I was able to pick up a Garmin 310XT from Citysports. Did my first run today with it, and wanted to test it out compared to the Garmin 305. I had them both charged up pretty well (damn near full), and in the middle of Crystal City, the 310XT picked up satellites just a few seconds (maybe 30 seconds) faster. Running through the high rises bordering Crystal Drive, they both had some issues picking up satellites consistently and giving me a proper pace. Ran my normal easy run route and despite feeling like my aerobic capacity has been ripped out of me, was able to do a decent 3.7 mile run. Both watches were pretty close in terms of pace per mile, etc at the END of the run, but during the run (especially noticeable in the last .7 miles), the paces were 10-15 seconds different. I think some of it might have to be due to going through a tunnel. There may be some issue with how the two watches interpolate distances when satellite reception is poor. I think the only way to really solve this will be to do runs where the miles are marked well so that I can test them both against something solid.
Other first thoughts:
The 310XT isn’t any bigger than the 305, and feels considerably less bulky.
They added vibration to the watch that’ll alert you to miles/laps/messages.
I don’t know if they didn’t test this at all, but the design of the wristband (specifically, the little loop that holds the excess band in place) is incredibly poorly designed, though the design is understandable. The loop has two metal teeth that are meant to prevent the loop from sliding around, but these teeth don’t allow for much room at all to get the strap through the loop. I assume that this loosens up over time.
One of the things I really really liked about the 305 (once I learned about it), was the ability to hold down the MODE button for 5 seconds at any time to bring up a menu that not only allowed you to switch sports without going through a number of menus, but also allowed you to turn off the GPS feature of the watch (if, for instance, you were using the watch as a stopwatch for 30x30s or FTP intervals). The sport switching still exists in the 310XT, but the ability to turn off the GPS has disappeared from the MODE button menu.
I’ve had some issues getting the sync between the ANT USB dongle and the 310XT to work instantly. I upgraded the firmware of the 310 immediately, as I had seen there were some issues with the older firmware (the upgrade took ~15 minutes of sync and install time). I’m sure I’ll figure this out as time goes on, but for now it’s a pain in the ass.
Still need to get the ANT+ upgrade for my powertap, but when that’s here, I’ll try it out, compare it to the PT Cervo, and let you know.