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Edition: With Heart Rate Monitor|Change
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on June 27, 2011
My first Garmin GPS sports watch was a Forerunner 305. Worked OK but I was not too fond of carrying a canary cage around on my wrist. And I found most of the menu choices and options irrelevant to what I really needed, which was just to know my pace, distance and elapsed time. I eventually sold it on EBay and "upgraded" to a Forerunner 405. That I found to be a very frustrating piece of equipment: non-intuitive, complicated menus plus a very cranky touch-bezel input method. In a year or so of using that watch, I never got anywhere near comfortable with it. The touch-bezel seemed to have an evil life of its own; I really never could make it work right. And the battery had to be re-charged constantly. Finally, in a fit of frustration, one day I jerked it off my wrist, stomped it to death and threw it in a trashcan. No more Garmin for me for the last year or so.

But, finally, I could no longer deal with not knowing my current pace and started checking out sports watches again. Liked the reviews for the 210 and decided to try one, albeit with great misgivings. Now, after two racewalks using the watch, I can say that I highly recommend it. (Caveat: of course, at this point, I have no idea about long-term dependability.)

I had read that Garmin moved their headquarters and, in the process, got rid of a bunch of their programmers. If that is the case, then perhaps this Garmin 210 is the happy result. Best thing, the irritating touch-bezel is gone! Hooray! Here we have 4 physical buttons. The complicated, hard-to-use menu system is gone, replaced by something easy enough to learn in just a try or two. (Alternatively, you could break down and read the instructions.) The screen does not divide up into slices and offer you choices of what to put into each slice. It just shows you distance at the top (set for miles for kilometers), elapsed time in the middle and pace (set for current or average) at the bottom. Period. Which is all I ever want to see on the watch face, anyway. Fancy stuff like a "virtual runner" is not there. But it saves your history and you can upload runs to Garmin Connect if you want. And it does a few other things that probably some, but not most, users ever actually use. Bottom line is that it's user-friendly, simple and straight-forward -- everything the Forerunner 405, in my opinion, is not. And the battery, unlike the 405, seems to go for a while -- they say at least a week or more, depending on use, of course -- without having to re-charge.

I give it 4 stars instead of 5 only because of the cable USB connector which ends in a 4-prong clip that has to be aligned with 4 connectors on the back of the watch. Takes some attention to clip it in right and looks to me like an area that might develop trouble. I notice that Garmin makes a big deal out of telling you to clean those connections, which probably means they tend to get unclean very quickly and not work right. Would be great if there was just a simple mini-USB plug to go into the watch, like a camera uses, instead of that bulky clip. But, for now, the clip works fine for me and may never give any trouble, for all I know. Also, I have no idea how the watch will hold up over time.

For anyone who mostly needs just the basic information about their run or other activity and especially for anyone who has become frustrated with one of the touch-bezel models or with other Garmin watch operating systems, this watch could be just what you are looking for. BTW, there is also a Forerunner 110 that is very similar and $50 less but my understanding is that it only shows average pace, not current. That would not work for me.
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on January 3, 2011
Bought this watch as a gift for my wife. I've had the Garmin Forerunner 205 for 2.5 years and my wife had been interested in getting her own for some time. The thing that was holding her back was the size of the 205. It just didn't fit comfortably on her wrist. The 210 solves that problem with it's compact size and actually offers more features than the 205 (heart rate monitor and interval support). The 210 is so small I would actually consider is reasonable to wear around as a regular men's sport watch (unlike the 205 it is easy to display time as the primary screen rather than buried in a sub menu).

The only reason I didn't give 5 stars is the USB connector / recharging cable. The watch has 5 points on the back used for downloading data and charging and to connect it to the computer or power plug you have to use an odd proprietary clip that clamps down on the front and back of the watch. You have to be very careful to line up all 5 of the contact points otherwise charing won't work. I'm guessing they didn't use a standard mini-USB for reasons of water resistance, but the clip is not easy to connect to the device and it can slip off of the watch easily. My 205 has a cradle that the watch sits in, I'm not sure why Garmin went away from this approach, but the cradle is clearly preferable to the clip.

If you can get over the clip for charging I highly recommend this watch.

As a side note we also considered the Garmin 110, but did not purchase that because it doesn't offer real-time pace information. That was a deal breaker for me. If you are considering the 110 spend the few extra dollars for the 210. You won't be sorry.
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on January 26, 2011
After my IMTX training buddies finally convinced me to invest in a Garmin Forerunner, I decided to go with the 210. I did a lot of research and I liked the functionality and look of the 210, and went with that. I bought mine online at REI (had some gift cards) and it came with free standard shipping, and got here just in time for my race last weekend.

So it arrived on Sat and my race was on Sunday morning. It charged fully within a couple hours, and it took me only a few minutes to figure out and complete the initial set up. Another minute later and I had all the basic functionality figured out. On race day (sprint du), it found the satellites very quickly, less than a minute. The run portion was in a park, not on Google-able roads, and the 210 worked as well as I had hoped. It was easy to check my pace, my heartrate and distance without distracting me from the race. I love how it beeps every mile (you can change the default lap distance), but the beep is not too loud to be considered annoying.

I went for another 8mi run at the local park trails and did 3 loops (also a non-Google-able route), and it worked GREAT! Satellites were found in about 10sec. After the first loop, I stopped the 210 while I took a moment to de-layer (it was chilly but I warmed up quicker than I thought). Then re-started it again - no issues there. My pace was easy to track and the mileage seemed to be very accurate.

I connected the 210 to my computer when I got home - VERY easy to figure that out and install the necessary software. Within about 5min, I had connected and was able to see my run data, from the race and my training run.

Very good GPS watch, very fun and easy to use - highly recommend for anyone who wants to make running more fun, or who is as fascinated by data as I am.
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on July 25, 2012
I have had two Garmin running watches now-they do really perform like the other reviewers state-the problem I have had is that both watches have "died" right before major races or training programs. The first watch lasted 1 1/2 years and I was told Garmin would take so long to repair it, I would need to fork over another $250 for a 210. It has now been about 10 months and that watch is doing the same thing-won't hold a charge, suddenly goes blank, and is not accurate on time and pace. I called Garmin and was advised if I run 5 days a week, I can only expect these watches to last about a year...I won't buy another Garmin, although they did offer to repair the watch if I mail it back and live without a watch for however long that takes them to do that. It is my understanding that the repairs will be at my own expense after it goes past one year.
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on October 21, 2011
I recently purchased the Garmin Forerunner 210 running watch. I have been running about 17 miles a week since this spring and just completed a half marathon this past weekend. So I don't think that I am yet a running pro and therefore the Garmin Forerunner 210 appears to have met my needs. I really like the ability to map my running activity with the GPS function of the watch. I have been using an app on my smart phone to map my running, but the Garmin Forerunner 210 provides much greater resolution than the smart phone app I was using. Also, the watch is much more convenient than the smart phone app: it is lighter, the GPS function starts up faster, and being strapped to my wrist, I can easily glance at the watch to check my distance and pace.

The tracking display of the watch shows the current time, distance, and pace. There is no way to change the fields displayed as there are in some higher-end models, but these three fields are exactly what I am looking for given the type of running that I am currently doing. In fact, I credit the watch with allowing me to run a 1:44 half marathon last week because I was able to easily maintain my goal of an 8 minute pace by glancing from time to time at the watch (along with the 1 mile lap data that the watch was automatically capturing and displaying for me).

I have used the heart rate monitor in conjunction with the GPS mapping to track my heart rate. I haven't yet enhanced my workout to make more use of the data though. I have not yet used the foot pod to track distances indoors. But living in the northern Midwest, winter is approaching fast and I am sure that I will soon have the opportunity to try the foot pod.

The only problems that I have had so far are:

1. Some GPS tracks were off at the beginning of my run. The recorded GPS coordinates for the start of a run had me staring a block away. But the tracking corrected itself within about 100 yards of the start of the activity.

2. The clip to charge and upload data is very finicky. I sometimes have to try a couple attempts to get the pins of the clip to line up with the pads on the back of the watch. I have used other watches in the past that have some plastic "registration"-type protrusions that help ensure that the clip is lined up. This type of enhancement to the Garmin clip would be helpful.

The problems have been very minor and overall I am very satisfied with the Garmin Forerunner 210. I think that the functionality that it provides is appropriate for my current running activity level. I also like the size of the watch; it is a little bigger than a normal watch, but it can easily be used as an actual daily watch which is handy when traveling so that I don't have to take two different watches.
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on March 16, 2013
Let me first start off by saying that without the unfortunate incident, and subsequent lack of support from Garmin that ensued following the incident, I would have probably rated the 210 with 3 or 4 stars. I'm hoping that Garmin gets the point, like other reputable manufacturers have done, and have a response to those customers who leave a one star review, as well as trying to resolve the issue with the customer in order to keep them happy, and hopefully a future customer. Long story short, I frequently take my Garmin outside with me and let it locate the satellites while I do a light stretch. This process, gaining satellites, usually takes around a minute or two. I find that to be absurd. By the way, my new Nike+ TomTom takes approximately 15-25 seconds to aquire satellites. I always set my Garmin down on the porch, as to not move it ever so slightly while it does its hard job of aquiring satellites. Anywho, I had my gloves on one time since it was freezing outside and dropped it while trying to put it on. Well you can see from my attached picture that this thing, along with its flush mounted face, does not like being dropped. The face cracked, rather shattered and a small piece of the plastic even fell inside. It barely dropped three feet and this thing was toast, unbelievable. I called Garmin to see about getting a new watch face. I was even willing to send it in and they said, well sorry, you have to send it in anyway and we'll sell you a refurbished one for $90. I was pissed to say the least. I was like lady, hear me out for goodness sake, did you hear what I just said, the face cracked and you want me to pay $90 for a whole new, not even new, refurbished watch!? I wanted to say, is this what you would tell a family member of your own to do? Stop and think about what you just said to me. That customer service answer is crap. I have been a loyal Garmin customer, having a 305 previous to this, which I loved but it was so dang big, and of course a few car GPS's in the past. So that's my rant about theirt non-existant, further proved by their lack of reply to customer issues, customer service.

The other gripes I have are the usual, the charging dock/connector is ridiculous, even laughable, no auto pause for that unforeseen car or red light that distracts me and I forget to stop the dang watch, and the fact that there is no pace, or instant pace as some refer to as, only average pace. I frequently need to know if I am hitting my up tempo part of my run where I try to run one minute or so faster per mile pace. This is not possible with this watch, whereas with the 305 and many of their other watches it is. By the way, the cracked face happened several months ago and I have been running with the watch ever so carefully since then with no problems, besides the fact that it takes forever to locate satellites. This has made the charging process even more fun, insert sarcasm here, as I now have to be ridiculously careful not to disturb the rest of the face that remains intact when trying to charge it. It gets better when running in the rain as I now have to run with the watch face on the bottom of my wrist, shielding it from the rain and covering it with my other hand to keep rain from getting in when I need to look at it. It provides an added level of concentration you might say while running.

All I wanted was a 25 cent plastic face to put back on my watch. Heck, I was even willing to send it in and do without for a week or so which would have sucked but would have solved the problem. I have since ordered the Nike+ with TomTom. I got it on the cheap from a very reputable online running store with a coupon on top of free shipping and no tax just like on Amazon. I do like it. I like the form of the Garmin better, fits my wrist better. The Nike has a much better readout, and sinks to satellites way faster as I mentioned before. The online experience is awesome I must say. You have to see it for yourself, otherwise I would be making this already too long review even longer. Oh yeah, the face of the Nike is recessed too, not that I have to worry about dropping it because it actually sinks while I am wearing it while I get ready for my run, unlike the Garmin. I never even asked that the Garmin sinked fast, just that it sink while I wear it while stretching.

Come on Garmin, get a clue. Customer service trumps this day in age when there are many other viable options out there in an ever demanding consumer driven world. Take a clue from Nike and Jawbone and many others and at least pretend to care about your customers concerns with responses to forums like this one where everyone sees everything bad about your products and ultimately determines which product to buy, or not to buy, based on customer reviews of said product.
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on July 17, 2012
If you are trying to decide between this watch and the 610, go with the 210 instead and you will not regret it. I owned the 610 as my first ever GPS watch and sold it for nearly full price on eBay because I decided to put the money to a more noble cause. After going a few months without a GPS watch, I brought the 210 and wish I brought it in the first place. The 610 has more bells and whistles but in the end, if you just want to know how far and how fast, the 210 will not let you down.

1. With the latest free firmware update (2.50 at the time of this review), a "lap timer" feature is added to the watch that allows you to see distance, average or instant pace, and current duration time for the lap you are on after you manually press the lap button or have it autolap. If you have a specific workout with varying lap times and distances, this will allow you to jump right into the run without spending minutes programming a customized interval session which is quicker than the one that is already set for specific time values and not as flexible as doing it manually. Being able to concentrate on specific lap data in real time is a huge plus. And to top it off, you can press the "page" button to switch to overall distance, time, and pace, and then switch back to the current lap seamlessly with a press of the "page" button again. With the 610, you could view all this information (current lap info and overall info) on one screen because it can hold 4 data fields at once. And that is really the only thing the 610 has over the 210 with the ease it allows users to view their information. I'll get the last advantage the 610 has over the 210 out the way with this: the 610 has "Virtual Partner" and "Virtual Racer" features that allow you to view 2 stick people on the screen (one is the current you, the other is the pace you have set on an old run you are "racing" or "pacing" against). These are cool features but not integral to a GPS watch; you can easily live without them, for I rarely used them on the 610.

2. Knowing my current pace is important to me, and the 210 allows you to choose between having instant pace, average pace, or lap pace while you run. For some odd reason, I thought you could only have "instant pace" and it took me awhile after playing with the watch's setting to realize that these different pace options were available. More customizability in a GPS watch means more pluses in my book.

3. Option to set the autolap feature for the predetermined distances you want (Miles or Kilometers): .25mi, .50mi, .75mi, 1.00mi, 1.25mi, 1.50mi, etc. If you would like to lap manually, you can easily turn the autolap feature off, or lap before the autolap feature laps.

4. Big display that's easy to read, has exceptionally bright backlight too and optional loud alert tones.



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on September 23, 2011
I bought my Garmin Forerunner 210 with heart rate monitor (HRM) from REI during the retailer's last sale, unsure of whether I would even keep it. I already had the first-generation Forerunner 201, a Polar RS200 Running Series HRM with the optional S1 foot pod, and had just recently bought the Adidas MiCoach Pacer Bundle. After using the 210 a couple of times I can safely say that I will not be returning it, despite a couple of notable flaws.

The first thing I noticed upon using it was how comfortable and easy-to-adjust the wristband is. I don't ever even wear my other devices on my wrist because of how uncomfortable they are, instead choosing to simply hold them in my hand, but I don't have that problem with the 210. The second thing I noticed was that it locks onto GPS satellites in less than half the time than the 201 ever did. It even locks onto GPS inside my home, something I've never seen any other type of GPS device do. Other impressions: the user interface is intuitive, for the most part, and the lack of features compared to the higher end Garmin models doesn't take much away from the usefulness of the device; I hardly ever used any of the extra features (Training Assistant, Virtual Partner, map guidance, etc.) on my old 201 anyway, although I do miss the distance and time alarms (and I don't see why they couldn't have been added). The Garmin Connect website is a decent compromise between flash and function: it's not as "cool" or feature-rich as the Adidas MiCoach site but it's better than Polar's. The HRM strap seems to accurately record my heart rate and the Connect site offers a nice feature that shows the correlation between your HR, distance/time, elevation gained/lost, and cadence (with foot pod use). I didn't buy the optional foot pod for the 210, however... well, read on.

Now the flaws: as already mentioned in other reviews, connecting the 210 to the charger is challenging. The first time I connected it, the display showed that it was charging and I wondered what all of the complaining was about. That is until I kept checking on the charge status over the next twelve hours to find that it wasn't done charging and, in fact, hadn't charged at all. Then I connected it to my computer but the Connect site couldn't find my device. Long story short, there is a definite sweet spot you have to find when connecting your device to the charger. And the only way to know that you connected it correctly is to connect it through the computer to see if Garmin's site detects the device. This might not be so bad if the trickle charge one gets off a computer's USB wasn't so hard on the battery life.

My second grievance with the 210 concerns the HRM strap. The plastic inside the soft strap extends all the way to the edge of the fabric: whenever I run with it on I end up with a 2-inch long abrasion in the middle of my chest from the plastic rubbing into my skin. After running for an hour, it makes for a somewhat tender, stinging, raw-to-medium-well abrasion. I have never encountered this with any other HRM strap, even the old hard plastic straps that HRM's used years ago. This, however, turned out to be a non-issue for me because... well, read on.

Interestingly enough, Garmin appears to use the same manufacturer for its HRM strap and foot pod as Adidas does: I was able to swap the slightly-different-and-much-more-forgiving Adidas strap for my Garmin strap. Secondly, I can use the Adidas foot pod with my Forerunner 210. So, personally, I give it four stars because it all worked out for me in the end but I'm officially giving it three (at the most) due to the HRM strap issue.
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on May 7, 2013
I had this for less than a year before it started experiencing discharged issues, I.e. it would go from fully charged to completely dead the next second. Called Garmin and they said the 210 reportedly has arc issues that caused it to lose power. They offered to send a refurbished one to replace it. I should have argued for a new one in retrospect. Now I see from reviews that the new 610 has similar issues. As of now I'm done with Garmin! Why they continue to release GPS watches before they work out all the glitches is beyond me...
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VINE VOICEon July 3, 2011
My Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS went dark a month ago. And perhaps for the best - - the drag of the 1 pound brick around on my wrist was getting old. Here my recap of the 210 after 1 month in use:

1) Good Battery life. As advertised. 5-7 days with a single charge when using it 30-45 minutes per day. Certainly much much longer than the 305.

2) Lightweight. For those 305 owners like me, this watch is a dream.

3) Simple/Userfriendly. Simple to use. Simple to set. Simple to start and re-set.

4) Button design is good - unlike the 305 where I would inadvertent stop the timer or set off the lap timer - - that doesn't happen with this watch.

5) GPS connection is solid. Find my satellite connections to be speedy in contrast to the 305, which was spotty.

6) Can save your workouts to Garmin Connect - although I don't do it.

7) Re-charge connector is quirky - USB cable would have been preferred - - but it works.

8) Light weight watch band with simple sturdy clasp.

9) Tested distance and it was squarely on mileage.

10) Can wear watch to work-out and casually around day-to-day.

If you are looking for a great looking, light weight GPS watch to track time and distance, without all of the bells and whistles, you've found it here.
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