Low-Priced But Well-Made, and Ready to Help You Train
Garmin's GPS running watch line consists of eight models, with the Forerunner 10, reviewed here, as the lowest-priced and most recent addition. The Forerunner 10 is also the first of Garmin's line to come in multiple colors, including pink, green, and black.
The Forerunner 10 is designed for simplicity and ease of use, and for the heart of the recreational runner and walker market. If you need features such as a wireless heart rate monitor, a foot pod option to track treadmill workouts, a multi-sport mode to include bicycling, for example, or interval training, you'll need to move up the Garmin line to a higher price level.
On the other hand, the Forerunner 10 has a more compact size and profile than other Garmin running watches, and it does have a solid set of features for most runners' needs. And like the pricier models, it's easy to upload your data to Garmin's free online Connect service, which serves as a terrific, no-work training log and workout analysis tool.
The Garmin Forerunner 10 is compact in size, at 1.6 x 2 inches (the black model is slightly larger) and less bulky on the wrist than most GPS running watches. It is thick compared to a typical non-GPS watch, but still suitable for casual, non-running use. Its narrow band also helps provide it with a less bulky profile, and those with smaller wrists will find the compact size of the watch more in proportion than most of the GPS watches on the market.
The Forerunner 10 does not use touchscreen technology, and all of its functions are controlled by four buttons, one on each corner. And that's fine, because the watch's small display wouldn't be well-suited for touchscreen use, and its easy-to-find buttons are better for use while running.
The watch has a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which is recharged with an included clip, which makes contact with the back of the watch, and plugs into a computer USB port. The charger also serves as the data-link to the computer. Battery charge life is 5 weeks in power save mode, or 5 hours in full GPS training or racing mode.
The Forerunner 10 stores data from up to 7 workouts, which is a big difference compared to higher-end models, which store many more. This isn't much of a problem if you upload and clear your workouts every week, for example.
The watch has auto-pause and auto-lap (you can set auto-lap to one mile, for example), and its screen display is customizable to show the stats most important to you. A Virtual Pacer compares your running pace to a target pace, and includes an audible and visual alert. A personal records feature tracks your PRs, and a run/walk mode facilitates run/walk workouts.
On the Road
The Forerunner 10 default screen is a nice time and date display for non-running use. When you are ready to begin a workout, the top-right button initiates the GPS and the watch detects your location. This happens relatively quickly when you are outdoors. Simply press the same button to start your workout. I found the display to be large and sharp enough to be easily readable during a run. While the timer is running, time, distance, calories burned, and pace are recorded.
A button on the lower-right of the watch face cycles through calorie burn and pace stats as you run.
Simply hit the top-right button when you are finished with your run, and save or discard your workout data. To set up a run/walk workout, use the run options menu choice, and set the run time and walk time for each interval. The virtual pacer is set up in the same way, and the watch will remember your goal pace until you reset it.
Overall, I found the Forerunner 10 to be well-suited to its target market of casual runners and for run/walk workouts. If there's one feature that even a casual runner might miss, it is a wireless heart rate monitor option. I like the trend toward more compact GPS sport watches, such as the Forerunner 10, and hope that Garmin and other makers continue to shrink watch profiles while keeping easily viewable displays.