The Garmin Forerunner 610 sort of reminds me of the Grateful Dead song "Truckin", as in what a long strange trip its been. From initial charging clip issues to screen cracks and then peeling backs Garmin has overcome every major obstacle and always been left in the end with a GPS watch that has few rivals. It's always been one of my favorites.
The new multi-color design released at the end of 2012 even has a re-designed back that prevents any flaking issues.
Buckle your seat belts and prepare to be completely blown away by Garmin! The first-ever touchscreen GPS Watch and heart rate monitor
has arrived and it is called the Garmin Forerunner 610.
We've had more than a little experience with Garmin's touchscreen navigation already because we sponsor a bike team and Heart Rate Watch Company
employees are already using the Garmin Edge 800, so the Garmin FR 610 is going to be a game changer, we can promise you that. This completely
eliminates error prone bezel control and is going to add several major new features, including Garmin's Virtual Racer, Training Effect and
WHEN CAN I GET ONE GARMIN FORERUNNER 610?
The Garmin Forerunner 610 is scheduled to be launched at the Boston Marathon in April of 2011 and will be available through our dealership
shortly thereafter. Our advice would be to pre-order now because these watches are going to be white hot.
FEATURES, FEATURES AND MORE FEATURES
I think the product engineers were reading our minds when they developed this one because Garmin 610 firmware has every single function and feature that we love.
The vibration alerts that allow you to know when you have exceeded, or gone under, an alert so you can run or bike with your iPod and still know
what is going on. It's got the second wrist band for multisport athletes. It does pace in minutes per mile, or kilometer, for runners and can
do pace in miles per hour for cyclists.
Of course the Garmin 610 will do speed, distance, heart rate monitor, advanced calorie computation and all the features you've come to expect. It will also
pair up with the cadence sensor for cycling.
Here is the big news for multi-sport athletes: The Forerunner 610 can be used with an external battery that is solar charged to charge the watch
when you are not near power for multi-day activities.
The new Training Effect feature measures your intensity level to help athletes train more efficiently. Further there is a new Virtual Racer feature that
allows you to race previous bests on specific courses and routes that will display how far ahead, or behind, pacer you are the entire way.
WHY GARMIN RESOURCE TOOLS WILL IMPROVE YOUR EXPERIENCE - HOW THEY WORK
Garmin 610 never ceases to amaze us that none of our competitors put links to key resource tools on their websites. Tools like training videos,
links to updater software, or even links to help you sign up for an account with Garmin Connect training software. Having immediate access to
these kinds of tools immediately levels the playing field by both teaching you all the basics, getting your watch updating on auto pilot and allowing you to
immediately start downloading your training.
For Garmin Forerunner 610 manual generally speaking what we do is provide all buyers of new Garmin products a PDF document by e-mail that links to all of these resources immediately following their purchase. Why nobody else does this is beyond our ability to comprehend. Of course finding someone in almost
any store that knows something about these products is a challenge in and of itself.
THE HUGE ADVANTAGE
Do you have an iPhone or a Droid? Do you like how fast the navigation is? Just tap on the screen, find the icon, tap again and you
can literally have the whole world right at your fingertips, right? Well this is exactly what this new watch does, except it puts the
world of athletic metrics and data right at your fingertips unlike any other heart rate monitor or GPS Watch that has preceded it. It
is like the iPhone of fitness watches and, as you well remember, the iPhone was a game changer for telecommunications.
In just 90 minutes at the Boston Marathon Expo Garmin sold out 200 of the Forerunner 610 watches - that was fast, real fast. Our sense is that
there will be stock outage conditions for all but the fastest to act because we believe this is going to become the most popular
running and cycling watch in history in very short order. We don't pound the drum hard for that many new products but in this case we
are going to make a BIG exception.
For a lot of folks Garmin FR 610 gets tough to get your head around and the question - What really makes it different comes up a lot.
Thankfully, that is easy to answer - 1.) Way faster navigation to data you want now, 2.) New features like training effect that really
do bring something to the party when we are talking about endurance sports training, and 3.) the fact that Garmin has, hands-down, the
best GPS on the planet.
We tested the touch screen GPS all winter long with the Garmin Edge 800 and all we can tell you is that once you try it you will
never go back, ever. Yes, it really is that good and no, we are not being paid to say this.
Here is a complete features list:
Product Specs and Features:
- Sleek touchscreen with touch, tap and swipe functions
- Vibration alerts: set alerts for pace, distance, heart rate
- High-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix
- First beat advanced heart rate-based calorie computation
- Heart rate zone training, supports five heart rate zones
- *New* Training Effect: indicates intensity level to help athletes train more efficiently
- *New* Virtual Racer - race your previous bests or activities uploaded to Garmin Connect; accounts for varying speeds
and real-time conditions
- Additional training and motivation features: Virtual Partner, courses, workouts
- *New* run/walk alerts allows users to set alerts for running and walking intervals based on time
- Wireless uploads to Garmin Connect to analyze, store and share workouts; www.GarminConnect.com
- Watch features: time of day (12/24h), dual time zone, day/date, daily alarm
- GPS features: mark locations, back to start, save location
- Can be used for running and cycling
- Compatible with speed/cadence bike sensor: monitor pedaling cadence and wheel speed
- Compatible with foot pod: measure speed, distance and runner's cadence indoors and outdoors
- Battery life: up to eight hours (training) or 4 weeks (power save mode)
- Compatible with external battery pack with solar charger to charge Forerunner 610 for multi-day activities
- Water resistant to IPX7: resistant to rain, sweat and splashes
- Weight: 2.54 oz
- Display: round black and white TFT, 128 x 128 pixels
- Size (cm): 4.57cm x 6.35cm x 1.42cm
- Distance accuracy: 99% with clear view of sky
- Temperature range: -4F to 140F (-20C to 60C)
Of course, the whole system works seamlessly and transfers data directly to Garmin Connect training software for subsequent analysis and mapping
HOW IT LOOKS ON YOU AND HOW IT READS
This new breed of GPS watches is as close to normal watch size as you can possibly get. It is not a big ox like the
Forerunner 310XT or the Timex Global Trainer. You could actually wear these watches as an everyday watch as you can see from
the image below. Garmin Forerunner 610 also handles the wet weather better than any of the previous bezel navigation watches Garmin has made in the past.
BATTERY LIFE - THE KEY DETERMINATE OF WHICH GARMIN WATCH WORKS FOR YOU
If you are going to go longer than 8 hours, as in a long course triathlon or ultra-marathon then this is not your watch. For
those purposes you are far better off to look at the Garmin 310XT. If you swim you are far better off to look at the Garmin 310XT
also because it will measure distance swimming outdoors thanks to a firmware update last year. A lot of people are never told, because
the majority of companies selling these products don't know any better, that they should immediately download
Garmin's Web Updater software to their computers after purchasing a new Garmin product. Otherwise you miss out on new Garmin firmware
updates intended to improve the functionality and performance of your watch.
NATION OF TOUCH SCREEN NAVIGATORS
Thanks to cell phone manufacturers, think iPhone, Droid, Verizon and others, we have now educated a generation of touch screen
users. This type of navigation that is icon and touch driven is far more intuitive to people, both young and old, because we use it
all day, every day in the one component that seems to be permanently tethered to our bodies - our phones. We all know how superior
this type of navigation is to other previous generations because we have had it on our phones for a while now.
A BIG, BUT OVERLOOKED, CHANGE - INFORMATION DISPLAY
We think that one place where Garmin totally crushed it with their new Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Watch was in how the device allows you to display and read
multiple metrics. Just to prove this point I want to give you a screenshot of both the new Forerunner 610 and the Polar RCX5. Both watches
display a lot of metrics, but it is the segmentation of the data on the Garmin display that really stands out as better than any
previous watch designs that we have seen. Go ahead, judge for yourself:
Notice how much better organized and easier to read the screen on the top is, which is of course the Garmin 610. This really got our attention when we first looked
hard at both new offerings. We are not knocking the new Polar watch here because we do believe that for triathletes who want to
measure all swim data, in addition to run and bike data, that it is the best new product for 2011.
CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE ALL SPORTS
Garmin and Polar both seem to get this and you can quickly and easily change to bike mode to see speed displayed in miles per hour,
plus Polar and Garmin have great devices for picking up other metrics like pedal cadence. The new Nike watch sadly lacks in all these
categories. It has no cycling mode, it will not display speed in miles per hour and it has no ability to provide pedal cadence,
thereby making it completely useless for multi-sport athletes.
Inline skaters also want to see speed in miles per hour, as do downhill mountain bikers and virtually every other form of outdoor
athlete. This makes the new Garmin or the Polar RCX5 the only good choices in our opinion.
WHISPER SWEET NOTHINGS IN MY EAR
This is flat out insulting - we don't want our watch to give us some foolish message when we are in the pain cave generated by our
AT threshold. Sorry, but Lance Armstrong's voice is not going to get us over that hump and we cannot see any serious athlete in
the world ever, and we mean EVER, using this product - unless they were paid to do so of course. Thank goodness that Polar and
Garmin did not go down this road with their products.
BACK TO EVALUATIONS FOR THE MORE SERIOUS ATHLETES
O.K., so you can blow the new Nike GPS out the back door if you are a serious athlete, so let's continue onward and upward
with the new Polar and Garmin offerings. Maybe in a few more generations Nike will catch up but, for now, they have firmly
entrenched themselves in the land of second-tier product made for the much more casual athlete (running only).
WHAT'S MY TRAINING LOAD?
Thankfully both Polar and Garmin have included functions and features that allow the watch to look at cumulative training load, or
training index, to help guide your work load relative to your goals and biometric parameters. Suunto has used this for year's
and this feature is useful for those training for endurance based events and trying to manage the peaking process.
THE BIG OVERSIGHT?
I still do not see where either Polar or Garmin have integrated the ability to transfer power output data on the bike into
either the Garmin Forerunner 610 or the Polar RCX5. The more serious athletes in triathlon, duathalon, and other multisport disciplines
involving a bike will see this as unforgivable.
Given that both Polar and Garmin are planning on coming out with pedal-based power systems later this year, Polar with Look
Carbon XO pedals and Garmin with Vector, it seems crazy that power data was not built into either of their new watch
introductions. For Garmin, this may have been intentional because they already have the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, that picks
up power from ANT+ watts meters and is considered their triathlon watch.
This needs to be addressed for both Polar and Garmin watches if they want to be considered the most serious of devices for both
cycling and triathlon because power is the metric of choice for serious cyclists.
WHY GARMIN IS KICKING EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE GPS MARKET
Garmin has been doing the GPS fitness watch for longer than anyone else. Their expertise in aeronautics, marine and outdoor applications
gave them a huge jump on the rest of the field. For everyone else GPS was something brand new. For Garmin it was what they had always
Done best and their purpose for existence from the very beginning.
Think of it this way. If you go to the Doctor for brain surgery and he tells you, "Well, yesterday I was a heart specialist but
Today I decided to become a neurosurgeon", how comfortable are you going to be in sticking with that Doctor? Well that is
What everybody else making GPS watches did, except for Garmin - they were always the neurosurgeon.
EASE OF NAVIGATION
To fully understand why touch screen is such a huge advantage considers the following screen shots. In the first, you are given
four selections which are history, training, set-up and where to? History goes through, well, history of workouts, courses and routes.
Training shows you your planned and previous training sessions. Set-up allows you to set up zone alerts for everything from
heart rate to pedal cadence, plus allows you to pick the sport and the way you want pacing displayed. Where to is the navigation side of the watch
since you can store up to 100 way points and it has a built-in digital compass.
The second screen is the navigation menu you see after you press training. There are several additional menu items that you can just
scroll to by touch.
On the first screen you can see the battery icon at the bottom that shows you precisely where you are at in terms of remaining
We have used the touch screen Edge 800 bike computers for the past 6 months and all we can say is, "We are never going back".
If you would like to talk to a real expert about the new Garmin Forerunner 610 then just call the Heart Rate Watch Company at 866-586-7129 and
experience the absolute best in fitness measurement and electronics.
If you are a runner, cyclist or multisport athlete this is one watch you are not going to want to miss. We can tell you from our own first hand experience
that the Touchscreen navigation is simply amazing and far more user-friendly than any other form of navigation we have ever tested. Garmin Forerunner 610 totally
eliminates button lock and data loss issues altogether.
We think a lot of athletes are trying to get their heads around Polar's new offering, the Polar RCX5, as compared to the
new Garmin touch screen. Somehow, Nike seems to think they factor into this mix with their new Nike + Sportwatch GPS but, in
our opinion, this watch is a non-event at this time and they are so far behind Polar and Garmin that it will take them a few
generations, and many upgrades, to have a prayer of catching up.
Here is what some of Garmin's competitors seem to be under-analyzing and failing to grasp about their new watch. First, the
touch screen navigation is fast, lightening fast and you don't have to fumble for any buttons. In fact, the only possibility
of missed navigation would be if your finger lands on the wrong navigation icon. Compared with button, or Garmin's previous
touch bezel technology this is far easier, faster and much more intuitive.
copyright 2013, Rusty Squire, author, email@example.com