Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
Too many faults
on 16 June 2012
I upgraded to the 310XT after my 2nd 305 died. Looking at what's on the market, Garmin have got it sewn up so if you want robust GPS tracking with heart rate etc, there's no viable alternative out there. Hence after having two 305's die on me I had to get another Garmin. I've had the 310 for 10 months now and used it a lot.
The 310XT addresses the biggest fault on the 305 in that its actually waterproof rather than water resistant and it wirelessly transmits data rather than having to rely on a docking connector with pins that you constantly have to sand down to make good electrical contact. Recharge is still by two pins but they clip on with a crockodile clip so shouldn't suffer the same as the 305 did.
Wireless transmission works just about OK but it is very slow. Far slower than the 305. It can take an age to connect. Once it has connected it downloads the data and uploads it to Garmin Connect. It also stores a copy on your PC (see Garmin website for folder location). I use SportsTracks to monitor my performance and SportTracks 3.1 works just fine with the 310XT, just go to file (not device) and import from your local hard drive.
Finding GPS satellites is supposed to be quicker than the 305. In reality there's not much difference, you'd need to actually time them to find out if Garmin's claim is true. Sometimes its fast, sometimes its very slow, even if you haven't moved location since you last turned it on.
The 310XT is more comfortable to wear than the 305 due to much better design of wrist strap. Similarly the heart rate monitor is redesigned and initially feels more comfortable but I find I get a red line across my chest that last for a couple of days. The heart rate monitor is however inaccurate. Quite often it gives artificially high readings (>200bpm) for the first 10 minutes or so of a run before finaly coming down to something more realistic. I've made sure the strap is tight, battery OK, right way up (makes no difference), even tried ultrasound gel on the contacts. It seems it doesn't like polyester shirts until you've sweated a bit. Given this eratic behavior the HRM function is next to useless.
Like the 305, the 310 has a big fat display that allows you to display 4 read outs simultaneously with digits plenty big enough to read with just a quick glance. All the tracking, pacing, workout options etc are identical to the 305 and hence excellent. One other upgrade to the 305, the alert beep (for laps etc. in workouts) is louder and supplemented by vibration - big improvement.
If you currently own a 305, I wouldn't upgrade, the improvements are not worth £200 and in some respects (data transfer rate and HRM) its a downgrade. After 10 months use, I think I would go for a polar unit now, even though the GPS units are separate from the watch. I wouldn't use a phone for the simple reason they're not waterproof and robust enough.