Saturday, January 26, 2013

Garmin Forerunner 410 - A review Part II

Last post, I talked about my new Garmin GPS watch. If you read that post, you know I mentioned the watch can be as easy to use as you could wish but if you really want to venture into its depths, it can be configured pretty much any way you wish. Today, I will finish by talking about the touch bezel - central to its use - and then mention the rest of the watch's features. Incredibly enough there are more of them.

The watch has just two buttons. Hardly enough to control all the functions it has. To handle this Garmin has the developed the touch bezel: A silver ring around the display screen. It kind of works like a computer mouse. When you slide your finger around the bezel, it works like the scroll wheel of a mouse. Tapping the bezel is the equivalent of right-clicking the mouse. The previous version of this watch - the FR 405 - brought a lot of complains from people who had problems with the bezel so on this version Garmin worked hard to fix that. You can control the sensitivity of the bezel to fit your needs. I have found no problems with it yet but where I live, I have no need to wear either gloves or long-sleeved clothing for running and that is where people seem to have trouble. Either way you can lock the bezel function so it won't work while you run. Pretty handy.

Now, up to this point, I would have been more than satisfied with the watch but there are a bunch of extra goodies packed that really puts the 410 over the top.

Not exactly a "conventional" charger but it works

It kind of bites down on the watch

Virtual Partner
Based on a previous run of your choice (for example, your 10K PR) you can literally compete against yourself. The watch will show a graphic of two people, one above the other. One is your saved run, the other is you. When you start running they run as well. If you start falling behind, the little person will fall behind as well and vice-versa. It will also tell you how far behind/ahead you are. Pretty cool.

Not sure exactly where you ended up during that 20-miler? No problem. The watch has a feature that guides you to your starting location or home. You can even save your current position (say, the post-race celebration pub) and the watch will take you there with the push of a button.

You can program all sorts of different types of workouts. Intervals(Peg *wink*), time-based, HR zone-based etc... I have barely scratched the surface of this feature since I just straight up run right now but I'm excited about the possibilities.

Then there is Garmin Connect to tie it all together. This website stores and shows you all the information the watch records using the included ANT+ stick. You just insert the stick to a USB port and it starts searching for the watch. It transfers the info automatically. When you log in to Garmin Connect, the info will already be there.

While I think Garmin Connect is a powerful tool, it still needs some development and frankly I have still to figure the whole thing out. For example one particularly cool feature is Goals. For example I have set a goal to run 600 miles this year so I entered it in Garmin Connect and in turn GC sent it to my watch. Now when I go to the goals section in the watch, I see a graphical representation of how far left I have to go. Neat. However when I go to set a time-based goal (to run a sub-40 5K) I can only input hours, not minutes. When I try to write, say 0.6 hours, it tells me I have to write whole numbers. I don't get it.

Apart from Goals, program workouts, set a workout calendar and schedule races, Garmin Connect also has a social media component so you can connect (get it?) with other Garmin users. It sounds wonderful but unless you know someone, or randomly pick a handle to search, it will not show ANY information on other users which makes it difficult for runners like me who don't know any other Garmin users to actually connect. Also, as far as I can tell, Garmin Connect doesn't give you the option to post your runs on Facebook or Twitter. Not a big problem except that RunKeeper did that automatically so now people ask me all the time "What happened? You're not running anymore?" simply because they don't see my posts (hey, I have a blog to run you know).

By the way Garmin Connect users, you can find me as, what else? TheFatRunner. 

Complains? Extremely few. Besides my comments about Garmin Connect, the actual watch, despite being pretty bulky, barely fits around my wrist. This will not be a problem for most people but in my wrist, I have to use the very last hole. Also, the watch beeps every time you cover a predetermined distance (the default is a mile but you can program it to your liking) and that's nice but those of us who listen to music would certainly appreciate it if it vibrated as well. Finally, it seems this watch cannot be paired with Tanita body scales while other Garmin watches can but I don't own a Tanita so who cares?  As you can see, these are very minor gripes.

In the third hole,it's a very tight fit on my wrist.

As of this writing I see Amazon selling the FR 410 with the premium heart rate monitor for $188.00 but I have seen it as low as $150.00. A real bargain if you ask me, considering its top-of-the-line sibling, the FR 610 goes for about $400.00 and has many of the same features. On the other hand the entry-level watch from Garmin, the Forerunner 10 is $130. Twenty buck gets you a heck of a lot more watch if you ask me.

So there you have it. The Garmin Forerunner 410 according to The Fat Runner. Nobody has to have a running watch to be able to run but there many like me, who are motivated by watching their progress and in that regard, this watch truly shines. It can also be an invaluable training tool. If you have a specific goal, distance or race in mind, it can surely help you immensely.

The watch surely has a dizzying array of features and it can be daunting to navigate if not prepared but the basic functions are very easy to useso you can choose to do as much or as little with the watch as you like. If anything, its simplicity will buy you time while you explore the deeper ends of its features.

If anybody has any questions feel free t leave a comment or you can also check out


  1. Hi,
    I'm just wondering what you think of the water resistance factor on this model? I know it's listed as IPX7, but if I'm running in and out of mud pits, rivers etc, will it hold up? I have no intention of swimming with it, but I need to know if it will withstand multiple dunkings over a few hours?

    1. Well I certainly have not tried it running up mud pit or rivers. But I can tell you that I have run with it in the rain and it has gotten soaked with no problems whatsoever. But that is the extent of my IPX7 testing procedures.

  2. Hi Frank, I'm looking to buy one of these second hand and I found your review really great! Thanks for it!