On running forums across the web, one brand of has become synonymous with GPS watches. When someone posts about “my Garmin”, you know they are serious about their training.
The manufacturer’s latest watch is the Forerunner 610. It takes everything Garmin knows about sport technology, puts it in a better product and makes it easier to use.
The 610 does away with the touch bezel of the Garmin Forerunner 410, which we criticised for being an impossible combination of both too sensitive when you don't want to use it and unresponsive when you do. The bezel was also a feature of the Forerunner 405 and was a great idea on paper, but we don’t run on paper. Real runners run in the dark and the wet and the rain, and a wet sleeve would activate the 410’s backlight or open various menu options during a workout.
In its place, Garmin has developed a resistive touchscreen that is surprisingly responsive, without being too sensitive, and reacts to the user’s deliberate touch. What it lacks in the premium feel of a capacitive touchscreen it more than makes up for in practicality because it can be operated while wearing gloves, something that will be a welcome development to non-fairweather runners.
The 1in LCD inch screen is clear to read with a good backlight, operated with a button on the top-right of the face. The screen's 128x128-pixel panel is small enough for the watch not to dominate your wrist like the Timex Global Trainer, but still large enough to be read clearly - it also has good viewing angles.
Unlike the older, waterproof - and frankly massive - Forerunner 310XT, the 610 is waterproof rated at IPX7, meaning it can withstand being submerged for 30 minutes at a depth of 1m. It passed our test of running in heavy rain, but it is not intended for swimming, and at this premium price, you’d be ultra-marathon bonkers to challenge the rating.