Garmin 210 Review

15 Aug

I got the Garmin Forerunner 210 this year from my parents for my birthday. I was going to get the Forerunner 405 but discovered at REI that they no longer made that model. I wasn’t a fan of the square, bulky screen of the 310 and the 610 and 910 were too much watch for me. I just wanted the basics of distance, pace, time and heart rate. So the 210 it was.

I have to admit, the first couple of times I tried out my Garmin, I was kind of disappointed. One of the main things I was looking forward to was knowing what my pace was at any given moment. It didn’t take me long to discover, though, that the pace jumped all over the place – all the way from 7:30 to 13:00 within just a few minutes. Which made me doubt the accuracy of any pace I saw displayed. I lamented this to Travis and he suggested that the Garmin was just too accurate. Well, as much as I’d like to believe I could run a 7:30 pace, let’s be honest – never gonna happen.

Another aspect of the Garmin I didn’t take into account before getting it was that it calculates the distance you actually run (duh). So if you cut a corner a little tighter than normal, ‘Mile 1’ (as previously mapped online) is that much farther away. No longer was Mile 1 simply 1 mile away. Sometimes, it was only .85 mile; other times, 1.15 miles. Of course, I realize my Garmin is more accurate than my mapping routes and corner cuts but still. Getting to what I knew was Mile 1 and not having it be Mile 1 was annoying.

Add to that the fact that I had pretty much every running route I’d ever need mapped out already and I thought long and hard about returning the Garmin. I just didn’t know if it was worth the money (despite the fact that it was a present). But then… I tried setting the Garmin to show my average pace overall, for the entire run. From my first run, I knew that was a setting I could get behind. In fact, that’s what I used during my marathon and I found it really helpful. So I decided to keep the watch.

Plus, I know that just because I have a store of already-mapped-out routes, that doesn’t mean I will never want to just wing it. As far as I can tell, the mileage is accurate and it’s fun to see the ‘playback’ of my workout on Garmin Connect.

The heart rate monitor works well. The watch and strap both fit well. The watch is not waterproof, which is the only drawback besides the too-accurate pace IMO, but I knew about that before I bought it. Oh, and that whole ‘remembering to charge it’ thing – that’s definitely going to take some getting used to.

So is it worth it? I would say overall, yes. Especially for someone just getting into running and wanting to save precious hours of their life by not painstakingly mapping their running routes out online. Or someone who frequently likes to shake things up at the spur of the moment but still wants their distance and pace stats. Or for someone like me who wants the option of switching things up at the spur of the moment, while still knowing exactly how far you ran.

All that said, I fully expect that my satisfaction with the Garmin will only go up from here, the more I use it instead of trusty old MapMyRun.

Just be aware that the “current pace” isn’t as helpful as you might think…

Do you have a Garmin watch? What’s your experience been?

3 Responses to “Garmin 210 Review”

  1. todkehrli August 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I have the 405 and really like it. When I run I usually keep the heart rate visible as that is how I try to gauge my pace. I also got the foot pad and like to track and improve my cadence.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that the distance gets a bit sketchy on trails. I think if you are under a dense canopy of trees it may lose the GPS signal from time to time and create gaps. So, you may actually be running further than it tells you.

    I still use MapMyRun to map out new courses. I know they;re not perfect, but close enough for me.

  2. Heidi Nicole August 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    I have a 305 – not the biggest fan, but it does the job. If I get another GPS watch I’ll try out a different brand. Nothing wrong with my 305, per say, I just want to try something new once I break this one!

    And I’ve noticed that it doesn’t work well on 14ers. I don’t understand why. I’ll start it at the car and it will display the correct {or so I assume} time and distance as we are hiking but when I get home and look at it online the actual map starts half way up the mountain, does the summit, then shows the entire hike down. I don’t get it. All of the numbers are correct, the map is just jacked up!

  3. Rob August 20, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    I would guess that the common factor with your 14ers is their duration and that the gps memory is filling up and “rolling over,” overwriting the start of your tracklog. On some units you can switch this off but not the 305 as far as I am aware. In either case you would lose something whether beginning or end. Also, on most Garmins you can toggle between smart (default) and every second recording, effectively controling how fast memory is consumed. Perhaps you have every second enabled? That would limit memory to only a few hours. Check out the manual.

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