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Review: Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS-enabled Running Watch - All a Runner Needs

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Garmin's Forerunner 210 GPS-enabled running watch

Garmin's Forerunner 210 GPS-enabled running watch works indoors on the treadmill (with optional foot-pod) or outdoors using GPS. It's a complete solution for runners, but lacks triathlon/bike features.


The Bottom Line

Garmin has nine sport watches in its product lineup, ranging in price from $129 to $399, depending on accessories. The Forerunner 210 GPS-enabled sport watch sells for $349 (list) including heart rate monitor strap and stride-sensing foot-pod, or $299 without these two options. This places it near the high end of Garmin's GPS watch line. It's an excellent all-around runner's watch. If you want to use a watch for cycling or triathlons, however, consider the Forerunner 310XT or the Forerunner 405CX.
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  • Light and compact.
  • Does it all for runners, including heart rate monitor and foot-pod.
  • Easily keep a detailed training log with free Garmin Connect online.


  • Display numerals on the small side.


  • Dimensions: 1.8" x 2.7" x 0.6" (4.5 x 6.9 x 1.4 cm).
  • Display size: 1.0" x 1.0" (2.5 x 2.5 cm) diameter.
  • Display resolution: 52 x 30 pixels.
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion, 3 weeks in power save mode; 8 hours in training mode.
  • Water-resistant.
  • No internal maps.
  • Auto lap.
  • Interval training capability (set up exercise and rest intervals).

Guide Review - Review: Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS-enabled Running Watch - All a Runner Needs

The Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS-enabled watch is the best watch in Garmin's nine-watch lineup for someone who runs or walks for fitness, training, or racing. Higher-end models have extra features for cyclists or triathletes. The very similar, and lower-cost Forerunner 110 is not compatible with a foot-pod, so can't measure distance when used on a treadmill, and doesn't have an interval training feature (if you don't care about those two features, the 110 is a good economical choice).

Credit to Garmin for slimming down GPS-enabled watches into normal-looking sport watches that can be worn any time for casual use. The watch's default display shows time and date.

The Forerunner 210 is controlled by four easy-to-use buttons around the watch's perimeter. The page/menu button cycles through the 210's functions. The start/stop button stops and starts workout metrics, and a lap/reset button resets. When you're ready to run, step outside, press the page/menu button, let the watch acquire a satellite fix, then press start to go. If you've ever been frustrated by confusing sports watch controls, you'll appreciate the clearly marked, keep-it-simple approach of the Forerunner 210.

The 210 automatically sensed the wireless heart rate monitor strap when I was wearing it, and acquired and sustained a nice, accurate heart rate reading. I always moisten the heart rate strap pickups before I start (or better, use electrode gel, available inexpensively at pharmacies) to get good readings early in the workout, before I break a sweat to moisten the pickups.

While on the run, the 210 has a simple but useful display, showing total distance at the top in small numerals, pace at the bottom, and elapsed time in larger numerals in the middle. You may also display speed in the bottom line, or heart rate in the center spot. I found it easy to rotate through the displays while running. My only beef with the display - the top and bottom numeral sets are on the small side, and can be difficult to see.

You may set up heart rate zones and alerts, and interval training with alerts.

The optional foot-pod uses ANT+ wireless technology, and has a simple setup and calibration routine. GPS is more accurate than the foot-pod when running outdoors, but you'll need the foot-pod if indoor treadmill workouts are important to you.

Data: The Forerunner 210 can store about 180 hours of run history. You may view runs on the watch, but much better to upload them to free Garmin Connect, which automatically builds a full-featured online training log with graphs galore. Recharge and connect the 210 to your computer with an included USB cable and clip-contact for the watch.

Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 210 is a compact, well-built, easy-to-use runner's companion that will keep your training on track.

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