Thursday, May 5, 2011

Goodbye foot pod, hello Garmin 210

Not sure what I want more, the watch or the displayed performance
Today's workout (elliptical): 20 minutes

I'm thinking again about buying a GPS watch. My frustrations with using a foot pod are rising due to accuracy issues and, except for treadmill runs, a GPS solution may be preferable. I started using the Nike sensor back in 2008 to track my performance. It worked fairly well once I got the hang of calibrating it but this technology was only accurate when paired with Nike shoes (that have a well to secure the chip). I don't like Nike shoes and, besides that, the wristband that captured the feed via RFID link was poorly made. After replacing it twice I asked for a refund and bought a Garmin FR50.

The FR50, and later, the FR60 are a great design. I truly love the watches and their easy synchronization with Garmin Connect. My key issue is with the foot pod that uses an accelerometer and needs to be tuned for every shoe. Since I'm a bit of a shoe freak and often switch between pairs it usually creates issues with calibration. I manage these issues through ad hoc adjustments that never quite coincide with my true distance. I've done my share of runs using GPS apps on the iPhone and the results are universally bad, although they offer some good features other than tracking.

With all that I'm reading good things about the Garmin 210, a less complex version of their 400 (and now 600) series GPS watches. The 210 lacks some of the features that the higher end watches have but the 210 does support a foot pod sync (for indoors) and wireless connectivity to a heart rate monitor. I'm going to start pricing out this watch. Father's day is coming!

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