Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch

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. Forerunner 610 gives you several ways to get in touch with your training data. The swipe and scroll action makes it easy to adjust settings, review your run history and more. A quick tap of the screen is all it takes to advance to the next training page so you can see more data. Training tools like the new Virtual Racer? can turn any workout into a virtual matchup. This feature lets you race your previous bests or challenge any activities uploaded to our Garmin Connect? site. Virtual Racer accounts for varying speeds and real-time conditions, so it?s truly you vs. your opponent. Or, use the Virtual Partner? function and see how you measure up to a static pace you set. Forerunner 610 also offers vibration alerts, which you can customize for time, distance, calories, heart rate or cadence. So, when you reach your targets, you?ll feel a gentle vibration.When your workout?s done, Forerunner 610 keeps working. It wirelessly uploads your run data to our Garmin Connect? site when in range of your computer so you can go back and review your run on your own time. It works via ANT+? wireless technology and the USB stick that comes with your watch. No wires, no manual uploads, no sweat. At Garmin Connect, you can see your activity on a map, view lap splits and explore activities from other users. Garmin Connec

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Customer Reviews

486 of 494 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good – but still a few issues to fix, June 14, 2011
R. Williams (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

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…

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194 of 202 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
excellent watch; but the charging issue kills it., December 2, 2011
Ricardo Colon (San Juan, PR) – See all my reviews

I purchased this Garmin FR610 watch to replace my old FR305 that I somehow lost, even though a new 305 could be had for only a third of the price of a new FR610 at the time.

There’s a lot of things to like about this watch. When turned on, it takes anywhere from a few seconds to a couple minutes to find its location but it reliably does (if you are outdoors). The touchscreen works well and its interface is well thought out. Though the screen may become somewhat unresponsive when it gets wet from rain (as it also happens to smartphones), that hardly matters because important functions that you use while running, such as Start, Stop, and Lap, are handled with the buttons on the right side of the watch. Improvements over the FR305 include a battery charge indicator, so you know how much you have left at the beginning of a practice or race and won’t be left stranded while you are at it. When you press the Start/Stop or Lap buttons or use the auto-lap feature, it vibrates in addition to making the conventional beeping sound, which I found useful and reassuring to quickly know that my press of the button did register and therefore did not missed a lap. That feature may be turned off if it’s a matter of personal taste. The watch also tells you when you begin a run that the chrono has not been reset to zero when that’s the case. With the old 305, I had spoiled the data of many workouts by not noticing that, thus starting a run where I had left off during the previous day’s practice. That’s a real annoyance that just won’t happen with the FR610. A very welcome new feature is that it will shut down its battery-eating GPS tracker after 5 minutes when idle. Then the screen will just show you the time of the day like a regular watch, and the battery will last a very long time (don’t know how long but LONG).

As others have reported, this watch tends to overestimate a bit the distance traveled. About 0.5% to 1% by my own estimate. This appears to be systematic rather than random, but I am comfortable with it and do not believe it is excessive. Importantly, the margin if error is noticeably smaller than the FR305 unit I used to have. Anyway, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon last week (without my watch), and could not help but chuckle when I invariably heard a cacophony of its familiar lap-completed sound made by other runners’ watches, always one or two or three hundred meters before reaching every mile marker.

In sum, I was very satisfied for spending 5 for the FR610 unit instead of 0 for a FR305 that does basically the same things but is bigger, clunkier, and has an older chip.

Then The Flaw revealed itself. The watch employs an innovative system of magnetic contacts that you connect to the charger by clicking the contacts into place. After a couple of months of use, the charge indicator appeared to convey that it was being discharged, i.e. the charge % decreased while connected to the charger. If allowed to reach 0, the unit wouldn’t power up. I thought that maybe the watch was not making good contact with the charger, and inspected the contact points. I had not really bothered to clean and dry the watch during normal use, and it was then that I noticed that the magnetic contacts had collected some dirt and/or rust, I could not tell which. Cleaning with isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth did not help much, perhaps because it is very hard to reach into the small holes where the pins and contacts are located in both the charger and the watch. (Maybe I should have paid more attention to cleaning the watch after use, but then again, I had not subjected it to abuse, other than running with it on my wrist as it was designed for, and also, the cause of the watch’s erratic performance could be software-related). Back to the topic, if you are persistent and babysit it while charging, you can manage to get some charge back into it, and it behaves normally for all purposes except when you are trying to charge it. However the problem occurs with increasing recurrence at the time of this writing. I read these reviews and Garmin forums and, to my surprise, this appears to be a common problem.

I like how this watch works and would like to recommend it. But the problem I described is something major, so I strongly advice that you save yourself some aggravation and a few hundred dollars by first researching and finding to your satisfaction that this issue has been addressed by Garmin. Or if you are upgrading from another device, don’t sell the old one yet.


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157 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very Pleased at this juncture – However, the charging issue has revealed itself!, June 2, 2011
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
I made this purchase as soon as I heard about the product. I was lucky that the Nike+GPS was out of stock at the time or I would have ended up with one of those… funny how that works. I made the switch from the 405 (first generation) to the 610. I did enjoy the 405 and logged a couple thousand miles with it. My biggest beef was the useless bezel (you probably already know this). The 610 has blown the competition out of the water with the 610. Granted I have only done a few runs and about 25 miles with it, but my initial reaction is WOW. The touch screen works PERFECTLY on runs. Very easy to read and tap through screens. I love the vibrating alert feature (great for us audiophiles), which also can be set to back light. I run often in the darkness of the early morning so the that alert (set at 1 mile auto lap) reminds me to look down and check my split. I did have a few issues upload data to garmin connect, HOWEVER that was probably user error on my part. I decided to download the desktop software and try that out instead of the website. I attempted to send a workout to the watch, which cause the ant agent to “hold” the data and I never did get the watch to take it. I had to uninstall the gconnect and the ant agent. I am back to the garmin connect, which is just fine with me.
The training screens are very customizable, I use two screens of two data fields… pace and distance on field one and ave pace and timer on page two. You can use four fields on a page and you can have a total of three pages… that is A LOT of data. I do not use a heart rate monitor so I cannot comment on that. The watch has WAY more data than I am concerned with, but maybe in the future I could use it. I do have a foot pod, but don’t have in connected yet. Honestly, just too lazy to take it off my other shoes and also I don’t feel it is necessary. The history setting on the watch is also FANTASTIC. It allows you to review your workouts on the watch, including splits. This great for times I am traveling and work out several times before getting back to my home computer.
I saw a few reviews and a post or two on the garmin site pointing out some gps errors. I am not concerned with those. I don’t really KNOW what the most accurate GPS data even is. I have measured routes with google maps, google pedometer, my car, bing maps, garmin, nike+, etc and they are NOT identical so I expect some error. Some days with my 405 I ended up with slightly different distances running the exact same route. I compared data from my 405 to the 610 on the same route and the 610 measure a .02 difference. That could be a starting at a difference place in my driveway, crossing for a car, etc. I am not concerned at all with the GPS accuracy.

Bottom line, I love the watch and would recommend it to others.

Update 12/18/2012
I still love the watch. I am now having major issues charging the watch. It has gone from a minor annoyance to frustration. I used to be able to slap a guitar capo on it while it was charging and it would be fine. Now I have to get the contacts just right, apply the right pressure, in the right direction, and then squeeze it to clamp on a heavy spring loaded carpenter clamp. If I am lucky I can get it to start charging. The watch holds a charge great. It works perfectly on runs, flawless data upload… the CHARGING PROCESS! AGGHHHH. I understand over time all of our beloved electronics bite the dust… but this only has 18 months on it and around 2000 miles. Does anyone know if buying a new charger make the issues go away for awhile?

Update 5/8/2013
I was finally at a point where I could longer get the watch to charge. I emailed Garmin Support and they immediately replaced my charger and bam instant success! The watch is working flawlessly. There has been a time or two when I was having trouble get my data to upload to garmin-connect. I needed to simply have the ant agent forget the device and then repair. This watch is tough to beat. This time around I will take more care to dry my watch before charging. I think corrosion played a major roll in the charger failing.


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