Nov 232012

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and are getting in a workout to work off all of the turkey an pie. For those black Friday shoppers out there, Garmin has some sales on their website. Check it out:

Shop now or wait for the weekend: Save money, time and stress with Garmin

Holiday row

GiveaGarmin_BugThis is a busy week. If you’re still in the office, you’re trying to squeeze five days’ worth of work into three (or fewer). If you’re hitting the road, you have plenty of hours and miles ahead of you. If you’re hosting for the holidays, you’re making your lists and checking them twice. And throughout it all, we try to remind ourselves to enjoy the time with family and friends and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. So you shouldn’t be shackled to your phone or laptop hoping for crazy prices at even crazier hours of the day.

Approach S1 stackSo we’re trying to reduce stress while still providing you the types of discounts that only come around once a year. Our Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals just went live, and we’re keeping them active through the weekend. You can either start your shopping now (just keep an eye out for your boss if you’re still at work) or wait until things calm down this weekend. The same great deals will be there waiting for you. Bargains like our Approach S1 golf watch for only $169.99. Three cool styles, all the same amazing features, such as thousands of preloaded golf courses to tell you how far to the front, middle and back of green, wherever you’re at on the course. Or for just $79.99, you can get the nuvi 40 for the road tripper on your list so that they can get from Point A to Point B (and everywhere in between) safely and stress-free. If you know a runner who wants to eliminate the guesswork from their workouts, our popular Forerunner 110 andForerunner 610 watches are priced to move fast.

When you have a moment, head over to and shop around. But no need to rush. Help yourself to dessert. Play a game of cards. Take a nap while pretending to watch football. Get outside for a walk or a ride. We’ve made shopping easy so that you can spend that extra time and money making the most of the holiday season.

 As always,
Happy Training!
Oct 222012

We’ve been running around the past three weeks with the Sportiiiis heads up display heart rate monitor. If you’re looking for a heart rate monitor that displays heart rate using an LED bargraph that can be used with your glasses, and also provides an audible indication of heart rate, check this one out. It is especially useful if you are a cyclist or runner who doesn’t want to or can’t look at your watch while you are riding or running. We can’t seem to put this one down. It is definitely a new approach to heart rate monitor training. If you want to read more, check out our review here.

We received our evaluation Garmin Fenix GPS watch for review. If you like to hike and spend any time in the outdoors, this thing might be for you. You can track your hiking and training progress, set waypoints, find your way if you get lost, geocache, and just have fun. It has an altimeter, barometer, compass, and of course GPS. You can get it with a heart rate monitor, and it works with the other Garmin training accessories. This product this might be most at home on the trail, but we will let you know how useful it is for training purposes. We’ll let you know what we think,  provide updates, and give you the full blown review when we’re done with it.



For now,

Happy training!

Oct 082012

Hi all! I found this over on the Garmin website at Peg’s Post. You can now get 20% off of any Garmin accessories by visiting their site and using the coupon codes listed below. The sale runs through October, so if you are looking for Garmin heart rate monitor and GPS accessories, get on over and place your order.








Peg’s Posts: accessorize, colorize & save


Here’s a shopping tip for our faithful fitness fans: for the month of October, you can shop, select accessories to your heart’s content and save 20% on your entire order. Just enter code FALL20 at checkout. Choose from our most popular fitness accessories, like the premium soft strap heart rate monitor to newer offerings, like these colorful accessory bands for the Forerunner 910XT multisport watch. Cyclists will want to take a look at our new out-front mount, which positions the Edge bike computer in a heads-up position for better viewability and increased safety. If you roll with Garmin gear for driving, hiking, golfing, flying, boating or any other pursuit, this discount is good for all Garmin accessories (excludes map updates), so get shopping. Don’t forget to enter code FALL20.


As always,

Happy training!

Oct 032012

Garmin just released a new mount for the Garmin Edge series of bike computers.


The mount is compatible with the Garmin Edge 200, Edge 500 and Edge 800 bike computers. If you use a Forerunner 910XT or 310XT with a quick release kit, you can use them with this mount, too. All you have to do is remove the screws from the bottom, rotate the inner-mount and reinsert the screws, and the watch will mount in the proper orientation on the handle bar.

Suggested retail price is $39.99. You can pre-order your mount here.

As always,

Happy training!!

Aug 132012

Chis Dwyer is the creator of One ___ at a Time. His blog One ___ at a Time is a big adventure into the little-known endurance sport of astro-athleticism and all things “stickin-it-to-the-man”. It intertwines his passion for planetary salvation, athletic empowerment, home-energy renovation, community enrichment, and general mischief. Chris is a regular and favorite blogger, Ironman extraordinaire, and close friend of us here at Fitness Electronics Blog. Today he is reviewing the Garmin 910XT, and giving us his real life experiences with the GPS multisport watch.  Check out his website at


For the last six years, I’ve merely trained and raced with a low-frill, yet trusty, Nike heart rate monitor and a not-so-trusty bike-mounted Sigma odometer.  Prior to this week, I was a complete virgin to GPS watches. The good news is that I’ve lost my GPS virginity and have found each experience with the Forerunner 910xt radically better than that first clumsy encounter. This review is certainly not exhaustive of all the features on the 910xt, but merely an introduction to the equipment coming from the perspective of someone who is generally a minimalist when it comes to training with gizmos.

Why I Don’t Have a GPS Watch
Being a triathlete, the Garmin Forerunner 310xt had been on my Christmas wish list for many years. But I could never bite the bullet financially, hearing tales from the tri community that the 310xt had trouble logging swim distance/pace. The satellite connection was supposedly erratic when the watch went under water. In truth, the 310xt “isn’t really a triathlon watch, but a multisport watch”, confessed the Garmin rep at a Spinning conference I attended in Miami. I felt almost-duped. She asked me, “Then, why don’t you just get a GPS watch for runners and forget the bike mount and the swim capabilities altogether?”  Instead, I decided, “I’ll just wait till the bugs are worked out, so I can get what the ‘triathlon watch’ is supposed to be.”

Why I Got the Forerunner 910xt
My good friends at the Fitness Electronics Blog were sweethearts last week and asked if I wouldn’t mind testing the Garmin Forerunner 910xt. It seemed like a peace offering given in place of what I really wanted—them, riding with me, in my first ever do-it-yourself ultra-distance triathlon I called DWYRMAN. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come due to their newborn baby, the bar exam, and general life craziness.  DWYRMAN was supposed to be a celebration of summer with some of my best cycling, swimming, and running friends. The course was to circumnavigate five state parks with lakes around Cincinnati, passing through Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, totaling 5 miles of open water swimming, 190 miles cycling, and 32 miles running. It was all theoretically possible based on my tinkering with maps and recon rides over the years. My Fitness Electronics Blogger friends thought the 910xt would be a cool addition to the DWYRMAN in their absence.

How the Forerunner 910xt Faired
As the host of DWYRMAN, my mind was primarily focused on making sure everyone was having a good time, being safe, and getting our mission accomplished. While riding without my glasses, I had difficulty navigating the digital architecture of the zillions of features. The additional stimuli on my wrist completely flustered me. I had a hard time figuring out what all the numbers meant and which of the six buttons did what. It was just information overload. Race day is not a good day for one’s first orientation to new gear. So when we got to the first open water swim, I had to ask for tech support from my buddy Rob, a Garmin-devotee, and he changed the settings for me to “open water swim mode. This is where it got cool.

We took off toward the opposite shore of the lake. When we got to the other side, the watch indicated that I had gone 506 yards. Rob’s watch said 501 yards, but I’m pretty sure he swims straighter than me, which could explain the discrepancy. Then we turned 90 degrees and swam along the shore and traced out a triangular path. The watch indicated ~28:00 and ~1600 yards back at the boat ramp, so we called it a “Kentucky mile.” From the image below, you’ll see I forgot to hit STOP on the watch.

At the upper left vertex of the triangle, the satellites think I went up on shore, but I didn’t. So the map features have bomb-dropping, but not fly-swatting, precision.

Throughout DWYRMAN race day, I basically ignored the watch except for the open water swim sessions. I’ve come to discover that there is basically a six-workout learning curve for a newbie to figure out the full power of A) the watch in the field and B) the Garmin Connect data analysis back home. I needed two workouts in each triathlon discipline to finally have that eureka moment.

The Hardware
The night before DWYRMAN, John handed me a zip lock bag containing the Forerunner 910xt contents: 1) watch (with the rubber wrist-strap option)

2) heart rate monitor

3) USB recharger

4) ANT+ device







Strike 1 – The Software
I first went to the Garmin website and try to find a “Quick Start” manual, which was easy. But then I devoted 45 frustrating minutes proving that despite meeting the system requirements, my MacBook with Mac OS X 10.4.11 operating system was incapable of downloading the second of the two necessary software packages – 1) Garmin Connect for analyzing your data, and 2) ANT+ hardware installation (for wirelessly uploading the watch’s data to your computer).

It wasn’t until after DWYRMAN that I resorted to using my wife’s newer MacBook (with the Mac OS X 10.6.8 operating system).  It took about one hour to install the softwares and upload my first workouts. Since that first lengthy installation process, uploads from the watch to the ANT+ have been wireless and easy, which is cool. All you do is turn the watch on when it’s within 5 feet of the ANT+. By the time I checked my email for the day, my first 15 workouts were uploaded from the watch to my desktop. Details of each could be explored ad nauseam. The details are where it gets really fun and nerdy.

The Summary page in Garmin Connect shows all workouts and is sort-able– by date, sporting discipline, duration, etc. Workouts show up as “untitled” files, but can be re-named by route or date or whatever you like. They can also be exported as *.CSV files for easy manipulation in common spreadsheet software like Excel.



As soon as the workout is over, it’s fun watching the data re-tell the story of the workout.  Where was I trying my hardest to keep up with traffic? Did I let my heart rate sink too low while coasting down that hill? How long was that potty break at the gas station?

One weakness of the watch showed up in while lap swimming. The screenshot below is from a swim that lasted about 60 minutes. It included an extended warm up drill and then some 100 yard repeats—all freestyle, mind you. So, why does the 910xt think that I threw in a length of backstroke after completing a length in 0.0 seconds? I can only hope that the quirks like this average themselves out over the course of the workout.



  • Accurate swim distance
  • Comfortable heart rate strap
  • Heart rate signal detected almost immediately
  • Heart rate strap is waterproof
  • The fully charged battery lasted just over 15 hours on day one of DWYRMAN
  • Not overly big and clunky like older Garmin watches
  • Can measure everything important in a multitude of ways:
  • Heart Rate (beats/min, % of max, zone #, average),
  • Speed (Instantaneous, average)
  • Pace (instantaneous, average)
  • Strokes, Power, Cadence, %Grade, Altitude, Position,
  • Communicates with other ANT+ devices (which I didn’t test)
  • Once you upload your data, at the website, you can name your routes, share them, and compare them to previous performances
  • The data analysis experience was clean and intuitive there
  • Personalized settings so I could share the watch with my wife who has her own settings



  • Heart rate fabric feels wimpy and prone to stinking (compared to my durable 6 year old Nike HR monitor strap)
  • Heart rate monitor does not work under water
  • “Multisport” setting is not a convenient setting for a non-traditional triathlon sequence like DWYRMAN (i.e. bike-swim-bike-swim-bike-swim-bike-swim-bike-swim-run-bike)
  • Menu/buttons are hard to navigate for a newbie—(Would it possible to engineer a Blackberry-like trackball or scroll-button? It could be a business opportunity for the sinking ship that is Blackberry’s maker, Research in Motion. Or maybe touchscreen is the way and RIM is just doomed.)
  • Tough to read while riding the bike. The bike mount accessory (~$15) could be helpful but too timely to operate for a speedy race day transition. I’d rather just have a dedicated bike computer.
  • The Mode button is difficult to push without simultaneously pushing the “Scroll up” button, which is the top secret button sequence that inconveniently locks all keys when you don’t want it to
  • Can take several minutes to find a satellite connection
  • Battery did not last the claimed 20 hours on a full charge
  • The data experience at Garmin Connect was not a social experience like the experience at  or, which deserve their own review in a future blog.


My favorite feature is the accuracy of the swim workouts, whether lap swimming or open water. Everyone knows they need to do more open water swimming and we’d all love to look at something other than the black lane lines at the pool. The watch can also push you to swim faster than your previous workouts by setting up the Virtual Partner feature. This is where it stands out from all other Garmin watches.

My second favorite feature is the post-workout analysis. It’s so convenient that much of my training diary is basically written for me in a thorough and objective way. However, the analysis feature I was most hopeful for, but didn’t find, was a method of measuring and displaying the duration of time I spend in each heart rate zone. Even my low-frill heart rate monitor does as much. And that’s the most important metric I keep track of in my training diary. With the 910xt it would be possible to export the Garmin Connect data to an Excel spreadsheet and make the calculations myself, but it seems like an easy enough feature for Garmin to include in a future software update. Their inclusion of their “Training Effect” metric is a poor substitute that lacks the transparency and objectivity of a more thorough heart rate analysis.

After I conquered the initial software hurdles and figured out how to navigate the plethora of options, I really came to enjoy training with the 910xt. Then I made the mistake of letting my wife try it. She’s been hoarding it ever since.



We have been doing a lot of trail running this year in preparation for our first 50 mile race in Madison, Wisconsin, in September. She loves it so much, she just ordered the 910xt for herself, (since we have to give the demo watch back to Garmin, of course). Her rationale was that the battery life, unlike other Garmin models, would last long enough for the 50 miler cut-off time of 13 hours, which the other Gamin GPS watches would not. Also, since most of her training is on trails in Cincinnati parks, without the GPS it would be tough to measure distance and altitude, which are important metrics to her. All-in-all, my earlier excuse for holding out for a great “triathlon” watch is no longer valid. It’s even family-friendly.


As always,

Happy Training!!


Jul 122012

For those of you looking for a cool outdoor watch with GPS, this just might be it. The Fenix was announced yesterday. Here is the Garmin press release to get up to speed. Click a link and check it out.

Garmin® fēnix™ Outdoor Watch Lets Adventurers Go Even Further Off-Trail

Posted July 10, 2012 | 06:00 AM in Outdoor/Fitness , Travel | PermalinkTechnorati Tags

Garmin fenix lifestyle 1 low resOLATHE, Kan./July 10, 2012/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announcedfēnix, its first GPS wrist watch for outdoorsmen, such as mountaineers, hikers, cyclists, hunters and backpackers. fēnix provides comprehensive navigation and tracking functionalities as well as trip information to guide adventurers during their challenging activities off the beaten track. Its built-in sensors provide information on heading, elevation and weather changes. Utilizing Garmin’s leading GPS technology, fēnix can guide adventurers off the trail and back to the safety of a vehicle, trailhead or campsite. Sporting a classic round watch design in a high-strength housing with a scratch-resisting display, it is built to endure the toughest outdoor conditions and also makes a stylish day-to-day timepiece.


“fēnix packs Garmin’s leading and trusted outdoor technology into a robust, wrist-worn GPS watch that outdoorsmen can rely on,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Being able to go hands free while still having access to Garmin’s precise and accurate information on weather, elevation and position provides adventurers the confidence and peace of mind to take their outdoor activities even further off-trail.”Plan, Navigate and Track

fēnix includes a comprehensive navigational toolset that allows users to plan trips and create routes, record waypoints, such as campsites or points of interest, and record GPS bread crumb trails on the move (tracklogs). Adventurers can navigate to coordinates, along a track or route, towards waypoints, geocaches or along any other selected bearing. A navigation arrow provides clear directional guidance and the TracBack® function can guide one back along a previously recorded tracklog. This provides adventurers peace of mind knowing they’re never “lost” and can easily find their way back in case of an emergency or bad weather conditions. Also included is a worldwide basemap displaying cities nearby. Using the BaseCampTM desktop application, fēnix users will be able to easily plan trips and share their adventures with friends and family. fēnix is equipped with both ANT capabilities and Bluetooth® to wirelessly share tracks, waypoints, routes and geocaches with other compatible Garmin devices. A Basecamp mobile app allows users to transfer waypoints and tracklogs to view them on a more detailed map and larger screen of select smartphones[1].

Altimeter, Barometer and Compass

fēnix is equipped with ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer and compass) to provide explorers relevant real-time information. The built-in altimeter provides elevation data to accurately monitor ascent and descent, the barometer can be used to predict weather changes by showing short-term trends in air pressure and a 3-axis electronic compass keeps the user’s bearing whether he’s moving or not. Utilizing its GPS receiver, fēnix can auto-calibrate its ABC sensors and also auto sets the time based on location. For an extremely accurate temperature reading, fēnix can be paired with tempeTM, Garmin’s new external temperature sensor.

Measure Performance

Similar to Garmin’s running watches, fēnix provides real-time performance data, such as distance, pace time and calories, helping outdoorsmen keep track of their progress during and after their adventures. This is especially useful to keep track of fitness activities off the beaten track, such as adventure or trail running. fēnix is also compatible with Garmin’s premium heart rate monitor for heart rate info and with a speed/cadence sensor for distance, speed and cadence while on a bike. The displayed data fields are fully customizable right from the watch.

Built to Endure the Roughest Conditions

fēnix is built to endure the toughest outdoor conditions, combining a high-strength housing to survive shocks with a mineral glass lens to resist scratching. It boasts a large LCD display with LED backlight and a robust polyurethane wristbands. Garmin’s outdoor watch is waterproof to 50 meters and has a battery life of up to 50 hours in GPS mode (depends on settings) and up to 6 weeks in watch mode. Basic watch functions include alarms, tones, vibration alerts, timer, stopwatch and world clock with the ability to display several times zones at once.

Garmin fēnix is expected to be available in fall 2012 and will have a suggested retail price of $399.99. tempe is an optional accessory and has a suggested retail price of $29.99. The polyurethane wristband will be available in olive or orange and an optional leather wristband can be added. To see fēnix in action go to:

fēnix is the latest solution from Garmin’s growing outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences.  Whether it’s Golfing, Hiking, Hunting or Geocaching, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiast of all levels. For more information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to, and

About Garmin International Inc.
Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation. Since 1989, this group of companies has designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation, communication and information devices and applications – most of which are enabled by GPS technology. Garmin’s products serve automotive, mobile, wireless, outdoor recreation, marine, aviation, and OEM applications. Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at or contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200. Garmin and fēnix are registered trademarks and ANT is a trademark of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Notice on Forward-Looking Statements:

This release includes forward-looking statements regarding Garmin Ltd. and its business. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations.  The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the Annual  Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, filed by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file number 0-31983).  A copy of such Form 10-K is available  No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Garmin undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

As always,

Happy Training!

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May 302012

A few more of you wrote in to tell me that I neglected a few popular HRM watches in my list, so today I thought I’d post an update with these watches added. – John

A few of you who are new to training have written in and asked if there is a good heart rate monitor training watch that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars. I thought I would pop up a quick post that covers the most popular watches under $100.00. Actually, the highest price for the watches shown below is $129.99, but this is the retail price of the watch. If you look around, you should be able to find them cheaper.




Here is the short list:

Polar FT1 – In depth review here

  • Retail price $69.95
  • For the first step into heart rate-based training.
  • Shows heart rate on large and easy-to-read display
  • Helps improve your fitness with manual heart rate target zone
  • Displays a summary of your latest workout
  • Simple one-button start and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk
  • Safely exercise within your target zone
  • Records average and maximum heart rate


Polar FT2 – In depth review here

  • Retail price $89.95
  • For recreational exercisers who want an easy start to fitness.
  • Shows heart rate on large and easy-to-read display
  • Helps improve your fitness with automatic age-based heart rate target zone
  • Displays a summary of your latest workout
  • Simple one-button start and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk
  • Records average and maximum heart rate



Polar FT4 – In depth review here

  • Retail price $99.95
  • For those who want basic heart rate-based features to keep their fitness training simple.
  • Shows when you’re improving fitness based on your heart rate
  • Displays calories burned
  • Comes with comfortable fabric transmitter and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk


Suunto M1 – In depth review here

  • Retail price $99.00
  • Real-time guidance: heart rate and calories burned
  • Automatically switches between three heart rate zones to help reach personal exercise targets
  • Suunto M1 comes with comfortable Suunto Basic Heart Rate Belt, compatible with most gym cardio equipment
  • Easy to use
  • 9 languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish and Finnish
  • With easy and comfortable monitoring of real-time heart rate and calories burned, Suunto M1 is equipped with the essential tools you need to reach your fitness goals.
  • It monitors you while you exercise to ensure you stay within the most effective training zone. If you’re going to burn those calories, make sure every move is a smart one.


Suunto M2 – In depth review here

  • Retail price $119.00
  • Real-time guidance: heart rate and calories burned
  • Automatically switches between three heart rate zones to help reach personal exercise targets
  • Suunto M2 comes with Suunto Dual Comfort Belt: comfortable textile belt, compatible with most gym cardio equipment and Suunto Fitness Solution
  • Easy to use
  • 9 languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish and Finnish
  • With easy and comfortable monitoring of real-time heart rate and calories burned, the M2 is equipped with the essential tools you need to reach your fitness goals.
  • It monitors you while you exercise to ensure you stay within the most effective training zone. If you’re going to burn those calories, make sure every move is a smart one.

Timex Personal Trainer

  • Retail price $70.00
  • Target Heart Rate Zones
  • Time in Zone
  • Percentage of Max Heart Display
  • Calories Burned
  • Recovery Heart Rate Timer
  • Automatic Activity Timer


Timex Zone Trainer

  • Retail price $100.00
  • Target Heart Rate Zones
  • Graphic Heart Rate Zone Display
  • Average Heart Rate for Workout and Lap
  • Time in Zone
  • Percentage of Max Heart Display
  • Calories Burned


Timex Ironman Road Trainer

  • Retail price $110.00
  • Target Heart Rate Zones
  • Graphic Heart Rate Zone Display
  • Average Heart Rate for Workout and Lap
  • Time in Zone
  • Percentage of Max Heart Display
  • Calories Burned


Blink 1 

  •  Retail price$74.99
  • One button functionality – easy to use
  • Only HRM watch that has a blinking multicolor LED to let you know if you’re in your optimum heart rate zone
  • 3 color zones
  • Blue LED blinks to indicate below the training zone (low intensity effort)
  • YELLOW LED blinks to indicate the mid training zone (a moderately intensive effort)
  • RED LED blinks to indicate the high training zone (high intensity effort)


Blink 2

  • Retail price $84.95
  • Flashing light that is the color of your heart zone
  • Average, current, and peak heart rate
  • Out of zone alarm with audio off function
  • Calories burned during your workout (kcal)
  • Blue LED blinks to indicate below the training zone (low intensity effort)
  • YELLOW LED blinks to indicate the mid training zone (a moderately intensive effort)
  • RED LED blinks to indicate the high training zone (high intensity effort)
  • Stores time in each of the three training zones
  • Comes with ZONING program inside



Garmin FR70

  • Retail price $129.99
  • Tracks your time, heart rate and calories burned inside or outside, while running, cycling or during other fitness activities
  • Calculates speed and distance when paired with our optional foot pod
  • Includes ANT+™ technology, which allows it to connect to other ANT+ compatible devices, such as the included heart rate monitor, optional foot pod or ANT+ compatible fitness equipment, and then share data wirelessly with your computer
  • Offers advanced training options, such as workouts, intervals and Virtual Partner®, when paired with our optional foot pod
  • Tracks weight, body fat, body water and 6 other measurements when used with the Tanita BC-1000body composition scale
  • Features 2 time zones, alarms, 20 hrs/100 lap memory, configurable training pages with Auto Scroll, Auto Lap®, 5 heart rate zones and alerts
  • Transfers data to your Windows® or Mac® computer wirelessly when in range. You can then use Garmin Connect to analyze, categorize and share in our online community


So what do you get in a watch in this price range? Here is a quick comparison of the watches:

FT1 FT2 FT4 M1 M2 FR70
Heart Rate x x x x x x
Average Heart Rate x x x x x x
Max Heart Rate x x x x
Heart Rate Zones x x x x x x
Percentage of Max Heart Rate
Graphic HR Zone Display x
Color LED HR Zone Display
Time in Zones x x x
Calories Burned x x x x
Multiple Stored Workouts x x
Optional Foot Pod x
Wireless Transfer x
Vitual Partner x
Optional Bike Speed/Cadence Sensor x
Interval Training x
Customizable Screen x
High End HRM Strap x
Training Alerts x
Price $69.95 $89.95 $99.95 $99.00 $119.00 $129.99



Timex Personal Trainer Timex Zone Trainer Timex Ironman Road Trainer Blink1 Blink2
Heart Rate x x x x x
Average Heart Rate x x x
Max Heart Rate x x x
Heart Rate Zones x x x x x
Percentage of Max Heart Rate x x x
Graphic HR Zone Display x x
Color LED HR Zone Display x x
Time in Zones x x x x
Calories Burned x x x x
Multiple Stored Workouts
Optional Foot Pod
Wireless Transfer
Vitual Partner
Optional Bike Speed/Cadence Sensor
Interval Training
Customizable Screen
High End HRM Strap
Training Alerts x
Price $70.00 $100.00 $110.00 $74.99 $84.95

Standout Features and things to look closer and check out 

  • I really liked the Suunto M2 comfort strap. It is definitely comfortable
  • I also liked the Polar FT4 comfort strap
  • I like the look of the Suunto  watches the best
  • The Blink 1 and Blink 2 uses an LED, which is very easy to see, to tell you that you are in your optimum training zone
  • The Timex HRM units make nice watches
  • The Garmin FR70 has the most features. I particularly like being able to download and connect to Garmin Connect, and I also really like Virtual Partner, and the capability of connecting an optional footpod. Of course, this watch is also the most expensive of the group.  If you don’t know what Virtual Partner is, check out the video below

Overall, if you are just starting out training, you can’t go wrong with any of these watches. Look closely at the features, and make sure you get the features that you really care about. You can also check out our more in depth reviews on these watches.

I hope this is a quick answer to your question.

Happy Training!


Here are a few videos of some of the watches:

Polar FT1:

Polar FT2:

Polar FT4:

Garmin FR60/FR70 Stup:

Garmin FR60/FR70 Heart Rate Monitor Strap Use:

Garmin Virtual Partner:

Using A Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor:

Programming the Blink HRM’s:

Suunto M2 – First Settings:

Suunto M-Series Exercise:

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