Garmin 910XT – early thoughts

Garmin 910XT review

My Garmin 910XT

I recently bit the bullet and upgraded to a shiny new Garmin 910XT multisport watch and here, I’d like to share some of my early thoughts about how I’m finding life with it. For a very in-depth review, please visit DC Rainmaker’s site for his take on the Garmin 910XT.

So far, I absolutely love the 910XT and I have no regrets about my purchase. It’s not a cheap piece of equipment so you can understand my anxiety about it performing and delivering what I wanted from a GPS running watch.

Whilst it’s billed as a multisport or triathlon watch, it is unlikely that I’ll be using the swim and cycling modes. The main reason I went for the 910XT over the FR610 (virtually identical run features) is because it has physical buttons; I tried the FR610 and simply couldn’t get along with the touch screen. This for me was worth the premium and I also received the swim and cycle modes for free!

The size of the watch does take some getting used to, but it is comfortable thanks to one of the straps having a more flexible hinge to accommodate larger and smaller wrists.

The size of the display is fantastic whilst running, showing up to 4 different data fields per screen. The problem I had with the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch was that you could only ever see up to 2 different data fields at the same time; fine on some types of run but not practical scrolling constantly in a time critical race.

I simply adore the Virtual Partner feature of the 910XT. Depicted by two stickmen running alongside each other, it acts as a pacer running at whatever constant pace that you wish and your job is to stay as close to them as possible. It takes a lot of the guess work out of pacing during a race and simplifies the process so that you can concentrate on just keeping up. I used this feature to help get me to my 19:53 5k time at Cardiff Parkrun, so it definitely gets the Yellow Runner two thumbs up of approval.

The 910XT comes with a vibrate feature which silently alerts you when you hit certain markers, such as distance, time or calories. This is particularly useful during noisy runs or when you’re listening to music but still wish to be alerted when you’ve crossed through another mile.

There aren’t many things I dislike about the 910XT, but there are a few I need to highlight. I really dislike the charging clip, which is a poor design with a chance for it to become dislodged. I’m also noticing a few small bugs, mainly with navigation around the firmware; not a deal breaker but there seems to be a lack of polish.

All in all, the 910XT is shaping up to be a great running watch for me. And that’s the important thing to bear in mind in that we’re all different as runners. For many, the 910XT would have many features that are surplus to requirements. Most runners would make do with immediate pace, average pace, distance and time. More advanced watches simply deliver these metrics in a more useful manner or offer you more options to personalise the delivery. I will not use all the features available to me, but I am safe in the knowledge that the option is there should I ever want or need it further down the line.

For those interested, you can add me on Garmin Connect by visiting my profile page.

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