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Garmin Forerunner 610 In Depth Review

FR610

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.

Unboxing:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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).

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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:

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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…

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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.

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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.

Running:

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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[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.

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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!

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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:

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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.

Backlight:

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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…):

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Cycling:

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:

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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).

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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:

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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:

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

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

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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:

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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:

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Swimming:

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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Accessories:

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.

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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’.

Speed/Cadence:

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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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).

FRDownload

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.

IMG_0193

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:

image

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

image

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

image

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.

image

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).

 

TPAgent

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

image

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.

SportTracks:

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:

image

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

image

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

Summary:

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 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 14th, 2019 @ 2:54 pmNew Window
Price$349.00$599-$1,149$1500$199$599/599EUR
Product Announcement DateAPR 12, 2011Aug 29th, 2019March 13th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019Apr 30th, 2019
Actual Availability/Shipping DateAPR 15, 2011Aug 29th, 2019April 2019Early May 2019Early May 2019
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes (with Galileo too)Yes (with Galileo too)YesYes (with Galileo too)
Data TransferANT+ WirelessUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi on Pro onlyUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi
WaterproofingIPX7Yes - 100mYes - 100m50 metersYes - 50m
Battery Life (GPS)8 Hours25hrs to 148hrs (depends on model)28hrs GPS, 48hrs UltraTrac13 Hours36hrs GPS, 60hrs UltraTrac
Recording Interval1-second & smart1S or Smart1S or SmartSMART RECORDING (VARIABLE)1S or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoYesYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
AlertsAUDIO/VISUAL/VIBRATEVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual/VibrateVibrate/Sound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYEsYEsWatchfaces onlyYEs
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Can control phone musicYesYesYesYes
Has music storage and playbackYes (Pro Only)YesNoYes
Streaming ServicesiHeartRadio, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon (Pro Only)Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadioNoSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Contactless-NFC PaymentsYesYesNoYes
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
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...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesYesYesYes
Group trackingYesYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoYes (via phone)Yes (via phone)Yes (via phone)Yes (via phone)
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AYesYesN/AYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AYesYesN/AYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesYesNoYes
Crash detectionYesYesYesYes
RunningGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)Yes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)NoWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)
Running PowerWith extra sensorWith extra sensorNoWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationNoYEsYEsYesYEs
Race PredictorNoYes, plus PaceProYesNoYes
Recovery AdvisorNoYesYesnoYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)Yes
Openwater swimming modeN/AYEsYEsN/AYEs
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesYesN/AYes
Record HR underwaterNoYes (with optical HR or HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM)WITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Soon with optical HR)N/AWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesN/AYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYEsYEsN/AYEs
Indoor Drill ModeN/AYesYesN/AYes
Indoor auto-pause featureN/ANo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No (it'll show rest time afterwards though)N/ANo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)
Change pool sizeN/AYEsYEsN/AYEs
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A14M/15Y TO 150Y/M14M/15Y TO 150Y/MN/A14M/15Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesYesN/AYes
Can change yards to metersN/AYesYesN/AYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesYesN/AYes
Indoor AlertsN/AYesYesN/AYes
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Designed for triathlonNoYesYesNoYes
Multisport modeNoYesYesNoYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYEsYEsYesYEs
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYEsYEsVirtual PacerYEs
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesYesNoYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesYesYesYes
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoYesYesNoYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoYesYesNoYes
GeocachingNoVia GPS coordinatesVia GPS coordinatesNoVia GPS coordinates
Weather Display (live data)NoYesYesYesYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoYesYesNoYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoYesYesNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoYes (Pro Only)YesNoYes
Back to startYesYesYesNoYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoYes (Pro Only)YesNoYes
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoYesYesNoYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricBarometricNoBarometric
Compass TypeN/AMagneticMagneticNoneMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)YesYesNoYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)YesNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)NoNo (can control VIRB though)
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)YesYesNoYes
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesYesNoYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYEsYEsNoYEs
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesNoYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYesYesNoYes
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesYesYesNoYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express (PC/Mac)Garmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
Amazon LinkLinkLinkN/ALinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkN/ALinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkN/ALinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 610Garmin Fenix 6 SeriesGarmin MARQ AthleteGarmin Forerunner 45/45SGarmin Forerunner 945
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:

Pro’s:

– 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

Con’s:

– 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.

AccessoryStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated March 16th, 2016 @ 2:26 pm
2013 - DCR - Gear I Use: Run
Forerunner 610 Cloth Replacement Strap$20.00LinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1$37.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2$69.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3$50LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)$28.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)$45LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)$35.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Transfer USB Stick (large sized)$38.00LinkLink
Garmin ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$49TBALink
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)$10.00LinkLink
Garmin Forerunner 610 Charging Cable$16.00LinkLink
Lifesource UC-324 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale (My recommendation)$109.00LinkN/A
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!$55.00LinkN/A
Suunto ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)$37LinkLink
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)$70.00LinkN/A
Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ Enabled Weight Scale$215.00LinkN/A
Wahoo Fitness ANT+ iPhone Adapter (for uploading workouts wirelessly)$40.00LinkLink

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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980 Comments

  1. Thomas

    The calculation of calories burnt on FR610 how accurate is it?
    I was out running 41 min 5min was walking and calculation from the watch was 461 calories, sounds little high! (Walking was in HR zon1)
    HR was at Avg 147bpm and max HR 177bpm, Garmin Connect marked Training effect (under HR) 5.0 (Overreaching)
    Man 48 years old, 1.75 meters, 89 kilo.
    And I wonder that Training Effect under HR, is it wrong to be in 5,0 Overreaching?
    And VO2 Max is there a way to calculate that so I can put in that in Garmin Connect?

  2. Thomas

    Forgot I am really new on using a FR610 (was my first run)

  3. Leigh

    I’ve been looking for my first GPS watch for running and cycling mainly, although as I intend to do 3 Triathons next year (did my first in Sept) I almost pushed the button on a 910XT. However, given that 2014 will probably bring a replacement (920XT?), I opted for the 610 to see me through the next few months.

    Got the 610 and HRM for GBP199 from Amazon, pretty sure I’ll get a good slice of that back when I upgrade next year.

    This website is brilliant and really helped me make my choice. Such thorough, informative reviews, DC you’re a star!

  4. Chris

    What has been your experience using your Garmin watches in very cold weather. I was running this morning with my 610, the outside temperatures was -10C and with wind-chill it was closer to -20C. Towards the end of my 45 min run, the screen blanked out. I pressed the power button and the screen came back on. I finished my run about 2 minutes later. When I got inside I had no trouble uploading my data. Afterwards I immediately hooked up my watch to the charger. I was still at 45%. I am assuming if I continue in very cold weather I probably need to keep the watch completely covered? Thanks (Just for the record…I hate winter)

    • Unfortunately, you’re challenge is temperature. The FR610 has a temperature range starting at -5*C, per the manual: link to static.garmincdn.com

      I’d try and keep it under your coat a bit. I’ve run in those cold temps, and as long as you can try and keep it under your coat (and use the vibration alerts), you’ll be in better shape.

  5. Thomas

    I’m little confused over training plan I setup plan and then I needed to change it so now the watch have both plans. But Garmin connect only show the new plan, can I deleted all trainings plans on the watch? Don’t want to lose my personal .

    • Thomas

      How do I get my planed run’s of my watch tried a reset but no luck.
      and if I connect it to Garmin connect and synchronized it, the plan is still there .
      it must be a way to get them off?!

  6. Shane

    Your opening photo of a 610 on the pavement was somewhat prophetic. I’ve had my 610 since July 2011 and went for a run this morning. Unfortunately I left it on the hood of my Jeep Wrangler. I realized my mistake an hour later, retraced my route home, and found various pieces of it 1/2 mile from where I’d parked. I read your review of the and ordered a replacement a few minutes ago. The 610 was a good friend on 3,000 miles of running and my first two marathons.

  7. Chad

    Anyone please help!

    My 610 has been doing great for the first few months, but for the last 3 weeks or so when I go outside and turn the unit on, it locates satellites and I start my run. Well, it is always off at the beginning and I can tell it is wrong because my distance is off by about .04 miles.

    When I upload my run into Garmin connect my starting point is always about 1 street away from where I live. It catches up after about .1 miles, but this is very annoying just because it never used to do this and it should just work correctly.

    Can anyone please help???

    Thank You!

  8. Thomas

    if you have the same problem as i described earlier Whit workout plan not updating.
    go to the this folder \Devices\1234567890
    For Win7
    C:\Users\*Name*\AppData\Roaming\Garmin\Devices\*1234567890*
    go in to folder \Workouts delete th files in there and go in to \schedules delete the files.
    Now you are set to send new items to the watch

  9. carlos nobrega

    hi,
    is SUUNTO FOOT POD MINI compatible with garmin 610?
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    • Frequency (MOVESTICK / MOVESTICK MINI): 2.4 GHz Suunto ANT
    • Frequency (FOOT POD): 2.4 GHz Suunto ANT and ANT+™)

  10. carlos nobrega

    ok, thanks, and this is compatible too?
    link to suunto.com

  11. Asif Salam

    Hi Ray, awesome reviews, I am a big Garmin fan and seek your advice. I recently bought a Virb Elite and also about to buy a watch to train with. Does the Forerunner 610 pair with the Virb? If not is there a Garmin watch that looks just as good as the 610 and can act as a remote control?

    Thanks

    • No, it does not pair with the VIRB unfortunately.

      The only watch-form factor fitness-focused devices that currently pair with the VIRB are the Garmin Fenix and Garmin Tactix. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it expand more in the spring (not to the FR610 however, but perhaps some of the newer Forerunner watches, like the 620).

  12. carlos nobrega

    hi.
    i bought a new 610.
    to use the watch as a day to day watch, how can I put into power save mode (GPS off, Footpod off, etc.) after an workout, after configuring, etc…?
    thanks

  13. carlos nobrega

    and my question?
    “to use the watch as a day to day watch, how can I put into power save mode (GPS off, Footpod off, etc.) after an workout, after configuring, etc…?”

    • It’ll automatically go into power save mode after a couple of minutes, or, after it finishes transferring. I’m not aware off the top of my head of a quick way to get it back into that mode.

  14. Valeria

    I’don’t make to connect my running way
    With my iPhone .Someone help me?I have one forerunning 610.

  15. Carlo

    Can I upload a tcx fie to garmin 610?

    I have some training session I would like to upload to this watch.

    Carlos

  16. James

    Does the 610 automatically update to Garmin Connect when it detects a wireless network?

    • The FR610 does not have WiFi, only the FR620. The FR610 uses ANT+ to wirelessly transfer to a computer with the ANT+ USB stick in it. That however, does happen automatically as soon as within range.

  17. Alfredo

    Dear Rainmaker:

    Great blog you have here!! Congrats!!

    I heard that the firsts 610 produced had two issues: the wristbands broke easily and they were not totally water resistant as advertised. It seems that those problems were corrected later. I bought one last january and after 10 months the back part got rusty, so the Garmin replaced it for a refurbished one. This model is a little bit different, since the back part has a black sticker with the ID number on it, which I do not recall on the defective device.

    Somehow it seems that this could be an older 610. Do you know how can I tell if this model is one of the firsts that were produced or if it is one of the new ones?

    Many thanks in advance!

    Alfredo

  18. Thomas

    Strange HR now it have happen 2 times, HR at like 45-65 when im running hard (more likely 140-175).
    And i start the run with HR showing my HR and then like going on of under race and giving me relay low HR’s.

    Tried to change the battery still strange behavior!
    plz give me some direction

  19. Juan Sánchez

    Dear Rainmaker:

    I thank you for your reviews. They´ve been very helpful; I purchased my last two gadgets based on them.

    One of this monitors is of course the Forerunner 610. I´m very happy with it, except that I´ve noticing some wear down spots on the bottom of the watch. The part that is in contact with the upper part of my wrist is becoming like rusted. It looks like the silver color of the metal is going. Is this something I should worry about.

    Best Wishes,
    Juan

    • It sounds like you have a metal-backed FR610. There’s an issue with some of the earlier units (strange that you’d get one now) where that reacts with peoples skin. Simply ring up Garmin support and note it, and they’ll happily swap it out for a non-metal backed one. You visually can’t tell the difference between the two, except, one is a lot lighter. This applies even if out of warranty period.

      Cheers.

    • Wim

      I also have the problem with the metal cover and corrosion, but I could live with that. Overalle I’m very satisfied about this 610. Untill now that is! (2y and 3m expirience)
      Only, last weekend something more serious happened. Whitout any reason the start/stop button fell off after a training. Lucky for me it happened after and not during this training. I litteraly saw it falling.
      I contacted Garmin customer service in Belgium. Allthough I understand that there is a limit of 24 months of warranty, I think it’s unacceptable this button simply can fall of….after 26 months. I’m a recreational runner, I use this watch maximum once a week and I do max. 20km, no swimming or whatsoever. Garmin will fix the problem, only if I pay them 95 euros. Ok if I broke things myself, but, as well as the corrosion on the back, I consider this as a quality problem! So, no need to tell that I’m very dissapointed. The watch is rather expensive to buy and I did not expect this poor hardware quality!! The software and features are great and I like running with the watch, but the building quality is poor and the reaction of customer service to it was very dissapointing;

  20. Juan Sánchez

    Many thanks. I´ll give them a call.

  21. Chad

    Question about the HRM. The last few weeks my HRM is way off for the first 1/2 mile or so. It will read between 165-185 for the first half mile, then finally go down to the real level ( ~145 ) and stay correct the rest of the run.

    i have wondered if this is just because of the cold weather and the HRM monitor does not have any sweat to make a good contact. Is there anything I can do to alleviate the problem? New Battery?

    Thanks

  22. Loreni

    New to the 610 and excited about its capabilities. I ran this morning and cannot find my data under the “Activities” menu. I assumed that it saved all “activities” once I pressed “stop”. I guess I was wrong. What is the proper procedure to save my runs’ data. Thanks a bunch! Great review of the watch!

    • Once you’ve completed a run, go ahead and hold down the lower right button for 3 seconds, and it’ll save the run (you’ll see it start to count-down). Enjoy!

  23. Loreni

    Thanks! Great and prompt help. Good luck with your projects!

  24. El Paso Mark

    Greetings. I went for a 17.75 mile bike ride Saturday and used both my Edge 800 and the FR610 (To use the Training Effect feature). When I got home and checked the data on each the 800 showed I burned 963 calories and the 610 showed 1719 calories! My age, height, and weight data are correctly entered into each, and are the same in each. Any idea’s as to why the huge difference? Which one should I believe? Thanx.

    Cheers,

    Mark

    • Looking at the numbers, it looks an awful lot like the FR610 was in running mode, and not cycling mode. Since that calorie expenditure would align most closely to running. Which mode was it in?

    • El Paso Mark

      I thought/am pretty sure I had it in cycle mode. But…….
      I’ll keep that in mind and insure I have it in the correct mode from now on. Thanx.

      Cheers

    • El Paso Mark

      Okay, happened again today. I insured the 610 was changed to Cycling. I rode 10.94 miles this morning and the Edge 800 shows 563 Calories and FR610 1003 Calories. The FR610 calories burned seem high too when I walk/jog too, and when I look at my log since I started using it (FR61) I see calories burned has been steadily climbing with each walk even though distance and pace are the same. I’ve had (And have been using) the 610 for less than a month (3 weeks), so is it still “Learning” me? Weird. Thanx.

      Oh, you mentioned entering your “Fitness level” into the watch. Where is that located, I haven’t seen that. Thanx.

      Cheers,

      Mark

    • Bryndis

      That’s funny, I seem to be getting the opposite result. I’ve recently switched from the FR210 to the FR610 and on the same runs where my 210 said I had burned 880 calories, my 610 says I’ve only burned 645. I’ve got all my vitals accurately entered. I’m wondering if the use of FirstBeat is being applied to calories burned and maybe the calculations are different?

      Today I set my my data recording to 1 second intervals. I’m looking forward to trying out some of my frequented loops to see what sort of differences I see.

      PS. I just finished reading through every single comment to this review – I really enjoy knowing everything single little thing about the devices I use! It’s worth it!

  25. El Paso Mark

    Oops. That should have been I “Ensured” 610 was set to cycling.

    Cheers.

  26. Fernando Barandiarán

    Hi,

    Before using the garmin app which I quite enjoy I was using the nike app for Iphone which I find very user friendly and I really like it.

    I have been asking myself if there is any way of uploading my garmin data to nike webpage so I can link both accounts. Maybe it is impossible, but if there is an answer I know I will find it here. Could you please help me?

    Thanks a lot!

    Regards

  27. Ian McLaverty

    Great review … I need the DC Rainmaker seal of approval before I purchase now!!

    Is there still no way of putting the 610 into Low Energy Mode or do you have to wait?

    • Michael

      I have had the 610 now for over 6 months. The only way to get it into low energy mode without it vibrating and counting down is you just touch the screen until it gets to the clock. once the clock is shown it takes somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. I have never timed it, but it goes quite quick and with none of the vibrates and beeps. It you leave it on one of the data field screens it will beep and vibrate and start counting down from 30. Then it beeps every 10 seconds or so until it shuts down. It takes like 5 minutes for it to shutdown, but again if you move over to the clock screen it happens quite fast.

    • Jay

      The easiest way is just to wait. The only other way that I’m aware of is to turn the watch off and back on and tap the screen and push yes to work indoors. Then go to setup and turn off the foot pod and then turn off the HRM.

    • Jay

      Thanks Michael, that’s good to know. I normally just turn it off after a run, but there have been times when it has gone in power save mode and I didn’t remember it buzzing. Now I know why 🙂

  28. Anthony

    Since the owners manual for the Garmin 610 says that the watch contains chemicals known to cause cancer; how can I safely use it without possibly getting cancer? Is there a proper way of using the watch in an explanation for this scenario published on another reliable source like a website I can look at?

  29. Jay

    If people didn’t already know, there is a firmware update. Changes made from version 2.80 to 2.90:

    Improved battery capacity reporting. (Inaccurate Fuel Gauge Bug has been fixed)

  30. Tony

    As I’m getting more serious about my running, and aiming for some decent times in competitive runs, I’ve decided that my Fenix is not the best choice any longer, and am looking for a running-specific watch. There are some good deals on a 610 at present (£160) or I can spend £250 on a 220, or £340 on a 620. Do you think that the new features on the 620 justify the diifference in price, or is the 610 more than adequate for most?

    I do tend to do a lot of my training on a treadmill at this time of year, and need to have a watch that will let me easily integrate that into my statistics.

    Apologies for the long question, I find myself pretty confused at present.

    • Hi Tony-

      Within the FR620 review (and in the comments) I dive into FR610 vs FR620 a fair bit. In general, if you think you’ll find the extra phone connected features such as Live Tracking and Uploads (and WiFi), then go with the FR620. If you don’t care about that much, or don’t care about the Running Dynamics, then I’d stick with the FR610.

    • Tony

      Thanks very much for the swift reply, it’s much appreciated.

      I am currently edging towards the 610, but as I’m aware that I need to start being more scientific about my rest and recovery now that I am in my 40s, will probably stump up for the 620 eventually, after convincing mysellf that it’s only money…

  31. Nachete

    Hi Rainmaker.

    First thank you for the analysis of this product. Now I would like you to help me choose between the 220 ​​and the 610. What would you recommend me? I am a runner I do all kinds of workouts (farleck, short runs, long, for time intervals). I like the 220 ​​because it is a new model, but I want to hear your advice.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    • Jay

      Check out the review on the FR220 and DC Rainmaker answers this question at least a few times. It really is about comparing the two models and decide which one best fits your needs. Check out the charts also that compares the units.

      I have the FR610 and I wouldn’t trade it in for the FR220.

    • Nachete

      Thank you very much for your answer

  32. Hi Jay,
    quick question on the Garmin Connect platform and the 610. I’ve been using my new device lately, and I noticed that on the Gamin portal there are sometimes incorrect data, especially for the Max Pace field. Sometimes the value shown does not make sense (average: 8.50, max 15:30, or, another example, average 7:50, max 00:41, which is not normal). I opened a ticket to their Support, and the reply was that they are working on a new version of the site. My fear is that the watch is actually collecting these info in a wrong way. What’s your opinion about this?
    Thanks.
    -Christian

  33. diogo nobrega

    hi, i can’t upload workout to garmin 610. Any solucion?
    thnka

    • Mario Henrique

      Are you using the new Garmin Express? If so, I’ve been trying for DAYS to send a workout for the device with no success!

  34. Fred

    Hi Ray,

    Would just like to point out that the (VIP?) service you’re getting from Garmin may not be indicative for the rest of us, at least in mainland Europe.
    After 2 weeks of waiting (without replacement) and paying 15 euros (21 $) “administration fee” to the store that is listed as preferred service point by Garmin I got a quote back for repairing the rusted back side of my 2.5 year old Garmin FR610: 95 EUR (131 $).

    Needless to say, I did not accept the offer and will be buying another brand to replace it.

    Cheers,
    Fred

    • I called the main US Garmin support number in my case, since that’s where my device was from.

      For Garmin, simply tell them to escalate to a manager. Garmin has been really clear (even on their forums) that if you’re seeing either a rash from the unit, or discoloration, they’ll replace it with the plastic variant.

      It sounds like a 3rd party is trying to get into the middle of things (there aren’t 3rd parties in the US).

    • Fred

      Thanks for your advice! After contacting Garmin directly it became clear that it was a misunderstanding. The 3rd party acts indeed as a “filter”: Not all watches get sent to Garmin (in England for most of Europe) for inspection by this 3rd party, a lot of them get a repair quote from Garmin only based on the damage description and that is why the specific known rust issue didn’t register.
      The watch will be fixed at no cost after all, a big thanks for your help!

    • Awesome, great to hear!

  35. hollyoak

    Bit of a blast from the past but I see no reason to stop using my FR610 so…;-) Anyway, is anyone aware of a tool out there to create a .gpx with variable pacing that could then be imported into Garmin Connect and then exported to a 910 or a 610 for use with the “Virtual Racer” feature? This could be particularly useful on hilly courses where you can’t rely on a fixed average pace. Thanks!

  36. Odd1

    Hi, I would like to know if for cycling you have the GPS speed on the watch or is it absolutly necessary to buy the optional garmin measurer? If there is the speed coming from the gps, is it accurate? I don’t need the cadence for cycling, just the speed and the approximative distance. Thank you ! 🙂

  37. Ross Lippencott

    Thanks a lot for this review. Your reviews are always great tools for me. One question, is the virtual racer running a real time race, or an average. In other words, is the racer going to run the same pace the whole time, or will it slow down when I slowed down when I recorded the race. I would really appreciate your response. Thanks again!

    • It’s flat-rate, so if you go up a hill, it’ll likely go faster than you during that section.

    • hollyoak

      Not in my experience, the “Virtual Racer” recreates an actual race (ignoring the position though) so the pace will be the pace of that previous race. I’ve mostly used it on my bike so far. I suppose that for running it could come in useful for races you’ve run in the past…that will have to wait until next year for me.

      It would be great for races with hills if there was a way of creating a virtual race with say 1k at 4’15, 1k at 4’20”, 1k at 4’30”, etc…With the “Virtual Racer” having apparently been abandoned with the FR610 it’s unlikely we’ll seen any more improvements/features added now unfortunately.

    • Ollie

      Surely that would just make it the same as the virtual pacer?

  38. Abi

    I have (had) a Forerunner 610 that’s not even two years old, but of course out of warranty. About 12 months ago I took it back for a band replacement as the metal insert between the strap and body of the watch had popped out. They replaced it easily enough and I continued to be in love with my watch. But the relationship is now not such a happy one. The watch just stopped working completely a couple of weeks ago and nothing will get it to start up again. I’ve spoken to the store where I bought it and to Garmin customer service. So for another $150 they will send me a refurb. Which I am mightily unhappy about. Considering the cost of the unit to begin with. On doing a bit of investigation online it seems I’m not alone with this issue with the 610. So I’m pretty disappointed. Mostly because up until now I had really liked the watch and the functions it offers. But at that price I’m not keen to enter into another purchase if this is not uncommon. I came here to see what other watches are comparable and if I should buy a different Garmin model this time but the whole thing has put me off Garmin a bit to be honest.

    • Another Disappointed Garmin Customer

      I had the same experience as you (the touchscreen stopped working, which meant that the watch was useless). I too was offered a refurb for $139, that would come with a one month warranty. Customer Service (call centre in the Phillipines) were extremely lacking and frustrating. Would not buy Garmin again.

  39. Andrew Mantha

    Worst watch ever!!! Impossible to use even simple features without having to resort to multiple attempts. Lay-out is counter-intuitive. Finger nail touch screen is a bit of a diva.

    All I want is to know my time and distance on my runs. How come this is SO hard to use!!!!

    This watch is the poster child for FRUSTRATION.

    • Connie Eickhoff

      I bought this watch about 18 months ago. It is way overkill for what I do. But my issues are:
      1. Magnetic charger does not always engage. So when I am ready to take it off the charger, it might still be low on battery. Have to really wiggle it to make sure it connects.
      2. If this is low profile, I would hate to see high profile watches. Very bulky.
      3. The strap loses connection with my body anytime I flex forward. I have used Polar in the past and have never had this problem. Very frustrating.
      4. The GPS takes as long as 3-5 minutes to locate the satellite outside. Again, very frustrating.
      5. It is very easy to bump the screen during any kind of workout and make unwanted changes in your settings.

      All in all, I would not buy this product again. Probably the best part is the ease with which the information automatically downloads to my computer from quite a distance. But with a disconnected chest strap, the data downloaded is incomplete. Poor and expensive purchase for me.

    • Hi Connie-

      On #3: You can contact Garmin support and they’ll swap out the strap connection, even out of warranty.
      On #4: If you perform a reset of teh watch it should find satellites much quicker, it sounds like it has a bad cached satellite.
      On #5: You can lock the screen if you want to prevent that during workouts.

      Cheers.

  40. Rizwan

    Hi,

    I’ll be using my 610 for a 28km trail run in August. If I were to get the max out of its battery life (8-hours), would turning off some features help? i.e. backlight, alarm etc.

    • OperationOne

      backlight is the only feature you must keep strictly to a minimum use. would be better switching backlight off at all, if race times allow to do so. as far as i know, all other features are non-critical on the battery side.

  41. patricio

    Hi Rainmaker, can i ride bike using the FR610 with the foot pod only with the GPS turned off? The foot pod will measure anything? only speed and distance?

    Best regards
    regards.

  42. conormurray

    Hi does the fr610 allow you to custom make workouts online and then load them onto the watch? Or is that just the newer versions?

  43. Ollie

    Hi,

    Are all FR610’s now sol with the plastic backing and does this solve the charging issues?

  44. Dajko

    Hello Ray.
    I have tried to purchase FR610 with plastic backing in black color in Slovakia and Garmin says that it is available only in White/Blue variant. But I saw in your review also black watch on scale. Is possible that it is not available worldwide? Thank you.

    • I suspect it may just be out of stock in Slovakia. As far as I know they’re still selling both color variants.

    • Dajko

      Thank you for the answer. I checked it two times. Garmin Slovakia claim that there is no black variant with plastic backing on the market. So… I ordered metal version, lets wait what will happen…

  45. PhilK

    Is the virtual racer on this cracked like on the 910xt (it doesn’t work over a certain distance)?

    What is the distance the racer stops functioning properly at?

  46. Fred5p-6

    Is the battery life 8 hours in 1 second recording mode or smart?

  47. Fish

    Can the FR 610 now be calibrated with the footpod with gps data?

  48. Fish

    Also, can data be transferred via the cable instead of the ant stick?

  49. Błażej

    I have to say goodbye to my FR220 and looking for a new watch with a good GPS running in the woods. I’m thinking of Fenix ​​or FR610. Which would you recommend.
    What is the speed of response and stability footpod indications?
    Whether you choose a source indicated the pace?
    Do as I calibrate the foot will give this pace will be true at the free running and the intervals?

  50. Yoav

    Hello Ray.
    I’m a little confused.
    Category “4) The Cyclist” – as of today FR310XT FR610 Edge 500 is almost the same price.
    Im mostly cyclist but also want to start running.
    Features that are important to me:
    – Heart rate – and everything derived from it (efficiency of training, my physical condition etc.)
    – Distance
    – Rate
    – Time
    – Elevation
    – And any other data that will help me get better

    I’d love to get further advice,
    Thank you!

    • Hi Yoav-

      Check out my current recommendations post here, just published a week ago: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Looking at your comments, the FR610 and FR310XT don’t have a barometric altimeter, whereas the Edge 500 does. So if that’s of key importance, that should narrow things down.

  51. Tom

    Hey Ray, love your work.

    Quick question or advice needed,

    First time buyer of a GPS watch athough am familiar with the tech.
    absolute amature runner, but I have a lot of ambitions for this next year 2 marathons book for early 2015 and would think this would be the key to give me the motivation to push on.
    It’s between FR310XT which is currently on sale at £120 with HR @ amazon (UK) or FR610 also on sale for £150 – Although the reviews mention that the FR310XT rains supreme in most categories but its chunky and the FR610 is alot sleeker and i’m a sucker for the touchscreen.

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    Please make my mind up for me!

    • If you’re a pure runner, I’d probably go with the FR610. Up until the FR620 came along, it’s what I used for my day to day running watch (quite happily).

    • Tom

      Thanks for the reply!
      Agreed! The 620 is double the price at 320 quid! So unless it’s remarkably different ill stick with the 610 for the time being!

    • hollyoak

      And actually it has more “useful” features than the FR620, namely on-watch editing of workouts, back to start, POI save, virtual racer. The FR620 adds “live” tracking (provided you have a smartphone with you…and network access) and all the fancy “fitness” metrics that are likely more “nice” than “need” to have unless I’ve missed something 😉

    • pam wilde

      Hi. If you are training for and running a marathon then the 610 is far easier to east than the chunky predecessor. It certainly has sufficient to support your training and race day. I currently have the FR410 but at the price the 610 looks to be the one to buy. Good luck with your marathon. Which one?

    • Tom

      Cheers bud, a couple of 10ks halfs and Brighton and MK next year.
      N.B
      link to sweatshop.co.uk
      Enter ‘GFR6TE’ at checkout and save 80 quid bringing it to £150

  52. Cristiana

    Hi — I am heading out to France where the electrical outlets are 220 — do I need a converter to charge my garmin 610? THANK YOU!!! Cristiana

    • No, any USB port will work. The adapter within the FR610 box works for both 110 and 220v, so as long as you have the prong adapter you’re good.

      (Said from someone living in France…).

  53. Cristiana

    THANK YOU!!! 🙂

  54. Magda

    Hey Ray,
    Thank you for an amazing review which made me buy this watch and although I had few issues to start with, all seems good after the first week.
    Got a quick question hoping you might be able to help… I transferred to activities to Garminconnect, but accidentally deleted them, how do I transfer them again? Every time I try that Garminconnect seems to recognise that I already transferred them and only downloads new ones… Anyway I appreciate you don’t work for garmin so no worries if you don’t know the answer.
    Great work anyway, take care

  55. Mary Skelcher

    I had a 610 but found it impractical. I found the touchscreen very fiddly, and it changed it I wiped the rain off. I couldn’t use it wearing gloves or with cold hands. It frequently fell out of the charger (despite the much-vaunted new design). Eventually, it developed problems with uploading data, it wouldn’t charge and it got stuck in a ‘transfer data’ cycle.
    I’m now looking for a new product. I was going to go for the 910 based on your review, but now I see you gave the 610 an equally glowing report. Any comments?

    • If you’re looking for a running product, I’d look more at the FR220 or FR620. Realistically you’ll find almost all the FR610 feature in the FR220 (sans the touch screen).

      As for the screen, I’ve never had any touch screen problems with the FR610 (the FR405/410 touch bezel is entirely different though – a whole messy thing).

    • Ryan

      Unhappy with my TTMS, I opted for the 610. PIcked it up a refurb for $140. Much cheaper than a 220, and it can display 4 data fields unlike the 220. Shame Garmin reserves that for the 620. I don’t get why. Plenty of other differentiating features to set them apart.

    • Gary

      Ordered a refurbished 610 today for $140. Just couldn’t ignore the value proposition given the many features, especially vibration alerts and four data fields per screen. (If the Suunto Ambit 2S had vibration alerts I would have purchased one weeks ago. Love the build quality and “just works” factor of Suunto’s products.) I’ll use my old “405” HRM strap with it. Suggestions as to more comfortable straps to use that will connect with future devices, say in 2-3 years?

    • Ryan

      Get the Scosche Rhythm+. Armband led. Fits nicely at the top of the bicep so it’s out of the way. And it’s BLE and ANT+.

    • I’d agree, I love the Scosche. Now, I don’t know how long it’ll last, since it’s only been out since April – but it’s my go-to strap for everything now since it does dual ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart. Whatever the strap you choose, ensure it does both. I actually added HR straps to the Product Comparison Tool (see sidebar) recently, so that might help.

    • Gary

      Ryan and Ray: Thanks for the advice. Will order the Scosche Rhythm+ from CT today. Thanks again, Ray, for your reviews and this ongoing “comments” forum. (Still offering helpful guidance 3+ years after a product release!?) Really helpful that you’re still supporting “last gen” products with your blog…and advising how to mix-and-match tried-and-true with current gen accessories. You da MAN!

  56. Robert Black

    Why does firstbeat athelete give a different TE score to the watch, is it purely down to the fact athelete parses the hrv data? I only installed it because all of last months runs were TE 5.0 on the watch and there is now way i’m over training because I do catch every sore throat and cold in the world when I’m run down and haven’t had one for about four months. Athelete said todays run was TE 4.2 which is i feel is about right as there is still a little in the tank

  57. Robert Black

    Since installing athlete, and enabling r-r on the 610, TE on my last two runs came in at 4.4 and 3.6 on the watch while athlete reported 4.2 and 3.0. It’s now a lot more closer to reality. Prior to this TE was 5.0 half way into my typical 10k run at any heartrate. Really interesting to see the difference running 155-170 and 135-153bpm. Well happy with the 610 now. Thank you Ray for the great review

  58. El Paso Mark

    Greetings. Is there a way to turn off GPS tracking but still have the watch enabled to track total calorie burned? I’d like to use the 610 in the manner of the FR70 (If possible) to track total calories burned over the entire bike ride (Or whole workout period when lifting weights for example) and not just when moving. Thanx.

  59. Victor

    Ray – Which newer watches include support for ANT+ speed/cadence sensors, just like the 610 does? In another post, you showed that the 610 can connect to the Schwinn MPower console which sends out ANT+ data to the garmin 620. It solves my problem of getting that console data elsewhere. I know the 620 won’t work.

    • Within the comparison tool (see sidebar), down at the bottom I list watches that support the ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensor, as well as ANT+ Gym Equipment. I believe the Schwinn MPower Console is considered gym equipment. In that case, unfortunately nothing else on the watch front.

      If it’s considered speed/cadence, then the FR620 would actually work.

  60. Felix Alicea

    Dear Rainmaker:

    Would you know when Garmin replaced the metal backing on the Garmin Forerunner 610 with a rubber like material?

    All the best,
    Felix Alicea

    • I think about 8-10 months after initial release. No matter though, because even today you can call them up for any FR610 – no matter how old – if you have the reaction issue, and they’ll swap it for free on the spot.

  61. Leslie

    Dear Rainmaker
    Do you know if the 2 metal charging pins can on the watch can be replaced? I thought it was the charger so bought a new one but the watch still won’t charge.
    Thank you

  62. Just wanted to let you know that the code “DCR10JKW” is no longer valid. Amazon.com has it on sale right now for $228.69 with HRM – a pretty good deal at about a 40% markdown with free shipping to U.S. APO addresses. I don’t know why, but AAFES (Military Tax Free Store) is no longer carrying Garmin Watches. One quick question – Have the fixed the issue with the Garmin watch bands, I went through several with my older version – they would last about a year and then break. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Ken

    • Odd, I’m finding out why it’s not working on CT for that product.

      In any case, the Amazon deal is pretty solid and you can still support the site that way anyway. As for the bands – yup, long since fixed. They changed the pin out design to be thicker.

  63. Carl

    Hi dc, I have a question about charging my 610 I have American style plug but I live in Australia so therefore I can only charge with USB. Can I plug it into iPhone wall plug or should I only use pc. I’m 99% sure I have read it on one of your great reviews but not sure which one. I await your response thank you

    • OperationOne

      feel free to use any 5V USB port available, phone wall chargers included

    • Lew

      My 610 has almost always just been pulled into a generic 5V USB charger such as one you’d use for an iPhone. At three and a half years old I think I can suggest you won’t face any problems. (anecdotally I’ve also never experienced reverse-charging symptoms either, although this correlation doesn’t suggest causation… 🙂 )

  64. 6co2000

    Do you know if a broken screen is part of warranty?
    I have been so happy with my FR610 that I even bought a back-up one during the last Black Friday sales. Just in case, for the future, as I am not too keen on the 620.

    But it sounds like bad luck is now pursuing me (a curse triggered by my purchase??):
    – strap died on me (14 months use in total), although only used for running and occasionally for sailing
    – now the screen is cracked!!! And I have really not done anything special to it. I mean how can it crack when running!

    Anyway, before the Garmin support boys send me back and forth without a proper answer. What is normally the rule for this? Are they replacing cracked screen?

    thanks a lot!
    6co!

    • I know it’s part of the warranty (actually, pretty much everything is), assuming it’s under warranty. If out of warranty, then it varies a bit based on the device – but I think whole device replacement is about $80US these day.

    • Felix Alicea

      6co2000:

      I would call Customer Support and explain the circumstances to them and see if you can send it back to them for repair. I once sent them a watch for repair and they didn’t charge me even though it was out of warranty. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose.

      All the best,
      FelixA

  65. Sands

    Dear Rainmaker:
    Thank you for providing so much useful information about the watch. I am quite happy with my FR610 that I recently bought but I have one small question.
    I use Garmin Express to upload the data to Garmin Connect. Every time I upload, the activity name is always the same “Lokadkot Running”. Is there any way to change it to Date or Day format.

    Thank you again.
    Sands

  66. Bob

    Way does my 610 periodically (maybe once every month or two) ask me if I want to reset user data? I don’t run with my glasses and a couple times I thought I just forget to reset my previous runs and I lost my custom screen settings. Also, the watch can be slow to acquire satellites so sometimes I set it out on my porch while I put on my shoes and then I look at that prompt is up and I don’t think it has even tried to acquire satellites until I answer so I have to wait longer. Pretty frustrating. Anyone else seeing this and know how to stop this from happening?

    I’m on version 2.80. Almost current and the only thing 2.90 says it has is improved battery capacity reporting.

  67. Jorgen

    My %of Max is gone in the HR view selection screen. I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Have you expirienced anything like this?

  68. Steel

    About the rust problem so many write about. Don’t you dry off your watch after use? I take good care of my watch, for the simple reason it is very expensive of course. I want it to last for a long time. I never use it other than when I am running either, because of not risking banging in the front glass. I never leave it on the charger for more than the time it takes to charge it up, because I know the risk of burning it.

    Do any of you take these things in consideration like I do?

    • It’s actually not a rust problem, it just appears like rust. It’s a chemical reaction occurring with some peoples skin/sweat and the material one layer below the back of the watch after the clear coating rubbed off (it wasn’t supposed to).

      Garmin continues to replace any watch for any person that notes that behavior – no questions asked – even if out of the warranty period. They’ll replace it with a unit that has a plastic backing, but you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference unless more than a few inches away, it looks virtually identical.

  69. Confused

    Having never owned a gps watch I am finding it hard to decide which to purchase. I have about £150 to spend. There seem to be a lot of run watches available in this price range. I have noted that in your 2014 winter recommendations the Polar M400 fairs very well but the garmin fr610 is now also in this price range… is it better to go with the newer tech or does the old 610 better. Both watches have their advantages and both would suit my running needs. Which would you go for?

    • Steele

      Just saw this posting and I am thinking the same 2 watches. I was checking if you decided on a watch since your post is from January. If you have purchased one, what has your experience been?

  70. Hi Ray (and Ray fans!),

    I just got a refurbished 610 and I’m having trouble importing my first run to SportTracks (3.1 Windows desktop version).

    I keep getting “Import Failed”. Sporttracks does not seem to find the watch.

    The only workaround so far was to go to Garmin Connect and download a .TCX file of the workout and then import to Sporttracks. That’s a pain to do every time.

    Can anyone help?

    • FYI – I may have fixed my data transfer issue by removing Garmin Express and installing only the Ant+ agent…I’ll update y’all if that continues working.

    • Yup, that should fix your issue. I don’t know if Sport Tracks has been updated to look in the new location that Garmin Express puts the files in, versus ANT+ Agent.

    • Thanks for the reply Ray…The Ant+ agent is working just fine and dandy for uploading 610 activities to Sporttracks (PC version – ST3) and my other (online) log, runningahead.com.

  71. Tim Wright

    Great reviews thank you.

    However, 3 points:

    – 1. Garmin’s (non) replacement of rusty/corroded 610s
    – 2. The 610’s poor longevity and erratic performance
    – 3. Virtual Racer is the best feature in the world but is getting harder to find !

    1) Re your recent post on January 12 regarding replacing what appears to be rusty backed (pimply) 610s with corroded contacts, well I’ve just been on the phone with Garmin for half an hour and they will not replace it “no questions asked, even out of warranty period”. I’m based in NZ but the call goes through to Garmin support in Manila. I’ve been offered a refurbed model at about half retail price for brand new, which I guess I’ll have to accept. Your are definitely getting different treatment to us mere mortals.

    2) Your reviews are excellent, but they don’t convey any idea of the longevity of the watches. I purchased mine in Aug 2012 and by Jan 2013 it was playing up so I purchased a replacement charger. Because it was actually due to the corrosion on the back and contacts (which you can’t easily access to clean because they are recessed) it didn’t really help much. I contacted Garmin support online in Aug 2013 through their online email but never got any response.

    The 610 has been erratic throughout my use of it – sometimes charging, sometimes not, sometimes finding a signal quickly, sometimes not, frequently freezing, sometimes loosing all data, and most recently ‘died’ during a race and now is officially dead. Not reliable !

    3) So why would I either purchase this model again (or accept a refurb ?). Because the Virtual Racer is the best feature ever ! (by contrast, Virtual Partner is near useless for off-road running). I’m thinking of trying to get my old 305 refurbed as its Virtual Racer was even better – showing the relative locations of you and your virtual racer on a profile of the run at any time. This feature doesn’t seem to be available (to my limited knowledge) on any other brands and only now on very expense high-end 910s. BUT I don’t want to spend a fortune on a triathlon watch – I just want a trail runner’s watch, i.e. the 305 in the modern era ! Seriously, this feature is so under-valued – what better motivation than seeing if you’re 200m or 1 minute ahead of your all-time record on a run, or watching the gap close between you and your virtual partner as you push home hard. I wouldn’t THINK of buying a watch without this feature !

    Cheers,

    Tim

    • Hi Tim-

      RE: Replacement

      Sigh. You’re actually running into NZ/AUS support issues, not so much general policy. I know of nobody that’s been turned back on this one, so that’s a first. I’ll raise it to them, as we had a very long discussion at CES last month with the manager of the call center on trying to address these types of issues.

      Let me poke some folks.
      Cheers

    • Tim Wright

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for your efforts, you are a Gent. Keep up the good work !

    • Wim

      I’ve also had some issues with the 610 (see earlier post). Apart from the problem with the “rusty” back, my biggest problem was the start/stop button that spontaneuos had come off. Firts reaction of Garmin was that I had to pay 95 euros to get a refurbished one. I refused that offer, since I’m convinced that it’s a fealure on the watch, not a problem of incorrect use. Garmin thought about it and offered me, after a few emails, a new one. I had to send my old one back to Garmin and now I’m waiting for a brand new. At least, let’s hope so, because for the moment I only have their promise. (customer support Garmin Belgium that is.)

    • Just as a heads up Tim, I’ve been told you should be hearing back from Garmin (if not already) on getting you all squared away.

    • Tim Wright

      Thanks so much Ray. I sent the faulty unit off yesterday to the NZ agent as per the instructions received form Garmin earlier this week. I now feel quite naked without a GPS watch on my runs ! I haven’t heard anything yet regarding a free replacement (as opposed to a paid refurb) but I’ll let you know as soon as I do, and the eventual outcome. Thanks again for your efforts.

    • Wim

      I received a refurbished (looks brand new!) Forerunner 610 today!!! I’m happy with the Garmin service in the end. Looks like the material of the back of the watch is different from the first 610 I had. Now I can go training again with my 610. Antwerp Ten miles will be there soon!

    • Tim Wright

      Hi Ray, just to say, that in the end, I have finally received a new replacement. It took a bit of getting there, but obviously I’m pleased in the end. Garmin were at pains to stress that this is a one-off and that they don’t have a catch-all replacement policy for ‘rusty’ backed 610s. Thanks for your help.

  72. Rob

    if i’m using this watch when cycling will it map out my ride using the gps or does it only track speed/distance etc.?? Essentially, I’m looking for a watch that will track both my running and cycling just like my smartphone does with nike running app and strava app. Full mapping, distance, speed, pace, duration etc.

    • Mclav74

      I can confirm it will plot the route for both running and cycling … Link it to Garmin connect and set up the auto link to Strava and it does it all in the back ground, within a few mins of being home (if yr computer is turned on) everything should update … Not sure about linking it to Nike but I’m sure there is a way somehow that someone will suggest.

    • Rob

      Great stuff, cheers!

  73. RAM SUBRAMANIAN

    Super review! Thanks DC Rainmaker!

    I have a question – can I get the following items in same screen?
    Distance, Elapsed Time, Present Time, Present Pace, Average Pace

    Warm regards,
    Ram

  74. David

    Hello all. If somebody thinking about purchase of this watches, I can share my experience. I bought this watches in May 2015. I was deciding between FR610, Fenix 2 and FR620 and I finaly decided to take a cheapest option, because I have had no experiences with GPS watch. And I am really satisfied with it. It has all features, which athlete need. I am using it for running, cycling, hiking, rollerskating also snowboarding and it is working well every time. Synchronization via ANT+ USB stick (i have got mini stick with watches, not big one like in review) is automatic and quick and I do not lack wifi or BT. Battery life with GPS is around 7 hours and if you want track for example longer hiking, you can pause activity during break on cottage, lock the screen and later simply unlock and continue with tracking – good for battery saving. Only one negative point is less comfortable watch strap, like ot Fenix on FR620, but I got used it quickly. I can only recommended it. Now I am sure, that is better to buy older model with working software for half price and exchange it after 3-5 years for next older, cheaper and working model :). Also thanks to Rainmaker for good reviews.

  75. Tonny

    I got my watch yesterday (special edition in Black,Blue,Green). I was a hard decision between it and upcoming Fenix3 Sapphire but considering 610HRM bundle is now just 1/4 price of Fenix3 Sapphire HRM – I think 610 will do just fine.
    I had FR210 model before but I had no problems at all to configure and use FR610. My particular model has questionable design (I guess that’s why it’s on sale) but it doesn’t bother me. Overall – pretty happy with my purchase. It’s an “old” model but it works just fine.
    One thing to mention that might differ a bit from the review – the HRM strap that was coming is not the one that I have from my FR210 and the one that is showed above as part for FR610. It’s a newer model of strap (3 electrodes vs 2 on the strap show in the review(elastic one) but NOT the same that comes with HRM-RUN. But it’s also textile variant so you can machine wash it. I liked the old strap more.
    New ANT+USB stick is not a stick at all but a tiny little thing so be careful not to loose it and think twice before setting it in – it can be a pain in the bottom to disconnect it.

    So so far the only drawback that I can see is:
    – touch screen is “slow” and takes a while to get used to
    – new HRM strap is a bit uncomfortable. I prefer “old” elastic one that I have and came with FR210 and probably will switch to it
    – touch screen can be operated in gloves and in rain but this makes it sensible for pressure. Very often while in standby watch unlock itself and I see it trying to locate the satellites.
    – you can’t sync your watch via USB cable. Only charging. I wish it was possible. Now i need to get one more ANT+ USB stick to be able to use it at work.

    Otherwise – really great watch that one can get really cheap now. It’s more than enough for my training needs (training for marathon) and with its flexibility and customization option – I highly recommend it!

    Thank you, Ray, for review!

  76. Thanks Ray for such an in-depth review of the Garmin. I am amazed at how many wearable devices have come on the market and what they can track! I recently wrote a post on four popular running apps (link to 3simplechoices.com) and with so many options I would enjoy hearing what other great products you are using for your training.

  77. Andy

    Is there a way to connect the Garmin Forerunner 610 to an iPhone 5? I know how to get the data from watch to computer thru the ANT. I wonder how the watch can send a signal to the ANT but can’t send the signal to an IPhone 5. You would think there’s and app. The Garmin connect app list forerunner 620 but not 610.

    • No, not directly. The iPhone doesn’t support ANT, only Bluetooth/Bluetooth Smart. The FR620 contains a Bluetooth Smart chipset that enables it to talk to the iPhone.

      For the FR610, you can check out the Wahoo Fitness adapter, but it’s not a Lightning adapter, so basically you have to add that adapter too.

  78. Daniel

    I used to have a Forerunner 305, and was using it quite a bit. In recent years I’ve had problems with my kness, but am starting up again. And I need a GPS/HRM watch to make me stay motivated (I love statistics!).

    I was looking at the FR15 for price reasons. But then I realized that the FR210 is actually available at the same price at the moment (in Sweden), and the FR610 is not much more expensive. Roughly $115 for the FR15 & FR210, $175 for FR610, with the current bad (from a Swedish perspective) exchange rates. (The FR220, for comparison, is about $230, and the FR520 $350.)

    Would the FR610 be worth the additional $60 to the FR15 or FR210? Apart from activity tracking, does the FR15 really have any major advantages to the FR210?

  79. Colin Bullock

    really enjoying my 610 – however, I have had two runs now where the files failed to transfer to Garmin Connect. I had an error message saying the file was corrupt. At the first occurrence, only date, distance and pace was still visible in the watch memory, and when I tried to select it for further review, the watch “crashed” and essentially restarted. On the second instance (today), I still have most of the data visible on the watch, but not transferred to Garmin Connect.

    What should I do?

  80. Joop

    The 610 is available for 155 euro at the moment at Amazon.de. It is the version with the non-steel back, so no corrosion.

    I bought it and compared calories with the forerunner 405: it is halve. I am using the Scosche Rythm+ (latest firmware), which is renowned for these strange effects. However, it behaved normal with the 405. I am reading on several fora that calories should settle after a while, so who knows. If the 405 was able to cope with the Scosche, the 610 should be able as well

  81. Deena

    I used to have an older Garmin (305, I think), which worked perfectly, but this 610 never seems to charge! I’ve already exchanged it once, but now it’s broken again. Definitely DO NOT recommend, especially since I paid close to $400.

  82. Kevin

    Since this watch supports ANT communication, can it wireless connect with newer Android phones (like the Samsung Galaxy S5, for example) to directly upload runs or does it still need to go through the computer to process the runs?

    Thanks!

    • Baris

      It CAN connect android phones which have built-in ANT+ chips without requiring an additional usb stick.(mine is a Galaxy Note 4 with built-in ant+, there are Note 4 models that does not have ant+)

      However, you need a 3rd party software (like this one link to play.google.com) and they are not free (you need to pay in-app) and I cannot guarantee if they work flawlessly.

  83. For those in the Netherlands with a “Makro”-pass, this watch is now available for 99 euro (ex. VAT), including the cheststrap.
    link to folders.makro.nl

  84. Gonzalo

    I m a begginer runner. I saw this watch refurbished on amazon at 117. It is a good deal or do you think its better to buy a polar m400 or a suunto ambit 2s for 179?
    Im a little confused.

    • Felix Alicea

      Hi Gonzalo:

      I have this watch, but I purchased it from Garmin. It’s a refurbished watch and it works very well. I forgot how much I paid for it at the time. I would go to the garmin website and key in refurbished Garmins and see what they have and at what price before you commit to Amazon. Good Luck.

      Felix

  85. Arianna

    Can I used my old plastic heart rate band with this model? I have 2 bands from the forerunner 405

    Thanks

  86. RedHood

    How is this watch holding up these days? Against a, say, polar m400? Wich one would be best? Note that I dont really care for the activity tracking features 🙂

  87. Gwentii

    I can get this watch bundled with a hr-strap for the same price as the tomtom runner multi-sport with strap, at 120$. Doing mostly running but might do a little bit of roadbiking this summer. Wich one is better buy?

  88. Lucy

    Hi,

    im confused about something, if you can help me. so the heart monitoring works only with the strap? as i thought the heart rate monitoring was included in the watch.

  89. Joe Meehan

    I’m thinking of giving away my refurbished 610 to a friend at work. What do I need to do to “Re-set” it to a like-new status? Will he need the USB plug-in key for Garmin Connect or is that all automagically blue-toothed now?

    • Hi Joe-

      You should do a hard reset first, and then double-check that the activities folder is empty if plugged in via USB. That’d be the gist of it.

      After that, he’ll need the ANT+ USB adapter, as the FR610 pre-dates Bluetooth Smart.

      Cheers.

  90. Joe Meehan

    Perfect! Thanks Ray!

  91. James

    Hi, Rainmaker. I wanted to ask for your advice. I read both of your reviews for this product and the FR210. I’m trying to figure out which is better for me so I don’t pay for anyting I don’t need. I appreciated your advice in the “casual runner” vs “advance runner” format. So I guess my question is really trying to identify which I’d fall under in your grading. I’m not a racer nor a marathon runner. I run for fitness and also for fitness tests. I am in the military (reserves) and we physical fitness tests are timed and graded. I am always looking to maintain or improve my 2 mile run time. That is the only aspect of my running that is “competitive.” I hate running with my phone so I began this search of a GPS running-mate watch. So, with that said, based on your reviews and experience, do you think the 610 will be beneficial to me? Or should I save the cost and go with the 210? Keep in mind that I am NOT tech savvy. Thanks for your help.

    • I think both are good running watches, but both are honestly fairly old these days. Which means they don’t sync with your phones for example (after a workout).

      You may want to check out my current recommendations here:

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      I think in your case I’d actually really look at the FR15 or FR25, both seem to be up your alley. And the FR25 would sync with your phone too (and be an activity tracker as well).

    • Ognyan

      They actually do sync with my watch, i bought the 610 a few days ago and it pairs with my android phone using ANT+ and runs are automatically uploaded both on Garmin Connect and Strava.
      My phone is pretty chip one Wileyfox (95 GBP) and has integrated ANT+ chip, i also had to download a paid application (3 EUR) from the Play store.

  92. James

    Awesome. Thanks for the advice and for the quick response. I’ll take a look at those right away.

    • Doug

      For the price you can get a 610 for on Ebay now is ridiculous ( $50 – $75 ). That watch has so many great features. I still rock the 610, even owning a 235 HR. I love the virtual racer function (racing against previous runs). I can bare to sell it knowing what I paid for it 2011!

  93. Colin Bullock

    My heartrate monitor function is broken I presume because I never took care of the strap (ie washing it). It continues to record very low heart rates (30 bpm) that don’t make sense, and reception cuts in and out, despite having now washed it a number of times, and replaced the heart rate strap battery a couple of times. Calorie calculation is inaccurate of course. I plan to replace the heart rate strap – though I read that the watch pairs with a single strap and ignores other straps. What do I need to do to pair the watch to a brand new strap?

    Many thanks for your site and your expertise.

  94. Thomas Allan

    I just bought a forerunner 610 secondhand. Its a great watch, but my menu system looks different. I’m looking for the “change sport” option, to switch between running to cycling. Mine only seems to show running, and no option appears to “change activity type” as shown above. Could mine be an earlier model with different firmware? As far as i know mine is up to date.

  95. Nigel Hoult

    Really appreciate your reviews, thanks

    I’ve had a FR610 for a few years now, and recently noticed an intermittent problem; I wonder where you’ve seen this at all on the FR610 or for that matter any other Garmin running watch. When I have the watch set to “record every second” mode with auto-lap enabled (which I normally only do for races), I find that occasionally, immediately after a “split”, positions aren’t recorded for a while (although, from the “distance” field in the TCX file, it appears that they are still being measured). The example shows a 3-lap parkrun, the line cutting the corner is where positions weren’t recorded (needless to say, I followed the track as on the other laps). You can see that it’s a very open area where loss of satellite reception is unlikely. As I said, it only happens occasionally, but I don’t recall seeing it until the fairly recently (I’ve had the watch for about 4 years), so I wonder whether something is deteriorating, or whether I just didn’t notice it before (since if it happened on a straight section of route, it wouldn’t be obvious).

  96. Pedro Bravo

    Hi,
    Great review, great device!
    I have a Garmin Forerunner 610 since 2011 which has been working perfectly fine. A few months ago, due to injury, I had to stop running. During this period, the Forerunner 610 was also stopped. I was able to return to my trainings about 2 weeks ago. Since then I can’t get my unit to lock satellites. It gets stuck at locating satellites. It gives me 1 or 2 bars but never tells me that it is “locked” or that GPS signal has been found (with open sky and unit fully charged, waited for >45 minutes). I tried AutoLocate to remove all of the current satellite data on the device and even tried to reset to factory settings, but nothing seems to work. Do you have any suggestion?

  97. Martin Peters

    Thank you for your review of Garmin FR610. I found this very informative. My disappointment with this device and others like it is whilst you can download where you’ve been (tracked by GPS) after the event, it can’t tell you where you are. If they can track GPS why can’t they simply convert this to say a 6 figure grid reference like the free app on my iPhone (Tomstrails GPS). I can then locate my position accurately on a normal paper map. I want a watch that will tell me where I am not just where I’ve been. The display takes up no room at all and it could include compass bearing and elevation. Can you recommend a running watch that has live orientation features like this as well as all the stuff you’ve described.

    • Reed

      The Garmin 735xt has said feature, and I am sure there are many others. I actually had the 610 until a few weeks ago. Great watch, but a lot has changed since 2011 (I am starting to realize).

  98. Phil

    I’ve had my 610 since it was first released & still works flawlessly with one exception. Unfortunately I’m only getting about 70% of the claimed battery life. It’s to be accepted I suppose regarding the amount of use I’ve had out of it. The touch screen just works, doesn’t matter if it’s raining or you’re wearing gloves. GPS is spot on, better than my brand new Fenix 5. This is a solid performing running watch with all the features you’ll ever want without the gimmicks. One tip, if you’re planning to use it on a bike keep it on your wrist. The handlebar accessory scratched the back of mine although I have the original one with a metal back plate, the plastic back may fair better. When I purchased mine it was £500 at £250 it’s a bargain.
    Go for it.
    Good health.

  99. Scott

    My watch was on lap pace now it’s on average pace and I can’t figure out how to change it back. I run ocr races so I need to start a lap fpr and obsticle and then a new lap when I continue running so I have a better idea of pace when running lap pace. If you can help I will be in your debt thanks

  100. JAMES BOGUE

    is the only way I can use the 610 for in doors SPINNING BY INVESTING IN A FOOTPOD?