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Discussion Starter #1
I've had a Garmin Forerunner 310XT since 2014, but I plan on treating myself to a newer one...

My main concern is that I like to train with heart rate zones, and I read wrist HR monitors aren't that accurate compared to chest HR monitors.

So my question is, do the newer Garmin models allow you to override the wrist HR feature and use a chest HRM instead? Or does it force you to use the wrist HR no matter what?

I'd like a newer watch for the extra features and auto/bluetooth uploads etc., but only if chest HR still works.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cheers James. Are the buttons (lap button while doing sessions etc.) easy to press while running on the newer ones? I like the 310XT's size and easy design, but it's rather ugly!
 

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The lap button is on the lower right. It's easy to press when you want to. The recent garmins are pretty well designed from a usability perspective.
 

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Yeah, I use a Garmin Fenix 5 in this way. Over the months Garmin have improved the inevitable smoothing needed from the wrist sensor. This leads to lag for periods of relatively rapid changes of zone. (It also doesn't work well for activities involving a lot of arm action, like weight sessions.) So I still prefer to use a chest strap for interval sessions and races but I use the inbuilt sensor the rest of the time. I nearly always train against HR zones and the wrist sensor is fine for reasonable steady-state sessions with few zone changes, like threshold, marathon pace, easy.

Once it is paired, the chest strap takes over whenever I don it. One can even disconnect it in the middle of an activity and it falls back to the wrist sensor. I used to use a 310Xt and although I loved it I appreciate the Fenix - it does so much more and I wouldn't go back. I would consider the 935 if there were no multisport requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys. Steve, the 935 looks nice but I got the Forerunner 235 in the end. It was £180'ish on offer on Amazon, which was significantly low compared to the others. Went for a run on it earlier. I love it! The wrist HRM was immediately inaccurate when I put it on though - it said 45bpm while walking around, even though it's really much higher when fully rested - so I disabled it and used the classic chest strap.

I think I dropped my 310XT too many times over the last 3.5 years, because it sometimes freezes and corrupts my run activities. Perhaps it was a good time to upgrade!
 

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Thanks guys. Steve, the 935 looks nice but I got the Forerunner 235 in the end. It was £180'ish on offer on Amazon, which was significantly low compared to the others. Went for a run on it earlier. I love it! The wrist HRM was immediately inaccurate when I put it on though - it said 45bpm while walking around, even though it's really much higher when fully rested - so I disabled it and used the classic chest strap.
You probably didn't have the watch tight enough on your wrist. The optical sensors are quite sensitive to that, and at high cadences they can lock onto your cadence rather than heart rate. Other than that they're fine, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You probably didn't have the watch tight enough on your wrist. The optical sensors are quite sensitive to that, and at high cadences they can lock onto your cadence rather than heart rate. Other than that they're fine, though.
It couldn't have been on much tighter!
 

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Wrist-based optical HR seems to vary a lot for different people. Personally I find it generally pretty good for steady-state stuff where I’m running at a consistent effort. It is pretty useless for intervals though. Chest straps aren’t perfect either - they can produce erratic results at the start of runs, and mine goes haywire sometimes if I get very sweaty.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wrist-based optical HR seems to vary a lot for different people. Personally I find it generally pretty good for steady-state stuff where I’m running at a consistent effort. It is pretty useless for intervals though. Chest straps aren’t perfect either - they can produce erratic results at the start of runs, and mine goes haywire sometimes if I get very sweaty.
Chest straps can be dodgy, but the way around that is to use conductivity gel. I use some cheap gel on Amazon called "abgymnic gel". Put a blob of that on the strap and chest area before each run. Since doing that, my HR graphs have been very accurate. I also use a polar HR strap with the Garmin transmitter piece.
 
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