Forerunner Touchscreen GPS Watch from Garmin
Garmin Forerunner GPS Watch Review
Lisa Mason rates this 4/5
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Garmin Forerunner is a Great GPS Watch

I had been a casual runner for years, but after I became serious about running, cheap pedometers and cell phone downloads just werenít cutting it. After borrowing a friendís high-tech pedometer, I was hooked. The ability to monitor your heart rate, track time and distance, calories burned as well as monitoring all over fitness progress and even plan workouts was a huge motivator for me.

†I compared the purchase of a high-tech running watch to the cost of joining a gym and made the determination that I would actually be getting quite the bargain. After some extensive researching in reading online reviews and speaking with friends and other runners online, I decided to purchase the Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch With Heart Rate Monitor for about $400.

Design

This watch is pretty cool. My biggest concern was a heavy and overly bulky-looking watch, but this is actually something I can wear every day and the band is quite comfortable.† I was also a little worried about the touchscreen but this one actually works much better than the touchscreen on my expensive cell phone.† Unlike my cell touchscreen, this one doesnít start trying to access features on its own, but at the same time, I can use it even while wearing gloves.

Setup

I get frustrated quickly and lose patience when setting up any new tech gadget, but I found it was very easy to set up. It may take a little time to get used to only because there are so many bells and whistles on this watch, but overall Iíd rate it as simple for almost anyone to get started.

Features

The features on this watch are nothing less than amazing. You get an accurate distance reading, as well as a GPS position, heart rate, calories burned, and the ďtraining effectĒ feature even allows you to measure the impact of your run on your aerobic fitness, essentially helping you to train more efficiently. †I also love that I can venture off a path and it will help guide me back to where I started. While Iím not the kind of person who gets lost often, I think this would be very useful for backcountry trail runs.

Post-workout

The information that you get after the workout is what I love the most about this watch. All you have to do is plug in the USB that comes with it into your computer. It automatically connects and uploads everything so you have all of the data at your fingertips. I remember reading some users who experienced issues with this, but after several months Iíve never had a problem.

Other issues

Other users have also reported a limited battery life, but with this latest model it seems that issue has been resolved, which may be due to the new feature which automatically shuts off the GPS when youíre not using the unit.

The watch is water-resistant but it is not waterproof. There is a big difference. A swimmer who purchased the watch was reportedly upset because it couldnít handle being in the water for a prolonged period of time, but it wasnít meant to be used this way. Iíve experienced no issues while running in rainy weather, and even dropped it in a mud puddle at one point and it still works like a charm.

Tech Details
  • Weather-resistant, GPS-enabled training watch supports customizable data screens and advanced training plans
  • Touchscreen interface for quickly and easily toggling data fields, adjusting settings, reviewing run history, and more
  • Virtual Partner and Virtual Racer help you plan workouts and reach goals; Training Effect measures impact on aerobic fitness
  • Customizable vibration alerts for time, distance, calories, heart rate, or cadence; heart rate zone training with included monitor
  • USB stick for wireless uploading of run data to Garmin Connect--map your activity, view lap splits, and explore activities from other users


Conclusion

Overall, while this watch is pricey, I feel itís one of the best ways to help you reach your fitness goals. Itís fun and helps keep me motivated on even the most difficult days. You can use it with a running program like the 100-Day Marathon Plan and really track your progress and stay motivated.

Date Reviewed: May 29, 2012, 8:20 pm
Reviewed by Lisa Mason
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