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664 of 686 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 310XT is most everything Garmin says it is
I felt compelled to write a review, because I am disturbed with what some other reviewers are publishing. This is the best watch of it's kind I have owned, and as long as a purchaser understands what it does, and it's limitations, I think they will be more than satisfied. It may be that this watch will not meet their needs, but it should not be a cause to deliver a poor...
Published on September 6, 2009 by David Rosenfeld

versus
664 of 717 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Misleading Advertising to Triathletes, but does its job.
*UPDATED* This review was from when this watch first came out and before any other Garmin triathlon focused watches came out. I'm made some recent updates to the review in hopes that it will help others to make a good decision.
----------------------------------------------------

This device has been represented as a triathlete's watch and the first swim...
Published on August 28, 2009 by graymoment


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664 of 686 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 310XT is most everything Garmin says it is, September 6, 2009
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS With USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Electronics)
I felt compelled to write a review, because I am disturbed with what some other reviewers are publishing. This is the best watch of it's kind I have owned, and as long as a purchaser understands what it does, and it's limitations, I think they will be more than satisfied. It may be that this watch will not meet their needs, but it should not be a cause to deliver a poor rating.
I have owned the Forerunner 305, the 201, the Timex GPS and a Polar, so I have years of experience. Since I do triathlons, I was most looking forward to the waterproof controls, and 20 hour battery. The charger is a bit funky design, but for me it seems to work just fine. My battery has been lasting at least 16 hours--I haven't tested it further before recharging. One issue that I had with the 305 also, though: the watch should be TURNED OFF while you are charging. If not, as soon as you disconnect the charger, since the watch is ON, it will start "discharging" (as it does normally while it is on. I have been caught several times with a depleted battery on my 305 because of this quirk--I think the watches should be programmed to automatically turn themselves off when the charger is connected).
I have used the new watch swimming, biking and running and hiking, and I am pleased with the performance for each sport. One reviewer pointed out that there should be a "swim" mode--I agree, but I think Garmin may have avoided that mode because the GPS does not work well in the water. Several reviewers complained about that, however Garmin does write on their website AND in their manual that the GPS does not work well in the water (I don't know that I would blame that on Garmin--probably the technology is just not there yet--besides, GPS signals do not penetrate water.) In fact, I did NOT get an accurate GPS distance reading for open water swimming, but it did map my COURSE correctly, albeit with a lot of zig-zags (I know I can't swim in a straight line, but I am not THAT bad).
The biking portion works great. The Garmin matches pretty closely with the distance measured on my bike computer (I don't have the Garmin bike sensor--I want that and the quick-release mount for my next birthday). Of course it also tracks speed, altitude, heart rate, etc. (I used the heart monitor strap from my 305).
Running works well also, basically same as biking although I do set up the display screens differently.
Other, useful new features I have noticed:
1. The watch locks onto satellites more quickly than my 305
2. The watch vibrates, although I wonder how this affects battery life. For instance it vibrates every lap (if I set it) so I know I have completed an autolap without having to look at the watch.
3. The software is more refined (lots of small fixes. For instance the settings function lets me know what sport mode I am in--although I think this could still be made easier and less confusing. And the time zone can be put on automatic--I always wondered why they couldn't do this before--the watch knows where it is for gosh sakes. And there are extra custom screens if you want them--statistic hounds take note.)
4. Wireless data upload. Very nice! Their new "Garmin Connect" site is also pretty useful, and the data can be uploaded directly to the Internet.
5. The 310XT is not much smaller or lighter than the 305 (according to the specs), but it FEELS MUCH smaller and lighter.
6. There is a progress bar for the battery charging. I would like to be able to see how much time is LEFT in my battery--I wish Garmin would add this.

In summary, I think this is far and away the best GPS watch Garmin has made, and is especially appropriate for triathletes (despite the swimming issue). You DO need to become accustomed to using the watch. Although I do not think it is hard to use, you SHOULD read the manual. At least you do not have to keep RE-reading the manual like I do for some other gadgets. I do think this watch is way overpriced, but I am a gadget freak, and I'm sure the price will come down over time, like it did for the 305 (which is a great deal, now, btw, if you don't need a 20 hour battery-life and a waterproof stopwatch :)
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664 of 717 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Misleading Advertising to Triathletes, but does its job., August 28, 2009
By 
graymoment (Orange County, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS With USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Electronics)
*UPDATED* This review was from when this watch first came out and before any other Garmin triathlon focused watches came out. I'm made some recent updates to the review in hopes that it will help others to make a good decision.
----------------------------------------------------

This device has been represented as a triathlete's watch and the first swim proof GPS watch. If you watch the video from Garmin or see any of the advertisements, Garmin leads you to believe that this watch will collect reliable data for all 3 multisport events. It is reasonable for someone to assume this watch can be worn in a race and collect GPS data in the water, since, of course, swimming is the first event in a triathlon.

If you are considering buying this watch, hopefully the following information will help you:

-This device does not collect usable data in the water (other than time, which any $20 waterproof watch can collect in a much smaller form factor). No heart rate data and totally unusable and inaccurate GPS data will be collected while in the water.

-There are preset modes for "run," "bike," and "other," in which "other" shows a person on skis (explain that one?). They intentionally omit a category for swimming, despite advertising that this watch is for triathletes and show people coming out of the water in transition (see the photo I added under product photos).

-You will need to purchase a separate quick release kit if you want to use this watch on a bike. For some reason, it does not get accurate data on a bike if you are wearing in on your wrist. It auto pauses, then unpauses for most of the time I am riding if I wear it on my wrist -- even if I have it set to only auto pause when completely stopped. The quick release kit is not the more common one for the 205 and 305, so do not buy that one. [UPDATE: They made a new quick release kit specifically for this watch, then they updated it again. The current [updated] quick release kit that you want to buy is Garmin 310XT QR Kit (updated)]

-If you want foot cadence or the ability to track distance indoors, you will want to buy a foot pod. Older, less expensive Garmin models included them in their kits, but it looks like they no longer do that. Either the current Garmin Foot Pod [Retail Packaging] or the older Garmin Foot Pod for Forerunner 305, 405, and 50 will work. I had the older one and it broke after about a year of use (I never ran in the rain or got it wet), so I'll be buying the newer, smaller one to replace it.

-The watch is large and sits high on top of the wrist (they packed 20 hours of battery life into this watch), so to wear it under your wetsuit will let water in the wetsuit, or you will have to wear it on top of (or crammed in front of) the wetsuit, which will not allow you to remove your wetsuit without first removing the watch (thus adding time and/or complication to your transition, and sort of negating that whole "triathlete" angle). You can see a photo of this watch on my wrist under the photos section of the product to hopefully give you a better idea of what it will look like on you (I'm a 6' 195 lb male with big bones).

-There is no way to turn off GPS tracking for only one of the 3 events in multisport mode. Therefore you will always either have incorrect GPS data recording for the swimming mode (or, actually "other", since there is no "swim" mode, as previously mentioned). I have called customer support and they confirm this. Their solution was to turn off GPS while I am swimming, then reset and manually start a new timer and mode during transition 1 for my bike event. I'll let you be the judge of how to take that advice.

So, in conclusion, if you want to setup this watch for a bike and run, and want the ability to wear the watch in the water before hand (and not start it unless you want some incorrect distance data included), you will need to buy:
(pricing as of 9/8/2012)
~$250 - the Garmin 310XT with HR
~$16 - Quick release kit (for wrist and bike)
Garmin 310XT QR Kit (updated)
~$45 - Foot pod (if you want cadence)
Garmin Foot Pod [Retail Packaging]
~$38 - speed/cadence sensor (if you want cadence for the bike)
Garmin GSC 10 Speed/Cadence Bike Sensor

You'll be into it for $349 (as of 9/8/2012) [UPDATE: When I purchased all of those parts, it was $575. Current pricing is much more reasonable]

I feel that Garmin did the consumer wrong on this model with the false advertising (in 2009) and high cost of itemized accessories. Some of us are willing to spend that kind of money on a product if it proves to do what it advertises itself to do. We're not asking it to do anything more than perform as advertised. I realize the fine print saves Garmin from lawsuits, but it doesn't gain them repeat customers. It sends them over to Polar.

[EDIT: I have edited the title of this review to what it currently reads from "Misleading: Not a Triathlete's Watch," because it seems that Garmin has softened their advertising and marketing surrounding this watch. I purchased this watch when it first came out in 2009, and at the time the marketing videos and advertising in triathlon magazines mentioned nothing about the fact that it doesn't track GPS data in the water, and in fact seemed to lead the consumer into believing that it does. That advertising has since softened and is now replaced by a newer model Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS-Enabled Sport Watch]. I would look at that newer model and compare it to this one to decide which model you would prefer.
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148 of 168 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent watch, but a lot of catches, August 21, 2009
The 310xt was my first Garmin purchase. After years of having family use the Edge and the Forerunner for biking/running I decided I'd take the plunge when they came out with "the triathlete's indispensable training tool" in the 310xt.

My first thought was this was pricey. But, looking at the ForeRunner 305 & 405, I realized it wasn't that much more expensive for the additional supposed features and the "newness". Then I looked at the price here on Amazon and almost passed out. $550? Without the HRM strap? Ouch. If you're really into this watch, don't buy at that price. Search for the ones priced at $399. Most sites sell at that price.

Ok, onto the feature set. Large, clear buttons. Large screen. Ability to track multiple sports. Quick upload of data. Lots of customizable options and screens.

Pros:

Easy to set up and use. Pairing with the ANT USB stick is simple and can quickly get you started without the manual.
Online tools are pretty good (much better than previous iterations). Also, works with the MapMy list of sites (fitness, run, walk, hike, bike, swim, tri).
Customizable display allows for up to 4 tracking items per screen. So, you can track pace, HR, time and distance covered on one screen then scroll to another and get a map of your HR, your calories burned and a bunch of other potential options, all determined by you.
You can create routes on your watch and when you run it, it will record whenever you are on that route path. Great for comparing against previous training routes and for quickly setting the route and having it track you properly. Once you are on the route, it tracks you.
Auto-multisport option allows you to set that and when you click lap, it will dump you to the next "sport" whether it be a transition or another sport such as biking/running.
Tracks you the individual after you enter your height, weight, level of fitness. Provides caloric burn and other related info based on your input.
Virtual training partner. You can actually have it show how you're doing on a saved route versus your virtual training partner. This partner is a previous version of you doing the same route and tells your pace and how far you're up/behind. Pretty cool.
Multitude of things you can configure and display/adjust/fine tune.

Cons:

Swim? As I quoted from the Garmin site above, this watch bills itself as the triathlete's indispensable training tool. Umm.. triathlete means 3 sports, typically involving SWIMMING, biking and running. Swim is not an option. In fact, when I clicked other one time, it had what appeared to be an icon of a downhill skier. I'm not sure how that showed up since that option isn't there. HUGE mistake in my book for a watch billed to be for triathletes.

Elevation Accuracy? This one is WAAAAAY off. On a 3.3 mile run, it had me ascending 853 feet. Unless I'm climbing the Washington Monument, I'm not getting that type of elevation in 3.3 miles. I'd have to say it is off by, 600 feet or so. On a 60 mile bike ride, it had me at 1500 feet and that one at least took me up some legitimate hills.

Switching events: There is no way to switch events mid-stream on the watch if you didn't set it properly to begin. Let's say you ran one day and then biked the following day. If you left it on run then switched when you realized the mistake, it clears the data and you start with a new workout. The original workout is kept but you can't append the "new" workout on either on the watch or with any of their software (both installed SW and online site). So, when workouts are categorized, it shows a multisport recording on the installable software and whatever you mistakenly set in the online site. You then have 2 workouts you can't consolidate or run reports against without manual intervention.

Swim accuracy leaves a bit to be desired. While I haven't put it through its paces and will hopefully edit this review in the future, for a 1/2 mile swim, this thing was way off. Beach, opposite direction, gaps. All were part of that swim result.

While there are a lot of pros (which do warrant a 4 star), the cons are extremely negative. Since I don't have a watch to keep track of everything, this one will have to do. At such a price point, I'm highly disappointed in the overall performance considering it is billed as the triathlete's dream. It really does track mileage well and with enough fudging (using the elevation in MapMyRide instead of from the watch) and by manually adjusting routes in my various tracking sites, I can get close what I want. The HRM is good and the coupled effect of it all makes it as worthwhile as having a set of watches out there. But, I will not be ultimately promoting this to other athletes. While I've managed to make it work to a 4-star rating with my own fiddling, I wouldn't recommend it to a hardcore triathlete. Being my first training watch for my first Ironman, I wish I could say there were other watches which had the functionality I needed. Unfortunately, I'd have to wear two or more plus a bike computer. Even more unfortunate, in order to get what this watch said it can do all in one I might still need another to keep this one honest.
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch Delivers, August 8, 2009
I've used the 205, 305, and 405. As a triathlete, the 205 and 305 were both great watches. The best part of the watch for me is the extended battery life. The 305 was limited to Half-Ironmans due to limited battery life. I can now wear the 310xt for an entire Ironman distance. I also like wearing the watch in the water now although sliding the wetsuit over it can be a bit tricky.
Bottom line, the watch is pretty much identical to the 305 so if you are training or competing in races 6 hours or less, I would go with the 305 and save some money. Both the 305 and 310xt have the Multisport function for triathletes which is very important.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This "rugged" watch actually quite fragile!, March 1, 2010
By 
M. Hagler (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This watch is supposedly designed for multi-sport use, and is marketed by Garmin as being "rugged". So I was very surprised, and disappointed when the faceplate cracked just from dropping a couple feet onto the floor. A search found many other people who have had this happen to them too. Garmin is saying it is damage caused by owner and not covered under warranty. It seems to be a bad design flaw that the face of the watch has no protection. Runners and Triathletes like myself will spread the word and steer people away from this product unless Garmin starts to stand by their "rugged" watch and fixes the design.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't ever drop it..., March 6, 2010
By 
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS With USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Electronics)
As a rugged sports/gps watch, Garmin missed the mark. The screen is made of glass! If you drop it, the screen will crack. The first time this happened (during my first week with the watch), the watch fell out of my hand on to the pavement and the glass shattered. There was no force behind the fall other than me losing my grip on stuff I was carrying. Drop height was maybe 2.5 feet. Garmin repaired the watch after charging me almost $100 plus a $50 expedite fee because I wanted it for a key event.

After months of carefully guarding my Garmin, the watch fell out of my workout bag on to the bathroom tile floor. Screen shattered again so I have to shell out another $100 plus shipping if I want to continue using this expensive piece of equipment.

Garmin needs to change the material used for the face of the 310 XT to a material that will not crack when the device is dropped from a few feet. It is a good looking device that functions well but it is too fragile for all but the most careful and vigilant of users. I would rather have a scratched plastic screen that will take a normal wear-and-tear fall than worry about cracked glass and expensive replacement.

Of the three other 310 XT owners in my running/triathlon group, all three had cracked screens and expensive repairs within the first month of ownership. If you are considering the purchase of this watch be forewarned, it is not a question of if you will experience a cracked screen, it is a matter of when.

Hope this helps.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best of forerunner series but critical design flaw, April 8, 2010
I've had it over a year. Easy to use. Battery life is good; I cannot attest to 20 hours, longest I've used it is 5 hours straight with gps and had over half left. Smaller than previous models though won't be mistaken for a regular watch. I've had the 305 and 405 also; much easier to use than the 405 and battery much better than both plus waterproof.

Cons: 1. heart rate monitoring is spotty depending on how much you sweat- I've used it indoors lifting weights and it underreads. I've heard others comment on garmin heart rate monitoring that it may be inferior to polar or others.
2. ** The screen cracked after a drop from waist height. It landed on the face. I've read on the garmin forums of this happening to others. Someone noticed the design flaw in that the glass screen isn't recessed like the 405 and lesser extent the 305. It will cost me either $49 or $99 to get this repaired. Once I get it back it will have to rig it with a piece of rubber or something to create a recess.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great training tool, December 27, 2009
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS With USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Electronics)
I have owned this watch for about three months and I have no regrets at all. I use it just about every day.

Before I bought the 310XT, I was thinking that the 405 would be the perfect choice but after a little research I realized that the 310 was the 405 on steroids.. Twenty hour battery life, Ruggedized, Bigger more readable screen, more functional buttons.. and still reasonably small. For a while I was tempted to buy the 305 (The 310s older brother) and save some serious money but the 305 is larger and several years older in the technology tree. I wanted something that was going to still be getting firmware upgrades and was not at or near end of life.

I went ahead and bought the 310 and for the first month I just did the basics with it.. I let it monitor my runs and my bike rides.. but then I discovered all the cool stuff.. I started to design workouts where the watch would tell me when to do things based on things like heart rate, distance, time, etc.. I programmed the entire "Couch to 5K" program into the watch and then modified it in ways that the C25K program could never have pulled off.. Like cool down periods in the interval training that were based on heart rate and distance that is actually measured by GPS.. I gotta say this is very cool!

There has been three firmware upgrades since I bought the watch and the latest one TOTALLY FIXED the elevation charting issues. Until the latest upgrade, the elevation data in the charts was noticeably inaccurate. The watch boots up and finds the satellites amazingly fast. I have the foot pod and the heart monitor belt. Both add a lot to my workouts..

The Garmin Connect web site mated up with the Garmin 310 is just awesome.. I have had no problems with the Garmin 310, it links up to my computer just fine and it links to my foot pod and HRM belt fine too. It was very expensive but it is well worth it. Highly Recommended!
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51 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Go back to 305, November 4, 2009
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS With USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Electronics)
I had high expectations for this unit but were unfounded. Bottom line I returned it and am using my 305. NO WAY WORTH $350. I confirmed with Garmin that the calorie calculation is totally off with no software fixes in site. It also seems to record data on the wrong dates. This was also confirmed. Garmin released this and was no way ready. It is advertised as a triathlon watch but it wont track you in water so no better than a 19.95 Casio there. It is cool and finds satellites quicker but comes with nothing (not even a HRM for $350). Best advice go back to 305 for half the price. GArmin flopped on this one. PS I love Garmin products and own many. This one is NOT one to own...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible. It died after 3 months., September 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS With USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Electronics)
Overall, I would not buy it. Look for another unit. I bought this after previously owning the 305. Used it for 3 months and then it died. Would not turn on or take a charge. The unit is outside of the Amazon return window now so I have to deal with Garmin. I will update readers on the progress of that customer service experience.

Update: Sent the unit to Garmin and they sent me a refurbished unit to replace my non functioning unit. Would have rather not have had to go to all the trouble just to have a refurb...
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