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Customer Review

178 of 204 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent watch, but a lot of catches, August 21, 2009
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS with USB ANT Stick (Electronics)
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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Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2009 11:00:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2009 11:00:55 AM PDT
D. Pratt says:
"There is no way to switch events mid-stream on the watch if you didn't set it properly to begin. "

I am not sure about the 310XT, but the Forerunner 305 will let you do that - just hold down the "mode" button and then pick from the list that shows up. Did they do away with this on the 310 or did you miss that? (I have the 305 and have often done the "DOH!" and forgotten to switch sports, so I know about that feature!)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 5:37:45 AM PST
biker says:
no, you're wrong. i have the 305 and when you switch sports it starts a new workout (thinking you are in a mid-multisport activity like a triathlon) just like the person above described the 310. i agree with the person above (for both 310 and 305) that you need a way to append the new workout to the previous workout when you didn't really switch sport but you just forgot to set it to the right sport when you started the workout and realized it mid-workout.

Posted on Feb 18, 2010 9:54:33 PM PST
Mickey D says:
Apparently the price has come way down. I just checked and it is at $342. and that includes the Heart rate monitor. I love the new features! (waterproof, longer battery life and quicker link to satellites. I also heard that they will be coming out with a better HR strap soon (not sure if that's accurate)http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/communities/discussion_boards/post2-glossy._V47082004_.gif

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 7:00:58 PM PDT
About the skier. I have a 305 and it has one also. I agree it is ridiculous to have it for a "triathlon" device, but I am a skier and a triathlete. It was great to use the 305 on my ski trip to CO. Neat to track speeds on runs, elevation, etc. A fun feature.

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 8:30:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 4, 2011 8:35:47 PM PST
L. McCormick says:
1 degree @ 60 miles would be just over 1 mile of elevation change (nearly 5500 feet--2xPIxRadius over 1/360 of a circle). If you biked for 60 miles @ 1/3 of a degree elevation, you'd have gone up ~1800 feet. Does it sound plausible that your average incline was one third of a degree? If so, your skepticism of a 1500 elevation change is unfounded.

As for your 853 feet in 3.3 miles, you'd need an average incline of 3 degrees (which is decently steep).

Most accurate of all would be to use the topographical info for your LAT/LONG start & end points, then compare.

Just sayin'...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2012 10:09:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 1, 2012 10:12:11 PM PST
Jason Schorn says:
Maybe the reviewer lives in Kansas or some other rather flat area. Here in the Southern Sierra's I routinely run a 3.1 mile course that has 1204 vertical feet of elevation gain...and that's just an easy day in the mountains for us California desert rats. Don't get me started on biking elevation if you think 1500ft of elevation gain is a lot!
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