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Which Garmin Forerunner Should I Buy?

Updated on May 6, 2013

Choosing the Forerunner that's Right for You

When it comes to choosing a Forerunner, you have a reasonable amount of choice. There are 11 main models to choose from and they have a varying price range from about £80 to £400 so it is important to choose carefully in order to avoid wasting money.

Sports...

To help you choose, here is a list of which sports the watches are compatible for.

Running (Outdoor Only):

Forerunner 110

Running (Outdoor and Indoor):

Forerunner 210

Running + Cycling:

FR 60

FR 70

Forerunner 405

Forerunner 305

Forerunner 205

Forerunner 410

Forerunner 610

Running + Cycling+Swimming:

Forerunner 310XT (Openwater Swimming)

Forerunner 910XT (Openwater and Pool Swimming)

For advice on improving your running, Click Here.

Garmin 110
Garmin 110

Forerunner 110

RRP: £179.99

Rating: 3.7

Sports: Running (Outdoor Only)

The Forerunner 110 admittedly lacks the features of its more expensive successors such as virtual partner and multi-sport modes, exclusively displaying distance, time, and pace, splits and heart rate (if you purchase a heart rate sensor). The heart rate sensor can only be used for current HR and calorie calculations, but not HR training zones like it's sucessors.

This watch, unlike many other forerunners, is quite small and lightweight, making it less like a wrist-mounted computer and more like a watch. The watches waterproofing is only for convenience as the GPS will not work underwater so it cannot be used for open-water swimming. Also, the watches mere 8 hours of battery life is quite poor in comparison to the other watches. Still, it is quite a convenient watch and is ANT compatible for wireless data-transfer to Garmins online training site, "Garmin Connect".

For an in-depth review,

Click Here

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Pros:

- Quite Cheap

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

Cons:

- VERY FEW FEATURES (DOES NOT HAVE Virtual Partner, Virtual Racer, Auto Scroll, Multi Scroll ETC)

- Not workout compatible

- Not ANT+ Compatible apart from Heart Rate Monitor

- Low battery Life

Conclusion:

This Forerunner is relatively simple to use and is very cheap. It is best for the casual runner.

Garmin 210
Garmin 210

Forerunner 210

RRP: £229.99

Rating: 4.0

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor)

The Forerunner 210 is almost identical to the Forerunner 110. The only major differences are the additional feature of interval training, and the compatibility of the ANT+ Footpod (Sold Separately) which allows use without GPS and indoors. The heart rate sensor allows HR zones to be used for training, a feature which isn't on the Forerunner 110.

For an indepth review,

Click here

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Pros:

- Quite Cheap

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

Cons:

- VERY FEW FEATURES (DOES NOT HAVE Virtual Partner, Virtual Racer, Auto Scroll, Multi Scroll ETC)

- Not workout compatible

- Low battery Life

Conclusion: This Forerunner is relatively slightly more advanced than the Forerunner 110. It is ideal for indoor and outdoor runners

FR70
FR70

Forerunner 70 (FR70)

RRP: £129.99

Rating: 5.3

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling

This is one of the few Forerunners that is not equipped with GPS receiver, but relies entirely on ANT+ foot pods. While footpods are generally less accurate than a GPS receiver, it does have the advantage that it brings the cost of the watch down substantially.

The watch has many features such as virtual partner, auto-pause, pace alert etc. It can also display far more and has customizable screens. the only major disadvantage of this watch is that it is not workout compatible.

For an indepth review,

Click here

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Pros:

- Very Cheap

- Good Battery Life

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Also Functions as a Watch (Date, Time, Alarm ETC)

Cons:

- NOT GPS ENABLED (Footpod Only)

- Not workout compatible

Conclusion: This is a very cheap, but quite advanced forerunner. It has multiple features and works with running and cycling (However you cannot change between the two during a workout). Unfortunately, it is not GPS Enabled, so you need an ant+ foot pod. Recommended for Average Athletes and Cyclists, or anyone on a low budget.

FR60
FR60

Forerunner 60 (FR60)

RRP: £ 119.99

The FR60 is exactly the same as the FR70, except that the FR70 has a stronger wrist strap, a slightly different faceplate and cost £10 more.

Other than that, theres no difference.

For an indepth review of the similar FR70,

Click here

Garmin 405
Garmin 405

Forerunner 405

RRP: £229.99

Rating: 7.3

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling

This forerunner is different from many of the others in appearance. Five of the navigation buttons have gone, to be replaced with a circular touch bezel control to give it a new, sleeker look. The 405 had many features such as Virtual Partner, Advanced workouts etc. Unlike its predecessor, the 305, the 405 can only display 3 items per screen as opposed to 4 but this is not a major issue. It is compatible with both ANT+ footpods, bike sensors

heart rate monitors as well as the ANT+ data connection to a computer.

----------------------------------

Pros:

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Also Functions as a Watch (Date, Time, Alarm ETC)

- Workout Compatible (Simple and Advanced)

Cons:

- Low Battery Life

- No Heartrate based calorie calculation

Conclusion:

This is quite an expensive forerunner. It has many features which are unnecessary for the casual runner, but is great for the serious athlete.

Forerunner 305
Forerunner 305

Forerunner 305

RRP: £199.99

Rating: 7.7

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling

The 305 is very similar to the 405, except for the difference in looks. Unlike the 405, it comes with a dedicated Multi-sport feature which allows for easy changes between bike and running mode. The 305 also lets you save routes but does not let you sinc data automatically, perform unit-to-unit transfer and it does not have watch functions such as dual time, date and alarm.

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Pros:

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Workout Compatible (Simple and Advanced)

- Multisport (Allows sport to change mid-workout)

Cons:

- Low Battery Life

- No Heartrate based calorie calculation

- No watch features

Conclusion: This is quite a reasonably expensive forerunner. Once again, I would only recommend it for the more serious athletes or cyclists.

Garmin 205
Garmin 205

Forerunner 205

RRP: £149.99

There is very little difference between the 305 and the 205, except that the 305 is £50 more and comes with a heart rate strap.

Garmin 410
Garmin 410

Forerunner 410

RRP: £299.99

Rating: 8.0

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling

The Forerunner 410 is one of Garmin's best all-round watches for running and cycling. It comes with all the popular features such as virtual partner, auto lap, interval training etc. While it does not come with a specific multi-sport feature, it is compatible with both footpods and bike sensors. It includes basic watch functions and has a sleek look to it.

--------------------------

Pros:

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Workout Compatible (Simple and Advanced)

- Unit-to-unit transfer (shares data wirelessly with similar units)

- Watch Functions (Date, Time, Alarm ETC)

Cons:

- Low Battery Life

Conclusion:

This is quite an expensive forerunner. I would recommend it for people who use more than one forerunner because of the unit to unit transfer option.

Garmin 610
Garmin 610

Forerunner 610

RRP: £329.99

Rating: 8.0

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling

One of the main things that separates the 610 from other Garmin watches is its touch screen. This gives it great usability while on the move. It does however have the small disadvantage that the touch screen can be triggered if you accidentally knock it with twigs or branches. It is much like the 410 but it has a longer battery life, has the new feature "Virtual Racer" which is similar to virtual partner but takes into account hills and other things that may slow you down, so that it is like a real race situation. It can also measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness and supports unit-to-unit transfer.

----------------------

Pros:

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Workout Compatible (Simple and Advanced)

- Watch Functions (Date, Time, Alarm ETC)

- Virtual Racer

- Training effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness)

- TOUCH SCREEN (Much easier to use)

Cons:

- Low Battery Life

- No watch features

Conclusion: This is very expensive forerunner. Only serious distance runners and athletes should consider buying this as is extremely expensive. It is worth it for the Virtual Racer feature though.

Garmin 310XT
Garmin 310XT

Forerunner 310XT

RRP: £299.99

Rating: 8.3

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling, Swimming (Openwater Only)

The 310XT is specifically designed for triathlon. It has multi-sport options and supports running, cycling and open water swimming. The swimming mode is quite unreliable however as it loses signal whenever the watch goes underwater, but it works well if you put the watch in your swim cap. It has all the usual features when it comes to running and cycling including virtual partner, advanced workouts, etc. It has a large screen and is capable of displaying 4 items per custom screen, but it does however lack basic watch features such as alarms.

----------------------

Pros:

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Workout Compatible (Simple and Advanced)

- Watch Functions (Date, Time, Alarm ETC)

- Openwater Swimming

- Multi-sport (changes sport mode with a press of a button)

Cons:

- Low Battery Life

- No watch features

Conclusion:

I would recommend this watch to anyone who does triathalon due to the swim function and Multisport mode.

Garmin 910XT
Garmin 910XT

Forerunner 910XT

RRP: £389.99

Rating: 9

Sports: Running (Outdoor and Indoor), Cycling, Swimming (Pool and Openwater)

The 910XT is another watch designed for Triathlon. It is much more advanced than the 310XT however. It comes with an acceleromiter which allows pool swimming to be measured accuratly. It comes with the new "Virtual Racer" feature which is similar to virtual partner but takes into account hills and other things that may slow you down, so that it is like a real race situation. It comes with a barametic altimeter and it measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness.

----------------------

Pros:

- Garmin Connect Compatible

- Heart Rate Monitor ANT+ Compatible

- Interval Training

- ANT+ Foot Pod Compatible

- ANT+ Bike Cadance Monitor Compatible

- Features such as Autoscroll, Autolap, Virtual Partner ECT

- Alerts for Pace, Time and Distance

- Workout Compatible (Simple and Advanced)

- Watch Functions (Date, Time, Alarm ETC)

- Openwater Swimming

- Multi-sport (changes sport mode with a press of a button)

- Training effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness)

- Virtual Racer

- Barometric Altimeter

- Swimming accelerometer (Allows Pool Swimming)

Cons:

- Low Battery Life

- No watch features

Conclusion:

I would recommend this watch to anyone who swims or does serious triathalon due to the swim function and Multisport mode.

Got any questions?

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below and I'll answer them (hopefully).

Which forerunner will you buy

See results

What do you think?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      need a montor that gives me heart rate and calories used for biking and walking

    • nickyboy450 profile image

      nickyboy450 4 years ago

      Meh, not a terrible review, but kind of lacking.

    • chazzer998 profile image
      Author

      chazzer998 4 years ago

      @garmin541s: garmin541s, I agree with you, the results surprised me too, and agree with your hypothesis. Although personally, if I'm going to try to get the balance, I'd go for the 310XT, but that's just me.

    • garmin541s profile image

      garmin541s 4 years ago

      I am surprised the poll shows that the price is not the major factor in choosing a sports watch ( oh well, it could mean that I 'wish' I could get 'that' one). Sure, I'd like to buy a feature packed watch if money is not a factor. But in reality, it always is, so I tend to go with the optimum price&performance. I'd choose a Forerunner 405 or a Forerunner 210. Thanks for a such a great comparison between different models.

      http://www.cheapgpsdeals.org/sports-gps/sports-gps...

    • chazzer998 profile image
      Author

      chazzer998 4 years ago

      @motoinsport: I was, that's why I got the 310XT instead. Thanks for reading my lens.

    • chazzer998 profile image
      Author

      chazzer998 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Jason,

      Yeah the lack of the map mode did put me off the 210. Nice to know this lens is helpful.

      Charlie

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great write-up! This was really helpful in my decision when I had to replace my 305. I went with the 210. So far, I like it (though I miss the Map mode I had on the 305, which came in handy whenever I ran through unfamiliar neighborhoods and needed to find my way home).

    • profile image

      motoinsport 5 years ago

      Are people here not put of by the ridiculous price tag on the 910XT?

    • profile image

      catlady99876 5 years ago

      Decisions, decisions...

    • profile image

      bill86876 5 years ago

      I agree, Torben. Would be useful. Still, nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wish they would allow advanced workouts on FR60/70. I have no need for GPS and prefer foot pods.

    • profile image

      nicholas3451 5 years ago

      Wow, never seen all of them compared like that. Thanks

    • profile image

      hilly27 5 years ago

      Thanks for a good lens.

    • profile image

      jameijone 5 years ago

      Now I know what to get my wife for christmas

    • profile image

      zingo27 5 years ago

      Woah, lots of choice. Thanks for the great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome! Super love it. Thanks for sharing. Squid-liked!

    • profile image

      ultra999 5 years ago

      Useful lens. Thanks for writing it

    • profile image

      rodger981 5 years ago

      Hi,

      Are there any alternatives to the forerunner?

      Rodger

    • profile image

      ininin7 5 years ago

      Really Useful. Very Clearly Organised

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for the advice

    • profile image

      hijousia 5 years ago

      Thanks. Really Useful.

    • profile image

      preacrio 5 years ago

      Neat Lens, Thanks

    • chazzer998 profile image
      Author

      chazzer998 5 years ago

      @pindoer: The 310XT is better durably. As for the reliability, I know there are charging issues with the 610 which can cause the whole battery to discharge, so you have no power when you need it. However, if your planning to us it with ANT+ Devices, then there are issues with the 310XT.

    • profile image

      pindoer 5 years ago

      Hmm, Im stuck between the 310XT and the 610. Which is better on reliability and durability?

      Thanks in advance

    • profile image

      MrPill888 5 years ago

      Well, this has cleared any doubt I had about buying the 910XT. Thanks!

    • chazzer998 profile image
      Author

      chazzer998 5 years ago

      Hi billnostros87.

      I did the ranking on by comparing them all on a spreadsheet, averaging the number of features against lack of features and giving it as a percentage, whicch i turned into a mark out of 10.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

      Chazzer998

    • profile image

      billnostros87 5 years ago

      Nice lens, but how did you do the ranking system?