Garmin 010-00743-70 Fitness Watch

Getting back on the bike after a long winter can be a daunting task, especially if you finished last season in top form. But with a training tool like the Garmin FR70 Fitness Watch, you’ll make the most out of those first few training sessions and quickly orient yourself to the most efficient path back to your optimal fitness level. The FR70 measures elapsed time and your heart rate during efforts. Through this simple data accrual, the watch is able to offer a bevy of training tabulation features that can keep you on course, and help you meet your training and fitness goals. The FR70 also acts as a virtual training coach by creating workout sessions and monitoring your progress throughout; tracking your time, heart rate, and calories burned indoors or outdoors while running, riding, or any other activity you pursue en route to your goals. The FR70 features multiple time zones and alarms, houses a 20 hour/100 lap memory, and lets you tailor your fitness level into five heart rate zones with alerts for each. It is available with your choice of Blue or Pink dial rings, and ships with the heart rate monitor, chest strap, and a USB ANT Stick for wirelessly transferring data to your PC or Mac. It’s powered by a single coin cell battery (CR2032), which is included.

$ 0.01

Customer Reviews

145 of 149 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great Functionality! Buttons hard to press. . ., January 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
Let me start by saying that I am an extremely picky consumer when it comes to evaluating a purchase. I do a lot of research before I pull the trigger on buying.

The FR70 delivers great functionality and performance in a watch that can be worn on a daily basis. The menus are very user friendly and the display is large and easy to read. The form factor of the watch is very well built and feels comfortable on the wrist. I wear this watch as my every day timepiece and have enjoyed it.

This watch has a timer, dual alarms, and a very useful interval feature among many others. The interval functionality is something I can foresee using very much and have not seen on other exercise watches that I reviewed. It allows for a user to program the amount of time or distance of active exercise along with the amount of time or distance for rest along with the quantity of intervals or sets that you will be performing in a workout. It even allows for you to mix the criteria. For example, you can program that you would like to run for a mile (using the footpad to track the distance) and then rest for 2 minutes and perform this set five times. Additionally, you can program a warmup and cool down at the beginning and end of the workout.

The one thing that prevented me from giving this watch a full five stars is the difficulty in pushing the buttons on the side and top of the watch. I have only had the watch since Christmas (9 days) so perhaps the buttons will break-in and become easier to push in the future. I guess the benefit of this is that the buttons should not get accidentally pushed.

One other item that was troublesome is that the strap has a rubber notch on the top of the loop that the end of the strap fits in. This notch, makes the watch strap very difficult to pull the strap out when you want to take your watch off. The fix I found for this that works very well is to rotate the loop 180 degrees so the rubber notch is on the back side of the strap. This fix works well and I feel it will prevent the strap from wearing down in the future.

I previously owned the FR50 and was very happy with its functionality; however, the strap broke from repeated exposure to Chlorine. This was a concern to me when researching the FR70. Much like the FR50, the design of the FR70 incorporates the watch straps into the watch body itself. This is worrisome because when the straps on my FR50 broke, it basically rendered the watch useless. I contacted Garmin about fixing the broken straps on the FR50, they stated that it would be 60 dollars to get the watch refurbished. I did not want to invest this amount of money into a 3 year old device so I began to look for a new watch at this point. Other reviews of the FR70 stated that the material the FR70 straps are made of are supposed to be more durable but only time will tell. I already had purchased the foot pod and bicycle pod, so it made sense to stick with a Garmin product. That being said, after reading up on the new Suunto Quest and Polar offerings as well as touching and feeling those devices at my local sporting good store, I would have made a change if I felt the functionality of the FR70 was not equal to the other watches on the market. In fact, I feel the FR70 excels in the menus and functions that are offered.

I have only owned this watch for 9 days. Thus far, I am happy with my Christmas present and look forward to using this watch more.


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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent training tool, January 11, 2013
VTMusicFan (Vermont, USA) – See all my reviews

I purchased this device together with the Garmin Foot Pod.

I use this for running (with HRM & Foot Pod), biking (with Bontrager Duotrap speed/cadence sensor) and Spinning (with HRM).

My previous “electronic training partners” have included a Garmin Forerunner 305 and an iPhone 4s on an armband. Both have advantages and disadvantages over the FR70.

I have been frustrated with the Garmin 305 due to:

– GPS lock-on delay and inaccuracy (particularly on overcast days)
– Battery life unsuitable for all-day activities
– Useless indoors

I’ve been frustrated with the iPhone 4s solution due to:

– Bulkiness and discomfort, particularly on long runs
– GPS accuracy better than FR305, but still poor on overcast days (overestimates distance by 10%+)
– Fear of wrecking iPhone on bike or destroying with rain or sweat on a run
– Battery life unsuitable for all-day activities
– Useless indoors

Ideally I wanted a solution for biking, running and spinning that solved all these problems.

After doing days of painstaking research, I finally decided to try the Garmin FR70. Honestly, I never imagined I would buy a non-GPS training device, but after reading the glowing reviews of the Garmin Foot Pod accuracy, I thought I’d give it a shot.

First impressions are extremely good. Setup and installation went smoothly. At first, the ANT+ stick couldn’t find the watch, but I rebooted my PC after the software install and moved the ANT+ stick to a different USB port and it worked like a charm.

I’ve only used it for a few weeks so far, but the things I really like are:

– Very comfortable strap and “just-right” size watch face. Not bulky like GPS watches.
– Foot pod accuracy is remarkable.
– Ability to read ANT+ speed/cadence sensors (works great with the Duotrap on my Trek Madone 5.9)
– Feature rich, but still easy to use – lots of configurable options, including ability to customize the display of data fields
– Very nice display
– Build quality is excellent.
– Wireless ANT+ connectivity to computer for data upload. I just place the watch on my desk after a workout and within a few seconds, the data is available on GarminConnect
– Very long battery life and cheap battery replacements (purportedly 1 year – haven’t had it long enough to verify this yet)
– Comfortable heart rate strap.

Things I don’t like:

– nothing at all! I’ll update this review if I find anything.

I haven’t used it for swimming yet. I’ll update this review when I try that.

I have not had any trouble at all pushing the buttons as some have encountered. I think the buttons are designed to be a little harder to push than a normal watch so that you don’t accidentally push them during a workout. On my FR70 at least, they’re exactly how I’d want them to be.

This is a great little training tool that will help you to get fitter. I’m very satisfied so far.

Several weeks later I am even more impressed:

– The Garmin footpod is so accurate you will swear it’s using magic.
– Wireless syncing is very well implemented. I pull into my garage after coming home from a workout at the gym, and before I get out of my car, I hear my watch beeping, letting me know it has synced with my computer inside my house. This is not the gimmick I thought it was going to be, it’s a big timesaver. I’m a convert.
– Remarkable battery life. I just can’t believe I don’t have to charge it, or the HRM strap. How refreshing!

UPDATE August 2013

I’ve had this watch for ~9 months now, and I still love it. I now wear it as my daily watch – it never leaves my wrist.

One feature I am really loving is the customizable Training Pages. I’ve started doing different types of running workouts (long runs, tempos, intervals, repeats), so being able to see different data fields on different kinds of runs is very useful, and it helps me train more efficiently.

For example, I have a training page for Intervals/Repeats that shows Current Heart Rate Zone, Lap Time and Current Pace (don’t care about the distance on these runs). My goal is to keep it in Zone 5 (which I configured to be 95%+ of HRmax) for 2+ minutes, then recover and repeat 6-8 times. I hit LAP every time I slow down to recover or start another interval so that I can slice & dice the data better in Garmin Connect after I crawl back home.

For my long runs (easy pace), I don’t wear the HR strap and I don’t care about the time, so I configure the Training Page to show Average Pace, Total…

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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Close to Perfect non-GPS HRM, May 30, 2013
T. Gorham (KC Metro USA) – See all my reviews

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

I read many FR70 reviews before making my purchase and having used the FR70 for a week or so now want to clarify a misconception about buttons being hard to push and confusion as to whether the FR 70 has a HR recovery features.

First, the misconception: the buttons aren’t even a little hard to push. They behave differently than a mechanical button and that can be confusing but they are not hard to push.

The issue is that they don’t respond to the Push, they respond to the Release. Quick click and they work like a charm. If you push them and when nothing happens you just keep pushing harder, nothing is going to happen. Making matters more frustrating you will note that in the instructions there are some actions that require you to push, hold and release. I believe that the HRM looks at Push and Release, and Push, Hold and Release as separate events. That means if you are taking an action that requires a quick push and release and you keep holding the button down waiting for the HRM to respond, you’ve just communicated a push, hold and release, an event for which no action is programmed and nothing happens. Bottom line, once you understand that it is the release that triggers the behavior and not the push, and get a feel for the difference between Push and Release and Push, Hold and Release, you will be much happier.

Second, the confusion: In reviews and comparisons some state that the FR70 has a recovery heart rate mode and others state that it doesn’t.

Both are true to a degree. I use the auto lap feature and after my last lap or when I’ve decided I’ve had enough all you need to do is manually mark a lap and begin your cool down pace and after your cool down period is over end your activity. In Garmin Connect, using the HR graph, you simply need to find the time your HR was at its peak at the beginning of the lap, go down a minute and record the HR at that time and then go down another minute and record your time. I do most of my activities on a tread mill Garmin’s approach is different from HRMs where you simply push recovery and it is then on autopilot. The auto pilot approach sounds appealing BUT for me it means that either the treadmill is still settling in to the recovery pace during the first portion of the cool down or you started recovery after you are at a recovery pace and are starting to measure recovery after your HR has already begun to drop. I like the FR70s approach and think that it gives me a tool to better understand relative improvements in recovery time.

The FR70 is highly configurable and there is a corresponding learning curve. If you just want a simple HRM and don’t care about geeking out with the data you should explore simpler less costly options. The documentation is good but you must be willing to spend some time with it to get the most out of the FR70.

ANT is a delight. I had little scraps of paper all over my house with workout data waiting to be entered into an excel spreadsheet. The first time that I walked over to my computer with Ant plugged into the USB port after a workout, I heard a chime and by the time I had entered my password my activity was downloaded. Very, very slick.

I am a walker and bought the foot pod and highly recommend it. Stride, pace and distance information is all useful. Not having to gather distance data and HR data from two different sources is a luxury. Auto Lap is a nice feature, I didn’t think I would care about the virtual partner but it is actually fun and useful. I know I’m looking for 7K per hour walking speed and the virtual partner lets me set the target and speed up to gain an edge and then slow down to loosen up a tight calf and then speed up to remain on target. Much more fun to see it real time than to see how well I did at the end of the work out.

So if I’m very happy with my purchase, why 4 stars. I’d give it 4.5 if I could but as much as I like Garmin Connect I’m a bit of a data presentation snob and a user experience purist and Garmin Connect is not as good as it could be. Export one of your work outs to FTX and look at the data. You will see that it is incredibly rich and that Garmin Connect could be doing a better job presenting the data and a better job supporting user interaction. Some quibbles are that scaling on the graphs is not adjustable, there is no ability to present multiple dimensions on the same graph, say pace and HR, and there is inconsistency about how zone is presented (the area between the 2 axis and the 3 axis does not represent say, 2.1 to 2.9, but rather 3.1 to 3.9 where the 3 above the imaginary 3.9 represents the upper bound of 3 and not the start of 3).

FR70 gets 5 stars for being close to perfect for a non-GPS HRM and working flawlessly with the foot pod
Foot Pod gets 5 stars for doing exactly what it’s supposed to do with no hassles
ANT (while a given) gets 5 stars for…

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