Saturday, March 31, 2012

Garmin Forerunner Waterproof Running GPS

Garmin Forerunner
Garmin Forerunner 201 Waterproof Running GPS
by Garmin
4.0 out of 5 stars(358)

1 used & new from $299.99

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Amazon.com Review Combining powerful performance-tracking features with a GPS receiver, the Garmin Forerunner 201 offers runners and hikers a unique way to track their exercise regimens and goals. Unlike its main competitor, Timex's BodyLink sport monitoring system, the Forerunner 201 integrates the GPS receiver into a single body (BodyLink has separate housings for watch and GPS).


101

201

301
1. Allows you to set up profiles for running, biking, and another sport.
2. Set up workouts with specific durations and targets (speed or heart rate).
Speed
Pace
Distance
Calories burned
Heart rate
Sports profiles1
Advanced workouts2
PC interface
(serial)

(USB)
Analyze workout data on PC
Size (inches, WxDxH) 3.3 x .9 x 1.7 3.3 x .7 x 1.7 3.3 x .7 x 1.7
Weight (ounces, with batteries) 2.6 2.75 2.75
Batteries 2 AAAs, 15 hours Rechargeable, 15 hours Rechargeable, 14 hours
At first, the device felt a little bulky on my wrist, both in weight and in size (it measures 3.26 by 1.71 by 0.69 inches). But it really is light enough (less than 3 ounces) that it felt comfortable and transparent. I did, however, position the band a bit higher up my arm to ensure full mobility of my wrist, as the length of the Forerunner tended to get in its way.

The large display--with equally large, easy-to-read characters--helps you avoid having to squint at the readout. Just a quick glance at your numbers and you'll maintain your training concentration. The six rubber buttons on the front of the chassis are easy to access (unless you're wearing bulky gloves). I easily got the promised 13 hours out of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. At the end of the day, I'd just recharge it for around two hours and it would be ready for me the next morning.

While this is definitely a workable GPS receiver, the Forerunner is slim on overall GPS features--which is not to its detriment (think of it as a performance monitor with a dash of GPS). That said, the Forerunner was able to pick up a GPS signal just about wherever I went outside (though it had very slight hiccups in the center of downtown). But if you're looking for a full-fledged tracking device, the Forerunner isn't for you. (You'll want to start with a basic GPS unit like Garmin's eTrex.)

The Forerunner 201 has a variety of helpful tracking, monitoring, and navigational features. The History function enables you to view your workout statistics broken down by individual days, cumulative weeks, or your entire workout history (if you track different workouts during the same day, they'll be broken out as different laps). You can even view a map of your route. And much like other GPS units, you can save waypoints (called "locations" in Forerunner parlance) to mark the coordinates of a place you want to return to later.

Most interesting is the Virtual Partner mode, which enables you to set goals for a workout which will then be completed by a digital character displayed on the Forerunner's screen. You can then see how far off the time, pace, or distance you are of your virtual training buddy's; your digital character even stops when you do (though the buddy keeps on going). I found that, unless you've got a good idea as to your pace or distance, you'll have a couple of trial-and-error training sessions to get in sync with your buddy. I cut short my first attempt after my buddy got so far ahead of me that he disappeared off the screen (which I'd like to believe was not due to my woeful pace).

I was disappointed at not having the LogBook software, which enables you to keep a journal of your exercise activities (it was not available at the time of this test). But overall, the Forerunner 201 is a very useful exercise-monitoring system that will be prized by anyone involved in serious physical training. --Agen G.N. Schmitz




Auto Menu: Timer pauses when you stop running. Auto lap logs your performance over a predetermined distance.


History: Review training history by day or week.


Map: Navigate back to the start or to a stored location.


Virtual Partner: Set time, pace, and distance goals, and train with a "virtual partner."


Pros:

  • Loaded with performance-tracking features for the serious athlete
  • GPS functionality a bonus, especially in referring back to previous routes
  • Virtual Partner feature offers a fun, competitive way to keep you concentrated on training
Cons:
  • Lack of Logbook software at time of test
  • Virtual Partner feature takes some trial-and-error adjustments






Finally, an alternative to awkward pedometers and cycling computers. The Forerunner 201 offers athletes an easy-to-read display and integrated GPS satellite receiver that provides precise speed, distance, and pace data--all in one compact unit that straps to your wrist. It’s a lightweight, accurate training assistant with performance tracking, auto-lap, auto-pause and more. And because it is a high quality Garmin GPS device, you get many of the features GPS users have come to rely on, such as precise latitude, longitude, altitude data. Choose either the 201 model for rechargeable power or the 101 if you prefer to use 2 AAA batteries. The Forerunner 201 is easy to use right out of the box and delivers the benefits of GPS technology at an affordable price.

To please folks who are passionate about their exercise and training, Garmin has added something special to the Forerunner 201 called the Virtual Partner. The feature allows you to set your training goal by configuring your Virtual Partner’s pace and workout distance. You'll get a graphic perspective of your performance by viewing your pace in relation to your Virtual Partner’s pace, so you can always see at a glance if you're keeping up or falling behind.

Almost as important as the training device itself are the accessories to integrate it with your active lifestyle. If you're into cycling, the best way to keep an eye on your GPS while you ride is with a bike mount bracket that straps to the handlebars of your bike, motorcycle, or whatever you're traveling with for easy viewing.

Other Forerunner 201 features:

  • Mark specific locations, and then look-up and navigate to these points using an electronic map.
  • Retrace your steps to a starting point or reverse your normal route for routine variation.
  • Amount of calories burned can be tracked and calculated over the course of a workout.
  • Lap history--such as lap time, lap distance, and average pace--can be stored for up to two years.
  • Performance data can be automatically archived and calculated to provide an accurate record.
  • Automated stopwatch provides auto-lap and auto-pause features.
  • Lap timer indicates when a certain speed is reached or when you’ve fallen below a pre-set level.
  • Pace whistle sounds alert when you begin traveling slower or faster than your desired pace.
  • Distance whistle sounds when you reach a specified duration or distance in your workout.
  • Download free Garmin software to transfer data from your Forerunner 201 to your PC for storage and analysis.

What's in the box:

  • Forerunner 201 unit
  • Wrist strap
  • A/C desktop charger with serial interface



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