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Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Heart Rate Monitor
The Garmin Forerunner 610 is a GPS-enabled heart rate monitor and running watch. It is currently the most advanced model from Garmin, with a long list of features (see below). It is the next model up from Forerunner 410. Garmin Forerunner 610 has a user friendly touchscreen interface for users to adjust settings. You can now set alert vibrations. Most importantly it now has a feature called Training Effect. It is a number which gives you some indication about how your training is helping (or not) to improve your fitness. Training Effect is a feature that is found in several Suunto heart rate monitors but this is the first time that Garmin has introduced it.
Below are the main features of the Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS Heart Rate Monitor.
- GPS-enabled heart rate monitor: It keeps track of distance and pace/speed, monitors heart rate, and offers a host of navigation features
- Touchscreen interface: You can easily adjust settings by touching, tapping or swiping the touchscreen. These simple movements allow you to make a selection, change pages, switch modes, scroll through menu options etc, without pressing any real buttons!
- The wrist watch can show up to 4 data pages. Each page can have up to 3 fields. Therefore while you are running, you can examine in real time up to 12 pieces of data. Simply tap the touchscreen to scroll through the pages.
- Data that can be shown include e.g. various cadence data (if using optional cadence sensor), various calories data, various distance data, elevation, gps accuracy, grade, heading, various heart rate data, heart rate zone, laps, various pace data, various speed data, sunrise, sunset, various time data, current time, training effect
- Autoscroll - if this is turned on, the data pages are shown one after the other automatically. You can select speed of scrolling: slow, medium, fast.
- Calorie counter: It is based on heart rate and hence it is much more accurate.
- There are sport modes including running and cycling.
- Alerts can be set on time, distance or calories
- Alerts can be set on heart rate or cadence
- Alert vibrations can be set
- Five heart rate zones are calculated automatically based on your maximum and resting heart rates. They can also be customised.
- You can also set a run/walk alert. E.g. 4 min run followed by 1 min walk. When the alert amount is reached, it beeps. This repeats itself until the timer is stopped.
- Auto Pause: the timer is automatically paused and restarted depending on your speed/pace.
- Auto Lap: laps are marked automatically when you have travelled a certain distance or passed certain specific positions during the run.
- Virtual Partner: Competes against you while you run. First you choose a speed for the Virtual Partner. When you are running, the wrist watch display will show whether you are ahead or behind the Virtual Partner.
- Virtual Racer: You can race against your past performance on a particular route (or a route transferred from your computer). This can help you improve your performance, for example on more difficult (e.g. hilly) sections of the route.
- Interval workout: You can choose between 3 types of interval workout: time, distance or open. To set it up, simply enter a value for the interval, and enter a value for the rest interval (if necessary). Next choose the number of repetitions. That is it. It is also possible to add an open-ended warm up and/or cool down too.
- Custom workout: You can set up a workout with multiple intervals, with each interval having a different goal. For example you can set up a heart rate zone for one particular interval and the watch will beep if your heart rate goes above or falls below the zone.
- Training Effect: Garmin Forerunner 610 introduces this feature to measure how your current activity is impacting your fitness. It is based on your heart rate, and the intensity and duration of your current activity.
- Stop watch with up to 1000 laps.
- Up to 1000 laps of history data is saved for review. The data includes date, time, distance, average/maximum pace/speed, calories, average/maximum heart rate data, average /maximum cadence.
- There are various GPS navigation features on the Garmin Forerunner 610: Marking locations, going to a specific location, and finding your way to the starting point
- You can choose two options in the Data Recording setting: Smart or Every Second. This setting determines how frequently data is collected and stored.
- Current time, date and alarm. Time is set by satellites but can also be set manually.
- Wireless heart rate monitor composed of a premium chest strap transmitter and a wrist watch receiver. The transmission uses ANT+ technology.
- Waterproof i.e. splash/rain proof. It is NOT intended to be used while swimming.
- The wrist watch unit uses an internal rechargeable battery. It comes with its own special charging cradle and AC adapter. Battery life is up to 8 hours of continuous training when fully charged.
- Power save feature to conserve battery life. The feature is automatically activated after a period of inactivity.
- The chest strap uses a CR2032 user-replaceable battery.
- USB ANT stick to wirelessly transfer data between the Garmin Forerunner 610 and the computer. No cables are necessary.
- Foot pod (optional): It can be used if you are running on an indoor track or on an indoor treadmill when GPS signal is not available.
- GSC 10 speed and cadence sensor for bikes (optional)
- It can interface with ANT+ compatible weight scale
- Use the Garmin Training Center desktop software to analyze or store your history data, or use it to create a custom workout.
- You can also upload data to Garmin Connect, an online software, for analysis, mapping, and route sharing.
The main differences between Garmin Forerunner 610 and Forerunner 410 are highlighted in bold in the list above.
Note: On Garmin web site or manuals, the words "heart rate monitor" are used to denote the chest strap transmitter. This is in contrast to standard usage where "heart rate monitor" either refers to the wrist watch unit or to the combination of both the wrist watch unit and the chest strap transmitter. So please be aware of the difference to avoid confusion.
The Garmin Forerunner 610 now has a Touchscreen interface, in contrast to the Touch Bezel used by the Forerunner 410. The Touchscreen interface is more easy and convenient to use than the Touch Bezel. It enables one to navigate the menu with ease. Simply touch, swipe or tap and get to where you want to go. All of that without pressing any buttons.
The Training Effect feature is what that distinguishes the Garmin Forerunner 610 from other Garmin models. It measures how your current activity is impacting your fitness. As your activity continues, the Training Effect value increases, so you can see how your fitness is improved. The Training Effect has a value that ranges from 1 to 5. Here is what the value means:
1.0 to 1.9: Helps recovery (short activities). Improves endurance with longer activities.
2.0 to 2.9: Maintains aerobic fitness.
3.0 to 3.9: Improves aerobic fitness if repeated weekly.
4.0 to 4.9: Highly improves aerobic fitness if repeated 1-2 times per week.
5.0: Temporary overload with high improvement. Needs additional recovery days.
So Training Effect can really help you with planning your running/workout. This feature is previously available only on some high end Suunto heart rate monitors.
The Garmin Forerunner 610 is the currently the top running watch/heart rate monitor model from Garmin. It has almost everything you need for your running training: GPS navigation, speed/pace, distance, virtual partner/racer, heart rate monitoring, calorie counting, interval/custom workouts, training effect plus some very clever software which you can download or access on Garmin's web site. It is compatible with ANT+ various equipment, and uses ANT+ technology (interference free) to connect to the chest belt, the (optional) food pod and the (optional) cycling sensor etc. Furthermore it is very easy to use and navigate the various settings using the Touchscreen interface. The Garmin Forerunner 610 is one of the most advanced offering on the market at the moment. If you want a complete training solution do take a close look at this particular model.
Note that a pack containing just the wrist watch unit without the chest trap is also available. It is for those who already own a Garmin chest strap and so do not need to buy another one.
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Further information: Visit Garmin's official web site.
Not sure which heart rate monitor is right for you? Take a look at the Which Heart Rate Monitor page.
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