I get a lot of questions about my swim watch. I have written here before about the considerations and decision-making process I went through when deciding on what watch to buy.

I ended up with the Garmin Forerunner 10 (Green) – not actually a swim watch, but it is waterproof and for the price it did what I wanted.

So, the verdict? There are pros and cons to this watch…..

PROS

  1. It looks great. It’s small and not bulky like most GPS watches.
  2. The Garmin plugin works great, even on my Mac, and I’ve never had any problems with the uploads.
  3. The Garmin site is great, I like the split options, the replay of your course, and especially the maps.
  4. You can’t argue with the price. Especially since I got mine on sale at Wiggle.
  5. The GPS mapping works OK.

CONS

  1. So, I’m not sure if I have a faulty watch, but mine seems to double all the distances. I’ve contacted Garmin and they gave me some things to try, none of which has worked. That being said, you can easily edit this once it’s been downloaded. At the end of the day I could probably return it, but since I’ve figured this out it doesn’t really bug me enough for me to be without the functions I do have at this time of year.
  2. I think this is the case with all GPS watches, but you have to go in and start it searching for satellites, and only then can you start your swim. There is no straight-up stopwatch option without GPS so if you were inside it would be a bit useless. Also, once it’s hit the “ready” point, it times out after a couple of minutes, and you have to start the satellite search again…although to be fair it’s usually quicker the second time around. What this usually means is I remember to search for satellites, then get distracted at the start line (training or racing), and then when I go to start the thing it’s timed out and not ready. Part user error, I know, but still irritating.
  3. The other thing that kind of annoys me, is that when the watch is running and tracking GPS, there are a few different options of what you can have displayed, but the actual time of day isn’t one of them! When I’m training I may want to track a few different circuits, or I may not be sure what time I’ve actually started, but I may need to be somewhere at a particular time.
  4. One thing I’d really like to have on this thing, is a lock option. It’s probably my own fault for using a run watch for swimming, but I have knocked the buttons on several occasions, and the “finish” button is on the right hand side of the face…so for a right-hander wearing it on their left had, it’s easy to do if you bend your hand back.
  5. This watch is not approved as a swim watch, It’s a gamble I’m taking based on the things I like about it and the price. The Garmin support have told me on several occasions this is definitely not designed as a swim watch so I can’t officially recommend you get one for that purpose. Just in case.
  6. Again, possibly my own fault, but the satellite technology could still use some work as the course gets very jerky and odd down at a close look. This may be due to the watch losing satellites when the watch is under the water.
  7. Garmin in general – I use the maps a lot when I download my swims. It would be nice if I could easily copy them to use elsewhere. At the moment I have to screenshot and crop. Not a deal-breaker but kind of irritating.

So….overall? this watch has limitations. But it also has an awesome price-point and kind of does the things that were really important to me. So, I’m actually happy.

Would I recommend this watch? Maybe. If your needs are the same as mine, go for it and give it a whirl. If you have a little more cash, though, I’d possibly suggest you get what you pay for and it might be worth doing a bit of your own research.

So…there you have it. My ramblings on my swim watch. Well…one of them 😉

Update – May 2013

I get quite a lot of traffic here from people obviously looking for information on this product. I just feel like I should add a bit more information from what I’ve learned a bit further down the track. Click here to get to the follow-up post.

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