For the past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of trying out the Garmin Forerunner 410, courtesy of Highly Tuned Athletes. My usual running watch is the Garmin 305 but it’s over 2 years old now and the battery life isn’t what it used to be. This was a great opportunity to see if the 410 was for me.
Everyone knows the great advantages of training with a GPS watch. Seeing your pace, HR, elevation and maps of your runs is incredibly useful, not to mention fun. But I’ll just go through what I think the three main obvious features of the 410 are – the shape, the wireless ANT connection and the bezel.
Firstly, it looks more like a watch than a computer. It’s designed to be worn as a regular watch when not in GPS mode. It looks so much more stylish than my 305 or the current 310XT. In comparison though, it is still quite large when compared to my regular wrist watch, and I wouldn’t wear it except when running:
The next obvious feature is the wireless ANT connection. You plug in a USB stick and sync your watch to it. This makes transfer of data so easy and seamless. The watch only needs to be within a few metres of your computer for the transfer to start. I had it upload direct to Garmin Connect online. This is so handy because you don’t need to remember if you uploaded the data yet already and of course you can access it from any computer.
Then of course there’s the bezel. This is a great idea – where you lightly tap the side of the watch, or scroll your finger around to change screens and select options. Unfortunately this is something I never got used to. Sometimes a light touch was all it needed. This was fantastic. Such smooth operating! Other times I found myself hitting it in frustration. Register my touch! I would shout, but get nothing in response, or maybe some jerky reactions. I had this watch for 4 weeks, and really, I would think I’d have got the hang of it by now, but I just could not get a consistent happy use of the bezel. This was the only negative of the watch. I much prefer pressing buttons.
In terms of general use, GPS accuracy and using the workout options, I found it a great watch. I have come to think of all these features as standard and I think most runners would too. There was some distance variation between the 410 and my old 305, and when running on a track it still thought there was some elevation undulation, but that’s the nature of GPSs. The HR monitor is extremely comfortable and it was not at all noticeable when I wore it. The battery life is 8hrs in use, and 2 weeks not in use. This is pretty handy as I found I only had to charge it a few times while it was in my hands.
Overall I think the 410 is a good looking watch, but the bezel let me down. If you’re not constantly changing your settings this is no big deal, so I guess it depends on your use. Incidentally, Highly Tuned Athletes have excellent communication and support. I’ve always been one to purchase gadgets online from overseas but when it comes time for me to upgrade my old Garmin I will definitely support these guys!