Another Garmin fitness watch that frequently makes its way to the best-of-the-best list is the Forerunner 610 Touchscreen, with a heart rate monitor included in the package. This obviously has built-in GPS, but its wide range of capabilities make it an all-in-one tool for fitness enthusiasts and serious athletes who want optimum functionality, on and off the road, from their fitness watches.
But there are a few concerns with the Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor’s design, such as the short battery life and frozen touchscreen.
Features of the Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch
Regular watch design
If you’re looking for a fitness watch that looks like a standard watch, then the 610 is a great choice; a few buyers say it looks like a G-Shock watch. This can be worn as an everyday watch, especially if you’re the type who likes to run as soon as you get off work.
The 2.5-centimeter touchscreen display, coupled with the 4.6-centimeter face, makes viewing the information easy on the eyes, even when viewed at arm’s length.
There are also physical buttons on its case, thus reinforcing the regular watch impression. These are the power and backlight button, the lap button, and the start-and-stop buttons, which are responsive to a firm touch, so there’s little risk of accidental pressings.
The 610’s touchscreen can be controlled by using almost any implement, such as your finger or a pen, although a finger is still the most convenient. Due to the small size (i.e., just over an inch) of the touch-sensitive area on the screen, your pinky finger is better, so as to avoid hitting the wrong button.
There’s a slight learning curve, since a slight force, instead of the usual soft tap or swipe, is necessary to activate the right buttons.
The user-friendly menu has an intuitive layout that makes it easy to navigate and choose the features. The four main screens show the date and time, the heart-rate readout, the customizable workout statistics, and the GPS information; swapping between screens can be done by swiping and tapping on the screen.
We have to emphasize that the heart-rate readout only comes with the optional heart rate monitor, which should be worn as a chest strap. A Garmin foot pod can also be added to the set-up for more information about your stride length, cadence, and distance covered, among other details, for running and biking.
When the GPS is first set up, it takes about five minutes for the watch to find and lock its GPS position, as well as show the accurate location and distance on the screen.
But when it’s locked and loaded, so to speak, it maintains its GPS signal both indoors and outdoors. While indoors, however, the watch switches to low-power mode and the GPS quickly cuts out.
Performance and connectivity features
The 610’s performance features are easy to use after its initial setup. Just hit the start button before you start exercising, the stop button with cessation of movement, and the lap button after completing an interval, for example.
You can rely on it to upload and store the data; the watch can store as much as 180 hours of data, nearly a year’s worth of data for a running enthusiast who runs for an hour or so every other day.
The heart-rate data is a plus, especially when you’re on a heart zone training program. The watch records your heart rate when you’re walking, running, sitting or lying down, and even when you’re eating.
The Training Effect feature measures the impact of your activity on your aerobic fitness, so you can train more effectively and efficiently. This is calculated based on your unique profile, including your heart rate and preferred activity.
Like many of Garmin’s fitness watches, the 610 can be synced wirelessly to your smartphone and personal computer via the Garmin ANT+ wireless USB dongle. We loved the fact that there were little to no risks for crashes and data loss.
The Garmin Training Center app expands its performance features, too, from viewing activity on a map to creating personalized workouts, even monitoring your health parameters via the Garmin Connect feature.
The package contains the Forerunner 610 unit, as well as an AC charger and charging cradle, a heart-rate monitor, a USB ANT stick, and an owner’s manual, in print and on disk.
- Can be worn as a regular watch
- Wide range of performance features
- Relatively accurate GPS and performance data
- Glove-friendly touchscreen
- Vibration alert for notifications and laps
- Customizable display with up to four metrics
- Water-resistant design
- Wireless uploads of data
- Eight-hour battery life
- Can be clunky for a fitness watch
The Garmin Forerunner 610 provides good value for the money. While it’s on the pricey side, its wide range of features, including tracking and storing several workout metrics, more than makes up for it.