The Bottom Line
- Full-featured run, bike, and swim modes - well-suited to triathletes.
- GPS accuracy and ease-of use.
- Wireless data transfer.
- Somewhat bulky.
- Heart rate monitor does not work under water.
- Suggested retail price: $349.99 or $399.99 with heart rate monitor
- Heart rate strap, foot pod and bike speed cadence sensor also available as separate accessories
- Unit size: 2.1" x 2.2" x 0.8" (5.4 x 5.6 x 1.9 cm)
- Display size: 1.3" x 0.8" (3.3 x 2.0 cm) at 160 x 100 pixels
- Weight: 2.5 oz (72 g)
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion, 20 hours of life with typical use
- Water resistant: up to depths of 50 meters
- Auto-pause, auto-lap
- Courses to compete against previous workouts
- No maps or GPS navigation capability, but data may be stored, mapped, and analyzed on Garmin Connect site.
Guide Review - Waterproof Garmin 310XT is an Excellent Training Tool
With a suggested retail price of $399 (for the version with the heart rate monitor strap) and a long list of features, the Garmin 310XT is a GPS sports watch for the serious athlete. Those who want the functionality of a GPS watch, but don't need everything the 310XT offers, including waterproofness, may also want to look at the $149 Garmin 205.
GPS functionality sets these watches apart because they provide accurate distance and location data without relying on stride measurement, which is a guesstimate at best.
If you're serious about your training, and data capture and analysis, the 310XT is the best watch on the market. Triathletes especially will appreciate the 310XT's waterproofness (the watch passed my immersion test). It's a bit bulky compared to many runner's watches, but that's partly due to the need to fit in additional electronics such as GPS, and to accommodate wireless uploading of your data. An upside of the watch's size is its large, 1.3-inch display with bold, black, easy-to-see numerals.
I tested the watch on multiple runs and bike rides, and lent it to friends who are serious runners to get their opinions.
The most impressive thing about the 310XT is the comprehensiveness of its data capture. Strap on the heart rate monitor and do a workout, and you're collecting a myriad of information, including heart rate for the entire run, precise distance and pace, elevation change, calorie burn, full per-lap stats, and more.
Cyclists and triathletes will appreciate the 310XT's bike mode and bike settings. Also, if you use a bike with an ANT-compatible power meter, the 310XT measures and stores power data.
Garmin includes an ANT USB stick that lets you wirelessly transfer data from the 310XT to your personal computer.
Besides keeping track of distance, the 310XT's GPS drives basic navigation and a simple line/map display. You can mark waypoints, and follow a track and/or the 310XT's compass to find your way. These features could be useful for trail runners.
Of note to triathletes; even though the 310XT and its heart rate monitor strap are waterproof, the heart rate monitor feature does not work in the water. Its wireless signal does not transmit through water.
If you're comparing the 310XT to a device such as an iPhone or Android OS smartphone with a running app, keep in mind some key comparison points: A smartphone is not water-resistant, much less waterproof. The 310XT's GPS is much more sensitive than a smartphone's. I was getting five strong satellite signals in a wooded valley where I was getting little or no signal on an iPhone.
Overall, the 310XT is the most powerful and feature-filled GPS sports watch on the market, and will provide serious triathletes, runners, and cyclists with all the data they and their coaches need to plan, store, and analyze detailed training data. Also, Garmin Connect provides a great free way to store, analyze, and share workouts and races.