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Garmin Forerunner 610 In Depth Review


The Garmin Forerunner 610 represents the next generation running watch from Garmin.  The watch builds on many areas that the FR405 and FR410 carved out – including a slim profile and advanced workout features.  But it also adds a number of heavily requested features, including some functions that had long been cut out of other Forerunner models.  Even more, it’s the first Garmin touch screen running watch.  But is a running watch the right place for a touch screen?  And does this next version of the Forerunner meet the needs of the vast runner demographic?  Well, stick around and I’ll explain.

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin sent me the Forerunner 610 for a period of 45 days as a trial unit.  Once that period has elapsed, I send the whole package to the folks in Kansas.  Simple as that.  Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints.  If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can.  But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

So – with that intro, let’s get into things.


Once you’ve got the Forerunner 610 box in your posession it’ll be time to crack it open.  Interestingly, Garmin has changed up their standard packaging with the FR610, opting for a black box instead of the more traditional blue-colored ones

Garmin Forerunner 610 Box

From there we’ll go ahead and get all the pieces laid out on the table.  The pieces are all individually wrapped in some plastic bags, so I’ll walk through them one by one after this.

Garmin Forerunner 610 Box Parts Unwrapped

After you’ve removed the plastic bags, here’s the end resultant:

Garmin Forerunner 610 Box Parts Unwrapped

Let’s get the less exciting pieces out of the way first (save the best for last, right?).  For that, we’ll dive into the power block.  This connects to the charging cable and allows you to charge the watch without a computer’s USB port.  It’ll also charge any other USB gadget you happen to have.  The US version comes only with the US power clip, so if you’re elsewhere in the world you’ll need additional power clips or a standard adapter.


Next we have the even less exciting manuals and CD’s.  It’s largely just a pile of paper stuff that you’ll probably never read.


Then we’ve got the ANT+ USB stick.  This is where it starts gettin’ good!  This USB stick wirelessly communicates with the FR610 via ANT+ and downloads your workouts.  It works quite some distance away (a few rooms away).  We’ll talk about it more later on.


Then we have the latest edition of the premium soft strap heart rate strap.  There are two versions of the FR610 – one comes with the heart rate strap, and one doesn’t.  This is the strap you’ll get if you get the bundle with the HR strap.  I’ll talk more about the strap options later on in significant detail.


Now…the good parts! First up – the charging cable.  You’ll notice that it has changed from watches of the past.  Instead of being the FR310XT/FR405/FR410 dual-prong style clip or the FR110/FR210 quad-prong clip, they’ve moved to a magnetic latch style system.


This new charging clip uses small internal magnets to secure itself against the back of the watch.  In many ways it’s actually kinda like the Timex Global Trainer charging clip where it straddles both edges of the watch (except that one lacks the magnets).


I asked the Garmin team why exactly the change from the previous charging cables.  They said that one of the issues they found with the previous clips is that while they worked for most folks, they found that if the charging cable/watch got accidentally moved then the charging could be disrupted – leaving folks without a charged watch at runtime.  The new clip using the magnets ensures that even if it gets bumped, it will still hang on and charge the watch.

Outside of the charging clip, we’ve got the watch itself.  The back is metallic (and magnetic), and the front is glass that’s slightly inset to (hopefully) prevent glass cracking issues like the FR310XT and the Nike+ Sportwatch have occasionally seen.


On the sides you have three physical buttons.  The left hand side is the power/light button, that also doubles to trigger connection to the Tanita BC-1000 scale.


On the right you have your standard start/stop and lap/reset buttons.


Then you have two touch screen buttons that are near the edge of the screen.  On the bottom of the watch where you see the three blue lines, this acts as a way to toggle the menu and home screen.

And to the left at the 9’oclock position you have what would be a blue arrow that essentially performs both confirmation and ‘back’ functions within the menu’s.  On mine the button isn’t visible, but it’s still functional.  It looks just like a little blue triangle on retail units.


Finally, the band itself is a slimmer black band, similar to that on the FR110/FR210 and much nicer than the older and thicker FR405/FR410.  It’s also interchangeable with a fabric soft strap accessory that you can purchase.

Size Comparisons:

The FR610 decreases the size from the FR405/FR410’s primarily through a thinner watch body and strap.  It doesn’t appreciably change the actual watch diameter.  Personally, I think this is fine.  The FR610 manages to allow you to squeeze in four concurrent fields (compared to three with the FR405/FR410), all while maintaining roughly the same size.  I think if you went any smaller you’d have to sacrifice either information or readability.

Comparing it to other Garmin units, you’ll see that the majority of modern Forerunner units have pretty much the same watch face size now.  The one exception being the multisport focused FR310XT (orange one), which maintains a larger profile (and far more features).


Looking from left to right, the watches are the FR60, FR110 (FR210 is identical body), FR405 (FR410 is identical body), FR610 and finally the FR310XT.

The area you most notice the sizes is in thickness, where you can see the bulk of the FR405/FR410 and the FR310XT rising above:


In general though, you’ll see most of the watches have now stabilized in the size department.

Initial Setup:

The initial setup process has been further reduced with each new Garmin that’s been released.  It used to be that there were about 10 Monty Python style questions it would ask you. Now it’s down to just a handful, mostly used to ensure you’re not stuck with a watch reading out a display in Ellinika.  Cause that would just be Greek to me…


After you answer time format, gender and a few others, then you’ll be all set and ready to gather satellite reception. I found the FR610 incredibly quick when it came to reception – even faster than my FR310XT.  The first time after turning it on it took maybe 20 seconds to find satellites.  Then subsequent times upon turning it on were always less than 10 seconds.  The FR610 uses Garmin’s Hotfix technology to remember where you were last time and thus be able to remember where the corresponding satellites were that it needs to talk to.


Once you’ve completed initial setup, the last item would be pairing any additional ANT+ sensors you might have.  For example, depending on if you bought the FR610 package with the heart rate strap, you’d want to pair that piece.  Additionally, if you bought a separate footpod for indoor treadmill use – you’d want to pair that too.  And finally, if you have an ANT+ bike speed/cadence sensor – you guessed it, you’d want to pair that as well.

With that – we’re ready to get on outside!

The Touchscreen:

Before we go for a run though, let’s talk about the biggest change to the watch – which is the new touch screen.  The FR610 builds on technology used in the newly released Edge 800 cycling computer which now includes a touch screen display.  These screens are unlike your typical phone touch screen though, and are designed to handle everything from rain to gloves.  You may remember some of the videos I put together as part of the Edge 800 touch screen review (linked above).  I decided to do some of those same tests to see how it fared.  First up though, is a quick video to let you get the feel for the touch screen.  As you can see, it works pretty well.  Sure there’s a few times where either I or the touch screen made a mistake – but in general I didn’t have many issues.

Here’s the first video just showing some general use wandering in/around the various menus:

Garmin Forerunner 610 Touch Screen Demonstration

Of course, the most common question is how does it perform with gloves?  Well, no problem – here’s three pairs of gloves.  I would have done this in one take, but I simply lacked the ability to get one of the pairs of gloves off in a timely manner.  No retakes here, just the way it is.  The first pair of gloves you’ll see is a common $1.00 cheap glove that you’ll find at every running expo in the world.  Also happens to be my go-to gloves virtually all fall and winter.  Then I’ll transition into a stiffer glove that I primarily use for cycling.  And finally…I go into the giant mitten.  Yes, a mitten.

Garmin Forerunner 610 Touch Screen Glove Test

As you can see, I generally didn’t have any problems.  Also keep in mind that once you start your run, there really isn’t too much of a reason to wander aimlessly through the menus.  You’ll primarily just be swiping left/right to change already configured display pages.

Finally, last but not least is how water affects it.  This evening during my run in the 84*F weather I got plenty soaked, much of that water ending up on the FR610.  In general it didn’t affect use of the watch.  However, I figure there’s no better test than simply taking it into the shower with direct water pressure and using the touch screen.  So here ya go – with water cascading down onto the watch and actively using the touch screen without issue:

Using the Forerunner 610 in simulated ‘heavy rain’ conditions.

All in all I found the touch screen to generally work as expected.  While one can certainly debate the merit of having a touch screen at all, I didn’t find it to detract from the watch.  Previously I found the older touch bezel design of the FR405/FR410 to take away from the watch’s functionality.  In the case of the FR610, it all seemed to flow pretty well.


With running being the main focus of the FR610, it’s time we got out and ran with it!  After you turn it on you’ll either be at the menu screen or the main training screen, depending on how much touching you were doing while you were turning it on.  Here’s what the main menu looks like:


One of the first things you’ll want to do is to pick out your data fields.  For me personally, I use Heart Rate, Pace, Distance and Time.


With the FR610 you can have up to four different pages of data, each with up to four fields (or as few as one field).  This is an increase from the previous 3 fields on the FR405/FR410.


As you run, the data is not only displayed, but also recorded for later analysis.  Everything from pace to distance to heart rate to elevation, and even running cadence if you have a footpod, is recorded.


In addition to configuring data that you can glance at you can also configure the FR610 to simply beep/display/vibrate at you should you run afoul of your pre-determined goals.  These are called ‘alerts’, and with the FR610 you can setup alerts for distance, heart rate, time, calories or cadence.


In addition to the alerts I just noted, they’ve added a new feature – which is the ‘Run/Walk’ alerts.  What this enables you to do is to follow one of the many run racing plans that have you running for a set period of time (such as 10 minutes), and then walk for another set period of time (1 minute).


You can configure both the run and walk times from any number between 00:00 and 59:59.  It’ll simply alternate back and forth and beep/vibrate/display a warning as you hit the run/walk intervals.  Note that you cannot specify a distance, only a time.

On my long run tonight I actually used this feature to remind me to intake both nutrition/hydration but also to do some drills I had to do every 10 minutes.  While a typical time alert would also work, this is better in that it reminded me essentially twice – once at the beginning of my nutrition period, and again by time I should be done.  Pretty useful stuff, even if I’m not using it for its intended purpose.

Another commonly used feature of past Garmins is the Virtual Partner functionality.  This feature allows you to set a specific pace (i.e. 8:30/mile) and then it’ll show you how far ahead/behind you are relative to that given pace. You can customize the speed/paces for both bike and run. It uses a little stick figure man to represent both you…and the pacer:


However, a new addition to the FR610 is the Virtual Racer functionality.  This takes the simple pacer concept a step forward and allows you to race against your previous runs.  For example, if you ran a specific 10K course last week in 45 minutes, it’ll have the little stick figure man run your 45 minute pace, while you try to just barely edge him out at 44:30.  You can select any previous run from the list:


But it gets even better in that you can download any activity from Garmin Connect to the unit and race against that.  For example – you want to head to the Boston Marathon and beat your friends exact time from last year?  No problem, just download his workout from Garmin Connect onto your watch, and then attempt to best him as you virtually run ahead or (as it may be), behind him.

In addition to pacing you can download any workout you create from Garmin Training Center to the FR610 as well.  This allows you to create some pretty complex workouts on the computer and then quickly transfer them to the watch to execute:


Once the ANT+ agent transfers them to your watch, you’ll be good to go!

Of course, if you don’t want the complexity of Garmin Training Center you can simply create basic interval workouts on the watch itself.  You just define key pieces like work and rest intervals and you’ll be good to go.


Speaking of resting… If you run in the city quite a bit, you’ll probably end up using the Auto Pause feature.  This functionality automatically pauses your run when you come to a stop – or fall below a given threshold speed.  While you’ll want to be careful in using this functionality in a race (because the real clock doesn’t stop), it’s an easy way to keep from forgetting to start your watch again after that stoplight.


[Updated Section]: In addition to the watch monitoring your run it can also act as a guide when you’re lost. It does this through the navigation and saved locations area.  It does not unfortunately however have standard Garmin Courses functionality.  This functionality allowed you to download breadcrumb style routes to the watch to follow along.

The functionality is slightly different on the FR610 compared to previous Garmin watches.  Instead of offering a straight course following option it offers that functionality within the confines of the Virtual Racer component.  Meaning, there is no separate courses functionality like most Garmin watches.  While you can download courses from Garmin Connect and other sources, you cannot follow them with the little compass/breadcrumb.  You can however still choose to track back to start – allowing you to navigate back to the start of an activity.

Navigation itself is from current location directly to a saved location.  Saved locations must be entered in on the watch itself. Once you’ve chosen a previously saved location (or create a new one on the watch with lat/long), then you’ll be available to follow along with the compass on the unit.  It’s not quite like a car GPS, but rather more boy-scout-esque.  But it gets the job done.

Lastly, you can go ahead and create waypoints for specific locations – such as common places like ‘Home’ or ‘Where I parked my car’.  That way if all else fails on a run gone wrong, you can simply tell the Garmin to get ya back home.


One final newly added area I want to cover is the re-introduction of 1-second recording mode.  Back in the FR305 days you as a user had the option to either record activity data using Smart Recording mode, or 1-second recording mode.  In Smart Recording mode it would attempt to reduce the recording storage needed and take samples every 3-6 seconds (on average).  Whereas in 1-second recording mode (known as 1s), it simply recorded data points every second.

After the FR305, that option went away.  1s mode was only available if you connected an ANT+ cycling power meter.  This lead to a lot of problems for folks that were only recording heart rate data and ended up with files that often had very few actual data points in it due to Smart Recording removing many of those data points.

Well, I’m happy to tell you the option is now back!


Yup, you can now turn on 1s recording mode for the watch as a whole and all activities will be recorded at the 1-second interval.  If you open up the raw files, you can see the 1-second recording is indeed now in effect:


Hopefully we’ll see this ported back to other Garmin units via a firmware update, I know both myself and many others would love to see that.


The FR610 includes a high contrast backlight that is easily readable.  You can change how long you’d like the backlight to display once tapping the power/light button:


I prefer the backlight setting of ‘Stays on’, as typically if I’m running at night I just want it to be on when I glance down.  As you can see below, it’s plenty bright:


Heart Rate Training and Calories:

One of the most popular areas aside from using the GPS functionality is the ability to record one’s heart rate while exercising.  The FR610 uses an ANT+ enabled heart rate strap that wirelessly transmits your heart rate to the watch itself.  Depending on whether you buy the FR610 bundle with the strap or without you’ll have the ability to do that automatically.  Here’s what the strap looks like:


Once you’ve got the strap on, you’ll want to go ahead and pair it.  It only takes a second for it to find your strap.  After pairing it’ll remember your specific strap forever, and won’t pickup other people’s straps – so you don’t have to worry about interference:


While exercising you can setup either heart rate alerts or heart rate zones if you so choose.  You can also display your heart rate in a variety of ways, from instant display to averages or zones.  Or you can simply record the data for later evaluation.  This data is then transmitted to Garmin Connect as part of your activity file:


By knowing your heart rate, the FR610 can determine your calorie burn by utilizing 2nd generation Firstbeat technology.  Firstbeat is a method to evaluate your heart rate and determine caloric burn based on known parameters about you including age, weight, height and fitness level.  With this information it can estimate calorie burn for your activity.

This is then shown on the display of the watch (and an alert can be setup when you reach a given level), and is also transmitted to Garmin Connect for record keeping purposes:


I put together an in depth post on calorie burn calculations with different Garmin watches over in this post, which I highly recommend you check out.

Screen Lock:

The FR610 includes a screen lock that you can unlock simply by swiping after you tap the screen.  Essentially it works just like an iPhone/iPod would.  The screen lock is activated when the watch goes into power save mode.  You cannot however activate it yourself.


But unlike the iPhone it includes a cute little animation that shows a runner ‘evolving’ from crawling to runner, and eventually to collapsing again.  Nice touch!


Using the watch…as a day to day watch:

The FR610 can be used as a day to day watch as well, and given its size – it fits quite nicely.  I personally found the previous generation FR405/FR410’s too bulky for that.  But this one has been holding down the camp on my wrist constantly now.  In normal time mode it simply displays the date and time:


You can also create an alarm, should you have a reason you want to wake up (not sure why you’d want to interrupt your sleep though…):



To be clear upfront, this watch is primarily designed for the running crowd.  But Garmin added in a number of features to make the cycling piece work just fine if you happen to swing both ways.  One of the biggest changes you’ll notice over past Forerunner watches is that virtually every menu setting has a separate area for both cycling and running.  Meaning they no longer have to share many of the same settings.  You can see this below as an example in one area where you set training pages for both bike and run separately:


In addition to all of the running features noted above, the FR610 also includes support for ANT+ speed/cadence sensors that allow you to gather speed information while indoors on a trainer (or outside if you’d like), as well as cadence information about how many times the crank arm rotates per minute (RPM).


This of course requires an additional accessory, the roughly $35 GSC-10 (or any ANT+ compatible speed/cadence combo sensor).  The sensor looks like this:


I’ll talk more about the sensor in a bit.

In addition to displaying speed/cadence sensor data, you can configure an entirely different set of data page views for just the bike.  This is pretty cool as it allows you to quickly swap back and forth without re-inventing the wheel data-field wise.  For example, while I’m riding I may be interested in both speed and cadence on one page, but more than two metrics on another.  You can mix and match just like you can on the running side.

Of course there comes the question of where exactly to place the unit.  Some folks prefer the simplicity of their wrist, but personally I like to have it mounted on the bike itself – mostly because that way I don’t have to constantly turn my wrist to see the data.

In that case Garmin sells a cheap little rubber mount kit that wraps around your bikes handlebars.  This works well whether it’s a road bike, mountain bike, or even a beach cruiser.  You can see the rubber mount kit here:


And here I’ve got it wrapped around the bars:


And finally, with the watch placed on the mount – just like you’d place it on your wrist:


Note that because you have to wrap it around the rubber mount just like your wrist, it’s not super conducive to quick removal in places like a triathlon – so that’s something you might want to keep in mind.

Speaking of triathlons – if you happen to have a triathlon bike, you can still use the same rubber mount, except you may have to get creative about where you mount it.  For that there’s a few companies that make small arms that you can move watches onto.  FSA and UCM are companies that come to mind.  I quickly grabbed a slightly larger version of that mount, so it didn’t quite fit in between my aerobars (long about 2mm), so for the purposes of this photo I have it mounted to the side.  But it gives you an idea on the options there:


As you can see, you’ve got a few options on a time trial bike.  In an ideal world Garmin would have created a quick release attachment kit for it that locks into the existing FR310XT and Edge 500/800 mounting systems…but, ya can’t win em’ all.

Side Note: Multisport mode/options:

Just as an ancillary note to the triathlon/cycling pieces above, it should be noted that the FR610 does not have a multisport mode like the FR305 and FR310XT do.  This means that you can’t do a swim-bike-run recorded event on a single file (including or excluding transitions).  Now they have improved this slightly over the alternative of ‘nothing’ by allowing you to quickly swap between running and cycling mode merely by holding the lap/reset button down to display a change sport dialog box:



Despite the very protective looking metallic design, the Garmin Forerunner 610 is actually only waterproofed to IPX7 standards.  This means that it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.  It also means that it’s not designed for active swimming on your wrist with constant pounding against the water.  The Garmin manual on page 39  warns against explicitly this task:


I’ve previously killed IPX7 Garmin Forerunner watches due to wearing them on my wrist during an indoor swim (in less than 20 minutes).  If you’re looking for a fully waterproofed solution you’ll want to aim towards the FR310XT instead, which offers complete waterproofing down to 50 meters.

Now, just because it’s IPX7 doesn’t mean it can’t go out and play in the rain.  In fact, it’s more than fine in both the rain and casual water submersion (as you saw earlier with the shower video).  For example, I plunked it down in my bathtub for just under 10 minutes – and it came out just fine and dandy:


If you’re looking to use the watch in a triathlon to measure the swim, you should leverage the swim cap method in order to gather accurate distance without killing the watch in the process.  Also, for more fun with IPX7 bathtub immersion of expensive gadgets, see this post.

Tanita Weight Scale Compatibility:

Like most of the modern Forerunner and Edge devices that Garmin has created lately, the FR610 supports ANT+ enabled scales.  At the moment, the only entrant into that category is the Tanita BC-1000 scale.  This scale measures your weight, body fat and hydration levels and then wirelessly transmits it to the waiting Garmin FR610.


To trigger the two devices you simply hold the power button on the FR610 for a brief moment and it’ll go out and search for its ANT+ enabled scale friend.  Once it’s found the scale the BC-1000 will begin blinking, indicating its ready for you to step on.

Within about 5-7 seconds the scale completes the reading and transmits it back to the watch, where it appears on the screen:


In addition to appearing on the FR610 screen, it then transmits that data to Garmin Connect the next time you upload data from your watch.  Once you’ve logged into Garmin Connect online, you’ll see your metrics within the health section:


The two products together offer a fairly seamless way of gathering the data and tracking it within Garmin Connect.

Accuracy and Satellite Chip:

While I intend to put together a full accuracy report in the coming 4-6 weeks of all the new GPS fitness watch models out there (similar to before with precisely measured routes and varied conditions), I will say that I’ve seen no issues with satellite reception or accuracy on the FR610.  I’ve run on trails with fairly wooded tree areas on winding paths and it never dropped reception or produce weird paths showing loss of accuracy.


The satellite chip itself is the the SiRF SiRFstarIV with the Instant Fix II technology, which makes the satellite acquisition process even faster than previous generations.  As I noted earlier, I’m finding that I can get satellite reception after turning on in less than 10 seconds in some cases.  Incredibly quick.


Fitness Equipment (Gym) Compatibility:

While I don’t have a piece of gym equipment in my place that is ANT+ compatible, I have shown off this capability a bit in the past in previous posts.  What this functionality allows you to do is to link-up with ANT+ enabled gym equipment (typically Spin bikes and treadmills) and have it automatically and wirelessly transmit your performance data to the watch.

For example, on a spin bike it would transmit speed/cadence and even power (watts) – depending on the model. Note that it will record power, but won’t display it on the watch itself.  I demo’d a bit of this at Interbike this past year with the FR60 – one of the few watches that supports this functionality.


While the number of gyms that have this equipment is incredibly small, it is pretty cool if you happen to stumble on it.  Here’s more information from my overview this past fall. Additionally, I spent some time at a local Gym using the FR610 to play with equipment there. For more information, see that post.


There are a number of accessories that can be purchased with the FR610 to extend its functionality.  Here’s a brief overview of all the options:

Running Footpod:

The footpod allows you to gather pace, distance and cadence data while both indoors or outdoors.  For example, if you’re running on a treadmill this would be required as GPS won’t show you moving.  Outdoors it’s useful if your route takes you through a tunnel where you’d lose GPS reception.


The foot pod easily snaps right onto your shoelaces in a matter of a few seconds.  After which you’ll want to calibrate it on a track to ensure the highest level of accuracy.  I’ve found however that after correctly calibrating the footpod, I can actually get both GPS and footpod data to align exactly.  Pretty impressive.

You can pickup the footpod for about $50.  If you’re interested in learning more about the footpod, check out my ‘More than you ever wanted to know about the footpod post’.


If you plan to hook up the Garmin FR610 to your bike, you’re going to want to pickup the speed/cadence sensor kit to get speed, distance cadence while indoors on a trainer (and cadence outdoors).  The good news here is that these kits are relatively inexpensive (compared to the foot pod anyway), and they’re also fully compatible with every other Garmin fitness devices.


This means that if you already have one for a different Garmin device – you’re good to go.  And if you get one now, and eventually upgrade your Garmin watch, then you’re still good to go. The speed/cadence kit can be picked up for about $35.

Heart Rate Strap:

Garmin introduced a slightly new heart rate strap with the Edge 800 – and that same strap has been carried through to the FR210, FR410 and now the FR610.  This new strap aims to reduce many of the spiking/dropout problems of some of the previous straps.  And based on my testing over the past 6 months – it does a pretty good job of this.  It’s reduced those problems for me by about 95%.  There’s still an occasional spike – but mostly they’re gone.

This new strap looks like this:


However, be aware – there are still two older (more common) types out there, which compared, look like this:


If you buy the bundled FR610 kit, you’ll get the fancy new strap 2010 automagically.  You can also pickup the 2010 premium version individually.

The previous heart rate straps can be bought individually for about $65 for the non-2010 premium soft strap version, and about $35 for the old school classic edition.

Tanita BC-1000 Weight Scale:

One non-Garmin accessory that integrates with the FR610 is the Tanita BC-1000 Wireless ANT+ Weight Scale.  This scale uses the ANT+ protocol to communicate with the FR610, allowing it to wirelessly record your weight and body fat readings, which are then transmitted to Garmin Connect.


The scale retails for about $279, and you can find my full In Depth Review on the scale itself here.

FR610 Software:

The FR610 includes software that helps you analyze your activity after you’ve completed it.  Initially you’ll need to pair your FR610 with your computer using the ANT+ USB stick that’s included in the box.


The pairing process only takes a second though and simply requires you to confirm the pairing on both the computer (PC or Mac) and the watch:


Once that’s done it’ll automatically synchronize your workouts to your computer and to Garmin Connect (though you can disable the Garmin Connect piece if you choose).


Additionally, this same avenue is used for firmware updates – which occur usually a few times per year for most Garmin watches.  This allows them to deliver both bug fixes and feature enhancements.


Once you’ve synchronized your watch, the data will be available on Garmin Connect to analyze:

Garmin Connect (free):

Garmin Connect is Garmin’s free web-based portal that allows you to manage and track all of your Garmin activity data.  Whether that be a run, a bike ride…or even flying in a plane.  If a Garmin created it – then you can pretty much see it on Garmin Connect.  Once your activity is uploaded, it’ll be available for detailed analysis here:


From here you can then scroll down and drill into many different metrics such as pace, heart rate, elevation and cadence:


In addition to the overview of each activity you can replay the activity, as if it were a short video:


The site also includes a larger calendar view that you can use to track your activities over time.  From here you can also switch to list view, if you just want a simple list of all your activities.


Garmin Connect has a number of other easy to use features such as setting up goals, tracking health information (as you saw in the Tanita Scale section earlier) and creating reports.  Perhaps the most useful aspect of Garmin Connect is the millions of activity files up there that you can search – allowing you to find routes anywhere in the world that you’ve travelled.  That’s how on a recent trip to the country of Jordan I found a workable cycling route…just by searching Garmin Connect.

In general Garmin Connect is targeted towards more casual users, whereas some of the next products I discuss are focused towards those wanting more analysis capabilities.

Training Peaks (3rd Party):

Training Peaks is one of the largest 3rd party software options.  They have two versions, one is free and one is subscription based.  Regardless of whether you pay, the entirety of Training Peaks is a website (except the device agent software you can install to upload files).  I use Training Peaks as my primary method of tracking my training efforts.  The major reason for TP over Garmin Connect is the advanced analytics.  Additionally, it provides a completely seamless conduit between myself and my coach – something that my other software favorite (Sport Tracks) can’t do.

While at the time of this writing Training Peaks doesn’t officially support the FR610 yet, it still works just fine.  I was able to simply select the watch from the right-side dropdown and it automatically grabbed the .TCX file to upload to Training Peaks (the FR610 creates both a .TCX and .FIT files, for backwards compatibility with older applications).



From there I was able to log-in and see my run without any issues at all:


If you’re looking for very advanced analytics in a web based form, there’s really no other option out there today that has as many features as TP and is completely web based.


Another non-Garmin option is SportTracks.  SportTracks is a Windows only client application that allows you incredibly in depth analysis of your workouts.  Perhaps one of the biggest strengths though of SportTracks is the ability to allow community developers to extend the application with plug-ins.  As a result, there’s a ton of totally cool functionality that’s been added over the years (some for a fee).  SportTracks as an application has a free-mode with some limitations, and a paid mode for $35.

Because the FR610 exports out both .TCX and .FIT files, SportTracks has no problem consuming these files today:


Once imported, the files act just like any other activity within SportTracks – allowing you to slice and dice the data as you see fit:


If you’ve got a Windows based PC, I definitely encourage you to check it out (free or otherwise).


The FR610 represents an update to the previous generation running focused FR405 and FR410 – but omits the troublesome touch bezel that both of those watches had.  The primary selling point of this series of device is the slim ‘watch-like’ design – effectively reducing the wrist footprint of the larger (and slightly more capable) FR305 and FR310XT.  With the FR610 maintaining that smaller form factor and moving to a much cleaner touch screen interface – it makes for a very compelling running watch.

When comparing the FR610 though to other running focused watches like the FR110 and FR210 though, you see a dramatic difference in features and functionality.  The FR110 and FR210 watches are designed for folks that want a simplified GPS-based running experience that essentially just tells you how far, how fast, how long.  Whereas the FR610 aims to offer advanced features like workouts, intervals and heavily customizable data fields.

To me perhaps one of the biggest (yet least noted) features is the re-inclusion of 1-second recording mode.  This has been a huge pain point for many Garmin users since it was removed after the FR305 back some years ago now.  I love the fact that they’ve listened and re-introduced this – and hope to see it return in the firmware for other watches.

So looking at who I’d recommend this watch for, you’ve got a few different categories:

1) The Triathlete: While the FR610 is certainly a great watch for the run leg, and a ‘good’ unit for the bike leg, I’d strongly recommend looking instead at the multisport FR310XT.  Yes, it’s a bit bulkier – but when it comes to the water (that’d be the first leg of the triathlon), there’s really only one option today in the Garmin lineup that’s completely waterproofed.  I know a lot of folks (including myself) were expecting this to be the FR310XT replacement, which it’s definitely not.  I don’t have a timeline for that unfortunately – but I’d be very surprised if we had to wait until next year – given the competition.  Given that tri season is upon us though – I’d just recommend picking up the FR310XT and not looking back.

[October 2011 update: The FR910XT was introduced as the new best of breed tri watch.]

2) The Casual Runner: The casual runner will be happy with either the FR610 (this watch), or the cheaper FR210.  In general the FR210 is probably a better entry level watch – but both devices are simplified enough where you’d be comfortable either way.

3) The Advanced Runner: The FR610 is really aimed at this market.  If you were previously considering the FR405 or FR410 – just ignore those two now and go with the FR610 – you’ll be quite happy.

4) The Cyclist: You want the Edge series of devices, check out the Edge 500 – it’s the best bet here.  If you want a crossover device, than go with the FR310XT.  While the FR610 does have cycling functions – it’s twice the price of the Edge 500.  Compared to the FR310XT, it’s the same price.  The FR310XT has more cycling functions than the FR610.

5) Someone that doesn’t fit in the above five categories: Check out my post – covering all the major categories here.

There will be two bundles of the FR610 available:

A) One bundle for $349 will include the watch, USB ANT+ stick, charging cable and the exciting manuals.

B) The other bundle for $399 will include the watch and the ANT+ soft premium heart rate strap, along with all the other goodies that come with the cheaper version.

Given the $50 price differential, if you plan to buy the HR strap at any point – it’s best to save the $5 and pick it up ahead of time.  If cash is short though, you can always buy any ANT+ HR strap later on (including the new 2010 premium edition one – just see accessories above).

As for availability, the watch will be available in ‘very limited quantities’ at both the London and Boston Marathon expo’s this weekend.  Beyond that it won’t be until May 6th that it’s widely available.

Comparison Chart:

Over time this comparison chart has slowly grown.  Your best bet is to simply click it and view it in all its full screen glory.  The goal here being to compare the most popular GPS based running watches that I’ve reviewed thus far.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated February 1st, 2019 @ 11:13 amNew Window
Product Announcement DateAPR 12, 2011Sept 13th, 2018June 17th, 2018Mar 29th, 2017Jan 4th, 2017
Actual Availability/Shipping DateAPR 15, 2011Late October 2018June 17th, 2018Mar 29th, 2017Mar 31st, 2017
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes (with Galileo too)YesYes
Data TransferANT+ WirelessUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB & Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX7Yes - 30mYes - 100mYes - 50mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)8 HoursUp to 40 hoursUp to 32hrs in GPS-on, up to 85hrs in UltraTrac GPS (varies by model)Up to 24hrs in GPS-on, up to 50hrs in UltraTrac GPSUp to 50 hours
Recording Interval1-second & smart1s1S or Smart1S or SmartVariable
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYesYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYEsYesNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesSteps only (not distance/sleep)
MusicGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Can control phone musicNoYesYEsNo
Has music storage and playbackNoYesNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoiHeartRadio, Deeezer (soon)No
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoYesNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterYesYesYEsYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoFeb 2019YesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoYesYesNo
Group trackingNoYesYesNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoYesYesYEsYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AYesYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/ANoYesYEsNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYEsYes
Strava segments live on deviceTBD Future UpdateYesYesNo
Crash detectionNoNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYEsYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)No
Running Poweryes (built-in)With extra sensorWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (or 3rd party Stryd/RunScribe)
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYEsYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoYesYesNo
Recovery AdvisorNoYesYesYEsYes
Run/Walk ModeYesNoYesYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesYEsYes
Openwater swimming modeN/AYesYEsYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterNoYesWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)WITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)Yes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYEsYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeN/ANoYesYesNo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/AYesNo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No
Change pool sizeN/AYesYEsYEsYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A20M/Y to 250 m/y17M/18Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150M/Y15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesYesYesYes
Can change yards to metersN/AYesYesYEsYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AYesYesNo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for triathlonNoYesYesYesYes
Multisport modeNoYesYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureYesNoYEsYEsYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Auto Start/StopYesYesYEsYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNo (but can give out of zone alerts)YEsYEsNo
Virtual Racer FeatureYesNoYesYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoYesYEsNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoYesYesNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoYesYesno
GeocachingNoNoVia GPS coordinatesVia GPS coordinatesNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoYesYesno
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoYesYEsYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoYesNoNo
Back to startYesFeb 2019YesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoYesNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricBarometricBarometricGPS
Compass TypeN/AN/AMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)NoFenix 5X Plus onlyNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYesno
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)YesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)No
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoYesYesNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoYesYEsNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoYesYEsNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesYEsYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYesYesYEsYes (+ Stryd Running Power Meter)
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYesYEsYEsYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesYEsYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoYesYesNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesN/AYesYEs-
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressPC/Mac
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectPolar FlowGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectSuunto Movescount
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programN/ALinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 610Polar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Garmin Forerunner 935Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Note: I’ve also gone ahead and uploaded the manual in PDF form, until Garmin is able to add it to their site.  You can download it here.

Pro’s and Con’s:

Finally, no review would be complete without the infamous pro’s and con’s section:


– A GPS watch…that looks like a regular watch
– Adds 1-second recording option for all workouts
– Adds Run/Walk reminder feature (which can be used for all sorts of other things, like nutrition)
– Adds Virtual Racer feature, ability to race past performances/others
– Accurately tracks distance, heart rate, pace and a ton of other metrics
– Ability to change data fields at any time by simply pressing and holding data field
– Touchscreen works as advertised – no issues
– Connects to ANT+ foot pods and speed/cadence sensors for indoor workouts
– Connects to ANT+ weight scales and gym equipment
– Works as a normal watch (time/date/alarms) when not being used for fitness
– Wirelessly downloads workouts via ANT+ to computer


– Battery life is still limited at 8 hours
– Doesn’t support ANT+ power meters (cycling)
– Not fully waterproofed for swimming
– Lack of standard ‘course’ download and follow/review option
– Changed charging connector (some might see this as benefit, but I’m not convinced)

As always, thanks for reading, I appreciate it.  If you have any questions – feel free to post them below, I try to answer as often as possible.  Thanks!

Found this review useful?  Here’s how you can help support future reviews with just a single click!  Read on…

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items).  You can pickup the Garmin FR610 either with or without HR strap (and accessories). Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout.  By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount.  And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Garmin FR610
Garmin FR610 in funky new electric boogaloo blue color

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit or accessories (though, no discount on either from Amazon).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.  Though, Clever Training also ships most places too and you get the 10% discount.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryManufacturerStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)B&H Photo LinkMore Info
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated March 16th, 2016 @ 2:26 pm
Forerunner 610 Cloth Replacement StrapGarmin$20.00LinkN/AN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1Garmin$37.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2Garmin$69.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3Garmin$50LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)Garmin$28.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)Garmin$45LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)Garmin$35.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Transfer USB Stick (large sized)Garmin$38.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)Garmin$49TBALinkN/A
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin Forerunner 610 Charging CableGarmin$16.00LinkLinkN/A
Lifesource UC-324 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale (My recommendation)Lifesource$109.00LinkN/ALink
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!Motorola$55.00LinkN/ALink
Suunto ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)Suunto$37LinkLinkLink
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)Suunto$70.00LinkN/ALink
Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Enabled Weight ScaleTanita$215.00LinkN/ALink
Wahoo Fitness ANT+ iPhone Adapter (for uploading workouts wirelessly)Wahoo Fitness$40.00LinkLinkLink

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices.  These guides are all listed on this page here. Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

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  1. I would love to see the 1s recording option coming to the Edge 500 indeed… That would be great.

    • Tripler

      Great review again.
      However, my experience of the 610 is a faulty HRM, very slow satellite connection and bad corrosion on the back.

    • For the HR strap, you should look at some of these tips here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      If you’re seeing corrosion on your unit (not all people see the skin reaction, which causes the corrosion), Garmin will happily swap out your unit for free. Even if you bought it the day the units came out. Just ring them out. They stopped making the metal backed ones about 18 months ago.

      For satellites, if you’re getting extreme slowness, go ahead and do a soft reset (no data loss), and that usually fixes things.

    • Refurbished units may still have a metal back unless they changed in the last few weeks. Don’t know if there is a process to get a referb without a metal back

    • I was wrong. Just had mine fixed and obviously didn’t have time to look at it carefully, it a plastic back that is painted to look the metal. Sorry

    • pam wilde

      Hi. Thank you for a quite exceptional review. Comprehensive but not verbose.
      I currently have the 410 which after 2 and a half years use is increasingly erratic with its pace accuracy despite resetting. So…two questions: what is the anticipated useable lifespan of the 610, and secondly – I have the soft wrist strap on the 410 as my wrist is so tiny. Does the 610 come with a strap as it doesn’t appear to be in the boxed packaging? Once again, many thanks for your diligent report. Pam

    • The FR610 doesn’t have a specific lifespan. For pace accuracy on your FR410, that does sound like a hard reset would fix it – are you sure you did that versus a soft reset?

      As for the FR610, it doesn’t come with a soft strap.

    • pam wilde

      Gosh – quick response thanks! The reset I did was recommended by Garmin product support ie press and hold and delete all history which felt pretty hard to me. Be interesting to know the average time used before replacements as I guess it sounds like upgrading to newer models occurs before the lifetime effectiveness is reached? The strap is a real negative though – why on earth would they not incorporate that? Surely it wipes out a whole potential base of users?! Pam

    • Sorry, just to be clear though – while the fabric strap isn’t in the box, you can buy it separately: link to buy.garmin.com

  2. How is the Virtual Racer feature different from doing a “Course” on, e.g., the 310XT? If I look at the Virtual Partner, the map or the elevation profile there, I compare myself to the exact performance of when the course was created, don’t I?

  3. Thanks for another great review.
    A couple of questions:
    1. How many hours can the watch record at 1s intervals before its full?
    2. How does it stack up as an everyday watch?

  4. How about an update to the 310XT, is there something on the way?

  5. Okay, I was holding out for an upgrade to the 310xt. I’ve been using a FR 305 but wanted something smaller/prettier. I’m happy with the 305, just interested in something smaller. Would you advise waiting on an updated 310 (maybe 1-2 months) or go ahead and buy a 310 now?

    Thanks for your great website!

  6. Amazing review Ray! Garmin sure does have a fruend to count on when it comes to in depth and analysis of their products! Cheers!

  7. nice test ! very tempting this new Garmin…

  8. As always, awesome review Ray! As a fellow nerd, I appreciate the details.
    One simple question: does the watch function as an everyday watch – can it display time, date, etc. without a GPS fix?

  9. As a triathlete, I was really hoping the next offering would be something multi-sport aimed, if for no other reason then to drive the 310xt’s price down.

    Not sure what Garmin is doing with so many similar running watches on the market now. 110-210-410-610 the line is blurry where each one is better than the other (especially with the almost-new 410)

  10. Jack

    I would only wish that Garmin creates a driver for ANT on Linux, it is getting boring and frustrating.

  11. First, thanks for yet another great review. Second, how it will be priced?

  12. Thanks for the review Ray. Thorough as always. A little disappointed though, was hoping for a 310XT refresh. Maybe that’s still to come.

  13. Offriver

    It’s so awesome that I was able to read your in depth review on the day of announcement. I’d otherwise be clamoring for more info (and wasting a lot of time trying to find it) on the Internet. I’m planning on ordering one. It has everything that I wanted (well, except for being waterproof). Great job Ray, you rock! Thanks to Garmin for being smart and sending you one early enough to have your review ready!! Keep the great info coming!! 🙂

  14. Jamie

    I just received my 310XT today from Amazon. Was going to leave it in the box in case the new Garmin was going to be a updated version. In which case I would have returned it and waited for the new one.

    Looks like I will be opening the box now….

  15. Great review! Love the precision but did I miss pricing?

  16. Oh man!
    Great review but as many others already wrote. was really hoping for an update to the 310xt!
    Hopefully someone can offer some insight into when that refresh might be coming to a blogger near us?
    thanks as always!

  17. hey Ray,

    just wondering, can the watch be locked so the touch screen becomes inoperative when running?
    if so, how does that work?

    I’m concerned that when running it would be easy for the screens to get all messed up just through some accidental touch from a sleeve, or a knock from another runner.

    one thing that has got me before with the 320XT is that I’ve accidently locked the screen and at the time I’ve had a mind blank as how to unlock it, this has really messed up my runs when trying for five minutes trying to unlock.

    the other thing that concerns me, I guess that if the front panel breaks the watch is a finished and it’s a full rma? two years ago I had a bad fall on the bike part of a triathlon and my 310xt ended up with a chipped screen on the corner, lucky for me it’s still water proof and working. How shock proof is this thing?

    cheers and thanks for the review!

  18. Great review….very excited to see what Timex comes out with, and if they listended to your suggestions…

    Currently own a 310XT..if the new timex hasn’t improved, will keep my Garmin for another season!

  19. Definitely glad to see 1 second recording back 😀 Keeping my fingers crossed that they provide firmware upgrades for the Edge series to do the same as that’s by far my largest complaint with the 800!

  20. FatalError

    Still no barometric altitude meter. Little reason to upgrade my 410 then. Had they finally included that, I woul have bought it in a heartbeat.

  21. Very thorough review. I’m glad you had the opportunity to review the product prior to launch and I hope Garmin will continue providing you this opportunity.

    Any insight for future releases of Garmin Forerunners? All the pros for this watch have a hard time justifying the negative waterproofing, fix that and support cycle meters and this would be a great tri watch.

    In regards to pricing UK Garmin made the following post:
    “The London Marathon Expo will be exclusively selling a limited number of the first Forerunner 610’s to arrive in the country (£359) and will also take pre-orders on the stand #230 Halls N1-N8.”
    link to garmin.blogs.com

    I think that converts to about $590.

  22. I love your blog and your in-depth reviews. Thank you for putting so much time into them. Actually I bought the 310XT a few months ago after thoroughly reading your recommendations. Thank you!

  23. Hello Ray, great work.

    I must say I am very disappointed with the new 610… I see no reason why I should upgrade from my 410.
    Just as I saw no reason to upgrade to the 800 from the 705.
    BIG question… is Garmin running out of ideas on how to innovate their products. Seems like the new products are just cosmetics changes with marginal improvements… Just my opinion.

    On remark… you note on you feature comparison that the 410 does not have the virtual pacer, but it does have it. Or does Virtual Racer mean something completely different? If so, what is the difference?

    Thanks for the great work and keep going !!!!

  24. Based on DCR’s tight-lipped 45-day trial period with the FR610, he likely wouldn’t be able to tell us IF he had a 310XT replacement in his possession, or knew of one coming up.

    If only he could tell us somehow.

    DCR: blink once for “it’s coming soon” and blink twice for “don’t hold your breath”

  25. Daniel Vermeulen

    Another great review, Ray! Hope you can keep ’em coming!

  26. Anonymous

    So it’s basically a touchscreen 410 with Tanita integration? Big deal…Garmin needs to worry more about fixing all the folks stranded with bugs on the 410/405cx/405.

  27. Anonymous

    Just spoke to Garmin CS and the 610 will be available sometime in Q2; did not have any more information than that so looks like weeks to months away.

  28. New to your site. Great review. When the 405 dies, I’ll be going for this one. Thanks!

  29. Disappointed, but not surprising. Looks like the 310XT can last for at least a year before any potential replacement will appear from Garmin.

  30. Anonymous

    Great review….I was hoping to see you comment on the new training effect feature.

  31. James

    Great review. Question:
    What is the difference/advantage in 1 sec recording vs. smart recording for the average runner? Is 1 sec recording more accurate with distance, HR, or calories?

  32. Anonymous

    nooo… where the new multisport/triathlon watch that was announced? this is simply a running-watch…. (in the market there are also 110-210-410…… so similar…).
    Triathlete have to wait 2012?

  33. Thanks Ray! Great review.

    I’ll add another voice to the choir asking for 1s recording, virtual racer and the run/walk alerts in a firmware update on the 310XT, but I won’t be holding my breath.

    I’d also second the “blink once for yes, twice for no” on the question about a 310XT refresh.

  34. Ok Ray, your commenters have chosen my next occupation – stalking you so I can tell everyone what you’re demoing! I figure since you live near me I can just stake out a spot on one of your training routes and try to grab spy shots of your wrists as you speed by. Then I’ll upload them and tell everyone and be a hero!!!

    Just kidding. But it does raise a question re: your NDAs. How paranoid do you get running around with these things that someone might see a new gadget that hasn’t been announced yet and tell the world?

  35. One more thought: if Garmin is unwilling to give out certain upgrades (1s, racer, alerts) in a free firmware update, I’m sure there is a large community of 310XT users who would pay for a firmware update that included such things. Thoughts?

    Also, will you be using the 610 for run workouts going forward? Sticking with the 210?

  36. Thanks Ray. Great post. Appreciate the effort you put into it.

  37. offriver

    Hi again, on the Garmin website they mention a feature called “Training Effect.” What’s that all about? Did you have a chance to experiment w/ it?

  38. Anonymous

    guess i’m getting the 210, this one is too expensive

  39. Great review Ray. I want one. ‘cept I’ll need to wait for my 405 to break (again).

  40. Great review as always! I’ve got a question about the magnetic back. Would you have the chance to check if the Forerunner 610 affects a compass when held at the thumb, i.e. some 5-8 cm from the watch? If it does, it would be a showstopper for orienteers interested in this watch – except for that it looks great with the 1s mode and loosing the touch bezel.

  41. Dude, you are big time now…you got the nod on engadget.com! Great review as always… =)

  42. Updated Pricing Information:

    link to buy.garmin.com

    w/out heart rate monitor:
    Available: 2nd Quarter, 2011
    Part Number: 010-00947-00
    Suggested Retail Price: $ 349.99 USD

    w/ heart rate monitor:
    Available: 2nd Quarter, 2011
    Part Number: 010-00947-10
    Suggested Retail Price: $ 399.99 USD

  43. any thoughts on making compatible with Whithing’s WiFi Enabled Scale?

    Also, since it looks similar, will my old Adidas MiCoach Foot Pod and Heart Monitor work with the 610?

    Do we have a price point on this yet?

  44. Pat

    Great review – thanks!
    Any idea yet what the difference between the US/Pacific/Europe version is?

  45. It would be useful to know which GPS chipset is inside this – the only watches using the newer, lower powered and more accurate one are the 110 and 210. I’m assuming the 610 is – but please can you clarify?

  46. Anonymous

    Great review!

    1. GPS chipset?
    2. Accuracy?

    Thumbs up

  47. I wonder why Garmin hasn’t integrated footpod calibration with the GPS? It seems like such an obvious thing to do and would be really handy when you don’t have a well defined calibration course available.

  48. Anonymous

    Excellent review of the Garmin 610. Helpful, as I buy it an know it’s strengths or weaknesses. Thank you.

  49. Ray, your reviews are fantastic and most appreciated.

    Seems like Garmin gave up some screen space for that black outer ring? Maybe there’s a good reason or it has something to do with the touchscreen technology.

    I’m much shorter than you Ray and I use the 410 as an everyday watch at times. I love it.

  50. Hey Ray, huge congrats on being referenced as the go-to review of the 610 on Engadget. And I quote: “It’s available now on Garmin’s site, though we suggest you hardcore runners check out DC Rainmaker’s review below: it’s everything you wanted to know about the 610 but were afraid to ask, including comparison shots with other Forerunners and a glove test.”

    I read that site everyday. I’m sure you read it often too. It’s the best tech blog I know of and to be referenced there is pretty awesome, so congratulations!

  51. Excellent, thorough review! Thank you. I currently own the 405 and while I love the features and functionality for my training I do wish the profile was a bit slimmer. It might work for some as an everyday watch but it becomes quite a fashion statement piece for a 5’3″ woman:-) Looking forward to upgrading in the not-too-distant future!

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. Anonymous

    Touchscreen…”no issues”? Except that clearly you had to multi/repeat press in the video. They just swapped the bezel/button nav for touchscreen…big deal. Would’ve been MUCH more impressive with less bezel area and more screen. Or better yet…fix the broken firmware for the 410/405 owners.

  54. If you don’t mind my asking, exactly how big is your wrist? (I’m assuming that’s your wrist in the photos e.g., IMG_0473.)

  55. uhh..am I seeing things…was the coverage of the lock feature there before..opps if it was, looks pretty good…I’m just wondering now how you enable the lock? 🙂

    and to the person going on about Garmin firmware issues, I’ve never ever had any issues with Garmin firmware, on either the 400 series or my 310xt…odd that 😉

  56. Very informative review! Thanks very much!

  57. Just posted a link to your review on my FB Page.
    Thanks again!

    link to facebook.com

  58. Anonymous

    any news on timex? will they release a new global trainer with gps and footpod capabilities?

  59. Jason

    Great review Ray – although like many others I was hoping it would be a 310xt update. Announcement faux pas?

  60. Thanks for the review! I’m a 405 user who was hoping for longer battery life in the new model, particularly as my watch battery has lost some of its life (5hrs or so now).

    Or, better yet, a removable/replaceable battery.

    As another poster noted, a barometric altimeter would be nice. Current model’s elevation info is unreliable.

    I also have heard the 610 has some sort of “training effect” feature that evaluates workout intensity. Any word on that?

    I guess those that want a bit more battery life need to stick with the giant xt series. Drat.

  61. Thanks all for the comments and questions thus far! I’ve just added a bunch of sections in response to many of the questions listed here. A little later on tonight I’ll round up any outstanding questions and get them all answered. In the meantime, here’s the newly added sections/information:

    1) Using watch as regular watch/day to day use
    2) Screen Lock
    3) Showering with FR610 (water/rain simulation)
    4) Clarification/corection on courses feature
    5) Pricing and availability information
    6) Satellite Chip and Reception


  62. Thanks rainmaker for the responses and the lack of response 😉
    I would say the quiet might be a “blink once” for have patience on the new 310xt

  63. Anonymous

    Great review! Two Questions.

    1. It seems that the display numbers are larger? Perhaps adding comparable display shots for each model side by side would be helpful.

    2. If I do not lock the bezel sometimes clothing will cause the bezel to register a selection especially when wet on my 410. I imagine the pressure sensitive screen has eliminated this problem. Have you found anything that causes unwanted selections being made aside from a fat finger. Will a stylus work? Not that I would use one on the watch, just curious. Ha Ha

  64. I refer people to your reviews even ahead of the manufacturers web site and literature. You go deeper! Another awesome review.

  65. As always Ray, Great review. Keep up the good work.

  66. Hi All-

    Thanks again for stopping by. Since there’s already about 68 comments, I’ll just go ahead and aim to answer any outstanding questions that weren’t answered through some of the updates I noted a short bit ago.

    RE: Virtual Racer diff from Course on FR310XT

    In this case, the course on a FR310XT shows you directional information, whereas Virtual Racer does not.

    RE: How long can it record

    The FR610 can hold 180 hours of activity…so more than enough time to find a computer. 🙂

    RE: Day to day watch

    Yup, no issues there at all – been on my wrist constantly as a normal watch. See section added above.

    RE: ANT driver for Linux

    Check out the guys at GoldenCheetah.org

    RE: Screen locking

    See the new Screen Lock section I added above. I haven’t had it accidentally swipped unlocked, but I also haven’t had any super-cold weather with it yet. Given the swipping simply controls data views (and not stop/start), at worst if it was under clothing you might be on a different page than you expected.

    RE: Upgrade from FR410

    In general I agree – I don’t see a compelling reason to upgrade from the fairly new FR410 (or for that matter, really even the FR405). Now, if you’re in the market for a new watch on either of those two fronts – then I’d highly suggest FR610 over FR405/CX/410.

    RE: Training Effect Feature

    I plan to add a section on this in a few days – just need a bit more data on the watch to make sense of it and have it show useful information.

    RE: Stalking me on a run to find the latest toys

    In general you’ll have to run pretty fast. 😉 Well, except long runs in the heat, in which case you can probably just about walk.

    RE: Magnetic compass variation

    I’ll dig up a compass and test it out!

    RE: Making it compatible with Withings WiFi Scale

    While I’d love that, I don’t see that happening. Tanita and Garmin are partners via ANT+, and Withings could be considered a competitor. Plus, honestly, the Withings Scale sorta bypasses the need for the FR610 as a conduit for the weight data.

    RE: MiCoach Foot Pod

    As long as it has the ANT+ logo on the back, you’ll be good to go!

    RE: Difference between US/Pacific/Europe

    Typically it’s just the power adapter that’s different.

    RE: My wrist size

    It’s ‘athletic skinny’. My fiancee (5’2″) put it on and it’s not too bad, much slimmer than the FR405. I’ll try and get a picture with her on it over the next couple days.

    RE: Timex Update

    I don’t have anything to share at this time. Sorry!

    RE: Display Number size

    The display numbers are basically the same as the other watches. I’ll try and get some comparable shots put together.


    Finally…regarding a FR310XT replacement:

    While I certainly hoped just as much as anyone else that we’d see one announced, it looks like the focus is on running at the moment. There are certainly rumors around a tri product for later – but nothing I’d bank on for right now. I don’t have any Garmin FR310XT replacement product in my position (I wish I did)…sorry! No winks required! Also, the 45 day period I typically have the product for is inclusive into May. I haven’t had the watch (FR610) all but a few days now.

    Thanks again everyone!

  67. Kathleen

    Your reviews are outstanding, thank you so much. I now know I should just stick it out with my 310XT, as exciting as it would have been to get gussied up with something new for race season. Hopefully there’ll be a new version of the 310xt some time soon.
    Thanks again!

  68. Finally a good enough replacement once my 2yr old 405 goes out of commission. Thanks for the review Ray. PS: miCoach products will work with Garmin, fyi.

  69. Anonymous

    does it have all the same data fields available for the customizable view?

  70. Kris

    Thanks for this great review!

    One question regarding multisport use: is it possible to use Forerunner 610 for other activities than running and cycling, i.e. for inline skating or skiing?

  71. Great review, as usual! And excellent timing. I happened to check the Runners World site last night before looking at my RSS feeds (where you are) and saw they had a “first look” posted – I read it, found it wholly unsatisfying, and told my husband “I’ll wait for the DCRainmaker review” – only had to wait until I opened my feed reader!

    Every time I convince myself I don’t need one item, something else comes out and stokes the gear lust. 🙂 I’m still using a really old Forerunner (the rectangular one, maybe 105) for races, but am now tempted by the 610.

  72. Anonymous

    Nice review, thanks for all of your work.

    Do you know if the fabric wrist band from the 405 will also fit the 610?

  73. Thanks for another excellent review! I’ve purchased my 310xt based on your review of it and also how I found this site.

    Just a comment though – in the comparison chart, you’ve said the 310xt doesn’t work as a day watch. Maybe that can be changed to “technically possible” – turn GPS off, and set one of the run displays to 1 field, time of day and there you go.

    I have not done a lengthy test of how long it lasts in that mode but I know it would be days (as I’ve tried and failed to kill the battery that way).

  74. Anonymous

    Are there two different types of vibration for under speed/over speed, like there are two different tones? I use the pace alarms quite a bit in my own customized workouts and wonder how they handled that condition, if they did. I wouldn’t mind turning off the beeping during my runs.

  75. Thanks for the review, you’re always really helpful.

    I’ve just noticed an interesting snippet here:

    link to heartratewatchcompany.com

    “Here is the big news for multisport 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.”

    Well that’s…new. And hopefully a sign of things to come.

  76. D

    Now that you have gotten us all used to giveaways on your site, are you going to run one for the 610 too?

    Astoundingly fast job on the review. Garmin put out their press release y’day and you put out a review!


  77. Mattias

    Hi. GREAT review. I have a simple question that I couldnt find in you review.

    Does it have the possibility to alert me by VIBRATION every kilometer (lap)?

  78. Great review, as usual!
    I was interested by the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS, and I will wait for the depth review, but I think that the forerunner 610 will replace my old Polar S625X

    Jérôme from France

  79. Anonymous

    Can the 610 be shutdown entirely to conserve battery/while traveling/etc. like the 410?

  80. Jason – Thanks for posting this info. Very interested to see price/size/wt of this option…
    “Here is the big news for multisport 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.”

    DCRainmaker, big Thanks for your review and responsiveness to comments! You might contact Garmin and say you think they forgot to ship everyting since your external solar battery is missing. 🙂

  81. Excellent review. Well written. Fantastic depth, plenty of photos & screen shots. Two thumbs up. icerabbit

  82. Thanks for posting this Jason. Very interesting. I wonder what the price/size/wt/performance of this will be…

    “Here is the big news for multisport 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.”

    DC – Bigttime thanks for the great review and responsiveness to comments. Maybe you should try contacting Garmin and say they must have forgot something in your shipment, as you can’t find the external battery and solar charger. 🙂

  83. Anton

    I am in love with your reviews. I’m a full fledged geek and read alot of tech reviews but yours are always a pleasure to read from beginning to end.

    One question. On the FR210 you see the watch as a removable disk and can download the fit files directly from the watch. Is this possible on the FR610 as well, or do you need the ant stick?

  84. Looks like the external battery is from the company powertraveller, model powermonkey explorer. They have a garmin kit that they say adds 20 hrs of use to the Garmin edge 800. Fairly small and light (90 x 45 x 38mm/3.5×1.75×1.5in and weighs 83g/2.9oz). Price from garmin is 70GBP ($114USD). This battery also works with the Garmin forerunner 110.

    Here’s a review of the explorer kit with pics (sans garmin attachments).
    link to fittechnica.com

  85. Ryan

    How does the battery last in “every day” mode? (i.e. when you are just using it as a watch?)

  86. Limegren

    Wow, what an amazing new piece of training equipment!

    I’m happy I purchased the 310xt, it seems like a better watch for running and cycling.

    Touch screen is certainly interesting…I’d kill to try it but I wouldn’t spend the money to buy it probably.

    Thanks for the great review! I saw that it was announced on Facebook on Garmin’s page so I immediately came here and waddaya know, you already posted a review! Great Stuff!

  87. Hi All-

    Thanks for the comments! Here’s a few answers to additional quetsions.

    RE: Fields available for customization

    Yes, you can customize with tons of data fields – pretty much the same as the other high end watches.

    RE: Other sports (like skating)

    Absolutely! You can switch to ‘cycling’ mode to get MPH (instead of minutes/mile) and it’ll work perfectly. I certainly plan to use mine skiing.

    RE: Fabric Band

    I’ve ordered the band today and it should arrive in a few days. I’ll update the review then with additional comments on it.

    RE: Using FR310XT as day to day watch

    True, though you’d have to charge it just about everday. Plus, it currently exceeds my geekfactor (a hard bar to beat!). 😉

    RE: Vibration Alerts

    No, just one vibrate alert level.

    RE: External Battery pack

    I’ve ordered that as well, should arrive when the strap arrives. Will include comments on that as well. And best of all, it works with all Garmin units.

    RE: Giveaway a FR610


    RE: Vibrate alert each KM

    Yes, you could setup a distance alert or autolap for kilometers at any distance.

    RE: Shutdown FR610

    Yes, you can completely power it off, simply hold the power button for a few seconds and it will fully shutoff the unit.

    RE: FR610 and data sync/removable disk

    It does not show up as a mass storage device like the FR210. It uses the ANT+ agent and that places the files in the ANT Agent directory, but you do need the stick.

    RE: Battery lasting in everyday mode

    It lasts 4 weeks in ‘everyday’ mode.

    Regarding the FR310XT Replacement, I asked Garmin today about it specifically. I asked – these are exact quotes:

    DCRainmaker: “Is it accurate to say there are no plans for a FR310XT successor this season?”

    Garmin: “We have thousands of engineers working on developing new products, and the Forerunner 610 is the top of the line within our GPS enabled watch market. While we are proud to showcase the 610 as our Spring release, we will always continue to innovate”.

    It appears Garmin very carefully walked around the wording of ‘Spring’ (as opposed to my very specific wording of ‘Season’, which jives with some interesting stuff I’ve seen elsewhere posted using the wording of April/May’.

    Thanks all!

  88. Dekel

    Linux support:
    There is an unofficial Linux driver for ANT+ at
    link to forums.garmin.com
    This driver works with the 405, and I think it also works with the 410.
    Ray, can you test whether this driver works with the 610?

    According to Garmin’s website, the 610 weighs 2.54 oz, which is heavier than the 405/410 which weigh 2.11 oz. This seem strange as the 610 is smaller. Can you verify this?

  89. Hello,
    Always fantastic reviews, Thank you!!!
    my question about Garmin Forerunner 610: do you think will be here glass cracking issues as with the FR310XT ,
    I am still cray …….
    Thank you
    Best regards
    Emmanouil Psaradakis
    Talos Cycling Team

  90. Jamie

    “It appears Garmin very carefully walked around the wording of ‘Spring’ (as opposed to my very specific wording of ‘Season’, which jives with some interesting stuff I’ve seen elsewhere posted using the wording of April/May’.”

    I think Mr Maker just blinked ;o)

  91. regarding 310xt as everyday watch.
    I was able to get 4 days out of one charge.

  92. So we go from 410 to 610, where is the 510? This leads me to believe that the “upgrade” to the 310 will be the “future” 510. I would’t be surprised to see it coming to “light” in a couple of months. I will be waiting for it. I love large screens.

  93. Larry

    Thanks for answering the additional questions.

    Ok, only one kind of vibration alert. Too bad, It would be nice if it buzzed twice when you’re too slow, and once when you’re too fast.

    Did they leave in all of the features from the 405/410, like the audible pace alarms from custom workouts? I assume there is no reason to take out the features that I’ve become accustomed to using.

  94. Looks like .FIT would make it compatible with Endomondo as well! Good stuff!!

    Say, do you have any idea if an updated version of the 310XT will come out? It seems like the entire sports product line except the 310XT has been renewed during 2010/2011.

    Maybe it’s now time for the multisporters to get rid of the huge case…

  95. Dupineic

    Nice shoot again !

    Are you sure about the sirfIV chip ?
    Is it the same chip in the 210 ?

    You said there is no compass anymore, but is the guiding part (not the back home) but the /training/courses still there ?

  96. Hi! Great in depth reviews. I’m a sort of beginner in running, I ran my first halfmarathon last year. I want to take training to next level with some gps device. I thought the FR 305 would be ok, but it’s kind an old device. Should I go for 310xt or new FR 610? Since I like to ride bike as well, I wouldn’t have to buy a computer for bike, if I’d have on of these devices… Thank’s.

  97. Hello-

    RE: Glass cracking

    I think this is improved a bit. There’s a very slight bezel which should just barely keep it above the pavement. Certainly far better than the Nike+ I just cracked…(or the FR310XT).

    RE: 310XT Everyday battery

    Cool! Good to know, thanks for the heads up!

    RE: Updated FR310XT

    See my above comments (in red) in response to other comments.

    RE: SirfIV chip

    Yes, I confirmed that with Garmin yesterday – they confirmed also that it is indeed the same chip at the FR210.

    RE: Guiding home compass

    Yes that’s there when tracking back, but the standalone ‘courses’ concept is not.

    RE: FR310XT or FR610, or FR305

    The FR305 is still a great watch – and one of the reasons it’s still selling incredibly well. As a runner-only the FR305 offers basically everything the FR310XT does. And for the most part everything the FR610 does. All three watches are fairly advanced. I’d almost consider looking at the FR210 for a simpler watch (and cheaper) that really appeals towards running but offers a cycling mode ‘just in case’.

    Thanks all!

  98. Jamie

    Does anyone know if all Forerunners sold in the US come standard with UK 3-Pin adapters?

    The reason I ask is that I’m seriously thinking of pre-ordering the 610 through one of the US online stores. I need to be sure that it comes with the UK adapter before proceeding.

    I’m in Singapore and it’s a lot cheaper to buy from the US than UK.

    Many thanks.

  99. Anonymous

    On the external solar pack. You can do this now with pretty much anything that charges with 5v and less than 2 amps. I am charging my 210 now with the powermonkey solar panel. Anything that charges via USB will work as this unit has an adapter to USB and can either be connected to the compact solar panel or an external battery pack. This has nothing to do with the 610 as far as I can tell. If they actually made a cable that fit the 610 then that would be different, but as of now you just plug in the included cable for the watch with the adapter to the charger via USB. Hope thats helpful

  100. Just want to say THANK YOU for these reviews you do! You’re seriouly so much better than the owners manual. I set up my 410 with your help, thank you!!

    I’ve since lost my brand spankin’ new 410 to my newly hooked on running, daughter. I’ve no doubt she will put it to great use. If I get into NYCM, I’ll spring for the 610.

    Again, your reviews are just awesome, thank you so much!


  101. Anonymous

    Thanks! You’ve really helped me in my decision and it looks like I’m going for it.

  102. Jiminy Cricket

    Many thanks for the excellent in-depth reviews that you do!

    Could you please do some FR610 accuracy tests in lane 1 of an outdoor running track, and while running through some “urban canyons” (city streets with tall buildings on both sides)?

    I have found that my 305 loses accuracy in these two situations. When I run 1 mile in lane 1 of a track (4×440 yards), the 305 reports a distance of 1.02-1.04 miles, and the pace it displays is too fast by as much as 20-25 sec per mile. It also loses signal and records a longer distance/faster pace in the urban canyons.

    Thanks for the great work!

  103. Great review. I am excited to get this watch. I actually was upgrading my FR405 a week ago to the FR410, got the watch, ran with it and saw the FR610 was coming out. Thankfully Pacers let me return it. I will get the FR610 as soon as it comes out. I wish they would hurry. I am watchless!

  104. Great review, as always.

    I use the interval training function on my 410. Unfortunately the sound is very low and I sometimes miss the start of a new interval.

    Is the 610’s sound any louder?

  105. Thanks again for all updates and answers to questions! Did you manage to dig up a compass and test out if the watch influences on a compass yet?

  106. Great, when will it available? Any idea if there is something new coming on the FR 310 category?

  107. Larry

    Jiminy Cricket,
    You know how big the outdoor track is, right? 😉 Why do you need a GPS watch to measure that distance?

    As for pacing accuracy, are you using lap pace or instantaneous pace? Lap pace averages over more data points and is more stable. Instantaneous pace varies quite a bit and is therefore misleading, especially when running on a hilly course.

    I use the foot pod for all of my pace and distance data gathering. Once calibrated correctly, the foot pod is quite accurate. I never found the GPS to be that accurate.

    I like to capture the cadence number, something you won’t get from a satellite. I have started to see cadence numbers of over 95 in some interval sessions so I can see that I am finally getting some better leg turnover.

  108. The Training Effect is the same thing that Suunto introduced in their devices (eg. suunto t6d) a couple of yrs ago. Suunto was working on that with a company called First Beat technologies and was using their algorithm in their training evaluation SW. Apparently, a couple of months ago, Suunto decided to walk away from the license agreement with First Beat and First Beat is now providing their algorithm to Garmin.

  109. More on EPOC and Training Effect here: link to pulseperf.com

  110. Dominik

    Ray, great review and great service and dedication to your readers. Thanks!

    One question regarding the virtual training partner feature. If you record and replay and compete against your previous self, is that only time-based, i.e. averaging the speed of the previous run and showing that as your opponent. Or does it playback the pace of your previous run specific to each section of the run.
    That makes a difference when climbing hills or generally on runs where there are fast and slow stretches.

    Again, thanks for all your efforts doing this unprecedented level of in-depth testing,


  111. Jiminy Cricket


    Thanks for the suggestions.

    The lane 1 track length is 440 yards (an “Imperial” measurement, not metric). I don’t need the 305 for distance measurement, but would like to have accurate pace for tempo runs and intervals on the track.

    As for pace, I do use lap pace, not instantaneous pace. Except for the track, I have found the GPS to be extremely accurate.

    I also have a foot pod, and with calibration it is better on the track than the 305 if I maintain the same stride rate/length when doing my workout that I used when calibrating the pod. However, on the road, my stride rate/length tend to vary (hills), which makes the foot pod less accurate than GPS. Thus, I tend to use the GPS all the time, and hope to find the 610 is more accurate in the two situations I mentioned.

    Thanks again!

  112. Larry

    Thanks for more information on your situation. Maybe I should give the GPS another try. I’m surprised that you have found it so accurate. Do you run in the open a lot? Do you run under trees or near tall buildings?

    I run in New York City, usually in Central Park, so I am under trees. When I run around the edge of Manhattan, there are tall buildings around which interfere with the signal. I remember looking at the GPS track on Google maps and just laughing that the track had me in the river or running across the deck of a ship.

    I guess I have just come to accept the slight inaccuracies of the foot pod. Is there any way to tweak the distance measurements in Garmin Training Center?

    I have found the foot pod to be way off when running indoors on a small 200m track. Outdoors, in road races, it is usually within a hundredth of a mile, per mile.

    I have compared the lap pace from my 405 w/foot pod to the pace displayed by a high quality Woodway treadmill, and I have seen them align to within a second. I hope the Woodway people build accurate treadmlls. 🙂

    Anyway, I’m excited about getting the 610. I’m a little bummed that it looks like I will have to wait 5-8 weeks to get the watch. I’ll keep plugging along with the 405. I think I have 1600 miles on it.

    Please post your experiences with the 610.


  113. Jiminy Cricket


    Nearly all of my running is in the open, no continuous tree coverage, and not in urban canyons. I have measured the courses that I regularly run in Google Earth, imported and compared my 305 tracks to GE measurements, and find that the 305 is right on the GE tracks.

    This was not the case with many earlier models of Garmin GPS. Before the SirfStar IV receiver chip, the GPS distance could be off as much as 10% from the true distance (as measured using online mapping software). Except for running on the track and in urban canyons, I am extremely happy with 305 accuracy.

    I don’t know of any distance or GPS track tweaks you can make in Training Center; it can only report what it uploads from the GPS. SportTracks does have the ability to modify the GPS track (delete and move track points), and also has a plug-in that corrects GPS elevations, giving ascent and descent numbers that seem to be reasonable. You might try it with some of your run tracks.

    I look forward to hearing about your experiences with the 610.


  114. Larry

    Thanks for the telling me about SportTracks. Unfortunately, it is a Windows only program, as far as I can tell. I’m a Mac user. I do have a Windows machine, a Lenovo T500 laptop, which has just stopped booting, so, I’m down on Windows machines this week. I barely used the machine and now it’s a brick.

    I reread part of the review here and see that DCRainMaker says that he was able to get the foot pod and GPS to align perfectly. That’s pretty cool.

    When do you think you’ll get your 610? Are you on the pre-order list? I heard they were selling some watches in Boston but only had 25 of them so they were snatched up quickly. A friend tried to get me one but failed.


  115. Excellent review.

    Thinking I need to go to the store to play with both the 610 and 310, to see which I like better. Of course, if I win, it won’t matter…

  116. Great review. I do love my FR 305 but would consider changing.

    Thanks for your help

  117. Jiminy Cricket


    I’m in no rush to buy the 610. I’d like to see if DC Rainmaker is able to perform the two accuracy tests that I requested, and review the results before I make a final purchase decision.

    Today I ran at the track and used my foot pod with my 305 instead of the GPS. Starting out, while I did my warmup at a 10:00 min pace, the foot pod gave excellent distance/pace info.

    Following the warmup, I ran a quarter mile lap much faster (9:00 pace), and at the faster pace (different stride rate/length?) the foot pod accuracy was worse than the GPS is on the track. After I recalibrated at the faster pace, it was again very accurate (with one exception, noted below). This leads me to conclude that I must keep a record of the calibration factor for each pace I wish to run, and then change to that factor whenever my planned workout pace changes.

    For some reason, at one point during the workout, the foot pod briefly lost connection with the 305, but resynchronized after about 30 seconds. This dropout resulted in a loss of about .05 mile of run distance. Have you had this experience with your foot pod?



  118. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for posting these reviews. Is the heart rate strap for the 110 compatible to the 610 or would I have to buy a new one? I started with the Garmin 110 but as I become a more “serious” runner, I find the 110’s features lacking.

  119. CJ

    Thanks so much for the review, after reading it I bought the 610 at the London Marathon Expo. The only issue I’ve had is if I set the training fields up to show % HRR or % max HR I don’t get a reading even though I’ve set up my min and max HR. Any chance you could try yours with these fields activated and see if you get a reading.


  120. Larry

    I haven’t noticed any dropouts from the foot pod when using it with my 405. I think a 30 second dropout would be pretty obvious to see in Garmin Training Center.

    I’m willing to also try the accuracy tests on the track, once I get the watch. I do track workouts every week.

    Now, all I need is the watch! I can’t wait.


  121. Hi Jamie-
    RE: Power Adapter Plugs

    Looking at the final retail packing of the US ones, it does not come with the UK plug – only the little american piece. That said, I believe Garmin will sell you the little US adapter piece for it for probably nothing.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Power Pack

    Fwiw, I ordered one last week to test out…though oddly now to think about it, it hasn’t come in yet..will update once it does.

    Hi Jiminy-
    RE: Accuracy tests

    I plan to do accuracy tests for all new Spring 2011 watches, though I’m waiting a bit for all of them to reach market (i.e. both the Polar and Timex variants). Will definitely include the track test, as I haven’t done that in the past and that sounds like a great one!

    Keep in mind the FR305 GPS chip is far older than these chips, and in my experiance – not nearly as accurate.

    Hi Mariano-
    RE: Sound Volume

    You cannot change the sound on the FR610 – but with the vibrate feature, you almost don’t need it. Whenever an interval starts it will vibrate – so you don’t miss it. One of my favorite FR310XT/FR610 features!

    Hi Jan-
    RE: Compass

    It arrives tomorrow – will let ya know shortly!

    Hi Atilano/Others
    RE: FR310 Replacement

    See my earlier comments above in red (in the comments section). Thanks!

    Hi Ondratej-
    RE: Training Effect

    Thanks for the links! Good stuff for those that are interested.

    Hi Dominik-
    RE: Virtual Training Partner Playback

    Hmm, I’ll try that later today on my run and clarify.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Heart Rate Strap

    They’re all compatible with each other. So if you’ve got the FR110 ones, you’re completely good to go! I have a large pile of them and interchange them all the time, no issues.

    Hi CJ-
    RE: %HR %Max HR Missin

    Just tossed on the strap to ensure both work, they do. Though, you have to have BOTH your resting HR and Max HR set within either running and cycling, and be in that setting to see them. What firmware does your watch have?

    Thanks all!

  122. Jiminy Cricket


    I’m beginning to think more seriously about buying a 610 sooner rather than later.

    Last night I replaced the battery in my foot pod to see if that cleared up the dropout problem I reported. It seemed to, but another issue came to light in my workout this morning: bad cadence numbers.

    As I was running this morning, looking at the cadence display on the 305 (not average cadence, or lap cadence), I saw it start out in the 90-92 rpm range for about 45 seconds, then drop down to 45 rpm for a while, then jump back up to 90, back down to lower numbers, back up to 90+/-, on and on through the workout. I recalibrated a couple of times to see if that fixed then problem, but it did not. Interestingly enough, the distance readout was correct. The cadence graphs in GTC and SportTracks show this very clearly, and the pace graph also shows a lot of fluctuation.

    I’ve submitted a support request to Garmin and expect an initial response early next week. Wonder if this is an issue with my 305, and the way it is analyzing the cadence data it is getting from the foot pod?

    Thanks for offering to run the 610 accuracy tests on the track. 🙂


  123. Hi Jan-
    RE: Compass

    It came in early today from Amazon. 🙂 I picked up a cheap Silva Starter compass, just like I had in Boyscouts.

    My testing found that if it was under an inch from the FR610 then it would be affected. It depended slightly on what angle it was to the compass – meaning if you came from below the compass you were at an inch, but in front of the needle it was more like half-an-inch before it affected it.

    Hope this helps!

    Hi Jiminy-
    RE: The footpod piece

    I’ve actually got that on my list to ask the Garmin folks to provide a bit of clarification on how head unit versions of the software has changed relative to the footpod itself. Will let ya know.

  124. I’ve been using the Polar 625X for years, I love being able to analyze the data on the computer.

    I recently borrowed my buddies FR 305 cause I wanted to see what speeds I could hit skiing. 52.3 MPH by the way.

    I liked they way it give additional data without any type of pods or transmitters.

    Also being a techy, I’m seeing what else is out there. The FR 610 is soon to come.

  125. Wow great review. Looks like I need to upgrade from my trusty but rusty Forerunner 305.

  126. Anonymous

    Hey. Great review. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the Nike sportwatch gps. Am looking at getting a gps watch in the next few months and at this point it’s a toss up between the 610 and the Nike. Your review is a big help. Cheers from Australia.

  127. Hello there, I am an avid runner and just recently decided to purchase a GPS system. Is this the one for a beginner?

  128. What is the battery life?

  129. sorry for my english//
    You have most fully reviews for all garmin sport equipment-is realy great work.
    But can i ask about this choice why Garmin only? why not a Polar or Suunto production too.Is it possible to make a fight between a leaders:Polar rs800cx vs. Suunto t6d and Garmin fr310/410/610?
    i looking for vibtation function for HRM GPS watch(i can’t run without music more then 3-5K)-is a only option to get notification! which watch can give me this option exept fr310&fr610? How accurate is GPS altimeter-i just live in mountainous area?
    thank you for all
    best regards from Jerusalem-Israel

  130. AmandaT

    I will be honest: This is the first I have seen of your site. After having the 405cx for less than a year it was taken back today due to battery issues and “dying” during my first duathlon last weekend. I am struggling between the 305 (such a great price!) and the 210 and have found your site to be a gold mine of information. Thank you!

  131. CJ

    Thanks for checking for me, after a bit more playing around I realised that it didn’t think I’d set a max HR because the default value happened to be my max HR, having changed it to another value then back again I’m getting a reading now.

    Jan I’m also an Orienteer and wore my 610 for four events over the Easter weekend and didn’t have any problems, I wear it on my right wrist and use a thumb compass on my left hand.

  132. Anonymous

    Great Reviews. If you already answered this question I apoligize but I didn’t see it.

    Will the 310xt record my routes so I can run them again? Friends have told me some of their older Garmin watches would display a map route for previous runs and even tell them when to turn. If not, can I download maps from Garmin connect or something?

    Last, are all the people bashing the 310 on the internet just upset because they haven’t taken the time to understand the watch? Because some people are really upset. Thanks for your time in advance. i really enjoy all your reviews.


  133. Great work man and really helpful…

    I have the 305 and wanted to get one of the newer releases. I use it mostly for running and always had Garmin, but, would you recommend other brands like Timex or Polar?

    Thanks a lot! Fernan

  134. Jiminy Cricket

    Hi Rainmaker,

    I resolved my foot pod problem by doing a hard reset on the 305. Now I get consistent cadence readouts with no sudden drops in rpm 🙂


  135. Nice review! Thanks 🙂

    I have a few questions,

    I want to use Forerunner for recording walking trips or hiking. Is there possibility to set longer periods of record GPS, for longer recording time?

    Is it possible to use recorded GPS points for storing trip in Maps applications e.g. Google maps?


  136. Karl-Heinz

    Hello from Germany,
    i´ve a question to the forerunner 610, a friend of me will buy the forerunner 610 in usa. now my question, is it possible to use it in german menue or is only english language possible?

    thank you for information, please send me your answer to rene_perugia@hotmail.de

    bye from germany, bavaria, regensburg


  137. I just lost my 405 (don’t ask me how). Do I get the 410 or the 610? hmmmmmm.

    I am a triathlete too. I have a 310XT, but my BF mooched it when he got a quarq and his 305 couldn’t hack it and I have a 705. I was anxiously awaiting a new release of the 310xt before I sprung for a new one. A little birdie from Garmin hinted that it may be bundled with their new pedal based power system which is likely to be released for interbike in Sept. Any thoughts on that?

  138. Anonymous

    Anon: Thank you so much for posting these reviews. Is the heart rate strap for the 110 compatible to the 610 or would I have to buy a new one? I started with the Garmin 110 but as I become a more “serious” runner, I find the 110’s features lacking.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Heart Rate Strap

    They’re all compatible with each other. So if you’ve got the FR110 ones, you’re completely good to go! I have a large pile of them and interchange them all the time, no issues.

    Hi, I am a new FR owner. Great article.

    Just to follow up on Anon’s question, are we talking the HR sensor part being compatible? To me, the term “strap” could mean just the fabric part or fabric+sensor. TIA

  139. Anonymous

    Great Review – fantastic detail.

  140. Anonymous

    Wife and I would like to share the watch. Is there a way to keep our runs separate in the Garmin Comnect website?

  141. Anonymous


    What features are available on the FR610 when the power save mode is engaged? I was told that previous FR models (405, etc) don’t display the date?

    Many thanks.

  142. Anonymous

    Can I wear the 610 with a suit?

    Thank you.

  143. Anonymous

    I spoke to roadrunner sports today and they said the date for availability had been pushed back to May 30th–FYI

  144. Anonymous

    yes, also pushed back May delivery to first week of June for the UK.

  145. YR

    Does the 610 have the ability to display my actual pace aside from the lap pace? I’d like to be able to speed up an see how fast I’m going at that instance. The 210 had that function.

  146. Fernando

    The search for the most accurate device (gps or footpod) does not seem to be that important to me.
    I don’t feel I would run faster if I had a device with 100% accuracy all of the time. The devices might be off just like our bodies might be on a good or a bad day.

    During a race, my body is the device I count on to give me accurate feedback whether I’m going too fast or can push a little harder.

    In my opinion, a good training plan and determination to follow it are the keys to fast and safe running. As the owner of a FR60, I don’t feel the need to recalibrate as I switch pace/cadence/stride lenght as I don’t think 85% or 100% accuracy should make a difference on my performance in a race.

    What is your opinion on the importance of a device accuracy to your long term running performance?

  147. Anonymous

    Great review ! Thank you very much.

  148. Björn

    I am curious about the possibility to change the “pace zones”. You know these 10 zones for pace (or speed)?
    It would be great to change the paces for each zone and even better to rename the zones.
    Any chance to do this with the 610?
    Thanks and regards,

  149. Hi, could I just confirm that in order to save a location, you do not need to actually physically go to that location, but can simply enter the appropriate latitude and longitude?

  150. Hi DC,

    What a great review! Thanks so much for doing all that work.

    Question/comment: What does the 610 do when being charged? Can you use the watch as per normal?

    If so, you could loosen the band and wear the charging clip while running and plug it into an external Lion cell phone charging battery.

    That would allow the 610 to stay alive in long ultras.

    Alas, even if you made a custom clip to connect to the 405 when running this idea can’t work because the watch doesn’t function at all when charging.

    So can you confirm the watch does the same (dumb) thing when charging? And if so, please tell garmin to fix it 😉

    Thanks again for your great reviews!


  151. Anonymous

    Where are these things anyway? I pre- ordered weeks ago, & garmin’s site still say’s that order processing is 5-8 weeks. It is now 05/06/11 & still no sign or word?

  152. Yeah, Ray do you have any word on if or why the 610s got delayed? I pre-ordered and it said to be shipped May 9th.. now it says June 4th. Boooo.. A little info from Garmin would be nice. thanks and GREAT review!

  153. Thank you for this review, great information. Any idea if the 610 will give a calorie estimate when used with gps off (indoors) and without foot pod? Thank you.

  154. Garmin website sucks. I preordered the 610 4weeks ago and they haven’t done crap to update to their website. WTF Garmin?????

  155. Hi All-

    RE: Nike+ Watch and comparisons-

    Check out my Nike+ Review here, which was just after the FR610 review-
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    I include lots of comparisons there.

    Hi Tim-
    RE: Battery Life

    It’s about 8-10 hours of active use, and 3-4 weeks of non-use.

    Hi Pavel-
    RE: Other watches

    I do review other watches, but I simply only have time to focus on the ones that I think are the best out there. I do have the RS800CX in the queue, but it’s after the RCX5 and some others. No problems with GPS altimeter, as Garmin Connect will overwrite the data with real elevation data by default anyway.

    Hi Amanda-

    Hi CJ-

    Hi Anon/Will-
    RE: Recording routes to run again

    Yes, the FR610 in Virtual Racer mode can do this. As for the FR310XT, in general, yes, most of them are. 😉

    Hi Fernan-
    RE: FR305 vs everything

    The FR305 is a great running watch for the price. If you have the cash, for a running watch I’m finding you really can’t beat the FR610. Just loving it day to day as my running watch.

    Hi Ondrej-
    RE: GPS recording time

    Your limiter with the FR610 is the battery, not the memory. They do make an external battery pack though that will solve this problem for you. Mine hasn’t quite arrived yet though, backordered.

    RE: Transferring to Google Maps

    Yes, Garmin Connect allows you to export out GPX format.

    Hi Karl-
    RE: German Menu

    Yes, you can switch to German Menu’s from the US edition.

    Hi Michelle-
    RE: FR610 or FR410

    FR610, hands down, no questions.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: HR straps or fabric compatible

    Actually, they’re both compatible, you can interchange them however you’d like. The snaps are the same. The key part of the new strap that’s important though is the fabric part, due to the sensor design. The plastic pod part is the same.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Wife seperate on runs recorded

    It will upload to the same Garmin Connect account by default, but you can upload the runs seperately, manually to seperate accounts.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Power Save Mode

    The day of the week is displayed on top, then the time with seconds in the middle, and then the day and month below.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Availability-

    According to Garmin’s blog on Thursday, it’s now shipping to stores – it’s unclear how far back they’re backlogged though:

    link to garmin.blogs.com

    Hi YR-
    RE: Actual pace displayed

    Yes, by default actual pace is displayed.

    Hi Fernando-
    RE: Device accuracy

    It’s quite useful if you want to measure progress over time. For me, when running, pace is the most useful metric I have – everything else can vary on the day. My body may feel like garbage one day, but actually be running fast – or vice versa.

    Hi Bjorn-
    RE: Pace Zones

    These are changed within Garmin Training Center, both renaming and changing pace associated with each one.

    Hi Ian-
    RE: Lat/Long location save

    No, you can enter it in manually.

    Hi paul-
    RE: What does it do when being charged

    At the moment with a wall charger it goes into charging mode. Apparently with the special charging unit you can still use it – but I don’t have it yet to try out. Hopefully it’ll arrive soon.

    Hi Anon/Joey/Harry-
    RE: Pre-order

    See above note from Garmin. I’ll hit up Garmin again this week and try and get more detail.

    Hi Jon-
    RE: Calorie Estimates w/o GPS and footpod

    Yes, with the HR strap it will using Firstbeat. See the calorie post below:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks all!

  156. David

    Your reviews are fantastic!

    Not so crazy about how you deceive us and say you send the watches back after 45 days. Clearly you do not, since you have them all on your rolling pin–even when the reviews between Garmin 110 and 610 are over a year apart. Certainly you would not buy each one on your own, since there would be no point in having, say the 110 if you have the 210. There is nothing wrong with Garmin letting you keep the watch–you are merely reviewing fitness watches, not bond ratings. C’mon.

  157. Hi David-

    Actually, I do buy them all. I do this to be able to support and assist folks in reviews like this. By folks supporting the site using the Amazon links, this helps make this (and other efforts like the watch giveaways) possible.

    Thanks for your support!

  158. Whew! For a second there I thought Sherlock Holmes had caught you.

  159. Björn

    Hi Bjorn-
    RE: Pace Zones

    These are changed within Garmin Training Center, both renaming and changing pace associated with each one.

    Thanks! And are the settings really synchronized with the 610? Because with my 310XT these setting are not transferred to the watch 🙁

  160. Fernando

    Hi and thanks for the comment at me. But what you said seems very close to what I was trying to express.
    Progress over time is indeed what it’s all about. But it is not measured over your instant pace. It’s about being faster and/or running with less effort. Do you agree that on a bad day you should not push your limits even if you’re running slower than your target at high heart rate? Besides, everyone that assumes the device is innacurate do know the run distance. Thus, over time, you wouldn’t need a technological device to check your progress.
    I see instant pace as more of a motivational tool (more so with GPS lag), definitely a motivational training tool. But shouldn’t need to be 100% accurate to be useful.

  161. Julio here.
    Great review…looks like time for me to upgrade. Q: My 305 came with the HR monitor…is this compatibl with the 305 or do In need to upgrade. I remember the instructions saying the HRM was good only for the 305…

  162. What an awesome review!
    I sometimes change fields during my run. Did you find it was easier or more difficult to navigate the menus while on the move? My intitial thought is the touch screen would make navigation frustrating while running.

  163. Jordan

    Hello dcrainmaker,
    Great site and lots of info!
    I have some quick questions to ask:

    I am looking at buying a Garmin GPS watch to help track my runs. I want my data to be as accurate as possible.

    This will be my first gps watch. I can afford the 305 now, but I would have to save up a little bit for the 610. The 305 is such a great deal. I read your reviews. However, it is May 2011. Is the 305 really worth buying now (4+ years later)? I thought I read somewhere on the site where you said that the 305 may not be as accurate anymore since it contains an older gps chip. How does the accuracy vary between the 305 and the new 610?

    I am not very interested in the in-between models that Gamins offers, b/c they tend to lack many features and are still expensive. If I got the 610, I would at least know I would be getting everything! So at this point in 2011, should I go new? Or old?

    Thanks for your future help!

  164. Anonymous

    Hi, Thanks very much for your interesting review! I was just wondering about a feature I consider vital for a professional athlete: heart rate functionalities. Do you think FR 610 is comparable to a Polar in this reguard (e.g. the coming soon RCX5)? or does it lag behind? I would love to see a comparison between these two. Thanks. Luis

  165. Anonymous

    @ Jordan: if you are interested, I am selling my 305 on amazon for $110 w/o the hrm. It is used, I bought in Feb 10.
    link to amazon.com

  166. I just traded my forerunner 410 for the 610 and here is my comparison:

    410 vs 610
    – faster sat fix
    – touchscreen works much better then bezel
    – 4 data fields a page
    – VIBRATION ALERT (my main switching reason)
    – Much better watch form factor, 410 is lot preformed as a watch making it bulky. 610 actually feels like you put on a watch, like a watch suppose to.
    – 1 second recording rocks, makes a smoother actual pace as well.
    – ability to edit and create complex workouts without the use of a computer!

    I’m a big fan of you blog so I was really surprised I didn’t knew of this feature before I got the watch. The ability to create complex workouts on the watch itself is GREAT! I’m a complex workout use and make workouts for every day on my training plan. But it’s nice to be able to edit or ad a extra step. I’m guessing you don’t use complex workouts that much ray. Think if you did you would written quite a bit about this new feature.

    My current firmware update wishlist:
    – Ability to disable time page during workout.
    – Ability to read battery status as percentage, we like numbers not battery bar graphs!!!

    In future hoping for:
    – Pace Zone support, currently unable to change zones and they seem very pointless. Rather would have it just like hearth rate zones …. 2.3 2.5 3.0 etc.

  167. Anonymous

    Rainmaker: Great review!

    Question: The Garmin 410 can be completely shut down using an option in the Settings menu. Can the 610 also be completely shut down?

  168. Any idea on how long it will take for the price on this watch to come down atleast 20 or 30 dollars?

  169. Hi Bjorn-
    RE: Sync with FR610

    Hmm, I need to double-check that – I’m 99% sure that they are. Will try tomorrow.

    Hi Fernando-
    RE: Training

    For me, I train about 95% of the time against HR, as opposed to pace – so I’m already doing that. If I have a bad HR day, my pace suffers…and vice versa. Only closer to race day and really only for paced-races (i.e. a Marathon at a specific time goal) do I switch over to doing repeats at a very specific pace. After all, when it comes to race day, if I want to hit a given time goal, I need to be able to run that pace – regardless of what my HR wants to do.

    Hi William/Julio-
    RE: HR Strap

    Yes, the one with the FR305 is fully compatible with the FR610.

    Hi Jordan-
    RE: Accuracy

    The chips have evolved between the FR305 and the FR610. I’m planning on comparing them both later this spring as far as accuracy goes. Long-run wise though, you’re fine. It’s really in deep trees, etc.. where the FR610 and the newer chips shine, due to being able to track better in less ideal conditions. Personally, I love the FR610 and if you can afford it – go with it! Otherwise, the FR305 is still a great watch, especially for the money.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: HR features between FR610 and RCX5

    Having both currently, I can comment a bit. Lag-wise on HR you’re looking at about 1-2 seconds. When I wear them both at the same time, both watches show virtually identical 99.99% of the time. When I review the RCX5 I’ll try and do a little video showing the two – remind me on that review if I forget and I’ll add it though.

    The major difference when it comes to Polar vs Garmin on HR isn’t the reading/recording/displaying, but rather the calorie calculation work that Polar has patened. It’s a bit more advanced.

    Hi MadRunningBlog-
    RE: Complex workouts

    My workouts are fairly complex…but I tend to generally just write them down. 😉 I know, old school, but it just makes it easier sometimes. 🙂

    Completely agree RE HR zones definitions though, useless.

    Thanks for the comments though!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Shutdown

    Yes, both can be fully shut down.

    Hi Thomas-
    RE: Price drop

    I wouldn’t expect to see it drop price anytime soon. You’ll see small Amazon fluctuations probably in early summer…but nothing so soon given how high of demand it’s in.

    Thanks all!

  170. Rainmaker — I recently came across your blog, great stuff to read as I am a bit of a tech junkie. We (Myotest) have a break-through application specific to the middle to long distance runner called the RunCheck stride analysis. It is a new portable technology to quantify many parameters associated with the run stride, relating to economy. If you are interested to be the 1st to review, please let me know. Scott Damman, Myotest — Durango, CO.

  171. Pablo

    Hi, amazing review! thanks.
    When do you plan to post a comparison btw 610 and Polar RCX5? Am I right in saying that the Polar GPS sensor has to be applied to shoe lace, while the Garmin GPS is built-in on the main unit? Thanks. Pablo

  172. Marek

    Could you please specify what is the time interval before the watch goes into power saving mode and locks the screen? The screen lock is important for me as I do skating and have my arms on my back often.

    This is probably too much, but could you maybe try putting your arms on your back, move a little and see what happens? Do the screen buttons get pressed? Does it unlock?

    Thanks a million.

  173. Hi Scott-
    Thanks for the heads up – shoot me an e-mail on the sidebar and I’d be happy to check it out.

    Hi Pablo-
    RE: RCX5 vs FR610

    Soon, though at the moment the beta RCX5 device I have isn’t able to upload data, so I’m in a bit of a holding pattern there. I suspect we may now be looking closer to the first week of June.

    The Polar GPS sensor is meant to be worn on your arm via the included arm band. There isn’t any form of shoe GPS sensor, just a shoe footpod for indoor use (treadmill).

    Hi Marek-
    RE: Timeout

    Sorry, I think there may be some confusion. The unit only goes into power saving mode if an activity isn’t in use. If you’re actively recording, it’ll stay in that mode until it runs out of battery. Once in screenlock the time is display, this occurs after approx 3 minutes, swipping the screen delays that (or buttons). Unlike just requires a swipe. But again – this won’t happen if you’re actively in an activity.

    Thanks all!

  174. Found another unmentioned feature which is something most of the gps watch + footpod owners would love to have.

    With the 610 you can set the footpod to be used together with GPS. The 610 can use the footpod to calculate current pace while using GPS for all other data like distance, avg etc.

  175. This comment has been removed by the author.

  176. Anonymous

    Great review. I am just afraid that Garmin dropped the HR Graph data field that existed on the 405. Is it really gone ?

  177. that’s a great review and I’m really excited with all the specs of this watch, but for me it is important the track functionality
    I wonder if it is possible to upload tracks to the watch from other devices or from the web so as to follow them with the compass.
    You say you can download courses from Garmin Connect and other sources, but you cannot follow them with the little compass/breadcrumb; so, what’s the use?
    The track back to start, leads you directly to the start point or undoes the whole track?

  178. Anonymous

    610 in stock at city sports with free next day
    link to citysports.com

  179. Thanks anon…hoping mine is here in time for my 1/2 on Saturday. I think I’m a little crazy getting the 610 rather than the 305. I really hope it’s worth it. They seem so similar for an unseasoned runner like myself. Rainmaker, someone asked you which was better. I’m assuming you were vague because it’s your job to promote both. My husband is a fan of the high tech, I just want something to get the job done. He won this time, but I have a feeling DC, that if it really came down to it you might just say the lower price is a better deal. I sure do hope I’m happy with the results. Also hope I can figure out all of the uses so I can make the most of it. I’m sure this review will be helpful in that endeavor. Thank you!

  180. I recently purchased a 610 to replace my 405.
    One of the fields I like is the average lap field to show me my average time per mile over a given distance be it 10km, half marathon or marathon.
    on my 405 you got to menu, settings, data fields, and choose time – avg lap.
    On my 610 I followed the same sort of process but when running, the field showed 0:00 all the time rather than updating every mile. Any suggestions as to what I might have done wrong?

  181. Björn

    Hi everybody,
    I am getting my 610 Saturday or Monday and while waiting I had a look at forums.garmin.com. There are quite a few discussions about big problems with the accuracy of the 610-gps unit. What experience do you have (if you already own a 610, of course…;-))?

  182. Shavonne

    Greeting, I am in a 5 5 woman at 175 lbs looking to lose about 30 lbs in the next 4 mths. I am currently deployed (I’m active duty military) and I have some downtime. I am a casual runner at best; I only run for about 30 minutes three times a week; however I do other various forms of cardio when I’m not running. I recently purchased a suunto m4 and I am very unhappy with my purchase. There isn’t enough functionality but I love the training coach. Is there a feature on this watch that acts as a personal trainer? I want something to tell me how hard to work and for how long and tell me how long I have been in the prescribed HR zones. Does this watch do that? Or do you know something besides the M4/M5 that does?

  183. gps problems??? Nooooo, please say it isn’t so!

  184. Inkar

    Hey Shavonne,

    The 610 has the Training Effect feature that should tell you how hard you are working in a scale from 1.0 to 5.0.

    The creators of Training Effect (FirstBeat) also sells a software called Firstbeat Athlete that analizes your training data and makes a training plan for you that auto-adjusts based on what you have done the previous days. You can try it for two weeks for free.

  185. Hi MadRunningBlog-
    RE: Footpod alt uses

    Correct indeed, all valuable.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: HR Graph

    Indeed, the graph is now gone (just re-validated that).

    Hi Xavier-
    RE: Track functionality

    You can indeed do track functionality, but only within the confines of the Virtual Racer component.

    Hi Tif-
    RE: FR305 or FR610

    Oh, I’ve always said that both are great – and also always say that if you’re on a budget the FR305 does just about everything the FR610 does at 1/3rd the price. The FR610 is all about looking good (and some minor feature enhancements). If fashion or day to day use isn’t of concern, then absolutely save the cash and go with the FR305. Enjoy!

    Hi Elliott-
    RE: Avg Lap issue

    Hmm, that’s a bit odd – sounds like bug – have you updated the firmware to 2.20?

    Hi Bjorn (and Anon):
    RE: Accuracy posts

    I’ve seen the thread on the Forums, which it present is a single user having issues with what may be a defective unit. Additionally, there are some comments from a few users about ‘jaggies’ or tiny little GPS track blips showing up that cause a single data point (1-second) to be plotted about 10-20 feet off a track in some random locations. For my recent 2:00hr run, I had 6 of these data points (out of 7,200). At most we’re talking a hundred feet extra (if that) in my case out of 16+ miles, well within accuracy of GPS. I agree there’s an oddity (probably a little bug) there, but I disagree that it’s an issue to worry about. That thread (posted above by another commenter) is probably the best place to follow and continue the discussion.

    Hi Shavonne-
    RE: Training Coach

    As Inkar noted, you could use the Training Effect to provide some level of guidance – but in some ways you might be better off looking at some of the free training plans (like the ones on Hal Higdon’s site for different distance), to guide you a bit more.

    Thanks Inkar!

    And thanks everone for reading and supporting the blog!

  186. The software version says 2.20 on the watch.
    Have changed the setting to average pace – do you think this will give me my average minutes per mile over the course of my marathon (on sunday)?
    will ne software be updated automatically through ant+?

  187. Sunny

    I have been using a Suunto T6D for a year. It saves every heart beat and respective inter-beat-interval (IBI) for up to a million beats. This data can be exported to an Excel file for later analysis. It helps with assessing heart condition (i.e. detect heart murmur, etc) during endurance sports and when sleeping.

    Does the Forerunner capture IBI? I do like the virtual partner and running cadence features of the Garmin.

    These are not available on the Suunto. But I do wear the T6D as a daily watch. I also run with an iPhone and the excellent RunMeter app captures GPS based routes and can be setup to send out email updates to spouce/friends with pace, location, etc so they know how I am doing and when I need them to pick me up. The route information can then be loaded into the Suunto movescount web site and merged with watch data. Only drawback is having to start and stop two devices. The runmeter can be controlled using the earphone control switch which helps.

    Thanks for the review! I probably will wait for an updated 310XT as I like a larger display and water resistance.

  188. Anonymous

    Got the watch yestday and took it out this morning. Great watch, only issue is I can’t get it to connect to the ANT+ stick. Has anyone else had this issue? My settings on the watch are set to on for data transfer and inital pairing. The stick is working on the computer. Any info would help. Thanks!!

  189. DC – how can I tell if I have the current premium heart rate monitor or the newest premium heart rate monitor? From the pictures you posted it looks like the in the newest version you have a buckle and the older premium you unsnap one of the monitors connections. Is that right? Are the part numbers different? Thanks – I have tried searching Garmin’s website with no success.

  190. Hi there Ray,

    thanks for great review of this one and also of the Nike+ GPS Sportwatch. I am a Nike+ addict, though I am in my first full marathon training now (done few halfs over last two years) and thinking of trying out some triathlons next year and Nike seems to be too basic for this.

    I was very convinced about going for Nike+ GPS Sportwatch, but reading your reviews for both, the great possibility of preparing my workouts on computer and loading them in the Garmin watch … Thanks to the comments of other readers, I realized that one can actually load Garmin data to Nike+ (even though they don’t have public API, so who knows how long is this going to be possible).

    One update on your Pros and Cons – I tested the 210 for my friends magazine few months ago and the charging cable slightly moved and stopped charging. I was truly upset, when my watch ran out of battery after 15 minutes of a 10 miler … So I can understand that it can be a complication for someone owning more Garmin watches, but I would generally consider this a positive upgrade.

    Ray, thank you for all the great work, I will make sure to order my GPS watch through your links once I finally decice.

    Good luck, you are great at what you are doing!


  191. Hi Elliott-
    RE: Avg Pace

    Yes, using ‘average pace’ will show you your average minutes/mile pace over the course of the entire race. It’s perfect for what you want. Btw, check out this post for a bit more detail:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Sunny-
    RE: IBI

    No, Garmin does not publically show your IBI numbers. It does actually use that via FirstBeat to determine calorie calcs, but doesn’t record it anywhere.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: ANT+ Stick Unhappy

    I saw it happen once – try powering down the watch (hold upper left button for a few seconds), and then turning back on and setting back up initial pairing. Also, ensure that ANT+ agent software is in pairing mode (right click, pairing=enabled).

    Hi Kraig-
    RE: Premium vs Newest Premium

    The easiest way to tell is that the little plastic pod snaps into the center of the fabric band, and you use the plastic clip to put it around yourselves. The older one the plastic pod is what you use to snap it around yourself.

    Hi Barborka-

    Thanks for the comments, and I agree with your notes. I’ve gotten more use to the charging clip and in general think it does perform better.

    Thanks Everyone!

  192. Merci ! Très intéressant 🙂

  193. Just saw this: link to buy.garmin.com – a longer strap. Wish they did this for the 310XT, I just “made” a nice long fabric strap for mine

  194. Awesome reviews. More questions answered on this site than the rest of the internet put together.I am a keen runner, but also do a lot of cycling/mountain biking and the occasional triathlon/Ironman event it looks like the 310Xt is what will suit me best. My only concern is that the consensus seems to be that the altimeter isn’t worth much and as I do a lot of trail/fellrunning I would ideally like a barometric altimeter. Do you think there is any chance the new version of the 310XT will have an improved altimeter or barometric altimeter or is there a different device you would recommend.

  195. Hi Rainmaker!

    Just read your awesome review on Forerunner 610. Congratulations!!

    How could they remove standard course funcionality? It is great for MTB races. With that function the 610 was all I wanted:
    -It would have followed course with the little compass
    -It looks like a regular watch (better than 410)
    -It adds 1-second recording option (better than 410)
    -Touchscreen (better than 410)

    Do you think Garmin is considering to launch a new/similar 610 with this compass function again?
    I think it is worth waiting.

    I run, swim (could use the swim cap method) and would love to download routes for MTB into the watch and follow them with the compass. Plus I wanted a “normal size” watch to wear every day.


  196. It seems that there is people not very happy with the fr610 GPS accuracy (link to garmin610problems.blogspot.com), did you find those problems?

  197. Probably asking for perfection, but I like to dream…

    In your experience, when will we see a GPS-integrated watch…
    -With a normal size (like the Forerunner 610)
    -Totally waterproof (like the Timex Global Trainer), but able to receive the heart rate signal (like Polar T-31) and GPS data while in the wrist (“openwater swim mode” like 310XT)
    -With 12 hours battery autonomy (like Timex Global Trainer)
    -And a compass function to follow a route downloaded in the watch (like most of the new devices except 610)???

    One year? Maybe less?


  198. Humberto Claudino

    Thank you for the information because I am looking for a clock with gps for use in endurance riding.
    Humberto Claudino
    Porto Alegre – Brazil

  199. Your review on Garmin Forerunner 610 is really really awesome and details. I think there is no other review as complete as you do. Honestly, This is Great reviews!

  200. Last question, I promise ;=)

    You can get Timex Ironman Global Trainer for just 195 USD and you pay 400 USD for Garmin FR610!!!!

    I can not understand this.
    Will Garmin change its price policy after the entrance of Timex Ironman Global Trainer in the market? Otherwise I think they will loose many clients.

    Thanks again, Ray!!!

  201. Anonymous

    Re GPS accuracy:

    I ran with both my 305 and 610 today; GPS distance was off by .04 a mile, or 211 feet on the 610. Pace varied wildly from my 305, 10-20 seconds, even when walking. I could see the GPS accuracy causing the .04 off, as in you have to run more, but the pace should not be tht far off. I am keeping my 305 for the time being.

  202. Ray, I recently purchased the Garmin 610 based on some dialog with you and am very happy with the device.

    I primarily use this device for mountaineering workouts. The 4 field read out with Time, Distance, Speed, and Elevation is everything a climber could want.

    I have found the Garmin 610’s GPS elevation values to be very accurate (within 10-30′ on 1000’+ gain/loss).

    I live in mountainous region of Colorado and all my workouts involve 1000’+ gain/loss.

    I have a question about the GarminConnect website. I have noticed calorie calculations do not appear to include elevation gain/loss. But if the calc doesn’t include elevation gain/loss, then how can it possibly compute calories correctly? Calorie values for workouts at GarminConnect.com show fewer calories for an ascent than a descent. If this is true, I want to buy this formula and bottle it. Since when is climbing a mountain less work than descending it?

    GarminConnect shows an ascent of 1000′ consuming 170 calories, but for the same descent it shows calories as 230. This is ridiculous (again, since when does climbing a mountain take less effort than descending?)

  203. Anonymous

    Can the 610 show GPS position in UTM format?

  204. Hi Steven-
    RE: Longer strap

    Very cool!

    Hi troll-
    RE: Barometric Altimeter on new FR310XT

    I don’t think we’ll see it jump from the Edge cycling line to the Forerunner running line. It sounds like either the Edge 500 or Edge 800 may be better, but unfortunately neither has options for running (MPH instead of minutes/mile).

    Hi Francisco-
    RE: Standard course following

    I don’t see them launching a new watch with just this one addition. I do see them probably adding it back in at some point, based on feedback from customers. It really does make a difference to send in a little note to support or the Garmin Twitter feet. Support makes a bigger impact though.

    In time I think you’ll see the next version of the FR310XT have most of what you want. Just guessing though.

    Hi Patrick-
    RE: Accuracy site

    See my earlier comments. In short, the more dramatic issues seem limited to just one user. There are some minor issues resulting in a few meters off here and there. Garmin commented yesterday they’re looking into them. I suspect we’ll simply see a minor software update (just like other updates) that will fix any outstanding bugs. I don’t see it as a major or critical issue for 99.99% of people at this point.

    Hi Humberto-
    Sounds like the right fit!

    Hi FR610-

    Hi Francisco-
    RE: FR610 vs TGT

    The pricing difference reflects the quality of the products. The TGT simply isn’t at the same level as the FR310XT, or the FR610 – from a design standpoint. Over time I do suspect we’ll see the gaps close. Keep in mind the TGT started off another $150 higher. Also keep in mind the TGT suffers from some serious accuracy issues.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Accuracy

    Thanks for the update. Just to let others know who may not be following, you’re behind the post noted above with the accuracy issues – and also Garmin is swapping out your watch for hopefully a non-defective one. Thanks!

    Hi Mike-
    RE: Calorie Calculations with elevation

    Unfortunately no Garmin devices account for elevation in calorie burn. Instead they focus on heart rate as the primary method, and failing that simple distance with weight calculations. See this for all the details:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Anon
    RE: UTM format

    No, it does not show in UTM format.

    Thanks all!

  205. I’m buying a 610 tomorrow. What I NEED can be easily delivered by a 210 but then there is what I WANT. I’ve been using iMapMyRun but it goes wonky under tree cover. Last week it was stuck on 11.01 km even though I had run another km after that point. I will use the app & the 610 simultaneously & let’s see what the difference is.

  206. Julio

    i am the anon poster…didn’t mean to cause the hate; I’m not the guy who has been all over Runners World and Garmin; I haven’t contacted Garmin, I’m just waiting on the update, but I wanted to share my experience with others.
    I am sorry for the confusion.


  207. Ray,

    how do you get a Training Effect rating only with the Garmin device?
    On the workouts where I don’t use the Suunto memory belt I do it manually. Do you know of a way to get this automatically?


  208. Julio, I am the supposed person who is trying to get “revenge” from Garmin, because the GPS has accuracy problems and the start and occasionaly after laps.

    I am not out to get Garmin. I have been a customer of Garmin since 2008. It’s just that Garmin Customer Support and myself got off on a very bad foot when I asked them to look into the GPS accuracy problems I have noticed for the month that I had the watch. They basically first told me to accept it.

    However, after my initial push Garmin has been good to work with so far. I have sent my 610 back to Garmin and I am awaiting the new one to return.

    I have been contacted by other runners who have also experience the same problem with their 610 watch and other have posted on the Garmin forums as well.

    I just didn’t randomly go to Runnersworld and post about the Garmin. I post on the RW forum a lot, not just about the Garmin 610.

    I thought that it might be wise to just wait a while before purchasing the 610 (I did not tell people to not buy the watch, but to wait to buy the watch) until this GPS accuracy problem settles down and is fixed.

    Heck, it could be fixed tomorrow. Garmin already stated that if you tap on the screen to clear the Timer Started screen that shows up it seems to improve or remove the start bug. So at least they are getting somewhere.

    I am not on a mission to bring Garmin down or drive their sales down. My mission is that the 610, which when the GPS works, is a great watch. When it doesn’t work, it can be a rather frustrating experience (for me at least)….

  209. Julio

    DCV, I didn’t intend you to take it that way; I just didn’t want DC to think we were the same. I’ve read a lot of what you’ve posted and gained a lot of insight, so thanks for the tips.

  210. Anonymous

    Francis Bond ask about : FR610 Battery Life

    First, thanks to DC Rainmaker. Great reviews of Garmin product wich led me to buy my first GPS Watch, the Forerunner 610.

    While i am very impressed with all FR610 tools & options, the battery life tends to bother me quite a bit. Because of your review and Garmin statements about the battery life, i did know what to expect. Eight hrs of training seems short, but since I log only 4-5 hrs a week (4-5 trainings a week), I tought charging it once a week is not that bad.

    But, I opened up my FR610 last Saturday. I ran the three following days for a total of 2 hrs 30 min. The rest of the time the watch automaticly sets to energy saving mode and here I am on Wednseday (5 days from original purchase) with a battery level under 25 % and only 2hrs 30 min of training. I am afraid I won’t be able to get to my 8 km training of tomorrow which would led me well under 4 hrs of total training time.

    Should I turn of the “Vibrating’ feature ? As it vibrates to each laps, I suppose this will decrease battery life faster. I could use this option only on special events where it is very important to me to do not miss a split.

    Finally, Should I use the smart recording option instead of the 1’second option ? Here again, I suppose a big impact on battery life. Have you tried it ? Can you confirm ??

    Again thanks,

    Francis Bond

  211. Hi DCR,

    I’m stuck between the 610 and the 310. My running and cycling is just about split (Halfs,10ks, hopefully a few marathons soon, and PLENTY of century plus rides). What do you recommend?


  212. Bosse

    Do you recommend 310 or 610 for just running and what are the biggest reason for just “that” choice?

  213. To the person questioning battery life, why don’t you just charge it? When I had my watch when battery life got low I would charge it for an hour or two.

    To all others, there might be some sort of temporary fix for the start bug that seem to be in most watches. When the Timer Started window pops up on the screen, tap the screen to make it go away. Garmin has reported that this helps.

    link to forums.garmin.com

  214. 310 vs 610
    Thank you for the amazing review… what I was not sure about it “effectively reducing the wrist footprint of the larger (and slightly more capable) FR305 and FR310XT.” After reading both reviews, the only advantage that I see in 310xt is that you can swim with it… otherwise 610 seems more capable… are there other 310 functions that 610 can not match?

  215. Anonymous

    Does the 610 wear like the 210 or 410. (Is it as stiff as the 410 or less) Thanks. Great review

  216. Thanks, great review.

  217. Really enjoy reading your reviews. I currently have a Garmin FR60 I really like it. It has most features except GPS, since the 610 is a more streamline watch I’m hoping to update (can’t wait to try one on). Can I pair my current footpod & heart rate monitor with a new 610?

  218. Thanks for the great review. However I just got mine and having terrible problems with the touch screen. The screen does not recognize the right two menu options ‘training’ and ‘where to’

  219. Quick correction RE: UTM format.
    This can indeed be done – via the Units menu.

    Hi Julio-

    Thanks for the clarificaiton. I’m working to get official word from Garmin on a potential release date for a firmware fix.

    Hi Rodrigo-
    RE: Training Effect

    No, it’s only automatic on the Garmin’s. I don’t know of another way.

    Hi dcv2002-
    I look forward to you getting back your watch all fixed up, hopefully that resolves most of the issues, combined with a firmware update.

    Hi Francis-
    RE: Battery life

    Hmm, strange, mine lasts quite a while. I’ve done some two hours runs and then a week’s worth of other runs without issue. I’d ring up Garmin support and check. 1s shouldn’t have a substantial impact on battery life (based on previous conversations about it with them I’ve had).

    Hi Adam-
    RE: 610 vs 310XT

    Since you’re heavy on the cycling, the 310XT seems like a better fit.

    Hi Bosse-
    RE: 610 vs 310XT for running

    For just running, hands down the FR610. I haven’t used my FR310XT for running since the day the FR610 arrived.

    Hi Emil-
    RE: 310XT Capabilities

    For triathlests, the FR310XT has advantages in that it goes 20hrs vs 8-10, it has power meter support, and the openwater swim mode (usefullness is questionable). More importantly though, it’s fully waterproofed.

    See my slowtwitch post on more details between the two:
    link to slowtwitch.com

    Hi Anon-
    RE: FR610 band

    No, it’s soft like the FR210. Not like the FR405/410 which is annoyingly hard.

    Hi Rhonda-
    RE: Footpod & HRM

    Yup, the FR60 footpod and HR straps are ANT+ and fully compatible with the FR610. I use them interchangeably.

    Hi Irvine-
    RE: Calibration

    Try this out, it’ll allow you to recalibrate your screen:

    “When going through the screen calibration on the Forerunner 610, the user may need to use a stylus or other sufficiently accurate tool to perform the calibration. Touching the dots with your finger, or otherwise inaccurately will cause the calibration to fail and repeat from the beginning.

    Touchscreen calibration –
    Hold the start/stop key while you power the device on, until you see “SOFTWARE LOADER” on the screen. Continue holding it for about 10 seconds while this is on the screen, and it will eventually change to the splash screen on its own. Once the splash screen appears, release the button. The calibration page should appear after the splash screen.”

    Thanks all!

  220. Thanks again for amazing reviews and time you took to answer the questions

  221. Hi Ray,

    About the touchscreen of the 610, I’ve read the review, but it just came to mind after a half marathon on saturday, i realised i had difficulty using my iPod nano as the touch dial refused to sense my finger.. if you had sweaty fingers, would the response of the touchscreen on the 610 still work?


  222. Hi,

    could you comment on the visibility in low light situations while running, especially compared to the 310XT and 305?

    What is the character size in 2/3 and 4 field view, again, compared to 305 and 310XT?



  223. Hi!

    Great review!
    Thinking about buying a Forerunner 610, but I have one big doubt:

    Is the FR610 display made of real, solid glass? It’s because I read the screen is resisitive, and all the common resistive touchscreens are made of acrylic layers, that have some degree of flex when pressed.
    Is the display solid when pressed? Is it real glass? This will be very important on the decision I will make!

    Thanks for your good work!

    Ricardo M

  224. Elissa

    Hi tx for great review. I am wondering if i can use the 610 as an activity monitor? Yes i want to use if for running but as i work up to “running” i need a pedometer and would like to monitor and track as much as my daily activity, or inactivity as possible to encourage me to keep going. Would the 610 work for me? I have tried the fitbit but it does not seem accurate.

  225. Thanks so much for the help. I tried to recalibrate but could not. Also did two runs and the GPS was totally off! I did a group run for 9 miles and it was .15 miles of at the end and the map on Garmin connect left out the second half of the run. I decided to return the watch today. I will try another just incase I got a defective one.

  226. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the Garmin 610. I’m female with very small wrists, wear it all the time (to work and work out). Its big but its not practical joke big. The only feature I wish this (or any gps watch) had was an embedded micro SIM (ala iPad) so that data can be uploaded/transferred from anywhere at any time — without necessarily having to be near my computer.

  227. Bobby

    Hi DC, amazing review!

    I’m just going to be blunt. I am purely a runner and just want the watch that will give me the best accuracy for my runs. What should I choose between these:

    Nike Sportwatch+

    PS: I see the 610 is having accuracy issues for some people and that puts me off, but is it just on a couple units and/or will it probably be resolved

  228. I’m still choosing between Nike+ GPS sportwatch and the Garmin Forerunner 610. Started running and planning to enter competitions locally, then regionals. i think Garmin FR 610 is much more to offer than the Nike watch, but Nike offers excellent social n community content like the challenges n so on. Hmmm

  229. Thanks for a great review.

    Living in Europe I can see that there is 2 different article NOs of the FR610 and pricing.
    Will it work in EU if I purchased in US ????

  230. Battery life

    Is there anything wrong with just putting the watch on a charger like a cell-phone every night or will it run down the battery and I should charge it only when it’s low?


  231. Newbee

    Thanks for a really helpful review!

    Given a run strategy like this:
    Run 5km at 5.00 min / km
    Run 5km at 4.30 min / km

    Here the Virtual Partner cannot be used, since the run strategy is not at a constant pace.

    How can I program the Garmin FR610’s Virtual Racer to execute my run strategy (so that I can follow it and try to beat it)?

  232. Bobby,

    I am the one who first noted the accuracy problems. Looks like it will be a while until I find out if it was my watch of widespread because it seems I they will not ship me a new watch until June 22nd. So glad I spent $400 on this watch only to have it not work and be without it for over a month….

    For the person asking about the virtual pacer/trainer. You wouldn’t be able to try and beat it, because as you have noted you just stick in an overall pace for the run and that is what you are pacing against, not individual intervals. You can setup what you want to do as a workout, but thats it.

  233. Newbee

    dcv2002apv2005, thanks for your answer!

    Maybe it is possible to find or run a 10k activity, and then modify it with a software tool to adapt the activity to my race strategy before uploading it into the Garmin FR610..?

    I also have another question: How can the Garmin FR610 be used to find my “fitness index” of some sort, so that I can track my progress throughout the running season?

    I think Polar has something called “OwnIndex” – does the FR610 have something like this, or can the Garmin Training Center, Garmin Connect or other software calculate such an index based on training data from the FR610?

  234. Jeanette


    Thanks for another great review!

    I was wondering, can you change the pace of the Virtual Partner of FR610 while running, like on the 310xt?

    I can’t find anything about it in the manual..

  235. Hello!

    First of all I want to thank you for the in depth information that you have posted on your blog.

    I have been an on and off runner for about 5 years and recently I have started training for my very first 21Km run (Amsterdam Marathon in October).

    Currently I am using the Nike+ wrist watch and foot pod, and although the flashy Nike+ site is really nice to watch and to have “challenges” but it is quite dissapointing that whenever you are on the run the watch tells you have run 10Km when in reality you only ran 8Km, even my body tells me that I need to run more because I don’t feel like I would feel with that distance… keeping a story short, I then proceeded to investigate GPS watches…

    After reading upon Suunto’s and Polar’ possibility I concluded that I wanted a watch that would allow me to control my heart rate, distance, pace, tell how long/far I still need to run, where I’m going, calories burned… this how I came upon the Garmin 610.

    After doing more research I found out that another nice watch is the Garmin 310xt (even though I have extremely small wrists I really do not care so much about looks).

    Now I am in a “dilemma”. I love biking as well, and do plan to do some thriatlons, but that will be in the future, I’m also a diver and it would be kind of cool if you could take the watch for dives.

    So if money, size are not issues, which one should I buy when the only things I want are:

    – accurate distance reading during and after the run (sometimes I like to simply just run 10Km without planning the route before hand, with the Nike+ you really can not do that!)
    – accurate calories burnt
    – accurate heart rate (even when you are running with other people that have heart rate monitors as well, aka no interference from other monitors)
    – accurate interval training (alarms for that?)

    I hope that I am not asking too much information here, but these are few things that are holding me back from making a decision. Even though money is not an issue, it is still quite a price…

    Last question: the touch screen, are there guarantees on that? in your opinion will it break easily?

    Thank you so much beforehand



  236. Anonymous

    Great review! One thing I am really surprised though is you don’t mention that you have to view the “std date/time/day of week watch screen” as one of your screens when in training mode. Such a stupid thing to not be able to turn off. Garmin told me that they didn’t thInk it was that big a deal. Give me a break!

  237. Amazingly in depth reviews… you should be getting paid to do these. I am super-psyched I stumbled upon your site. Thanks for taking the time and effort to put all this information together in one place!
    Ironically, reading the reviews for comparison has confirmed what I suspected…the unit I really want to replace my 305 that bit the dust(b/c of me, not the watch itself!) still doesn’t exist…

    I thought the 410 sounded sweet but the consistent complaints about bezel issues are a deal breaker…

    Then I thought the 210 was where it was at b/c I like the simplicity idea but I’m a mountain runner and no elevation data, real-time or otherwise, is a definite deal breaker…

    The 610 sounds awesome but I’m really skeptical about a touchscreen on a running watch.

    If the 210 had elevation as a data option or the 610 had good old-fashioned reliable buttons I’d be flipping a coin but it looks like I may come full circle and end up with another 305. It would just be great to not have a red and silver “brick” on my wrist, but I had one for over 3 years and it NEVER let me down.

    Decisions, decisions…

    Thanks again for these in-depth reviews!
    – Jeff K

  238. I got my new 610 on Friday. I have run with it three times (along with my 305).

    Here is what I have seen:

    1. The start GPS accuracy bug is probably in every watch. It was in my new watch. Show the GPS accuracy field on your watch when you run, see if it occurs after you press Start.

    2. The bug fix that Garmin mentioned on their forums actually works. You need to clear the Timer Started screen (by tapping on it) when it appears. Maybe even clear the Lap screens also to be safe.

    3. So, when I cleared the screen my distances between the 305 and 610 basically agreed.

    4. It would be good if Garmin could address this in a software update.

    5. As Anonymous posted above, having the time-of-day screen in Auto Scroll is utterly useless and annoying.

    6. There are some uploading issues to Garmin Connect with ANT+ I encountered these also this weekend.

    So, in the end, I would say my 2nd experience with the 610, after knowing what to look for, and how to fix it, it better but not 100% great. The issues should be able to be handled by software updates.


  239. Hi, just another great review.

    It looks like a …Suunto…

  240. Anonymous

    thanx for final words : “no screen option follow the course”! Dont want it even for 1 buck!

  241. Amir

    thanks for great reviews. which product would u recommend for road cycling and running (unfortunately not much of a swimmer). i want it to have gps guide.

  242. Anyone buy the velcro wrist strap kit? link to buy.garmin.com
    Curious as to how it looks and feels. I have the velcro strap for the 305 and thought it was much more comfortable, although made the watch look bulkier too. If so be great to see a picture. Thanks!

  243. Anonymous

    Just wondering if this watch is compatible with MapMyRun application?

  244. Great Review, very detailed, love it.
    I’ve a Garmin 305, which does a good job for me. But I’d like to replace the old heart rate monitor with the new one (the new premium).
    I wasn’t able to find it online. All products on amazon show the old premium and even your link to the Garmin shop (link to buy.garmin.com) leads to a product with pics of the old premium strap.
    Would you know where to get it?

  245. Lukas

    Thanks for this great review! =)
    I’m an orienteer and want to buy either a Forerunner 410 or a 610. Do you know which of them has the better GPS reception? Or do they have the same receiver?

  246. JSBar

    Hey, DC Rainmaker,

    thanks for the thorough review. I just bought the 610!

    I will use it for running and measuring my heartrate while lifting weights at the gym.

    I have a question. I want to get the most realistic average calories burnt for the whole work out, not just the running. Should I leave the timmer on after I switch activities? Should I create a new work out?

    On the other hand, I want to keep an accurate track of the running only data?

    Any suggestions on how I can use the 610 to do this?

    Keep up the good work. This blog is INSANE!

  247. For those of you that want to see the accuracy error on the 610. try this.

    Set to 1 sec mode. TUrn OFF autolap. Do a 800m on track. The watch will probably tell you 0,80 or 0,81 or whatever. Thats normal.

    Then turn on autolap every 0,1m. Do the same run on a 800m track, and suddenly it will measure 710meters. thats over 10% error.

  248. Anonymous

    First of all, thanks for taking the time and energy to provide us with so much detailed information!

    My FR 305 died on 6/13/2011 and Garmin wants $79 to replace the battery. Even the resets didn’t revive it. I was all set to get a new 305 from Amazon until I came across your blog. Now I’m not so sure. I’m a runner only. No serious biking or swimming. I might just have to get myself an additional Father’s Day gift.

  249. Larry

    I got the 610 a few weeks ago and have started to get used to running with it.

    I bought the velcro wristband kit but one wristband is too long for me and the other one is too short. Luckily, the original 405 wristbands work with the 610, although the colors don’t match.

    I am also annoyed by the fact that the date/time screen comes up as part of the Auto Scroll functionality. I configured one training page to display during my race and I look down to see the date/time, absolutely useless information. I have posted on the Garmin site asking them to give us an option to turn it off.

    I haven’t been bothered by the GPS inaccuracies because I run with the foot pod, although it looks like I have to use a different calibration factor than the one I used with 405. Why? All of my miles seem to be coming out to 1.02. This is from manually splitting yesterday’s 5 mile Portugal Day run in New York. Ok, 4 out of 5 were 1.02, 1 mile was 1.01. Am I that bad at running the tangents?

    I have enabled 1 second recording but Garmin Training Center seems to display the activity in 2 second increments, unless I am missing something. Is there a new version of Garmin Training Center to go with the 610?

    Here is a quirk. I believe you have to make sure you tab out of both the high and low pace zone limits when creating a custom workout or the pace zone will not get transferred correctly to the watch. I have seen 6:46/min come across as 2:59/min.

    Overall, I like the watch. I think the display is a lot easier to read than the display on the 405, a big plus for me. The touch screen takes some getting used to, but it’s faster to use than the touch bezel. With a few firmware fixes, I’ll be happy. Please, please, please get rid of the date/time page.

  250. Larry

    One other thing, where can I see the training effect in Garmin Training Center? I see it on the watch but not after I upload the workout. Yesterday’s race gave me a training effect of 4.9. I am happy to have the training effect as an indicator of my training load. Using mileage as an indictor of training load, without taking into account intensity, is pretty much useless, in my opinion.


  251. Thanks for a detailed, and enjoyable, review, which convinced me to buy this model.

    Unfortunately, within the first week of use I had three issues: black lines appearing in TIME OF DAY/LOCK mode, satellite acquisition taking minutes, switching itself off and restarting when pressing the LAP/RESET button. Today it died on me with a blank screen.

  252. Thanks for this really exhaustive review which will help me to decide between Garmin 610 and Suunto T6d

  253. Thanks for the review, it convinced me to pick up the 610 to replace my old timex kit with the separate GPS, data recorder, HRM, etc.

    I’ve enjoyed the simplicity of this unit. There are two minor flaws in my opinion:
    1) I wish that the USB charging cable would also work as a data connection cable – it would make travelling easier, as there would be once less piece you could forget. It would also be nice if they could find a way to use a standard USB style cable, like the new mini-standard for cellphones, although I guess this might cause water-resistance issues.
    2) Why oh why did they switch to using tiny screws on the battery compartment for the HRM! The battery on mine has died after just a week of operation, and now it has been sitting idle for a week because I don’t have the necessary jeweler’s screwdriver to get the darn thing open. The old style compartment that could be opened with a dime was perfection – why did they mess with that!
    Cheers, and keep up the great writing!

  254. Hi

    just bought a foredunner 610 and really impressed. downloaded a run and all over the stats! i have a question though; you show a view of the raw data to show it is recording in 1s, how do i view this information?

    Thanks for the great review helped me make my mind up to buy one

    Ian West

  255. Just FYI: The last Firmware Update to the Edge 500 added 1s recording.

    I’ve been running/training with the FR60 for about 4 years now and The new FR610 looks like the next watch to add to my GPS lineup. Totally happy with the durability. The Touch Screen still has me spooked though. (BB Torch User :P)

  256. When taking a split, does the screen offer a FULL summary of the split (Time, Distance, average pace, average HR) ??

    I ask this because I am baffled by my 405: when I take split, it only gives you the time !! So it is impossible to know your actual pace and distance for that split

    (in comparison the Polar RS800 display a nice summary of the split (distance, time, speed, HR, etc)

  257. Anonymous

    Have had nothing but trouble with the Garmin connect website. Watch does not come with software. I like the watch but the Garmin website and support are rubbish. Only purchase if you want a watch and not the features online. Knowing what i know now i would not have purchased this watch.

  258. Anonymous

    Garmin needed to do 4 things for this watch
    1. Get training effect , which thankfully they have as this is a fantastic tool for your training and is one of the most important results you need for your training
    2. make the dam thing water tight so you can swim in it, which they have not done.
    3. Make the belt a duel belt so it does both digital and anolog signals as this would be very usefully in most if not all gyms.
    4. make it a bit smaller , as it only looks just a bit smaller than a 405 and they are just no good for training in the gym .
    If they manage to get all them things done then i would consider parting with my sunnto T6

  259. miki269

    Thank you for your professional review.Two questions: 1. Do the 610 and the 210 allow repetitive daily alarms 2. Is it possible to use the 210 intervals as a run/walk function’ and if so-how

  260. In your review, you show SportTracks importing data from the 610, and the import dialog lists three devices. How did you get SportTracks to display that dialog. The only thing I found on their site showed how to import files (link to zonefivesoftware.com), not devices.

  261. Matt K.

    Great review BTW!
    Did the watch you tried have a glass screen as stated in the review. Mine is plastic….. I would have rathered had glass. That’s the only thing I dislike about the watch.

  262. Anonymous

    Hello Ray,I’ve been reading your reviews for some time now. They were very helpfull to me. I decided to order the Forerunner 610. Today I ran with it the first time. It’s everything I want in a sportswatch.
    Just want to say thanks!



    Rotterdam, Netherlands

  263. Jason

    Fantastic post. Thanks for everything. I have loved mine so far.

    I went for a ride but recorded it as a run. I know how to change this in the software after the workout is transferred to my computer but is there a way to change it on the unit itself?

  264. Got the 610 after agonising over whether to invest in it as a replacement for my TGT…

    It works perfectly for me, no regrets..

    GPS acquisition is miles ahead of TGT, vibration alerts are helpful and the overall implementation is pretty slick..

  265. Hey all Garmin 610 owners, I was wondering if anyone has had any problems or issues with the battery posts/connectors on the watch itself – with any corrosion of those posts? I had to already send one watch back for a replacement…I am worried that this will happen to my new one. Has this happened to anyone or does anyone have any thoughts of how I can prevent this from happening again????

    • melissa

      Not sure if anyone’ still reading this but I’m on my 3rd FR610 with corrosion on the posts. It prevents the charger from attaching to the watch properly and so you’re never able to charge it again. I’ve been getting replacements from the store where I bought it but now I”m going to send back to Garmin and see what they can do. I read on some other forums that people were getting their watches back from Garmin with a fix for this so maybe I”ll be able to as well, otherwise time for a different model. I’ve had too many problems with this model. (I”m on my 4th!)

    • Hi Melissa-

      As noted above, Garmin is replacing (free of charge) any FR610’s experiancing corrosion/discoloration issues. Just ring up Garmin Support. While working with your local store is normally the best bet, they’ll likely keep giving you FR610’s with metal backing, vs the new ones with a plastic backing.

  266. Run4MS,

    I’ve had mine for about a month and a half. No issues with corrosion of the posts. After a workout, I briefly rinse the watch off under the faucet and then dry it with a towel. So far, so good.

    I hope you have better luck with your replacement.

  267. Great writeup… Answer me this, is is possible to set something such that the unit stops recording when it detects you are stopped? This isn’t so much an issue running unless I guess you are stopping at a lot of stop lights, but you are likely doing that on the bike – I want to record ride time not elapsed time, there is a clock for that…

  268. I am going on a 7 day Belgium bike trip (about 300 miles) and will not have a laptop to upload GPS data, but will be able to charge the Garmin battery. Is there a way to have the whole trip covered without losing data? Can I transfer GPS data to a memory card? What Garmin model would be best? Thanks!

  269. kontiky

    Ray, thanks for great review.
    But I have a different question. How do you avoid melancholy during long races? Do you have mp3 player with your or something like this?

  270. zkaizen

    Hi ray
    Thanks for the great review, about to replace my 310xt (end of life), I do triathlons, is the 610 a good replacement or should I wait for the successor of the 310xt? Any updates on the timeline of the possible 310xt replacement?

  271. I just got my 610 and am trying to charge it but it won’t charge. Do you know of any troubleshooting issues. The cradle clicks on but nothing happens.
    Also your reviews are awesome.

  272. I am just curious as to why yours looks totally different than mine. I just purchased it and am having a hard time figuring it out and I found your blog and was so excited to finally see how it works and boom, your is different. Mine has a bezel touch, not touch screen.

  273. (Part 1 Answers)

    General Note Regarding comments about accuracy-

    Back in June Garmin released a new firmware that significantly improves GPS accuracy substantially on the FR610. I re-did a number of my GPS accuracy tests and found it scary-accurate. You can read all about here:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    While answering comments I’ll skip over any comments about the accuracy previous to that point since I believe it to be resolved. Thanks!

    Hi Ouch-
    RE: Touchscreen

    It’s very different, super easy to use while wet. I’ve had tons of wet runs since without any issue. Especially once I realized you can just tap the screen in the center to change data fields. Much eaiser than swiping.

    Hi MrT-
    RE: Low light

    You can turn on the light and it’s on par with the FR310XT, and better than the FR305.

    RE: Character fields

    It’s smaller than the FR305/FR310XT in most cases, except if you just put one data field up – in which case it’s equal.

    Hi Ricardo-
    RE: Display material

    It looks glassy to me and doesn’t depress when I press. But others have said it’s plastic. Personally, plastic would be preferred from a breakage standpoint.

    Hi Elissa-
    RE: Activity monitor

    If you put on a footpod, yup, it’ll work – at least until the battery dies about 8-10 hours later. The FitBit is in some ways better here.

    Hi Alex-

    Hi Bobby-
    RE: Which watch

    Choose the FR610 as a pure runner.

    Hi Digital-
    RE: Nike+ or FR610

    Go with the FR610, vastly better than the Nike+ if you want the additional features.

    Hi Lars-
    RE: Whether it works in Europe

    Yup, no issues there – I’ve taken a number of trips thus far over with it without issue.

    Hi Emil-
    RE: Charging

    No issues, I do that often.

    Hi Newbee-
    RE: Race Strategy

    You’ll want to use the Workouts feature and create a workout on Garmin Training Center (or Garmin Connect soon), to do this.

    Hi Jeanette-
    RE: Changing virtual partner pace

    Yup, just hold down the screen for a second and it’ll adjust.

    Hi Ariana-
    RE: Which watch

    Given everything you’re saying with doing triathlons, I’d go with the FR310XT.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Date/Time as non removable field

    I asked the Garmin folks about this last week – they said it’s high on the list of feedback they’ve heard and are looking into it.

    Hi Koz-
    RE: Which watch

    I think you’ll find the touch screen really easy to work with. The buttons you use on a day to day standpoint (Start/stop/lap/light/etc…) are all still there. Which are really the only buttons you use in a workout aside from changing the page, in which case you can just tap the screen to go to the next data field.

    Hi Amir-
    RE: Road cycling and running

    If you’re a casual rider, I’d go with the FR610. If you’re more serious and still want a crossover device, the FR310XT may be better. If you’re far more into cycling than running, than the Edge 500/800 may be better for you for cycling.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: MapMyRun App

    No, it’s not.

    Hi Schadix-
    RE: Premium HR monitor

    All heart rate straps purchased individually off of Garmin’s site will ship the new premium edition (2010 version). Unless you purchase the old school classic edition.

  274. (Part II Answers)

    Hi Lukas-
    RE: Orienteer-

    For that, since the FR610 doesn’t support courses, I’d actually look at the FR310XT as your better bet. Otherwise, the FR610 has the better GPS chip, the FR410 shares the chip with the FR405, which is a bit older.

    Hi JSBar-
    RE: Most realistic calories

    You’ll want a heart rate stap, and the Garmin FR610 supports heart rate burn based stats. Additionally, you can get a New Leaf test done to increase accuracy.

    Hi Espen/Larry-
    RE: New Garmin Training Center

    Yes, you can download the newest version from the Garmin site. There’s a beta link also in the forums with a bunch more features. I don’t believe Training Effect is there yet (based on my version anyway).

    Hi Eric-
    Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying it!

    Hi Wez-
    RE: Raw data

    I used a program called XML Marker (free, just google it) and then I opened up the TCX file, which is just an XML file.

    Hi Shadow-

    Hi By7-
    RE: Split info

    No, just the split time, that’s it. Later in software it shows it, but not on the display during the run.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Watch coming with software

    You can download the Garmin Training Center software, which is free and also available.

    Hi Miki-
    RE: Alarms

    Yes, both do.

    RE: 210 intervals for walk/run

    Not really unfortunately. You can create an interval for the rest to simply be for walking, which would work – but you’d have to set it for a really high number of intervals to make it work.

    Hi Jim-
    RE: Importing from Sport Tracks

    To do so you’ll navigate to the Garmin folder holding your workouts, which would be something similiar to this:

    C:\Users\rmaker\Application Data\Garmin\Devices\3660261241\History

    Just swap out username and the device ID.

    Hi Anon-

    Hi Jason-
    RE: Changing ride to run

    In Garmin Connect on the activity you can change the dropdown box to show sport and simply change it. But on teh unit itself, there’s no way to change it afterwards. Sorry!

    Hi Ouch-
    Good to hear!

    Hi Run4MS-
    RE: Corrosion

    I’ve had no issues thus far, nor have I heard of any.

    Hi Peter-
    RE: Stops recording when you’re stopped

    Yup, this is the autopause feature. Does exactly as you described. Enjoy!

    Hi LeonidG-
    RE: 7 days of data

    You should be good with 7 days of data on the watch without downloading

    Hi Kontiky-
    RE: Avoiding getting bored during long races

    Not really sure actually, no MP3 player or the like. I guess I just watch the world go buy and focus on executing my race plan. Except in the Ironman races, in which case I focus on the moment when the darn thing is over.

    Hi Zkaizen-
    RE: Replacing FR310XT

    I’d wait two months…but that’s just me.
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi K05-
    RE: No charge

    Hmm, haven’t heard of this. Every once in a while it gets fussy and won’t set right but usually I just readjust and it gets going ifne. I’d definitely ring up Garmin support!

    Hi Jennifer-
    RE: Watch looks different.

    It sounds like you’ve got the FR405 or FR410, and definitely not the FR610. I’d highly suggest returning it for the FR610 over those two. I’m not a huge fan of the FR405/FR410.

    Thanks all, and sorry for the delay here – been a bit of a crazy few months with wedding and honeymoon, just getting a chance to catchup on all the past comments.

  275. Awesome… still waiting for Nike+ Sportwatch GPS features (water, battery life, etc.) with Garmin accuracy and reliability.

  276. Ben

    great review, you really helped me alot.
    the garmin 610 is the first garmin watch to have “training effect”,this technology is made by a company named firstbeat (and is used a lot on suunto watches). i’ve been on their website (firstbeat.fi) and they state there that they are working on a new firstbeat athlete version to be compatible with the garmin 610. and estimate the release to be in july-august. do you know anything more accurate about the release date?

    also, is it possible to track data without using a computer and how many runs can be remembered on the watch?

  277. Fred

    Thanks DC Rainmaker. Based on your review I bought the FR610 and have been very happy with it. So far I never had the watch switch to footpod, even in a valley forrest it kept locking on to GPS. I love the interval training feature and custom screens as well. Keep up the good work!!

  278. Thanks DC Rainmaker for your thorough reviews.

    However I’m still hesitating between the FR610 and RCX5.

    I’m looking for a personal trainer watch that will guide me through each workout. I need that extra incentive 😉

    I would like to be able to have training sessions were I can have or set specific targets.

    Let’s say I would like to setup a workout that starts with a target of 75 BPM for 10 min and then prompts me to go to 115 e.g and would allow to set up as many targets per session as possible. And if I’m not in the target zones the watch should start beeping.

    I know the FR610 as the virtual partner. Is it possible to customize the speed/distance of the VP in order to speed up the pace after 1 km, e.g?

    Another feature I’m looking for are pre made programme. Like the FT60, which has goals such as to lose weight or improve fitness (but with a guidance per training session as described above).

    For a PT watch which one is more comprehensive?

    Thanks, very much appreciated

  279. Would you recommend this watch to a beginner? I am also wondering if it can be used to connect/sync with Runkeeper without my iphone and on a treadmill?

  280. Great review – thanks for the detail.

    Wondering if with the 610 it is possible to have 2 profiles? So I can allow my wife to use the watch for her trainning – and not mix up our numbers. Thanks for any info.

  281. Urbanite

    “BarborkaOnTheRun May 21, 2011 8:56 AM

    Thanks to the comments of other readers, I realized that one can actually load Garmin data to Nike+ (even though they don’t have public API, so who knows how long is this going to be possible).”

    Does anyone have any more information on this? I’m a Nike+ user, but would really like to have more precise measurements. Is it possible to use the Garmin data (from 610) for the nike+ website and challenges?

    Thanks. Urb

  282. Hello, Im using Garmin 110 for a long time and Im thinking about buying 610 your review is really good! I find great informations thanks! Also can’t decide between 405 or 610. I was using 610 few days and I can say its very nice and clean design with everything you need!

  283. I’ve been using the 305 for a few years (including replacing it once while Garmin repaired the original which stopped working). Anyway, after reading this post I thought I’d give the 610 a try. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite stack up to the 305 in my opinion.

    The primary drawback of the 610 is screen size and the fact that it’s a touch screen. Though the screen isn’t particularly hard to use, I find that it is slower to navigate that the physical push buttons on the 305. As for the screen, I find it much more difficult to read than the 305 (when cramming 4 fields onto a single screen … which is how I use the 305).

    I did a few trial runs with both watches and got essentially identical readings for distance (including a bridge underpass and running alongside a row of tall buildings for a fair bit of the run). Based on the review, perhaps the 610 would do better when running obstructed trails or in the middle of a city, but this didn’t outweigh the screen size and touch screen aspects for me. Oh, the price (3x a 305) didn’t help either.

    It’s going back. When Garmin updates the 305 (or 310XT) with an improved GPS chip I’ll upgrade.

  284. Anonymous

    Hi DC Rainmaker,
    Thanks for you great reviews and congrats on your recent wedding!

    I currently a 5k/10k runner, who loves the technology and information the GARMIN provides. I have a 210 right now, but have been thinking about upgrading to the 610 for a few reasons. 1. I run with headphones on and often do not hear the beeps for my interval warnings, etc. The vibration feature on 610 seems like it would solve that so I am not constantly checking the watch 2) like the ability to display 4 items 3)like the new charger and automatic syncing. However, I am concerned about the touch screen and WONDERING IF YOU THINK WEARING A JACKET OR LONG SLEEVE SHIRT OVER THE WATCH WOULD AFFECT THE WATCH. IN THE COLDER MONTHS HERE I OFTEN RUN WITH A JACKET THAT WOULD RUB ON THE SCREEN. Given my reasons for upgrading are fairly minor, I am not sure if I should updgrade at this point.

  285. Hi
    Following your amazing quality review of the Garmin 310XT I bought the watch. I wasn’t disappointed with what it can do, only in it’s non-every day wear size.
    You have exceed your usually quality in-depth (amazingly free) review with the Forerunner 610. From what I read, I bought this watch, following your Amazon link. I have used this watch. I was not let down or disappointed. It is a daily wear watch with benefits! Having it on my wrist all the time allows for spontaneous fun exploitation of it’s capabilities as well the familiarity to use it for it’s main purpose.
    Please carry on doing what you are doing and, doing it so well.
    Kind regards

  286. Hi,
    thanks so much for the review of the FR610, Just got it from a local store in Montreal. I’m at work, can’t wait to get home and go running.
    Sunday we should get some big wind, and i am goind Catamaran with my budy. This watch rock, and your reviews are awsome.
    Thanks a million

    Jeff Montreal

  287. Anonymous

    can you change the distance and speed from miles to kilometers

  288. just received my 610 but unfortunately I’m using Ubuntu OS, can you help me by finding a way to sync?

    believe as a geek, you will help me :-))

  289. Hi Andrew-
    RE: Nike+ with FR610

    …or, the other way around. Either way, a combination of some of the features would be key.

    Hi Ben-
    RE: New Firstbeat algorithm

    I haven’t heard of anything to date, but I’ll add it to my list to discuss with the Garmin Engineers when I see them in person in late September.

    Hi Fred-
    Thanks! Great to hear!

    Hi CTR-
    RE: Customized workouts

    Yes, you can do that via Garmin Training Center and then transfer it to the watch – or shortly via Garmin Connect.

    RE: Personalized Coach

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a personalized coaching system or platform behind it – though many coaching sites will create workouts that are compatible with Garmin watches. I believe TrainingPeaks has this option.

    Hi Trond-
    RE: Beginner watch

    I’d recommend the cheaper FR210 watch. It works with a treadmill and footpod and it’ll cost you about $200 less (right now on sale with the HR strap for $185 at both REI or Amazon). Both will allow you to upload to RunKeeper afterwords.

    Hi Bill-
    RE: Two Profiles

    Unfortunately none of the watches allow two profiles on the device itself. However, what you can do is simply create two Garmin Connect accounts and then just pickout the activities individually to your own account. It’s what most folks do and works fairly well.

    Hi Urb-
    RE: Garmin Data to Nike+

    I too would love to hear more about this, as I haven’t seen it myself.

    Hi Runner001-
    RE: FR405 or FR610

    Go with the FR610. The FR405 touch bezel drives me nuts. The FR610 touch screen just works.

    Hi David-
    RE: Comparison to FR305

    Yeah, in this case the FR310XT is really the upgrae for the FR305 in that it has the bigger display fields your looking for. The FR310XT does have a much newer chip than the FR305.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Jacket

    I haven’t seen any issues with it. I’ve been to some colder climates since then and haven’t had any long sleeve problems. Actually just a few weeks ago I was up in northern Canada with both a long sleeve coat and a long sleeve shirt on and neither caused any weirdness. Of course, you can always just lock the screen too.

    Hi Charlie Brown-

    Hi Jeff-

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Distance/Speed to Metric

    Yup, no problems at all – takes just a second in the watch settings and the display will be in metric instead (KPH and Minutes per Kilometer)

    Hi Pelitawan-
    RE: Ubuntu

    There isn’t a support way…but no fear, check out this thread on getting the ANT+ agent to work on Linux variants. If you can get the ANT+ agent working, you’re likely golden as that’s what connects to the FR610 (though some folks are having issues with the FR310XT). Failing that, if you by chance have an iPhone/iPad, you could pickup the Wahoo Dongle to download workouts from it.

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Thanks all!

  290. Anonymous

    DC Rainmaker :

    Can you go over in some detail the “navigation” features….what is the difference of back to start and go to locations..

    Seems like back to start processes tracks and tries to direct you exactly reverse order of the workout- step by step with prompts and turns ? Does this work ?

    “Go to location” just gives you a compass and direction of start ?

    Thanks- sammywoof

  291. Urbanite


    Did a little research on the Garmin to Nike+ and found this: link to awsmithson.com

    Haven’t tried it yet, but I sure will be 🙂

    Thanks for a great review.


  292. Thank you, your reviews by far have been the most helpful. I have been addicted to my Forerunner 305 since I started running and bought it as a training tool. Saw some adds on the 610, lots of ohh and ahh factors. I wanted it but couldn’t justify buying it when my 305 worked fine. Thanks to my new puppy who has an affliction for electronic devices, that is no longer an issue. Now I have taken up mud runs and potentially looking at paddle boarding so I have been torn between the 310 xt and 610 – you helped me decide on the 310 but I am going to wait to see if there is a new release coming soon 🙂 Apple has broken me in on the wait before you buy…even though I will be missing out on the trade in ending today – I will be keeping my fingers crossed to see if a new 310 comes out before I really need it in December – in the meantime I am substituting iPhone with run keeper – Thank you for all of the time and detail – I have been undecided until I read your two reviews 🙂

  293. According to Garmin you cannot force the watch into screen lock manually (as you wrote).

    link to buy.garmin.com

  294. Like many others I’d just like to thank you for a great and ambitious review. Actually, when reading it yesterday before I purchased the watch, I thought it overly ambitious. However, after uploading the first recorded run and tampering a bit with the watch interface, it gives me exactly what I need. Time-saver and very clever. Thanks a bunch!

  295. I was looking at this watch… but I currently have a 305, been doing triathlons and am more than likely going to the 310xt next. Not have the auto multi-sport is a game changer for me.

  296. Anonymous


    Your reviews made me choose for a 610 over one of the 4xx series.

    I only can say that I am very happy with the 610. Very accurate, easy to easy. Nice web based Garmin Connect.

    This ‘tool’ made running even more fun to me.

  297. Corey

    Great review. Just to throw another data point out there, I picked up one these just under 3 months ago and have had some issues with it.

    The magnetic charging clip was a nice idea in theory, but it works about as well as the charging cradle on the 305. By that I mean you have to make sure its actually charging before you walk away from it. It’s pretty easy to dislodge the clip just enough that it doesn’t charge when you sit it down. A minor issue I know but it kinda sucks to get ready for a run and find it still has an empty battery.

    I’ve also started having issues with it locking up/randomly rebooting on me. This morning I took it off the charger with 100% in the battery and it immediately locked up, rebooted 10 minutes later, and then said the battery was empty.

    All in all I like it when it works, but it just seems a little buggy to me. If I had to do it over again I would go with the 310xt instead.

  298. Using my 610 today it bleeped and printed the message “Tip: Oldest activitives will be deleted soon”.

    After finishing my ride I checked out my history totals and have about 26 hours of runs and 22 hours of riding. I’ve been using the 1s recording interval from the start so recording capacity on that setting is about 50 hours.

    Nice feature by Garmin to tell you its going to start deleting things before it actually does!

  299. Alison

    Just one query, if you have the watch on, but in indoor mode, ie satellites not connected, but screen lock has not been initiated how can you connect to satellites?

  300. Anonymous

    the battery needs to be zero % to charge again or i can recharge any time ? Thank you

  301. Anonymous


    You can charge anytime.

    I purchased mine 1.5 months ago and use it every single day. I track my runs and also my commutes by bike. I love the damned thing.

  302. Anonymous

    Go to Settings, GPS -> On

  303. Anonymous

    Fantastic review.

    I was slightly put off by the battery life. But I I was not doing any 4-5 hour runs so it would not impact me.

    Bought my FR610 a week ago. All I can say is GR8 watch.

    I’ve used it for a 5k run, interval training and other short runs over the last 5 days and still plenty of battery life left. Mind you each exercise period is about an hour or so.

    Looks great as an everyday watch although I like the thinnest of the RCX5 – the FR610 is just as nice.

    I shower but don’t swim so the minimum waterproof is no issue.

    I found the HRM worked better than my old Polar.

  304. [


    I just tried out my Garmin 610. I ran and then kept it on for a weight training class. Can the 610 be used as a regular heart rate monitor and calorie burn calculator while indoors and not running?


  305. Anonymous

    Hi. All i can say is wow. These reviews are incredible. I shall definitely remember this site for future running product reviews. You thought of EVERYTHING. And because of that, I’m confident I’ll love my 610…which should be arriving in 6-10 business days(:

  306. Hi, I just bought the fr610 through your link on amazon. I am have a hard time looking for how to use the courses I have created on garmin connect to be used on the watch. I cant seem to find them even after my pc screen shows transfer is successful..Appreciate your help please.many thanks…

  307. Tobs

    Hi mate, I’m amazed that you have time to answer these questions on your reviews too, but it’s great if you do. I have an FR110 but it’s been in the rain and starting to mist up. With the prospect of a wet winter ahead is it worth buying an FR610 instead? Can this withstand being worn in heavy rain without getting water inside? It would seem so from your submersion test.

  308. Since firmware version 2.60 (link to buy.garmin.com )
    >> Added a setting to allow the removal of the clock page from the training page loop while the timer is running (see Setup->Training Pages->Clock Page). short video about it: link to youtu.be

  309. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for best reviews I have found. It helped me choose best model as present for my casual running, technophobe husband. (the 210.) I found reference to your reviews from a customer review on Amazon. I could go straight back to my open tab and buy directly, but I am so appreciative I will click on yur Amazxon link. 🙂 CHeers.

  310. gianlu.carbone@tiscali.it

    Thanks! Very usefull and congrat for your passion…really well done!


  311. Jordan

    Hello, just wondering when you will be reviewing the October 2011 release of the new Timex Ironman® Run Trainer™ with GPS Technology?


  312. Hi,
    Thanks for your review, and for answering all of the many questions!! I was wondering if you ended up getting the garmin extender battery and how it worked. Thanks!

  313. Anonymous

    Thanks a lot.
    I just run and mountain bike.
    What i want is to register the tracks in the garmin 610, 910 or 310 in order to find out all.

  314. Does anyone of you have / had problems with the backside coating?
    I just got my FR610 replaced without any issues because the copper surface at the backside was visible.
    I wonder if this is a common issue.

  315. anto1980

    Is the accuracy of the altimeter appreciable???

  316. The review is great, I agree with the conclusions.
    Wandering if the reviewer has something to add on the build quality after some usage.
    After 2 month usage I’m experiencing the same problem described by droffen, copper on backside.
    Called Garmin support in my country (Switzerland) and after 10 days no answer so far.

  317. Hi Ray,

    I’ve misplaced my charging cable for my 610 (bummer!)

    I can’t seem to find anywhere to get a spare one from… do you know of anywhere?


  318. Hi Ray,

    I’ve misplaced my charging cable for my 610 (bummer!)

    I can’t seem to find anywhere to get a spare one from… do you know of anywhere?


  319. It’s ok, I found out how to get one from Garmin now! Sorry for that!

  320. Great review. How is it compared to suunto m5 gps? Looks more friendly to use and the Movescount.com looks useful. Need to decide which one to buy. Thanks.

  321. Anonymous

    @droffen. Yes I had a similar corrosion problem with the watch after 2 runs. I straight up returned mine. This is inherent to the design of the back, which features a metallic plating/coating over a base material. If the plating is compromised, either through poor manufacturing quality or normal wear and tear, it will expose the base material to sweat, resulting in corrosion. Garmin would have to make a design change to remedy the issue. More instances of this problem showing up over on the Garmin forums.

  322. After 4 months of owning an FR610, I think it is an amazing running watch except for one BIG flaw: the pin design for holding on the wrist strap. I have now gone through TWO FR610’s, and both of them have had problems with the pins falling out mid-run after 6-8 weeks of medium use (around 30 miles/week running). I took it back to the running store that sold it to me, they said it is a very infrequent problem, but it has happened before. If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be staying with it, since it looks great and works really well. That’s been my experience with this watch. Have you heard of any solution for this?

  323. Thx for a great review, and a great blog!

    Could you maybe take a minute to answer a questions i have regarding the 610? Im looking into upgrading my old trustworthy 305 that I have been using for 3 years now. Im a pretty competetive runner, I run a couple of marathon and ultras per year. I think the training effect feature will be good at helping me pace my training runs better. I read that the more data the 610 has the better it works, so Im wondering if it’s possible to upload my old runs from my 305 (got 411 runs logged) to be able to use the feature correctly just out of the gate.

    Again, thx for a great blog!

  324. i bought mine about less than a month ago but i see some rusting forming at the back of my FR610. WTF?! i also saw a thread in the garmin forum that a few FR610 owners are experiencing the same thing (or even worse). What to do? Will Garmin service center take it back and replace it? (i’m in the Philippines, but we have a service center)

  325. GV

    Hey buddy, great reading and thnx for helping me to choose a device! Just used it in Amsterdam halfmarathon and it is amazing how accurate is in tracking the position in parks etc. Keep it up! Thnx GV

  326. This comment has been removed by the author.

  327. Great review, as usual. Thanks!

  328. This comment has been removed by the author.

  329. This comment has been removed by the author.

  330. Re: Connecting to ANT+ stick. Had the same problem on my MacBook Pro. Worked fine after I turned off Bluetooth, which apparently can interfere (also microwaves, wireless networks, etc.). Also needed to bring the watch closer to the stick.

  331. Anonymous

    What happens when the watch runs out of batteries? Is any data lost?

  332. Fabricio Portela

    Hello from Brazil…

    Thanks for the excellent review.

    I´ve read some negative reviews about charging problems with the GARMIN 610 and I´d like to know if this is something I should worry about before buying this Garmin.
    Sorry about my English.

    Thank you very much.


  333. Request for Rainmaker or who has an answer.
    Is there a way to enhance the sound of the tones of the Forerunner 610?
    with Rasta.

  334. Geoffrey

    Many thanks for the in-depth review!

    As a current FR305 owner, I’m hesitating between FR610 and FR910XT. I like the altimeter and the possibility to prepare a route on Garmin Connect and follow it via my screen. Can I do that kind of thing with the FR610? Isn’t the screen too small to display my path on a map?

    Many thanks!

  335. Anonymous

    Sidenote: The 310XT replacement, the 910XT, will be available before Christmas. I confirmed with the Fleet Feet in my neighborhood. The watches are not in the store yet, but they will be in time for Christmas.

  336. Hi Rainmaker,

    Excellent reviews. It was really helpfull…..

    I just bought FR 610. A state of art watch.

    Only thing missing is that intervals/split times are not recorded in history, but only lap time. surprisingly, since during the race most runners are interested in their split time at 5km, 10km, 15km etc.. therefore, in races I use FR 305 again.

    Frank van Eldik

  337. Chelle

    Thanks for the review, I bought my 610 this weekend. I did notice your screenshot of Sporttracks import you have a Forerunner 610 entry. How do you configure Sporttrack to get the 610 in the menu? In my Sporttracks I only have “Garmin Unspecified GPS [Communicator Plugin API]”

  338. Anonymous

    Awesome review, very comprehensive!

    I’m considering buying this as I used to use a polar heart rate monitor with footpod. I’m primarily wanting something to give me more feedback on my workouts. I not only run but would like something I can use for roller skating workouts as well. Would this work for roller skating or does it rely on “footstrike” to calculate distance etc?

  339. Hi, I´m Franco from Argentina, congratulations for your site, is really excellent !!!
    I only have one question: for run 10km or 21km, wich recommend me: FR910xt or FR610 ? (I am not swimmer or cycler).

  340. andy

    Hi Rainmaker, thanks for a great review, its very useful.

    I bought a 205 a couple of years ago, and it has been an excellent buy and is still working fine. It has helped focus my training a lot.

    I decided to invest in an upgrade, mainly due to 1) its ugliness (this is very vain I know) and 2) the delay in locating satelites and 3) just the fact its so old now presumably there are much better models out there.

    I’m a semi-serious runner and about to start training for london marathon. I’ve never really used hr for training, have always preferred to go by pace/distance as I find it easier to track progress.

    After reading your review, I’ve come to the conclusion that its a case of upgrading to 610 or sticking with the 205. I really like the virtual partner feature which I’m surprised has been omitted by many of the models.

    I suppose I am trying to justify splashing out on the 610 as I really like the look of it, but given the price and the fact the 205 is doing the job, I’m struggling. Whats your opinion on it?



  341. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review.I get the impression that the screen is very small,making seeing the data clearly snd quickly while running pretty difficult.Am I right?

  342. Tamara

    Thanks for your review(s)…I looked at both the 410 and 610. They were both VERY in-depth and informative.

    I am looking for a watch for my son. He is a Frosh in high school and has become a very serious runner; he also runs both XC and track & field. He is very good…making varsity for XC (track has not started yet, but coach seems to think hey will be on varsity). He is wanting to improve pace time and speed. Also, he hates “bulky” watches. Some of his teammates have the FR305/FR310XT, and they complain about the “bulkiness”…they have suggested he go for slimmer model. He has asked for a “running” watch for Christmas. That lead me to the 410 and 610…and your reviews.

    Looking for a watch that can “alert” when he falls behind a set pace…and record the distance. By doing this we are hoping to increase distance each time.

    With this info…

    Can either (410 or 610) set an alert for pace in this fashion?

    Do you feel this watch “too much” for a young high school student? Is there a more suitable watch in your mind? He will continue throughout high school and (hopefully) has a very good chance in running in college. So, he should be running for a long time…again, hopefully.

    Thank you for your time.

  343. Anonymous

    Many of the reviews on Amazon say that their units stopped charging after a couple months. According tot the reviews, Garmin is not giving acceptable customer support. This sounds very, very bad for such an expensive watch. Do you have any updates?

  344. Really great review. I have this watch, love it. I got it in part because I run ultra marathons and being able to use the foot pod means I can extend battery life by not using the satellites on long run days. Still not long enough life for a full on 100K or 100 miler but I get the market is in the tri and marathon or less crowd.

  345. Hi all. I have the FR60 and have been holding onto it because it’s so full featured and I LOVE the instant pace being..well..instant. I’m thinking about upgrading to the 610 (or the 210) to add GPS and vibration alerts, better light and training effect.

    My question is how good is the 610 with instant pace? I’ve read up and see that 1 sec data recording seems to make the data smoother and not as jumpy as in other Garmin Forerunners, but won’t it still be delayed 8-10 seconds because it’s based on GPS (although smoother)? I’m also looking at the 210 because it has instant pace over then 110, but if that instant pace is jumpy AND delayed, then why bother. I’d either run with the FR60 also or just use lap pace and make laps like ever .25/mi and it would be “sort of instant pace over the last two minutes”

    My next question then would be about using the footpod for instant pace on the 610. I see that there is a setting for “speed source” and you can set that to footpod. This is a better setting than “indoors” because the GPS stays on and records everything else. It also looks like the data for lap pace and average pace is still based on the GPS and not the pod, but the pod is only used for instant pace (which sounds like a perfect setup) but has anyone officially confirmed t hat with Garmin or do Garmin folks pop in here and have said that is correct? I can’t find anything definitive.

    My final question (ok I’m a bit OCD, but I suspect anyone in this forum or using one of these devices has traces of the same!) is on the footpod use itself. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the FR60 with a track calibrated footpod for instant pace and have always found it very accurate with distance when running a similar pace. The only negative you ever here from folks who have actually calibrated it is that the pace/distance can be “off” if you run at a pace different than you calibrated it at. I’ve always wondered if any of you have calibrated it at different paces, noted the calibration factor, and manually adjusted accordingly based on the run you’re about to do. For example my 1/2 marathon/tempo training pace is 9:00/mi. and my easy/long run pace is 10:30/mi. Couldn’t I calibrate it while running a 9:00 pace and note the calibration factor and then calibrate it again at 10:30/mi and note that one? Then once I have the data I would leave it calibrated for a 10:30 pace since most of my training is at easy/long pace. Every other week when I do a tempo run or during races I could manually change the calibration factor to that pace to have better instant pace. Is all this going overboard and it’s “close enough” or do any of you bother with something like this?

    Thanks and sorry about the long posting 🙂

  346. Anonymous

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for a great writeup. I’m confused about one thing, though: In the section titled “Fitness Equipment (Gym) Compatibility,” you write “[O]n a spin bike it would transmit speed/cadence and even power (watts).” But in the “Cons” section at the end, you write “Doesn’t support ANT+ power meters (cycling).”

    So which is it — can the 610 support power readings from ANT+ power meters (Garmin or others), or not?

    Thanks in advance,


    p.s. Sorry if this is covered in the questions above, but I scanned through all ~350 and didn’t see it addressed…

  347. Steamed in Hermosa Beach

    Have had the 610 for 3 months and still not performing properly. Source of absolute bitter frustration and am furious to have wasted $400. I am supposed to be out running 8 miles. But because there is a bit of cloud cover the GPS cannot maintain its connection to the satellites and “auto pauses” every 5 seconds and buzzes. Hateful! Had to come all the way home to drop off this piece of dog poo to prevent me from hurling it to the ground and stomping it to pieces which would be extremely satisfying if not for the $400 loss. P U !!!!!

  348. My FR610 lost the signal during a marathon and never recovered until I finished. The signal was recovered only after I stopped. Later it happened once again during a training. Is there any trick that I could do to get the lost signal when it’s impossible to stop (e.g. during a race)?

  349. Anonymous

    I’ve been using a Forerunner 305 for over three years and am extremely happy with the watch.

    Would you recommend going to a FR610?

  350. Alvin

    Hi Rainmaker,

    I’ve seen a few forums where a common problems people seem to encounter is the battery power diminishing when on the charger. Have you heard about this? Have you any knowledge on the problem or are you aware if garmin is intending to fix this?


  351. Anonymous

    Awesome review, thanks for taking the time. Definitely influenced my buying decision to pick up the 610.

  352. Awesome review, sir. Thank you!

    Is there a way to silence alerts after they have been triggered? I was on a run recently and set the alert to trigger after I exceeded a specific heart rate BPM. Unfortunately, once I exceeded the alert heart rate it kept sounding alerts throughout the duration of the run…highly annoying. I couldn’t get it to stop.

  353. Marathoner

    One comment: I don’t know if you tested it, but the auto-pause feature does NOT work.

    When you come to a stop, the pace slowly declines, increasing by about 30 seconds every two seconds. So, if you are running 6 minute miles and stop, after two seconds it will read 6:30, then 7:00 after another two seconds and so on (this is of course approximate).

    If you want the watch to auto pause, then you need to set a low pace threshold, say 7 or 8 minute pace. But that won’t work because then when you hit a staircase or a steep hill it will pause.

    No big deal, you say, just hit the start/stop button to override the auto-pause (it vibrates so you know it has paused). But when you hit start-stop, it does *not* resume the workout, it stops it! (“Stopping” is apparently different from “pausing.”) Then you hit the start/stop button again to start the workout, and it will start—just in time for the auto-pause feature to trigger again. And Garmin isn’t smart enough to realize that if you’ve hit start/stop twice (or four times…) to override the auto-pause, then it should STOP PAUSING.

    I found this really annoying, since this and the pacing partner were two of the features that convinced me to go with the 610 over the 2xx, and neither of them works! (The pacing partner screen is too small and not customizable, unlike every other field.) Either Garmin should have added an accelerometer so it can pause based on a lack of motion (instead of GPS signals), or, if the technology doesn’t work, then it shouldn’t have included it.

    I feel like an idiot right now. I was holding off on GPS watches until the technology matured, but finally went for it—only to discover that on an Apple scale of polish it still feels like iPod version one.

  354. Anonymous

    Hey, I know it’s been a while since you posted this, but just thought I’d say thanks! This writeup led to me purchasing the Garmin 610 and I couldn’t be happier. Its been my daily run partner for about 3 months now. Really an excellent addition to the Garmin GPS watches. Thanks for all the info you give!

  355. Ray-appreciate all your great reviews! Can you tell me how the size of the readouts with 4 on screen compares to the 310xt? This would be an addition to my running arsenal if text size is same or close to that of the 310xt in 4x mode. Thanks!

  356. Thanks for the great review Ray!! One question, does the 610 show you gradient and total meters climbed during your run or only after?

  357. link to egalaxy.co.uk

    Amazing price and free 24h delivery! Just got it! It’s a masterpiece! Tank you Garmin

  358. Fantastic website, Ray (and 610 review)! When you speak to the Garmin Team, see if you can get an AUTOMATIC BACKLIGHT option where it is automatically on 30 min before sunset and turns off 30 minutes after sunrise. That would rock! Thanks.

  359. MsGreta

    I just got my Garmin 610, cadence attachment for my bike, and shoe pod today. Your write up is amazing and so very helpful! Thank you so very much. I will read it several time I am sure!

  360. Anonymous

    Based on recs from the forum on Runner’s World, I got sent over here to pick out my first running watch. It was hard!!
    I went back n forth from entry level FR60 to deciding I wanted GPS for sure(so then the 210 topped my list) but I just kept going back to the 610. Right now, it’s more watch than I need but I figure I won’t outgrow it anytime soon & it might push me to go father & faster since I can do so much more with it.
    Your reviews are super helpful & make it seem like I was actually the one trying them all out & testing them. How awesome is that?
    I bookmarked this page so that when my 610 arrives next week, I can reference the info & hopefully get any issues resolved since the info is so helpful & instructional.

  361. Anonymous

    @Steamed in Hermosa Beach: Sorry to read about your issues with the watch. You may want to contact Garmin since your problems suggest that your watch may well be defective. I can tell you with 100% certainty that clouds have NO effect whatsoever on GPS reception. (Well, technically there is an effect — group delay due to the troposphere — that can only be corrected for by a dual-frequency GPS receiver, but that effect is totally negligible in this context.) And the auto-pause is likely kicking in due to the GPS flakiness, so I suspect if you can fix the former issue, the latter will go away on its own.

    @Marathoner: This sounds obvious and silly, but you might want to check to see if you’re running with the watch in cycling mode, and vice versa. I’ve been playing with the 610 for the past few weeks on the bike, and the auto-pause feature has worked flawlessly so far. Also, see my comment above — if the GPS is having issues, that will almost certainly affect the auto-pause functionality (since the receiver relies on a “pinning” threshold to figure out when you’ve stopped and then started moving again).


  362. Jamie

    I have the 610 & love it. Seems like I get about 9 hours GPS enabled running out of it. Curious though….
    Have you tested how long it can record with indoor mode(no GPS data) but just footpod & hr monitor sensing? I’m just wondering if an ironman type event or Leadvile 100 miler might be possible.

  363. FR610, i have been wearing for a day or so, how do i know if there is enough power to do a training session, is there a battery usage percentage display without connecting it to its charger? thanks, chris y.

  364. Excellent in-depth review. Thanks!

  365. hi ray,

    really² love your details reviews + comments here (although its kinda tired too read it all), really useful!…

    before this i was torn between FR610 vs RCX5, but now i made the decision to choose FR610 instead.

    main reason b’cuz i like FR610 compare to RCXf:-

    1)vibration alert,
    2)details custom workout,
    3)built-in GPS,
    4)small form foot pod,
    5)touch screen (cool features!)

    since currently i’m using Nike+ Sportband to measure my run, really appreciate that u can make comparison of size & accuracy of all available foot pod in store:-
    1.Nike+ sensor
    2.Adidas MiCoach foot pod (old & new)
    3.Garmin foot pod
    4.Polar S3 sensor
    5.Suunto foot pod

    p/s: i just wondering whether Garmin foot pod can fit in my Nike+ shoes. at the same time, can measure the accuracy of the sensor.


  367. Anonymous

    Hi, nice review.

    Does anyone have gps sync times between the garmins and other similar watches. Does the 110 conenct much faster than the 610?

  368. The FR110 and the FR610 find satellites with about the same speed, usually within 30-seconds at the high end, depending on any obstructions in the way and whether or not the unit recently acquired a satellite from that location.

  369. Anonymous

    Nice review. Great detail.

  370. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Great reviews you provide, respect.

    Also based on these I purchased a 610 Nov ’11. Did have few, if any regrets on functionality (triathlete, use 3-5x per week & upload data to Garmin Connect).

    Three issues:
    – Paint came off casing within three weeks (live in tropics, maybe in combination w copious amounts of sun screen becomes corrosive?), cosmetic but for that amount of money…

    – Wrist band came off (pin got ben during normal usage it appears)

    – Most disconcerting, the GPS (software) appears to have failed (saw some similar comments on blog); it seems to lose the ability to calculate dynamic data (e.g. speed, distance; still shows static GPS location) and hence goes to Autopause/you have gaps in your trail, VERY annoying (and of course happens during epic ride 🙁

    Garmin indicated can sent it in under warranty to Taiwan but bit dodgy they ask me to cover the shipping, which adds insult upon injury.

    Any more experiences w these faults & how Garmin responded?

    Kind regards,

  371. Anonymous

    did Lance Armstrong wear a Garmin Forerunner 610 at Panama 70.3 Triathlon???

    link to farm8.static.flickr.com

  372. Anonymous

    So I upgraded to a 610 from a 110 based partly on your review. Coincidently, I bought on the same day Garmin decided to remove average moving pace data field from MyConnect, which Support informed me when I complained. There is considerable angst being demonstrated on the Garmin forums which I understand as I can now no longer compare against two years of data I have tracked on my own spreadsheet. I’d like to hear you thoughts on this stealthy change…

  373. really great review Ray!
    your deep review helped me to choose between RCX5 and FR610, and YES, i choose FR610 and bought i it, used it, and love it!

    after discover that the workout can be export to Endomondo, its just make it more great…

    the only function i still need more review are the “Where To?” functions

  374. Anonymous

    How about something useful, like programming the interface screens?
    some of them are useful and some are totally useless….

    But what I’d like to know is how to CHANGE the data that’s displayed on each interface. I found how to change the NUMBER of items displayed, but they display useless stuff (I don’t need it to tell me what ZONE I’m in if I can see the HR itself, D’UH!)

    What I’d like to do is create a custom display, for example one that has current HR and speed and maybe some lap data…

  375. Anonymous

    As far as the Timex products go…
    Why buy a cheaper unit if they don’t have Training software that was made less than 7 years ago?
    (Check the latest release date on Timex Trainer…. and you just TRY to copy your workouts from one PC to another, it’s IMPOSSIBLE!)

  376. Anonymous


    Have you found a way to delete multiple activities from device?

    It seems that you can either delete those one by one or delete all activities.
    Garmin Connect could be right place for this but no, no delete button there…

    I also asked this from Garmin and they didn’t found any help to this.
    They only asked me to send development suggestion.. so I did and got rather funny response:

    Dear xx xx,
    Thank you for submitting your idea to Garmin!

    Whether it was feedback about how to make a current feature better or an idea for a brand new product, we’re excited you took the time to share with us.

    As happy as we are to hear from you, it’s unlikely that you will hear back from us. If you have any questions about how the idea submission process works, please refer back to the Terms of Use agreement.

    Best regards,

  377. Anonymous

    Hello. This model can be charged while it is running?

  378. Hi,

    I am a long distance-runner/infantry officer in the military. I am going on a 3-months course this summer, so I am looking for a running watch that will be suitable for military purposes as well.

    The main concern is not the GPS (since, especially when evaluated during a course, we are restricted to map and compass), but battery life; I would not like to have to borrow one of my buddy’s watch in the middle of a mission.

    Is there a way to lock it on non-gps mode that will allow for a battery life of 8 days or more?

    I was told that FR210’s gps can be switched off and then the watch’s battery may last more than 20 days… anything similar with FR610?

    Thanks a lot!


  379. Oh and also, is the screen easy to scratch?

    Thanks again,


  380. I had the same issue with the paint coming off/rust issues. I got it in the US so I sent them the old one and they sent me a new one.

    >>This is an issue that we ran into with some of the earlier Forerunner 610 units, and it has been corrected. At this point your device will need to be brought in for an exchange.

  381. Phil, Huddersfield UK, I have had a 405 for 5 years or so, the 610 looks like a real improvement, thanks for the review. How well does the 610 work for left handers who wear the watch on their right wrist? Some phone touch screens are geared only to right handers, is this so with the 610?

  382. hey ray,

    just to check with u, does the “blue ring” on your FR610 button seem loose or break? cuz mine seem like the circle are apart and sometime the “blue ring” will stuck inside the button holes.

    i afraid the water might get in the unit.

  383. No, definitely not. Sounds like something less than ideal is about to happen. I’ve used mine pretty hard now for about a year, any it’s holding up well.

  384. brucelan

    I find the wireless connection to be “hit or miss”. It seems to connect when it feels like connecting. There appears to be no way to tell it to “connect now”.

    Sometimes it connects immediately when I return from a run other times I just have to wait until its d@mn well ready.

    I also find that the Garmin Connect website is pretty lame (just my opinion).

  385. Hi,

    I am very confused reading at Garmin’s docs: what is the name of this feature ,allowing to upload a route and follow it waypoint by waypoint with a compass ? it is called “Waypoint” ?

    What models currently support that ? I think the 410 and above

    Thanks !

  386. John M.

    A lot of people online — including me!! — have had the 610 stop uploading any data to the website. The problem seems to be that it records a corrupt workout. This stops every upload. There is no way of deleting the corrupt workout on the watch, except by reformatting everything.

    I’m really tired of the poor software on this watch, and wish that your reviews were more balanced and less promotional.

  387. Hi Loic-

    Within Garmin lingo, this is referred to as a ‘course’ normally – where you predefine the path before starting out.

    Hi John-

    Have you contacted Garmin support? I haven’t seen a stuck workout on my watch yet, and a quick glance at the Garmin Forums doesn’t reveal many people seeing stuck workouts on the FR610 (certainly not recently anyway). So I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a lot of people, but, there’s no doubt that I’ve seen it happen on other Garmin watches.

    My typical fix for this when I see it on other watches is to simply leave the watch and computer by themselves for a while – typically it will eventually transfer, though it may takes hours to clear the backup. Again, it’s a pretty big rarity that this happens – but it may help out.

  388. This comment has been removed by the author.

  389. Great review, but as such, it has made my choice harder to make. Right now, I am considering the Timex Run Trainer and the Garmin 610. I know the TRT is meant to compare to the 210, but it seems that your wonderful comparison tables don’t quite match the 610 to the TRT. I will try to get my hands on both watches at the local DC stores for more comparing, but I think the TRT will be much harder to find. What would you say are the major differences between the two? Thanks.

  390. I finally got a chance to see both the units together and I think I am going to try for the 610. Great, helpful review. I was overly well informed when I went there.

  391. it started with 1 ring, the “light” button, but now i notice, all the button’s ring seem to be break and loose….

    i ask my local Garmin dealer, and they said need to send back to Taiwan and took at least 1 month for checking and repairing…. demm, that a long time for me without my FR610…

    • firr

      hi pojie,

      the same thing happened to mine after using it for around 18 months (30+ hours run). then the start/stop button came off and im stuck with a watch i cannot use. contacted the local garmin distributor and they offered to send it to taiwan for repairs but it will cost me almost half the price of the watch. demm indeed.

  392. Anonymous

    Hi DCrainmaker

    Wanna ask if the power saving mode can be customized or deactivated? I heard review that you have to either press button or swipe the screen to prevent the power saving mode in about 3min time of inactivity.

    IMO this is gonna be irritating if say i want to have an interval break of 5min but must worry about going into power saving mode.

    Pls advice

  393. Any idea how Lance Armstong is using a Garmin 610 for S/B/R in his races? If you check out his Strava file from 70.3 Hawaii it recorded the entire course almost perfectly. From the pictures posted on Triathlete.com it appeared he wore it the entire time on his wrist including the swim.

  394. I’ve been using my 610 for about 9 months, mostly running but also on while biking and as my everyday watch.

    I left it home on the charger for a few days of travel, and when I returned my screen was chipped! It was fine when I left it, nobody touched it, but it looks like a chunk of the face just crumbled away.

    Researching it online, I found this on Garmin’s forums:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    What’s amazing is that the two pictures embedded in that thread show EXACTLY the same chunk of screen missing, same as each other and same as mine (in fact, I was so stunned by the precision of the match in the first one that I thought maybe I had somehow already uploaded a picture of my watch months ago.) At least one other participant reports the same, without pictures – so this makes four of us with a screen failing essentially on its own in exactly the same place and way.

    The sorta good news is that this seems to be covered under warranty. The not as good news is that it isn’t a recall or in the FAQ, so I worry about what will happen to ones that reveal this flaw just beyond the warranty period.

  395. I have found this particular fitness watch in the best price online so I share it with you.

    link to egalaxy.co.uk

    Enter this voucher code for an £8 off: grmnfrnr610hrmeglxcouk

  396. Hi, I currently use a garmin edge 500 for running (I bought the 500 for cycling mainly), I bought a garmin wrist strap that works well with the edge.

    When looking at my route after the run my map can be way off (like 20 – 30 meters off)

    I wear the watch on the inside of my wrist due to the size…LOL

    I am thinking of going for the 610 as this is a proper running watch, I take it the accuracy will be well more accurate.

    One thing that I haven’t tried is wearing the edge the correct way up on my wrist, would this improve accuracy?

    I am also considering a footpod but I wouldn’t buy one if the edge 500 was as accurate as a 610 for running, I would just buy one if I was getting a 610.

    Thanks for any input.


  397. Anonymous

    I am really facing an itching when I wear the garmin 610, I really don’t have any ideas wt the back made of so I need a feedback before my hands get sick

  398. I’ve never owned a GPS watch and I’m leaning towards the 610. I’m training for the Disney marathon in January. I know Garmin Connect displays all the details of the run but I was wondering if I was able to review my pace for each mile on the watch after my run. Or, is that data only available in Connect?

  399. Yup, you can show per-lap data on the unit in the history section (which can show per-mile splits, assuming you enable autolap). Enjoy!

  400. Anonymous

    Seems like a good feature would be to have the ability to show last split metrics on one of the run screens. Is that possible in any way? If not what metrics on splits can you set it up to show while running.

  401. Anonymous

    have received a 3rd replacement unit because of rusty backside, i.e. 4th FR610. This 4th device start to raust again.
    Do you know if Garmin will refund my money or give an other device instead the FR610?
    I really like the 610 but it seems that my sweat is somehow agressive and I don’t want to pay so much onay for that quality of metall

  402. Anonymous

    I about to buy FR 610 but there are 2 commonly issues I really concern after I read on garmin forum,
    i. Battery – some owner has unable to charge the battery due to corrosion or discharge issue.
    ii. Strap pins loose after sometimes.

    Do anyone has these issues?

    BTW, great depth review.

  403. Mike S

    I bought a 610 based on your review and am generally very happy with it except for the strap. The Garmin strap leaves sore red weals on my chest after a 10K run. I’ve seen a few reports of this on the Garmin forums but not enough to assume that everyone has this problem. I dont know if it was a bad batch of straps or the way the strap fits certain people. Garmin have not responded on the issue.

    It appears to be the edge of the strap which is rough causes the problem. I’ve switched to an old polar strap and the problem goes away but data collection is not as good.

    Having looked at the new Polar straps they seem to be the same design as Garmin.

  404. Every once in a long while I’ll get something similiar from a strap. My fix is easy – simply take a small bandaid and wrap it around the very bottom of the strap. Sorta half on one side, and half on the other. It seems to reduce whatever rubbing is causing the problem for me, and then I’m back in biz again.

  405. Monica

    I love this GARMIN 610 GPS watch but have gone through three of them since March of this year. First one lasted a week and started to reverse charge. Second started to rust on the back of the case after about six weeks and subsequently have charging problems. Third just started flashing GARMIN and wouldn’t go back into normal operating mode. I am a 55 year old school teacher, and I am used to buying something and having it last for years. Thankfully, I purchased from a retailer who offered one year no questions asked guarantee. REI is a great merchant! Yesterday I did another return, but this time exchanged the one GARMIN watch for two TIMEX GPS HR Run Trainers for little additional cost. I live 200 miles from an urban area, so it gets pretty tiresome having the watch go bad and lose your training data, another long trip to town on the weekend, etc. I hope to have better luck with this next watch. And so far, my husband just loves his Run Trainer….

    • Silea Daniel

      I have the same issue about the backside corrosion. I’m in touch with Garmin to solve it, if you some adivses for me how to proceed further I would appreciate.

  406. Anonymous

    my 4th FR 610 was replaced with a FR910xt now due to rusty backside.

  407. Ray, is there a general countdown timer and can the vibrate function be used as a time-up alert for it? (I can’t find these answers anywhere in the Garmin literature.) Thanks. RP

    • Pipps

      I can now confirm that a general ‘vibrate timer’ function is possible with the FR610. Simply setup a custom display page displaying just ‘time’. Then setup an ‘timer alert’ and set this to whatever period you would like – e.g. 30 mins. When the timer reaches 30 mins, it will then vibrate. It will then continue timing until it reaches its next 30 min interval upon which it will vibrate again, ad ininitum. I have discovered this since taking the plunge and purchasing the FR610. I find this vibrate timer functionality a very useful tool when working at my desk during the day. The FR610 really is a very useful all-round watch.

  408. This comment has been removed by the author.

  409. AM

    Hello! I’d love if you could answer me this question:

    (A) What are my options for Garmin 1-sec recording watches?

    Is it just the 610 and the 310XT?

    I am looking to get a 1-sec recording watch (with HRM) for as cheap as possible (duhhh!) 🙂 I want the data rate, but I’m a beginner that doesn’t need anything more than easily accessible data at 1-sec rates (I’m also a data cruncher and cringe at adaptive recording).

    It looks like the 610 is 100 dollar more (400) than the 310XT (300). What are your thoughts?

    I do promise to buy it from amazon through your referrel link 🙂

  410. Today the options for running watches from Garmin with 1s recoding are:


    Between the FR310XT and the FR610 – they’re fairly similiar in the sense that the FR310XT has everything the FR610 has, except the run/walk alerts/feature. But otherwise – basically the same. And, in many places, the FR310XT has far more features in the cycling and swimming side than the FR610.

  411. AM

    Thanks Rainmaker – I’ll buy the watch through your referral link!

    310XT it is 🙂 (unless you’d some other brand with 1-s recording and easy access to data!)

  412. Nah, that’s the one I’d recommend given your situation.

  413. Paul


    Thanks for the detailed review.

    I’ve read loads of reviews about the back of the 610 rusting and turning green. Can you comment on that from your own and other users’ experiences?

    Also, the watch was released nearly a year and a half ago – how long do you think it will be until it is replaced/upgraded?


  414. Anonymous

    is it also for women or only for men

  415. Anonymous

    is it also for women or only men

  416. Anonymous

    Happy with my 610. Had it for half a year and it’s helpful. No problems with GPS; pretty close to distance and pace IME.

    Charging is a “be careful” operation. I just woke up to a zero battery watch this last weekend because even if you have the watch snapped into the magnetic holder, it is fussy about exact positioning to charge. Fortunately, it will charge up quickly, so I use as portable battery (usually reserved for my phone) pack and was upto 60% in an hour and a half. Enough for a 11 mile race.

    I need bifocals to read, so I just use biscreens with 2 data points available. Easy to read at a glance and easy enough to swipe left or right to change data points.

    Even with the charging issue, I would buy this watch again.

  417. No mention of the biggest software design flaw?! Everytime the screen unlocks, the GPS activates and you have to turn if off manually, which often occurs if you’re just wearing it as a watch. Even worse, the GPS settings are under several layers of options…it should be on the same level as HRM…can this be fixed..?

  418. Andrew

    Hi RM

    Thanks for the reviews. Have read all you reviews on the 410, 310XT and 610. Yes, they are very long, but they are very well written and you cover all bases which is exactly what one needs when spending ones hard earned cash on such a thing.

    Two questions:

    1. You said one could expect a watch from Garmin which encases the 310XT capabilities but the size of the 410 or 610 in a years time. Been well over a year, any indication of when one could expect that?

    2. Then, if one isn’t due any time soon, can you recommend any other brand of gps watch (ie: what would be your ultimate gps watch)?

    Really appreciate any advise you can give.


  419. Hi Jason-

    You can simply just lock the screen while wearing as a watch, problem solved.

    Hi Andrew-

    Nothing has been introduced unfortunately. It’s essentially the FR610 or the FR910XT on the running side for Garmin, with the key differences really being advanced cycling (i.e. power), not being there on the FR610 (or the battery life.

    I think we’ll continue to see Garmin splice up the product lines, for better or worse.

    At this time, my overall favorite GPS watch is likely the FR910XT – simply due to the extra swimming features. But my overall favorite GPS running watch is the FR610.


  420. Paul


    So have you heard about the issue with the corrosion on the back of the watch? It seems to be very widespread, although I realise that probably more people write on a forum when they have something to complain about than when they’re happy with a product.

    I’d appreciate your advice/experience.


    • Chris

      I bought my first 610 around last Christmas and had it for about eight months when it got very rusted and all the lettering wore off. Garmin replaced it with no questions (great customer service). The replacement came around Aug/Sep and the new one is already as bad as the one that I sent back. The first one was so bad it had charging issues, just waiting for this one to do the same thing.

      Other than that, the watch has been awesome and I only use half the features.

  421. I’ve heard of a handful of folks with it, most of them were from the initial block of FR610’s which Garmin said they fixed the issue – but it has seemed to persist. It’s unclear to me why it only affects certain people, meaning, it’s some form of reaction with either the persons skin, or their environment that seems to cause it.

    It hasn’t happened to me, and I’d suspect it’s likely only affecting low-single digit numbers (percentage wise) – but that’s just a random guess based on watching forums/etc. Like you said, only people that have an issue really ever post in forums.

    Hope this helps a bit!

  422. Paul

    Thanks – it’s useful to hear your opinion on it as you know a lot more about these things than me.

    Any idea when Garmin might replace/update the 610?

  423. I wouldn’t expect anything this fall. Perhaps in time for next spring. Most serious running watches from Garmin tend to be timed to roughly the Boston Marathon (April).

  424. I wouldn’t expect anything this fall. Perhaps in time for next spring. Most serious running watches from Garmin tend to be timed to roughly the Boston Marathon (April).

  425. Paul

    Thanks, that’s good to know.

  426. Do you think is would last a mud run type of event?

    I am doing tough mudder and hell runner and want a watch that I can train with and record the race with.

    I was going to go with the 210 but I do weights sessions and I want to record my heart rate and it seems you can only use the run activity on this watch and not switch the gps off and use it as a general workout?



  427. I think you’d be good – no problems there. I know lots of folks that wear them without issue on Muddy Buddy’s. When you get done, simply rinse off the mud with water and you’d be good.

    As for indoor – no problems at all switching off GPS. Simply tap the face of the watch when it says ‘Finding Satellites’, and it’ll go into indoor mode. In either scenario though, it’ll use the HR strap for calorie metrics indoors.


  428. Dylan

    I love your review, just got a forerunner for my birthday & was told to check out yr review instead of figuring out from the manual.
    keep up the great work!

  429. DC Rainmaker,

    Always been a garmin fan, and need to get a new watch to motivate me to start running again. Does anyone make a running program that I can upload to a running watch?


  430. Anonymous

    Same problem for me !! Very low quality on the back of the watch.
    The silver coating on the back was completely worn out after a few months of standard usage.
    This caused me a lot of problems with the skin on both my wrists (see photo below !) The green powder which then mix up with sweat is actually irritating my skin and it soar a lot (some chemical substances used for the coating ?)
    link to flickr.com

    This is not a cheap unit and, honestly, I would have expected a much better quality from Garmin.
    I can get the same quality if I buy some Chinese gadgets for 5 Euro.
    I sent an email to the Customer Service asking them to replace my unit, otherwise I’ll sue them for damages !!
    Never had this problem with Polar (AXN 700 Titanium and Rubber) !
    Max from Italy

  431. AM

    Hi Again! I’m poster #413 & 415. I got the 310XT but I found I can’t pull more than 8-9 hours of battery life!

    I have 1s recording turn on, GPS going, and the HR strap sending information….how much battery life should I be expecting?

    Is the ~20 hours for when I turn everything, including GPS, off?

  432. Has anyone had major issues with the 610 discharging or not charging. It is really frustrating especially when you think the watch is charging Friday night wake up Sat morning go to grab the watch and its compeletly dead. he discharging happens when you leave it on the charger to long. Very weird – I don’t like the magnet charger at all.

  433. This comment has been removed by the author.

  434. This comment has been removed by the author.

  435. Hi there!

    Thanks for all your reviews and tips.

    I’m about to buy a FR601, but before I would like to know how is the user alert during a customized and complex training plan (in the instant between the end of warm-up and the begging of the first especific pace run, for example).
    Can you help me?

    Thank you so much.

  436. Hi!

    Thanx for a great review, as always.

    I’m looking to buy my first gps watch. Primarilly i’m a runner but perhaps even more a tech freak and a data junkie.

    Probably it will be the Forerunner 610 that will end up on my wrist but I do have one question about this watch and the other forerunners:

    – can it record for example gym workouts, I mean calories burned and for how long etc?. And it would then show up as a gym workout, not a run. I know for example Motoactv has such features…

    Thanx again!!


  437. re: The Garmin 610 reviews & comments. Thanks for the in depth efforts – a wonderful source of info. I was wondering if Garmin is considering to add the multi-time zone feature found on the Fenix. I miss that very much as I travel overseas and frequently need at least two time zones. I really like the 610’s features for cycling and running, but old standard: use it as a regular watch lacks a needed dual time zone capability.

  438. Unfortunately I wouldn’t expect them to add any new functionality to the FR610 at this point. 🙁

  439. graham neumann

    I really “WANTED” to buy this watch. Now I only “want”. Back cover and GPS issues made me disappointed. 910 is to big. 410 is quite old. God damn it.

  440. Stefaan

    Having owned the watch for 17 months now, I wanted to share my experiences with it…

    The major problem with the Forerunner 610 -and by extension all Garmin units-(I own the 405 as well) is the lack of build quality and sturdiness, the wristband in particular. I have the habit to wear a watch all day and don’t like to take it off for sleeping, while having a bath or showering.
    It became apparent to me that Garmins are clearly not designed to take such a “punishment”, if you could name it like that.

    I bought the unit last year in may and by the start of june the wristband gave in and had to be replaced. I nearly lost the watch in the event. By december, it had to be replaced again and now I’m looking at the fourth copy. The back of the watch shows obvious signs of oxidation and worst of all, water seeped in somehow between the layers of the touchscreen disabling it as a result. (I really wonder how that happened, I never exposed it to conditions which went beyond IPX7 -no swimming-, but the rubber fittings may have worn a little.)
    The watch ‘s been bricked. I tried and let it dry out in the oven at 55° for quite a while, but to no avail.
    While on the lookout for another HRM, I went back to the scratched “remains” of my 405 which too is on its fourth wristband (the fabric one now, which is a lot sturdier but equally ugly).
    While the functionality and stability of Garmin watches is good, the build quality and waterproofing is severely lacking, at least for my requirements. In my opinion, it is barely above “toy level”. The quality of the plastics and rubber are sub-par. They should use better materials such as Delrin for the housing and TPU for the band.
    Actually, it’s about time that a company comes up with a decent watch having a stainless steel body and dito wristband. A watch which doesn’t look as a toy and can be worn all day.
    I’m now considering the Suunto Ambit (having had better experiences with the T6 I had before I switched to the 405 in the spring of 2008).

    Oh, it just sprung to mind, the comfort belt is also not sufficiently waterproofed and it causes too much friction. I found the old style belt better in both respects.

    • George

      I can back up Stefaan’s FR610 experience with my own. Multiple wristband replacements and now some moisture somehow inside the touchscreen which is now useless. I dried out the watch using dessication bags and the watch came back to life, only to fail again after running in a slight rain. Obviously the moisture seal or housing has been compromised. How I have no idea. Looking now at the Ambit, though I wish I could stick w the Garmin Connect software which I’ve become accustomed to.

  441. A friend brought it with him the other day and I had a session with it.

    Satellite acquisition was very fast and nothing compared to my (now broken) Timex Marathon GPS (very bad device).

    The build quality was nothing extrordinary. The touch screen required “effort” to respond which made the whole interaction slow(er) than the classic button interaction.

    I more of a button type so I would rather get a 310XT instead.

  442. Great Review, DC! But have done any test on the watch performence and reaction to Track run? For many runner that a very important thing!


  443. Hi, Great review! I understand you ordered the external battery pack.

    I was wondering how was it? I’m thinking of getting one myself as I need more than 8 hours of battery.

    Can you keep the watch running while connected to the pack?

    brief review?

  444. Anonymous

    link to amazon.com can you review this GPS watch on Android OS please?

  445. Anonymous

    link to amazon.com can you review this GPS watch on Android OS please?

  446. Chadathin


    I was wondering if you have had any experience with some of the more common negative reviews? Such as the backplate rusting and the infamous “reverse charge?”

    Would you happen to know of any sure-fire fixes to these problems?

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Chadathin-

      No problem, here’s the most common issues I hear:

      1) Band breakage (specifically, the pin connection point breaks within the rubber/plastic).

      This has been fixed by Garmin in all units after roughly the summer of the first year. If you have a band/breakage issue you can ring up Garmin support and they’ll get it swapped out for free. Just confirmed this was still the case with a reader last week.

      2) Backplate discoloration issues

      This appears to be a highly personal item that affects some and not others. I know Garmin is aware of it, but I’m not sure of the current support stance (i.e. if they’ll swap it out/etc..). It seems like it has something either to do with environmental or something at the human level that causes it for some but not others. I don’t personally have this problem, but I have seen a small handful of people that do.

      3) Reverse charging

      I’ve heard of this very rarely (meaning, aside from a thread on the Garmin Forums). However, I have no doubt it exists if people are facing it. I haven’t heard of it happening to anyone I know in my day to day running clubs or friends. Again, I suspect though that if this is well known enough Garmin support will help here.

  447. Nick