Traditional GPS devices have primarily been rectangular flat-screen models for use with cars, motorcycles and other vehicles. However, there are several other important product segments in the marketplace, including Garmin's series of wristwatch-based Forerunner sports GPS products. Although these don't display maps, they provide a variety of navigational and training-oriented features. The Forerunner's power requirements are much higher than those of a conventional watch, so you'll need to charge it regularly.
Forerunner GPS watches include a lithium-ion rechargeable battery to cope with the power requirements of the GPS receiver and built-in processor. The charging time will vary between models, with the lower-end Forerunner 210 requiring approximately one hour for a full charge, and the top-of-the-line 910XT requiring approximately two hours. Charging times will be shorter if you use only part of your original charge and then place the watch back in its charger to top it up. The phone won't charge at temperatures below -4 degrees Fahrenheit or above 140 degrees.
The Forerunner models charge through four contacts located at the watch's edge. The watch rests vertically in the charger, which takes the form of a spring-loaded clip. Dry the watch and charger thoroughly before charging to prevent any corrosion during the charging process, and then clip the watch into the charger and align the contacts. Plug the charging clip into the USB connection on the AC adapter, and then plug the adapter into the wall. A graphic on the Forerunner's display will show you your battery's charging progress, then notify you when charging is complete.
The battery life of a Forerunner varies, depending on the model and its set of features. Most models will last through eight hours of continuous training, though this isn't typical for most users. The battery on a Forerunner 210 will last up to three weeks in power saving mode, with the GPS function turned off, while the high-end 910XT will average up to 20 hours. Your real-life usage will be determined by how long you train and how long the watch rests in power-saving mode between uses.
The Forerunner series can be used for a variety of sports, including running, swimming and cycling, or general-purpose training and fitness activities. You can track lap times on the track or in the pool, set a specific cadence for your stride or stroke, and even train or race against a virtual partner. Cyclists and hikers can create GPS tracks and export them to a computer. The heart rate monitor enables customized cardiovascular routines by telling you exactly how elevated your heart rate is and how long you've maintained that level. With a foot pod, you can also track your stride and the distance you've covered. Some features require optional accessories.
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