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Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS Heart Rate Monitor
The Garmin Forerunner 310XT is a GPS-enabled running watch with an optional heart rate monitor chest belt. It is similar to the Forerunner 305 with some improvements, the most important of which is that it is now suitable for use in swimming. It is not just waterproof/splashproof but also swim-proof since its water resistance has been increased to 50m. That makes it a great tool for triathletes.
Below are the main features of the Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS Heart Rate Monitor. Note that the heart rate monitoring features will only be available if the optional heart rate monitoring chest belt is used. The list below assumes that the chest belt is present and used.
- GPS-enabled running watch with an optional heart rate chest belt transmitter: It keeps track of distance and pace/speed, monitors heart rate, and offers a host of navigation features
- High sensitivity GPS receiver using the HotFix satellite prediction system. So it locks onto satellite very quickly.
- Heart rate zone with alerts can be set. You can choose from one of the 5 heart rate zones (calculated automatically based on your maximum and resting heart rates) or customise your own heart rate alert limits
- The wrist watch can show up to 4 data pages. Each page can have up to 4 fields. Therefore while you are running, you can examine in real time up to 16 pieces of data.
- Data that can be shown include e.g. various cadence data (if using optional cadence sensor), calories, various distance data, elevation, gps accuracy, grade, heading, various heart rate data, heart rate zone, laps, various pace data, various speed data, various time data, current time, total ascent, total descent
- Autoscroll - if this is turned on, the data pages are shown one after the other automatically. You can select speed of scrolling: slow, medium, fast.
- Calorie counter: It is based on heart rate and hence it is much more accurate.
- There are several sport modes including running and biking.
- Time alert: Beeps when you have trained for a specific time.
- Distance alert: Beeps when you have travelled a specific distance.
- Pace alert (available only in custom workout): The watch beeps when you vary from the preset pace.
- Calorie alert: Beeps when you have burned a specific amount of calories
- Cadence alerts: This feature is available if you use the optional Garmin GSC 10 cadence sensor for bikes.
- Auto Pause: the timer is automatically paused and restarted depending on your speed/pace
- Auto Lap: laps are marked automatically when you have travelled a certain distance or passed certain points during the run.
- Virtual Partner: Competes against you automatically during quick workouts and courses. The wrist watch display will show whether you are ahead or behind.
- You can set up the following types of workouts (if you wish): interval and custom. See below for more information.
- Interval workout: First you set the time (or distance) you want to run and the time (or distance) you want to rest. This defines your intervals. You then decide how many times you want these to be repeated. This sets up your complete interval workout.
- Custom workout: You can set up multiple intervals, with each interval having a different time duration or distance. You may also set goal (speed, heart rate, cadence or none) for each interval individually. You can use the included Garmin Training Center software to set up the workout on a computer and then download that to the wrist watch.
- Course: You can set up a course based on a previous recorded run. Then you can race against the course, and see if you can better your previous performance/goal. You can use a Virtual Partner to help you with that.
- You can do a multi-sport workout, without resetting the stop watch timer. Simply change the sport mode while doing the workout. This way you will get the totals and the averages of the entire workout.
- Count down timer - It can be used to start the stop watch timer after a specified countdown period.
- Stop watch with up to 1000 laps.
- 1000 laps of history data is saved for review. The data includes time, distance, average pace/speed, calories, average heart rate data, average cadence.
- There are various GPS navigation features on Garmin Forerunner 310XT: Viewing your path on a map, marking locations and finding your way to the starting point
- Current time
- Keys can be locked to prevent accidental pressing.
- Wireless heart rate monitor composed of an optional chest strap transmitter and a wrist watch receiver. The chest strap transmitter is now improved and is thus more comfortable to wear.
- Waterproof to 50 m. The Garmin Forerunner 310XT can now be used while swimming.
- The wrist watch unit uses an internal rechargeable battery. It comes with its own special charging clip and AC adapter. Battery life is about 20 hours when fully charged.
- The chest strap uses a CR2032 user-replaceable battery.
- USB ANT stick to wirelessly transfer data between the Garmin Forerunner 310XT and the computer. No cables are necessary.
- Foot pod (optional): It can be used if you are running on an indoor track or on an indoor treadmill when GPS signal is not available.
- GSC 10 speed and cadence sensor for bikes (optional)
- Use the Garmin Training Center desktop software to analyze or store your history data, or use it to create an advanced workout or a course.
- You can also upload data to Garmin Connect, an online software, for analysis, mapping, and route sharing.
The main differences between Garmin Forerunner 310XT and Forerunner 305 are highlighted in bold in the list above.
Note: On Garmin web site or manuals, the words "heart rate monitor" are used to denote the chest strap transmitter. This is in contrast to standard usage where "heart rate monitor" either refers to the wrist watch unit or to the combination of both the wrist watch unit and the chest strap transmitter. So please be aware of the difference to avoid confusion.
The Garmin Forerunner 310XT has one main improvement over the Garmin Forerunner 305: it is now usable while swimming. Apart from this, the improvements over the 305 are relatively minor. For example the calorie counter is now heart-rate based as opposed to distance-based, and therefore yields more accurate results. There is also a fairly unique "calorie alert" feature, which is something not found on many other heart rate monitors, as far as we are aware. Battery life is now longer too at 20 hours for Garmin Forerunner 310XT, as opposed to 10 hours for the Forerunner 305. Data can now be transferred wirelessly to the computer using the USB ANT stick, whereas on the 305 a cable is required.
However, the Garmin Forerunner 310XT also removes some features that are found on the Forerunner 305. For example, the option of doing a simple workout is no longer available.
The Garmin Forerunner 310XT is intended primarily for multi-sport users for whom swimming is one of their sports. Otherwise, in terms of features, it is roughly similar to the hugely popular Garmin Forerunner 305. It is a great heart rate monitor/running watch with features to satisfy most people.
However it is considerably more expensive than the Forerunner 305 as of this writing (Oct 2010). Unless the prices start coming down a little, it probably is a better buy to get the Forerunner 305 and Amazon is currently doing a deal on it, offering a great discount of over 50%.
This takes you to Amazon for some of the best selections for this model. Certain selections come with FREE Super Saver Shipping.
Further information: Visit Garmin's official web site.
The next model up is the Garmin Forerunner 405.
Not sure which heart rate monitor is right for you? Take a look at the Which Heart Rate Monitor page.
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