My GPS watch is a Garmin Forerunner 310xt.
DC Rainmaker does an awesome job of reviewing everything in-depth and I find it always to be exact.
Just as my small review of Endomondo I’d like to share my own best and worst experiences with the watch, so hopefully you can get a good feel of what it means to actually use the watch.
Mind that this is written from a runner’s point of view, I purchased it with the cycling in the back of my mind, but all in all I only used it three times over the past 18 months for cycling…
- Heart rate strap wore down fast
I had to replace mine after a year. That’s just too fast… Luckily the support was great and I got a new one for free, but still … it’s a lot of hassle not desired.
- Altitude is wonky
I live at the coast line, which implies at sea level. I think the altitude varies between -10 and +10m, that’s just too big a threshold..
I ran some trails with it and it is persistent in its error, you’ll end up with the right ascent meters at the end, it’s just possible you won’t have gone as high as everyone else 😉
- Big heavy thing on your wrist.
Being ‘of age’ it is not the most slim, prettiest watch and it is quite big. Wearing long sleeves I always wear it on top of the sleeve. It’s handy for quick glances, but putting it underneath usually resorts in a sleeve too tight at the wrist.
- Remembering GPS? Not always it seems… (also: turn it on OUTSIDE!)
It advertises it remembers your GPS location, which means it’ll find your GPS quickly if your start point is always the same.
I may be a bit harsh here, because that seems correct about 80% of the time, but the other 20% means you need to wait a LOOONG time before it’s ready.
It’s better to turn it on outside as well, because from my experience, if it is hard to find GPS from the start, most of the time it will persevere although you’re standing outside. This usually means turning it off and on again.
- Battery indicator
The battery indicator could be better. It has a decent battery (see below), but if you fail to check it regularly you might end up with a notification at startup (almost empty) and that basically means no running with watch today. After max. 30min it will switch off and that’s just too tight for a first notification…
- Once locked, no ‘GPS lost signal’ until indoors
Seeing that it is a GPS watch, it’s not surprisingly it ends up in the worst and the best 5.
It may be difficult to lock or it may require a reboot, but I have never had signal loss once running.
Not in tunnels, not on hills, not in forests, not in “desolate” areas.
Only indoor it goes away quickly, but I think that’s normal.
- Clear, to the point, customizable screens
The screens are just awesome.
It has a large viewing angle, is sharp to look at and is highly customizable.
Per sport you have 3 screens (+ a Virtual Partner) with 4 fields where you can assign just anything imaginable (heart rate, distance, time, …).
When you run intervals it adds another screen that shows only your goal for the interval (time, heart rate, …), distance and current heart rate.
- Very good bang for the buck
I purchased mine at Amazon.co.uk and as far as I can tell it’s still the cheapest over there.
In total I paid less than €200 which is nice for a GPS watch including a Heart Rate strap.
- Bug free
I have doubted to buy a Garmin Fenix 2 a while back and the more I read about the newest watches from Garmin, the more it seemed every product had a certain maturing period.
I went digging the internet and the same was true for the 310xt, there had been a bunch of firmware upgrades before it was stable.
So by buying a slightly older model, you don’t only save money, but save frustration as well…
- Very decent battery
It’s advertised at 20h, actual duration depends off course on usage, GPS interval, backlight etc.
I can say I charge roughly every 3 weeks when I go running for about 5h a week.
It’s just handy you don’t need to charge after every long run.
Do you own a 310xt? Does it work as well for you as for me?
Doubts about the model or Garmin in general?
Be sure to sure a review of your own watch if you have one…
I had a Garmin 405CX for about 3 years. It had a touch bezel that was VERY temperamental. If my hands were cold, I struggled to get it to work and when it rained, the raindrops would cause it to flick between screens, which was very frustrating. However, it was a comfortable watch and it wasn’t too big. Another plus point was that it was possible to use it as a watch all day long as it had great battery life when the GPS wasn’t being used. I used it for runs of over 5:30 hours and the battery was fine for that as well.
I now have a Garmin 910XT. I’d love to have the new 920XT as it is a smaller watch and has some additional features, but the 910XT works just fine. I wish the battery meant that I could use it as a regular watch at times, but the GPS eats the battery. I’ve used it for a 7:30 race, which was fine and it should see me through an Ironman. The mount for putting it on a bike is the opposite way round from Garmin bike computers, which is silly and frustrating. It has a clear and easy to read screen, which is great.
When I ended up with the 310xt I doubted a lot about the 910xt, because I wanted to pick up swimming as well.
In retrospect, it’s good I went for the 310xt, because it’s somewhat cheaper and I mainly run (eats up enough time…)
Thanks for the feedback 🙂