Garmin Forerunner 210 Review

Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS watch

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Our Verdict: A great watch which builds on the Garmin Forerunner 110. The Garmin Forerunner 210 has addressed all the niggles the Forerunner 110 had while continuing to keep costs down by omitting uneccessary functions. As such it has quickly become our GPS watch of choice for training runs.

Garmin have firmly pitched the Forerunner 210 as their mid range GPS running watch, placing it between the Garmin Forerunner 110 and the Garmin Forerunner 410 in terms of both price and functionality. As such it provides a number of fixes and upgrades to the Forerunner 110 while not featuring all of the features (nor the price) of the Forerunner 410.

Our full review follows below, while you can find our comparison of Forerunner 210 prices here - Garmin Forerunner 210. We compare the prices at all the top UK retailers and update these daily to help you quickly find the cheapest prices possible.

Garmin Forerunner 210 compared to the Forerunner 110

As we put the Forerunner 210 through its paces, we immediately noticed that it offered a number of distinct upgrades from its predecessor, the Forerunner 110.

  • Firstly, the Garmin 210 comes with current pace functionality ('‘Current Pace Statistic’), the lack of which was the major gripe most people have with the Forerunner 110, this provides practically real time pace data so you can see how quickly you are running at any point in your run.
  • Secondly, the Garmin 210 includes an interval training mode which is great for runners that thrive on structured, goal-oriented workouts.
  • Thirdly, the Forerunner 210 comes with a premium heart rate strap which is not only more comfortable than the standard model but can also be worn in water.
  • Finally, the FR210 is equipped with an optional indoor-compatible footpod that tracks both distance and pace when weather does not permit training out of doors, which as we Brits know is often.
  • Forerunner 210 compared to the Garmin Forerunner 410

    The Forerunner 210 and 410 are not really comparable watches. The FR210 is firmly aimed at casual runners who want a simple to operate GPS watch. By contrast, the Forerunner 410 has a number of options and configurations which can be set up and this level of choice is the difference between the two watches.

    Ultimately, both the FR210 and the FR410 record the same data so it comes down to how much configuration you want to do while on your run/cycle. From a practical point of view the other thing to consider is that the Forerunner 210 is a button operated GPS watch, while the Forerunner 410 uses the Marmite like (you either love it or hate it) bezel system

    Key Features of the Garmin 210

    The following are the key features of the Garmin Forerunner 210 we found during our review.

    Interval Training Mode

    Each runner is unique and one of the most impressive functions of the new Garmin 210 is its customizable interval training mode. This cutting edge program affords runners:

    * Variable length countdowns
    * Visual on current pace for each interval

    Interval training is known amongst keen runners as an optimal means of increasing both speed and stamina. In addition, it can help runners to break out of a fitness plateau and further define various muscle groups. The Garmin 210 proves that this is one fitness tool that has its finger to the pulse of new trends in the world of running accessories.

    The interval setup process is very simple and straightforward. Simply press a single button to begin set up and you will be guided through a series of prompts to help you custom design your own interval training regime. Some of the essentials for each interval include:

    * Warm up time
    * Run length
    * Cool down time

    Indoor Footpod

    Garmin scores big points for their new footpod feature that keeps consistently accurate track of indoor exercise via an accelerometer. This helpful gadget allows you to conduct interval training indoors and it allows equips you to keep track of how "far" you have run and how steady your pace is at any given moment. The pod is extremely small - about the size of a 50 pence piece - and clips easily onto any pair of running shoes.

    On rainy days the footpod feature of the Garmin Forerunner 210 is what really sets this new model apart from the pack. The footpod must be purchased separately from the Forerunner GPS watch itself or it can be acquired as part of a special package offer.

    Calorie Counter

    The instant gratification of learning how many calories you have burnt off during any given run is the cherry on top of every workout for serious runners. The Garmin 210 keeps track of your heart rate and distance traversed in order to bring you an accurate ongoing account of calories expended. In addition, the 210 Forerunner provides:

    * 5 heart rate zone indicators - to keep you in your prime heart rate zone
    * Large heart rate display - for easy visibility while in motion
    * Wireless uploads - to transfer and store your exercise progress on the Garmin Connect website.
    * Training analysis - workout and goal breakdowns via the Garmin site
    * Heart rate alert when runner crosses max/min threshold

    NOTE: The heart rate strap is an accessory that must be purchased separately from your Forerunner 210 or as part of a Garmin Forerunner package offer. Of course - being the thrifty athlete I am - it would be nice to have the heart rate strap included in the price of the GPS watch. That said, the strap is fairly affordable and well worth the expenditure for the amount of important data it affords.

    Streamlined Design

    The smaller internal chip in the 210 Garmin allowed for the design of a lighter and more sleek watch unit. The display is large enough for easy viewing on the run and yet it is not clunky or garish like some other sport watches. For the amount of workout support and GPS capabilities provided by the watch it is surprising that the Garmin manufacturers were able to fit it all into such a small package. The streamlined watch designed is a major plus for the 210 model.

    Battery Life

    The Garmin Forerunner 210 offers a:

    * USB charger for powering via computer
    * Wall charging block for powering via an AC outlet

    While many factors conspire to alter the exact battery life you can expect per each charge the Garmin 210 will give you approximately 8 hours of continual use if you have the GPS feature engaged the entire time. The optional power save mode will extend this battery life by powering down in between workouts.

    In our opinion, the Garmin 210 provides plenty of battery power for a consistent workout regime and the dual methods of charging make it extremely easy to keep your Garmin powered up at all times. You can recharge at work or at home with the utmost ease.

    GPS Functionality

    The Garmin 210 is extremely easy to set up when it comes to GPS. Simply find a clear place where you have an open view of the sky during your initial setup process and your watch will do the rest. The Forerunner 210 provides accurate coordinates for runners and it offers plenty of extra perks such as:

    * Google Earth compatibility
    * Travel length/distance record keeping for long treks or trips
    * GPX file format for easy compatibility with many Internet sites

    User-Friendly Interface

    From the moment you turn the new Garmin Forerunner 210 on you will likely be impressed with how simple it is to set up and navigate through menus. The set up process is designed to be as user-friendly as possible by leading you through a series of initial questions such as:

    * Language preference
    * Weight
    * Age
    * Current fitness level
    * Miles vs. Kilometer preference
    * GPS calibration from your exact location in the world

    Keen runners will appreciate the thorough setup process because it will help to assure accurate caloric calculations and workout analysis from the outset.

    The navigation buttons on the Garmin 210 are large and therefore conducive to easy navigate between data fields while bouncing up and down along a running track or somewhere off the beaten path.

    Some of the fields that active runners will likely find most useful are:

    * Overall distance
    * Current heart rate
    * Heart rate zone
    * Average pace and speed per lap

    The Garmin designers obviously kept simplicity in the forefront of their minds when designing the 210 Forerunner and I am enthusiastically grateful for this fact. This is a no-hassle fitness tool that does not require a degree in Internet Technology to operate. Kudos to Garmin for a user-friendly GPS watch that gets the job done in as straightforward a manner as possible.

    Garmin Connect Software

    The Garmin 210 easily interfaces with any computer that has a USB port. Once connected to your computer, your files will instantly pop up on your screen for easy access. A simple plug-in option will help you connect to the official Garmin Connect website, where you can record and analyze your workout data over the many months or even years you use your Garmin during your daily runs.

    The Garmin 210 simply shines in its ability to connect low-tech users with the Internet in effortless fashion. The Internet menus that automatically pop up after USB connection are all designed to walk users through the entire Internet communication process quickly and with no dramatics.

    Additional Perks

    The guys at Garmin threw in a few more special features that are of great practical benefit to both athletes and travelers:

    * Backlight - For 10 seconds of LCD screen visibility at night or early morning
    * Bike Compatible - Basic kilometers per hour conversions for use when cycling instead of running
    * Water proofing - Not for swimming use but great for hopping in the shower or running in the rain
    * Alarm clock

    The Garmin Forerunner 210 in summary

    Overall, the Garmin 210 Forerunner offers a lot of valuable support to runners. Whether you are just beginning your journey into fitness or if you are a seasoned athlete, the Garmin 210 has plenty of tracking applications to keep you motivated or to take your workout regime to the next level.

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