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Garmin Forerunner 210 Review

The Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS Watch is the direct successor to the Forerunner 110, but adds more features and improves old ones. Those who find a GPS sports watch a great aid won’t have any trouble justifying an upgrade.

Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS Watch

Ease of Use

The Forerunner 210 has been made specifically with ease of use in mind. One thing you notice the instant you first see the device is that it resembles a fairly ordinary digital watch.

Don’t get me wrong. Looks can be deceiving. The Forerunner 210 is anything but ordinary. It’s upgraded simplicity. It provides all of the basics that runners might need to fine-tune their workouts without the headache that could potentially come from technology.

So what makes the Forerunner 210 so easy to use? When going on a run, take it outside, press start, and when you’re done, press stop. That’s easy enough, right? I was also able to pick up a signal in under a minute. From what I have experienced in the past, under a minute aint that bad.

Current Pace

The Forerunner 210 measures time, distance and pace. For those Forerunner 110 users who complained about the 110 measuring only average pace, here is your new Forerunner. Unlike the 110 the Forerunner 210 measures also current pace. I was moderately put off by the 110 because of this problem alone. While other people may care less, I like to know if I ran faster or slower at any portion of my runs.

Note that current pace does not mean continuous. Each GPS receiver has a certain “ping” time to send and receive a satellite signal. The more advanced the GPS receiver the quicker these “pings” can take place and the more closely a GPS receiver can mimic a continuous connection.

A GPS watch displaying “current pace” is simply showing the speed at which you were going between the last two “pings” – this is by calculating the distance you did between each ping and dividing it by the time it took you to run that distance. That’s why you might see every now and again random spikes and troughs in the current pace data collection.

No Virtual Partner

The Forerunner 210 also lacks some of the standard features that higher end Garmin GPS sports watches offer. The device doesn’t house one of my favorite features: the Virtual Partner. This feature lets you configure a virtual running buddy against which to measure your current run’s progress.

The 210 also lacks Auto Pause feature which stops data recording when you stop for a street sign, stop light, or any other reason. It lacks the Auto Scroll ability to flip through screens of data while you’re running without needing to tap anything. Also missing are multi-sport, advanced and simple workouts, auto sync and several other features found on Garmin’s higher end models.

Foot Pod Support

Unlike the Forerunner 110 Garmin made the 210 compatible with the optional Foot Pod that extends the usefulness of your GPS watch. Even the best GPS sports watches sometimes have trouble getting a signal indoors. With the Foot Pod, runners can use the Forerunner 210 without the GPS being activated, which means the device can be used indoors while on gym equipment.

Heart Rate Monitor

When I took the 210 out on a 5K, it was extremely nice being able to use the newest soft strap heart rate monitor. The Forerunner 210 also comes with heart rate-based calorie computations. Measure your calories with comfort – now that’s my kind of gadget.

Heart rate-based calorie computation is somewhat controversial – with critics claiming that no GPS watch could accurately measure calorie burn, a reasonable position – but the algorithm’s intent is to overcome limitations in the older time-distance-based method. Scientific white papers provide good evidence that the intent is achieved well, for most people most of the time – that is to within about 5-10% accurately, close enough to be useful.

Another feature missing with the Forerunner 210 are pace and distance alerts but you can very easily setup heart rate alerts. The heart rate alerts are paired with the heart rate monitor and the 210 will beep if your heart rate drops below or above your selected rate. Personally, I prefer heart rate alerts over any other alert as I am a dedicated heart rate zone trainer.

ANT+ Wireless Technology

Garmin Forerunner 210 and ANT+ Thanks to ANT+ wireless technology you can also use the 210 and the heart rate monitor with equipment at the gym. So, now when you’re on the StairMaster at the gym, you can keep up with your heart rate zone.

There even exists something as ANT+ compatible weight scales. The Tanita BC-1000 body composition scale for example measures several body composition parameters and then sends the data automatically to your watch.

Forerunner 210 Price

Amazon currently sells the Forerunner 210 for $199.99 and versions with the heart rate monitor are going for $249.99, making it one of the cheaper Forerunners out there.

Conclusion

Is the Forerunner 210 the right training device for Jesse Owens? No. Jesse would have loved the 210, but it wouldn’t have been his best option. For serious runners I would recommend a Forerunner that gives you more data and the ability to set goal-oriented workouts. I also don’t recommend the 210 to cyclists wishing to sync their workouts with the Speed/Cadence Bike Sensor simply because the 210 is not compatible with this accessory. If you’re a beginner runner looking for a simple easy to use training device without the overwhelming options of other more advanced GPS watches, then go and check it out!