My 2012 Sports Gadget Recommendations

(Update! My Summer 2014 Sports Gadget Recommendations post is now available here! Go check it out for all the latest gadgets!)

Each year around this time I put together my recommendations on sports gadgets.  Some consider this a bit of a holiday pick-list, and others just use it the remainder of the winter for determining their spots gadget purchases.  I know many of you have also used my ‘2012 Gear I Use’ list (as well as The Girl’s list) too.

Like previous years, I try and divide up the categories to be as specific as possible.  Ultimately however, there’s always going to be some overlap in features and functionality between the categories.  Additionally, it’s possible you may have a certain edge case that crosses categories – in most cases I address the ‘who is this good for’ aspect towards the end of the review, or in the comments of each review.  So those are great places to get additional clarification answers.

Finally, if you use either the Amazon or Clever Training links, you help support the site (and the fancy new overhaul and functionality you’ll see in the next 24 hours).  And, with Clever Training you get 10% off your cart for non-clearance items, as well as free US shipping over $75!  They have just about everything I recommend below, so you’ll get some solid cash back there especially on big ticket items like trainers and high-end watches.  And stay tuned later in the week for some Black Friday sales coming up on some products as well.

And check back later today for a new product comparison calculator here that should help you too (coming later today!).

With that, let’s dive into it!

Triathlon Watch (Overall):

Garmin FR910XT:  While there have been some new entrants into this category this year (such as the Magellan Switch), the FR910XT still easily keeps this category as the best overall triathlon unit.  Between the indoor and outdoor swimming metrics, and the up to par with bike-only cycling computers functionality (especially power meter support), there really is no other unit in the same league.

This unit generally costs about $400 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Triathlon Watch (Budget):

Timex Global Trainer: The Timex Global Trainer has slowly added little features here and there since launch, and at less than half the price of the Garmin FR910XT – it makes for a great alternative.  While the FR310XT is cheaper these days (sometimes as low as $250), I think that for the money, you can’t beat the Timex Global Trainer.

This unit generally costs about $150-160 from Amazon.

With Reservations: Magellan Switch/Switch Up This is a fantastic budget triathlon watch with a massive amount of customization and flexibility (far more than other watches).  However, it does suffer from one flaw – which some might say (correctly) is huge.  Running instant pace sucks.  Badly.  And despite being out for over four months, it’s still not fixed. But beyond that (and especially as a cycling unit) – it’s awesome.  It’s also got unique features that no other watch has, like a secondary battery pack you can snap on.  Deciding between the TGT and Switch?  Hmm, that’s really tough.  I’d probably give the nudge to the Switch and live with the instant-pace fluctuations – purely for the customization options.

This unit generally costs about $165-$250 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Running (Budget):

Garmin FR10: The competition has been heating up over the last 12 months for the sub-$100 watch category.  And while the FR10 costs $29 more than sub-$100, I believe it’s $29 well worth it – primarily due to the Garmin Connect platform and downloadable data that the sub-$100 watches don’t have.  The unit has arguably more features than the Garmin FR210 that’s twice its price.  And with two sizes (for normal and small wrists) and three colors, it’s the perfect gateway drug into running GPS watches.

This unit generally costs about $129 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Running (Mid-Range):

Polar RC3 or Garmin FR210: Both of these watches are really solid.  Previously I’ve said that I think for 95% of the runners out there, the FR210 works great (primarily for the footpod support for indoor running, as well as basic interval support).  However, the RC3 matches most of that and adds more around heart rate training and coaching that the FR210 doesn’t have.

The Garmin FR210 costs about $200 and available from both Amazon and Clever Training.
The Polar RC3 costs about $270 and available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Note that the Timex Run Trainer is in this same range, and I do recommend it.  However, there still continues to be some bugs that cause some people problems there – whereas the above two are generally less buggy.  And for those curious about the Motoactv, it’s a solid contender, but the company has more or less pulled out of the market – so it’s hard for me to recommend products from companies they don’t plan long-term support or new features.

Running (High End):

Garmin FR610: If I had to pick just one running watch to use forever, it would probably be the FR610.  It just works, and I can use it as a day to day watch as well (unlike many of the triathlon watches).  The wireless downloading via ANT+ means the data is there before I get to my computer, and the touch screen actually works (unlike the older FR405/FR410 touch bezels, which I despise).  Additionally, the falling apart band issues with some of the initial units have been resolved, so that’s no longer of concern.

The Garmin FR610 costs about $350 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Swimming (Pool):

Garmin Swim: This unit just came out back in June, but easily eclipsed its competition by offering a cleaner package with a drill mode – making it easy to account for drills that the accelerometer based watches like this can’t detect.  If you do pick up this unit, be sure to read my ‘How to get accurate swim data’ section within the FR910XT post – which utilizes similar technology.  It’ll help you get spotless swim distances (for stroke types…well, I can’t help ya there as my other stroke types generally look unrecognizable).

The Garmin Swim generally costs about $150 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

For those curious about openwater swimming: If you want stroke-data while openwater your only choice today is the FR910XT.  Otherwise, if you don’t care about stroke metrics, pick up any GPS watch (like the Garmin FR10 above), and slap it in your swim cap (like this).  Donezo!  As for the FINIS Hydrotracker, while it’s a good product, its fatal flaw is a nearly impossible to understand and see LED system – leading you to always question whether or not its actually recording.

For swimming MP3 players, see my recommendations here in my swimming MP3 player shootout post!

Cycling Computers (GPS):

Garmin Edge 500: This is the golden standard of GPS bike computers these days.  Every other GPS bike computer company on the market will start off a conversation with “Well, it’s like the Edge 500, except…” – except, they never are.  Now, there are some newcomers starting to slip into the market with units that have new functional areas – but they tend to be much bigger and lack some of the race and training detail that the Edge 500 has.

The Garmin Edge 500 generally costs about $250 and from both Amazon and Clever Training.

CycleOps Joule GPS: The Joule GPS is only recently on the market in the last few months, and you may have seen my review of it two weeks ago.  It’s a great unit, and while it lacks some of the online integration and 3rd party flexibility that the Edge 500 has, it makes up for it in the on-unit history and stat side of things.  If you don’t have a power meter, I’d recommend the Edge 500.  But if you have a power meter, the Joule GPS is definitely worth looking into.  Note, ensure that you’re getting the Joule GPS, and not the Joule 2.0 or regular Joule.  Both of those are overpriced, whereas the Joule GPS is right-priced.

The Joule GPS generally costs about $250 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

For those curious about the Timex Cycle Trainer – it’s a solid product, but the lack of power meter calibration and TSS/NP/IF metrics put it slightly in the shadows compared to the above two units.

Cycling Computer (Budget GPS):

Garmin Edge 200: This $130 unit doesn’t include ANT+, but does include just about everything else you need to record your location and ride info.  For the same price, it’s like the identical twin to the running Garmin FR10 – and works just as well.  It looks pretty much the same as Edge 500 from the outside in size (except is black), and does upload to Garmin Connect and other platforms after your ride.  Remember though, no ANT+ functionality (like heart rate, cadence, or speed distance indoors).

The Garmin Edge 200 is about $130 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Honorable Mention: Magellan Switch/Switch Up: As noted above, this gets a ‘with reservations’ due to instant pace issues while running.  But cycling it’s a rock-star and has just as many features as the Edge 500 does – like ANT+ support and power meter support.  It’s roughly the same size as the the Edge computers, but just gray or blue instead.  Given the holiday price drop down to $160 – it’s a steal.  Note that the ‘Up’ variant has the barometric altimeter (the Edge 200 has a GPS), whereas the regular Switch just has a GPS altimeter.

This units generally cost about $165-$250 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Cycling Power Meters:

This is an interesting category, with a lot of flux in new units coming onboard over the next few months.  But ultimately, those units aren’t here today – and I’m not getting terribly great vibes things are really on time there for really anyone.  Now, if you can afford to wait until the spring – by all means, I’d recommend that.  But, if you want something to use before then, then go out and pickup one of these units.

CycleOps PowerTap: While the PowerTap pricing has climbed a bit in the last 12 months, it makes for a good stable product that ‘just works’.  True, it does limit your wheel choice – but with some of their race wheels that can also be used for training, many athletes can use it for both.

The PowerTap hubs start at about $900 for a wireless ANT+ unit.  Available from Amazon and Clever Training.

SRAM Quarq Cinqo: Like the PowerTap, the Cinqo pricing has climbed as well – and in my opinion, has nearly reached the point of the SRM power meters, which make it less attractive price-wise.  That said, as the owner of two Cinqo’s, both The Girl and I love them and their customer service team.  If you have multiple wheel sets, you can’t go wrong here.  Note that I don’t see a reason to buy the SRAM RED variant.  Just get the cheaper one.

The Quarq Cinqo starts at about $1,500 – but climbs quickly with cranks. Available from Quarq.us.

CycleOps PowerCal (budget only, with reservations): I reviewed this last week, and for certain scenarios – the PowerCal is a good introduction to power meter concepts.  It’s not perfect – but it does allow you to start establishing trends if you don’t have $1,000+ to drop on a bike gadget.  Again, gateway drug to power meters.

The PowerCal costs about $99 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Cycling Trainers:

First, before you make any trainer decisions – read up on my trainer recommendations post.  Everything still stands there for all released products.  And for those products not yet on the market, my same cautions and optimism stands there as well (trust, but verify).  Also note that I offer lower-priced options in the recommendations post.  But most folks know me for my computerized trainer recommendations, which I’ve listed below.

If you can wait till a few days after Christmas: Wahoo KICKR: As I said before, this product is fundamentally changing the market – and I believe buying any high-end trainer between now and then would be silly if you didn’t just wait to see how the KICKR performs in real life.  It’s possible it could be a flop – but you’d know that from reading my review before you purchased – so no worries on waiting to see how things shape up.  The unit will be available for pre-order 30 days from when they arrive in the US for distribution.  Current expectation is for pre-orders to start in the next couple weeks.

The Wahoo KICKR will cost $999 and be available from a variety of Wahoo Fitness distributors shortly.

Need a trainer now: Tacx Bushido: If you need to pickup that high-end trainer today, then I’d go with the Bushido.  It’s not perfect when it comes to the software, but for the price, it’s a solid deal.  Plus, they’re making advances in the software, which is something I can’t say about other computerized trainers.

The Tacx Bushido Trainer costs about $920 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Hiking/Trails/Ultra Runners:

The hiking watch category is an interesting duck these days.  In many ways, I feel both of these watches are overpriced.  However both are improving with frequent firmware updates.  The Garmin Fenix team has been releasing updates and solid new features about every two or so weeks since the product came out.  And the Suunto Ambit team has been doing so about every quarter, with the next update scheduled for November 29th.  I’ll be updating my Ambit review after that.  My Fenix review contains the most up-to-date information on my thoughts about both watches (see end comparison section in that review).

At present, both products are generally good, but I’m really looking forward to seeing where things stand on November 29th.  If it were me, I’d wait a couple weeks and see what shakes out.

The Garmin Fenix costs $400 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.
The Suunto Ambit costs $500 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.


While a phone app works great in many circumstances (I like the easy to use Garmin FIT app and Runkeeper Pro personally), it doesn’t work great when you need battery life to last dozens of hours or even weeks.  Both of the below units have the battery power to go the distance – and you see me using them all the time in events (occasionally publishing to my tracking Twitter feed – @TrackDCR).

Garmin GTU10 (within cell range): If you’re tracking needs lie largely within cell range – go with the Garmin GTU10 (both US and Euro models offered).  It’s waterproofed (can go under your wetsuit) as well as has a battery life of up to 30 days, depending on tracking configuration.  If only they’d add ANT+ capability to it and a better sharing webpage it’d be the perfect endurance sports tracking product and I think would sell like gangbusters.

The Garmin GTU10 costs $160 and is available from Amazon.

Spot GPS (outside of cell range): If you’re going outside of cell coverage, then the Spot trackers are the way to go.  These are low-earth orbit satellite based and work in the vast majority of the world (they have a coverage map, but basically just about everywhere on earth you’d want to be).  While I have the different Spot versions (Original, Spot 2 and Spot Connect), I actually think the Spot 2 is the most stable product and the one I’d recommend.  It just works.  And for a life-saving device, you need it to ‘just work’.

The Spot 2 GPS tracker costs $100 and is available from Amazon.

Bluetooth Smart & Phone Products:

Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap: Wahoo Blue HR or Polar H7.  Both of these straps rock, and both work well.  The Blue HR has a ton of extra logic in it to reduce HR spikes and dropouts.  While the Polar H7 has backwards compatibility with gym treadmills/equipment.  Both work great for Bluetooth Smart (BT4.0) compatibility phones and devices (for example, iPhone 4s and iPhone 5).

The Polar H7 costs about $60-80 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.
The Wahoo Fitness Blue HR costs $70-80 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

ANT+ data on your iPhone/iPad/iPod: Wahoo Fitness iPhone Key: There’s over 150 apps out there these days that support ANT+ data.  But your Apple device doesn’t have ANT+ natively, so this little handy key allows you to use any of those 150 apps with your existing ANT+ accessories (like heart rate straps, speed/cadence sensors and power meters).  Note that I specifically don’t recommend the Garmin iPhone adapter, since it doesn’t work with any app besides the highly limited Garmin app.  Bummer.

The Wahoo Fitness iPhone Adapter costs $60 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Weight Scales (integrated):

Looking at scales these days, cheaper is better.  Ironically enough, the cheaper you get, the more features and technology advancement you seem to offer.  I’ve previously recommend the Withings WiFi scale – and that scale still stands in the recommendations pile.

However, I’ve also been using the FitBit Aria scale lately as well as I prepare my review.  It’s a bit cheaper, though they do have slightly fewer partnerships in the endurance sports log arena (though they like Withings have an easy API for developers to access).  Both track weight well, and both track body fat poorly (remember my scale testing?).

The Withings WiFi Scale is generally about $160 and available from both Amazon and Clever Training.
The FitBit Aria scale is about $130 and available from both
Amazon and Clever Training.

Finally, for those looking for an ANT+ scale that connects to your various Garmin ANT+ watches and downloads the data straight into Garmin Connect, I recommend the A&D Lifesource ANT+ scale.  It’s cheap, works just as well as those costing 2-10 times as much, and gets the job done…with an LCD display.  And, it’s down to $60 these days, that’s nuts!

The Lifesource UC-324ANT scale is available from Amazon from $60 to $110.

General Health and Fitness:

Here’s a few gadgets that don’t fall into the above categories, but that I get asked about a lot.  For activity monitors – like the FitBit – I recommend either the Nike+ Fuelband or the FitBit (any of the three versions).  I’ve long used the FitBit Ultra, but the new FitBit Zip is working out quite well.  Plus, the newly added Bluetooth Smart upload support is sweet.

The Nike+ Fuelband is much the same, though without as many partnerships with other platforms, so you’re a bit more limited there.  On the bright side, the Fuelband is less likely to fall off your waist strap and into the toilet – so that’s a pro.

The Nike+ Fuelband costs about $150 and is available from Nike or Apple.
The FitBit One (latest) and FitBit Zip (budget) are available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

For tracking sleep, I’ve previously recommended and reviewed the Zeo unit to track sleep.  However, the newer and smaller mobile version makes more sense these days.  I use it from time to time while travelling (actually have it with me right now).  It does hold you fairly accountable and its pretty fascinating to start seeing trends with your sleep and athletic performance.  As for the regular bedside edition – it still works great, it’s just that the mobile one is so much smaller.

The Zeo Mobile costs about $100 and is available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Odds and Ends:

Here’s a few little things that might make good stocking stuffers that I like:

Barfly 1.1 and TT Mount: I just reviewed this Garmin and Forerunner mount, and since it’s compatible with both (without any tools required to change orientation) – it’s great for triathletes.

The mounts cost $40 and are available from both Amazon and Clever Training.

Suunto ANT+ adapter: Have a Garmin Forerunner watch with the gigantic ANT+ USB stick?  Feel like you’re always going to break it off?  Problem, meet solution.  This tiny little ANT+ USB adapter works perfectly with your Garmin (and any other ANT+ device or Mac/PC app – like TrainerRoad).  It’s my go-to stick these days.

The tiny little USB adapter is available from Amazon for about $30.

Bluetooth Smart USB Adapter (BTLE): There aren’t too many apps out there yet using these, but TrainerRoad is one of them – in particular if you have an older Mac that doesn’t have Bluetooth 4.0 built into it.  This Bluetooth 4.0 adapter works great.  Note that the drivers are a bit of a mess still on Windows, so I’d hold off on that for now if you’re looking at a Windows box.

The tiny little USB adapter is available from Amazon for about $12.

Sports Photo Gear:

Photo: This is easy.  Virtually ALL of the shots you see here that are action shots (swim/bike/run) are taken with my trusty little Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 waterproof camera.  The TS4 is the most current version.  It’s got built-in GPS tagging and is completely waterproof.  You may remember my really popular Alcatraz swim shot taken during the race, it was taken with the Lumix.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 costs about $220 and is available from Amazon.

Video: On the video side, I’ve got both a pile of GoPro’s, as well as a ContourHD GPS and a few other brands.  Without question, the GoPro’s are my favorite.  They just work, they’ve got tons of mount options, and finding pieces and parts for them is easy no matter where in the world you’re at.  The HD3 just came out a few weeks ago.  If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, grab the HD2 instead.  Otherwise if you want some of the newer functionality (like WiFi), pickup the HD3.

The GoPro cameras start at $199 and are available from both Amazon and Clever Training.



Ok, lots of recommendations.  If there’s a category I’ve missed (entirely plausible) – just drop a note in the comments and I’ll try and come up with a recommendation and add it above.

I’ll be looping back on Wednesday with some Black Friday deals as well for a small number of these items.

As always, thanks for reading – and supporting the site!


You can find all of these products on a single page from Clever Training here.  And if you use the DCR10BTF coupon code, you’ll get 10% off your entire cart, plus free shipping in the US for over $75.  Note that some of the crazy-low Black Friday deals don’t get you an additional 10% – but they do still support the site.


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  1. thank you for the recommendations Ray

  2. Joan

    What about power2max as a power meter? What is your current opinion of this product?

  3. Bjørn

    Are you going to test the Stage One powermeter soon? Can’t wait… :-)

  4. Les

    really appreciate all of the work that goes into pulling this together, great information and fun to read at the same time – thanks

  5. Hi Ray,

    Do you know if the Wahoo iPhone dongle would work with the new iPhone 5 using the apple adaptor thingy?

    Just like to say great site aswel, loads of useful information! Thanks!


  6. Hi Joan-
    RE: Power2Max

    I haven’t released a Power2Max review yet for the new variant with the drift correction. If it does indeed fix the issue (and, most evidence seems to indicate it is), then it would earn a spot in the running, especially given the price.

    Hi Bjorn-
    RE: StageOne

    As soon as one arrives at my doorstep, you’ll hear about it! I’m thinking any day now…

    Hi Beefy-
    RE: Wahoo iPhone Adapter with 5 and thingy

    Yup, my understanding from them and other posts is that it does indeed work with the adapter.


  7. Hi, I write from Paraguay, I have a question, What are the alternatives to training software, if I use a Globla timex gps. I await your comments

  8. Tim K

    The band and pins on my 610 are always coming a part. What’s the fix?

  9. Considering the cost and feature set, is the Fenix really a better choice over the 910xt for ultrarunning?

  10. Hello Ray,
    What is your opinion about Navi2Coach unit?
    Will you make a review this year?

  11. Hi Rmay-
    RE: Other training options

    Depending on whether you have Mac or PC – but I’d suggest Sport Tracks on PC, and then one of the maps apps listed two weeks ago in my Mac post (others suggestions). I’ll be putting together my thoghts on them in the coming weeks.

    Hi Tim-
    RE: FR610 band

    They changed the pin design a bit. If yours is coming apart you can ring up Garmin support and they’ll help ya out.

    Hi Chris-
    RE: Fenix better than FR910XT

    No, that’s pretty much what I’m referring to. For non-ultra runners, the FR910XT is a far better feature set. For ultra runners and those needing more than 20 hours of time, then Fenix makes sense. And for the hiking crowd.

    Hi Sever-
    RE: Navi2Coach

    It’s a cool concept. A bit bulky, but cool with the maps and touchscreen. Note that it doesn’t have power meter support, which may be an issue for some. My hope is a review in early December.

    Thanks all!

  12. What would u recommend from the CycleOps trainers in the 3-400$ range?
    Thanks for the great blog

  13. Eli

    No edge 800 for those who bike and want a map to follow a route?

  14. Hey,

    Beefy – Yes, the Wahoo ANT+ key does work with the 30pin adapter just fine.

    Everyone, keep you eyes posted for a new product from Wahoo announced tomorrow that falls into one of these categories :-)


    Wahoo Murray

  15. Anonymous

    Any news on other upcoming cheap power devices like the PowerCal and Newton?

  16. A small comment on my 910xt watch from Garmin: I’m personally disappointed that Garmin has been incapable to make the barometer work on the watch – it was a major reason to purchase it.

  17. @Rainmaker: the Navi2coach does do power, including NP, IF, and TSS. They just forgot to put it in the feature list. (It’s in the quick start guide)

  18. alex

    hey ray,

    do you know where i can get the Lifesource UC-324ANT scale or the nike fuelband in europe (especially in austria/germany)?


  19. Anon

    Indeed, the navi2coach does do power including pedal power balance. It does 1 second recording which is a must for me. It supports four bike profiles and has an interchangeable battery (ideal for long riding, touring, or whatever). It does temperature and gradient which I think are nearly useless on my Edge 500.

  20. Greg Hamm

    Hey DC,
    I love the reviews you do with your products. I just came to realization that since a lot of products are pushing Bluetooth 4.0 some of the older products may not have capability. For example, I have a Macbook Pro from almost three years ago and doesn’t have Bluetooth 4.0. I have seen USB adapters that provide this capability, but which works best? I don’t have an iPad and planning on getting the Wahoo Fitness Kickr Trainer. I’d love to save money and use my computer for the time being.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Good call. I just added a $12 Bluetooth 4.0 (BT Smart compliant) adapter to the list. It’s what I use with my old-school Mac Mini to talk to the new-school BT4.0 devices (like the inRide). Enjoy!

  21. Sam


    I read your post about calling Garmin Support for the band/pin issue. I just called them and they took care of me right away. A new band is on the way.


  22. Brian

    Are you still using the Aerus Biospeed Bicycle Travel Case? I’m trying to give family some gift ideas and I need a bike carrier…. and I hate fees!!! Thanks!!!

  23. Oliverio Medina

    Hey Ray, I was just checking you out and bum! new blog design.. it’s awesome,man.. really nice.. keep the good blog up!!

  24. Loek

    So Ray, why didn’t the Polar RCX 5 make it in your 2012 Sports Gadget Recommendations?

    • DC Rainmaker

      The feature set is simply overpriced. Once you add in the GPS side of things, you’re talking a watch in the same price range as the FR910XT (or over a $100 more than the FR310XT). And, it lacks half the functionality and customization.

      I think the RC3 is a great step in the right direction though, looking forward to seeing the RCX5 variant of it….

  25. tim


    What are your thoughts on the next round of high end running watches? Do you foresee new toys this spring making holiday purchases a bad idea?

    • DC Rainmaker

      I definitely think you’ll see a new crop of watches next spring. I don’t think you’ll see a direct replacement for the FR910XT, but I think you might see a FR610 replacement. The bike units are the first priority.

  26. Hi DC ;-)

    Wondering if anyone can point me to the right product ;-)

    I need a device that will track my GSP routes like the garmin watches does but …. on a larger screen like the Edmundo and-or Runtastic product does on a cell phone.

    The cons again the apps on cell phone, is it used the cell network to show and draw the maps, thus it chews up my monthly data package …

    The cons against the GPS watches are the fact that we do not see the route we are taking and-or any alternates routes we could use, since the screen is so small and more than anything else, it is only a GPS tracking device (we see the routes we took only when we download the data on the computer).

    Is the garmin edge 800 will be the right product? Anything else that I can use ? I want to able to bring my GPS device while I am walking, travelling, biking and hiking …

    Thanks / Merci !!!

    • DC Rainmaker

      Yes, the Edge 800 is what you’re looking for here. Though, if you don’t plan to use it prior to the holidays, and are looking more for something for springtime, it may be worthwhile waiting to see what companies come out with in January.

    • Craig

      Another option would be one of the ‘outdoor’ Garmins. eg the Etrex 30 / Dakota 20 / Oregon 450. These work well for walking, cycling etc – you can get a bike mount for them.
      They are cheaper than the Edge 800, and have better battery life. You can use them with a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor, though they lack some of the training features that the Edge has.

  27. Dan

    What would you recommend for people who do duathlons? I do both on road and off road, what is the best product for me? Cheers.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Sounds like the FR310XT is the best bet. The FR910XT really is only going to give you a bunch more swimming metrics. Now, the FR910XT does have TSS/NP/IF for power meter analysis, but unless you use those today, I wouldn’t worry about them. Enjoy!

  28. Joy


    I’m looking for my first GPS watch. I am training to run a half-marathon. And carrying my iPhone seems to be annoying. I’d like a watch that can give me information like MapMyRun. I like to know average pace, distance and time. I also do some biking – with a basic cycle computer. I’m trying to decide if I just want running or maybe more. The two products I am considering are the Garmin F10 and Timex Global Trainer.

    Any thoughts?


    • DC Rainmaker

      I suspect the FR10 may be the best option, as it’s simpler. The TGT is a good advanced option – but it is just that, a fair bit more advanced. The FR10 will give you those basic metrics (well, not average pace actually, just current pace/distance/time). The TGT will give you all of those.

  29. YouYou

    Hello Ray,

    Regarding the high-end trainer, it seems you have changed a little bit your mind. Initially you were favoring the “Cycleops Powerbeam Pro” over ther Tacx. Can’t find your comment anymore though.

    Any reason why you have changed your mind? Or was it me, misunderstanding something?

    Take care

    • DC Rainmaker

      For the most part, I’m consistent here (to my knowledge). I checked back in my PowerBeam review, and then I noted that it was mostly a wash.

      Things that have slowly changed the tide is the highly increased price of the CycleOps software ($300+), and the significantly higher base price of the unit itself compared to the Tacx. Further, the Tacx software has expanded (not necessarily gotten better/more stable, just expanded).

      Again, just my two cents.

  30. RJ

    Thanks for all reviews. Will probably go for the garmin fr610, but will keep an eye out for this complaint from amazon.co.uk – just in case you haven’t seen it

    “Watch does everything its supposed to, but the pins in the strap start falling out after a couple of months. I have had two straps and am lucky not to have lost the watch.
    After 6 months the metal on the back of the watch has gone rusty where the coating has been scratched by the charger this makes it un wearable as it makes my wrist sore and itchy.
    Garmin know about this problem and have said they will replace the watch, but I have to send it back to them at my expense. “

    • DC Rainmaker

      See the comment above for some thoughts on that. In the case of the UK, assuming it was bought in the UK, I’d expect the cost of sending the unit to them to be just a couple of dollars. Which seems fair. They send it back for free.

      But, that does bring up a good point in general – which is about purchasing prices. When Garmin sells a unit in a given country with an approved distributor, it ensures there’s a support procedure behind the scenes for it. If ones buys the unit in the US, and then flies to Brazil, they can’t leverage the Brazil support system (I use this example because this is actually the one example that causes Garmin the most pain). The cost of support for Garmin in Brazil is incredibly high due to the import taxes it pays in the units and replacement parts.

      For thought…

  31. alex


    sorry to bother you again, but i thought maybe you didn’t see my comment because of the relaunch:

    is there any chance i could get the Lifesource UC-324ANT scale or the nike fuelband in europe (especially in austria/germany)?

  32. Michael

    Hi DC,

    Have been toying with getting a GPS watch for some time now. Have an Xperia Ray phone, and have ordered the Garmin foot pod, HRM and cadence monitor for my bike. I predominantly run, but it would be nice to get something I could use on my bike – which is in transit from my mum’s place.

    Given some of the crazy prices going at the moment (I’m looking at you, $210 for the 310XT) would you recommend a Forerunner 410/610, 310XT or something else for me? Swimming isn’t a big thing for me at this point in my life, and I have no interest in becoming a triathlete.



    • DC Rainmaker

      I’d go with the FR310XT, given the prices. I generally avoid the FR410. If you wanted a slim-watch, then the FR610 is definitely a better bet than the FR310XT – but given you’re focusing on cycling, the FR310XT is the better overall bet.

  33. Rami

    Thanks for your reviews, they are always useful and great.
    I see that the Nike GPS watch nor the FR410 are on the Best 2012 gadgets, and these are the ones I am looking to buy. Which one do you think is better, or should I just look for some other watches?

    • DC Rainmaker

      I’d really focus on other units. Instead of the FR410 – consider the FR210 – it likely does most of what you really need. Or, perhaps the FR310XT at a touch bit more (see my Black Friday post, it’s still out there for $211).

  34. Karl

    So you would stay away from the Nike GPS watch?

    • DC Rainmaker

      In general, yes. For a few reasons. First is that Nike has a bit of a walled garden approach, which means you can’t really ever get your data out. There are a few semi-OK paid apps that can do it, but they do it via unsupported means – which means that Nike could axe that avenue tomorrow if they decided to.

      Second is that feature-wise the other units just have more functionality.

  35. Jamie

    I got a FR610 based on your solid review on this site. They just released a white version, so I sold my perfectly working black 610 for the new white one. I noticed the new one has a plastic back, which I think enhances the watch because it cut the weight in half and was starting to have some discoloration on my old metal back.
    I see you commented that you think perhaps an updated model to the 610 might come out in the spring? What changes do you anticipate? Have you heard anything? Man, I can’t see how they could improve it other than being fully waterproofed and a bit smaller thickness wise(love the big easy to read screen though!)
    Anyways, thanks for continuing to recommend great products for actual users! It seems like a lot of reviews aren’t from true users but like editors or something.

    • DC Rainmaker

      I think the soonest we’d see something is then (from Garmin). But, I think we’ll see something probably sooner on the Polar side, probably early-spring. Though, I don’t have any inside information – just guesses based on historical.

  36. Yvette

    Hello and thank you for the great, and honest reviews! I’ve been shopping for my first GPS watch, as I am now running ultras….mainly trails. I was considering the FR10 but the battery life is only 5 hours. What do you suggest? Thank you.

    • DC Rainmaker

      If you’re doing ultras, I’d go with something longer. Since you’re looking at the FR10, you’re likely looking at budget watches. From a trail running standpoint (especially if mountains), I’d focus on the Fenix or the Ambit. Though, the FR910XT with the recent Dec firmware update is pretty solid in the mountains. The Fenix/Amibit have 50ish hour battery life, and the FR910XT has 20.

      If you need something cheaper, grab the Switch Up (with barometric altimeter) at about $200-$225.

      Hope this helps!

  37. Guy J. Mattola

    I really appreciate your time and great Reviews, it helps so much with so much out there, Dont Stop, We all Appreciate it.

  38. nicholas

    how about the Ultrasport GPS Navrun 500 ?
    any insight on that one?

    • DC Rainmaker

      Hmm, haven’t used that one. It looks fairly similar to the others, though, with some slightly different screens.

  39. Lori

    Which watch would you recommend for interval running? I have to FR410 but when you chose an interval workout it then breaks all your times (laps) into that short interval even though my lap is set to 1 mile. For this reason I am ready to send it back. Plus I find it very bulky for a woman. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Unfortunately, they all act this way (be it Garmin, Polar, Magellan, etc…). In short, in interval mode it’s trying to give you detail at the per-lap level since that’s how most folks analyze it. Meaning, it separates out the rest from the work portion, whereas on a straight mile-length would include both and wouldn’t be as helpful in analyzing it since they’d be blended.

      What I’d recommend instead is to turn-off interval mode and then just doing your interval workout manually.

  40. Tony

    Hi Ray, just purchased the TGT (based on your recommendation above) without the HRM. Do you have any recommendations for the best ANT+ HRM?


    • DC Rainmaker

      Personally I find the Magellan Switch Up/Switch ANT+ HR strap seems the least problematic. That said, may be new stuff coming out of CES in a few weeks, so might be worth waiting.

    • Tony

      Thanks Ray, I’ll hold off until then. Along the same lines, can you recommend the best ANT+ speed and cadence sensor as well? I’m excited to get all this streamlined to one device. I’ve read on the Strava support site that the .PWX files won’t upload directly, but can be converted via 3rd party apps. If you have any experience with this, your insight is much appreciated.

      Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    • DC Rainmaker

      I prefer the ‘quick release’ style ones. Bontrager’s is the one I use, works fine for me. Motorola has a similar one on the market, but I seem to have problems with the unit and positioning – seems the internal wires are a bit wonky.

  41. Graeme Skilbeck

    Question — your best recommendation– gps watch for skiing. Thanks

    • DC Rainmaker

      Generally one with a barometric altimeter (due to elevation changes). Those are included in the Garmin FR910XT and Switch Up.

      But, if you’re analyzing that data later, then most sites include elevation correction anyway. In which case, I’d look at the FR310XT, which is on sale these days for about $210. Enjoy!

  42. Susie

    Hi Ray,

    What a fantastic site! You are uniquely detailed and we appreciate that quality.

    My question: why wasn’t the Motoactv included in your “2012 sports gadget recommendations” list? Also, I didn’t see it listed on your comparison tool. If you do recommend the Motoactv, any insider tips on how to use it with the iPhone??

    My goal: an “over-the-top”, highly accurate, calorie + exercise device, with bells and whistles (such as the GPS maps and accelerometer).

    Thanks in advance!


    • DC Rainmaker

      Hi Susie-

      I didn’t include it in there as the’re discontinuing the lineup. The team was disbanded back this past summer and there’s no further work being done on it. So I don’t feel it’s right to recommend something that I know has a short life.

      It is in the product comparison tool though, I see it listed as “Motorola Motoactv”.

      For over the top, I’d go with the FR910XT – it has pretty much everything except the music side, which only the Motoactv has.


  43. Susie

    Thank you Ray. I didn’t realize it was being discontinued. After I wrote you, I began to see various comments suggesting it might…and now you’ve confirmed it. Shoot. As for the comparison tool, just chalk me off as blind. :)

    At first glance, the FR910XT, doesn’t seem to have the same cool detailed maps that Motoactv has but, then again, I haven’t really studied the watch yet. I will promptly read your review.

    Thank you for your super quick response.


  44. Susie

    For clarity, do you have actual “confirmation” that the Motoactv is being discontinued?


  45. vinod

    Just received my global trainer with HM.
    Bought it based on your review and recommendation.


  46. MaciekZ


    First of all I would like to thank you for your wonderful site and the best reviews available on the Web! :)

    I’m looking for a GPS watch and I’ve found your recommendations very useful. I wonder though, could you please explain a bit more why do you recommend Timex Global Trainer over Garmin 310xt? Is it because of built in features, available software, etc.?

    Also, In your opinion, who should spent (quite a lot) more and go for 910xt over TGT and 310xt?

    Best regards,

    • DC Rainmaker

      Hi Maciek-

      In that section, I was focusing on budget triathlon watches. Historically, the TGT has been about $50-100 cheaper than the FR310XT.

      Otherwise, I’d recommend the FR310XT if price was equal.

      As far as for the FR910XT over the others, the target audience would be those wanting indoor lap swimming functionality, and advanced power meter metrics (TSS/NP/IF). Otherwise, go with the FR310XT or TGT.


  47. MaciekZ


    Thank you very much for your answer! :)

    As FR310XT can in fact be bought cheaper in Poland than TGT and the functionalities of FR910XT you’ve described or not really useful for me now nor in the foreseeable future, it looks like I’ve made my choice :)

    Best regards,

  48. Brian

    Hello. I’m mostly an ultra/mountain runner. I cycle a little but wouldn’t use any but the simplest features. I don’t like to swim. Battery life and vertical gain are probably the two most important features to me, well and as accurate as possible distance on the trails. I feel the Ambit is out of my price range. I could maybe spring for a Fenix, but it doesn’t seem this has run features that the FR series GPS watches have. I find myself looking at the 310XT (really my desired price range) and the 910XT. I have a few questions regarding the differences.

    Is the battery life of the 910XT improved over the 310XT? I know they are both listed at 20 hours but wondered if there were improvements made. What is the practical battery life of the 310XT/910XT on trails/mountains?

    Does the altimeter in the 910XT work well? I am attracted to that over GPS altitude.

    Is the GPS receiver technology/chipset the same in both watches?

    For my uses are there other advantages to the 910XT? I guess what I am getting at is that I am not sure a barometric altimeter is worth the $150 difference, but want to make sure there isn’t something else I’m missing before I make a decision.


    • DC Rainmaker

      Hi Brian-

      1) The battery life is a wash, both in spec and in real life.

      2) The altimeter has been working quite a bit better with the latest firmware update, still not as good as some other units (such as the Edge line), but good.

      3) The FR910XT’s chip is slightly improved, but not noticeable in most cases.

      4) Check out the chart for the full list of differences. But essentially, the focus on the FR910XT is really on lap swimming, and the ability to get stroke data during openwater swimming. Additionally, advanced power meter metrics (TSS/NP/IF) for cyclists.

  49. Anant

    HI RM,

    I am doing my first marathon. I am bit confused with all the options you have given. :) problem of more knowledge :)

    All I need is a good GPS watch for that. What would be your recommendation. As anyones first GPS watch, heartrate is not high on my priority.



  50. gship

    Hi Ray,

    With the best prices I can find online for the Garmin Forerunner 10 at $117 and the Timex Ironman Run Trainer at $135 which would you recommend? Seems to me at this price the TRT would be the choice for a budget running gps watch. Thanks.

    • DC Rainmaker

      It really depends. The TRT is definitely the more functionality of the products – though, the FR10 is the more simplistic of the two.

  51. Patrick


    I’ve been looking for a good watch for a time now and stumbled upon your site and reviews, which are great by the way, yet I can’t seem to find the watch I’m looking for.
    I’m an all-round runner, I do some gym related training, swimming is also part of my training, but mainly I play different kinds of team oriented sports.
    Now I’m looking for a watch that is capable of recording my different types of training, with a smart way to look at my results, a watch that is waterproof and has a good battery life.
    Still I wish the watch to be useable on a day to day basis just as a watch.
    Lastly the watch shouldn’t be too expensive since I’m simply not willing to put large amounts of money into a watch that is exposed to both moisture and possible blows/hits.

    Hope that my requirements don’t sound too complicated!



  52. Olaf

    Hi Ray,

    I had the FR210 and the Nike + GPS Watch for testing. I chose for the Nike watch because the visibility during the run is significantly better than the FR210 (especially at this time of year where it is rather dark). I also found that the use (start / stop / etc.) is much easier during the run. The GPS signal is much faster than the FR210.
    The Nike website is very clearly structured and nicely built. Garmin and alternatives are very conservative. I can export the data via various websites, if I want to.
    What do you not like about the Nike+ GPS watch?

    Best regards,

    • DC Rainmaker

      In genera, the Nike+ platform (up until this week) is fairly limited from a 3rd party standpoint, and they islanded your data. Which means you couldn’t take it with you easily. That’s improved a tiny bit over the last few days (after years of complaints).

      GPS signal on the two units I’ve found to be pretty much even (assuming you’re starting in the same rough place).

  53. Whitney

    From an earlier comment:
    “Personally I find the Magellan Switch Up/Switch ANT+ HR strap seems the least problematic.”

    I just got a KayakPro SpeedStroke Gym (kayak-specific ergometer) that has an ANT+ compatible console with HR display, and I need to get an ANT+ transmitter to go with it. I won’t need the transmitter to conquer some of the common problems cyclists, runners and those who do both face, but I will need it to be comfy and easily adjusted – users are myself and the charming lass who puts up with me, and our band sizes are a bit different.

    Any suggestions based on those criteria? If “easy to adjust” doesn’t come in “comfy”, I’ll buy two of them….

    Thanks for all the great work and information – it’s rare in any field to find a site with both objective and subjective reviews done with any consistency, let alone the depth you go to. We appreciate it!!

    • DC Rainmaker

      All of the ANT+ straps are one-size fits all. They all adjust within a second or two. My wife is tiny (5’2″) and I’m a foot taller – no issues in each other stealing the others HR strap if need be.

      For kayaking, you won’t have to likely worry about spikes/dropouts, so I’d honestly just go with the cheapest strap you can find – usually about $35.

  54. oldSAP

    Hi Ray, i’m using my fr110 (2 years old) now and quite happy with it during my running and cycling workouts. i’m “about to” try swimming this coming few months and was wondering if the 310xt is worth purchasing, although i won’t be joining any triathlon in the near future, but i’d like to try mini-triathlons on my own. budget wise, the 910xt is a bit pricey for me. any other recommendations? the timex global trainer looks like a wall clock on my wrist that’s why i’m not quite into it.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Go with the Garmin Swim if you’re looking for pool swim functionality. Othrewise, I’d pickup the FR310XT, these days it’s still pretty cheap at $210ish.

    • oldSAP

      thanks Ray, i might go for the 310xt then. i prefer an all in one watch rather than having one for swim and another for running/cycling

    • DC Rainmaker

      Cool. Just to clarify the FR310XT doesn’t do swimming though, only openwater swimming. I was just noting that the FR310XT is otherwise a solid multi-sport watch.

    • oldSAP

      looking at your review on 310xt and timex global trainer, both aren’t able to record distances while swimming?

    • DC Rainmaker

      The FR310 introduced an openwater mode about a year after release, that captures distance in openwater. It’s so-so accurate. The best bet for both those units is the swimcap method.

      Only the FR910XT captures on-wrist OW distance semi-well. And only the FR910XT can capture indoor as well as GPS for other sports/OW.

  55. zoe

    Polar RCXS run or garmin 610 with hrm? for a runner 10k/half/marathon
    dont think polar is wireless but seems good with the extra feature in your trainer but 610 is wireless….

  56. jason

    Hi Ray
    I want a Sunnto M5 for marathon and training

    How did U see?


  57. EJ

    Hi Ray,
    I love your blog and studied it in-depth before I bought my current running watch, the Garmin 610. However, I’m now at my wit’s end with it and I’m hoping you can recommend an alternative. It’s not doing what I need it do for me in terms of helping pace me for a short event — 1-1/2 mile military fitness test run. I used to have the Timex CV-10 which had did a MAGNIFICIENT job of providing an accurate pace and gave me spot-on pace zone alarms (I set the high and low zones up 10 seconds apart.) It seems that work out the bugs on the Garmin, you need to set it to a lap pace of 1 mile. Needless to say, by the time I do the first mile to dial in the lap pace, the test is almost done and it’s almost impossible to course correct. Can you recommend a different watch that will give me spot-on pace info for shorter runs and let me set pace alarms too? Thank you!

  58. Roberto

    For the same price, timex run trainer or polar rc3??

  59. aHenci

    Hi Ray,
    great site, great articles. Wondering if you could help me:
    I’m playing ice hockey, and would like to track my HR, etc and later analyze datas, but am mostly interested in the distances I do skate on the ice during a game/practice.
    Do you think there is any chance for monitoring that? Indoors/outdoors of course. Are the GPS watches working in so relatively small distances accurate? Which model would you recommend for this? Best would be, if not big-ben-size-like… If possible, I’d not like to close out the possibility to use the same thing for running and biking.
    Also, is there a chance of not wearing a wristwach for this? Like sending data to a smatrphone or whatever device? Now in this case, the distance might be too big I guess, like 60-65m.
    Thanks a lot for your comments in advance!

    • DC Rainmaker

      Honestly, for the size of a hockey rink, I don’t see you getting very accurate data. Especially due to the quick start/stop/change direction nature of hockey, it’s going to be all over for this.

      For sending data to a phone, not much that will reliably do that in that range (60-65m). But, I would think you could stick the phone under your pads and be pretty good.

    • aHenci

      Well, many thanks for your reply. Had the same thoughts before… You know, it just bothers me a lot, that I want to know, how much is the distance, which makes all of us dead in 15mins… :)
      The last question? –> NO FOOTPOD would work here, am I right?
      And of course, I really want to monitor my HR, there’s a lot up&down cycles, I wonder, how it looks on a timeline. And also, what’s the BPM, when you’re close to give the lunch back to earth (sorry ice).

      Actually I was thinking on sticking the phone on myself, but when I play, I’m not that pretty good, which would be required here… :) Well, considering, that I could put it somewhere in the middle of the longer side, tha max distance is around 40m.

      Anyway, let me thank you again for your answer!

    • DC Rainmaker

      Correct, no footpod would work here, since the glide on the skates just wouldn’t be captured. HR is no problem to capture however.

  60. Chantelle

    My micro-wrists my be too small to wear the Magellan switch up or similar sized watch. (I haven’t had the opportunity to try one on yet so maybe I could swing it if I start lifting weights or use my Popeye prosthetic.)
    I mostly bike (mountain and road) and hike with some running and an occasional triathlon.
    Is there an “awesome for everything” GPS? Maybe I could find my way to the post office and even do a little geo-caching on the way. I’m getting bug-eyed from reading so many reviews and yours are by far the most comprehensive so I figured you’d have the most educated answer. :)

    • DC Rainmaker

      I’d say the awesome for everything GPS is really the FR910XT (or FR310XT if you care less about swimming and power meters). My wife’s wrists are pretty small, and she uses the FR910XT these days.

  61. Francisco Batista

    Hi Rainmaker!

    All the reviews are very complete and helpfull! Thanks! I have a question for you: I was searching for the fabric strap of the 405 to put on my 310xt and i saw a strap from the 910. Did you try to put it on the 310xt? do you thing that it will be bether than the 405’s strap?

    Thanks a lot from Brazil! ;)

  62. Hi Rainmaker!
    I am currently using a Garmin 305, that has served me well since 2008.
    I am currently training for my 6th full marathon and it has started getting a little tempermental.
    When it dies I will be sure to look at the 610.

  63. Derek

    Hey Rainmaker

    First off love your website & reviews. I had a Garmin FR405 before I dropped it and the screen cracked.
    There were 2 things I hated about the watch the Bezel which you mentioned, and the sound for beeps was so low it was useless to me.
    Right now I am looking at the new Ironman Trainer 2.0 & Garmin FR610, can you comment on how well the alert tones & vibrating tones worked.
    Also does the Ironman Trainer have a pacing alert like the Garmin FR610


  64. Mark

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Can you suggest a couple of heart monitors for me please?

    I do a one hour spin class 2x week and run 2x a week. I have an (electrical) issue with my heart, and would like to monitor it during, and even after my workouts. Maybe while I sleep? Sometimes my resting heart rate will dip down to 40 bpm and it’s not because I work out either. ;(

    I don’t mind wearing a chest band \ receiver.

    I would like to down load the information collected from the monitor onto my PC or upload to a website (with vendor supplied software) and would like to chart my heart rate as well as the time of day associated with the information.

    Do you have a couple of suggestions for a monitor in the $75-$200 range?

    Thanks a million for your help.

    San Diego

  65. As I predicted, Garmin rocks at top end and Polar is left behind.
    Thanks for this gadget recommendation.

  66. Kellie

    I’m training for my first marathon and have been researching GPS watches. Your site is great!

    Now that the TRT 2.0 has been released, would that alter your mid-range running recommendations at all, or would you still go with either the Garmin FR210 or Polar RC3 before the TRT 2.0?

    • DC Rainmaker

      I’d say I’d have no problems recommending the TRT2 in this category. There’s a bit of wonkiness today around HR zones on the TRT, but a firmware update should address that shortly. Then they’ll be mostly equal. Little things that one thing does that the other doesn’t (i.e. TRT2 does nutrition alerts, FR210 doesn’t), and vice versa (TRT2 has a half-baked interval solution, whereas the FR210’s is cleaner).

      Overall, a bit of a wash.

  67. Kellie

    Awesome! Thanks for the comments! I also like that the TRT2 has the vibrating alerts.

    Is it worth it in your opinion to shell out the extra cast to get the FR 610 over one of the mid-range?

    • DC Rainmaker

      In general, I think the TRT2 is sufficient for most people. If you plan to use complex workouts, then the FR610 is a better choice. Or, of you’re unable to download less than every 10 hours of workout time (due to memory limitations). Otherwise, go for the TRT2.

  68. Sandeep

    Best review site ever ! Thanks.

    I have been using the TRT with HRM for about 6 months now and haven’t faced any bugs or issues. Except the known deficiencies like the pathetic night light and the fact that interval training can’t be set with distance goals only with time ones. What bugs have you encountered ? Is there likley to be a new firmware for the TRT (post V16)? Any idea when it will release and what it will fix/enhance?

    • DC Rainmaker

      I would not expect any additional firmware updates for the TRT1, given the TRT2 is now out and their focus moving forward. Sorry!

  69. Brian

    Hi Ray,

    Your reviews have been incredibly useful for me. Both informing me what products will work best for me and informing me of products I didn’t know about. You mentioned the Zeo bedside manager and Zeo mobile, do they have all the same metrics and do you have to have a smartphone to use the mobile one or is that an option? Finally does it work with BlackBerry?

    Thanks for your time

    • DC Rainmaker

      Same metrics between both. And you can use the app for the mobile version, or the web for the desktop + mobile version. No love with the Blackberry though.

      I would be a bit weary of the Zeo though, they’ve just quietly gone under last week. Support is still occurring, but no new products. Rumor is there will be a sale, but still…

    • Brian

      Thanks for the quick reply. Is there anything comparable you know of that you would recommend instead?

    • DC Rainmaker

      Yes and no. Some iPhone apps do things similiar. Also, some of the activity monitors can do total sleep monitoring (for example, the Basis B1 watch I’ve been using lately – see pictures in The Queue up in the top right corner). And the FitBit can do it as well (some).

    • Brian

      Thank you again for your help.

      Looking over the different products you mentioned it seems the Zeo is probably the best for me, now I just have to decide if it is worth spending the money on a product that likely won’t have support/updates going forward. I very much appreciate your input.

      One last question unrelated, if I purchase items that are not reviewed on your site from Amazon using the link on the sidebar will that still help support your site? Your reviews have been incredibly helpful the last couple months and I intend to continue reading them so anyway I can help is good for me.

      Thanks again.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Yup, anything you purchase on Amazon after clicking that link supports the site. Be it a sports tech product, a lawnmower, or a diamond ring.

      Thanks for the support!

  70. Suzanne

    Great reviews, wondering if you have heard any feedback on the white garmin’s (210 or 610), do the white straps discolour? I don’t need the heartrate monitor (have one already) but my local stores only sell the white version without the HRM :(

    • Brian

      My wife has had her white 610 for a month and no discoloration yet. Not the best sample size but best I can offer.

  71. Mike

    The strap pin on my 610 fell out and was replaced by a local watch repairer with a thick bit of steel wire which has bent – so the strap falls off – and is now stuck in the body. I have Emailed Garmin to see what they suggest. If it cannot be fixed I am thinking of a 310XT – I assume these give a spot height and a grid reference. Out of interest, is the 610 strap design still so poor, or has it been improved, and what about the strap on the 310XT?Great reviews!

  72. xcaddict

    Excellent site! Im torn between the FR410, FR610 and the Ambit though… In terms of pace and distance accuracy which is the best if I use a footpod as a failsafe for GPS signal outages? Is the Ambit´s speedfuse really any better than an FR´s GPS? Does using the footpod with the Ambit override the internal accelerometer for speedfuse calculations? The FR´s have the ability to program custom workouts while it appears the Ambit still misses a trick here. While the FR610 loses the create route funcionality while being harder on the wallet… AAARGGGHHHH!!!!! lol

  73. Edge

    Thank you for your great reviews and the wonderful website!
    Take care!

  74. D.jo3l

    Amazing work! Thanks for all your reviews..

    Do you or anybody here has already tested the Sigma RC1209 or RC1411 (link to sigmasport.com). I would like to know about the heartrate sensor precision/quality and I don’t find many reviews.

    Thanks in advance for any reply!

    • DC Rainmaker

      Sorry, nothing there. I tend to focus on the GPS watches more than just straight heart rate monitors.




    • DC Rainmaker

      Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.

      I’ve also not used the Suunto Quest (though I wouldn’t compare it to any of the others units noted in your post). I would suggest reading the Polar RC3 review (not the RCX3, as I’m not sure why one would purchase that at this point), as I make a lot of comparisons to the FR210 and other units in this arena.


  76. aHenci

    is there a like button somewhere hidden here…? :)

  77. Dave

    Hi DC,

    I had a nike tomtom watch for the last two years until it broke. That got me hooked on GPS watches though.

    I’m looking for a budget / mid tier watch that allows me to separate runs from biking. I don’t need to get too in depth with tracking my bike trips, but would like to record it wtihout it congratulating me for running a 3 minute mile for 26 miles. I don’t need to track swimming at all.

    It looks like the garmin forerunner 610 would fit the bill pretty well. Would you recommend looking at any others? I think the new TomTom multisport looks really interesting, but am not sure I want to wait until mid-way through the summer… I really appreciate any advice you can give.

    • DC Rainmaker

      The FR610 is a very solid watch, though it may be overkill for what you’re looking for. Have you looked at the FR210? It’s similar to the Nike+ watch from a functionality standpoint.

  78. Dylan Lott

    I’ve been looking into a new watch, great article! Thanks!

  79. Eric Finnen

    Do you have any recommendations for a “device agnostic” application to upload workouts to? I currently use Garmin Connect for my running watch and bike computer. And I like it the app… Thinking of venturing away from the Garmin family for my next device. I ideally want everything in ONE location. And it pains me to let the software dictate which hardware I should buy…

    Training Peaks the best bet? (FWIW I don’t have power meter, but I have pretty much everything else)


    • DC Rainmaker

      Training Peaks or Strava are the most device agnostic with the best overall experiance (web-wise). Downloadable apps like Sport Tracks do it for the desktop side.

      I tend to use TrainigPeaks for actual analysis, and lately Strava for sharing rides/runs.

    • Eric Finnen

      Thx.. Will dip my toes into Training Peaks more..

  80. Rob

    Neither of the watches you recomend as mid-range running have any (useful) water proofing! So why do you even review, them let alone recomend them!?
    I am not spending over £100 on a watch if it is not at least 30m!
    err, sorry for the rant, but it just had to be said;~)

    • DC Rainmaker

      For running they do. Unless you’re running underwater for 30 minutes – you’ll be fine. Also, I’m not exactly sure why I wouldn’t review a unit just because of less than ideal waterproofing. As that would mean that up until last summer – no-one would have reviewed any sub-$400 GPS watches on the market.

      Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m the most aggressive person out there on hammering companies on the waterproofing issue. And I think it’s been solved going forward – since I started really ringing the bell on it, all new products I’ve seen have true waterproofing – for example, the TRT2 has it, FR10 has it, and others.

  81. Rob

    Hi, I am looking for gps&hrm watch for running, which I can also pool swim with; I think you have said that at least 30metres is needed for the pool, this will also give me confidence that the watch is reasonably robust. It would also be good to have nice big numbers, as my eyes are not so good these days! So if it would be possible to say how large the digits are on each watch, that would be great. The garmin fr10 looks good on price and is not too complicated, but no hrm. The TRT2 looks great (i have only seen it on the web so far) but the price is a bit high for me (£202 UK).

    Thanks, Rob.

  82. Have you considered doing reviews on Fitness (and Nutrition) apps? A big dilemma I have come across when planning out which device I would like to get is what apps are available to me on Android and what other apps they can sync with. I haven’t found the solution that can bring together an activity tracker, a smart scale, and a calorie counter that can be viewed straight from my mobile phone.

    This might be another avenue for you to explore and to attract additional visitors.

    • DC Rainmaker

      I have considered it, but generally shy away from it except new apps that bring something entirely new to the table.

      The challenge is apps change so often (weekly) that anything I write becomes irrelevant the next week.

      That said, I did write a list of my favorite overall apps: link to dcrainmaker.com

  83. Mike

    DC… Awesome site! Can’t get enough of it.

    About to buy an FR610 based on your review. Is it still worth it or do you think something new is coming soon? You had mentioned probably this spring.

    I’m just getting serious on running, but want a watch I won’t have to upgrade soon. Run mostly indoors.

    Thank a lot.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Nothing this spring. I could see a number of companies potentially doing new fall running watches – since all but Timex held off on any spring releases.

      But keep in mind that fall running watches may just be ‘announcements’. The watch might make it for September/October, or, it might be towards Christmas or beyond.

  84. Jesse

    Just got the GTU 10 for Boise 70.3. Garmin really dropped the ball and is selling it in such a way that isn’t compatible with the devices abilities. There should be a way to allow tracking outside of giving everyone my username and password.

    Rather ticked at them right now.

  85. Christian

    Very good reviews. Well done!

    I was wondering as bluetooth 4.0 is there if you would be able to recommend HRM with training programms that can ALSO send data via bluetooth to another device (like the Mio Alpha but containing also training programms)



  86. Guillaume

    With new arrivals such as the Ambit2/2S, would you include or change anything in the list?

    I’m looking for a training watch, was led to your site (extremely informative and impressive, by the way!). My main issue is that the watch I’m looking for might have too many roles to fit. My main activity is cycling, but I spend a fairly good amount of time kayaking, running, indoor training (elliptical, threadmill) and hiking/camping/exploring. Basically, a GPS watch that would be solid for cycling, and give me acceptable results for the other activities (HR, compass for hiking/exploring, calories, etc.).

    My only caveat, and then, I might be looking for too much, is that the watch doubles as a standard watch – I’d like to limit the number of watches I carry for camping/hiking/exploring trips. While some designs are clearly fashionable as a standard watch, it seems to me that battery life is an issue.

    So here are my questions: I had pinpointed the Ambit 2S as a solid option for me, but should I look into the Ambit 2 for extended battery life? (the other differences between 2/2S are not really deal breakers for me) Should I just drop the idea of using it as a regular watch and if so, would you therefore recommend another training watch instead?

    Side note: charging on camping/exploring/hiking trips is not an issue. I always carry a portable deep cycle battery pack (left at camp/car) because I suffer from sleep apnea and need to power up my sleeping machine.

    • Guillaume

      Digging further into your site I kinda found the answer – with your product comparator, Ambit 2/2S seems to be the most versatile for me.

  87. Q- a bit strange but I am a professional geologist who works in really remote places. I usually use a hand held GPS. I am wondering if a GPS watch is an option… I need regular handheld GPS -type satellite coverage; I need to have all reg GPS tracking functions and lat/long display; I need to be able to have permanent storage of way points on my PC (not just on google). It would be great to have a GPS on my wrist (plus water proof for crossing rivers, etc). Your site is very thorough and I hope you might have an opinion for me :)

  88. David Frei

    Hello DC Rainmaker…Awesome website! Congrat for this!

    I would like to go to my first IRONMAN next year and I need a good watch to support me.
    I’m a bit in love with Suunto Ambit 2 but you preferred Garmin FR910XT.

    After the deep review of Suunto Ambit 2 Sapphire can you say that it is as good as Garmin FR910XT for triathlon races?
    I would also use this watch daily and for sailing!
    The Suunto is much more attractive for me together with the display and so on. And I hope may it is more durable (that you NOT mentioned in your review). Am I right? :)

    Thanks so much your answer!

  89. Shane

    Hey Ray,

    Any chance of a review of the SRM Power Control computer?

    • Potentially, but it’s not high on the radar unless SRM releases a new power meter with new features. Otherwise, I feel like the SRM PC is overpriced for what it delivers.

  90. Roberto

    Any chance you reviewed spin bikes? I want to get one for my home to train on in the winter and don’t want to use a trainer (for multiple reasons). Thanks in advance.

  91. Frankie

    Hi Ray.

    Greetings from Brunei. I really enjoy reading your blog. I have been running for about 14years now (i am now 32) and never saw the need for a gps type watch and never really bothered with my personal timings. However, in March this year when i first strapped on the Garmin forerunner 210(a gift from a loved one). It literally changed my life, well my training anyway. My philosophy before that was, if you can run, no fancy watch required.
    It really changed my perspective. I wore the 210 all the time even as a daily watch. Even when i wasn’t running i love flipping through the history function and looking at my times, distances yadda yadda. It just made me feel proud.

    Recently, tragedy struck (well, it did feel like a tragedy of Greek proportions in my head!) I stupidly wore my garmin 210 surfing and it utterly and completely died on me. Runs didn’t have the same positive punchy effect. I went online and found your blog. I read your review and decided on the garmin 910xt. I really love it and have also started swimming and biking seriously too. For me it has mostly been half marathons, 10k fun runs and one marathon every year. Well see how it goes but I might transition into *gulp* triathlons next year. Your blog is not just reviews. It is pretty damn inspiring.

    Take it easy and thanks!

  92. Onno

    Hi Ray,

    thank you for your site and your well written reviews. Thanks to your reviews I have bought the FR210 and it sure makes running more fun.
    I have a category suggestion: Software/websites. Which are best for tracking workouts? My suggestion for software is Turtle Sport, which I found MUCH easier to use than Sporttracks. My favourite website is Adidas Micoach, but unfortunately the don’t have an import function.

  93. Paul

    Hey Ray,

    Whats the outlook on the 2013 recommendations – any changes? The market has generally not changed…

    • I’ll be doing recommendations closer to November. However, the main shifts are around running watches (obviously, given the FR220/FR620), and then trainers and recommendations there. And now to look at this list, power meters as well.

  94. Alessandro

    Hi Ray,
    I read lots of your fantastic reviews and I have a question I can’t answer myself from your list. I’m looking for a multisport watch for triathlon, but for now I don’t care about swimming data and I don’t want to spend 400$ (€ in my case)
    What devices do you suggest for bike and run? My priority is for training, but I’d consider a plus a quick-release kit from bike to run (or a quite good way to…) and the possibility to put the devices under my cap for outdoor swimming.
    Thanks in advance

  95. Steph


    Great website! Really helpful to read the reviews.
    I am looking for a running watch and have no idea which to get, even after reading your reviews I can’t decide! I just wondered if you would be doing an update on the watches for 2013?

    Many thanks!

  96. Sven

    imho, the Ambit2 S is falling short here, especially compared to the Garmin 610 at similar cost (& and well prosound than other devices that are just 50..80 bugs less).

    Yes, for many it is overkill but value for money it is tiptop.

  97. Matt

    Are you still thinking about making a 2013 list?