The TomTom Runner GPS Watch is the first real product from TomTom in the highly competitive GPS watch category. This watch has some great features, including some fun graphic modes that are almost too good in that you want to look at the screen instead of run. It’s a solid entry that should be looked at by most runners.
Active people need a watch that does not only function for time checks but also to assist them in their sports endeavors. For runners, they would need a watch that can monitor their health status, track their runs and provide directions. It seems that a GPS watch would be needed. In looking for the best watch, you must answer the question: what is the best GPS watch for running?
The best GPS watch should be accurate and easy to use which means the features must not be complicated, as no technical knowledge is required to operate it. It must come with an easy-to-understand manual so that even the people with the least technological knowledge can use and operate it. The watch must also come with a warranty, as factory defects must not compromise the training and assistance needed by runners from a GPS watch.
Basically, sports watches must fit the runners, but what is the best watch that can give the maximum feedback for training runs? A GPS watch must provide style and sleekness at the same time while assisting the runner in their training. Each runner must be able to check his heart rate, distance, location and movement speed through a clear, small screen display. Heart rate monitors are easiest if they are wireless so as not to affect the mobility of the sportsmen. GPS receivers must be very sensitive as the running speed is measured while the location must be accurately determined. Tall buildings and trees must not be able to affect the accuracy of the GPS locator as the watch has its GPS antenna to provide an enhanced view of the environment by locking itself to the satellites.
Many GPS watches are already available in the market. It’s up to the user to choose what is the best GPS watch for him.
The Garmin Forerunner 410 is an upgrade to the previous generations of FR405 and FR405CX, and has added to the number of GPS watches that look ‘normal’. Ideal for someone who needs a training aid when looking to push their training to the next level, the Garmin Forerunner 410 is a trainee’s companion. This might look like an ordinary watch but packs in itself a touchscreen bezel that is easy to use and is also waterproof. Automatic synching with your computer, large amount of data storage capacity, heart rate monitor, lap time, analyzing your performance, this watch has it all that an athlete would need for some serious training.
Garmin Forerunner 410: Design
An advanced GPS device, the Garmin Forerunner 410 was designed to help athletic activity. It is operated through a bevel with a touchscreen and is sized closer to ordinary sports watches available in the market than to previous Forerunners. It has also been designed to look less chunky and bulky than the previous devices produced by Garmin.
The digital display around the bevel has four labels on it, namely menu, Time/Date, GPS and training. Designed to feel like using the trackpad of a laptop, using the touchscreen of the Garmin Forerunner 410 is an absolute delight. The bevel has two side buttons for the timer and lap splits to retain the typical sports watch look but the touch bevel makes it top notch.
Garmin Forerunner 410: Usability
The Garmin Forerunner 410 is a ‘multisport’ watch meaning that it can be used to train across a variety of sports with ease. Also waterproofed the Garmin Forerunner 410 can support your training underwater at 1 meter for almost 30 minutes. Hence training outside in rainy weather is no big deal now. The touch bevel works just the same as it does in sunny conditions. The GPS is an absolute delight on the Garmin Forerunner 410 supporting GPX, KML files and geotagging. It can be easily used to track a variety of activities from hiking, parachuting, kayaking and flights. The Garmin Forerunner 410 also has the option of being powered down to being a normal watch during non-training periods.
The down side is a rather frustrating touch bezel which does not respond very well when operated with gloves and tends to be slower to touch underwater proving that work still needs to be done in the waterproofing area. Though it can connect to ANT+ speed/cadence sensors and foot pods it does not support ANT+ power meters and weight scales.
Garmin Forerunner 410: Features
The Virtual partner tempo function is a big favorite amongst users of the Garmin Forerunner 410. It allows you to set a specific pace then ‘race’ against the virtual companion on the watch and check how far/behind you are in terms of distance and time.
The Garmin Forerunner 410 promises eight hours of operation with complete GPS function supporting GPX and KML exporting files that are directly transferrable to your computer.
The new touch bevel allows faster browsing of displays and operations; receive time and distance notifications along with heart rate notifications. The color scheming has also since been improved as compared to the previous Forerunners. Though using the touch bevel with gloves on can sometimes be quite frustrating due to slow response it is definitely much better than the previous models and benefit for cold weather conditions.
The Garmin Forerunner 410 offers wireless data transfer through USB and also offers support across two time zones. It is suitable for use on the Windows operating system and Macintosh. You can create workout on your computer and then download them onto the Garmin Forerunner 410.
The Garmin Forerunner 410 downloads over the ANT+ protocol that requires Garmin ANT Agent to be downloaded into your computer. Softwares like Garmin Connect and Sport Tracks provide in-depth analysis of your workout while others like Training Peaks and Golden Cheetah help you schedule and plan workouts. Specs such as heart-rate, speed, time and distance can be added into the workout plans. The plans can be created in Garmin Training Center which is included in the package and then download them into the watch.
Fantastic for stoplights while training on city streets, that requires constant start/stops without having to worry about starting or stopping the timer.
Another favored feature which automatically calls out lap splits based on predefined distance/position.
The Garmin Forerunner 410 can also make a fine bike computer for the occasional cyclist. The Garmin Forerunner 410 though does not come with a bike mounting kit the generic Garmin Forerunner rubber mount works just as fine when strapped onto the handlebar.
The Garmin Forerunner 410 also has the ability to create ‘courses’ that can help you make up a route to train on. Though it does not create or support the concept of street similar to a car GPS it does tell you when you are off-track.
The basic history view makes visible the summary data from where you can choose to view individual recorded activities. It also allows laps and average paces per lap view.
The Forerunner 410 promises eight hours of battery life on GPS mode which does not compare to a conventional watch but is acceptable for the casual trainer who switches often between the GPS and non-GPS mode.
Garmin Forerunner 410: Summary
The Garmin Forerunner 410 is an update of the previous generation Forerunners. The slim design has formed the primary selling point of this watch. Coupled with an improved bezel this watch has become a must have for serious trainers. Unlike the FR110 and FR210 which were aimed at casual runners the FR410 has an expanded feature set suitable for casual runners and serious athletes alike.
The touch bezel has improved much since the FR405 and hence a capacitive touch will be a welcome addition. The Garmin Forerunner 410 is otherwise impressively designed and comes with cutting edge technology capable of pleasing athletes of various sports and levels. Though it does not sit as lightly on the wallet as it does on the wrist the Garmin Forerunner 410, flagship of Garmin is definitely one of the best GPS watches available in the market.
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