Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS Watch Review

The Garmin Forerunner 310 XT has been out for over five years now, which is an eternity in gadget years. It’s still going strong, and it’s considered the first choice for triathletes because of its blend of rugged construction, reliable data gathering, and an easy-to-read display. A triathlon is a very demanding event, and athletes that participate in a grueling combination of biking, running, and swimming appreciate the wealth of information the Forerunner 310 XT offers, and they like the fact that it can deliver readable and usable information to its big screen on four feeds at the same time.

Running watches aren’t that hard to come by, especially since Nike and Timex have many models as well, and many watches designed to appeal strictly to runners deliver just as much useful information in a much smaller package than the 310XT offers. That’s not enough for triathletes. They depend on the 310XT to follow them seamlessly from water to bike to roadway without missing a beat, and few watches can stand up to that kind of abuse and keep going. The Garmin Forerunner 310XT looks big on your wrist, and somewhat bulky as well, but it’s light and extremely durable, and it doesn’t weigh very much, which is a much more important attribute to triathletes than its size.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS

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Specifications

  • GPS-enabled running watch
  • Bluetooth-enabled to send data wirelessly to your computer
  • Tracks position, distance, and pace
  • Optional accessories allow monitoring of heart rate
  • Waterproof to 150 feet deep
  • 20 hours of battery life on one charge
  • Weighs 2.6 ounces
  • 2.1 inches x 0.8 inches x 2.2 inches
  • One rechargeable Lithium-ion battery is included
  • 160 x 100 pixel grayscale display
  • 1.5-inch wide display
  • One-year limited warranty

Features

Triathletes and long-distance runners and bikers need a training device that can last for a long time on one charge, and the Garmin Forerunner 310XT packs plenty of juice in its Lithium-ion battery to keep going all day. The watch tracks distance, pace, and heart rate when equipped with an optional monitor, so it’s the perfect tool for training as well as race day.

Perfect for Triathletes

Triathletes have a particular set of needs for a sports watch, and the Forerunner 310 XT is ready to supply them all. Unlike many sports watches, it’s not just water resistant; it’s waterproof to a depth of almost 150 feet, and it’s durable enough to be worn during the demanding swimming portion of triathlons. When you’re out of the water, the 310 XT slips easily off your wrist and on to a mount on your bike to track your route and pace without a hitch. Once you’re off the bike and on foot, it will give keep all the data handy that serious competitors need to finish the last, grueling leg of the race.

Versatile Wireless Connectivity

The Forerunner 310 XT uses standard GPS and HotFix satellite information to keep your route on track even if you find yourself in the shadow of tall urban buildings or tree canopy. The 310 XT uses ANT+ wireless technology to optional heart rate sensors and foot pod units to track your cadence and footfalls continuously while keeping a close eye on your pulse.

Like conventional running watches, the Forerunner 310 XT uses your weight, heart rate, and pace to calculate how many calories you’re burning while you’re in training. To a triathlete in competition, that’s a key parameter to keep track of because it’s so easy to run out of energy in such a demanding event.

No Cables Means No Fuss When Downloading Data

The Forerunner 310XT wirelessly transfers your data to your computer whenever you’re in range without using any cables, and the robust analytics offered by the Garmin Connect or the Garmin Training Center Software let you drill down, analyze, and compare your data, and share it with an online community, too, if you choose.

Pros

  • Easy to set up and to use
  • Customizable display allows you to track four items on one screen
  • Large, easy to understand buttons make operation a breeze, even when on a flat-out run
  • Large screen is easy to read without holding your watch up to your face
  • Quickly uploads data
  • Inexpensive
  • Really durable
  • Totally waterproof construction make it suitable for swimming or diving
  • Bike mount makes it perfect for triathlons
  • Links quickly to available satellites to avoid waiting at beginning of runs
  • Fairly light for its big size
  • Good GPS signal even on tree-covered runs
  • Compatible with footpods that track cadence when running or cycling even when there’s no satellite link

Cons

  • Pretty big for a wrist-worn device
  • Users express an interest in an auto-shutoff feature to save battery life
  • Watch can sometimes shut down before the battery is fully discharged
  • Some users reports intermittent problems when downloading data

Final Verdict

Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS Watch

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The popularity of the Garmin Forerunner 310XT with triathletes approaches the level of a cult. Even though many models of durable and capable running watches have been released since the introduction of the 310XT, it continues to be the most common watch seen at triathlons all over the world.

Over 75 percent of reviewers give the Garmin four stars or better, and the watch has been used by so many people for so many years that one of the few complaints that comes up regularly is that the battery inside the watch is no longer able to charge fully after it’s gone through too many charge/discharge cycles.

Users express a form of affection for the particular watch that they’ve worn in many competitive events, and they want to keep using the same one forever. The watch becomes more like a lucky rabbit’s foot than an electronic device to many people. Users begin to rely on their 310XT so completely that they’re surprised to find that the GPS doesn’t work when they’re underwater, unaware that no GPS device works underwater.

The Garmin Forerunner 310XT gives people the feeling that it can accomplish anything, and they credit the device with helping them accomplish much more than they ever could without it. The Garmin 310 XT is priced right, durable, and is rated a best buy.