Our thanks go out to Garmin for providing us with a new Forerunner 310XT to use during the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. The 310XT is quickly making its way around the globe as a multisport powerhouse and it was our pleasure to take it along for the ride (and swim and run) during our trip to Thailand. Most of our team has been using the 310XT’s predecessor, the Forerunner 305, for several years now and despite a few unfortunate run-ins with concrete and trees, my personal 305 is still running strong, albeit not quite as pretty as it was on the day I that bought it. I’ve been eyeing the new 310XT for a few months and a number of customers have been quite pleased with it but admittedly I hadn’t yet had a chance to use it myself nor have I been too quick to retire my battered yet trusty 305. Several meters in the ocean and many kilometers on foot and on bike later (not to mention the 18,000 miles of flying), I can honestly say the 310XT is a formidable upgrade to the 305. Sure, on the outside it sports a new (and slightly slimmed-down) design that gives a Michael Graves-inspired toaster a run for its money, but under the hood this new Forerunner sports a powerful new engine that is sure to please newbies and hard-core athletes alike. Like the 305, the 310XT is designed for multisport athletes, particularly runners, cyclists, and triathletes. For the most part runners have always been happy with the 305 and now with the 310XT, two of the main concerns from triathletes have been addressed. That is, the addition of a waterproof housing and a battery that far exceeds its predecessor in terms of battery life. In fact, technical data provided by Garmin suggests that the battery life of the 310XT is as much as 20 hours on a single charge. That news alone should make all those Ironman/ultra-distance athletes out there happy; in my last Ironman race I used a waterproof watch for the swim and separate 305s for the bike and run legs, respectively. With the 310XT I would have been able to go from swim to bike to run to the post-race party back at the hotel bar on a single charge. How’s that for convenient? Beyond the external upgrades and obvious enhancements to the Forerunner there are numerous internal enhancements to make even the most jaded of techno-geeks drool. The 310XT is certainly a triathlete’s best friend and the improved multisport mode will make it an even closer friend; start the session in multisport mode as you enter the water and with a quick touch of the “lap” button as you enter and exit transition, get complete, detailed sport-specific splits including your transition times. No more wondering how much time you wasted getting into your cycling gear and drinking that cafe mocha before leaving transition for the bike course. Before we get too far, a word about swimming with the Forerunner. While the 310XT works perfectly underwater (please, no technical navy-type scuba diving – surface swimming only) and tracks your time like a top-notch chronograph, the unit does not use a GPS signal to provide a map of your swim for later analysis nor does it provide real-time route tracking. This has been a sticking point with a few triathletes out there, but really, when you’re swimming around a clearly marked course and you know the route and distance of the swim, don’t you have bigger things to worry about if you get lost as a result of the lack of a moving map function on your arm?
|Garmin Forerunner 310XT
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