The Forerunner 210 is one half of Garmin's duo of new GPS-enabled sport watches - the other being the high-end Garmin Forerunner 410. In contrast to its bigger and more complicated brother, Garmin says the Forerunner 210 is aimed at runners “who simply want to step outside, acquire satellites and start their workout.”
Both watches are well-designed, looking more like regular timepieces than some sport watches. Polar Fitness monitors tend to look like an unimaginative child’s science fiction doodle and the Timex Global Trainer looks like a stop watch awaiting the outcome of an IAAF investigation on banned substances.
The Forerunner 210 is a reasonably compact 4.5 x 6.9 x 1.4 cm, making it 3mm narrower than the 410 and 2mm thinner. It's significantly slimmer, and 12 grams lighter too at 52g. The display size is 2.5cm x 2.5cm, with a 52 X 30 pixel resolution, and is clear with excellent viewing angles and a bright user-activated backlight.
The slimmed-down dimensions do not hinder the operation of the watch during training - we found the buttons easy to operate and were relieved that it doesn't feature the 410’s touch-sensitive bezel, of which we were slightly critical.
The Forerunner 210 feels secure on the wrist, and has a tooth under the band that keeps the strap in place. Unlike other models in the Forerunner range, the strap is integral to the watch’s structure and is not user-replaceable. This worries us slightly as it means you’re stuck with it if it gets torn or damaged. Garmin told us it had yet to encounter this problem, adding that it would replace any damaged devices within the 12 month warranty period “without question” and owners outside this period would have to pay a flat replacement fee of £78.29. While it’s early days - the product was launched in October 2010 - we felt professionally bound to raise the point with the manufacturer.