Garmin 410 Review

Garmin Forerunner 410 Review

A Review of the Garmin Forerunner 410 Running and Cycling GPS Watch

After much anticipation, the Garmin Forerunner 410 has made its debut in the US and Europe. Building on the success of the bestselling 405 that was released in 2008, Garmin have made a variety of improvements to the new 410 such as HotFix GPS, heart rate based calorie computation, a more comfortable and better fitting heart rate monitor, an enhanced touch sensitive control bezel and an optional Velcro wrist strap, as well as keeping the high end features from the old 405 that made the Forerunner 410’s younger brother so popular.

 

The Garmin Forerunner 410

The All New Garmin Forerunner 410

This review will take you through the main features of the Forerunner 410 as well as well as my findings as I put the watch through its paces during my runs and cycles.

Garmin 410 Review – In the Box

The Garmin 410 is available either with or without the optional heart rate monitor, which is good news if you are a previous Forerunner owner as you probably already own a heart rate monitor that you can use. If you don’t already own a Wireless ANT compatible heart rate monitor then it is definitely worth going for the Forerunner 410 package that includes the heart rate monitor as it is Garmin’s new style monitor that is both smaller and better fitting which makes for a much more comfortable run when you are heart rate zone training.

Also supplied in the box is the Mains/USB charger for the forerunner 405 as well as the Wireless ANT stick that lets you easily and quickly transfer your training session records from watch to Garmin’s online training portal, Garmin Connect (more on that later). There is also the optional Velcro wrist strap and fitting kit along with quick start guides in ten languages, an owner’s manual in the form of a CD and a leaflet with a prompt directing you towards Garmin’s new online learning centre for help using the Forerunner 410.

Garmin Forerunner 410 Boxed

Garmin Forerunner 410 Boxed

Garmin 410 Review – Watch Setup

Setting up the watch was relatively straight forward.  The Forerunner 410’s battery charged within 90mins from flat and the mains charger makes a good secure connection with the unit- There is nothing worse than setting your watch to charge and then realising half an hour later that the mains cable had come loose at some point and you are too short on time to wait for it to recharge. Luckily this is not something that will happen with the 410 but has happened in the past when I tried out the 110 for a short time last year.

After the initial charge, the watch displays a series of prompt screens that ask you information such as your age, height, weight and time zone.  All of this information is used for calculating the five default heart rate zones that that you can use for heart rate zone training (more on that later too!) but can still be changed at a later date from the watch’s menu if your body weight changes or someone else wants to use your watch!  You are also shown a series of screen that are designed to show you how to use the touch bezel to control the watch where you have to touch various points on the bezel.

 

Garmin 410 Charging

The Garmin 410 Takes 90mins to Charge From Flat

After entering in all that you now have to step outside and hope that the new HotFix technology finds adequate GPS reception otherwise you are going to be waving the watch around like an idiot while it tries to lock on to a few satellites in order to set the time. With my old 405 this process took around 45 seconds but with the new Garmin 405 the watch managed to find and set the time before I had even had chance to read the screen after stepping outside, which makes me think that it managed to find a signal inside my house – something which my old Garmin watch definitely couldn’t do!

Garmin 410 Review – Hot FIX GPS Technology

For the next part of the review I am going to write about each of the different features that the 405 offers in turn to give you an idea of what exactly is on offer from the Garmin 405 and what essentially you get for your money!

Starting with GPS, the Garmin 405 has the new HotFix technology incorporated into the unit which Garmin claim speeds up the process of locking onto the GPS satellites needed for tracking your runs or cycles, and holds a better signal for longer which makes the tracking of those vital statistics much more accurate than older models.  I was dubious about the hype surrounding the HotFix technology at first, but after testing the 210 a few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much a difference there is between the older Garmin Forerunner watches and the new series. Not only did the Garmin 410 pick up a GPS signal from inside my house on occasion but it also only took a few seconds to lock onto a signal when I was in a completely different location and was setting the watch up before a run.

Something that the old Garmin Forerunners used to struggle with was locating an initial GPS signal while setting the watch to training mode (recording mode) whilst out on a run. I would usually have to stop and stretch during my runs when this happened and wait for my old Forerunner to pick up a signal before setting off again whereas  the new Garmin 405 is incredibly fast (for a low power GPS device) at picking up a signal whilst on the move and I haven’t noticed any difference in times between picking up a GPS signal whilst stationary and on the move.

Garmin 410 Review – Track and Record Essential Training Statistics

The Garmin 410 is at the top of the range of GPS running and cycling watches around at the moment. It records and tracks a large variety of statistics whilst you are training. The Garmin 410 is able to display three screens of data in Training Mode which you can customise to include up to three of any of the below statistics:

  • Distance (Total, Lap, Last Lap) – Measured using either GPS or optional Footpod.
  • Pace (Current pace, Average Pace for total session, lap or last lap)
  • Speed (Current  Speed for total session, lap or last lap)
  • Time (Stopwatch, Average Time to complete a lap so far, Time taken in current lap so far and time to complete last lap.
  • Heart Rate (Current HR, %of Max HR for total session or lap, %of Reserve Heart Rate, Average Heart Rate for total session, HR graph showing current HR zone, HR Zone)
  • Number of Laps
  • Elevation
  • GPS Accuracy
  • Grade of the total session incline
  • Heading (the current direction you are heading)
  • Time of Sunrise based on GPS position
  • Time of Sunset based on GPS position
  • Time of Day based on GPS location and time settings.

The first five points in this list are the most important when it comes to training and are what makes the Garmin 410 such a powerfull training tool. As you can customise up to three screens of data the combinations of statistics you can view in real time are huge and can be changed dependent on your training goals as described in the following section.

Distance

The Garmin 410 uses HotFix GPS technology to track and record your position whilst out running, cycling or training straight from the box with no set up or calibration. Provided the unit has a constant GPS signal the unit is accurate to within 5m at any one time which means it is much more accurate than any sports watch that uses outdated Foot Pod technology to track your running as the 410 doesn’t rely on you holding a constant stride length whilst you are training. If you tend to run on roads and paths then this might not be too much of a problem but using a GPS enabled 410 means that you can take your running off road and onto more challenging surfaces like woods, trails and cross country without any danger of the watch generating inaccurate statistics for things like distance, pace or speed.

The Garmin 410 can display total distance, last lap distance or current lap distance. If you set the watch up to have automatic laps based on a specific time interval then you might want to see how far you ran on each lap which is when last lap and current lap distance becomes important.

Pace and Speed

Whether you are training for a short and fast 5k run or a 180km IronMan bike ride you will undoubtedly want to keep track of your pace. The Garmin 410 can display current pace in either metric or Imperial units for your current sessions lap, last lap or the overall run or cycle, making it a very powerful race and training tool. Older watches were often not able to display current pace which limited their usefulness as far as training goes but the Garmin 410 allows you display all three measures of pace on one screen in Training Mode, giving you the best picture of your training or race pace available at any one time. If you don’t want to have all three displayed at once then you can choose zero, one or two to be shown at any one time.

Choosing which measure of pace you want to be displayed on the watch is worth putting some thought into. If you are running a long race then you might want to set the Forerunner 410 up to have 1km or 1mile automatic laps and then have average current lap and average overall lap pace displayed in order to give you the best picture of your performance. If you just work off average overall pace then you might actually be running at a lower pace than the overall average pace statistic shows and by the time you next look at your watch your average overall pace might be something completely different as you were running at a slower pace because you thought you were running faster than you actually were. By looking at your last laps average pace this gives you a much better indication of your current pace without having to use the current pace statistic. The current pace statistic is only useful for short races and as a loose guide to pace as it can jump around all over the place.

Similar fields can be set up for speed and depending on how you like measuring how fast you are running or cycling you would usually choose between speed or pace when customising the Garmin 410’s training screens.  One use for the speed training metric for running is if you are used to treadmill running or are making the transition from treadmill running to outdoor running as treadmills usually display how fast you are running as Speed not Pace. When cycling long distances speed is the normal metric to track whereas if you are making short sharp sprints on the bike then pace might be a better statistic to track as you can then see how many actual seconds you need to make up between laps in order to finish a race in a certain time.

Garmin 410 Review – Heart Rate Tracking and the Heart Rate Monitor

As already mentioned the Garmin Forerunner 410 can be bought with or without a Garmin Heart Rate monitor. If you already have a heart rate monitor then buying the 410 without is a good way to keep the price of the watch down and all Wireless Ant HR Monitors are compatible with the new Forerunner series including the Forerunner 410.

If you do decide to go for the Garmin 410 with HR Monitor then you will be training with Garmin’s new style monitor which is much smaller and lighter than the old style monitors. Being smaller and lighter, the monitor is much more comfortable to wear for long distance training and does not feel as constricting as the old style monitors which always discouraged me from Heart Rate training for my running and cycling.

 

Garmin 410 HR Monitor

The New Style Garmin Heart Rate Monitor

The Garmin 410 has five preset heart rate zones which are based on the age that you enter into the watch profile when setting up the watch. These pre set zones change depending on what sports mode the watch is set to (either running or cycling) which means you don’t need to fiddle around entering separate values into the unit when switching between sports.

As well as the five preset heart rate levels you can also set up a custom level. What is the point of all these levels you might ask?! Well using these six levels you can set the watch up to alert you if you go above or below one of the six levels using a loud chime every time you dip either above or below a level. If you are a believer in heart rate training then this enables you to train in a specific heart rate zone, ensuring that you don’t push your heart rate to high or too low for you specific training session. I find this feature especially useful when I am out on long recovery runs as I have a habit of running too fast and rendering the session pointless. Using the 410’s Heart Rate alerts I can set the watch to tell me when I am creeping over 130 beats per minute and adjust my pace accordingly.

Pairing the HR monitor is as simple as it gets. Just make sure the Heart Rate Monitor option is set to on  under the Garmin 410 Menu and bring the HR monitor to within 3m of the watch in training mode to pair the Monitor. My 410 pick my HR monitor up every time with no problems.

Garmin 410 Review – Heart Rate Based Calorie Computation

Another new feature of the Garmin 410 is Heart Rate Based Calories. Instead of using distance and time to calculate how many calories you are burning the Garmin 410 takes into account how hard you are working by using Heart Rate as a proxy for exercise intensity. This gives a much more realistic estimate of how much energy you are expending whilst exercising and makes the Forerunner 410 a very valuable tool for either people who are looking to lose weight through running, or ultra marathon runners who need to track just how much energy they are expending so they know how much to eat when out on a mega run!

Garmin 410 Review – Run Indoors or without a GPS signal with a Foot Pod

If you tend to run indoors as well as outdoors, such as on a treadmill or indoor track, then you can link the Garmin 410 up to a Foot Pod to ensure that you can still track and record vital training statistics whilst without a GPS signal. Unlike old sports watches the latest generation of Forerunner watches can be calibrated either on a section of pre measured road/track or using the watch’s inbuilt GPS as well as manual calibration. This ensures that using a Foot Pod is just as accurate as using GPS to track training statistics provided that you keep your stride length relatively consistent.

 

Garmin Foot Pod

Run Indoors Or Without GPS Signal With A Garmin Foot Pod

One of the major benefits of the Garmin 410 is that if you are training in an area that has poor GPS signal such as suburbs or a city then the watch will automatically switch from GPS to Foot Pod to gather data in the event of GPS signal loss. This means that you can still accurately record training data no matter where your run or cycle.

Garmin 410 Review – Virtual Trainer

Another top end feature that you will only find on the Garmin Forerunner 410 is the Virtual Trainer Mode. This is where a screen is displayed in training mode with two figures. One of the figures represents a virtual trainer who runs at a constant pre set pace and the other figure is you. Both figures move forwards and backwards depending on how far either you or the virtual trainer is ahead in terms of distance and time. If he is ahead of you then you need to run faster to catch him up and the figure on the watch moves accordingly as you do. The watch also tells you how far ahead wither you or the virtual trainer is in terms of distance and time so you know exactly what you are aiming for.

This is a great feature to use when you are training for a race at it gives you something to aim for instead of just clock watching and is something that I use during race practice.

Garmin 410 Review – Advanced Course Creation

Using Garmin’s award winning ‘Garmin Connect Online Portal’ (more on that later) you can transfer course that you would like to run to the watch. The easiest way to do this is to search the portal for courses that other people have already completed and uploaded to Garmin Connect, as then all it takes in a click of a button to transfer the course to the Garmin 410. Otherwise you can create a training route from scratch using Gmaps software and uploading this to Gamin Connect before transferring it to the 410 as you would with a course already completed.

To run a course, just select the right course from the Garmin 410’s menu and then run near the course. This doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the course but can be at any point along the route. As soon as you come into the vicinity of the route an ‘On Course’ message is displayed and the virtual trainer pops up to tell you how far in front or behind you are the last person to complete the course’s pace you are.

If you don’t know the layout of the course you are running or cycling on then you can choose to display the Garmin 410’s navigation screen which shows you the direction you need to head in to stay on track. If you wonder off the route at any point then the Forerunner 410 displays an ‘Off Course’ message and you need to use the Navigation Screen to find you way back onto the route. This feature isn’t great for cross country running but is really useful for long distance cycling as there aren’t that many options for you to go wrong when you have to follow roads!

Garmin 410 Review – Interval Workouts

Interval workouts are terribly painful things that don’t feature high on my list of favourite training sessions but they have to be done non-the-less! Interval training as part of a club is great as there are always people around you for some friendly competition and gentle persuasion but a lone interval session is always a struggle. Using the Garmin 410 it is possible to set up a pre defined interval session where you can specify the length of each interval (time or distance) and the length of each intervals rest period as well the number of reps. The Garmin 410 alerts you with a chime to tell you when you have completed a repetition as well as when rest time is over and it is time for the next rep!

Garmin 410 Review – Auto Pause and Auto Lap

Two features of the Garmin 410 that I really like are the Auto Pause and Auto lap functions. Along with a few other features like Virtual Trainer and Interval Workouts, Auto Lap and Auto Pause are a few of the features that made the cut to the new Garmin 410 from the old 405 watch.

Auto pause is when the watch can be set to automatically pause in training mode when you are either stationary or running/cycling at a certain pace which is great if you are training along routes that involves lots of stopping and starting such as for traffic, roads, gates etc as you don’t have to remember to pause and restart the watch after every obstacle. I have lost count of the times that I have paused my old sports watch only to realise that I hasn’t started it again a few kilometres further into my run. With the Auto Pause function his problem is solved!

Auto lap is another really useful feature that makes the Garmin 410 automatically start a new lap after either a pre determined distance or time. This is really useful for races as you can keep track of your pace for every lap instead of over just the whole race. When the 410 starts a new lap the old lap stats are displayed for five seconds before the new stat counters are displayed so you can have a quick check of how your last lap’s performance was and adjust your pace accordingly!

Garmin 410 Review – Garmin Connect Online Portal.

Garmin’s amazing Connect Portal is where all of the data that you record on your Forerunner 410 is sent via the wireless Ant stick that plugs into your PC. The portal has so many features that it is impossible to explain everything you can do there and the only way you are going to get a feel for just how feature rich the portal is, is to create an account on the Garin Website and explore!

 

Garmin Connect

Analyse and Track Training Sessions Using Garmin’s Online Connect Portal

The main features of the Garmin Connect Portal are listed below or I have written a much more in-depth review of the portal in my previous Garmin 210 Review.

  • View your 410’s training sessions in all of their glory with complete statistics, such as distance, speed, incline and calories Google maps showing your route, graphs showing your pace, speed and heart rate over your run as well as a breakdown of the route by splits.
  • Playback any completed training session to analyse your performance.
  • Search for other peoples completed training sessions by keyword, username or geographical area  and transfer them to the Garmin 410 as courses that you can then train on/along
  • Set, track and complete custom goals based on distance, calories or time.
  • Rename and categorise your different training sessions for easy access later on.
  • Share any training session on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook or your Blog.

Garmin 410 Review – Easy Wireless Transfer

Instead of messing around with cables the Garmin Forerunner 410 is supplied with a wireless Ant data stick that plugs into a USB port on your computer or laptop (yes it works with Mac’s as well!). Once the desktop connectivity software is installed and the watch is connected to an account on Garmin’s online Connect Portal the 410 will automatically send new completed training session data to your Garmin Connect account when it is within about a 3m range of the stick. Quick and easy, the watch can be taken off when you finish your run and by the time you have finished stretching your previous training session will be ready and waiting for you to analyse on the web.

Garmin 410 Review – Design and Usability

The Garmin 410 is based on the old 405 and has the same chassis with the only exterior difference being that the Garmin 410 has a red rim surrounding the watch face. Lighter and more compact than most other GPS sports watches on the market the 410 has a new and improved touch sensitive bezel that is used to control the watch’s functions such as navigation and the backlight. Although this touch sensitive control bezel can take a bit of getting used to, it works in a similar way to an Ipod so anyone who has used either an Ipod or a previous Forerunner model with a bezel shouldn’t have any problems with the new Forerunner 410. Setting up the watch before a training session is done using the bezel but the critical start/stop and reset buttons are also included on the watch to ensure that the watch is easy to use when training hard!

The Garmin 410 is also supplied with a Velcro wrist strap which can be fitted to the watch instead of the plastic strap that is fitted a standard. More comfortable on very small or larger than average wrists the Velcro strap is worth fitting to the Garmin 410 if the plastic strap causes you problems and pinches your skin. Personally I haven’t bothered switching the straps as I am used to the plastic one but it is always nice to have the option!

Garmin 410 Review – Water Resistance

The Garmin 410 is water resistant but is not designed for prolonged emersion and so is not suitable for swimming. Having said that, it is more than water resistant to stand up to all but the most devastating of adverse weather conditions and if the rain starts to resemble a sheet of water then checking to see if the Garmin 410 is watertight will be the least of your worries! I have been out running in pretty bad rain with my 410 and not only did it stay watertight but the bezel remained responsive to the touch and I had no problems controlling the unit.

Garmin 410 Review – Summary

Garmin 410 Pro’s

  • Track a total of 37 training statistics  accurately using GPS or Foot {od (the largest number out of all the GPS running and cycling watches)
  • Advanced features such as Virtual Trainer, Advanced Workouts, Wireless Data Transfer and the Touch Sensitive Control Bezel aren’t available on any other watch and make the 410 an advanced and incredibly useful training tool.
  • Use Garmin’s Online Training Portal to track and analyse your training, find and share sessions as well as set goals and targets.
  • Compatible with a wide range of wireless ANT+ accessories such as bike cadence/speed sensors as well as heart rate straps.
  • Accurate heart rate based calorie computation.
  • Use as a basic GPS navigator to follow pre set courses or navigate to previously set GPS coordinates.

Garmin 410 Con’s

  • 1m water resistance means the 410 is not suitable for swimming.

The new Garmin Forerunner 410 is by far the best GPS sports watch that I have used to date. It has more features than all of the other Garmin watches put together and features like the Virtual Trainer, Heart Rate based calorie computer, advanced workouts and wireless transfer put the 410 streaks ahead of the competition in terms of functionality. The 410 is ideal for any serious runner or cyclist who wants to keep track of their training as the amount of combinations of statistics that the watch can track and display mean the watch can be used for anything from long distance cycles to indoor track running  and every distance in-between.

 

The Garmin Forerunner 410

The Garmin Forerunner 410

Garmin 410 Review – Price and Where to Buy

As always the best place to buy the Garmin 410 is Amazon as electronics are always cheaper online and Amazon offers the speediest despatch and delivery time. You can find the Garmin 410 on Amazon using the links below.

About Amy Williams