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Garmin 310XT

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{{DISPLAYTITLE:Garmin 310XT Review}}
[[File:Garmin310XT.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Garmin 310XT]]The {{Garmin 310XT}} is the best represents great value watch for most runnersmoney, providing all the key features you're likely to need, though it misses out on [[Best Running Watch| some of the cool new abilities of the more recent watches]]. It The 310XT is available with a now two generations old, having been replaced by the [[Heart Rate MonitorGarmin 910XT]] and then the [[Garmin 920XT]] for around $50 more. The {{[[Garmin 910XT}} ]] is better, but not worth the extra cost for most runners, while the 920XT is a rather larger leap forward. If you want something smaller, then the [[Garmin 610]] is also excellent value for money, or the later [[Garmin 620]]. While the 310XT is rather large by today's standards, I have tiny wrists and it fits me well. (It's a better fit for tiny wrists than the [[Polar V800]] for instance.) For a simple evaluation of a GPS watch, I look at how well it can answer some basic questions:* '''How far did I run?''' This is the most basic question, and the Garmin 310XT has good GPS accuracy. It will give you a better idea than most watches how far you've gone. * '''How fast am I running?''' Knowing how fast you're running can be a nice to know, or it can be vital for your training or race performance. Because of the nature of GPS, watches that rely on GPS signal alone tend to have serious problems with current pace. Thankfully, the 310XT is one of the few devices that will display current [[File:Garmin310XTPace From A Footpod]] while getting all other data from GPS. * '''Where am I? '''The Garmin 310XT has some basic navigation functions. ** '''Track Outline'''. There is a display of where you've run, rather like a breadcrumb trail. There are no maps, so this is just the outline on its own without any context. However, you can use it to backtrack along your path. ** '''Course Outline'''. This is an outline of a route that can be downloaded. I've found this useful during ultras or in unfamiliar cities where I've needed to know where to go. ** '''Back To Start'''. This is a simple arrow point to your starting point, so it won't help you backtrack. ** '''Back To Waypoint'''. You can mark a location and use the arrow to point to it later. Again, this is a simple "as the crow flies" pointer. ** '''GPS "Compass"'''. There's no magnetic compass so you have to be moving for the GPS to give you a sense of direction. * '''What's my cadence? '''[[Cadence]]''' '''is one of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of running. If you get your Cadence right, many other things naturally fall into place. The Garmin 310XT supports [[Cadence]] via a [[Footpod]], but has no alerts nor does it have an internal accelerometer to estimate Cadence.jpg|thumb|none|200px|For ultramarathon running the Garmin 310XThas the battery life to suffice for shorter ultras, but if you expect to be moving during the [[Second Dawn]] you may need to look elsewhere. (You can turn off GPS and use a Footpod; if you're okay with that compromise, the 310XT will last for days.) See [[Best Running Watch#Watches for Ultrarunning| Watches for Ultrarunning]]for more details. {{BuyAmazon|AZID=B0025VKW5K|AZN=Garmin 310XT}}=Garmin 310XT Pros===
* The 310XT is great value for money at this price level.
* The 310XT is a sophisticated sports watch, but is no harder for a beginner to use than most alternatives. In fact, its size and physical buttons make it relatively easy to use, especially when compared to the 4xx series Garmin watches.
* A great feature is the ability to use the optional [[Footpod]] to display your current pace while using GPS for overall pace, distance and route. Only the 310XT, 910XT and Garmin 610 can do this.
* The 310XT has good [[GPS accuracyAccuracy]], and is better than many more recent devices. * When it the 310XT starts up in the same location as the last run it will acquire satellites quickly.The GPS is more accurate than earlier watches, and has though if you've travelled 100s of miles/Km then it can take quite a faster startup timefew minutes. The optional [[Footpod]] also improves GPS accuracy.* The housing is fully waterproof (larger size allows for a larger display that's easy to 50m/160ft)read, so [[Running in the Rain]] is no problemeven with four data items displayed. * The 310XT will display is big enough to show four readings. I often display current pace, average pace for the current laproute you've run, average pace for the run and either heart rate or distancethough it does not have any built in maps. * You can also upload courses and display them. This which is great when running somewhere unfamiliarfor trail ultramarathons. * There are several optional extras for the 310XT, including the already mentioned a [[Footpod]] and heart rate strap. For cyclists there is also a [ speed/cadence sensor] and it works with various power sensors. ===Garmin 310XT Cons===
* Some people find the 310XT to be rather large, and it is much larger than a normal watch.
* The battery life is good for about 16-20 hours, which is enough for most people. Ultrarunners doing 100 mile or longer races will find this a problem, though it is possible to recharge it while in use.
* For races where the GPS track is not important, you can extend the battery life by turning off the GPS receiver and use the [[Footpod]]. After 24 hours of running I still have most of the battery left. If you're running on a reasonable smooth surface, the [[Footpod]] is often more accurate than GPS.
=What's Missing=
While I don't consider these missing features as 'cons', it's worth understanding the features that are missing compared with other watches.
* '''GPS Pre-cache'''. Most of the time, even GPS watches without satellite pre-cache will locate the GPS signal quite quickly provided you've not traveled far from the position of the watch was last used. However, those times when you have traveled, a GPS watch without satellite pre-cache can take several minutes to locate the GPS signal. This can be remarkably annoying when you're freezing cold and wanting to start your run to warm up.
* '''Altimeter. '''GPS is far less accurate vertically than horizontally, so a barometric altimeter can provide a much better idea of your ascent and descent. It can also be useful for navigation if you're ascending or descending a mountain. In some races I've been far more interested in how much ascent is left rather than the distance to the top.
* '''Downloadable Apps'''. Smart watches have got is used to the idea of a device that can be extended with new functionality, and this concept is being introduced to running watches.
* '''Extended battery life'''. Some porches can extend the battery life by turning the GPS reception off for short periods. This can dramatically reduce GPS accuracy, but it's a useful trade-off for some ultramarathons.
* '''[[Firstbeat| Training Effect]].''' The Firstbeat Training Effect gives you a sense of how hard each workout is, and this sometimes includes the time for recovery.
* '''Graphs'''. Instead of simply displaying a numeric value for things like heart rate, some watches will display a graph of the value over time, giving you a sense of how things are progressing.
* '''Running Dynamics'''. Some of the newer Garmin watches can show and record Vertical Oscillation (VO) and Ground Contact Time (GCT).
* '''Alerts'''. Some watches will alert you when a metric is out of range. The alert for [[Cadence]] is really useful and one of my favorite features.
* '''WiFi/Bluetooth Uploads'''. While the automatic upload of workouts via WiFi or Bluetooth to a Smartphone is nice, the upload will typically only go to the manufacturers web site.
* '''Web Configuration'''. Some watches allow you to setup the configuration via a web site, and then download your changes. This is vastly easier than fiddling with the watch.
=Comparison Table=
{{:Best Running Watch-table}}

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