Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Watch Review

The Forerunner 610 is the first Garmin running watch to be equipped with a touchscreen bezel. It’s a big difference from a conventional workout watch, and some early users were skeptical about using a touchscreen on any device that’s constantly in motion. Garmin won those skeptics over with the increased functionality that the Forerunner 610 brings along with its new screen. It’s a very sharp display that can show a great deal of readable information at once with just the turn of a wrist, and true touchscreen operation is easier and more accurate than you might expect with a device that’s bobbing up and down as you run.

The Forerunner 610 has been around for several years now, and has a good track record for both usability and durability. It’s not a cutting edge watch in any category, and it’s not flashy looking, but it performs well in so many categories that are important to a runner that it should be considered along with any other device in its class when you’re shopping for a capable running watch.

Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 610

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Specifications

  • GPS-enabled training watch
  • Weather-resistant to IPX7 standard
  • Touchscreen interface
  • Vibration alerts for milestones and other important data points
  • Can be used with optional heart rate monitor
  • Weighs 2.6 ounces
  • Includes one internal Lithium-ion battery
  • 1-inch diameter display size
  • 8 hours of battery life on one charge
  • 128 x 128 display resolution
  • One-year limited warranty

Features

If you liked previous versions of Garmin Forerunner watches, you’ll love the Forerunner 610. It does everything that older models can do and improves on their performance. It’s smaller, lighter, and easier to read and to operate than any other Garmin sports watch or other sports watch in its class.

A Truly Small Running Watch

With running watches, smaller can be a relative thing. The Garmin doesn’t achieve its small size by shrinking the most important facet of sports watch design: the clock face. It’s got an easy-to-read one-inch diameter face that displays numbers crisply in black and white. While the overall diameter of the watch outside the bezel is almost as small as a conventional watch, most of the feeling of lightness and compactness comes from the way the back of the watch is beveled and shaped to have less contact with your arm than many competitors. Many similarly equipped running watches fit and feel more like a gauntlet than a traditional watch, but the Forerunner 610 transitions smartly from the big round face to the wrist strap like a regular watch.

Fast Satellite Acquisition Makes This Watch a Winner

Satellite acquisition is always an important attribute to evaluate when you’re shopping for a running watch, especially if you hate to stand around outside waiting for your device to locate a satellite. That’s one aspect where the Forerunner 610 really shines. It locks onto GPS satellites more quickly than other Garmin devices and many other competitors’ watches as well. It works especially well if you begin your training route from near the same place every day, so if you’re a homebody and like to simply head out the front door without waiting around, the 610 might be the watch for you.

Easy Downloads Improve Usability of Every Function

Many runners don’t get the full benefit of all the data collection that their sports watches are capable of because it’s too difficult to establish a link, or you need a dedicated cable that can often go missing. The Garmin Forerunner 610 uses USB and an ANT+ sensor to download wirelessly, and it might turn you into a more stats-oriented runner simply by its ease of use.

An Accurate and Reliable Workhorse

Runners that are serious about tracking their routes rely on their running watches to be accurate, and the Forerunner 610 delivers much better than average performance. It has an easy time keeping a signal even when surrounded by tall building and tall trees, and it measures distances to within a few feet with amazing accuracy.

Lots of Info at the Touch of a Finger

One of the reasons to have a high-definition touchscreen display is to show a runner more than a few different bits of data at the same time, and the 610 excels at this, too. It allows up to four data fields to be displayed at a time, and by customizing four different data screens, a runner can switch between 16 different data streams with just the flick of a finger. The screen is very responsive, so that finger can be wearing a glove and still get the job done.

Pros

  • Small size compared to many running watches
  • Acquires satellite signals quickly to avoid delays when it’s time to exercise
  • Very accurate tracking of both route and distances
  • Wireless uploads of data through ANT+ sensor makes keeping track of workouts easy
  • Allows up to four separate customized data screens to be set up and displayed with the touch of a button to keep you up to date with the information you need
  • Looks like an ordinary watch
  • Touch screen works even when you’re wearing gloves
  • The ability to set vibration alerts makes automatic notifications a breeze
  • Important functions like start, stop, and lap are actuated by easily located buttons

Cons

  • Takes a long time to charge its battery
  • More water resistant than waterproof
  • Water resistance is not robust enough for swimming

Final Verdict

Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch Blue

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The Garmin Forerunner 610 has been around long enough to establish itself as a consistent performer for accuracy, ease-of use, and durability. Workout warriors prize it as an appropriate watch to wear all day that can still get the job done when you go out to play or exercise.

While it’s not waterproof enough to be taken swimming, it’s water-resistant enough not to worry about an occasional dousing in a thunderstorm or an inadvertent trip into the shower if you forget you’re wearing it. Unlike some touchscreen devices like smartphones, the Forerunner 610’s screen works even when it’s covered with water droplets, a real plus if you run in light mist or rain.

More than 65 percent of purchasers rate the Forerunner 610 at four stars or higher, and while many say that using a touchscreen for a running watch takes some getting used to, they applaud its efficient operation, light weight, and subdued, everyday style.

The Forerunner 610 is very reasonably priced for all its features this GPS device has. Recommended!