GPS watch recommendations (Read 380 times)

Cat Herder

    I used a Garmin 205 for years and recently upgraded to a 220. The only reason I upgraded was to be able to use a heartrate monitor and footpod. The lighter weight and quick satellite reception are nice to have, but they aren't that important for me.


    Oh, the newer Garmins have much better waterproofing. The 205/305 had that speaker hole that almost always gets rusted. I clean my speaker hole thoroughly each time, but it still got rusted after a few years. (I have a brand new backup 205, but I still got the 220 anyway to get the ANT+ connectivity.)

      Garmin Forerunner 10, makes for a great entry level gps watch.  Been using it for over a year with no problems.  It does everything I want it to, such as keep my pace every mile, record record times, record my distance and downloads all recorded runs back to my PC.  My only criticisms are, you're stuck with the band on it, no aftermarket watch bands will fit on this watch.  There's no way to easily change the battery too.  The only way to do it is to send it back to Garmin.

        I agree with Karsa.  Since you listed "cost" first here's what  I recommend:


        (1) $ - The FR15  ($170) paired with a Scosche rhythm ($70) optical HRM should meet everything in your list.  I simplifed and bought the FR10, and it has worked flawlessly.  I just sold it after the FR15 came out (FR15 adds HRM capability and better battery life).  I have always hated the Heart Rate Monitor straps, and so far I have loved the Scosche Rhythm.  I've used it for about 2 weeks now, wearing it on my bicep - really happy with it.

        - Note - as an entry level watch, It does not have the interval workout features that your 305 had.


        (2) $$ -  If you pair the FR220 ($250) with the Scosche ($70), you will get a watch better than the FR 15:

        -Satellite caching for quicker sync (keep in mind, even the FR 15 takes only about 20 seconds)

        -Addition workout features (intervals)

        -Better connectivity to other devices

        -Customization of 3 data fields


        (3) $ - Tom Tom watch with integrated optical HRM ($270).  A great low cost option (slightly more than option (1)), but I'm concerned about how comfortable the watch would be.  It has a plastic "appendage" where the HRM is located.   Never tried it though, so I can't comment.

        - huge bonus points for integrating the watch and HRM.


        Check out this site:




        Good luck!



        Lots of old threads and lots of new options.  What do people recommend for a GPS watch.  My criteria:

        - Cost

        - Quick startup/ satellite sync

        - Dedicated running

        - Simple/painless connectivity with RunningAhead.com

        - Good battery for long runs (marathon training)

        - Comfort and form factor

        - Durability

        - Water resistant/proof - I sweat big time in the summer

        - I don't need Garmin Connect or some other service - hey I've got RA.com!

        - Comforable heart rate monitor


        I've been running with the Forerunner 305 for 7 years (replaced once with factory refurb program).  It's time for a new watch, and one of the most important features is RA.com compatibility!


        Thanks for your input!

        2014 - Get 5k back under 20:00.  Stay healthy!

          I just upgraded from a Garmin Forerunner 205 to a 220, and I really like the 220.  It never really bothered me that the 205 was so big, but in comparison the 220 is extremely light and comfortable.  It feels about the same as wearing a Timex Ironman non-GPS watch.  It makes a much bigger difference than I expected. It acquires signal within 5-10 seconds.  And I like the design -- I actually wear it as an everyday watch.  Another plus: no touchscreen.


          You can connect it to your smartphone (iPhone or Android) via Bluetooth and upload your workouts to Garmin Connect.  You can also have it live broadcast your position, so you can let your friends and family track you during a race or long run.


          I've only had mine a week, but so far it seems to measure about the same as my 205 on my usual routes.  I have heard complaints that the GPS accuracy is not as good as the older models, so I'm keeping an eye on it.

            Two minor quibbles with it, and they are quibbles: ... 2) When running the elapsed time of your run counts up in minutes and second until it gets to an hour and then you get hours and minutes and no seconds. I had that they don't show seconds. So if you are doing a 75 minute run, you start really staring at the watch when it gets to 1:14 because you have up to a minute to wait around until it gets to 1:15. And if you miss it, your split will be off. OK, small potatoes. It speaks well of the device if those are my biggest gripes about the watch!


            That would be a dealbreaker for me if it were true. Useless for pacing in races. It's why I returned my 405. But on the 310/910, that's only true if you have the time shown in a quarter screen. Half screen is fine.


            My "race screen" is elapsed time on the top half, total distance and lap pace on the bottom half. For training I rarely care about elapsed time. Then I show current pace, average pace, total distance, and lap pace. Or if doing intervals, just lap distance and lap pace.


            My biggest gripe with the 310 is I've never gotten close to the claimed 20-hour battery life. I used to get about 18:30, but the battery is aging; at Western states I only got 17:36. (I know, run faster.) Whereas my old 305 would always give me more than the claimed 10 hours. Do you know how much you get with the 910? I presume it's the same battery...


              I have... a friend... who used a dude's 910 for about a year.  She seemed to get 18ish hours of battery from it. So about like the 310.  Interestingly both of the people I run with fairly regularly who have 910s seem to underreport distance by 1-2% compared to my 310 as well as known-distance things.  I know that's kooky and a sample of 2, but there you go.


              My original 310's battery stayed in the 17-19 range from 2008 until it got burgled last month.  I know you are down to 17:36, but that's still pretty incredible compared to most of the smaller units.  The only way I boosted it was to turn the vibration off.


              I'm now the proud owner of 2 new 310s, and that'll get me through Cascade.

              As for the original post, I really like my 310 because:


              1. It does what I need it to do

              2. I think the big screen is good. I have old eyes.
              3. I don't want to wear my GPS as a watch anyway.  It's why I have a watch.

              4. Buttons.  Touch screens suck.

              5. It is waterproof.  And basically a tank.

              6. The battery life.  17-19 hours. Yes please.

              7. You can get it for $170 from amazon these days.  Yes please.  I'll take two.


              Ok bye.

                srlopez sighting!


                1. It does what I need it to do

                2. I think the big screen is good. I have old eyes.
                3. I don't want to wear my GPS as a watch anyway.  It's why I have a watch.

                4. Buttons.  Touch screens suck.

                5. It is waterproof.  And basically a tank.

                6. The battery life.  17-19 hours. Yes please.

                7. You can get it for $170 from amazon these days.  Yes please.  I'll take two.


                +1 to all that.


                Except I don't have a watch. Not since I got an iPhone. And if I wear a watch again, it will be an iWatch. Which, it would be cool if it doubled as an effective running GPS watch... seems highly unlikely.

                  I hadn't worn a watch in daily life for several years ... until I got my 220.  I like that I just put it on and forget about it until I need to use it to run and then, amazingly, it's just right there on my wrist waiting to be used!  Unlike my old 205 that would be sitting at home because I forgot to put it back in my running bag from the previous evening's run.  I have to say that it is one of the features I like best about the small form-factor GPS.  I fully understand about the old eyes thing because I have that problem too but I can see the 220 display pretty well under most lighting conditions.  We're blessed to have such great tech device options nowadays.