Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Heart Rate Monitor

Priced: $279.93 Rated:   - 4 stars out of 5 by 51 reviews.
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Regularly: $400.00
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Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Heart Rate Monitor -

The Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS heart rate monitor features a touch screen that lets you simply tap or swipe to scroll through menus, change settings and view heart rate, pace, distance and calories.

Imported.

Fabric:

  • Water-resistant construction meets IPX7 standards (submersible to 1m for 30 min.)

Fit:

  • Customizable heart rate zones help you improve your fitness by ensuring you're working out at a level that provides the most benefit

Weather and Wind:

  • Touch screen is built tough to take on rain and sweat, yet it's sensitive enough to be used while wearing running gloves

Straps:

  • Includes Forerunner 610, USB ANT+ stick, premium heart rate strap, charging cradle, AC adapter, owner's manual on disk and quick start manual
  • Included premium heart rate monitor chest strap communicates with the watch to provide you with accurate heart rate data while running

Features:

  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver stays locked onto satellites, even near tall buildings and under tree cover; HotFix® satellite prediction locks onto satellites quickly
  • Forerunner 610 tracks your cycling workouts when paired with a GSC 10 Speed and Cadence Sensor, sold separately
  • 610 provides accurate distance, pace, GPS position, heart rate and calories burned; it can also guide you back to the starting point of your run so you'll never get lost
  • Interval training function lets you set up custom exercise sessions and automatically see your pace for each interval
  • In Garmin Connect, you can see the route you traveled on a map, view a summary of your run, create goals and find new courses to run
  • Mark locations, save locations or navigate back to the starting point with the basic navigation capabilities
  • ANT+ technology also enables the watch to communicate with the Tanita BC-1000 scale (sold separately)
  • Built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 8 hrs. of use in training mode and 4 weeks in power save mode
  • Use audio and/or vibration alerts to know when you've reached your target for time, distance, calories or heart rate
  • Optional foot pod (sold separately) transmits speed/distance data without the use of satellites so the Forerunner 610 can also be used indoors
  • ANT+ wireless technology lets you automatically transfer data between your computer and Forerunner without even taking the watch off; compatible with both Mac and PC computers
  • Track the intensity of your workout with the Training Effect feature; Training Effect is calculated based on user profile, heart rate and difficulty of the activity
  • Simply tap or swipe the touch screen to view performance data, scroll through menus and change settings
  • Use the Garmin Connect community website to track your time, speed, distance and calories burned; store and share routes with other Forerunner users on the website
  • Forerunner 610 features an advanced calorie-consumption formula that calculates calories burned based on changes in the user's heart rate during aerobic activity
  • Virtual Partner® allows you to compete against a static pace that you set before heading out for your run
  • Virtual Racer™ feature lets you race against your previous best time or challenge other users' times that have been uploaded to the Garmin Connect™ website
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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
20
17
3
4
7
Activity:Multisport
Alarm:Yes
Altimeter:Satellite-based
Analog or Digital:Digital
Average battery life:8 hours
Average heart rate:Yes
Compass:No
Construction:Composite
Countdown timer:No
Cycling functions:Optional
Date display:Yes
Dimensions:2.5 x 1.8 x 0.56 inches
Exercise log:Yes
Face diameter:1 inch
Heart rate sensor type:Chest strap
Heart rate target zone(s):Yes
Illumination:Backlight
Number of routes:0
Number of waypoints:100
OS compatibility:Windows / Mac
Recovery heart rate mode:No
Speed/distance:Yes
Stopwatch:Yes
Time in target zone:Yes
Tracks calories burned:Yes
User replaceable battery:No
Watch band material:Elastomer
Water-resistant depth:IPX7
Wireless communication:Yes
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Related Categories:

Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Heart Rate Monitor Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

All I Wanted and More!

I had a fairly basic Polar HRM watch before upgrading to the Garmin Forerunner 610. However, I needed a watch which would record more than my calories burned - I needed a watch to record my distances as well as speed for both indoor and outdoor runs. In addition to using the watch for my runs - I intended to use it to track my time/calories burned for my strength training sessions and Zumba classes.

I researched fitness watch options for days and ultimately decided on the Garmin Forerunner 610 over the higher-end Polar watches - mainly because Garmin has built in GPS (whereas Polar requires a separate GPS device) AND because the Garmin 610 features customizable displays as well as customizable intervals/workouts (something the comparable Polar watches lacked entirely).

I use this watch 5 days a week (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours each time); I usually only have to charge it after my 4th workout (I opt to turn the watch off between uses).

My only gripes with the unit are as follows:

1) When I'm indoors on the treadmill and I pause the watch after my warm-up to stretch before I run - it automatically ends the session and transfers the data prematurely. I usually remember to disconnect the ANT USB adapter so this doesn't happen - but if I don't, then I end up having to start a new session (a bit annoying).

2) When I'm running through the neighborhood or anywhere where there are several trees I notice my speed on the unit drops at least 0.5 - 1 mph until I pass the cluster of trees (yet I continue to run the same pace). Not a *big* deal - but something I noticed consistently.

3) As a woman, I find the watch a bit bulky - but not drastically so. The size of the dial/face is the same size as the Garmin Forerunner 210 model and only 1/2 inch bigger than my previous Polar HRM watch... I only wear this for my workouts - so it's fine (any smaller and it would likely be too hard to read).

4) I've had the watch freeze on my twice in the last 6 weeks. Thankfully never during a workout and I haven't had to do a hard reset - but I hope it's not a tell-tale sign of problems to come.

Before I opted to go ahead and buy this model - I had read several reviews indicating problems with reverse charging... at one point I thought it was going to happen to me because I had difficulty getting the watch to turn on and when it finally did - it would indicate "battery low" and shut off again, despite having been charged a couple days prior.

I have a feeling that problem might be a result of sweat getting into the charging slots/connectors which are located on the inside back of the watch... so, to be on the safe side, I wear the watch with a {homemade} wristband (which actually makes the watch more comfortable for me to wear).

Yesterday, I forgot to wear the HRM strap and thankfully the watch still recorded an approximate calories burned - so if you don't really need/want the HRM - the watch still apparently computes calories burned (not as accurately as with the HRM - but certainly better than nothing). The strap is comfortable - a little thinner than the Polar strap - but I actually like the "contacts" for this strap better than my old Polar one (I use electrode gel I bought on Amazing for $4 for the Garmin strap). I'm not sure if it makes a difference on the battery life for the Garmin products - but I disconnect the HRM transmitter from the strap after each use just to be sure (that's what was recommended for the Polar HRM).

Ultimately this watch was a wee bit more than I wanted to spend but it was truly worth it; it does everything I need it to and more! I now workout smarter - not harder!

(Ps. Set-up was very quick and easy - no problems with Mac compatibility either)
Surviving Madness at REI on 05/05/2012

Perfect!

Great watch that tells you everything you need to know at a glance via 4 customizable screens with up to 4 individual fields of data. Accurate & very intuitive to use. Very reliable readings & GPS, so much so that I saved my GPS location while sitting on my couch(yes, INSIDE my house!) and the next time I was messing around with my watch later that day showing my hubs the cool stuff, it told me I was 2ft from "home" which it was right because I was sitting on the other couch cushion when I set it as "home"! Real time GPS with NO LAG!
The HR monitor is excellent & true, fits well and pairs with no issues. I also bought a footpod so I could use accurately infdoors at times when GPS either can't be located due to structures OR when GPS wouldn't show you moving(like on a treadmill). Plus, if you wear a footpod you can get cadence while using GPS too.
The swimmer who lost hers in the ocean, well....that is a bummer to loose a $400 gadget but it states that this watch isn't for swimming nor even waterproof(just water resistant to 1meter for 30 minutes). So why you would dock a product for it not performing well as not intended????? That seems like a user issue to me, not a product one.
Battery life is excellent. I got mine last Tuesday(so 6 days ago), went for 4 seperate runs at an hour plus each & am just now down to 30% battery(using GPS the whole training time, I might add!) with the other times being in screen lock time mode only(barring show off times to friends of course!)
Charging takes about 2 hours & you can do it via computer USB or the wall adapter. The ANT+ wireless transfer dongle works flawlessly & uploading to Garmin Connect is very simple & easy to read your stats & share your results via social sites like Facebook & Twitter.
I also highly recommend purchasing the Wahoo ANT+ dongle if you have an i-device like an iPod or iPad for uploading to Garmin Connect, bypassing the computer need altogether. Perfect for on the go or quick info. I had uploaded my last run faster to GC than my hubs computer could even start up by using the Wahoo dongle on my iPad.
Nakedbabytoes at REI on 01/01/2012

Nice watch, less bulky that older models

I have been looking for heart monitor device to use when I hike and bike (road and mountain). Instead of going with a bike model, I opted for the Garmin Forerunner 610 because its design has improved and is far less bulky than older models. I can actually wear this just as a watch and not look like I'm carrying a gigantic piece of equipment on my wrist.

I like all the features the device offers: GPS, heart rate, calories, etc. The heart rate is awesome, and so is the Garmin Connect feature. Once I'm home, I can automatically send my data to my Garmin Connect account. True, it sometimes takes quite a long time for the USB stick to pick up my device signal.

My cons are primarily battery life and touch screen responsiveness. As a watch only, the Forerunner battery lasts a long time. However, if you turn on heart rate and GPS, you better not expect more than a day's worth of battery life. I had a full battery on a Saturday morning, when I went hiking around 10 AM. After the hike I went biking and by 5 PM I got a warning that the battery was running low. So, 7 hours of uninterrupted use was all I could get. I went ahead and shut down the device. As far as the menus, they leave room for improvement. I know it's a toss-up between size and functionality. I don't have huge hands and fingers, but because of the screen size, I often hit the wrong menu selection unintentionally. I'd rather have that than a huge device, though.

Now that I have used the device more often, I know that if I intend to use it the whole day, I better plan on turning it off to save battery life if I'm not doing one of the activities. If I leave it running, the battery won't last more than 8 hours.

Nevertheless, in spite of these cons, I think this is a solid device and probably one of the best in its category.
Egidio at REI on 04/04/2013

Just Buy It

If you're like me, you started reading reviews before you decide to make a large purchase/investment in your health and fitness. Allow me to make this process much less painful for you, as I spent weeks trying to make up my mind...Just pull out your credit card and buy it now. Don't read any other review aside from this. I've had this watch for just over a month now and will be using it in my half-marathon this weekend. I tested the accuracy against the trip calculator in my car and it's accurate to the 100'th of a mile over a 9.6 mile trip. The strap is sturdy and secure and anyone who tells you differently probably treats their personal equipment poorly. Interval function works great, finds satellites in under a minute, watch alerts you when you are ahead/behind virtual partner, you can record a lap time at any point during a run, works well in rain, charges fine and relatively quickly, and it just looks good on your wrist. Not sure how many more positive things I need to say about it before you stop reading and go check-out and buy this watch immediately. Yes it is expensive but you wouldn't be considering buying it if you weren't already invested in your health and fitness goals. It was delivered early when I ordered it and if anything ever were to go wrong, REI seems to have a great return policy.

So, in summary, get this watch and don't think twice about it. You'll love it.
Mondo824 at REI on 09/09/2013

Great training tool!

After three weeks, I'm pretty happy! Setup was pretty easy & if you get stuck, the FAQs on Garmin are very helpful. Moving from screen to screen does need extra pressure or a finger nail.

This is really great to keep my heart rate in the "zone." I turned off the high limit alarm since my zone 5 heart rate is 150, so I check the rate when I feel like I'm running hard. After running, there's also a "recovery heart rate" alarm to keep you on track during the cool down. Haven't used "running partner" much.

Using Garmin ANT to upload to connect.garmin is great: fast wireless upload/download. Also, the page stores all workouts, goals, courses, etc. I really like the workout playback feature: shows route, speed, heart rate, etc.

Running three x week, the battery needs recharging about once a week - it quickly goes into sleep mode if not "started." Recharges fairly quickly - setting it in the recharger is a bit tricky the first couple of times

Why only four stars: fonts are a bit small for older eyes; watch width is about 1.5 inches & does not fit well under long sleeve shirts & jackets. I wear mine over the shirt sleeve & push the jacket up to view - often hit the "lap" button that messes up lap counts.

Haven't check to see if the local gym treadmills have the Garmin ANT nor used on a bike.

Enjoy & have fun training!
PAAM at REI on 12/12/2011

finally a keeper

I have used the 610 for about six weeks now after having upgraded from the 405cx (which was returned due to malfunctioning charging system). So far I am very satisfied. Battery life seems to be significantly improved, perhaps because of the new feature which automatically shuts off GPS when the unit is inactive. Satellite acquisition is fast and stable. The touch screen is much simpler to use than the touch bezel of the 405 model and doesn't appear to be susceptible to inadvertent contact ( like accidentally turning off function during a run when trying to read the screen) nor does moisture seem to affect screen sensitivity. I haven't tried the HRM yet. Aesthetically the unit , while not exactly a fashion statement, looks like a normal watch so I am able to wear it around town without looking like I took a wrong turn from a race somewhere. Time will tell whether the band, screen, and electronics prove durable. As to software, I was able to sync with my mac and with "garmin connect" successfully by following garmin's instructions. I have not experienced any problems with data transfers or online activity viewing. I do wish that "garmin connect" still used "google" maps rather than "bing".
runnerguy at REI on 07/07/2011

Perfect training partner!!

Was hesitant at first to spend this kind of money on a watch. When I received it, initial impression was how can this watch do all these things and it is not that much larger than a standard watch. After spending a night playing with all the features (didn't get to them all), I was ready to use the watch for my running. I set the virtual trainer for what I thought was a realistic pace and halfway through my run, I was racing my watch. I was captivated by the immediate feedback that I received and as a response to that extra information pushed myself beyond what I thought was possible. Every run since then (some 30 different runs) has improved my fitness and awareness of what my body was doing with the extra exertion. The ANT feature is great. Plug it in and the watch is connected to the computer and downloads all new activities straight to your Garmin Connect profile. Definitely recommend to all my friends and co-workers who have not already purchased.
l_flake at REI on 03/03/2012

LOVE IT!!!

I use the product for marathon training and running. It picks up satelite signals pretty quickly compared to the 405 that I had before. The touch screen is not super sensitive like the touch bezel was and makes it a lot easier to view different screens while running or leave it on the main screen without annoying beeps or randomly starting and stopping. One drawback is that it sometimes loses signal mid-run esspecially in urban areas. I ran the Chicago marathon and lost the signal within the first mile of the race. It continued to track the time and I tracked my splits by manually pushing the lap button, but it wasn't completely accurate and once it picked up the satelites again it messed up the manually tracked splits. I still love it though. It makes it easy to track performance and training improvements or plateaus and overtraining. I would highly recommend this to running enthusiasts looking to take their training to the next level. The lower end models are good for beginners and casual runners.
amleeman at REI on 10/10/2011

Great!

First off, I read one review that bashed this product. The issues was with a "Pro Surfer." This product, and like other forerunners ARE NOT WARTER PROOF. They are not recommended past 5 meters of water, and defiantly will not hold up to the pounding of swimming, and I could imagine not surfing in the ocean. This product is ideal for jogging and cycling, which it is great for. Please keep in mind when purchasing a product that your intended uses are highlighted in the descriptions. I have never had much luck with Polar and find Garmin a much better product. I wanted to use this for Triathlon training, but am limited to using it just for the cycling and biking portion of training. I will just use an timex ironman watch for the swimming portion. Which, is not such a bad idea, I seem to always have issues with the heart rate monitor in water anyways. Highly recommend this product.
jobynm62 at REI on 09/09/2011

Pretty cool once you get the hang of it.

This watched replaced my four year old Suunto T3, it was tired out (ie pretty beat up) and I was tired of replacing chest straps. I wanted more capability in a watch since starting on a New Leaf fitness program. The touch screen really sold it for me after reading reviews on the Garmin 410. The first week of use was a little frustrating; mostly the interface with uploading and downloading workouts. I haven't had problems with satellite reception, heart rate fluctuations, or recharging that I've read elsewhere. I would recommend just playing with it for the first week of use; don't buy it and expect to use it for a race as soon as you open the box (unless your familiar with the Garmin software already). Also, I have a very small wrist and the watch takes up alot of room for me, I don't wear it as a day to day watch.
Polly at REI on 05/05/2012

Negative Reviews:

Second one failed in 18 months

I bought the 610 to support both my cycling and running and some of the training features appealed to me. I have been using heart rate monitors and cycling power meters for more than 15 years. The 610 has been a disappointment and the second one (replaced by Garmin) failed after 6 months of use.

The first problem is Garmin support. The email support takes days to get a response. I only received helpful support when I called but that required taking time off from work - their customer support hours are terrible - I train before/after work and on the weekends. I want support that matches when I use their product.

The next problem was the PC software that came with the unit. It had problems reliably connecting to the 610. Garmin support said they no longer support the PC-based trainer software - just the web-based application. Personally, I prefer local computer applications and it was a consideration in buying the 610. I do not like companies that sell me a product and then abandon part of the original package. In my opinion that warrants a full refund to the customer.

The next problem was the heart rate monitor was so erratic that it was useless. Garmin replaced the transmitter strap.

The next problem is the charging cradle. The 610 has a rechargeable battery and the cradle magnetically couples to the 610 to charge the battery. After 9 months the guide pins on the charging cradle broke off. The cradle just sits on my desk connected to my computer so it was never abused or stuffed into a bag. Garmin replaced the charging cradle.

The next problem was the unit display would go blank and when I hooked up the charger it discharged the battery. This was just after the 12 month warranty. To their credit Garmin sent a replacement unit after several calls.

The final problem was after 6 months the replacement 610 also has a blank display and will not hold a charge.

I have no confidence that the unit is reliable and for the price I paid I expect many years of reliable operation. I consider the Forerunner 610 to be completely unreliable and will go back to using other heart and training monitors. I am no longer willing to spend the hours off of work to get Garmin support for their product when it fails over and over again. Look at the other reviewers that have run into this same problem. Maybe you will be one of the lucky purchasers who have found their 610 to be reliable enough to get the functions they purchased it for. Clearly I am not one of those lucky purchasers.
Rich in Nashville at REI on 06/06/2013

Works fine, until it breaks

Now, I am of the opinion that all gadgets claiming to be a wristwatch have at the very minimum this one function in common: they must attach to and remain on your wrist. A wristwatch that fails to do this fails completely. Unfortunately, this watch can't manage to get this one right.

The included band is very uncomfortable, if you are a slim person or smaller. Women with smaller wrists will have a very difficult time wearing this. The band is also so stiff that fastening it puts undue strain on the pins holding it together. The pins bend, and will eventually fail. This is a common problem (according to The Google). Mine lasted 6 months. Fortunately, I noticed right away, jogged back, and picked up the watch. I then picked up the (rather expensive) wrist strap replacement, which is a nice velcro band that is much more comfortable than the default strap. Unfortunately, this too suffers from a fatal flaw, causing the pins to jiggle out (also a common problem). Was not so lucky this time--2 weeks after replacing the band, it failed again, and the very expensive watch face dropped down a seawall into the ocean. This is completely unacceptable. For the price of this watch, Garmin should be able to engineer something that won't fall of by surprise.

As for the other features, the watch was nice enough. It was great having a heart rate monitor and GPS all integrated, and it synced up with the computer to track my workouts. Easy to use, the screen was good. I have no real complaints about the function of the watch.

In summary, if you decide to buy this, it's pretty good at what it does. However, there is a high probability that the wrist strap will fail catastrophically. Hope that it happens at a time when you can recover the watch.
mtstzi at REI on 09/09/2013

Not a good heart rate monitor

If you are going to use the Garmin Forerunner 610 solely for the GPS function, then this is a great device. If you are going to use it for a heart rate monitor, then I'd suggest Polar or another brand. I bought my Forerunner 610 as a Christmas gift to myself. I wear the device about three times per week. I am now on my third chest strap (one came with the device, one was replaced by REI and I bought the third one). The heart rate monitor works fine for about two or three months and then suddenly goes in to an erratic reading mode. Yesterday for instance, my heart rate reading was 240 bpm for about 20 minutes (and that is what happened with the other two chest straps). Garmin has acknowledged an issue with the chest strap and they really haven't been helpful in customer service (they suggested I wear it with the sensors on my back vs chest - why would I want to wear it in a manner it wasn't designed?). Garmin also suggested that I didn't properly wet the sensors (I was swimming.). After doing more online research I've come to learn this is a frequent problem with the chest strap. So unless you want to spend $45 every three months or so to replace the strap, I'd suggest Polar or another brand. Sorry!
DEWadGuy at REI on 06/06/2012

no longer sure about this watch...

i have had my 610 for just under a year and used to absolutely love it as it functioned perfectly. now i am having more and more issues...

- back of case is beginning to rust
- software crashes or freezes on occasion.
- left side of touch screen is no longer working so i am unable to access history or setup buttons
- unlock swipe does not work so i have to turn it off and back on to unlock
- heart rate monitor gives inaccurate readings during 25% of workouts. it will drop to 40 bpm or rise to 210 bpm for 30 minutes or so and then go back to normal.

one thing i can say is that i have never had issues with the gps. it has always functioned well. even now with all of the other issues, i am still able to log and upload workouts.

i plan to replace this watch in the next week or so before my one year warranty runs out. i don't know if i will get the same watch again...
bdc at REI on 07/07/2012

Works until it breaks

I liked this watch when I first got it. It works, tracks your distance accurately, links up with the HR monitor and foot pod, and synchs with the computer. The strap broke within a month. Had it replaced. Then the new one broke after 4 months. The second time, I just kept reattaching the strap which worked for the next year until the watch stopped charging, starting randomly on its own, decharging while trying to charge, turning off mid run until finally it completely died.

I think you will only have trouble with the watch strap if you are small or a women with smaller wrists like me. The strap is clearly not designed to bend to fit smaller wrists. My real complaint is that for the price, I expect something to last longer than 12 months.
Texas JL at REI on 10/10/2013

Great watch when it works

Firstly I have to say that I bought this watch to get me through my first marathon, which it did admirably.
The unit is easy to use and presents great data when downloaded.

However, after 2 years of use it now reverse charges until it is empty and will not charge from a wall charger for some reason, only from a computer USB and then only infrequently.

Customer service from Garmin is non-existent and no reply to any of my emails. This issue is rife with these watches... check the internet and all users appear to have the same awful experience of Garmin's (lack of) customer service.

As such, it's great, but an expensive item to only last for 2 years.
Flyer 777 at REI on 10/10/2012

Great watch while it was working

I loved this watch and used it all the time to track my runs and guide my workouts.

HOWEVER, similar to what others have said, after 18 month the watch has issues with charging (I'll watch the charge % go down while it's plugged in) and sporadically wont turn on; not what you want to deal with when waking up in the early am to go for a run.

Although it's a great device for the year that it's under warranty, at this price it should serve me for many more years than it has.

I will update my review after I hear back from Garmin (though upon reading other reviews I'm not sure that I will hear back!).
ChicagoMatt at REI on 09/09/2013

Huge [$] mistake!!!!

I am a pro athlete. I had heard a lot of good things about this watch, so I purchased it instead of buying a Polar watch. I paid [$] for it, and on the second day the face of the watch became fuzzy and unreadable. I wanted to return it but it started working on it's own after a day. The next day, during surfing the strap simply unfastened itself and I lost my watch in the ocean!! I am extremely disappointed about the quality of this watch, and would never recommend it to anyone. I am sending an email to Garmin headquarters to complain about this product. They might be good at making GPS systems, but certainly horrible at producing watches.
BO the skier at REI on 08/08/2011

Read the Garmin 610 Forums before buying

Had I read the Garmin forums on this product beforehand, I would have purchased something else. Common problems are freezing up and reverse charging. Garmin is great about replacing the watch, but I've gone through three replacements in as many years, which I've never had to do with any other watch. It is big for a woman (or a small man), and the strap and pins can break off after prolonged use; the cloth strap is better, but it's not appropriate if you wear your watch in an office setting. Here is hoping that Garmin solved most of these problems with the Forerunner 620.
MEK at REI on 10/10/2013

Terrible Long-term Reliability

I bought this for running. It works well enough, but my problem is with the charging system. There are two contacts on the back of the device which connect to a charging "cradle" for recharging. Well, the back of this device is constantly exposed to perspiration, and after a year of use, no amount of washing, scrubbing with a toothbrush or other remedies will get this thing to charge on the charger supplied with the device. So now it is useless because I can't charge it. I suppose it would be fine for occasional use, but if you run every day, BUY SOMETHING ELSE.
AvidRunner001 at REI on 07/07/2012

Neutral Reviews:

Disappointing Garmin Product

About me: Ironman triathlete, paddleboard racer, ultra-runner.

I really wish someone big would step up to the Fitness GPS Category and give Garmin a serious challenge. That may be the only way Garmin will improve it's products. I received this watch as a Christmas present. It was supposed to replace my old, bulky, but reliable 305.

1) The first thing I noticed on my first run was the instant pace being off. Not what I was expecting from a watch several generations "ahead" of the 305. The pace/per mile is accurate but for me I like to see my instant pace to know if I'm accelerating or slowing down. It shouldn't be too much to ask for since a device much older than it already had this function.

2) Flimsy watch strap. After a couple months of owning it, the pin on the watch pushed through the other side. It was an easy fix as I just pushed it back in and while a bit disappointed for a new watch, thought I would send it in for a fix when my racing season was done (or so I thought. This would later come back to haunt me). However, the pin started to protrude here and there and I would have to occasionally push it back in. After initially wearing the watch on a daily basis, I was now only wearing it on my runs.
More on the watch strap later

3) Garmin Connect flat out sucks. After my first run, I couldn't get anything else to upload. Downloaded new software, updated Garmin ANT Agent, searched Garmin Forums for users with the same problem. No solution. Unable to transfer much less view any information from my workouts.

4) I wore this during the Quiksilver Waterman's Challenge Paddleboard Race. A 10 mile distance paddle in the ocean. Conditions were perfect. Lost GPS signal right off the coast of Hawaii not more than 1/2 mile. It's not a multi-sport watch so fine but after 1/4 of the way on the race, I looked at my wrist and noticed that the watch was gone. The pin that had come loose on the strap a couple months earlier finally had it I guess. Now my Garmin is fish food somewhere off the Coast of Waikiki. I was pretty upset since this was an expensive gift from my folks and I just lost it after 4.5 months. No matter, I have a receipt and the watch is registered with Garmin. Maybe they would be able to at least offer me a small discount on a new one considering my misfortune and the fact I've owned 3 devices from them. First, I received no reply. Then when I sent a second complaint, the Garmin representative simply and callously said, they do not give any discounts on our products.

I had high hopes for this device but the fact is my trusty 305 is still kicking and is more accurate than this model was. I wish Apple would get into this market. Garmin, you need to get your act together. Listen to your customers and stop putting out products BEFORE they are ready and using customers as BETA Testers.
Jason140point6 at REI on 07/07/2012

Beware of strap issues

I've owned the Garmin 610 for a year now. This is a great watch overall for what it's designed for--compact, accurate, and versatile. Great as the watch may be, it's useless if you can't keep it on your wrist. The strap is, IMHO, a design/engineering defect and the primary weakness of this watch. The soft rubber strap ends are connected to the body of the watch with a single pin that extends the width of the band at the connection point and is held in place only by the friction of the rubber. To remove the band you simply push the pin through from one side. Because the band is soft, if any significant torsion is placed on the band (as would happen occasionally in any sport) the soft rubber deforms and pops off the pin. Every time this happens the rubber is cut and torn until the band no longer stays in place. My attempts to resolve the issue directly with Garmin have been met with silence. Fortunately I bought it at REI and can exchange it for something more resilient! On the upside the menus and screens are easy to use, easily customizable, and fairly accurate. The touch screen is neat, but often frustrating as it only responds accurately about 70% of the time.
iboyd at REI on 03/03/2012

Functional, but not comfortable

I use the product every day, and I like the data it gives...however, the wristband is very rigid and it is not designed for smaller wrist sizes. The band has broken on 2 of the 3 forerunner 610's that I've bought. The charging cradle is awkward. It would be helpful to have a direct insert into a USB port like the NIKE watch does.
Hot Shuz at REI on 01/01/2013