Garmin Forerunner 10 Review

Multiple times this week, I sat down to blog and had nothing I felt comfortable sharing on the Internets.

I sat down this morning to blog and realized I’d never shared my thoughts on my Garmin 10 with you. I’ve been using it for about a month now, so I have plenty of thoughts on it.

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Pros:

  • It is cheap. It usually retails for about $129. I had a gift card to JackRabbit, and was bummed that my more-expensive 405 had died and figured that I’d buy the cheapest one since it’d just wear out again anyway.
  • It is cute. I’m not going to lie, I love the purple wristband.
  • It is lightweight. It feels way less bulky than the 405.
  • It’s dead-easy to use. Just hit start (the top right button), wait for satellites and you’re off!
  • The display is large and easy to read.
  • I just plug it into the computer to sync it up with Garmin Connect. No more of that ANT stick business to lose/not sync up with the computer.
  • After a run, it’s much easier to see my splits on the watch. The 405 was a touchscreen, and my sweaty fingers could never touch the bezel quite right. On the 10, it shows you 4 miles at a time.
  • Great watch for beginners: there is a run/walk function.
  • I like the auto-pause function because I always stop my watch at lights. Yeah, yeah, I know that the clock doesn’t stop at races, but there are no stoplights in races either. So, it evens out, or something.

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Cons:

  • The 405 let you start a run without having found satellites and picked them up along the way. On the 10, you’re asked if you want to go with or without the GPS when you give up and just get started. When you say no GPS, it sticks you in timer mode. $129 stopwatch, cool.
  • You can only see two fields of data on a screen at once. I have mine set to show time/distance on the first screen and calories/pace on the second screen. Calories was not my choice; it’s a preset with pace. I know I’m burning a bunch of calories when I run. I don’t need to see while I’m running how many that is. I run for miles, not calories.
  • It seems, on the pace screen, to only show pace in increments of :05. When I’ve done runs where I’m shooting for a certain pace (which, considering I’m targeting a very specific marathon pace, is a lot), I’ve only seen times like 8:50, 8:55. While five seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, it makes a big mental difference to me, and is a 2:11 difference over the course of a marathon. (Thank you RunCalc, one of my favorite ridiculous apps.)
  • You can’t set intervals by distance, though you can hit lap after an interval so you have that interval’s split. (I occasionally used the interval function on the ‘ole 405 before I got over my fear of the track.)

TL;DR:

I think this is an awesome watch for a beginning runner who’s not doing any kind of intervals (although I’m mostly doing tempos and mile repeats now, rather than shorter intervals) and who isn’t as obsessive about their pace as I am. Not having the pace on the front screen (I could, but I prefer having the overall time and distance) is the best thing ever or the worst thing ever, depending on my mood. It can be great for those times I just want to run and don’t really care about more than one thing at a time. But I do miss having three fields of data on one screen so I can obsess over what distance I’m at, what my current pace is, and how that affects my overall time. All at the same time!

On the other hand, maybe this watch will make me less of a neurotic runner.

I’m honestly still not completely sold on it, and I may eBay it at some point soon and trade up to the 110.

Are you a Garmin-obsessed (or other running watch?) runner? Which one do you have?

22 comments on “Garmin Forerunner 10 Review

  1. Caroline

    I got the Garmin 10 for Christmas, and have to say that I don’t think that I really need anything more than that. I do wish that calories and pace didn’t come preset on the same screen though! I’d prefer distance or overall time to go along with the pace.
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    Reply
    1. Stefanie

      @Caroline:

      You should be able to change it and have time/distance on the same screen. I have the same watch but have the screens set on pace/distance and time/calories.

      Reply
    1. Theodora Post author

      So far it’s been okay – the longest I’ve used it is for 18 miles, so about 2:45. I’ve heard it has about 5 hours battery life.

      Reply
  2. Patty

    I am looking to get a garmin soon. I use runkeeper now so it’s tough on runs when I need
    To know my pace but I guess it has helped me internalize pace! I’m thinking of getting the 110
    Too. I used to have the nike watch and I’m not a huge fan. It feels awkward and bulky on your wrist
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    Reply
  3. Ashley

    I’ve been using this garmin for awhile now and have loved it — but unfortunately it stoped syncing with my computer. bummer because we love seeing incline on hill runs and when zach takes it on his rides in the moutnains. now i’m just convinced i need the shiny, new colorful garmin!

    Reply
  4. Eve

    Hi Theodora-I’m a new reader and first time commenter. i love reading your race reports! Thanks for writing them!

    I have the Garmin 610 and I love it. I traded up to it after using the Nike Plus GPS watch for about two months. The Nike watch wasn’t accurately keeping distance. I’d do an out and back run, and would have to run extra on my way back to get the same mileage. Not cool! I exchanged it and Ebayed the new one, and put that money into the 610. It isn’t huge and bulky, it shows me everything I want to know, and also has a fairly accurate footpod that can be used on the treadmill in lieu of GPS. I’ll be wearing it in my first half marathon in 3 weeks, so we’ll see how it does!

    Reply
  5. Stephanie

    This is my first Garmin, so not being used to any other layout, I love it! I don’t feel like I need to see pace and mileage at the same time, but I do find myself toggling back and forth a lot during runs. I do agree that the calorie display is a waste. I take the watch on hikes a lot because I like to see the topo map afterwards and the battery life lasts 5+ hours with lots of pauses along the way. Not bad for $129!

    Reply
  6. Christina

    Thanks for this review. I have considered purchasing it (due to it’s relatively cheap price tag) when my current Garmin bites the dust, but I don’t like how the calorie count isn’t optional and that I can’t see my time/distance/pace all on one screen. To date, the 210 seems to be my favorite – it does just enough and I don’t have to deal with the bezel/touch screen.

    Reply
  7. Katie D.

    I’m a runkeeper app runner/walker, but really want a Garmin FR. I think I’d like the 10 because of the auto-pause. Dog walking = lots of pausing and I know we keep a brisk pace but it is always around a 25 min pace due to the doggy breaks. And I don’t care quite enough to dig my phone out to hit “pause”.

    Reply
    1. Theodora Post author

      @Nicole: yup! I think it’s a great entry-level watch, but if you are switching to it from a more complicated watch, you will likely be a little disappointed.

      Reply
  8. Kim

    I have several friends who have the Garmin 10 and they seem to like it. I have the 610 and I like it a lot, but I definitely don’t use it to its full capacity. My favorite thing about it is that I can have 4 sections on one display. Right now I have that set to mileage, current pace, lap pace, and elapsed time.

    While using it just this past weekend during a race, it did something strange that it had never done before… it automatically swiped to a new page once I hit the mile markers. It was really weird and frustrating because I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m sure that function can 1. be turned off and 2. be useful to see the mile isolated from the rest of the run.

    Reply
  9. Maggie

    I’d have to say I’m pretty unimpressed by this watch! I’m a serious runner, by no means elite, but training for the NYC marathon with a goal of 3:59:59 (anything under 4 hours would be life changing) and really need to know my EXACT pace to accomplish this; like you said, the difference in those :05 increments is so key (9:05 is a LOT different than 9:10 for us wannabe under-4’s!)

    Thinking of ebaying mine, as well- hey readers, I’ve only used it twice, if anyone is looking…

    Reply

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