Garmin FR 110

The Garmin Forerunner 110 is Garmin's entry level GPS running watch. It comes in three models, a watch only unit,the unisex version and then a version that ships with a Heart Rate monitor. This version comes in a male and female version.

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unisex FR110

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women's and men's specific FR110, this model ships with a Heart Rate Monitor

The watch only version has an RRP of £149.99, and the HR versions retail at £179.99. However, you can get hold of one for under £100 and Sweatshop will be doing a deal on the watch in January that makes the watch £75! Price wise, it is hugely competitive and I think this has happened because Soleus have just released their GPS 1.0 at £99. We hope to have a review of this shortly so you can directly compare both models.

As you can imagine, the FR110 has been stripped of many elements that Garmin has in their higher end spec watches. The big question is, have they stripped too much away and removed all functionality of the watch, or does it work well?

The watch sits in the middle of the box as with all Garmin models.

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Opening the box up, you will see the device and all the extras

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Inside the box:
•Forerunner 110
•USB Charging Cable
•a plug adaptor so you can use the USB cable in a wall socket
•Detailed Manuals

The Watch


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front on view

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side view

As soon as you pick the watch it feels very light, the strap feels a bit flimsy but overall it has a good build quality. The watch has four buttons, which are all very easy to press. Holding down the grey button, for the light, will turn the watch on and off.

Turning the FR110 on, you are presented with a number of set up questions. One interesting point here is that you are asked to put your age in, instead of d.o.b. which Garmin's usually ask. Whilst not a huge deal, you will have to remember to update your Garmin each birthday otherwise your profile will be a little bit out. After which, the watch will attempt to connect to its GPS Satellites to set the date, you can however do this manually. The first satellite discovery took over a minute. However, subsequent ones have been quicker than that. The FR110 has got HotFix® satellite prediction, which means that it should lock onto satellites very quickly.

The FR110 use ANT+ technology to connect to a Heart Rate monitor. If you haven't bought the HR version, then to connect you need to open up the menu. To do this, hold down the menu button for three-seconds. You have to then scroll down the options until you reach 'Heart Rate Monitor'. The option needs to be changed to 'yes' and then the 110 will search for a Heart Rate monitor. There is no zones to set, nothing else to do here.

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click ok to enter HR Monitor Settings


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Select On to turn on search for HR monitor

Once you have done this you are ready to go out for a run.

The watch has a preset display, so there are no options to mess around with here. To begin the workout, press the page button and you will be taken to the workout page. It will then start searching for satellites. Once they have been found, the FR110 is ready to go for a run.

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locating Satellites

Press Start/Stop to get going. You will be shown three pieces of information. The distance will be displayed on the top row, the middle is the total time you have been running for, and the lap pace is on the bottom row. Simple as that!

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Distance on top, Cumulative time in the middle and Average Pace at the bottom


If a heart rate monitor is attached, pressing the page button will cycle the view to another page, and on this one distance and pace will be in the same place, but instead of the total time in the center of the watch, a heart rate value will be displayed. You can also go back to the watch page if you like to see the current time. Lap pace is different from instant pace, in that is an average of what you have been doing. So, if you were to run for 20minutes and then start sprinting for 2 minutes, the pace value would hardly move.

There are pieces of information which I would like to see. For example, instant pace is very useful, especially when running a threshold session. However, I can see how it is possible to survive without that data.

Lapping

The 110 will do laps, which is very useful. There is an autolap function which means the watch will automatically lap for you. You can have an auto lap at .25, .5, .75, 1, 1.5, 2 and 3.1 miles. It is default set to 1 mile. Each time the watch laps, it will display a quick summary of the previous lap, with details including average pace. You can also press the lap key to lap the watch.

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Once a workout is finished, you have to hold down reset to save the data. A nice feature is that the FR110 reminds you to do this after the workout. It really is fool proof!

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Using Indoors

The watch can be used as an indoor mode, and I think that the 110 indoor mode is very good. It will provide you with a stopwatch, so you can monitor how long you have been working out for. It is possible to use the Heart Rate monitor with indoor mode. Great for cross training and tracking heart rate. To activate this mode, press 'page/menu', as if you were going to start a workout, then press the 'page/menu' button again, whilst it is searching for satellites.

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Then select yes to use indoors. The watch will then set up as below

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There is no ANT+ Foot Pod support, so the 110 will not provide any speed/distance measurement on a treadmill.However, because a treadmill tells you how far you have gone, it isn't that necessary. It also means that you cannot track cadence, if that is something you value.. If you do a lot of workouts on a treadmill, or more importantly run indoors, you may wish to spring for the FR210 which has support for the Foot Pod, and a few other features.

Tones

The FR110 has key tones which can be turned off. Each time you press a button the 110 will make a noise.

Power Save

The FR110 has a power save mode. It will give you a 30 second count down then revert into a power save mode. The watch will revert to the time screen.

Backlight

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The FR110 has a backlight which works very well in low light and at night time. One annoying feature is that the light only stays on for just over 7 seconds. You cannot set it to stay on indefinitely. This means that if you want to see your stats during a low light session you have to press the button, and you are not able to just look at the watch with the light staying on indefinitely (as you get with the FR610)

Using the FR110 every day

The 110 is certainly small enough that you can use it everyday. Whilst it isn't the most stylish watch, it has all the date that you need. The time screen displays the current time (either 12h or 24h format)and below has the date. The month is shortened to its 3 letter format (Dec instead of December) and there is no place for day of the week.

It also has an alarm function, so you can set a wake up alarm.

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the FR110 doesn't look oversized on the wrist

Charging

The FR110 uses a 4 prong clip to charge and also connect the watch to your computer. The clip feels a bit lightweight and I found that you have to line the points up before you clip the watch to the power cable.

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4 pins on revers of FR110 for charging

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charging clip

The FF110 comes should last you a week on a charge if you train for 45minutes a day with GPS. Garmin suggest that you will get 3weeks in power save mode. I have found that you get a full week of training and uploading (which charges at the same time) before I have to charge the watch properly.


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Forerunner110 clipped into charging clip

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FR110 charging screen

History

The FR110 has room for 180hours of run history. It will then start overwriting old data after this. You can view a run on the watch by selecting 'History' from the menu. You can scroll through the runs saved on the watch. You will get a brief overview of the workout, the distance, average pace, date of run, how long the run lasted, average heart rate (if you have a Heart Rate monitor connected) and calories. One thing you can't do is look at your lap data on the watch. This is slightly annoying if you have been doing a track session and want to see your splits. To see this data, you have to connect the watch to your Garmin Connect page.

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Uploading

The Forerunner 110 does not wirelessly connect to ANT+ stick, so it must be plugged into a computer then the activities uploaded to Garmin Connect via the website. Due to this feature, each time the FR110 is connected to the PC and uploading activities, it will also be charging the unit. This means that you are always on top of the battery life, giving the watch some juice!

Once the FR110 in connected to the PC via, go to Garmin Connect, make sure you are logged into you account and press upload, in the top right corner. There is a full review of Garmin Connect here, this is just an explanation of the uploading process.

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Once you have clicked upload, you may be presented with the page above. You will then need to install the plugin, it is 14.2MB in size and should download and install quickly.

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Once the plugin is installed and the FR110 is connected, you will be presented with this screen.

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Choose to either: 'upload all new activities' or select the ones you wish to upload.

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The following progress bar will display as it uploads the activities onto Garmin Connect. You are then able to analyse your sessions online.

Accuracy
There have been a few reports of inaccuracy with the FR110 compared to other GPS watches. I was only able to test the FR110 with my FR610 and found no unacceptable variation. (GPS Watches will have a 1-2% variation which is acceptable. I will look to have a more detailed analysis of GPS variation at another time.)

Water Proof
The FR110 is splash proof but it isn't designed to go swimming with.

Conclusion
It would be easy to talk about what this watch doesn't have, but that is not the point of this review. What the Forerunner 110 does, it does well. It is a simple GPS watch which will support Herat Rate.

It can be purchased in a few different colour options, with a women' specific watch (which comes in pink; surprise surprise!) also included in the range. It looks like a normal sports watch so can be used for day to day use, not like a laptop which previous GPS sports watches looked like.

It is lacking a lot of features that you find on a number of Garmin's, but if you want:

•GPS to measure distance,
•average speed reading
•Heart Rate
•auto lapping

and don't mind not having
•ANT+ foot pod support
•automatic workouts, for interval training
•limited data fields to see what is happening on your run
•Garmin courses
•Virtual Pace

Then the FR110 is for you.

If many of those features above don't make any sense or sound like something you don't need then the certainly purchase the FR110. It is so simple to use, with no way of messing around too much with the device to stop it working.

As I mentioned above, you can get hold of a FR110 without HR for under £100 if you look around properly, and a heart rate version for £130. This is a phenomenal deal and a great way of bringing GPS into you training. The only watch that I would also consider at this end of the market is the
Soleus GPS 1.0, which has an RRP £99.

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