This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Not quite as great as I first thought
I earlier wrote a post generally on GPS running watches but not hiding the fact that I had the Garmin Forerunner 410 and that the positives I had found were based on my experiences with that watch. I’ve also talked with quite a few people praising the features of the Forerunner 410. I truly believed it was a great watch and expected to love it for years to come. I wanted to offer an update because my impression of this device has changed dramatically over the past few months. I still think there are benefits to GPS watches but I’m questioning my investment of $200+ on the Forerunner 410.
About 13 months after I bought the Forerunner, its battery life began rapidly declining. While I could go about a week between charges (6-7 days in "power save" mode and roughly 8 hours in "training" mode) when I first got it and even 11-12 months after purchase, it rapidly deteriorated to the point where I could barely get through a weekend (about 2 days in "power save" mode and less than 3 hours in "training" mode) by 13-14 months after purchase.
I attempted to contact Garmin support 4 times. I never heard back from the first 3 attempts. On the 4th attempt, I got through. I was then given instructions to do a factory reset on the watch, let the battery run down to empty, then fully recharge it. This seemed to help a little bit…for less than a month. I was also told, if this didn’t work, I could send it to them with $90 and they would repair or replace it…after I was without it for an undetermined number of weeks.
Now, the Garmin is 15 months old. Before yesterday’s run, I started it up and checked the battery life. 41% remaining. Good to go. So I put it in training mode and it immediately beeped at me with a low battery warning. The screen then went blank and the watch restarted. As soon as it was started up, I checked battery life again. 0% remaining. Just seconds after it reported 41% remaining. It then beeped at me again and restarted. It then got stuck in that loop, beeping at me and restarting about once every 10 seconds, for the next 5-10 minutes. Roughly through the first mile of my run.
So, to recap, things began getting bad about 13 months after purchase of this $200 device. Their fix didn’t work. Now, if I want it fixed, I have to spend another $100+ (with postage) and be without it for some number of weeks. Then I can count on it to last, what, another year before I have to put down another 100+ to get it repaired or replaced? This is not the quality I thought I was paying for when I bought this $200 device.
As much as I like the features and I fear I’ve become somewhat addicted to a few, I would not recommend purchasing this device based on my experience. I’ll be holding on to this until it dies for good, then I’ll be on the market for a different brand with similar features and hopefully better durability and reliability.