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Garmin Forerunner FR60 – The Review

I can get over the treadmill boredom frontier by sticking a gruesome thriller on the iPod but the absence of a reliable data capture device (or sports watch) could call the end to a beautiful gym relationship membership.

I’ve worked my way through a number of fancy running watches over the years but my latest, the Forerunner 405 (reviewed May 2008) was just not designed to be a gym bunny buddy. Fortunately the Garmin Forerunner FR60 was released earlier in the year and appeared to be just what I required.

In summary, it’s a footpod/HR monitor which is ANT enabled meaning you can wirelessly upload data and connect to other ANT enabled equipment such as gym machines and the fancy new BC1000 Tanita weighing scales.
Unlike most of the others in the forerunner series, this watch does not have GPS, it is waterproof though.

I’ve had a few footpod watches before, including the Nike+, Polar 725 and Polar RS200SD and I’ve been impressed with all of them. In most cases they have proved to be accurate out of the box without the need for calibration and are ready for action from the moment you put the watch into training mode so there is no need to hang around stretching out your hamstrings while you wait for a the GPS unit to lock onto a satellite signal.

The footpod speed and distance monitors also have a huge advantage over GPS when it comes to monitoring pace. Pace readings on GPS units have a tendency to fluctuate all over the place while the footpod units prove to be more stable and therefore more reliable in any given instance.

What the footpods lack when compared to their bigger GPS brothers, is the ability to create lovely map trails of where you’ve been. GPS makes you feel like an adventurer, an explorer of uncharted tracks, but let’s face it, GPS isn’t for everyone.

If you run the same few routes over and over again the joy of the GPS map soon begins to wane and if like me, you spend a good proportion of your time on the treadmill, the GPS output would result in a terribly unsatisfying mess centred above your gym coordinates.

Garmin Forerunner FR60 in Action – Screenshots

Here’s a few shots of the Garmin FR60 as I move through the history screens for one workout. The final image shows the virtual partner screen which is one of the view options while training.

3904220437 9ab3ce5b64 Garmin Forerunner FR60   The Review

Garmin FR60 Compared to Nike+ and Polar

Nike+

The Nike+ wrist unit offers an accurate footpod with a minimal design. It’s ideal for social networking as it makes it so easy to upload stats via twitter, facebook and assorted other widgets. It’s the cheapest option as well but I can’t help finding it a bit disappointing, I just can’t stand the cartoon style display of the stats.

Polar

I really loved the RS200SD, the display was brilliant and the history data lent itself perfectly for being transferred to a training log. It has now been superseded by the Polar RS300X and I was momentarily tempted by it until I started pricing up the extras. The really annoying feature of Polar is that they require you to buy all the necessary attachments separately. The ridiculous “flowlink” is required for uploading data to the web but costs £49.99 whereas Garmin include their usb ANT connectivity stick in the box along with the watch.

Garmin

Garmin has the edge over the competition, everything is supplied in the box and the connection is relatively straightforward.
Having uploaded the data it is easy to import the data files into sporttracks or other training logs.

**There is a link to my other product reviews on sidebar. Please contact me at angela@warriorwomen.co.uk if you have a product you would like me to review.

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Jaunty 6 January, 2010, 11:36 pm

    Hi. Just a quick post to say thanks very much for a very informative review, and especially the photos. I’ve just got a water rower and a heart rate monitor is something I’m looking into. This is a lot more than that and has Mac compatability as well, which I want. Are you still using it regularly, and do you know if the battery on the chest strap is user replaceable?

    Cheers.

  • warriorwoman 7 January, 2010, 2:09 pm

    Hi Jaunty

    I used to have a waterrower its a very nice piece of kit.

    I still use the FR60 and haven’t found any problems with it. The Mac connectivity remains reliable.

    The battery in the chest strap is user replaceable but they last a long time. I’ve had heart rate monitors for quite a few years and I think I only replaced the battery once.

    Good luck.

  • Jaunty 7 January, 2010, 8:05 pm

    Thanks. Didn’t realise you were on Mac so good to hear first hand it works fine. Can’t believe you have not had more comments as this is easily one of the most useful user reviews of this gizmo I’ve found. Keep up the good blogging!

  • Hydration Guy 28 January, 2010, 10:12 pm

    I use a Garmin forerunner. few years old now, but i love it. the one feature i’d like to see is elevation taken into account. Obviously you run slower up hills! Garmin market the fact that they dont require calibration. However, sometimes this would be really useful, to calibrate for am undulating course, and know your target pace at any given point. Otherwise you’re metally making the calculation as to is you should be ahead of average pace or behind depending on the gradient your on.

    someone else must be thinking the same????

  • Dave 30 March, 2010, 11:10 pm

    Great review. I have actually now just ordered one. I have only just recently started running and my wife has a 405CX which is GPS and very good but this is adequate for me. I will also use it for spinning to keep tabs on my heartrate also. Just a quick question for anyone. Would running with my wife while both wearing our chest bands cause any problems between units? I wouldn’t have thought so as I assume they will have thought of this but just wondered.

  • warriorwoman 31 March, 2010, 7:44 am

    No you’ll be fine to run together. The heart rate monitors are coded and the wrist units pair to each one individually. Enjoy.

  • Running Top 19 October, 2010, 8:15 am

    I never use a heart rate monitor, but always a gps watch to know my pace. Other people swear by using the heart monitor to stay within certain boundaries for maxminum calorie burning etc. which do you think is the best?

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