This is less of a review and more of a few comments on the Garmin 310XT. I’m not a data whore as evidenced by the lack of bike computers and GPS units festooning my bicycles. I rarely know or care how far I’ve ridden or what my average speed was. Having said that there are times when I do want to know some stats about my rides or adventures, but I am way too lazy to do much to get it. That’s where the Garmin Forerunner 310XT comes in.
Basically this is a small GPS watch unit that can also accept heart rate and bike data. It’s meant for crazy folks who do stuff like triathlons and adventure races. Besides being small its other claim to fame is it’s waterproof. That’s why I bought it so I could wear it while kiteboarding.
Although I didn’t intend to use it on the bike it has become useful for quickly strapping onto a bike I want some ride data from. I just use some foam to pad the bar and then attach the 310XT by its wrist strap. It has enough power for a long day ride, but it needs 1-2hrs from AC power to recharge at night and will eventually need to have its data downloaded or it will over write old data.
Stuff I like:
- looks okay for a GPS unit
- smallish size
- customizable display
- easy to read display in sunlight + has a backlight
- easy to use buttons
- easy to use menus
- has no issues getting satellite lock in the forest
- fast satellite lock after power on as long as you’ve been using GPS recently
- easy to attach to bike
- charges quickly
- decent all day battery life
- ANT transmitter works well for downloading data as long as you have a windows machine
- Garmin Connect website easy to use and useful for reading/sharing data
- fairly rugged
Stuff I don’t like:
- it’s on the expensive side
- small display can only do so much
- not useful as a navigation tool
- battery life limits it to 1 day event durrations
- doesn’t want to play with my Mac when it comes to downloading data
- sealed case means you can’t swap in a fresh battery for long events or when your old battery is toast
- tons of functions I don’t need or use
- takes a long time to lock onto satellites after a firmware update or when it hasn’t been used in a long time
Would I buy this again?
At full price? – no. I feel like it provides about $100-$150 worth of value to my life. I’ll use it until the internal battery dies or something else stops working. I see the benefit of a small GPS datalogger that can be attached to a bike or to me in a few seconds. If the price comes down I can see myself getting another similar unit, but otherwise I would just invest in a good mapping GPS like a Garmin Etrex 30 and a handful of bike mounts.
Having said that…if you are a data junkie who likes to run, bike and swim this is a pretty cool unit and may be well worth the $$$ to you.