no good for spin class
I bought this unit after my old Garmin HRM, a different model, failed after 10 years. I wanted something that would display heart rate, calories, and, if used with an extra transmitter (in Garmin's case, the GSC10), cadence on my spin bike. Unfortunately, this isn't possible with the FR70. If the GSC10 is only transmitting cadence (because of its design, it can't transmit speed on a spin bike), the FR70 will pick up/display the cadence, and pick up/display the input from the heart rate strap, but it will NOT calculate calories. A Garmin rep had assured me twice that this was possible, but I guess he'd never actually tried it, because it doesn't work.
Many years ago, with my original HRM, I talked to several Garmin reps trying to solve this no-calorie-calculation-with-cadence problem. Finally talked to a woman who said that unless the GSC10 was *transmitting* both speed and cadence, the watch would not calculate calories. Yes, that's even though the calorie calculation algorithm is based on heart rate. Bizarre.
Since this was a long-term problem, I'd already gotten a fix, which was to buy a wireless bike speed/cadence meter & hook that puppy up every time I worked out. It's a cludge of a solution, but it works.
The FR70 itself is ok. It does a good job of picking up heart rate from the strap; you need to get a little sweat in between the strap & your skin, but that happens fast. Someone else commented that the buttons are hard to push. That's true; if I were a runner, I wouldn't be expecting to push buttons while running. Those suckers are tough. Programming the watch/receiver is a total pain in the neck. With only 5 buttons and a lot of functions, I guess that's not surprising. But geez, it's not obvious at all. Be aware that you'll need to download the manual yourself. They enclose only a "quick start" manual that's useless. The unit is also useless as a watch....well, maybe that's not true, but I like to see seconds & it'll only show them after you press a button & then only for a minute. I don't know what's up with that; there's room on the face for it. But if you don't care about seeing the seconds, then it'd work ok as a basic watch.
After re-reading this review, I'm wondering why I kept this thing! I guess the bottom line is that once you suffer through getting it set up, it's a reliable unit. It'll show 3 things on a screen (I like HR, calories & elapsed time) & many of the other brands don't do that at this price point. And it's easy to change the batteries.
Good all around device, but...
I find this watch easy to set up and configure. I've been looking for a decent heart rate monitor to use in the pool, unfortunately, this one does not work in the water. I find that disappointing for a device that lists 'swimming' as one of it's uses. For a cyclist or runner, the heart rate monitor function works great. Problem is, I'm a cyclist and a swimmer and I have a heart rate monitor for my cycle computer. Tri-atheletes, steer clear. Runners or cyclists, great device.