Top positive review
559 people found this helpful
Good - but still a few issues to fix
on June 14, 2011
I'm a running gadget head.
I've had several garmins before. I tried to like the 4xx series, but to me it wasn't a big enough step up from my trusty 305.
When the Nike GPS+ came out - I bought that the first day, then returned it the next. It just wasn't accurate (perhaps because of a weak GPS receiver).
I saw the 610 was coming out in time for the Boston marathon. I tried to get one at the expo, but they were gone in minutes.
So I waited. A month later, I finally got my hands on one.
I've been running with it daily for the past 3+ weeks.
What I like:
the looks. I can actually wear it as an everyday watch. It's a little slimmer than the 4xx series, and has a longer battery life. Looks very nice. Not quite as 'cool' looking as the Nike GPS - but no where near as clunky as the 305.
the touch screen. this has a true touch screen, that works with gloves (I tested that). You can drag your finger across the screen to change views and tap to select. You press harder than on an iphone or ipad, which took a few minutes to get used to, but it works great. Very intuitive. And unlike the 4xx - the screen doesn't go haywire when it gets wet.
the vibrate for laps / notifications. I set mine to auto-lap every mile, and could feel the vibration on my wrist each time it lapped. very nice.
the 'tailor-ability' of the screen. ok - I probably made up that word, but this is more like the 305 than the 4xx. You can have up to 4 metrics on your screen and tailor to whatever you want. You can have multiple screens set up, and just tap on the dial as you're running and it'll flip between them.
getting wet. the 610 can in theory, survive under a meter of water for an hour. I was always nervous running with my 305 in the rain. I'd heard stories of people who'd had theirs die on them in those conditions. That shouldn't be a factor now. And again - the touch screen works fine in the wet.
the wireless transfer of data to your computer. I'm a computer geek and this is VERY cool ! It comes with a little USB dongle that you pair initially and then leave plugged into your computer, and then when you get near your computer with the watch - it automatically connects and uploads direct to gamin connect. It works very well. On the 305 I had to manually upload. No longer an issue.
foot pod - ok - so this works on others too, but I've got the garmin foot pod as well. You can set it up for accuracy while you're running outside with you GPS to calibrate it, and then be able to capture and log miles done on the treadmill in bad weather.
the new virtual racer feature. It remembers previous runs of yours - perhaps your fastest loop of a course you regularly run. You can then race yourself virtually, or plug in pace goals etc - it shows you a stick character and you in front or behind and by how much. And even cooler - you can download runs from other people from on line, and race those.
What I Don't like
there's a bug in the software - at least that's what I'm hoping it is. When you stop the watch - perhaps at traffic lights - then start it up again. The GPS signal is lost and the accuracy with it. For a few seconds it tries to get back in sync. This means that you often lose 0.01 - 0.03 of a mile. You can test this by making 'GPS Accuracy' one of the metrics on the display. When you stop and start - you'll see the accuracy balloon. It doesn't happen every time, but it happens enough to cause concerns. HOWEVER - there seems to be a manual fix. When you start the watch - a message appears on the screen saying 'timer started'. That stays for 5 seconds or so then disappears. It's during that period the accuracy goes wonky. What you can do, is immediately tap the message when it appears. It disappears (it's a touch screen watch remember), and the accuracy seems to be okay. This is why we think it's a software issue. Hopefully a firmware fix - SOON - will resolve.
the one other minor gripe. Garmin's are never 100% accurate. If you've ever raced with one over a set course - you know the garmin invariably is off. A half marathon might show as 13.25 miles. A full marathon, 26.5 miles. It's too much to be explained by not running perfect tangents. If you're trying to keep a particular pace - this can be annoying. You may think you ran 7.00 min/miles for instance, but find out because of the extra distance - you were actually running 7.05. A way round this on the older garmins was to set the autolap feature to 1.01 miles. That seemed to better line up with the mile markers. Unfortunately the 610 doesn't allow you to do that. You can have 0.95, 1.00, or 1.05. You can't do in 0.01 increments. I've opened a ticket with garmin support. Hopefully this is also resolved in a future software update.
Overall. I love the watch, but until the 2 issues I've mentioned are resolved - it's only getting 4* from me.
Still - I'd buy it again in an instant.