Ray's Weekly Sports Electronics Mailbag

Hello, welcome to the Weekly Mailbag. I'm Ray, from DCRainmaker. com. If you've ever searched for reviews on sports technology - you've probably come across my site. I write about my triathlon/running training in general, along with sports technology and whatever else seems interesting to me. I started the Weekly Mailbag series earlier this spring as an opportunity to share some of the answers of the many e-mailed questions I get each week.

If you enjoy what you find here, then feel free to click the links to find even more in depth information on each topic. And if you have any questions, you can always e-mail me directly. Thanks for reading!

1) What device for cross country skiing or inline skating?
2) Workout history page and 1-second recording options
3) Using ANT+ sensors with more than one watch?

Question #1: What device for cross country skiing or inline skating?
From Claes-

"What device would you propose using xc-skiing and/or roller-skiing and/or inline skating?"

Given there are no ANT+ sensor options for either inline skating or cross country skiing, a watch is definitely the way to go (compared to a non-GPS unit like the FR60). Since you'll potentially be in the cold, I'd suggest a larger/easier to use watch like the FR310XT as the buttons are nice and big and the unit works well in the cold (used it myself while skiing). If budget is a concern, then the FR305 or Timex Global Trainer are also a great options. For lower profile options, I'd like at either the FR110 or FR210 - both of which look like regular watches, but still have GPS. The only catch is that if you have a bulky parka (winter coat) it can be difficult to get the watch around it such that you can see it. When I'm skiing with mine, I often loop it onto either my backpack or an inside pocket on my coat.

Of course, for inline skating - the winter parka issue is probably minimal. ;)

Question #2: Workout history page and 1-second recording options
From Amber-

"Does the FR210 have a data page that shows workout history once you've completed a workout. Also does it have the option for 1s interval recording?"

Yes, all of the Garmin sports units have a history page that you can view workouts once you've completed the workout - including the Garmin FR210. You can see an example of the history page on the FR210 in the image to the left.

As far as 1-second recording goes, it's not currently offered on the FR210 or its older brother the FR110. As of this writing, 1-second recording mode is only offered on the FR305, FR610, and FR310XT. The FR310XT is a new addition to that grouping, via a recent firmware update. Prior to that, the FR310XT required a power meter to get 1-second recording.

Since we're at it, on the cycling side - the Edge 500, Edge 705 and Edge 800 all support 1-second recording - with or without a power meter. With the Edge 500 and 800 only recently getting support for 1-second recording without a power meter connected (previously it required a power meter to enable 1s recording). If you have any of these units, consider updating your firmware to get the latest updates and 1-second recording mode.

Question #3: Using ANT+ sensors with more than one watch?
From Shawn-

"I have a Garmin FR60 and FR305 and was wondering if there is anything that I need to do to move my HR monitor and footpod from one watch to the other. I have used the 305 with both devices, but the FR60 doesn't want to hook up to them. Also, if I wanted to use both watches at the same time would they be able to pick up both the footpod and the HR monitor?"

Nope, there's nothing special you'll need to do, except pair them as normal. If you go into the pairing menu the FR60 will find both the HR strap and footpod without issue.

And there's no issues with a given sensor (i.e. HR strap or foot pod) being paired to more than one device at once. I often run with two or more watches during product reviews with no issues. You can pair an infinite number of watches to a given ANT+ sensor. I've done some tests myself with over half a dozen devices paired to just a single speed/cadence sensor for some bike review scenarios.

Recent Mailbags:

Weekly Mailbag - August 13th, 2011
- Whether to buy wired PowerTap at $699 or wireless PT at $799
- PowerTap and Cadence Information
- Which non-GPS watch for trail running?

Weekly Mailbag - Aug 2nd, 2011
- The watch vibration feature: Worth it or not?
- Is the Bontrager Node 1 ANT+ cycling computer good for commuting?
- How to downgrade your FR310XT firmware (and other Garmin watches)
- When will the next Garmin Forerunner watch be released?

Weekly Mailbag - July 22nd, 2011
- Cable Charging Mashup
- Power Meter Head Unit Options
- Best Triathlon Watch Bang for Buck

You can find all past Slowtwitch Mailbags here, and all prior ones here.

[Editor's note: our capable editor-at-large for electronics Ray Maker is the publisher of the online sports tech blog DC Rainmaker, one of the top-ranked sites by Google for extremely in-depth reviews of advanced GPS and Heart Rate Monitors for triathlon, cycling, and running.]