Product Type: Garmin in GPS Navigation
Newest Review: ... as a basic version with batteries (called the fortrex 101) and also versions called Forerunner 101 and 201 which have some very nift... more
Run Forrest Run - Actually...stay out the Forest
Garmin Forerunner 101
Member Name: harveyspeed
Garmin Forerunner 101
Advantages: Does the job, price.
Disadvantages: Size, Signal strength, power usage + associated battery costs,
A GPS running watch is the best gadget available to any keen endurance runner. The Garmin Forerunner 101 was one of the first to be released. For any runner who is put off by the 3-figure price tags requested for most GPS watches, the Garmin Forerunner 101 is the best place to start. They can be picked up on eBay for well inside £50
So why would you want a GPS watch? OK, so they're not an essential running accessory. If you're a recreational jogger who's not interested in how far they've run and how fast, this watch is not for you. This watch is for the runner who wants to get better; who wants to know how fast they're running; and who wants to monitor they're progress.
The watch has a range of features. Like any other sports watch it has a stop watch. The key feature is its GPS system. When the watch is activated, it measures every metre you move. This data can then be used to calculate your current pace, your average pace for the whole run and can even calculate your projected finish time for the run.
The watch is great for monitoring your pace. If you know you can run a specific 2 mile run in 20minutes, the watch will inform you whether you are on course for this time. This puts you into a racing mindset and I find its great way to keep motivated on those long runs.
The watch also has features for the more involved runner. Its interval training manager is very useful. Rep distance/time and recovery distance/time can be pre-programmed and the watch will beeb at corresponding instruction.
Now for the negatives and this product has a great deal of them. Comments are often made on the Garmin Forerunner 101 regarding its size and the effect this has when running. It is a very big watch, but the weight is hardly noticeable. If you can get yourself comfortable running with them the size is not an issue.
The major issue with this watch is the GPS receiver is quite weak compared to what is available on the market. This poses a problem when running in well built up areas, but in particular woodland, where most runners will often target! Once the watch loses its GPS signal, it can struggle to re-locate the satellites, especially when your moving. This will effect the information being transmitted on the watch and it normally becomes incorrect. It can also randomly lose signal which can be frustrating.
The watch literally eats power! It takes two AAA batteries, but they have to be good quality. It's no good going down your local market and picking up 24 PowerCells for £1, they will literally last 5minutes. If they don't provide enough power for a split second, the watch switches off and you've lost all your run data. Typically 2 AAA Duracell batteries would last for about 3 hours of running. I opted for high quality Energizer Rechargable batteries which tended to last between 8-12 hours.
GPS running watches are really good gadgets. I'd recommend anyone serious about running to at least give them a try at some point. But this review is not for GPS running watches. The Garmin Forerunner 101 is a pioneer in this technology, but since its release it has been superseded by much more compact and powerful watches, with many more features. It's a good watch for the frugal runner and would be a good starting point if your not overly keen on spending in excess of £200 on a modern model.
The Garmin Forerunner 101 gets three stars. As far a GPS running watches go, this is quite simply bottom of the range. But the device paved the way for later, improved models and its price is simply excellent value, if of course you've never owned a GPS running watch.
Summary: A good starting point for the curious runner.
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