Quick thoughts on the new Garmin Forerunner 210/410 running watches

Please note: This post was written before I wrote my In Depth FR210 Review – please wander over there for the latest and most comprehensive review. Thanks!

 

This morning Garmin announced two separate new running watches – the Forerunner 210, and the Forerunner 410.

The Forerunner 410 is aimed as a refresh of the Garmin Forerunner 405, which has the touch bezel.  Meanwhile, the Forerunner 210 is aimed as a new variant of the fairly recent Garmin Forerunner 110, which acts more like a traditional sport watch, but is super-slim and has GPS.

When I first reviewed the Forerunner 110 (buddy of the newly introduced FR210) last spring/summer, my initial impression was one of amazement at how small the watch was and how close to the perfect running device it was.  But that quickly was overcame by how limited the watch was in functionality.  Thus I’ve been somewhat beating the drum for FR110 that simply had the FR60’s guts inside of it.

So I was definitely excited to see the press release for the FR210 this morning announcing interval support – which is usually an indicator of additional advanced workout support.  However, I was then bummed to see a lack of any workout support, or other advanced capabilities.  It seems like this watch comes so close…yet not quite there from offering what advanced runners want.

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Also, while initially there was some confusion – once the manual was uploaded it became clear that instant pace is supported.  This is a pretty significant advantage over the FR110 which doesn’t feature instant pace.

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Additionally, they did add in the foot pod – which was my other big complaint about the FR110.  Though the FR210 does continue to use USB charging instead of ANT+ (which, isn’t really that big of a deal).

So looking at the specs, I’m kinda mixed on how it might turn out.  On one hand, this hits two of the major items I wanted (foot pod support and instant pace)…yet on the other hand, it still lacks some of the minor items such as workout support and alerting that I’d come to expect from an advanced watch.  I’m optimistic though that perhaps we’ll see workout support added in the future (like how it was added with the Edge 500 a few months later).

Meanwhile, over on the FR410 side of things…

This product is another refresh of the FR405 (which then saw the FR405CX).  Out of all of the Garmin fitness devices, the Forerunner 410 has a reputation of ‘Love it or Hate it’, because of the unique touch bezel design where it works sorta like an iPod rather than with buttons.  I have the FR405 and don’t use it often due to the touch bezel, but I’m open to giving it another whirl.  It was noted that the new FR410 includes an ‘enhanced’ touch bezel.  So, hopefully we’ll see it a bit more user-friendly when this comes to market later this year.

Interestingly, both of these were on my radar for potential replacement in my Sports Technology 2010 Predictions.  Until I have a unit in my hands (don’t worry, the folks in Kansas usually know where to find me), I’ll reserve final judgment.  But, I will say that while I’m slightly disappointed in the lack of workout support in the FR210, or changeable data fields – while at the same time pretty happy about instant pace and foot pod support.

22 Comments

  1. I'm a bit disappointed. I thought there would be a new 310XT but maybe it will come in the spring. The 410 isn't waterproof and it doesn't support multi-sport mode.

    Reply
  2. I like that 410 can actually be powered down...that is the one thing that I don't like about my 405CX.

    Reply
  3. Droffen

    According to Garmin's specs webpage the FR210 doesn't support Customizable screen(s).

    Customizable screen(s): no

    Reply
  4. DJ

    I am not surprised that there is no 310XT this time, it came out in mid 2009 so maybe next year. I agree though, it is my primary watch for all things tri and also my primary running watch so hoping for the next model...

    Reply
  5. Let's see...$300 and yet the new 210 can't even give you the current pace? The executive at Garmin that decided that one needs to get off his arshe and actually go out for a run.

    Reply
  6. Joe

    Will the 410 work with the Tanita BC-1000?

    Reply
  7. Agree with Adam above. No instant/current pace is a deal breaker for me. I need up to date figures! And no i don't want to be screwing around with tiny lap lengths to try and approximate my current pace.

    There must be some really good reason its not included in the 210 feature set...

    Reply
  8. Lasse

    It seems that, just like their predecessors, 210 and 410 don't show 1/10 secs (which would be essential in track workouts) and obviously they don't show splits either during the workout (only laps instead). Those are jogging watches, not running watches. How can it be so difficult to put a decent stopwatch into 400$ item?

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    are you sure that the new 210 won't offer instant pace (a.k.a. current pace)? The watch face says "Pace" - are you sure that will be average pace and not current pace? For me - that will be the clincher. If it is current pace, then I think I will get one. The press release says "real-time data". hmmmm.

    Reply
  10. My 405 touch bezel drives me nuts more and more. I'm surprised they're sticking with that since I've never really heard anything but complaints about it. Is there anything on the horizon in the way of an XT update? Like something smaller? Thanks for the reviews.

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I think the 210 does display current pace. Check out page 4 of the user manual:

    link to www8.garmin.com

    Reply
  12. Hi All!

    Thanks for the comments.

    RE: 310XT Replacement

    I think we'll see that in the spring. The majority of the Garmin fitness series operates on a two-year cycle, with the 310XT originally coming out in Spring/Summer 2009. So a new product in 2011 is in line. Also in line with Timex's plans as well.

    RE: Customizable screens

    Indeed, only partially. I've clarified that. Too bad really...

    RE: Instant pace

    After the manual was published it is indeed offering instant pace along with the FR110's lap/avg pace. This is fairly big and a nice touch. I'll be interested to see if this is exact instant pace, or a smoothed instant pace (there's been some talk in various circles to start looking at doing pace smoothing on the run, which Timex actually does, in order to streamline how users see the data).

    Thanks all!

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    OK. So I skimmed through the 210 manual, and I found no way to display cadence or number of steps from the foot-pod in real time on the watch. Not even in the history of the run.

    The only way to see such information is apparently after the run at Garmin Connect. So I guess the only real-time functionality of the foot-pod is if one is exercising indoors and the GPS has no reception.

    Which leads me to the following question: What on earth are the Garmin Execs smoking?

    Reply
  14. Okay, now I take my comment back about instant pace...Probably looking to sell my 405 and pick up a 210. :-D

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    watching ironman hawaii right now - matter of time before you are there and i'm reading the race report! keep up the awesome posts.
    ea

    appledoc23@yahoo.com

    Reply
  16. I really enjoy my FR405 (so far over 4,000km since last April), so I guess I'll have to decide if I keep it or go with the 410. i find that a large portion of the bad press is caused by one-time users or people who haven't tried it at all.
    (Don't forget me for the Timex give-away...)

    Reply
  17. Sam

    as a 110 owner, i'm a bit disappointed that the 210 seems to basically be the same watch except it has different software/firmware that enables these extra features. i'd gladly pay garmin a nominal fee to upgrade my software without having to shell out $300 for a new watch...

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    hi

    I have 2 questions for you.

    1. Do both the 410 and 210 have the SiRFstarIVTM GPS chip in them ?

    and

    2. Are there any improvements in the waterproofing design of the 210. I know of 4 people whose display fogged up under normal running conditions with the 110 so IPX7 is really meaningless as far as I am concerned.

    Thank you

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    I would be so excited to get the garmin. It looks awesome.

    Reply
  20. When is coming out your review of the new Forerunner 210? I am looking forward to it.

    Reply
  21. link to runcolo.com

    Tad disappointed overall. You would think after a few years more changes would have been made.

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    I went to the Garmin store last night and inquired about the pace issue. They claim that the 410 does real time pace, but that is the only Forerunner with this feature. They said the 210 is going to show what your pace to finish the mile is going to be - so if you do the first half at a 10 minute pace and the second half you're going at an 8 minute pace, the screen will display 9.

    Reply

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