Garmin FR 10 Review

Way back when my Nats were still playing October ball, I got a new Garmin FR 10.  I needed a new watch and wanted to try something a little smaller and easier. Since I didn’t use most of the functions on the 305, I opted for the 10 and I’m really impressed with it!

Let’s talk about what’s different first:
Obviously, the biggest difference comes in the size. The FR 10 is just so much smaller. While you get used to the size of the 305, there’s nothing to get used to with the 10. It’s just small and light weight!

Size comparison Garmin FR10 and 305

So the FR 10 is just a bit smaller than the 305 haha. You could probably wear fit 2 FR 10′s into the space of one 305

The button situation is simplified too.  The start button also serves as the enter button when you’re scrolling through menus (and the stop button when you’re done).  If you’re not a fan of auto-lapping, you can set the back button to be the manual lap button.  Toggling between data field screens is easy, you just press the down button to flip back and forth between them. Your run history now will also keep track of your PRs.  Your watch keeps a record of your fastest mile, fastest 5K, 10K, etc. I really like this feature!

Garmin FR 10 - Buttons

The buttons on the FR 10 are so easy.

The FR10 connects to satellites MUCH faster than the 305.  I always thought my apartment building, which is fairly tall, interfered with my watch picking up a signal outside. Apparently not. This one picks me up pretty much immediately.

Finally, the last big change is that it’s water proof up to 50 meters.  That means that if you want to take your watch in the pool and swim laps, you can. You’ll be using it in indoor mode and manually hitting the lap button but it’s an option. You can also take advantage of the indoor mode and use the timer for interval training on treadmills and other cardio machines.

Garmin FR 10 Menu Screens

Top Row: Data Fields Selection
Bottom Row: Records Option

It also does a lot of the same:

  • Still connects to Garmin connect.
  • Still has interval options.
  • Still has the virtual pacer option.
  • Still provides pace/distance/time data, which is pretty much all I need in a watch.
I wore my FR 10 at the Runner’s World 5K and Half Marathon and had no troubles at all.  I did start to notice that the battery life is shorter during the half (apparently it only has 1/2 the batter life of the 305) but for distances less than a marathon it shouldn’t impact my life at all.
Runner's World 5K picture

Having a blast, running a 5K with my new Garmin.


  • The watch has no function while it’s charging. I could flip through the Garmin 305 while it was plugged into my computer charging and look at run history. When the FR10 is charging it can’t do anything else.
  • No heart rate monitor option. This doesn’t bug me too much. I can always wear my Polar for HR data but it seems weird that it is not compatible with their already existing heart rate straps.
  • Battery life is only 5 hours when the GPS is on. As a slower runner that makes me a little nervous about potentially wearing this watch in a marathon one day.

I really like the FR 10 and definitely recommend it.  It’s cheaper than a lot of the other GPS watches on the market and I feel like the functions it has are the ones that are used by most people.  I know it’s a little early to start recommending holiday gifts, but this would be a great one for a runner in your life!

Do you run with a GPS watch? Do you use all of the features it offers?

16 Responses to Garmin FR 10 Review
  1. Coco
    November 12, 2012 | 9:14 am

    Thanks for the review! And the warning on the battery life. I always leve the GPS on my 410 on. I guess with this one I would need to get in the habit of turning it off and on. I still want one though. ;-)

    • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
      November 12, 2012 | 9:30 am

      So the watch is actually pretty smart. Once you stop activity it will go back to being just a regular watch. When the GPS isn’t on it has 5 weeks of battery life. After the RW Half, I plugged it in to pull the data off and then put it in a drawer and it still had a bar of life left yesterday. The regular watch life is good! :)

  2. Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner
    November 12, 2012 | 1:33 pm

    OK I’m a super loyal Garmin 305 gal, but your review seriously made me consider this one…the only drawback for me is the HR monitor, perhaps they can work on that.

    Thanks for the review!
    Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner recently posted..Richmond Marathon RecapMy Profile

    • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
      November 12, 2012 | 5:26 pm

      I was really concerned about the HR thing but then realized I don’t really wear one all the time. I have a Polar that I think is way more accurate than my 305 was (before I broke the strap) so I’ve doubled up on watches a few times since getting the 10. With both watches being small it’s not terrible :)

  3. Tina @ Best Body Fitness
    November 12, 2012 | 2:06 pm

    The battery life thing is the only thing that concerns me. I wouldn’t have even considered looking into it. But I guess I could get used to charging up my Garmin after every run. This is on my Christmas wish list already…but its unlikely since there are about a bajillion running related things on there already that I “need” a little more since my 205 still works fine.
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..Move It Monday: Low Impact IntervalsMy Profile

    • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
      November 12, 2012 | 5:03 pm

      I think you could probably get away with charging it weekly. Once you hit stop on your run, the GPS turns off and it goes to “standby” batter life, that’s good for 5 weeks.
      I definitely understand the running “needs” list. I have a hard time determining the difference between wants and needs sometimes!

  4. Amanda @ RunPrincipessa
    November 12, 2012 | 2:44 pm

    I recommend these to a bunch of people at my store! I’m glad to see you like it and I’m not just making up good things about it. ;)
    Amanda @ RunPrincipessa recently posted..11 Questions SurveyMy Profile

    • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
      November 12, 2012 | 5:30 pm

      I definitely think it’s a great product for anyone who just wants to keep track of how far they ran/how long it took.

  5. Kierston
    November 12, 2012 | 5:37 pm

    I don’t have a gps watch. I do love the look and simplicity of this Garmin and don’t mind that it doesn’t have the HR monitor. Battery life last longer than my iphone charge lol
    Kierston recently posted..Competition Season: A RecapMy Profile

  6. Charlotte
    November 12, 2012 | 6:23 pm

    Simplicity is so key. the 210 is pretty simple but every now and then I hit a button I don’t mean to and get a little lost! Plus, the FR10 is adorable! Always a plus ;)
    Charlotte recently posted..Life Is About The JourneyMy Profile

  7. Harold
    November 12, 2012 | 9:37 pm

    Carly – this is probably what I will ask TheWife for, for Christmas, it seems like it would be a better alternative for doing trail running, than my iPhone and GPS app (if I get dunked on a stream crossing, not a big deal – is with the iPhone).
    Harold recently posted..Running 4.0 and Trying an Inversion Table Again – 11/12/12My Profile

  8. Danielle @ Itsaharleyyylife
    November 12, 2012 | 11:13 pm

    great review! I have been looking for a watch for awhile now! So this is definitely helpful! Thanksss!

  9. Lauren
    November 13, 2012 | 12:01 am

    Thanks for the great review and runner’s perspective. Keep up the miles! :)
    Lauren recently posted..Running + Compasion + Technology = PerfectionMy Profile

  10. Sheena
    November 13, 2012 | 10:31 am

    I’ve been looking at this one (love the green one), but ordered a Bia watch when I backed them on Kickstarter and I can’t wait to get it! I hope it’s as fabulous as the 10!
    Sheena recently posted..Family Time!My Profile

  11. Silvia
    March 3, 2013 | 3:01 am

    I just got this watch as a gift, the green one. The battery life concerns me as well… although I won’t be running full marathon anytime soon, I’m not sure if I can finish in 5hr (my last half is 2:30). Oh well. At least it looks cute!
    Silvia recently posted..The price of everythingMy Profile

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