Garmin originally announced the Forerunner 210 in 2010, along with three other watches; the Forerunner 110, 410, and 610. These watches all have GPS, targeting runners. The Forerunner 210 comes in the three colors shown above. A basic version with no heart rate monitor strap comes in either black or white/green and sells for $199.00. There is also a black model and a black/teal model that comes with a heart rate monitor strap, and sells for $249.99.
Before we get started, we should tell you a little bit about us and how we perform product evaluations. We have 4 people who do all of the gear evaluations. One person is the lead on a piece of gear, but everyone gets a chance to evaluate the product. We have 2 guys and 2 ladies, so it’s a good mix. With 4 people, we get a better review overall. Everyone has an input to the review, and if there is a major disagreement, we will note it in the review. If you want to know who these people are, check out our About page. All of us are runners, two are triathletes, and the ladies are also full time Pilates instructors. Also, for the record, we are in no way connected with Garmin or any of the companies whose gear we review. We already own or buy the stuff that we review. If we don’t buy it, it may be loaned to us from the manufacturer. In this case, Garmin gave us the watch for a 60-day trial period, and after our review, we boxed it up and send it back. We do not accept gear for a favorable review. We will call it as we it. Typically, if we like the product, we will buy it to have around, using it to check out software updates and answer questions. So, enough with the babble. Let’s get to the review.
What’s in the box?
Here is the product box for the Forerunner 210 with Heart Rate Monitor Strap:
Here is what’s inside:
Here is a closeup of the Garmin strap:
This gives you an indication of the thickness of the watch:
A side view:
The display is easily readable. The display resolution is 52 x 30 pixels:
A side view:
So what are the features?
Here are the major features of the watch:
- Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 1.8″ x 2.7″ x 0.6″ (4.5 x 6.9 x 1.4 cm)
- Display size, WxH: 1.0″ x 1.0″ (2.5 x 2.5 cm) diameter
- Display resolution, WxH: 52 x 30 pixels
- Weight: 1.8 oz (52 g)
- Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion
- Battery life: 3 weeks in power save mode; 8 hours in training mode
- Water resistant: yes (IPX7)
- GPS-enabled: yes
- High-sensitivity receiver: yes
- Basemap: no
- History: 1000 laps
- Waypoints/favorites/locations: 0
- Routes: 0
- Heart rate monitor: yes (some versions, including the version we tested)
- Bike speed/cadence sensor: no
- Foot pod: yes (some versions)
- Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer):no
- Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data): yes
- Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person): no
- Virtual Racer™ (compete against other activities): no
- Courses (compete against previous activities): no
- Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed): no
- Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap): yes
- Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout): no
- Multi-sport (changes sport mode with a press of a button): no
- Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts): no
- Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace): no
- Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal): no
- Vibration alert: (choose between alert tones and/or vibration alert): no
- Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals): yes
- Heart rate-based calorie computation: yes
- Swim metrics (stroke type, stroke count and pool lengths): no
- Training Effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness): no
- Customizable screen(s): no
- Barometric altimeter: no
- Unit-to-unit transfer (shares data wirelessly with similar units): no
- Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible 3rd party ANT+™-enabled power meters): no
- Temperature (displays and records temperature while you ride): no
- Shock Resistant: yes
- Sport watch: yes
The available data fields are:
- Lap Distance
- Overall Distance
- Average Lap Pace
- Overall Pace
- Average Lap Speed
- Overall Speed
- Lap Time
- Overall Time
- Current Heart Rate
- Zone Heart Rate
So how does it compare to other Garmin running watches?
So what is the difference between the 110 and 210? Spending $20 more to step up to the 210, you get the addition of interval training and the option of adding a foot pod (the footpod is an additional cost).
If you want a customizable, higher resolution screen, a little better battery life, with autoscroll and auto pause capability, spend $50 more and get the Forerunner 220.
If I had to summarize the Forerunner 210, I would say:
- Basic screen, not adjustable, not touchscreen
- 8 hour battery during exercise
- Works with a foot pod to measure cadence(optional on some models)
- Syncs to a computer/Garmin Connect via a cord
- Autolap capability
- Measures pace/speed/distance/time/calories/heart rate
- Can set heart rate range for each of 5 zones
- Interval capability
The interval options in the 210 are set on the watch, not in Garmin Connect. You can set warm up, interval, rest, and cool down times or distances. They must either be all times, or all distances. You can also set the number of intervals.
The pace option can also be changed to mph in case you want to use the watch on a bike.
So, to summarize, the Forerunner 210 was designed to be an easy to use GPS watch with all of the basic features, with added interval capability. It doesn’t have the advanced training features of the higher end, higher cost watches.
Using the watch
Here he is wrapping up his interval spinning workout:
Some cool things to do with the Forerunner 210:
If you want to create an interval workout, you can’t create it in Garmin Connect. It needs to be created on the watch. To do this, you press and hold the page/menu button, select Interval, then Set. Next, enter a distance or time interval, and press OK. Select Distance or Time for your rest interval, then enter the value. You can enter a warm up and cool down if you want to. To perform your interval, press the start/stop button. If you have a warm up programmed, you will need to press the lap button to start the first interval.
You can set heart rate alerts. Press and hold the page/menu button, and select HR Alerts. Enter your high heart rate alert value. You can also select a HR zone. press OK. Enter the low HR value or zone. Press OK. The alert will sound when you are above or below the set values.
Accessories and sensors
The Forerunner 210 is compatible with the following Garmin accessories:
Garmin Soft Strap Premium HRM Strap:
Garmin Foot Pod
Saving Your Workouts
So how do you review and analyze your workouts? The Forerunner 210 is fully compatible with Garmin’s logging and analysis software, Garmin Connect. To upload your workout, connect the USB charging cable to your PC and the watch:
Next go to the Garmin site at connect.garmin.com. If you don’t have an account, you will need to create one. Once you are logged in, in the upper right hand corner of the page is the upload button. Click that and you will be taken to this screen:
I clicked “Upload All New Activities”. I can then click on the details of the workout, which displays this screen from our recent trail run:
I ran out of screen, so here is the rest of the workout:
You can see that there is a lot of really useful data here. Heart rate, distance, pace, elevation, lap split times, and a map are just a few of the items and screens that you can view. Tutorials on Garmin Connect is covered in some of our other reviews and posts, so we won’t go into a detailed review of GC. This is just intended to give you an idea about your analysis possibilities. The data can also be uploaded and viewed on other sites like TrainingPeaks.
Here is a quick video on how to use Garmin Connect:
Thoughts, Opinions and Summary:
- The watch felt good on our wrists. It is soft and comfortable, and the watch doesn’t feel too big.
- The heart rate monitor strap felt good, and did a good job of picking up heart rate without any issues. In the past, we have some issues on hot days, when your shirt gets too wet, or under some really dry conditions with a dry fit shirt.
- Using the watch is easy to use. The display is easily readable, and it is backlit at night with the press of a button. This makes moving through the menus and settings straightforward.
- Easy to read backlight.
- Battery life is good.
- The watch works with the optional running foot pod. This is great if you are indoors or want to know running cadence.
- Uploading is easy with Garmin Connect. I really like Garmin Connect when I want to analyze and study my workout. It is web based, so you can upload on any computer.
- We like the interval feature, and heart rate zone readout.
- The interval feature is a plus over the 110, but you need to program it on the watch. Higher feature watches allow you to create a workout and download it to the watch. This allows more flexibility, but programming on the watch is ok.
- The manual is pretty good, not great.
- Only supports 1 person at a time. All of the settings assume only 1 person uses the watch.
- It can be used on a ride, but the optional cadence/speed sensor does not work with the 210.
- Doesn’t have the advanced features or higher end/higher cost models
- Screens are not customizable, and the data fields can’t be changed.
- It is water resistant, but you can’t swim with it.
You might also check out
- Garmin 110
- Garmin 220
- Suunto Ambit2 R
This watch fits nicely into the Garmin lineup. it sits above the 110, and below the 220 and 610. Garmin’s watches are well made, and if you’ve used one, the others function very similarly, so you’ll feel right at home.
So, the the question we always ask each other is, “If it were our money, would we buy this watch?” The answer is, if we were looking for a GPS watch with basic features, in this price range, we would definitely buy it. Of course, we are always drawn to the high end watches with all of the features and gadgets, but for a low to mid range priced watch with basic features, ease of use, and price, we say yes. It also works well indoors with the optional foot pod, so if you are a gym rat who runs indoors and are looking for a basic, rugged GPS watch, this could be the watch for you. Also, having settable heart rate zones and alarms is really nice as it provides us some much needed assistance at keeping our heart rates in our desired training zone. All-in-all, the 210 is a good-looking, mid-budget, GPS enabled training/racing watch with accurate heart rate training features.
We will leave you with a few videos to watch. The first is Desi Davila training with the Garmin 210:
The next is a video of the Forerunner 110, but it is identical except for the differences discussed earlier in the review:
This video shows how to get set for your first run:
That’s it for today.