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Used it in numerous running races this winter and was happy with it.
Hilly Flats Racing
1. A number of people have reported a problem with the band pins coming out. I had this happen twice. If you apply enough force to the side of the unit (unintentionally, of course) the pins can come come out and you have to put them back in. This is worrisome because if it happened during the swim and you had it on your wrist, it could sink to the bottom of the lake/ocean. I contacted Garmin about it and they said it was a known issue and to send it in and they would fix it. However just before I sent it in, I go the quick release kit and I found that it never happens with that. So no matter how good the fix is, the quick release kit should help in this regard. I actually prefer it anyway. So I held on to the Garmin for an extra 2 weeks.
2. The crystal/glass/whatever on the front of the unit can crack, something that never happened with previous versions. This also happened to me. I was using the quick release kit and, when not using the Garmin, stored it in my gym bag. Well one day I took it out of the bag and it was cracked. Still worked but there went my waterproofness. So I called Garmin and they told me that since they were going to completely replace it for the pin problem (#1) anyway, just send it in, they would note that it is cracked and still send me the new unit. That's what they did.
I knew about problems #1 and #2 before I bought them so I can't really complain. I think that for problem #2, they made a poor design choice and should use a less fragile material for the face and also possibly offer some sort of protective carrying case. As I said, I knew about the danger before I bought it but I will be very disappointed if they don't fix it in the next version.
3. The latest software update (2.7) apparently has a problem that can sometimes cause the unit to shut off during a run. They're aware of it and are fixing it.
Minor quibble #1: The 310xt does not have a custom data field for "Last Lap Time" like the 205/305 did. This annoys me as often during a race I don't look at the lap time that briefly flashes on the screen when I run by a mile marker. With a custom data field of "Last Lap Time", you can see what your last mile was right up until you go by the next time. I hope they restore this field in the next software update
Minor quibble #2: On the 205/305 you could turn the GPS off from the same quick menu that lets you choose a sport. With the 310xt you can't -- you have to drill down into the regular menus. This is annoying and I hope the restore the previous functionality.
I've just had them swap out my 'premium' heart rate strap because of the spiking issues. Spoke with Garmin support (Australia) who immediately offered to swap the strap through my retailer. Asked instead for the old style strap and they agreed. So full marks for Garmin support from me anyway.
If you are like me and looking for the device to do almost everything for all three disciplines, I think the 310XT is the best option we have. Its not perfect but as you learn to use the device you can get around any and all it's shortcomings.
Jonathan L Golden Photography
The second problem that started to occur with the my second and third unit was that it would not maintain the correct date and time. When I went out for that first outdoor run. No problems with satellite capture and obtaining the correct date and time. The following day, I went to complete an indoor workout and was using the 310XT just for total workout time and heart rate. The date and time were completely wrong.
That evening, I completely reset the 310XT to try again. Went outside, got satellite capture with the correct date and time. Then turned off the unit. The next day I planned to complete a indoor workout using it just for total workout time and heart rate. The date and time were once again completely wrong. I contacted GARMIN, they offering to replace this unit with another (through GARMIN). However, I opted out of that option since it would have voided the return/refund policy from my local store.
I have also read of owners having problems with the Software version 2.7 and the unit locking up. All three of units were Version 2.6.
I REALLY liked the 310XT and what it has to offer. But at $400, it was unreliable and the chance of loosing it during an open water swim or racing on the road and unit going flying off of my wrist wasn't worth it. Others have written that they have had no problems with the Quick-Release kit or changing out the band. But at $400, I shouldn't have to buy an extra accessory to keep the unit secured to my wrist, when they should have addressed that in the design phase of the 310XT.
Looks like I am back to using my FR305. I'll wait and see what Garmin may offer in future versions of the 310XT. I am also interested in what the competition like Timex has to offer with the September 2010 release of the Timex Ironman Global Trainer.
Hope that you found this to be helpful.
As far as the coming off problem, it's a shame you didn't try the quick release kit. It really did eliminate the problem for me. It moves the pressure point away from the pins. Frankly if I had not had the cracking problem, I would not have even bothered to send mine in for the RMA. But I certainly can't blame you for not wanting to take a chance.
I think if I swim with mine I'll put it under my swim cap.
As to wearing it under the swim cap, I understand your concern so as not to loose the investment. But GARMIN created the 310XT to be worn on the wrist, and that is how they are advertising it. Going back to wearing it under the swim cap is what we all did when we first got our Forerunner 205 and 305 and they weren't rated for swimming.
(I must admit though that I'm not really concerned about it coming undone in the water with the quick release strap. It's that much better.)
Over the past 10 years I have owned a Polar S710i , the top of the line Polar bike computer ( introduced 2005 , cannot recall model ) , RS800.
In a nutshell , constant problems , inaccuraccies , frequent servicing required , RS800 batteries needed changing every 6-8 weeks , pending mileage.
I am not alone in my thoughts either , I have 3 friends who are avid triathletes and are fed up with "donating" money to Polar.
My wife bought me the Garmin 300XT in October from the US. Funny enough ,the original unit's screen was faulty. The problem was rectified shortly afterwards.
The Garmin is an absolute pleasure to run with. 100% user-friendly , hassle free ( no "retro" footpods requiring pre-setting , etc and shoe transfrers ).
Downloading of Garmin through the "Ant" technology is a breeze and the "Dashboard" is fun to play around with :)
The ability to measure identical routes , runs , etc. I find to be very valuable , as is the feedback provided , pending how you set up your custom levels.
I set mine up to show me accumulated pace , and "auto-lap" at 1km. Enables me to analyze my calories , pace ( mins/km and km/hr ) , time , HR , etc. per km .
In a nutshell , Polar is 3-5 years behind IMO.
I would HIGHLY recommend the watch.
Oh disadvantges..............................you get to see exactly how slow you really run :)
" Dream big and strive to separate yourself"
Chris Lieto...Oct. 2006
One of the best reviews I ever read and made it so that I 100% didn't feel the need to provide a product review but instead refer others here.
Also, this is the review that made me realize I was tired of gosh darn Polar products (I seem to never be able to connect them to any computer I've ever owned - owned two Polar products).
This Garmin is one of the greatest pieces of equipment I've had the pleasure of using. I can't recommend it more as a HRM / training watch and I haven't even fully utilized it yet - still need to get the footpod so I can see my running cadence (which needs to increase) and power meter (hurry up Metrigear).
If you're in the market for a HRM / training watch - buy it!
"Chrissie wins because she trains really f'ing hard and races really f'ing hard and was blessed with a huge f'ing motor" Jordan Rapp
In general, clients are very happy with the functions. Price/functionality is excellent if you compare with the competition (Polar).
I used Polar for many years and always had problems with all of them. We also have Timex, and I also use the Road Trainer, which has no GPS features but is really stable in all occasions, and works great for swim workouts. Wait for the new Timex Ironman Global Trainer to be released. Just wonder the price.
Disclaimer : work in bike/triathlon industry
Just an FYI: When I had to warranty replace one of my 305s I didn't want to be without it for that time. So I asked
if there was a way to avoid that. All I had to do was give them a credit card number (over the phone talking to a
real human) and they charged me the refurb price and shipped it to me. Then I shipped the other unit back and
they issued a credit, so the total cost to me was $0 and my total time without the unit was also 0.
To avoid the issue you had, all you have to do is let it lock on satellites (and, thus, get a time/date update) before turning off GPS. A minor inconvenience for an otherwise excellent tool.
"If you ain't first, you're last." Reese Bobby Talladega Nights
Additionally, in my case they only requested that I ship the 310XT itself, no other accessories or retail packaging. The replacement they sent me was a brand new full retail boxed unit including all accessories and an brand new premium heart rate strap. All and all, I was pleased with Garmin's customer service, especially in that I spoke with someone friendly in the US who actually knew what they were talking about.
That being said, one thing I should have mentioned earlier before just defering to the DC Rainmaker review is that while I share his sentiments otherwise, I was pretty upset when my 310XT simply died after about a month and a half of use. I put it on the charger one day and that was it, completely dead. This was about 3 weeks out from WDW marathon and I was without it pretty much up until right before the race. I had to spend my last few weeks of race prep out running for the enjoyment of it rather than being a slave to metrics and quantifiable data... a horrible, horrible experience.
The 310XT still has quite a few bugs and I would wait for a year or so until purchasing one. If you do buy one I recommend that you buy a new one from an official retailer since you will probably have to send it in for repairs.
So far mine has been running perfect with not a single issue (knock on wood). I'm still using version 2.6 and am not going to upgrade to 2.7 or more until I either have some problems or they fix some additional bugs in 2.7. From all my readings on the 310XT and Garmin in general is they have the right ideas on the products they are offering, but they are filled with bugs....it will be hit or miss if you get a good unit or a bug ridden one.
Good luck :)