Garmin forerunner 210

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I’ve had some charging problems with my watch recently. And after sending it back to the authorized dealer twice, I finally received a replacement watch more than a month later.

A few friends have asked me to recommend a watch for running. Well, even after taking so long to get my watch sorted out for what it seems like a cable problem; I still wouldn’t advise against buying a Garmin.

This is not a comprehensive watch review (Go to DC Rainmaker for more in-depth equipment reviews), I’m simply incapable of describing anything in great detail. So here’s a simple conversation with myself, going through some steps before deciding to buy your first “running” watch….

I want to start running, do you have any running watches to recommend?

Get a casio, you can get it for less than $20. Cheap strap and battery replacement if you ever need to change anything. I sometimes use this watch for swimming because it serves the purpose of keeping time and it’s super slim, no drag!!!

No la, I looking for one with GPS and heart rate monitor. Eh you think heart rate monitor important or not? I’m just a leisure runner only.

If you think you’re a leisure runner (ie 2-3km runs 1 – 2 times a week), then I suggest using your smartphone and put it in a spibelt on the run, I use the spibelt to put my gels and money on my long runs. Smartphones have running apps which can record distance, pace, elevation etc. I think that’s more than enough information a leisure runner would need. You could even use a HRM with a smartphone by just attaching a device like an Ant+ adapter.

I would only recommend a gps watch + HRM if you:

1) Closely monitor your progress (distance, pacing) during your run.

2) Going to train using heart rate zones.

3) Hate to strap your smartphone to yourself.

ok ok, I want a GPS watch, I will become a serious runner AFTER I put that expensive device on my wrist and that awkward looking strap across my chest.

There are several brands available on the market, mainly, Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Timex, Nike etc. A quick search of “best running watches” on google will give you several pages of recommendations. I chose Garmin because they have inbuilt GPS on all of their running watches, Polar only has the RC3 with integrated GPS, Suunto looks more of an outdoor adventurer’s watch, Timex? I’ve had too many broken watch straps to ever trust it again (seriously, how hard is it to make a reliable watch strap). I narrowed it down to Garmin and Polar since they seem to be the more popular brands for running watches with GPS.

So how did you chose from there?

Function, budget and design.

Based on what they had at that time (forerunner 10 and 910XT unavailable at time of purchase), I chose the F210 because it was one of the more basic model and it seems to have what I was looking for; Pace, distance, HRM, simple heart rate alert functions etc. Its only when you start using the watch that you realize how you wished you had additional functions like

1) Waterproofing – It’s a pity this watch is not fully waterproof (unlike the F10 and F910XT). I can’t take it swimming!

2) A more customizable menu – showing more information at the same time like the F610.

3) Permanent light ON function – so I can have a glowing wrist on my night runs…. on runs where I monitor my heart rate closely, it’s a hassle to keep having to press the light button. The F910XT has the permanent light ON function.

That being said, I still like the F210 for it’s compact size (compared to the F910XT) and the shortfalls of the watch are not big issues for me. The intergrated GPS is great as you don’t have to fuss with an additional accessory; running should be kept simple; sometimes I just do without a HRM, put on my watch and head to the trails to soak in the adventure of Bukit Timah and Mac Ritchie.

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