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Multi-use GPS watch?

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Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby tigerblues » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:14 pm

Hi all,

I know there are a lot of all-around athletes in this group, and I'm looking for some advice on a GPS sport watch. I have found millions of reviews, but they are all geared mostly towards running which I spend the least amount of time doing. More often, I will use it mountain biking, some occasional trail running, and hiking. I am specifically hoping for one with a reliable altimeter for accurate (or as accurate as possible) elevation gains/losses. I do not have a handheld GPS for longer hikes - I of course know this will not compare, but I'd at least like to be able to look down and see distance traveled and current altitude.

Anyone have any experience with this type of watch out in the backcountry? I'm hoping to spend around $200-250 and have been looking mostly at the Timex Ironman Run Trainer and Garmin Forerunner 410. Or something comparable in regards to features/price. I am a casual all-of-the-above athlete, not currently training for anything specific but probably will be in the future.

Also, while aesthetics is by no means most important, I am a female and hoping to find something that doesn't swallow my wrist whole.

Thanks!
Jen

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby dehrlich101 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:34 pm

I use the Garmin 410. It is great when it comes to the altimeter, accurate milage, and elevation gain/loss (You can't see this until you download it to the computer) The possibilities are endless with this watch. I use it when hiking, running, biking, snowboarding, etc.

The only downside I've found is that the battery dies after 7 - 8 hours. The battery dies faster when the view of the satellite is obstructed by buildings or trees.
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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby ThuChad » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:38 pm

I've been waiting for someone to review this Garmin watch. It looks pretty sweet if it is as advertised.

http://sites.garmin.com/fenix/#begin

I have the Garmin 210 but the battery life is not good for long hikes. The altimeter is pretty jumpy also. Not accurate at all. I'm happy with all the other features.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby dehrlich101 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:01 pm

ThuChad wrote:I've been waiting for someone to review this Garmin watch. It looks pretty sweet if it is as advertised.

http://sites.garmin.com/fenix/#begin

I have the Garmin 210 but the battery life is not good for long hikes. The altimeter is pretty jumpy also. Not accurate at all. I'm happy with all the other features.


Wonder what the battery life is on this? Looks awesome.
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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby ThuChad » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:10 pm

dehrlich101 wrote:Wonder what the battery life is on this? Looks awesome.


50 hours advertised.
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

“I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.” |Ayn Rand - Anthem

Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby Bean » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:31 pm

I've used a 310XT doing all the things you mentioned. Got 21 hours straight out of it before the battery died one time. Don't buy the 410, it's garbage.

That fenix looks nice, glad to see they're finally using the GPS to calibrate the altimeter. I advise against buying one right away though, garmin almost always has one or more issues with new releases.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby tigerblues » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:47 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies.

Bean - just curious, why is it a piece of garbage? The touch bezel? I've heard mixed reviews - people either seem to love it or hate it, but I figured I could try it through REI and return it if I don't like it. It has a lot of other features I'm interested in, plus a size that I like. The 310 looks massive..not sure I want something that big.

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby Derek » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:20 pm

tigerblues wrote:Thanks everyone for the replies.

Bean - just curious, why is it a piece of garbage? The touch bezel? I've heard mixed reviews - people either seem to love it or hate it, but I figured I could try it through REI and return it if I don't like it. It has a lot of other features I'm interested in, plus a size that I like. The 310 looks massive..not sure I want something that big.


I use the 405CX (not the 410, but with a touch bezel like the 410 and the overall units are similar) and have had no issues with it. Sweat, rain, etc...no problem working the touch function. Battery life leaves a bit to be desired, but I throw it on the charger everyday after a run anyway while its uploading, so Im fine with it. Sizewise, the 405 and 410 are a lot "sleeker" than some other watches out there. I replaced the rubber strap with the fabric velcro...much better.

No comment on elevation...I dont use it too much for that.

--D
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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby douglas » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:50 pm

I use the Garmin 310XT as well and it has been amazing. Battery lasts about 20 hours so great for multi-day hikes. I use it for mountain biking as well - there's a nice handlebar mount.
There's a newer version which works better for open water swimming as well.

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby Sugar Madison » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:31 pm

I've had really good luck with my Polar RS800 CX Multi (I got it for Christmas in 2008 and had no issues).

It has a barometric altimeter, running/cycling functions, and a GPS pod that uses AA batteries... so the battery life is only limited by the watch memory (if the battery dies, you just put in another and keep going).

Downside is that it's really expensive ($500). Also, I've heard it's now shipping w/ a different GPS pod that has a rechargeable battery, which pretty much nixes my reason for buying it (I needed one that would last through a 100 miler).

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby dwoods15 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:24 am

I use the Garmin 60CSX. It's been a faithful companion on several trips. It takes very accurate altitude and distance calculations with a standard deviation of 17 feet. It lasts 16 hours flat on 2 AA. i usually keep a few as spares in case i need to change them.

My secondary companion to that is a Casio PAG-240B watch. It does barometric, altitude, and temperature along with several other features. It's my go-to for changing weather patterns and storms approaching. Hope you find what works best for you!

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Re: Multi-use GPS watch?

Postby fleetmack » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:38 am

My gf got me a garmin forerunner 405 for Christmas last year; arguably the best Christmas present ever (My parents got me a Star Wars Ewok village when I was 5 or 6 ... that will be pretty tough to top).

It is deadly accurate in distance. The elevation is pretty solid, it was off by about 40 or 50 feet when on the summit of a couple of 14ers this year.

La Plata, SW Ridge Route: 7 miles, 3380 feet, summit of 14336
Garmin showed: 7.3 miles, 3588 feet, summit of 14386

So it was off by 50 feet on the summit. The gain & mileage are probably spot on as we parked a little below the TH

Mt Lindsey, North Face Route: 8.25 miles, 3500 feet, summit of 14042
Garmin showed: 8.2 miles, 3793 feet, summit of 14003

Ran 3 half marathons this year so far, my 3 distances the garmin showed were:
13.3 (Boston Run to Remember)
13.06 (Taste of Louisville)
13.15 (Colfax Half)

Additionally - I used it for snowboarding. Say what you will about EpicMix and its tracking of your vertical, but on the first day I used my Garmin, my elevation was only 70 feet off from EpicMix's calculation.

All in all I'd say that for as small as a watch GPS is, it is pretty damn close. As others have mentioned, the battery life is 7-8 hours or so, but it charges quite quickly.

I replaced the rubber strap with the fabric velcro...much better.

I did the same, the velcro strap is far superior
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