The Forerunner 305
The Forerunner 305 (courtesy, Garmin)

Know of a watch with both a pedometer and an altimeter?

I have been doing extensive research and can't seem to find a watch that functions as both a pedometer and altimeter. I want one watch that will measure distance and calories on runs and hikes as well as vertical distance (per run and cumulative for the day) when I ski. I spend equal time running and skiing, so I'd like one watch that can serve both sports. The Suunto X10 comes close (no calories, though), but the reviews from users do not sound like it's worth the $550. Katie San Francisco, CA

The Forerunner 305

Ah, sorry Katie. I can’t resist the snarky question. Which is, why? You obviously are very active, so you know very well whether you worked hard or not and what your approximate calorie burn was. And with a basic altimeter watch you certainly know the key metric: how many feet of “up.” The rest is eyewash.

The Forerunner 305 The Forerunner 305

But that’s me. These days, I’m down-sizing my electronic aids. They don’t tell me anything interesting (well, aside from how many vert feet to pass/summit/camp), and I just don’t care any more.

Still, I think I know what you need. Garmin‘s Forerunner 305 ($299). It’s a wrist-mounted GPS designed for active people, and it measures distance, calories, vertical distanceĀ—all that good stuff. You even can go online and chart your performance, compare training workouts, and so on. If you must.

The 305 also is pretty compact. More of a fat wristwatch. So it works well as a small add-on to your workout.

I think the Suunto X10 is fine. Its compact size, which includes GPS readings, is a big plus. Can’t read calories? Well, the Garmin is just guessing, so there’s that. Seriously, all you can do there is sort of guess. Why don’t people love the Suunto? Same reason nobody is all that wild about any of this stuff. It’s just too complicated.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy, Garmin