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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
332
4.0 out of 5 stars
Style Name: without HRM|Colour Name: Black|Change
Price:£135.00+ £13.00 shipping
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on 31 December 2011
I've had this watch for a couple of weeks. Having never used anything like this before, and only 6mths into running/fitness, i was very unsure whether to spend this kind of money and especially as it only had 7 reviews at the time. But i read a lot of reviews on other similar products, and the older Garmin ones, and felt that getting the latest version was a chance worth taking, on the basis that most of the -ve's points in the reviews on the older Garmin products would probably have been addressed with the 610 (eg buttons on the older watches, poor battery life etc etc). And i have to say, it would seem that's been the case.

I've used the watch for a couple of 10k runs outside, and about 15 hrs at the gym.

It does everything that it claims to, and very well:

Satellites take 30 seconds or so to locate.

The "swipe" touchscreen is excellent. I just tap it and it changes to the next screen, so very good whilst running (Havn't used it in the rain, so i can't comment).

I'm not especially tech-oriented, but it is very intuitive. The manual is very straight forward and easy to read. I very quickly set-up the screens i wanted to see on the watch.

The HRM strap is very comfortable, and has never lost any signal to the watch.

The only area where i struggled a touch was the software, but if you follow the intructions (ie dont plug in the USB stick right away,,tempting tho it is, before going on the website). I clicked on the Garmin website link via the instruction disk. Created a sign-in, and after that you just click on upload. The data it provides is, for what i want, perfect. EG i set the watch to lap every KM (and also to alert me every KM). When uploaded, the website shows a breakdown of the time, elevation, HR etc etc for each lap, making comprisons very easy. The map of the route loads very quickly, as do charts showing HR, speed, pace etc. It shows very clearly all of the runs/activities, making historical comparisons very easy, and to monitor progress/improvement.

The battery life seems very good, and the alert to tell you the battery's low, gives a fair amount of notice. The wrist strap is very robust, but can be changed if necessary.

Overall, i'm pleasantly surprised at how good this is, and the fact that i actually use all its functionality.

I would highly recommend this product.
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on 5 May 2015
So you are looking to invest in a decent sports watch. You do some online research, you think about the functions, specifications, the design, the prices and you narrow it down to a few choices. You start to actively read reviews and if you are like me you filter for 4 star products or better. Then you read some of the the one star ratings and if you are like me, you convince yourself that the pissed off customers are either nutters, didn't understand the product, or got a dodgy unit (which sometimes happens). Then you ignore these ratings and if the price is right you go ahead and buy your new toy.

I really wanted to like this watch. I tried hard, I really did. Within a month of purchasing it the heart rate monitor starting to misbehave. Big jagged spikes in the data, gaps, weird stuff and general difficulties getting the watch to communicate with the device. After about six months it died completely. I spent time online looking for fixes, cleaned it, changed the batteries, reset it blah blah. Nothing doing. About the same time, I noticed one of the pins in the watch strap started to work loose. The strap is good and beefy but the end of the strap where the pin is attached is poorly made. The pins only has to move a few millimeters side to side and the strap detaches altogether. You could push it back in with a fingernail but it works its way out again. I found myself running with the watch in my pocket.

I also noticed a small crack appearing in the touch screen. I categorically maintain that the watch was never dropped or knocked off anything but there it was - a crack in the screen of my expensive watch. Thoroughly annoyed at this point, I contacted Garmin support. They promptly sent me a replacement HR monitor and watch strap but I was out of luck with the screen. Not covered. Tough.

The replacement HR monitor worked again for about six months and then died too. The new watch strap came apart after three months - a different issue this time but the same net result - a watch that cannot be worn on the wrist. As other reviewers flagged, I also got a lot of rust building up on the back of the watch. Ever heard of stainless steel, Garmin?

The Garmin connect software is OK, but not great overall. It can be quite unresponsive and the interface is not that intuitive. Looks more like a college project than professional grade software.

The final straw for me is the touchscreen. Navigable at best, it has more or less completely died at time of review. Resetting, calibrating, swiping until I'm blue in the face occasionally gets a response. My most recent attempt to use the watch on a run resulted in me changing the language setting to Spanish, where it currently remains. My wife keeps giving me these pitying 'why did you waste your money' looks every time she sees me frantically swiping the screen to no avail. Why indeed?

I have never been more disappointed with a product than this one. I've bought a few duds over the years but never one that promised so much, cost me so much and delivered so little. If you're like me, you'll read my cautionary tale and buy the watch anyway. Just don't say you weren't warned.

P.S. I am a professional electronic and software engineer. So I know how to treat, care for, troubleshoot and maintain electronic devices.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 August 2011
I picked this up almost as soon as it came out, as been desperate from an upgrade from my forerunner 305. Avoided the 405 due to the huge amount of criticism on the bezel control format.

Did have to think twice about spending such an amount on a running watch, but I'm pleased to report I've very happy with my purchase.

My main reasons for upgrading from the Forerunner 305 were, firstly, the very slow GPS pickup. If I had moved a fair distance, and started running, it could easily take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes to get satellite reception.
The 610, despite it's far smaller size, blows this out of the water. My average time so far has probably been about 30 seconds. Often less, though more a couple of times - but never more than a minute.

Secondly was the battery on my 305. Would only take a few decent sized runs before recharging was required. The 610 can manage about 8 hours. From what I've read, this isn't much better than a 405, but definitely better than my 305.

My worry on the 610 was the control mechanism. I was happy with the 305 controls, and the "improvement" on the 405 was regarded as a bit of a disaster.
The 610 has 3 hard buttons on the sizes (for power, start/stop, and lap/reset), everything else is touch screen. I'm finding it very useful. In particular, swiping between screen you've pre configured by tap or swiping is great, much better than the hard buttons on the 305.
I've not had any issues with rain/sweat affecting the connection between your finger at the screen either.

Other features I'm enjoying over the 305 -
- Wireless Sync. When the watch is on near the ANT USB stick, data automatically gets transferred (have tried on Windows and Mac, with success on both). really nice feature.

- Virtual Partner. This has changed from my 305. Partner used to be a virtual character from a previous run (which I thought was a great feature). This is now called Virtual Racer. Virtual Partner is now a pacer - set it to run at 8 minute miles, and you can see distance/time behind (or on a rare occasion, ahead :-)

- Easy changing of data fields during activity. You don't even have to preconfigure the screens - holding a data field will change the information available on that field.

In summary - a superb running watch. The only downside is that it is a pretty steep price. But if you're doing a lot of miles, this great bit of kit is definitely worth the money.
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on 16 August 2015
This worked fine for about 10 months, then errors started creeping in every time I used it. Now, 12 months down the line it is beyond use. At £200 for less then 12 months use this product is not good value for money. If it was reliable it would have been a great asset; instead I feel I have wasted a lot of cash on this.
The main problem I have encountered is with the touch screen. It lost it's calibration and I was then unable to use any touchscreen functionality i.e. pretty much ALL functionality. I sought advice and was instructed to re-calibrate the touchscreen by Garmin. This has failed on several attempts to rectify the problem. I also performed a "hard-reset" which had no effect. I would seriously advise anyone looking for a running watch to avoid a touchscreen model, it's simply too much technology in a tiny device and is bound to encounter problems. This is the main crux of Garmin's problem; they cram in some awesome functionality and tech but it is totally at the expense of product reliability- too much can go wrong and invariably something breaks or an error occurs within less than a year of ownership which, to me, is unacceptable.
A second problem was with the charging. The charger is unreliable and the battery power itself caused a lot of issues. I found that the watch would run out of battery midway through running which, as you can imagine, was highly annoying.
Overall I am very disappointed with this product. It is simply unreliable and will not last a year or regular use and, therefore, does not represent good value for money. I do not normally write reviews on Amazon but this product warranted a warning for other customers- don't waste a load of money on a product with such a short shelf life.
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on 22 September 2011
I bought this watch as an upgrade to my Garmin FR60 (which is still working fine, but I wanted something that would log my routes via GPS).
I'd researched the models out there and finally decided to go with DCRainmaker's recommendation, following his excellent online, indepth review.

My plan was to get to know all the features over a 3 week period, prior to my half marathon - but in the event, injury laid me up, so the first time I used the watch was on race day!

I haven't used the watch intensively enough to give much of an indepth review, so I'll leave a few bullet-points on my experiences with the watch.

* I love the customisable pages (but wish you could turn off the time/date page in auto-scroll - hopefully that'll come in a future firmware update).
* Virtual partner was invaluable. I ended up using this exclusively during the race - I'd pre-programmed it with the pace I wanted to keep - and it constantly kept me on track. Much more useful than just glancing at your current or average pace, as it gives an overall report of whether you're behind or ahead - and continually adjusts if you speed up/slow down. It takes all the guesswork out of racing (or training) and allows you to just get on with it.
* The vibrating alerts are brilliant. During my race I was wearing headphones, but had no problem missing any of the alerts (eg behind pace in Virtual Partner).
* Set-up and options are very straightforward and easy to navigate. Initially the touchscreen does take a little getting used to when you're negotiating the different settings, but you soon get the hang of it. I'd initially been a bit dubious about the touchscreen, as I'm usually a buttons woman, but it was surprisingly user-friendly - even in pouring rain.
* Speaking of pouring rain, no complaints whatsoever. Worked a charm, with no ill-effects - and at one point during the race, the rain was monsoon-like.
* I haven't used the intervals feature, but my running partner has (she has the same watch). She loves it. Allowing you to set your interval sets and recoveries in between, with a vibrating alert is apparently "the dog's tenticles".
* The HRM strap is very comfortable, absolutely no chafing (which had been a problem with previous Garmins) - and a much better fit than previous models.

I download the workout activities via a MacBook Pro and the ANT+ stick to Garmin Connect. Training Center doesn't run too well on Mac, and Garmin Connect is a ropey online programme overall, but I've been using it for over a year now and it's perfectly adequate for analysing your runs, etc. I also use TrailRunner and RubiTrack. No problems uploading with the supplied ANT+ stick to any of these programs.

I'm looking forward to using more of the features of the watch. I've got a feeling I'm going to love it - and although it *is* comparatively expensive, it all boils down to what you're willing to pay for a training tool. If the features this watch offers aren't important to you - it won't be worth the money. Conversely, if statistics and the features it offers will enhance your training sessions, then it'll be as vital a piece of equipment as your running shoes.

I also have a bike set up on a turbo trainer, with a GSC10 speed/cadence sensor. I haven't used this HRM with the turbo yet, but would expect it to perform as well as the FR60 I've previously been using.
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on 13 October 2011
This is a great running watch. It has definitely helped my training by making it more measurable and improving my motivation. It has a lot of complex functionality, but is also intuitive enough to get started quickly with the basics and then learn about the advanced features later. The touch screen works well, making that wealth of features accessible in a way buttons never could. Configurable training screens let me see exactly the information I want and nothing else. I like the fact it's (just) wearable as a regular watch. Though larger than most regular watches, it doesn't look out of place on my wrist when I'm not running.

However, the 610 isn't perfect. There are a few things it could do better:
* The heart rate monitor stopped working after about a month and began constantly showing my heart rate at an arbitrarily high number, regardless of whether I was resting or running. Garmin is replacing it under warranty; I hope the new one lasts longer.

* It always takes mine a few minutes to locate satellites. Other reviewers have had more success, but I have to hang around for a while waiting to start my run.

* The vibration alerts are a bit too strong - they make a buzzing sound. The alerts were a big draw for me since I don't like to hear a lot of beeping while I run. It's a shame they are still audible.

* Who needs two different computer interfaces? TrainingCenter isn't portable, while GarminConnect doesn't access the watch's full functionality. I wish Garmin would do away with one (preferably TrainingCenter) and improve the other.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 August 2011
I picked this up almost as soon as it came out, as been desperate from an upgrade from my forerunner 305. Avoided the 405 due to the huge amount of criticism on the bezel control format.

Did have to think twice about spending such an amount on a running watch, but I'm pleased to report I've very happy with my purchase.

My main reasons for upgrading from the Forerunner 305 were, firstly, the very slow GPS pickup. If I had moved a fair distance, and started running, it could easily take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes to get satellite reception.
The 610, despite it's far smaller size, blows this out of the water. My average time so far has probably been about 30 seconds. Often less, though more a couple of times - but never more than a minute.

Secondly was the battery on my 305. Would only take a few decent sized runs before recharging was required. The 610 can manage about 8 hours. From what I've read, this isn't much better than a 405, but definitely better than my 305.

My worry on the 610 was the control mechanism. I was happy with the 305 controls, and the "improvement" on the 405 was regarded as a bit of a disaster.
The 610 has 3 hard buttons on the sizes (for power, start/stop, and lap/reset), everything else is touch screen. I'm finding it very useful. In particular, swiping between screen you've pre configured by tap or swiping is great, much better than the hard buttons on the 305.
I've not had any issues with rain/sweat affecting the connection between your finger at the screen either.

Other features I'm enjoying over the 305 -
- Wireless Sync. When the watch is on near the ANT USB stick, data automatically gets transferred (have tried on Windows and Mac, with success on both). really nice feature.

- Virtual Partner. This has changed from my 305. Partner used to be a virtual character from a previous run (which I thought was a great feature). This is now called Virtual Racer. Virtual Partner is now a pacer - set it to run at 8 minute miles, and you can see distance/time behind (or on a rare occasion, ahead :-)

- Easy changing of data fields during activity. You don't even have to preconfigure the screens - holding a data field will change the information available on that field.

In summary - a superb running watch. The only downside is that it is a pretty steep price. But if you're doing a lot of miles, this great bit of kit is definitely worth the money.
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on 11 June 2015
This thing is even more brilliant than I thought it would be. It works exactly as advertised but the accompanying web software is really excellent. It is so easy to set up specific workouts on the web and then download them to the watch (so no fiddling with the perfectly decent but tiny watch interface for doing complex things). At the current price of £129 (I guess because the colour screen 620 is now the current device at this spec) it is a giveaway. If you sometime train on a treadmill (I do) get the footpod too.
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on 18 October 2013
I have now had this device for around 4 weeks. I run 2 or 3 times a week, at varying paces, particularly training to improve my 10km time.

Firstly I want to mention the initial setup of the watch is pretty simple, it took around a minute. Other reviews I have read have said that the first time acquiring the GPS was around a minute but quicker there after. A point on that, dont wear the watch when trying to acquire a GPS signal. I have found that taking the watch off, putting it on the floor, whilst I stretch my legs enables the watch to pick up its signal quicker.

The watch seems to upload when it feels like it when it goes near my computer, and I can see no rhyme or reason why it isnt always immediate. Either way it happens automatically within 10 minutes or so; whilst I am cooling down.

The HR monitor is great, and a great addition to my running toolkit. That additional information is really helping make improvements, and its mostly because of the abillity to track my heart rate and the GPS at the same time that I have scored this highly. If however I didnt want the HR information, then my phone app would have sufficed.

Issues: Yesterday I tried to upload some runs I completed whilst away with work, but unfortunately one of the runs seems to have corrupted and I have lost the data. Its a shame as it was a specific heart rate zone run, and was hoping to note some improvement. I am hoping I dont see the issue again.

Summary:

Good device, with some issues, but works most of the time.

EDIT 25/03/14 The issues I had experienced has not happened since. The way I got around it was selecting the option to delete the data from the watch once its uploaded. Also a useful tip, if when you are running and the battery alerts as being low (this has happened to me a lot) it will run out invariably before you finish the run, unless you turn of the Heart Rate Monitor and backlight. I had the alert about 7km into a run, and managed to complete a further 13km by taking the actions described above to prolong the battery life. Hope that helps :) or remember to charge the battery :p
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on 17 August 2012
I've had the FR610 for about a year now and used it during some 2000 miles worth of running and cycling. I also have the bundled heart rate strap, Garmin foot pod and GSC-10 bike sensor (installed on tri bike).

PRO

+ Touch screen works very well, including in rain and when wearing gloves
+ Separate customisable screens for cycling and running (for cycling more than 2 items per screen makes it hard to see, for running 4 items per screen works for me)
+ Creation of custom workouts on the FR610 itself (as opposed to on PC only), great when traveling
+ Fast GPS signal catch and good lock-on, hardly ever loses signal
+ Has a 1 second GPS recording mode, which increases accuracy and creates much smoother curves around athletics tracks
+ Custom workouts are superb, e.g. interval or tempo trainings. The watch supports customised descriptions, counts down to start, etc.
+ Works well in combination with foot pod: when losing signal in tunnels or valleys, during treadmill workouts, but also for a more accurate read of immediate speed and for keeping track of running cadence. Does not eat a lot of battery life.
+ Wireless automatic data transfer and upload to Garmin Connect, also supports Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
+ Garmin Connect online software gives the runner all analysis data needed in a nice single overview
+ Watch can buzz each mile/kilometer or during customised workouts, great for keeping track of pace and heart rate when running with IPod

CON

- Have to keep the contacts of both charger and watch clean before charging to avoid the battery depleting instead of charging (= annoying)
- Pins that attach wrist bands to the watch may occasionally come out (happened once to me)
- Not waterproof enough for swimming
- No smooth transition between running and cycling (and potentially transition), have to keep pressing reset button first to save e.g. first leg of a duathlon and then again to switch sports
- Heart rate monitor sometimes reports erratic data during first few minutes of workout (with strap contact points made wet)
- No possibility to erase erratic data (e.g. 100mph or 250bpm heart rate first seconds of a run) in Garmin Connect, which squashes the graph to included the outlier data point

CONCLUSION

The 'reverse charging' issue is somewhat annoying but imho not a dealbreaker, keep the contacts clean and it charges fine. Apart from not being waterproof enough to swim with and no possibility of running and cycling in a single workout the FR610 is terrific. I highly recommend it to demanding runners, but triathletes should look at the 910XT instead.
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