Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 410 - First Impressions

Came home to find the brown truck delivered my Garmin 410. Sweet! This is much needed. I'm a stats geek, especially with my running. So when my Garmin 305 kicked the bucket a few months ago, it was tough to go without it but I wanted to wait until the the 410 came out and see what the initial reviews had to say about it. They were favorable, so I went ahead and ordered it.

So, why the Garmin 410 and not the 310XT or even another 305? Well, while I loved the 305, my only real complaint was it's durability. The average life span seems to be about 18 months... maybe 24 months if you're lucky... with regular use. My first one lasted about 18 months and the second factory refurbished one started to slowly kick the bucket at around the same lifespan mark before finally dying a few months later.

And why not the 310XT? Well, the crazy long battery life (20+ hours, the 410 is listed at 8 hours, but in reality reports indicate around 7) of the 310XT is definitely a huge selling point and the people I've spoken to who own them are very happy with them. But, for ultras and long mountain runs, I've always been fine with going off a stopwatch and taking splits on laps or peaks when I already know the distance. Sure, that battery life to allow the GPS to run would be pretty neat to have while running the Pemi Loop, but I really don't care about tracking my mile splits when doing such things. I can just turn the GPS off and still use this one for those activities.

Also, the design of the 310XT just seems too much like the 305 in terms of build. Just makes me wonder if it's as fragile as the 305, but the jury is still out on that. It's obvious the circuitry has to be substantially different for the 410 given the smaller and sleeker design, so hopefully it's more durable as well. (speaking of smaller and sleeker, it's small enough to wear as a normal wrist watch and you can turn off the GPS, which saves the battery and puts it in watch mode, showing just time and date).

So, the 410 looks to provide everything I'll need with splits, distances, and all of the other quantitative data that I love having records of, including having a working heart rate monitor again. The new premium soft strap is really comfortable. I never had any problems with the old one, but this one definitely feels nice. No problems with HR spikes on this first run, an issue some people have reported.

Only thing that is taking some getting used to here in the early onset is the bezel. As I mentioned before, it apparently works much better in moisture than the 405, but it's just simply getting used to operating the bezel instead of buttons. I'm getting the hang of it though, and kind of like it.

The wireless ANT technology to upload data to the web was a really easy set-up and works great. Nice feature.

As for the run, it went great. I picked up the pace a little today and felt just fine doing so. Nice to drop the hammer a bit, first time hitting a tempo pace since the two marathons this month and last month. And, really nice to actually know my mile splits again during the run. Ahhhhh...

Ran 4.6 miles @ 6:58/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 162/179
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower 40s, overcast, foggy.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, refl. vest, beanie (shed half way through).


Trevor said...

It looks cool. My 305 is now 23 months old, so here's hoping it doesn't decide to die this Christmas. Also ... I had to look up the definition of bezel, so I learned something new today. Happy Thanksgiving!

ree_ti_ree said...

I like the look, but with the 305, I can easily read up to four data fields on the large face. Is that doable with the 410, or is the face too small to contain multiple data fields?

Jamie Anderson said...

It's limited to three data fields. However, you can have it automatically scroll between 2-4 screens with other data fields if you so choose. I plan on experimenting with that today.

Thomas said...

Hmm. My 305 is 34 months now and counting. I hope to keep it going for a good while longer.

Jamie Anderson said...

Thomas, I'm jealous. I'm sure you're not alone on that front, but based on my experiences, others I've talked to and from what I've read, 18-24 months seems to be pretty typical.

Luc said...

Great review Jamie. My 305 is rocking without any problems (+2 years now), but I've always thought that the 310 XT was my upgrade path. I'm now reconsidering.

I like your reasoning with longer distance runs w/out GPS. I also like the fact that it acts as a regular wrist watch. I feel naked without a wrist watch and it would be nice to be able to record simple splits and/or track full details from the same watch.

Thanks for your review and Happy Thanksgiving! :)