bring gasps and ‘dios mio’ from passengers.

    I’ll have to look at Strava.

    Thanks again for all that you do for us runners (I’ll start biking when my knees give out). Garmin should (but won’t) hire you as a consultant. I do have the e-mails of the Garmin leadership and plan to send them e-mails about the ridiculous ‘manuals’. They have the info (usually called ‘requirements’) and could do better – and sell more product.

    RICK

    ex-Deloitte Consulting / technology

  157. runLB

    Anyone know how the Soleus GPS Mini compares to the FR10? I have the FR!0 and love it, but a friend needs a new GPS and the pricing on the Soleus Mini is more in line with what she can afford, especially when on sale. I haven’t seen the FR10 on sale anywhere yet – did I miss that anywhere?

  158. Marsha L

    Great review. I’m new at running and wanted a GPS watch but didn’t want to put out a lot a cash. I looked and couldn’t make my mind up. Your reviews helped me a lot. I went with the Garmin cause it’s simple and has the basic information I need. Later on I may move up to more bells and whistles but for now this meets my needs.

  159. Tim

    DCRainmaker – excellent review of this and so many watches. My two year old Soleus 1.0 wristband broke and I was in the market for a replacement. Literally, in the market/store reading your reviews as I stood at the counter trying to make up my mind. This review and others gave me clear pros and cons that allowed me to compare alternatives and make an informed decision. I did move up from the $100 price point and so far I’m very happy I did. Thank you for your thorough and objective insights!
    PS – I tried to get Soleus to work with me on the repair of my 1.0 but I didn’t feel comfortable having to send pre-paid funds, a credit card number and a prayer that I’d get my watch back without spending more on repairs than it was worth.

  160. Paul

    Do you think I can use the GPS indoors while running a short, 1/12 mile track? (After all, my FR10 seems to lock onto a signal just fine even while still inside my house.)

    I suppose I could count laps, but I prefer to let my mind wander while running. The temperature is forecast to be (-)13F tomorrow, so I need to run indoors for a while.

  161. Thank you for this review. The FR10 is my first foray into GPS devices (other than standard bike computer) and it’s opened a whole new world. You have helped clarify many of the questions I still had regarding how to use the unit. I was also interested to see you confirm the waterproofing.

  162. JDW

    Is there anyway to display average pace and distance and time and current pace as the two data displays? It seems like you can only show average pace OR current pace.

  163. AD

    Can it function as a stopwatch, alarm, timer, etc?

  164. Rick S

    See ‘Settings / Alarm’ will tell you more about the alarm function. Stopwatch isn’t found in the manual but one supposes (since Garmin is too busy selling to explain much about product features) it can be done via the ‘lap’ function. Ditto for timer – whatever you mean by the term.

    Utter worthless manual (you have to go get it on-line but it’s so short and worthless anyway; shame on Garmin for such a miserable waste of paper/cyber space.

  165. Alison

    Is there some kind of portable battery pack for this GPS watch? I run an occasional 50k or 12 hour run maybe once a year, and generally my marathons are sub 5 hours so I really feel that the FR10 would be the best fit for me, EXCEPT on those rare occasions that I go significantly longer!

    • No, as soon as you connect in a power source it flips it into charge mode.

      I’d consider looking at the FR210 or FR210 instead, which get up to 8-10 hours. Beyond that, you’ve got the FR910XT/310XT in the 18-20hr ballpark.

  166. Oscar Peralta

    Seems like the FR10 doesn’t like foggy days. The GPS went all weird. Noticed it was not only my device since a good friend of mine had the same thing going on.
    link to connect.garmin.com
    Any clue if the newer/higher end models go wacky with fog? I live in Vancouver and we get a lot of foggy mornings.

  167. Monica

    Is there a way to make the watch not beep if you’re behind pace? I had no idea it did that! I don’t think I’d want that feature all of the time. Thanks for your in-depth reviews!

  168. Great review – thanks. I’ve just got this watch for myself so I’ll try out what you show in your review and see how I get on.

  169. Start slow then taper

    Great review(s), very useful. Helped me to decide on the Forerunner 110. After over a year and over a hundred runs – Likes: works exactly as advertised, light, just enough features, accurate enough, syncs well with GC (only lost one run in the past year). Dislikes: Note Bene comment #428 – wristband will separate from the watch if you use it to remove the watch from the USB/Charger cradle and will never be the same again (I superglued mine back on rather than pay for the replacement strap -crude but effective), orange watchband is un-cleanable (nothing I’ve tried touches the deepening grime), relatively short battery life (trail runner here), easy to inadvertently turn on the GPS & drain the battery if wearing as a watch.

    One question re: GC. Is there a way to stitch / join runs together? I lost GPS in a canyon mid run, and ended up with two halves of a whole…

  170. Julie

    Great review. One thing I can’t seem to be able to do is program the run/walk function past 10 minutes. I would have assumed that I could program it for any length of time. Am I missing something or is that just the way it is?

  171. John Stewart

    Have the black/red FR10 for the last year and use it when leading a group of runners. With the Christmas pressies coming into the group, I have two lady runners who have received the pink FR10. Much, much smaller.

    But, their times are not agreeing with mine, for example, after 4.5 miles, I’m recording a 9:50 avg time per mile, they are on 10:20 per mile.

    Any ideas what to check/do to resolve?
    Thanks,
    John

  172. Matt

    Stupid question perhaps, but I am an avid jogger and hiker.

    Would this unit be good for hiking as well as far as telling distnace, time, elevation change, etc???

    Thanks!

    • As Rick below, it’s good for distance/time. The challenge on elevation though is that the unit itself won’t display it. It will record the GPS track for later display on Garmin Connect though (it simply looks up the elevation), so it will show up there – just not during the activity on the unit’s display.

  173. Rick

    Matt – This watch would probably work OK for giving you the distance, time; it’s not tied to roads.

    The elevation function isn’t very trustworthy on the watches; if I run the route I’ll get different readings on ascent and descent many times. If you’re going to try and match up with a map elevation this probably won’t be ideal for that.

  174. Don

    Thanks for a really great review, this review and others on your site helped me ( newbie runner, first GPS watch ) in my decision to buy the FR10 and I am so glad I did! I have used it now for over a month and I really love it, helps keep me motivated and provides all the info I need.

    Thanks again.

  175. Hank

    Hi Ray, thanks to all your great reviews, I’m now getting saddle-sore riding the fence. I always thought the 10 would be my first GPS watch, until the 220 came along. i’ve been following your review of that one and staying up with the bazillion questions and comments along the way, but am now leaning back towards the simplicity and spot on reliability that the 10 seems to have.

    What I wanted to ask were two things: Does the 10 get regular firmware updates and fixes like the higher end watches, or does it just not need much now that it has matured? Secondly, since it has been around awhile now, how long do you think it will be before an new rendition comes out? I just don’t want, six months from now, to regret buying now. Thanks so much for your time. It’s almost crazy how much time you give this. Definitely buying through CT and everything from Amazon through your link.

    • No, the FR10 doesn’t really get any regular updates for new functionality or fixes. It’s received a few time-zone updates (where time zone shifts weren’t properly accounted for). And then received one update adding some data fields about 18 months ago. Ultimately though, as one can see above in the comments, there actually hasn’t really been anything to fix. Meaning, for once Garmin really seemed to nail it with a unit that just doesn’t have any software issues.

      As for a new version, it’s always hard to tell with the first iteration of a product. It’s about 2.5 years, a little more than Garmin’s usual release cycle. And typically speaking Garmin would release running launches either in Feb-Apr or Sept-Oct.

  176. Hi, found your review and instructions very informative.
    Set up my Forerunner 10 in Garmin Connect and all worked well for 4-5 weeks. Now my device is detected and shows as uploading but does not complete no matter how long I leave.
    This may or may not be connected with a software update, not sure.
    Any ideas on how to fix?

    • It sounds like the Garmin Connect Communicator piece is broken (the plug-in for your browser). I’d simply ring up Garmin for help troubleshooting that.

      Or, when you click ‘Upload’, you’ll see an option to manually choose a file. If you do that you can just pick the activity file off the FR10 as it appears as a drive.

  177. TonyD12

    Thanks for the fantastic reviews! I’m a fairly novice runner, training for a marathon. I want an entry level GPS watch, which would you recommend the forerunner FR10 or FR110?

  178. Jerry

    As always great job!

    I just purchased the Timex Ironman Triathalon watch because it has a Chronograph (stopwatch).

    This function allows me while running on the street to start/stop the counter when I come to a stop light, then I can just restart the watch and pickup where I left off so I know exactly how long I’m running.

    My question is, does the FR10 have a function like that?

  179. Jerry

    I know it has the auto pause feature when you come to a stop light, but I keep running back and forth while waiting for the light to change. So there is a chronograph/stopwatch feature built into the watch?

  180. Jerry

    Ok, sweet…One last thing, all the Forerunners have this capability?

  181. Neil

    Thanks for the review. Bought one for my wife as a Valentines Day present and she loves it :o)

  182. Sam

    What if I found a good deal on FR210 with the same price? Should I choose the 210 instead or just go with the 10 considering it is newer product? Any suggestion?
    Sorry for my bad english hope you get what I mean. Thanks.

  183. Warren Anderson

    Strap broke after exactly one year of use. I think it is a design or material flaw–rubber strap separated from hard plastic piece that attaches to watch, probably adhesive failure. Garmin is sending me a replacement strap, but I have to hold the watch in my hand when I run for the next week.

    • Emily Evans

      My strap also broke after just over a year in the same way that you describe. Did you get your replacement straps through from Garmin? I was wondering how you attached the straps to the watch as the pins don’t appear to have any function in holding the straps on.

  184. Verena

    I spent half the weekend reading your super thorough forerunner reviews. Finally settled on the 10 and just bought it through your Clever Training link. Thank you!!

  185. CICSMAN

    So I have lost a bunch of weight by doing a bunch of walking and I use an app on my iPhone MapMyWalk. I am really not overly happy with it, seams that over the same walk I get different results, and I paid the extra to get the trainer and what a disappointment. So I read your review and think this will work for me better then my iPhone app. Today I signed up for the Disney 1/2 marathon in November, never have really been in any type of race before, and I want to get to a pace of 15min miles(Walk/Run) and this this watch will be very helpful.

    Thanks for your review

  186. Daniel

    Hi there,

    Great site, I bought this watch on your recommendation and it has been good so far. One question: I have the watch set on Time/Pace. I did a half marathon last weekend and the watch every 20-25 minutes gave me a ‘lap’ and the Time restarted from zero. After the race I had done 7 ‘laps’. The Lap Time and Auto Lap settings were definitely OFF. As the course looped back on itself a few times I would have been in the same GPS location a few times during the race. Does the watch think I’d done a lap as I have returned to the same GPS location even though I have that setting off? As many courses loop back on themselves is there any way to set it so the Time runs continuously regardless?

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Hmm, that’s really odd. The only two ways to get laps in the FR10 are via autolap, or manual pressing of the button. I wish I had a better idea. It’d be interesting to look at the Garmin Connect file and see if any patterns show up there, via the Laps and Splits pane.

  187. Adam

    Hi DC
    Ive had this watch for about 3 months now and Iam prety impressed with it for the price. Has been a great running partner and would recommend ot anyone looking for a budget GPS watch to track all their runs.

    There is only 1 littly annoyance I find with this watch though is that I do occassionally knock the start run button (top right button) sometimes when I am out and about not runnign and using this simply just as a watch. This starts the GPS lock and uses more battery. I think this can happen beacuse the buttons are fairly large i believe and can be almost turned on by flexing your hand back to a right angle. Although you can stop this by pressing the cancel button (botton left) to get back to watch mode I have found out that other GPS watches have a lock mode which by pressing a button combination locks the watch so this doesnt happen, almost like a phone so you can lock it when not in use to prevent dialing but still see the time.

    I know this is a entry level watch but it seems like a feature that could be implemented in a firmware update that might save users a little bit of frustration. I couldnt seem to find any other users listing this so was just after any feedback on this issue.

    Keep up the good work DC

    Cheers

  188. Christopher

    Hi

    Nice review. I’m looking for a GPS watch, how many laps can the FR 10 record?

    Thanks
    Chris

  189. Just been trialling this for windsurfing. I realise this isnt its purpose in life, but as all im really interested in is speed, it seemed like it should be OK. All great and mostly credible, but it did record a spike in my speed of 72 mph which (as it breaks the world speed record by a margin of 15 mph or so) flatters me…

    Any reason why that might happen? And is speed accuracy usually accurate?
    Thanks in advance…

  190. I meant to say, this was an incredibly helpful review by the way.

    Thanks

    Alex

    • Rick

      Most GPSs, including Garmins, will often provide off the wall ‘top speed’ readings. I’ve done 27 mph across a street under pressure from cars but there’s no way a 68 year old can reach that speed.

      Same for altitude and comes with the territory…

      RICK

    • Thanks Rick – in your experience is this related just to a top speed spike? So the rest of the speed data is pretty accurate?

    • Generally speaking, when a speed spike happens, it’s because the unit believes it’s in one place, and then quickly realizes it’s not. So it connects the two – which in turn results in the simple math of distance over X time = Y MPH. The rest of the speed is fine.

  191. Rick

    I have an old Garmin 305 that I love (from 2008, still going strong) and it always shows a speed spike just before each mile (that I have it set to record). I’ve asked Garmin about it and have never received any response.

    My wife has and uses a FR10 and it doesn’t show that on the visual displays so perhaps Garmin has fixed it. I just wouldn’t be surprised by spikes in data and don’t take them as gospel. I have the HR monitor on my 305 and the ‘max HR’ is often off the charts.

    My wife’s FR10 seems more accurate in terms of speed compared to my 310, esp. for the actual where the 310 can be all over the board. Distance we’re almost always in sync.

  192. zukjeff

    Ray, I need to get my wife a new watch for her first marathon in July. The Fr10 can’t show pace and average pace at the same time. I could get her a 220 but what else would you suggest Garmin or not.
    No pod or HRM needed.

  193. Roger Price

    Ever have any problems with FR10 showing “unrecognized device” when connecting to Garmin Connect on Mac? It’s been working great for 8 months.

    • Eek, not sure there. Hard to say whether it’s computer or device that’s being problematic. I’d try and see if you can find another computer to plug it into.

  194. Sheryl

    Loved the in-depth review. Thank you. I bought mine back in December. Now that I’ve entered my long runs (over two hours), I’ve noticed that the LCD screen pixels aren’t correct. The first time I saw the number 2 (hours), the pixels were off. Called garmin and was told to reset watch. Have you heard of the same problem?

  195. Jamie

    Hi, just wanted to thank you for your thorough reviews. I bought this watch for my husband last year through your Clever Training link, and after borrowing his all year, I just bought one for myself. Thanks!

  196. I’m 63, therefore an ‘older’ runner. I’ve just become a run leader in my London club and therefore now need info about pace and distance, so we’re going at a ‘good’ speed for the right distance. I just bought one of these and am really happy with it, very surprised by the pace output, I’m an IT person so I though that would be a little inaccurate,

    It seems to take a while to find out where it is, but that’s a quibble and may be to do with high buildings in London. Since I’m often in the rain, glad to hear about the waterproofing quality, highlighted in the review, thanks. I’m not too bothered by heart-rate, if I feel things are straining, I slow down, want to live for a little while more yet!