Wednesday, 22 May 2013

GPS watch review

Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)

OK, so like I have said before, I am not a ranter. Well I am, but only to people who I know actually care and are happy to listen. I am definitely NOT a social media or blog ranter so I am turning this into something else... A review - not like a rant at all! 

As you may recall from past posts, I really REALLY want a GPS watch for running. However, they are sooo expensive that I think I'll be saving my pocket money for the next 43 years. And, because they are so expensive, I think it's important to do research to know exactly what you are getting and whether it will meet your needs or not. 

So here is a review of some GPS watches that I found on this blog. It's great as it lists the pros and cons for each watch. The prices are in pounds, however, so you would just need to convert that price to your currency, or find a stockist near you and see their price. 

Low- to mid-range running watches

Garmin Forerunner 10, £99
Pros: Good price, simple watch with good basic functionality. Ideal entry-level watch. Easy to use, nice and small, which is also good for women's smaller wrists. Waterproof.
Cons: Not many added extras, but hardly fair to gripe when that's clearly the aim of the watch
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

Nike+ Sportswatch GPS
Pros: Amazingly quick to find GPS signal – fastest of all watches tried. Stylish design. Waterproof. "Tap to lap" feature. Would suggest this, along with Garmin Forerunner 10, as good entry-level watches.
Cons: Can't change programme on the go, has to be done via computer. Fairly limited "in run" data or ability to change fields.
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

Higher end running watches

Garmin Forerunner 610, £279.99
Pros: Easy to use, with a great user interface. Touchscreen. Vibrate alerts (eg on autolap after one-mile intervals). Great features that can be used on the go, such as the ability to create an interval session. Small enough to wear as a normal watch all day. Wireless download. The Garmin Connect software is easy and helpful to use. Definitely my running watch of choice.
Cons: Fairly limited battery life. Apparently not fully waterproof but I have not tested this.
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

Polar RCX3 with GPS armband, £259.50
Pros: Great lightweight, thin design which makes it comfortable for all-day wearing. Finds GPS position pretty quickly. Fantastic battery life.
Cons: GPS is not integral, so you have to wear the armband. This would create some very odd tan lines if you ran a lot in summer wearing it – and yes I know that sounds a bit vain, but it would.
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

Timex Run Trainer 2.0, £274.99
Pros: Some unique features, eg eat/drink alerts, which no competitors have. Waterproof. Nice design, finds GPS quickly, though I had some problems with accuracy (tracked a half marathon at 10.6 miles, though this could have been my error as it was the first time I had used it). Easy to customise the display.
Cons: Odd interface: slightly old fashioned, and calls things by odd names ("Chrono" and "Blockers" for instance), which can make it a bit baffling at first to use.
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

High-end multisport models

Garmin Forerunner 910XT, £359.99
Pros: Impressive features for a triathlon watch, boasts ability to record distance/speed and stroke while swimming, for instance. For running, has all the usual excellent Garmin features.
Cons: Chunky design makes it hard to wear as a normal watch. Battery life also limited (around 20 hours). Only one profile can be set up on each watch, so you can't share itwith a partner.
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

Suunto Ambit
Pros: Very nice simple, stylish design. Easy to use. Amazing list of sports it can be used with. (Disclaimer: the Guardian churlishly refused to send me mountain climbing or skiing to test these features. Spoilsports.)
Cons: Quite large and heavy, particularly for small wrists. Limited use for serious urban runners, definitely best for off-roaders, trail and fell runners.
In-depth review from DC Rainmaker can be found here

Wearable heart-rate monitor

Mio Alpha, £179.99
Pros: First wrist-wearable heart rate monitor. Picks up heart rate quickly and displays it clearly. Easy to view while running. Also very easy to set up initially. Good battery life.
Cons: No other features – the unit doesn't claim to do anything other than display your heart rate. Expensive, therefore, for what it does. Doesn't record data – only displays an average heart rate for your last run/workout. Could do with smaller band for small wrists.

So there you have it. If anyone asks, I'd be happy with the Garmin Forerunner 10 or 610. I'm not fussy, and I'm happy to trial products too :)

I hope that was helpful, I certainly found it was, however it's made me rethink my 43 years of saving - maybe more like 62 years! YIKES! 

Do you have a GPS watch? If so, which brand and would you recommend it? 

Also, does anyone use fitbit? Would be really interested to find out more about that.


  1. The Garmin Forerunner 10 is definitely on my wishlist...but I don't understand why it's categorized as low-mid range distances? I see a lot of long distance bloggers (I'm talking half-to full marathon) who use it for these races... and I don't consider a half or a full to be midrange or low distances!!

  2. I don't have a running watch yet but after research and looking at DC Rainmaker's reviews I have decided on the Garmin FR10 for my needs. I mainly wanted distance,time, current pace, lap pace, and the logging tool online that shows splits and elevation and stuff and it has all of that.

  3. I have the Garmin 205 and it's my BFF. I lucked out MAJORLY and got it through Craigslist from a guy who was unloading his for only $50. I had wanted one for months and now it never leaves my site. They are DEFINITELY worth the investment! I would trust Garmin over any other brand!

  4. Which colour Forerunner 10 is your favourite? Green, pink, or black/red?


Please share, I love hearing what you have to say. Thanks x

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