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Garmin Forerunner 210 - Accessories, Battery Life and Verdict

By Cliff Jones



Our Score:


The 210 includes a heart rate monitor as standard, and retails for £100 less that Forerunner 410 HRM package, and still £70 less than the most basic 410 package, without the heart rate monitor accessory.

However, unlike the 410, it doesn’t sync with Garmin Connect wirelessly and requires the use of the included USB charging and synchronisation cable that grips around the bezel, reading the contacts on the back of the watch. This is slightly disappointing the watch's ability to receive data wirelessly from heart rate monitor and optional Foot Pod Support, but it’s not a major gripe. The latter, sold separately, is an accelerometer that measures footfalls so runners can track their distance based on pace when they are running on a treadmill or indoors - where they can’t receive a satellite signal. Cyclists can also use a Cadence Sensor, which measures pedalling strokes per minute to calculate the speed of an indoor trainer. These cost £51 and £35 respectively.

Battery life is excellent at three weeks in standard watch mode (ie: not using GPS tracking) compared to two weeks on the 410, and the lithium-ion cell boasts eight hours' use in training mode. Since most mortals don’t train for eight hours in one go, we tested it under more realistic conditions. We charged the watch at the weekend, ran 15 miles in 2:27, wore it all week and ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) in 1:59 the following weekend. By the end of the second run, the Forerunner 210 was displaying one out of four bars of battery left.

Unfortunately the watch doesn’t have a more accurate battery meter, so one bar remaining could mean 25 per cent left or only 6 per cent - leaving you to deal with the risk of a run partially untracked, and perhaps more importantly, having no watch. Re-setting the time after a flat battery, however, is easy. Once it is charged, it looks for a satellite signal and adjusts the time in less than a minute. Your stored runs remain saved in the watch.

One annoying thing is that the watch does not tell you when it is fully charged. An hour and a half on the mains left the device with the full four bars, but we would prefer some kind of message to pop-up when the battery is full of juice. Instead, the bars just keep racking up in a hypnotic loop, leaving you to guess what the battery indicator will display when you disconnect the cable and start using the watch.

A word of warning: the 210 is water resistant to a grade of IPX7, meaning it can “withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.” We have run in the rain and had a post-run soak and with our review sample, which has kept on ticking, but for the money we wouldn’t risk a swim. Triathletes beware, even accidental ones.


The Garmin Forerunner 210 has everything most runners would want from a GPS sport watch, without much of the on-screen customisation appreciated by very demanding runners with more money to spend. For those not enticed by analysis paralysis, this is an impressive device and a valuable training aid for athletes of all abilities.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 6
  • Features 5
  • Scan Quality 5
  • Scan Speed 4
  • Usability 5
  • Value 4


March 1, 2011, 3:44 pm

I've had this watch for a while. I think its excellent as it hasnt got any gimics. One real downside though is that the warning for not being waterproof is serious, mine suffers from condensation under the screen which doesnt inspire confidence!


March 1, 2011, 4:17 pm

Roblpm - That's very interesting - this is where user feedback makes our reviews ever more useful. We don't get as much time with every product as we would like, and even though we test thoroughly in real-life situations,some emerge only after a few months. It's great that you have backed up our concerns.

Not so good for your Garmin, though. Have you tried the old trick of leaving it turned off in a sealed bag with a sachet of silica gel for three days? Failing than, people swear by leaving wet devices in a sealed container of uncooked rice for a couple of days.


March 1, 2011, 6:44 pm

I'm just starting out jogging and a product like this could be useful. When TR reviews a new product category i'd appreciate a buyers guide or a lay of the land. I have no idea what other products there are available that might do a similar/better/other job.

Useful functionality i can think of is GPS (something that links to map sites), MP3 player & running monitors (heart rate/number of steps?) but i wouldnt know what else is available.

Bill 66

April 29, 2011, 1:45 am

I also have suffered with condensation and have had three watch changes, I am now having my last one returned to garmin with promised report as to why this watch suffers with misting, garmin need to look into this before the watch gets a bad name , if they can sort out this problem it would be a great item


November 13, 2011, 1:52 pm

They clearly haven't resolved this issue. I took delivery of a 210w this week. On my first trip out with it in the sunshine yesterday the middle of the face had steamed up within 30 minutes - completely obscuring the heart rate information.

Brian Denmark

September 25, 2012, 4:48 pm

Still problem with the watch.
Just bought it for the wife and the misting still occurs on the back of the glass makeing it unreadable.
My wife is not a happy bunny.
While Garmin still can not resolve this issue, my advice is do NOT buy it at all.


October 10, 2012, 12:58 am

Watch under 2yrs old and my strap went today,four days before the Liverpool marathon! Also noticed condesation on display last week. May contact garmin and see what they can do with the strap, but dont fancy paying 78 quid! If thats the case then i will be making my own . All in all dissapointing as i do not consider this watch to be cheap. Have enjoyed using it and it has helped me to a few pbs but surely it should last longer than this!

derek s

November 14, 2012, 9:28 pm

I to have had problem with misting in my approach golf watch. It's been back twice and returned very quickly. It still misted up and on speaking to Garmin today they say it will do this for 10 minutes. I asked why my normal watch doesn't do it and the reply was because my normal watch is not waterproof.I beg to differ as it is a Seiko divers watch designed for professional diving( not a look alike)and is essential that it is waterproof !

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