Sunday 18 March 2012

Garmin Forerunner 310XT, GPS Watch Review

Today I thought I would throw together a quick review on my Garmin 310XT. I have had it for over 1 year and wear it most days (for any cycling or running I do) The battery is rechargeable with a usb cable. It has lasted about 18hours when actually recording.
The Garmin 310 XT

I bought the watch as a way of measuring and recording my distances and speed (or lack of?) mainly when running. It is available with and without a heart rate monitor strap (HRM). I don't tend to use this as I find it a bit awkward, seems to be fine for the majority of the time but every now and again I would glance at it and see something like 235bmp even after I have set up my max and resting heart rate. I would be willing to put money on the fact that my heart wasn't doing anything quite so extreme during a steady, long run.

The functionality of the watch I find absolutely great! It can be set to record running, cycling or 'other' eg swimming or skiing or whatever else you might get up to, being waterproof it is ideal for those outdoorsy types or anyone that might end up submerged during their Saturday morning run.

Basically on each activity you can set the display to show whatever you wish from a long list of options such as; speed, pace, elevation, time, time of day, heart rate, total distance (always a killer when you check about an hour into a 100 mile race)  and so on. For intervals I usually have last lap pace (you can set the laps automatically according to distance or time or just manually by pressing the lap button), last lap time, last lap distance. The watch has heaps of configurative possibilities, far more than I have used so should satisfy any technology loving creatures out there!

The back light is great!

I find the watch pretty consistent usually, my run to work on the usual route is always within a few meters.Things like the elevation also being consistent when doing the same route multiple times. It picks up signal as quick as I can put my shoes on if I am outside, if you're planning on running in the gym on a treadmill the GPS might not be the best choice! (Although jokes aside there is a foot pod which I DON'T have, apparently able to measure cadence etc incase your treadmill doesn't have a display?)

 It has been incredibly durable, the only small problem is the little bit on the strap that holds the tail of the 'excess' strap snapped off, I have continued to use it like this for about 6 months or so, so it is obviously not a major problem! Being generally a bit rough with things this has been dropped probably a couple of times per week and is still going strong. It's pretty comfy to wear, I saw some of the other GPS watches and they looked huge, this isn't too bad and I don't have the biggest wrists in the world! It can be seen in action below.

A quick search and it's going for under £150 now. Last year I clocked just over 10,000km with the watch on (running and cycling) so it cost me about 2p per km if my maths is any good at this time of night? Bargain!

The Garmin wirelessly transmits data to the computer and uses an on-line interface called 'Garmin connect'  here you can see each individual activity on a map with split times etc, reports of all your data sorted how you like eg, monthly mileage totals for each activity in a nice little table to print off and stick on the fridge, or a calendar of your training, for example this particular week in October last year I ran 220km with the watch in the week. The time and average speed represents total time so where I may have forgot and not stopped the watch it would continue to record so just remember to do that if you want to keep real accurate records. I tend to use it all just to look back on as I train to how I feel and to what race schedule is like rather than trying to hit so many miles each week.

Time Period
Elevation Gain
Avg Speed


 Another really useful feature of the watch is the ability to download a GPX file on to the watch and follow a course (if  you are too lazy to navigate, or just want it for back up to ensure you don't get lost). Good if you know the route before hand, not so important if you are doing Warrington Half Marathon fenced in onto the roads, but more useful if you were perhaps recceing a section of the Bob Graham Round or something. You can plot points in so If you know the location of a check point you could plot that in and be able to set the watch to point towards it keeping you on track. Although I would reccomend learning to navigate and still carrying map and compass etc if you are venturing into the wilderness, what if your watch failed?

To summarise, there isn't a feature I can think of that needs to be added, it has survived over 1 year with me which is quite rare for most fancy gadgets, battery life is still pretty good, combined with a solar charger which are pretty cheap to pick up it would suit multi day events such as Marathon Des Sables or Gobi challenge. Heaps of incredibly useful features, more than you are likely to use, one thing I forgot, you can plan a session on the watch or computer and the watch will display the instruction and automatically keep the time and use a series of beeps and alarms to keep you on time and at your target pace etc. eg if you wanted to do Tabatta intervals you could set the beeps for 20 sec sprint and 10 sec rest x8 and the watch would alert you when you have finished. There are other options available with regards to brands and styles, I chose this as it was the top of the range at the time and waterproof, had a back light and longer battery than most!

Hope you find this useful you can get the watch on Amazon HERE

Any comments or questions specifically drop them in the comment form below or pop me an e-mail!

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