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144 of 148 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Functionality! Buttons hard to press. . .
Let me start by saying that I am an extremely picky consumer when it comes to evaluating a purchase. I do a lot of research before I pull the trigger on buying.

The FR70 delivers great functionality and performance in a watch that can be worn on a daily basis. The menus are very user friendly and the display is large and easy to read. The form factor of the...
Published on January 2, 2012 by Clarence

versus
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please don't gamble on this product
I should have listened to all the bad reviews. I bought my FR 70 about a year and a half ago. From the very beginning, I had a lot of problems with the buttons. I almost sent it back, but then it suddenly started working. Actually, it continued to be pretty finicky, the buttons only responded about 75% of the time, but I needed it and hoped the buttons would improve...
Published 16 months ago by cht38


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144 of 148 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Functionality! Buttons hard to press. . ., January 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let me start by saying that I am an extremely picky consumer when it comes to evaluating a purchase. I do a lot of research before I pull the trigger on buying.

The FR70 delivers great functionality and performance in a watch that can be worn on a daily basis. The menus are very user friendly and the display is large and easy to read. The form factor of the watch is very well built and feels comfortable on the wrist. I wear this watch as my every day timepiece and have enjoyed it.

This watch has a timer, dual alarms, and a very useful interval feature among many others. The interval functionality is something I can foresee using very much and have not seen on other exercise watches that I reviewed. It allows for a user to program the amount of time or distance of active exercise along with the amount of time or distance for rest along with the quantity of intervals or sets that you will be performing in a workout. It even allows for you to mix the criteria. For example, you can program that you would like to run for a mile (using the footpad to track the distance) and then rest for 2 minutes and perform this set five times. Additionally, you can program a warmup and cool down at the beginning and end of the workout.

The one thing that prevented me from giving this watch a full five stars is the difficulty in pushing the buttons on the side and top of the watch. I have only had the watch since Christmas (9 days) so perhaps the buttons will break-in and become easier to push in the future. I guess the benefit of this is that the buttons should not get accidentally pushed.

One other item that was troublesome is that the strap has a rubber notch on the top of the loop that the end of the strap fits in. This notch, makes the watch strap very difficult to pull the strap out when you want to take your watch off. The fix I found for this that works very well is to rotate the loop 180 degrees so the rubber notch is on the back side of the strap. This fix works well and I feel it will prevent the strap from wearing down in the future.

I previously owned the FR50 and was very happy with its functionality; however, the strap broke from repeated exposure to Chlorine. This was a concern to me when researching the FR70. Much like the FR50, the design of the FR70 incorporates the watch straps into the watch body itself. This is worrisome because when the straps on my FR50 broke, it basically rendered the watch useless. I contacted Garmin about fixing the broken straps on the FR50, they stated that it would be 60 dollars to get the watch refurbished. I did not want to invest this amount of money into a 3 year old device so I began to look for a new watch at this point. Other reviews of the FR70 stated that the material the FR70 straps are made of are supposed to be more durable but only time will tell. I already had purchased the foot pod and bicycle pod, so it made sense to stick with a Garmin product. That being said, after reading up on the new Suunto Quest and Polar offerings as well as touching and feeling those devices at my local sporting good store, I would have made a change if I felt the functionality of the FR70 was not equal to the other watches on the market. In fact, I feel the FR70 excels in the menus and functions that are offered.

I have only owned this watch for 9 days. Thus far, I am happy with my Christmas present and look forward to using this watch more.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent training tool, January 11, 2013
By 
I purchased this device together with the Garmin Foot Pod.

I use this for running (with HRM & Foot Pod), biking (with Bontrager Duotrap speed/cadence sensor) and Spinning (with HRM).

My previous "electronic training partners" have included a Garmin Forerunner 305 and an iPhone 4s on an armband. Both have advantages and disadvantages over the FR70.

I have been frustrated with the Garmin 305 due to:

- GPS lock-on delay and inaccuracy (particularly on overcast days)
- Battery life unsuitable for all-day activities
- Useless indoors

I've been frustrated with the iPhone 4s solution due to:

- Bulkiness and discomfort, particularly on long runs
- GPS accuracy better than FR305, but still poor on overcast days (overestimates distance by 10%+)
- Fear of wrecking iPhone on bike or destroying with rain or sweat on a run
- Battery life unsuitable for all-day activities
- Useless indoors

Ideally I wanted a solution for biking, running and spinning that solved all these problems.

After doing days of painstaking research, I finally decided to try the Garmin FR70. Honestly, I never imagined I would buy a non-GPS training device, but after reading the glowing reviews of the Garmin Foot Pod accuracy, I thought I'd give it a shot.

First impressions are extremely good. Setup and installation went smoothly. At first, the ANT+ stick couldn't find the watch, but I rebooted my PC after the software install and moved the ANT+ stick to a different USB port and it worked like a charm.

I've only used it for a few weeks so far, but the things I really like are:

- Very comfortable strap and "just-right" size watch face. Not bulky like GPS watches.
- Foot pod accuracy is remarkable.
- Ability to read ANT+ speed/cadence sensors (works great with the Duotrap on my Trek Madone 5.9)
- Feature rich, but still easy to use - lots of configurable options, including ability to customize the display of data fields
- Very nice display
- Build quality is excellent.
- Wireless ANT+ connectivity to computer for data upload. I just place the watch on my desk after a workout and within a few seconds, the data is available on GarminConnect
- Very long battery life and cheap battery replacements (purportedly 1 year - haven't had it long enough to verify this yet)
- Comfortable heart rate strap.

Things I don't like:

- nothing at all! I'll update this review if I find anything.

I haven't used it for swimming yet. I'll update this review when I try that.

I have not had any trouble at all pushing the buttons as some have encountered. I think the buttons are designed to be a little harder to push than a normal watch so that you don't accidentally push them during a workout. On my FR70 at least, they're exactly how I'd want them to be.

This is a great little training tool that will help you to get fitter. I'm very satisfied so far.

EDIT
----
Several weeks later I am even more impressed:

- The Garmin footpod is so accurate you will swear it's using magic.
- Wireless syncing is very well implemented. I pull into my garage after coming home from a workout at the gym, and before I get out of my car, I hear my watch beeping, letting me know it has synced with my computer inside my house. This is not the gimmick I thought it was going to be, it's a big timesaver. I'm a convert.
- Remarkable battery life. I just can't believe I don't have to charge it, or the HRM strap. How refreshing!

UPDATE August 2013
------------------

I've had this watch for ~9 months now, and I still love it. I now wear it as my daily watch - it never leaves my wrist.

One feature I am really loving is the customizable Training Pages. I've started doing different types of running workouts (long runs, tempos, intervals, repeats), so being able to see different data fields on different kinds of runs is very useful, and it helps me train more efficiently.

For example, I have a training page for Intervals/Repeats that shows Current Heart Rate Zone, Lap Time and Current Pace (don't care about the distance on these runs). My goal is to keep it in Zone 5 (which I configured to be 95%+ of HRmax) for 2+ minutes, then recover and repeat 6-8 times. I hit LAP every time I slow down to recover or start another interval so that I can slice & dice the data better in Garmin Connect after I crawl back home.

For my long runs (easy pace), I don't wear the HR strap and I don't care about the time, so I configure the Training Page to show Average Pace, Total Distance & Current Pace. It keeps me amused.

For my tempo runs, I usually just aim for a certain pace and run for 20-30 minutes, so I have a Training Page configured that shows Time, Current Pace & Distance. Occasionally, I'll do a HR-based tempo run and use my Interval/Repeat Training Page and aim to stay in HR Zone 4. Just depends how I'm feeling.

I still use this watch as my only bike computer. It's still picking up the signal from my Bontrager Duotrap speed/cadence sensor perfectly.

The watch still looks like new, and haven't changed the battery in either this, the HR strap or the footpod yet. I'm still amazed and impressed by this unusual battery longevity.

This year I've gone from couch-potato to training for and completing my first marathon, first triathlon and first double-century bike ride using this watch, along with a half-marathon and 3 5k's.

Did I mention I really like this watch?

The only way I could possibly think they could improve it would be to somehow offer a higher resolution display that could show 4-5 data fields at a time instead of 3. But I'm nit-picking here - the configurable Training Pages work great.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Close to Perfect non-GPS HRM, May 30, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read many FR70 reviews before making my purchase and having used the FR70 for a week or so now want to clarify a misconception about buttons being hard to push and confusion as to whether the FR 70 has a HR recovery features.

First, the misconception: the buttons aren't even a little hard to push. They behave differently than a mechanical button and that can be confusing but they are not hard to push.

The issue is that they don't respond to the Push, they respond to the Release. Quick click and they work like a charm. If you push them and when nothing happens you just keep pushing harder, nothing is going to happen. Making matters more frustrating you will note that in the instructions there are some actions that require you to push, hold and release. I believe that the HRM looks at Push and Release, and Push, Hold and Release as separate events. That means if you are taking an action that requires a quick push and release and you keep holding the button down waiting for the HRM to respond, you've just communicated a push, hold and release, an event for which no action is programmed and nothing happens. Bottom line, once you understand that it is the release that triggers the behavior and not the push, and get a feel for the difference between Push and Release and Push, Hold and Release, you will be much happier.

Second, the confusion: In reviews and comparisons some state that the FR70 has a recovery heart rate mode and others state that it doesn't.

Both are true to a degree. I use the auto lap feature and after my last lap or when I've decided I've had enough all you need to do is manually mark a lap and begin your cool down pace and after your cool down period is over end your activity. In Garmin Connect, using the HR graph, you simply need to find the time your HR was at its peak at the beginning of the lap, go down a minute and record the HR at that time and then go down another minute and record your time. I do most of my activities on a tread mill Garmin's approach is different from HRMs where you simply push recovery and it is then on autopilot. The auto pilot approach sounds appealing BUT for me it means that either the treadmill is still settling in to the recovery pace during the first portion of the cool down or you started recovery after you are at a recovery pace and are starting to measure recovery after your HR has already begun to drop. I like the FR70s approach and think that it gives me a tool to better understand relative improvements in recovery time.

The FR70 is highly configurable and there is a corresponding learning curve. If you just want a simple HRM and don't care about geeking out with the data you should explore simpler less costly options. The documentation is good but you must be willing to spend some time with it to get the most out of the FR70.

ANT is a delight. I had little scraps of paper all over my house with workout data waiting to be entered into an excel spreadsheet. The first time that I walked over to my computer with Ant plugged into the USB port after a workout, I heard a chime and by the time I had entered my password my activity was downloaded. Very, very slick.

I am a walker and bought the foot pod and highly recommend it. Stride, pace and distance information is all useful. Not having to gather distance data and HR data from two different sources is a luxury. Auto Lap is a nice feature, I didn't think I would care about the virtual partner but it is actually fun and useful. I know I'm looking for 7K per hour walking speed and the virtual partner lets me set the target and speed up to gain an edge and then slow down to loosen up a tight calf and then speed up to remain on target. Much more fun to see it real time than to see how well I did at the end of the work out.

So if I'm very happy with my purchase, why 4 stars. I'd give it 4.5 if I could but as much as I like Garmin Connect I'm a bit of a data presentation snob and a user experience purist and Garmin Connect is not as good as it could be. Export one of your work outs to FTX and look at the data. You will see that it is incredibly rich and that Garmin Connect could be doing a better job presenting the data and a better job supporting user interaction. Some quibbles are that scaling on the graphs is not adjustable, there is no ability to present multiple dimensions on the same graph, say pace and HR, and there is inconsistency about how zone is presented (the area between the 2 axis and the 3 axis does not represent say, 2.1 to 2.9, but rather 3.1 to 3.9 where the 3 above the imaginary 3.9 represents the upper bound of 3 and not the start of 3).

FR70 gets 5 stars for being close to perfect for a non-GPS HRM and working flawlessly with the foot pod
Foot Pod gets 5 stars for doing exactly what it's supposed to do with no hassles
ANT (while a given) gets 5 stars for effortlessly working with the FR70 and the foot pod and making data transfer wildly easy
Garmin Connect gets 4 stars for providing access to data and 3 stars for an aging UI/UX
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not really an upgrade, but a great watch!, January 4, 2012
By 
G. Kellner (Westfield, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin FR70 Fitness Watch with Heart-Rate Monitor (Pink) (Electronics)
Just in case anyone is considering the FR70 as an upgrade to the FR60, I am pretty sure they are the exact same watch, with a few tweaks in style. I can't find any function that this one does that my old FR60 didn't do. On the other hand, I like the strap better, it's more comfortable and flexible and it has cute swirlys on it. I like the pink touches as well. My FR60 broke, hence I requested this one for Christmas. I agree, the buttons are hard to press, but that's the only thing I don't like. I use it with a footpod and once you calibrate it, it's pretty accurate. I LOVE having the instant pace--with GPS, even if the watch SAYS it's giving instant pace, it isn't, really. But with foot strike, it really is instant. I find this handy for sprinting, as well as to make myself feel better about my runs, because even if I only averaged 12 minutes a mile I can console myself that I did hit 6:30 pace for a bit. As a running watch, I would definitely recommend the FR70 over one of the fancier, more expensive GPS watches.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Beginners Watch, July 16, 2012
This review is from: Garmin FR70 Fitness Watch with Heart-Rate Monitor (Pink) (Electronics)
As other people have said, I definitely did my research on which HR monitor watch I wanted to invest in. I am happy to report that it paid off and I made the best choice for what I needed. I've had the watch about a week and have used it every day and it has made the transition to be my everyday watch. The face is small and unobtrusive, yet all the information is clearly visible. The strap is also very comfortable.

Initially, I was extremely frustrated by most everything about the watch. The buttons didn't cooperate, I couldn't get anything to sync or connect. This watch is definitely not for people with long nails and works more smoothly without them. But once I figured out the right way to hit the buttons they've been working just fine. Yes, they are a bit more difficult than your everyday watch. However, I can press them while swimming without worry that they'll let water in as I've done to many other watches. I have a 28 inch waist (32 bra strap band size) and the heart rate monitor strap that comes with the watch is too big for me so I've had to safety pin the strap to make it smaller.

In terms of functionality, it's amazing once things are figured out. The workout screens for each of the different sport modes is customizable along with the scrolling and scrolling speed. I linked it with a Garmin Foot Pod [Retail Packaging] and calibrated it out on a local track. In the run mode, the watch shows heart rate, pace (or speed depending on set preferences), cadence and steps taken after your run. It's an amazing amount of data for the lack of GPS. I've used the general mode to track time and laps while swimming which worked perfectly, and I've tracked my heart rate during Zumba class. All the information was synced with my computer and uploaded to Garmin Connect. I haven't tried it on the bicycle yet though.

Overall, the FR 70 is a fantastic beginners watch for running among other sports. It gives you lots of data and with the addition of the foot pod can track distances easily. It's easy to use after the initial set up process and fiddling and easy to see. I have not stopped talking about it to anyone who will listen.

UPDATE: After a year and a half of use, the Garmin FR70 has held up to it all. I don't run as much any more but it's great for a HRM for aerobic dance classes and I use it to keep track of all my swim times. The covered buttons are perfect for swimming because I can hit the "lap" button while underwater without having to worry about killing the watch. The battery lasted almost exactly a year, and changing it was really easy. I wear it as my every day watch and still love the amount of customization I can put into it. My only complaint now is that the strap doesn't always stay under the pink holder, but I tie it down extra with a hairtie for swim so it doesn't end up on the bottom of the pool. If, god forbid, something were to happen to it, I would replace it with another FR70 again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated to 5 Stars After Using It..., March 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin FR70 Fitness Watch with Heart-Rate Monitor (Pink) (Electronics)
First, let me say that I purchased this watch to replace my Garmin Forerunner 305 (currently selling for $329 on Amazon) which I some how managed to lose in my move. I purchased this model on Amazon for $110. So, for that reason, it immidiately gets 5 stars! Even if I pair the foot pod ($50) and bike sensor ($35), I am still coming away MUCH cheaper! It also has a small enough face that it can be worn as a normal wrist watch. Having said that, the face is large enough that you can very eaily see your information with a quick glance during your workout.
The buttons...oh the buttons...I've only had the watch for about a week & have used it 5 or 6 times. The first two times, the mode button (which is probably the most important) was so difficult to press that I gave up and started my workout without using the monitor. Every other button seemed to work very easily. Having said that, the last few times I've used the monitor, I haven't had any trouble with the mode button either. Hopefully it is broken in, but that is one of the two reasons for only 4 stars.
I love that my workout data transfers to my laptop wirelessly as soon as I am within range of my computer (not sure how far the range is because I just go over to my laptop). Now, the other reason for only 4 stars....The watch does store your workout data; however, unless you transfer the data to your laptop after each workout, there is no way to store your workout and begin a new one. It will begin your time and calorie count from where you last left off (it is possibly that there is a way to store and begin a new one, but I haven't figured it out....)
Overall, I would definitely recommend this product. It is simple enough for someone who has never worked out before but seems to offer all the features that an advance athlete would want.

**Updated 19-06-13** Ok, so I've used that watch for several months now. The two reasons it received 4 stars from me instead of 5 are no longer an issue...After the first few uses, the buttons 'broke in' and I haven't had any problems since. Also, you can begin a new work out & store the old one without downloading it to your computer. I just did not know how to do it at the time.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It! Learning curve but cardio machines lie x's 2, September 16, 2012
Before purchasing I read all the reviews so I knew what I was getting into as far as complaints go. I decided to buy this one over others because the display screen was easy to read. I played around with it a bit the night before my first work out and had some trouble navigating and pressing the buttons but I got it set up and decided to wait for my work out when I was wearing the HRM.

From the first time I used it it worked really well, yes buttons were a little hard to press. I saved my work out and tried to transfer it to my macbook pro from 2005. The drive doesn't work on older computers but I didn't mind too much because I had the info I need written down. I felt like there were some modes I didn't have access to but once again didn't mind.

I have been using it for two months and have great results with it, I've mostly been keeping track of calories and found out that the cardio machines at the gym tell me I'm burning twice as much as I really am. After two months it said it was low memory so I referred to the owners manual which I ended up accidentally resetting the whole thing and the display was different and I didn't have the info I wanted. Upset for a while, then I found videos online the videos are very helpful and realized if I didn't press so hard on the mode button I had access to all the other modes I thought I didn't have. I figured out how to customize each training mode and now after two months I feel like I have better control of the thing and I don't need to press buttons so hard. I am very thrilled with this gadget, have had some ups and downs but realize it is just a learning curve and I am happy with the way it works, the display and the results in my performance and physique I've seen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garmin FR70, September 21, 2013
I have had my FR70 for about a year. I strength train three days a week, cardio workouts the off days. It works great for my needs, which is to keep track of my heart rate and calorie burns during activity. It took a little getting used to. For one thing, the sensor strap sometimes requires you to go to the sink, get some water on your fingers, and apply it under the sensor area of the strap before it can get a reading. Not a big deal, and it tells you to do this in the watch manual. The buttons are not user friendly as most other reviewers have mentioned. I've noticed the processor chip in the watch sometimes takes a moment to process data - if you wait a second between pressing the buttons between modes to let the programming cycle finish working it seems like they operate better. Also, sometimes if you use the up/down buttons before switching modes, it seems to help. I'm not sure if the button issue is a mechanical problem with the watch. My thinking is it may be caused by the watch's programming. These are all things that I've learned to cope with as they don't really affect the watch's actual performance during my workouts. I don't use the lap feature or any other functions, I just start it at the beginning of my workout, look at it periodically during to see the readouts on time expired, heart rate, calorie burn etc., and stop it at the end to get my total time and calorie burn. Like I said, it works great for my needs and I've used it nearly daily for about a year with no reliability issues whatsoever (knock on wood).
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Great for Cardio/Weight Workouts, March 1, 2012
By 
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I've been using this watch and monitor for about a month now and am very pleased. It worked right out of the box and provides reliable herat rate monitoring for my cardio and weight workouts. It's made my workouts much more productive since I can keep my heart rate in the zone without guessing or using the often inaccurate monitors built into the training equipment. The heart rate monitor strap is comfortable and doesn't need to be really tight to get a good reading (something I was worried about). The only minor downside is that you have to upload and view your workout data on the Garmin Connect web site but once the software is installed it works very seamlessly. When I plug in the USB ANT+ interface it automatically syncs the data from the watch to the web site. The amazing thing is the range of the ANT+ wireless. The first time I plugged in the USB stick the watch was in my workout bag in another room - it started syncing immediately. Once you get the data up on the site, you can view it or export it. Since I don't use this for running or cycling, the FR70 is completely adequate. If you need to track distance you would probably want to get one of the higher end GPS enabled watches.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this monitor!, July 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin FR70 Fitness Watch with Heart-Rate Monitor (Pink) (Electronics)
This is my first heart rate monitor so I can't really compare to others but I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy this is to use and how comfortable it is. Based on other reviews I expected the chest strap to be uncomfortable and the buttons to be difficult to push. The Mode button on the "watch" was difficult to push the first time or two but is not difficult at all now. I can easily push the buttons while in an aerobics class or on my bike with no difficulty. The chest strap is very comfortable and fits snugly (it is adjustable), if I weren't checking the monitor I would forget I have it on. I have found it to be very accurate for the pulse rate and, although the directions say to wet the electrodes before applying them to the skin, it seems to work well even if that is not done. Another nice feature is that the numbers are large enough to be visible to those of us who need readers to see small print. Additionally, I am a small woman and some of the monitor watches are like wearing a laptop on my wrist. This one is about the size (or smaller) of one of those oversize fashion watches that are popular.
Although I have used other Garmin products and been happy with them I was skeptical about how well I would like this and how accurate it would be but I could not be more thrilled. I am going to order the footpod to go with it!
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