Swimsense, FR410, Garmin Connect & Bing, and Giveaway Results….oh my!

[Note: If you’re looking for my In Depth Swimsense Review – you’ll want to mosey on over there.]

I’ve got just a few minutes before my flight takes off, so before they get into the final boarding calls I wanted to update folks on a few things moving through the DCRainmaker world this week.  I’ve got some great posts coming up in the following days and weeks, so here’s a taste of things to come.

The Wahoo Fitness iPhone ANT+ Bike Case Giveaway

First up – thanks to all who entered, just shy of 300 folks!  Holy moly!

As promised, it would be pure random (though, in all honesty, I should be giving point away for many of the hilarious responses mixed in there – tons of entertainment!).  And as such, I headed over to my friends at Random.org and let them do the thinking:


Which, correlates to Adam:


Congrats Adam – looks like you’ll be kickin’ it up in Canada (Calgary no less!) with your own ANT+ case.  It seems about half the winners from giveaways are international – cool stuff!  And, as I promised, it’s already in the mail…did it on the way to the airport.  How’s that for service?

FINIS Swimsense Demo Unit Arrived!

Probably the highlight of the week thus far has been the arrival of the long awaited Swimsense unit.  It arrived early this morning fresh out of some quick testing that the Swimsense team did in California last week after all the units arrived in country.  The unit will record your swim workouts, as well as allow you to download workouts to it.  Finally, it’ll allow you to upload everything to the web.

While I spent today running around in circles in DC and couldn’t get to the pool prior to my flight here in a few minutes – I will give it a whirl this week once I land and find a pool.


The watch is to the left below, with the little USB dock to the right.  The dock connects via a standard USB cable to your computer so you can upload workouts, etc…:


Just to give you a sense of scale and size, here it is next to the fairly normal sized FR210 watch:


I’m really looking forward to giving it a shot.  Though, hopefully I can ignore the fine print that says I shouldn’t expose it to water… ;)


Forerunner 410:

Speaking of small wrist-sized devices, the FR410.  This came in a week or so ago while I was out of the country, but I had a chance to unbox it and get it all charged up.  It’s flying with me on my trip and I’ll give it a bit of a whirl while abroad.


The FR410’s claim to fame is its touch bezel system, along with a fair bit more features than the runner-focused FR210.  Though, it doesn’t quite have all the features of the triathlon focused Forerunner 310XT.  There’s been some engineering changes in the bezel in an attempt to alleviate some of the past issues with the touch bezel, specifically splicing the underlying touch sensor into four quadrants – versus the single quadrant before.

We’ll see how that shakes out in the coming weeks.

Garmin Connect and Bing

Continuing the theme of things shaking out – there’s been tons of movin’ and shaking over on the Garmin Forums and across the Internet the past few weeks over the change on Garmin Connect from Google Maps to Bing Maps.  Lots of unhappy folks, primarily those that are international – but also US based folks with loss of terrain, etc…


A fair number of you have asked my opinion on the matter.  I posted a bit of initial thoughts in the comments section in response to some questions in the FR210 review last week (scroll down into the comments at the end and look for my red text).  But, I’ll try and circle back and cover it a bit more later this week.

In the meantime, I’ve talked with the folks at Garmin regarding it, and you should see something in the morning from them posted publically.  I’ll be following up a bit later on with my thoughts based on their public response, probably on Thursday.

Thanks all!  Gotta run…final boarding!


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  1. Wow, one off.
    At least I’m getting closer.
    Looking forward to your 410 review. I wonder how much it will really differ from my 405CX.


  2. Hi,
    There was a comment from a Garmin rep on the Garmin 410 forum suggesting the bezel differences between 405 and 410 were a bit more subtle than sub-divisions:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    I’ll be really interested to see how you find it – the bezel problems put me off ever buying a 405.

  3. When I saw my name I thought I was the one, unfortunately my name is near to the winner, but not this time… Congrats.

  4. Congrats on the winner..

  5. Can’t wait for the Swimsense review. If it’s as in depth as your other ones… Thumbs up!

  6. no moisture allowed? hahah. can’t wait for the review. i didn’t even know they made products like that. oops :)

  7. I’m first in line for the Finis Swimsense giveaway!

  8. congrats to adam…even if we all are secretly sending him dirty thoughts…not that kind of thought.

    love the 410, interested in the swimsense review!

  9. Looking forward to reading your report on the 410. I have the tiniest wrists. One of the deterrents (well, the biggest is cost) to investing in a garmin is the bulk on my arm; I definitely need a smaller style.

  10. gscozzison

    Hi DC, great blog!! Have you tried/used the “Swimovate” that seems to be a similar product to Swimsense? The older model looks like it is “proven” in counting strokes and the new Pro series allows for downloading.

  11. I have played with the Swimmate a bit, and was actually sent one to try out. I used it on and off for quite a few months – but just became so frustrated with the usability of the device, I ultimately gave up and didn’t bother spending my time writing up a full review.

    While it counted laps quite well, the user interface (menu system) of the device was so difficult to master that I’d often end up accidentally deleting my own workouts just moments after completing them. I’ve talked with others that have used the watch and describe similiar problems – though most are willing to ‘make it work’. It’s rare for me to become so frustrated with a device, but that one was it.

    On the bright side, the hotel I’m at here in Delhi has a pool with lap lanes – so I hope to give the Swimsense a whirl in the next 24 hours.


  12. I know you are more focused on tech, but i was wondering if you could review the new ON shoes, those bizarre-spring switzerland enginereed shoes

  13. I was looking at the ascent activity tracking software forum yesterday and saw a post from someone requesting a functionality change to switch to bing maps! Thought that was funny given the outrage surrounding garmin connect’s recent change! Like you said, they both have good and bad depending on what you’re looking for and where you’re looking.

  14. Ray, your picture of the 410 makes it look like the ring around the face is silver but the picture on Garmin’s web site makes it look black. That’s odd.

  15. Anonymous

    Hi–I’m interested to see what you find about battery life with the 410. I’ve returned a 405CX and now a 410 because the batteries only lasted about 4hours. Thanks to REI’s awesome return policy these watches haven’t put me out of pocket. Input for those with a 405CX or 410…the bezel scratches easily. I purchased a “generic” Invisible Shield (45mm watch face) from Zagg.com (I have no affiliation with them), and it worked great to protect the bezel and the screen from abuse, while still allowing normal bezel use. Not that I had the watches very long as the battery life was dismal. Just ordered a 310XT, in part due to your review. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of what it’ll be like.

  16. I got the Swimsense last week and have tried it out for two swims. The data is accurate for my freestyle and backstroke but off for my breaststroke and fly. That could just be me. I agree that it is easy to configure and get going, but harder to download the data. I did get it all set up after a talking with tech support and updating my version of Firefox.

    I look forward to your full review.

  17. From a comment above it sounded like you may have given up on a doing a review of the Finis SwimSense. It hasn’t been hassle free for me yet either, but I’m going to try to keep using and see if it starts to help in training.

    I was able to get one of the first batch as a Xmas gift. Took it for test-drive today. Had it actually lock up on me twice. The second time it happened was while the battery died mid workout, then it locked up. (I then also found out the hard way pressing the two right buttons clears a workout, argh.)

    Got home and opened a trouble ticket with Finis, hopefully they keep trying to improve the software on the watch. The site seems slick that unit cam upload to, and they now offer all web features at no cost. (I think I might be cursing right now if they didn’t.)

    My issues were running version v1.0.1.2, as I got home from the gym they released version v1.0.1.3… fingers-crossed