Garmin Forerunner 310XT
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WHAT YOU GET

An all in one GPS-enabled multisport watch that seamlessly goes from swim to bike to run with the push of a button. The Forerunner 310XT is also ANT+ wireless technology compatible.

WHAT WE'D LIKE TO SEE

Better performance in the water, it is waterproof but it becomes basically a watch while swimming because HR and GPS data don't really work in the water. A sleeker smaller design and color options beyond safety cone orange.

WHAT WE THINK

The triathlete's best solution (to date at least) for an all in one GPS-enabled watch.

Detailed Review

Overview
The Garmin Forerunner 310XT is the best all around multisport specific watch that we have tested. The initial setup will guide you through a list of questions about your personal information. Here you will set your gender, height/weight, age, fitness level etc. We found the watch to be easy to navigate with menus that are pretty intuitive. We like the simplicity of the design and feel that pretty much anyone can use this watch with a minimal learning curve.

There's a host of information that you can display on the 310XT, with up to 4 separate data screens for both running and cycling. You can then manually scroll through these screens or have the watch auto scroll through them. Setting up each screen is pretty straightforward and you can display from one to four data fields per screen.



Battery life is very good with roughly 20 hours of use between charges. Satellite reception is also very good. The 310XT gets satellite reception quickly and maintains it very well. Data transfer and charging are simple with the included accessories.

Swim
Swimming with the Forerunner 310XT leaves a little to be desired. The GPS and HR data do not function as they do out of the water. The GPS signal is intermittent at best while swimming (when worn on the wrist) and the HR data signal will not penetrate the water. One solution is to wear the watch under your swim cap to maintain satellite reception during the swim portion of training/racing. We prefer to just wear it as a watch especially when racing, it's just one less thing to worry about. The real beauty of the watch is that it is waterproof (up to 50M) and it allows you to wear it from start to finish. If you want to track your swim with any real accuracy you can go with the swim cap option.

Cycling
The 310XT is a great cycling computer, in fact it is far superior to many cycling specific computers that we have tested. The GPS and ANT+ capabilities have performed pretty flawlessly for us. We used the 310XT to track the normal functions that any computer will give you. Beyond that, is where this watch is a real stand out. We used the ANT+ capabilities to track HR, cadence, and power from the Quarq CinQo. Pairing of the peripherals was pretty seamless in our tests. For the most part, you can simply go to the bike or run settings and scan for the accessory and the Garmin will typically pair with it in a matter of a few seconds. Check your manuals for specifics on pairing devices.

Running
The 310XT works great for running as do most Forerunners. Like other GPS-enabled running watches the 310XT gives you instant feedback of pace, speed, HR, distance, etc. This watch will probably display more data than you care to know. You can customize your own personal run settings that are heart rate zone or pace specific. There are also options for auto lap, auto pause and auto scroll and you can set the 310XT to notify you with an audible alarm, vibrate or both.

Auto Multi-Sport Mode
This unique feature allows you to automatically switch between the three disciplines of triathlon with the push of a button. A feature we think you will really appreciate come race day.

Basically, once you enter the Auto Multisport mode from the 310XT menu the watch does the hard work for you. All that is required is a quick push of the lap button to switch from swim to bike to run. The 310XT will also give you T1 and T2 splits if you select that option.



At first we didn't think this feature would really be that big of a deal. After all, the 310XT makes it very simple to switch between activities when not using the multisport mode. All that is required to do so is to hold down the mode button for a couple of seconds and the watch brings up the activities menu allowing you move up or down and select the desired activity. After using this feature in several races we quickly changed our minds.

Using the Auto Multisport feature is very simple. From the main menu:
1. select training
2. select Auto Multisport
3. select whether to include transitions

Hit the start button when the gun goes off and you are on your way. Although the swim will not be recorded with a great deal of accuracy (if you wear the watch on your wrist) due to signal loss under water, you will have a good way to keep a running total of your overall time. Again, one solution is to put the watch under your swim cap so that it maintains GPS signal. We usually just wear the watch on our wrist knowing that the swim will be a little "off". Not having to fumble around with it coming out of the water and into T1 is a better option in our opinion.

As you complete the swim portion and come into T1 hit the lap button to end your swim time and begin your T1 split. After you are done in T1 and you are ready to begin your bike, hit the lap button again to end your T1 split and the watch will show "begin biking".



We prefer to just wear the watch on the bike rather than messing with a bike mount. If you simply rotate the watch to the inside of your wrist it should be perfectly visible when you are in the aero position (which you should be in pretty much the whole time). Again, this is a personal preference but we like the simplicity of just wearing the watch.

As you finish the bike, you guessed it, hit the lap button again to start your T2 split. Grab your run gear and head out, one more press of the lap button, the T2 split stops and the run split begins. The watch will again remind you that you have made the switch with a "begin running" message.



From there all you need to do is hit the lap button one last time as you cross the finish line and you will have completed the Auto Multisport function and hopefully your race.

Transferring Data
Another great thing about this watch and its ANT+ compatibility is the ease of data transfers. The watch comes with a USB dongle that will automatically send your training data to your computer using Garmin's ANT Agent.



This software is easy to setup an takes just a few minutes to install. From there you can send your data to one of several different applications (Garmin Connect, Training Peaks, Sport Tracks etc.) to review, store, and analyze your training progress. We like using Garmin Connect which is an online application that allows you to manage and share your data. Once setup, the data can automatically be sent to your Garmin Connect account. This makes it easy to access and share your specific training sessions from virtually anywhere and comes in especially handy when communicating with your coach for example. The Garmin Connect application organizes all of your workouts into a convenient dashboard and it will also notify you of software updates. We highly recommend keeping your watch updated. We have seen some big improvements and bug fixes with these updates.

Battery Life
The Garmin 310XT has a rated battery life of about 20 hours of use between charges. Battery life in our tests has been more than adequate to get you through any workout or race.

Price Range
This setup will certainly cost you a pretty penny. If you consider all that it's capable of and the equipment that it can replace we think you get your money's worth.

TriBomb Bottom Line
Overall, it's a winner. We know of no other watch that can match the flexibility and functionality of the Garmin 310XT for multisport applications.

 

Manufacturer's Website
www.garmin.com