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Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch (Violet)
Size: 2.1cm Screen|Color: violet/white|Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Change
Price:$94.90+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on October 16, 2012
What I want from a running watch is pretty simple. I want a watch that shows me my time, distance, and pace, in reasonably big font that I can read while running. I want decent battery life, so I don't have to charge every single run. I want a watch that doesn't make me wait for 5 minutes while it looks for satellites. And I want a watch that looks and feels like a watch rather than a small computer strapped to my arm.

For years, I've run with the Forerunner 305. It is a product I love to hate. It works well, and in a way it's been indispensable to me as a runner, but it is also a little bit deficient in nearly every respect mentioned above.

I've considered buying a new Garmin, such as the 410, but always decided not to after reading reviews. So when I heard about the 10, I was thrilled. Finally, Garmin had figured it out.

I've had it now for a couple weeks. The watch is a big improvement, but it also remains deficient in some critical respects. In fact, sadly, I am not sure I will keep it.

It is small. It looks and feels infinitely better than the 305. The display is easy to read. Big font means I can see and read it at a quick glance. The buttons are easy to find. The interface is simple and intuitive, making it easy to scroll around and program the watch. The battery life seems very good so far. Finally, it seems to pick up the satellites much quicker than the 305 does. In short, there are many things to love.

And yet...

1. The display is not fully customizable. There are only four things that it can display (1) pace, (2) distance, (3) time, (4) calories. You can display two and only two of those at any time, in pairs.

2. While running, I generally want to know three things -- pace, distance, and time. On the 305, I can customize to view all three at once. On the 10, I can't. I understand the trade-off: if the watch displayed three things, then the font would be smaller, and so you couldn't see stuff at a glance. So I get why they made this choice. But it is nonetheless a drawback.

3. [See UPDATE below.] I could live with 1 and 2. But then there is the killer -- it will not display lap pace. Instead, it will only show current pace.

Over the years, with my 305, I've come to rely on lap pace for the simple reason that it is much, much more accurate. "Current pace" jumps around a lot, even if you are running at a completely even pace. The reason, I suppose, is the watch only communicates with the satellite every few seconds, so then it makes a sort of quick estimation about your spot pace. Lap pace, by contrast, has a bunch more data points, everything in the last mile (if you have it set to auto-lap at one mile). So it is far, far more accurate.

Let's say you're running a 7:35 pace. Your lap pace will say 7:35. Your current pace, however, will jump around -- 7:20, then 7:40, then 7:30, etc.

I'm sorry, but if you are even a remotely serious runner, this matters a great deal. If you are running a race, you probably have a goal in mind. You therefore probably have a specific pace you need to run. Like you want to run a 1:50 half marathon, so you know you need to stay with a 8:23 pace. The Garmin Forerunner 10 will not help you very much -- because you can't tell whether you are actually running an 8:23 as opposed to an 8:15 or an 8:30. Because all you get is the rough approximation of "current pace."

Now, if you have it set to auto-lap, then it will display your lap pace as a "lap banner" at the completion of each lap. So you have it set to auto-lap each mile, then at the end of each mile, it will show you your exact time. That's good, and to some extent, it helps to make up for the lack of constant lap pace display.

But in a way, that almost makes the whole thing more maddening. I know that my watch is calculating lap pace -- it is in there somewhere. But I can't see it until the end of my mile. Why? WHY???

I understand that they made a choice to cut down on features to make a simpler watch. But this watch still has a few more elaborate features like "virtual pacer" (which I will never use). If they can have that, why can't they at least give you an option of viewing lap pace?

I am running a half marathon next weekend. I would like to wear my new pretty Forerunner 10, but I will probably end up wearing my old clunky 305, just so I can know what my actual pace is. And honestly, that is hugely depressing.

UPDATE 7/22/13 -- I'm upgrading to 4 stars based on the lap pace firmware update.

This watch has been in a drawer, unused, for 6 months. I was finally getting around to selling it on ebay when I saw that Garmin had made a firmware update allowing for lap pace and average pace display. So I downloaded the update and run with it a couple times.

There is something a bit funky about the lap pace. It bounces around more than it should, and it seems to jump up randomly at the beginning of the lap. Nonetheless, this is a big improvement, and kudos to Garmin to listening to customer feedback on this.

I'm going to run with it for a few weeks, including some runs wearing multiple watches, and I'll update again if there is anything noteworthy.
1,446 helpful votes
1,447 helpful votes
5150+ comments|Report abuse
on September 29, 2012
Before this watch came on to the market, I had looked at other GPS watches from time to time, but they generally seemed too big/bulky and expensive. This is the first moderately priced GPS watch with the features I was looking for. I have been using it for 1 week and am happy to say that it operates as advertised. It is lightweight, not too bulky, and starts/stops with the push of one button. The main face is preset to display run time and total distance, but you can toggle to a second screen to see your pace. The watch notifies you as you complete each mile, and displays your average pace for the mile as well as your average pace at the end of your run. You can also set the watch for run/walk intervals, or use the "virtual pacer" to notify you if you are running slower or faster than your desired pace.

Battery life may be a big issue if you want to use the watch outside of running, but I have just used it during runs, and recharged while connecting to Garmin's website to download my run stats, so it hasn't been an issue for me. If you are looking for a basic GPS watch that tracks how far and how fast, this is a great choice! Note that it will not monitor your heart rate, so if that feature is important to you, you should like at a higher end version.
783 helpful votes
784 helpful votes
11 comment|Report abuse
on October 23, 2016
I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 10 on Amazon for $102.71 on April 1, 2015. Although this watch was purchased last April, I have only recently begun using it for long distances and marathon training, and about 3 months ago during my 20 mile training runs it became apparent the battery would not stay charged and the watch would die during my run. The battery will not last longer than 3 hours on my recent long runs and did not last through my first marathon last weekend. This is unacceptable- the watch shut off at mile 18 during the Chicago Marathon.

My other watch is a Garmin 310 and it lasts weeks before needing a charge. I spoke with a technician in the Chicago Garmin store about this battery issue and he said I was sold an outdated model by Amazon and most likely the battery was defective from the beginning due to sitting in a warehouse for years before being sold to me- I just didn't notice until i most recently started running long. The technician said he hasn't sold this model in over 3 years and it has been updated by 2 newer versions in that time. I was basically sold a VERY old model that had been out of production for some time.The Garmin tech told me to write Garmin to have this watch repaired or replaced, but with only a 1 year warranty, I might be out of luck since I didn't discover the battery issue until recently. The watch is clearly defective and I would definitely NOT buy this model again as it is worthless for long runs. I spoke with a runner who also had this exact model and his lasts for 2-3 weeks before needing a battery charge.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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on April 16, 2014
I've had this watch for a little over a week and am very pleased with it so far. I do notice it takes a few minutes to acquire a signal when it's cloudy out, but it's pretty quick if the sky is clear. The distance tracking is accurate, and the screen is easy to read. I would like the "beep" for each mile to be a little louder, but that's not a huge issue for me. The watch is comfortable & doesn't slip around. It was easy to set up (didn't need the instruction manual) and took a couple hours to fully charge right out of the box. After the initial charge, it only takes about a half hour to an hour to fully charge when it's low. Garmin Connect was very easy to set up as well - just download the program, plug in the watch to the USB, & it will register easily. After every couple runs, just plug the watch in & hit the upload button - maps, times, distances, etc... all there in an easy format. I run about 20 to 30 miles per week on average, and this is a great, simple gadget to help with training.
10 helpful votes
11 helpful votes
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on October 10, 2015
I am very impressed with this running watch. The GPS connects in seconds and seems to be very accurate.

The battery life is great. In normal mode, GPS is not on, I have let it go several days without charging it and the battery meter still showed greater than half remaining. I went for a 8 mile run today, GPS on, and the battery barely went down any at all.

The everyday, always on, fitness tracking is much like a Fitbit. It resets it's count every day at midnight and then displays the days current total steps taken, the distance you have walked, current progress towards your goal, and calories burned. I really like the way it shows your current calories burned, it is figured from your base metabolism plus the amount burned from your activities. I also like the way it keeps track of your record times, fastest 5k, longest run, etc.

I have a Wahoo chest strap heart rate monitor that this watch automatically connects with via ANT, for heart rate display. It also does heart rate zone alerts. The Garmin Connect web site does a great job of tracking and displaying all of you stats.

It also does smart phone notifications, which is nice so you don't need to get you phone out of your pocket to read a new text, or to see who is calling. Also the display is bright, clear, and easy to read.

One of my main concerns about getting a sports watch was how big they are. I'm 5'6”, 140 lbs, and don't want a watch that is too big for every day use. This watch fits me perfect and looks like a normal watch size-wise.

The main thing missing from this watch is vibration alerts. Without a vibration alert you probably will not notice a heart rate zone change while running, or the smart phone notifications, unless you just happen to be looking at the watch when the alert comes in.
56 helpful votes
57 helpful votes
11 comment|Report abuse
on November 10, 2015
If you’re on the market looking for a GPS watch, Garmin has made the Forerunner 25 a serious contender by adding 24/7 activity tracking, smart notifications and remarkable mobile app. It's also ridiculously light weight.

If you're interested in comparable products, it's Polar M400. While Polar’s M400 has multiple sports profiles, running and fitness index, the Forerunner 25 has live tracking, virtual runner and indoor running. It really boils down how you usually train.

This device only has audio beeps and no vibrations so for those of you looking for discreet notifications, this is not for you.

List of features for ease of comparison:

Tracks steps, distance, pace, calories, personal records, sleep
Audio beeps for notifications and alarms
Pairs with ANT+ heart rate monitor or foot pod
GPS enabled with live tracking function
Inactivity and smart phone notification
Virtual Pacer (Compares current pace to target pace)
Powerful Garmin Connect mobile app
Multiple running mode selection
Water resistant to 50m
Lengthy battery life (8 or 10 weeks)
Plan training online using Garmin Connect web platform
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80 helpful votes
81 helpful votes
22 comments|Report abuse
on July 15, 2016
This watch has been great. The first time using GPS it took forever (30 min) to find my location, so I was worried, but every time after that it has located my position in maybe 30 seconds. My main gripes are that it takes ~3 hours to fully charge, and that the buttons stick out from the bezel so far that I'm constantly hitting them (especially the GPS tracking button) throughout the day by doing things like bending my wrist far, putting on a jacket... The biggest downside of that is that the GPS is a battery glutton, so on bad days you can kill a ton of battery. Typically get about 1.5-2 weeks of usage before it needs to be recharged. Only other issue is that it doesn't know the difference between running, mountain biking and other activities.
4 helpful votes
5 helpful votes
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on March 12, 2017
I've wanted to like this watch. I still want to like it. And in the beginning I did.

But then the time to connect to a satellite starting taking longer. Eventually, I'd be into my run before it would finally connect. After a while, I'd be finished with a run and still not have a connection. A friend bought bought his 25 within a couple of weeks of me (back when I still liked it), and he saw the same progression of lag to connect.

The Garmin Connect software is simply awful. That someone would write such a clunky, non-intuitive interface in this day is astounding. Something as simple as entering a run (and the milage manually, since it won't connect) is difficult. And to assign a pre-existing course to that run (recorded back when it would connect), well... I just finally gave up.

I gave it two stars only because the interface on the watch itself is simple and easy to use. I wouldn't buy it again, and I'd advise against buying it.
Update (7/11/2017). I'm now running with version 3.4 of the software (latest update). I can no longer get the watch to Bluetooth sync with my phone. It's always had a problem of losing the connection every couple of weeks, and having to then be re-synched; now doesn't work at all. Moving my rating from two to one stars.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on February 3, 2015
It stopped charging after the batter died. While it's charging it always appears as if it is fully charged but once unplugged the battery goes back to zero.
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18 helpful votes
19 helpful votes
22 comments|Report abuse
The manufacturer commented on the review below
on June 1, 2016
After receiving this with high expectations we were disappointed that the GPS on the Garmin won't connect quickly and once it did while running the unit simply stopped running and didn't record the run. I had read several reviews about this where other people experienced problems with these and maybe the firmware needs to be replaced/updated. We will be returning the unit for exchange but want the replacement to work correctly.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
33 comments|Report abuse

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