Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS watch

Garmin Forerunner 610 review: A GPS watch aimed at the fitness junkie

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  • User Reviews (3)
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Garmin Forerunner 610
  • Garmin Forerunner 610
  • Garmin Forerunner 610
  • Garmin Forerunner 610
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.00 / 5 (of 3 Reviews)

Pros

  • Looks like a normal watch, albeit a bulky one
  • Huge range of workout features integrated
  • GPS works accurately and stores plenty of data

Cons

  • Battery life is limited to eight hours of exercise
  • Not waterproof (so no swimming)
  • Touchscreen isn't great

Bottom Line

Garmin's Forerunner 610 is pricy but if you're a serious athlete we can definitely see its value. It's able to track and store a huge range of workout metrics in combination with the bundled heart-rate monitor, and includes software to monitor your long-term progress via PC. The touchscreen may be a bit fiddly but our biggest concern is the short-ish battery life.

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The Garmin Forerunner 610 is a watch with a built-in GPS and a huge range of data logging capabilities — it’s designed to be an all-in-one tool for anyone looking to track their workouts or fitness routines. We can’t think of anything workout-wise that’s missing from it; our chief concern is the battery life and sometimes-fiddly touchscreen.

Garmin Forerunner 610: Design and operation

The Garmin Forerunner 610 looks just like a regular watch — from a distance we’d struggle to tell it from a good ol’ fashioned G-Shock. It is a bit chunky at 1.42cm thick, but the curved metal rear case means it’s comfortable even when tightly strapped on during exercise. The face of the watch is just under 4.6cm wide, and the touchscreen LCD is 2.5cm in diameter; it’s easy to read the time off the Garmin Forerunner 610 at arm’s length, but reading some of the smaller text requires bringing the watch closer. There are three physical buttons on the Forerunner 610’s case — a power/backlight button, and stopwatch-style start/stop and lap buttons.

The touchscreen of the Garmin Forerunner 610 is a resistive one. You can use any implement to operate it, but we found that a soft tap or swipe occasionally didn’t register — you’ll get best results if you use a bit of force. Since the touch-sensitive area is only a little over an inch in size, using a forefinger means it’s possible to occasionally hit the wrong button; we opted to use our slightly daintier pinky fingers to move through the Forerunner 610’s menus.

Thankfully, the menus are simply laid out and easy to navigate. There are four main screens for the Forerunner 610 to display during exercise, which can be swapped between by tapping or swiping across the face of the watch — the normal date/time, a heart-rate read-out (for use with the optional heart-rate monitor), GPS info, and a page of customisable workout stats.

Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS watch

If you want to delve into the settings of the Garmin Forerunner 610 — maybe to change your minimum and maximum heart-rate settings, or to change your preferred distance measurement from miles to kilometres — you’ll need to tap the bottom of the screen and swipe vertically through menu options. The button for each sub-menu is only around 5mm tall so it’s possible to tap the wrong one accidentally, but this isn’t much of an inconvenience and we found we only had to visit the menu a few times throughout our testing of the Forerunner 610.

Our review unit of the Garmin Forerunner 610 was bundled with a heart-rate monitor, which is worn on a chest strap. You can also purchase a Garmin foot pod (for around $100 extra) which has an accelerometer to measure your cadence, stride length and other exercise minutiae. Coupled with the inbuilt GPS, the foot pod ensures you’ll always be able to track your running or cycling speed and performance.

Garmin Forerunner 610: Performance

To test the Garmin Forerunner 610, we took it on several hour-long runs over a couple of weeks, with the bundled heart-rate monitor strapped on. Now, we’re not exactly prime athletes, but we think we took the Forerunner 610 on a suitable range of exercises to test its capabilities. In any case, we got uncomfortably sweaty. It wasn’t fun.

After we’d fully charged the Garmin Forerunner 610, we took it on a stroll through the built-up CBD of North Sydney. It took about five minutes to find and lock on to enough GPS satellites to provide accurate location and distance data, but after that we found we could walk around the area’s skyscrapers and tall buildings without entirely losing the GPS signal. Once we were out in the suburbs in more open terrain, the Forerunner 610 never had trouble acquiring a GPS lock and did so within two minutes each time. When indoors, the GPS cuts out quickly; the watch defaults to an ‘indoor’ low-power mode.

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Kaos

1

I think it's a bit unfair to criticise the battery life, before this was released you'd have to choose between the 405cx which had 6 hours of battery and the 310xt which had 20. This made the 405cx a bit useless for shorter ultras like Six Foot Track, and the 310xt overkill. I think the 610 neatly hits the spot!

sundog

2

I have the 610, great features. All is perfect. But...the battery life sux !! When doing a 100KM it just does not finish with me...looking forward to a new battery..

Edwin

3

Just drive faster!
But seriously, what is the batterylife?

Yvan

4

I necedad help. Main menu is not displaying

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itwwti

4.0

1

Pros
Summer
Cons
Winter
• • •

Battery life is a big deal - mine conks out after @7 hours. Good luck if you're on even a moderately-long hike or competing in an ironman.

Robbie

0.5

2

Pros
N/A
Cons
Garmin Forerunner 610
• • •

I have run with my new Garmin Forerunner 610 watch 2 times so far and I have found that the battery life is a farce. I ran a 10K in 43 minutes and it drained about 50% of my battery life. I charged it overnight to completion and then ran for 1hr and 22 minutes and it drained 80 percent of the watches battery. So it is not even going to last for a 2hr run. This watch is useless to me when I do longer runs. Something cant be right. My Garmin 305 lasted a long time in between charges. I think I would stay away from getting this watch.

Paul

5.0

3

Pros
Garmin Forerunner 610
Cons
All other sports watches
• • •

I am a new runner and I recently bought the Forerunner 610 because I wanted a watch that would motivate me as I start my running routine. I love this watch because I do run/walk intervals and I can do this while still listening to music since the watch has vibration alerts based on customized intervals I create ahead of time. There are soooo many features on this watch it's crazy. I want to run every day now!

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