Garmin 910XT

910XTLet me introduce you to my training partner. This is the Garmin 910XT and it is one amazing watch. I received mine as a Christmas gift in 2012 so that I could train with it during the 2013 season. It was my mainstay device for training towards a 70.3 Ironman. They come in at a hefty $400-450 depending where you buy, but let me tell you right here and now that this watch was worth every penny to me.

Right from the first time I strapped it on to start training, I was impressed. This watch is designed with triathletes in mind, and it hit the nail on the head. It does everything you could possibly want it too and a whole ton more. I am ashamed to say that I have not fully realized the potential of this watch and I have been using it for over a year now.

I have since upgraded my watch with several of the add-ons, and all of them operate flawlessly and integrate well. The quick connect wrist strap that you see in the picture was a great addition for bike/run brick sessions when you want to swap where the information is coming from. The bike cadence sensor gives very reliable feedback for those long century rides when you need a steady tempo. And the ANT powered heart rate monitor is rock solid.

2013GarminReviewSwim: I was instantly impressed with the swim portion of the watch. The accelerometers in the watch know what type of stroke you are doing. Back / breast / front / butterfly, it all gets tracked in with the regular lap times information. Just set up the length of pool you are swimming in, and the watch tells you all sorts of useful information to help you become a more efficient swimmer. Or set up for open water swim and see how you are really doing. The large face makes it possible to see your key information with only a slight twist of the wrist, and without breaking your stroke speed.

Bike: I started riding with just the watch, and quickly decided to upgrade my speedometer to the Garmin unit which syncs with the watch. This is great because you now have GPS speed being corrected with a wheel magnet version for ultra accurate reports. The cadence information is nice to have, because it can clue you in when to shift up or down. Plus you can now download all the information to see how your bike ride went and play back all the stats of your ride. Best setup ever. There is more information than you can possible want, but the best feature is seeing the average speed over the course of a ride, or over the last 5 minutes. You can customize to get whatever info you want, and once again the large display makes it easy to read, and no worry of riding in the rain…its waterproof.

Run: This watch makes a great running mate. Tracking your times and pace while watching your heart rate can really make for some good training progress. Its also great to watch you times improve on the same course, and analyze where on that course you are having trouble. The display is large and even with it cut into 4 sections you can still easily get all the info you need at a glance. The back light only turns on when you tap the watch twice which is nice during early morning runs, so that it won’t wear down the battery.

Battery life was great for me. I never did try to figure out the max run time, but I would typically charge it up once a week after about 10 hours of training. Not all of that training required the GPS which is the biggest power draw. I have competed in several races over the 2013 season and the watch worked great in all cases. The longest race was the 70.3 Ironman which I finished in just under 5.5 hours. The only downer to that race is that I hit the lap button twice during Transition 1, which meant I did not get accurate bike data. I didn’t notice my mistake until I was several KM into the bike portion. So I had to hit lap again and finish the race in run mode. There is no way to undo an error like that while you are in the middle of your first major race.

Garmin online is a great way to track your progress as well. The webpage is well designed to track your stats. The upload capability is nice. As soon as you are in range of your computer, the watch will start to upload your latest workout, which is a really nice feature. Finish a run, walk in the door, and its already sending the info to the webpage. Here you can see the nice layout, as well as any records you have. Its another great thing to watch as you create new personal bests in all areas.

 

Pros :

  • Large face
  • Hundreds of custom options
  • Very accurate GPS
  • Online tracking of all your stats
  • Built for triathlon
  • All around amazing watch

Cons :

  • GPS takes a while to locate your start position
  • Barometer altitude correction cannot be turned off

Notes : This watch fills every want you could possibly have for training athletes. It goes the distance and has settings for all sorts of other sports like skiing. The GPS does take a while to locate the satellites, but as long as you turn on the watch a good 1-3 minutes before you plan to go, you will be fine. The barometer on my watch stopped working after about 6 months of use. This annoyed me because I didn’t have altitude readings for my Ironman race. GPS can give altitude quite accurately by itself, but the 910XT uses the barometer to correct the GPS reading and give faster updates. The barometer cannot be turned off, so when it stops working, you have NO altitude information at all.

Ryan’s Rating:

  1. Design : 5/5 – One word = Amazing
  2. Quality : 5/5 – High quality on all aspects, love it.
  3. Durability : 4/5 – Barometer stopped working, everything else is flawless after a year of use.
  4. Aesthetics : 4/5 – A bit fat and heavy, but consider the computing power and battery its expected.
  5. Value : 5/5 – I think its worth the money. It would be very hard to beat this watch for training purposes.