Garmin seems to be on a miniaturization kick this season; it's a habit we're glad they got in on. Their Forerunner 310XT is much less obtrusive than the other watches in the Forerunner series, but seems to have more features, and they're features the multi-sport crowd will love.
Garmin brags about how this is a GPS (global positioning system) device that can swim and dive down to 50 meters. That is pretty cool, and yes, triathletes and duathletes should be swooning, but for us, it's the flexibility to use it as a power meter (when paired with a ANT+ enabled power meter), a speedometer, a pedometer, and at the gym and not having a huge hunk weighing our wrist earthward that gets us excited. Have it on the bike for most riding, on the wrist for cyclocross and running.
As a GPS, this watch will record speed whether walking, running, riding, or even driving. It will record altitude and gradient, too. And as a watch, it can time it all and give you averages galore. But it's when you add in the heart rate monitoring (strap not included), and the power data that this gets really interesting. Not only can you have all this info recording and accessible, but there's also a programmable virtual partner who can keep you on your toes (if you can keep up) or can make you look like a Tour winner (if you program it to be slower than you).
The 310XT, while GPS-enabled, does not have mapping capabilities on the watch, so you can neither see a map nor have it dictate a route. It will, however map your coordinates so you can see the ride, run, or swim after it's over.
Not having the map choices makes it easier for the screen to be watch-like. But it's a pretty flexible watch, with four programmable training screens, each displaying one, two, three, or four lines of data. And each data line can be one of 40 different options, provided you're getting power, heart rate, and cadence.
Another great thing about the 310XT is that you can start small and expand. You can add heart rate strap, cadence, power (one second sampling rate), even a foot pod for tracking your run on a treadmill.
The watch works with Garmin's own Garmin Training Center program. The program is a free download from Garmin's website and is compatible with PC's running Windows XP or newer and with Intel-based Macs running OS X 10.4 or later. The data can also be uploaded to the Garmin Connect website for free, and to both WKO+ and TrainingPeaks.
The Garmin 310XT comes with a USB ANT Stick for wireless uploads. Just have the computer on and stick in and when your 310XT is in range, the data will automatically upload. There is also an AC charger, a charging clip, an owner's manual on CD-ROM and a paper quick start guide. You can add a handlebar mount for putting the 310XT on your bars while you ride, a foot pod, speedo, Garmin GSC10 speedo/cadence meter, or any number of ANT+ powermeters. You can pick up your body info from the Tanita BC-1000 scale -- from which your 310XT can record weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle mass, daily caloric intake, metabolic age, bone mass, and visceral fat. Some things in there, you might not want to know.
The watch is 2.1" wide by 2.2" tall by .8" deep (5.4x5.6x1.9cm). The display is 1.3" wide by .8" tall (3.3x2.0cm). The display resolution is 160x100 pixels. The battery is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will get up to 20 hours on a charge. The color is Grey. The claimed weight is 2.5 oz (72g).
Note: Heart rate strap is not included.
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If you are getting serious about logging your miles and quantifying all that hard work, this is a great tool. Easy to use and incredibly functional. I would definitely buy this again.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I really liked this watch. Especially since it was only $250.
I used it for running mostly, and the bike and swim features were also used for my triathlon training.
The only bummer about this watch is that the swim isn't what I thought it was. It doeesn't keep track of the laps indoors at the pool and has a tough time tracking even outside.
In summary, it's a great watch for the beginner triathlete who swims outdoors, however, if you are doing advanced training, you will want the features of the 910xt. Spend the money
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I purchased this to replace a broken 205. There's no way to give a thorough review here without taking tons of pages - and good complete reviews are out there. here's one:
But here are my impressions: The real time data available on the screen is customizable and you can set several screens with the data you want (e.g., elapsed time, pace, average lap pace, elevation gain/loss, distance, etc.) Very nice to be able to set this up to your desires. You can also get many optional accessories like HR monitor, bike cadence sensor, power meter, giving a wide range of options. It is very easy to customize. The battery life is considerable better than the 205 (20 vs 12 hours) and the 20 hours seems pretty accurate from my use. It has a ton of nice features - one I like is the customizable lap feature - you can set a lap distance or a lap time. Its pretty cool to say, set a one mile lap, then go for a 10 mile run, and compare the average pace for each of the 10 miles. Also, the online data analysis is great - providing a nice summary and history of your workouts. It connects to the computer wirelessly through a usb device. And, the whole device is truly waterproof. Overall a very slick device.
Is this watch decent for backcountry skiing? I've read alot of GPS watches count arm swing to your vertical. Any use this for ski touring?
Yup - its pretty sweet. I ditched my handheld unit for this and have never looked back. I find it is pretty consistent when you use the barometric altitude correction. It compares well with my Suunto t6.
When is Backcountry going to get the 910XT?
You can get onto the "chat" box in the top right, and ask one of their staff. They'll be able to check for you.
Great GPS. I have several Garmins and this one's as good as if not better than the others. I also purchased the heart rate monitor and it works better than any other monitor I have tried. The only thing that would improve this GPS is a longer battery life. The 310 will go for about 18 - 20 hours which is not long enough for me to complete a 100 miler in the mountains. I run with the Wasatch Speed Goat Mountain Running team here in Utah.
Great piece of kit. I run a trail running company in the UK. (www.jelleylegs.co.uk) until now my most sophisticated piece of equipment was my compass...so this is a huge leap forward. My main complaint is that it does not yell at me as I go out the door to remind me to put it on...(it is too big to wear as a watch, unlike some of the other Garmin's) but assuming I remember to charge it and put it on my wrist, it is great. I get back, wander near my computer and it downloads - I name the route and that is it - I can tell my runners everything they need to know about where they have been, when they were slacking going up the hills, when they ate their sandwich and how fast they ran that last mile when the pub was in sight. So get one today - but if you live in the UK, watch out I had to pay $100 when it arrived - no fault of Backcountry...stung for import tax
I've lost my old garmin 301 with rate of climb in degrees. I fly ppc and hang gliders and need this function. Any wrist models that still give me altitude and degrees of slope.
I have had this unit now for about 2 years after owning the Garmin 205 for about the same time frame. I run ultramarathons and when I wear a watch, this is it. I can honestly say that I only have one issue with it and that is the battery life. Just remember that you will need to be diligent about turning the unit off after you use it, otherwise you start your next run, bike, snowshoe, etc...with a low or dead battery (it does charge quickly though). I seem to get 18-20 hours of watch time before it will need another charge.
Battery aside...this is an all out great gps watch. I don't have issue picking up signals under tree cover, I use the elevation, Heart Rate, Virtual Partner, back to start, pace, laps, and the wireless upload to Garmin connect as well as the training software. I've swam with it, cycle with it, and run in various parts of the country and it always works. I've used it to set/measure running events as well. There literally are more features on here than you probably could truly utilize, but with all these features you are able to customize the multiple screens, watch/gps settings etc.
Bottom line is that it's simply a very powerful & durable training tool.