Customer Review

170 of 179 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POLAR, SUUNTO OR GARMIN???, February 9, 2012
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This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 410 GPS-Enabled Sports Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
After reading some comments, I was expecting a serious learning curve. I'd braced myself & was prepared for confusion & frustration. I'm that 40yo guy who returned his first Android phone because there was too much to configure. I'm hardly some techie.

If you purchase a device like this for all it does, don't expect to grasp 'all it does' in the first ten minutes. Perhaps that's why some get frustrated. Then they come to Amazon to vent and punish Garmin because they thought operating a Range Rover would be the same as operating a tricycle. If you don't want to have to learn anything, then purchase a device that doesn't do as much for you to have to learn. Timex offers a basic heart rate watch for under $50. You'll be up and running in seconds.

I won't go over everything the GF410 does, but I'll share my experience from set-up to upload. If you're thinking about Polar & Suunto, keep reading.

SET-UP
The 410 is a very features-packed, high-quality, stylized device that is mostly easy to use. The touch bezel *is* different, but it's easy to make sense of when you understand the simple idea. In less than one hour, I was able to flow. The watch even guides you through a brief operational tutorial before you can use it. Garmin has done all they can to make it easy to understand something forward and different whilst still functional. However, it's just not too practical. As you circle the watch, your finger blocks the options that come up.

Sign up on Garmin Connect, enter your info & Garmin computes your heart rate zones. (It helps if you already know your resting rate. There is an Android app for that) Within a few minutes, I was able to build a heart-rate-based work-out interval - from warm-up to V02max. (You can look up heart rate interval training on YouTube if the idea is new to you.) You can also set up speed and distance intervals. The site holds your hand. However, most folks probably won't know what to do with the specific heart rate info feedback. The graphs require a professional or special training to do anything with.

If you're unfamiliar with interval training (for speed, distance or heart rate), go to YouTube & look up "Polar Sport Zones".

I ran into a bump whilst installing ANT. Apparently, some computers need an additional Windows file to run the program. In case ANT won't download, the file you might need is vcredist_x86. It doesn't make anything run in the background or install a start-up. It's just some component which allows for ANT technology, apparently. Everything else, smooth sailing. Without any prodding, ANT will transfer any new data between watch & computer within seconds.

As for the hardware, it's a much higher quality product than anything from Polar or Suunto. Even the design & detail of the wrist strap is impressive. Garmin throws in 2 extra cloth straps and the tools to install them. The box includes two additional charger plug-ins for foreign electrical outlets. The chest strap is soft material. The entire package feels really high-end, polished & complete.

ON THE ROAD
Everything worked as planned. Having used the 305 before, I was impressed with how quickly the 410 acquires satellites, even whilst indoors, downstairs. The 410 took me through my custom work out w/o a hitch. I came home and, by the time I'd hydrated & cleaned-up, everything was uploaded and graphed online. No peripherals, no cables, nothing to turn on or click. BAD ASS!

I do have a couple of minor gripes. Unlike the 310xt, the 410 doesn't offer vibrating feedback. You can set alarms to remind you to hydrate or eat during a long run, but those alarms are only audible. So, if you're listening to music, you won't hear them. Nothing major, but would be nice to have.

I usually program my run on the website. Programming on the watch itself simply makes no sense to me.

I found the battery life to be rather good. I'd logged 6 hours of runs, w/the light on for 2, and was left with a 76% charge. I don't need to charge it every night, as some say. Fortunately, the unit can be turned completely off when not in use. This makes all the difference. I'd rather have a battery I can recharge once or twice a week whilst sleeping, than to have to ship it off for new batteries every year.

COMPARISON: POLAR
Polars are known for their detailed heart rate feedback programs. The 410 collects much of the same information and 'Connect' displays plenty of feedback as well. You can always plug your information into other sites for even more detail. Polars use foot pods to track distance & pace instead of GPS. The pod is large & must be calibrated for each pair of shoes. That's a pain. It does, however, offer cadence feedback, but Garmin offers a smaller foot pod that does so as well. Of course, some Polars offer GPS add-ons. The closest competition to the 410, however, is the RS800x. It doesn't offer GPS add-on. Some Polars require a $44 FlowLink device to transfer workouts. A bit of a rip-off when ANT, USB cable, WiFi & bluetooth are free. Polar's RS800x, like the RS300x SD, feels substantially cheaper than the 410. On both Polars, the screens are very dim, offer no contrast or contrast settings, the backlights are a joke and the buttons are cheap. Polars just feel really dated and chintzy. Polar has poor customer service as well. I'm 'speaking' from personal experience.

COMPARISON: SUUNTO
I've never owned a Suunto, but they seem to be more geared for those traversing mountains with their altimeters and barometric pressure gauges. If you're a serious runner who takes on trails & pavement, you'd probably be better suited to a Garmin or Polar. If you're on a budget, the Polar RS300x SD is your guy. If you scale Annapurna or Mt. Kilimanjaro, then go with Suunto.

CONCLUSION
For those who appreciate what Garmin's Forerunner 410 has to offer but find themselves confused, spend some time with it. Look up YouTube vids, join the forum if need be. You'll be up & running in no time.

If you're new to these devices or this sort of training, dcrainmaker offers detailed information about training and watches. He'll always answer questions & he loves what he does.

If you've been running for a while and seem to have stagnated, the 410 will make running fun again, offering new challenges for speed and heart rate. Remember the first few months of running, when you had smaller, reachable goals & saw marked progress quickly? It's that same experience again. You'll begin to see progress and have something to work toward again. I'd already run a marathon, so my daily runs wouldn't be longer. I didn't find myself getting any faster either. HR watches will really jump-start your running again.

If you purchase a device like this for all it does, don't expect to grasp 'all it does' in the first ten minutes. Perhaps that's why some get frustrated. Then they come to Amazon to vent and punish Garmin because they thought operating a Range Rover would be the same as operating a tricycle. If you don't want to have to learn anything, then purchase a device that doesn't do as much for you to have to learn. Timex offers a basic heart rate watch for under $50. You'll be up and running in seconds.

From unboxing, to hardware, set-up, the website, the run & uploading info, I can't find much to whine about. I'm sure I've yet to unleash its full potential. I've yet to dissect all of the technical feedback. I'm just running faster and more efficiently than ever.

I'm prone to buyer's remorse, but I'm quite happy with my purchase. The screen is a bit small. The touch bezel isn't very practical and programming a run on the device makes zero sense, but it does a lot, works well and attention to detail goes a long way w/ me. I love and recommend this device, particularly if you already have a distance running base and wish to increase performance, fitness, speed... & fun!
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 7, 2012 9:03:41 AM PDT
Do you need to buy the foot Pod, or the Forerunner 410 doesn´t need it to give you distance and pace as it already has a GPS?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 11:09:29 AM PDT
No. You don't need the foot pod to track pace or distance. The GPS will track this. However, if you wish to keep pace/distance on an *indoor* track, you might want the foot pod. If you wish to track cadence on a bike, the foot pod will come in handy, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 11:29:45 AM PDT
great thanks a lot for your help, very usefull. I usually run outdoors so this watch will be very helpfull to track my distance and pace.

Posted on Feb 15, 2013 2:15:23 PM PST
S. Mason says:
"polar has poor customer service", Amen to that !
I learned the hard way, that's why I'm not looking at another polar for a replacement.....
Scot

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 6:40:57 PM PDT
thinker2 says:
My wife likes to run, think this would be a good model? Does it get rid of plantar fasciitis too? :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2013 5:32:40 AM PDT
My guess is...yes! If she has plantar fasciitis (which is common among runners), you should check out The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2013 10:25:23 AM PDT
dredzo says:
Plantar fasciitis is caused by a tightening and repetitive tearing of the tendons in the arch of the foot, ranging from mild aches when first getting out of bed in the morning to severe pain while walking. It is usually caused from an initial tightness in the arch, which in turn is caused by a tightening of the Achilles heel, which in turn is caused by a tightness in the hamstring, especially the medial head. This can be exacerbated by running, and surprisingly, by using an elliptical trainer, which is curious because they are considered non-impact and thus safer equipment.
I had agonizing fasciitis in my right foot for over a year, and tried many things to fix it. The thing that worked for me? Stretching that medial head of the hamstring (bicepts femoris): before getting out of bed in the morning, keep the affected foot (or worse affected) on the bed stretched out, and put the other foot on the floor, and then reach down to touch your toes as best you can and stretch the hamstring, leaning your weight to emphasize the stretch on the inside portion of the back of your thigh, hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. Within 2 months of doing this, I was doing P90X, and I completed all 90 days 20 pounds later.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2013 6:00:22 AM PDT
thinker2 says:
thanks for all the info guys!

Posted on Sep 12, 2013 10:55:53 AM PDT
Thanks a bunch! Good info and much appreciated.
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