If you are always on the go, performing some sort of physical activity, whether it be running, cycling, gyming or even trail running, you may find yourself wanting to be able to track and review your performance.
This can give you a wonderful edge in your quest to better yourself as well as keep you motivated as you keep track of your progress or your decline.
Being able to analyse how you perform at a certain exercise allows you to really identify and pinpoint your strengths, and conversely your weaknesses.
This will help you to work harder and smarter to turn those weaknesses into strengths.
With the Garmin Forerunner® 610 Sports Watch, you can monitor many different aspects of your workouts. It’s amazing to see so many functions and capabilities all packaged into the convenience of a watch which you wear on your wrist.
The first to put GPS on runners’ wrists just tipped off a whole new race. With a touch, tap or swipe, Forerunner 610 lets you get on with your run while it tracks all the details.
The watch basics:
The watch itself is quite sturdy and compact. It is rather solid and strong and has 3 buttons on each corner of the watch (except the bottom left corner).
- The top left button is used as the power button and to switch on and off the background light.
- The top right button is to start and stop the timers.
- The right bottom button is to lap/reset the timer.
- There are also 2 ‘touch buttons’ one on the bottom of the screen and one to the left of the screen, used to access the main menu and to go back respectively.
All other functionality is accessed via the touch screen.
The Nifty Features of the Forerunner®
The touch screen:
A great feature of this watch is that it is a touch screen, which is not so sensitive that it does its own thing. It responds to the use of your full fingertip which prevent unnecessary touch commands. You can lock and unlock the screen with a simple swipe.
The navigation and menu screen are very easy to use and scroll through.
There are a few base screens which are for example:
- The time and date
- The stopwatch (distance, timer, lap pace)
- The Heart Rate Monitor (with calories for example )
- Virtual partner screen
To move through screens you just swipe the interface sideways and it scrolls to the next screen. It is all customisable, from the number of screens to the fields on each one.
The simple and cool stuff:
There are few cool features worth mentioning such as:
- It automatically goes into Power save mode and locks the screen when not in use for a period of time.
- Bright Backlight option.
- The watch is not too big and bulky as may be expected, so it can be worn as an everyday watch as it’s a good size and is comfortable.
- Great stopwatch, countdown timers, and time interface.
- Great quality casing, solid and good finish.
- Feature to auto pause the timer when you stop running. (If you have to stop at a traffic light for example).
Calories and workouts:
Track your calories, workouts, distances, speeds and times on the Garmin Forerunner® 610. There’s so much data that you can monitor and analyse afterwards to really take your training to the next level.
What’s really cool is that almost everything is fully customisable on this sports watch. You can customise each screen and each screen’s fields, to feature exactly what you want to see. You can mix and match fields, for instance you can group together calories with distance run, as well as choosing the amount of fields that you want displayed.
Heart rate monitor:
A heart rate monitor is available with this sports watch, as well as extras such as a foot pod and speed/cadence sensor for cyclists. The heart rate monitor is worn as an elastic band around your chest (just below) and connects wirelessly to the watch. It displays your heart rate on the watch and you can keep checks on high heart rates.
The Garmin Forerunner® 610 Sports Watch makes use of a rechargeable lithium-ion cell battery. To charge, the watch has its own power cable which connects via a magnet to the back of the watch and can be charged via usb or via a normal power plug. While charging it displays the percentage complete. Garmin claims it should last 4 weeks in power save mode or 8 hours in training mode which is more or less right on target.
If you need some motivation without having to deal with another person, the Garmin Forerunner® 610 has a built in virtual partner. It allows you to compete against targets or other runners with challenges downloaded from Garmin Connect.You can set the pace of the virtual runner and aim to keep up with it. There are also alarms which can be set to alert you of times when you fall behind or when certain points are reached.
The 610 has some basic gps functionality, enough to keep you from getting lost. You can pinpoint your gps coordinates, save up to 100 way points (locations)and have the watch give you an as the crow flies bearing back to any one of them. This is the ‘where to’ function, where you can select a saved location and it shows the direction and distance to it.
Wireless uploads and online features:
Once finished with your training you can upload all your stats and data, wirelessly to your computer and to Garmin’s Connect service. It works via ANT+™ wireless technology and the USB stick that comes with your watch. It retrieves new data from your watch when in range and uploads it to Garmin Connect automatically which is really convenient and easy to use.
Garmin Connect stores all your training data and transforms that data into meaningful information for your own analysis. For example it makes use of graphs to show your times and distances run and shows your routes on a map etc.
There were only a few small problems, not even problems, more like small delays with this watch.
Every time you unlock the watch or enter an area with satellite reception, the watch starts to load satellites and can sometimes take a few minutes. You can choose to stop the search and use it without satellite reception, resulting in limited features (such as the gps not working).
Connecting to the heart rate monitor:
Searching for the heart rate monitor can sometimes take a few attempts.
The watch retails for +- R3599.00 – R 4 799.00
The Garmin Forerunner® 610 Sports Watch is a great model of a sports watch from Garmin. It has many cool features and you can do a tremendous amount with it. For the price tag though you will really have to thing carefully if you will actually make use of all the features. If you are active outdoors a lot then this watch can be great for you, but for the average gym goer or runner it could be a bit over kill, but very cool nonetheless. Garmin does have a wide variety of other models each with different features, so there is a possibility of finding something simpler or more complex depending what you want it for.