Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 610

Just about a week or so ago, Jamie posted in Facebook about the Garmin Forerunner 610 having battery and charging issues. I knew about the battery issues of the watch from reading a few forums but wasn't really concerned about it, that is until I read that Jamie's 610 basically couldn't seem to charge after only 10 months or so of having it.

Now that got me a little worried too. I've had my 610 less than a year as well. So far I've had no issues with the watch. It's an excellent watch for a runner and I take care of my watch with kids gloves. I make sure I wash it thoroughly immediately after each run and wipe it completely dry with emphasis on the contact points before even attempting to upload the data. I have a nice soft special cloth that I place it on as storage, safely tucked in my wardrobe even. I'm very careful with it.

So far, aside from the corrosion at the back of it, which had me rather pissed, the watch has been basically working well. No battery issues (at least not yet anyway) whatsoever. But I had the shock of my life yesterday when upon returning home from my run, I rinsed it as usual and as I was wiping it dry, the blasted strap came off! After looking at it, I managed to find the cause which was the pin that holds the strap moving out of place causing the strap to come loose.

Upon closer inspection, I think the pin had slowly moved out of place with time and the hole that the pin is attached to seems to be kinda loose from the pin slowly coming off, which I am pretty much confident is going to slip off again sometime soon. I've just got to keep and eye on it while I run.

Thank god it came off while I was drying it, imagine if that happened while I was running! It could have slipped off my wrist, fall on the road and shatter its glass face! For a RM1,200 watch, the build quality is really horrible. First it was the corrosion on the back cover, now the strap, I'm expecting the thing not to charge soon.

A cheap looking pasar malam watch ...
Notice the corrosion and scratches where the red arrows are? Even the entire Garmin words and stuff are complete wiped out of the backing. If there wasn't a Garmin logo on the front face, you'd think this was a cheap pasar malam purchased watch and not something costing RM1,200. The red circle is where the pin hole is in the strap which is kinda loose now.

Come on Garmin, for the price I paid (and a host of other people too), the least you could do was make the watch more durable and not start falling apart after less than a year. The wife's Forerunner 210 is so much more durable looking than mine and way cheaper as well. If I had known, I'd just have bought that model instead!

I really don't understand why the corrosion is beginning to show up, especially after 10 months or so. I've had this Casio G-Shock the wife gave me as a gift 13 years ago and it's still in very good condition, no corrosion, no straps dropping off or breaking apart.

It's still in pretty good condition even though I've been using for work practically everyday for the last 13 years. It only recently gave out on me and even then, it wasn't the fault of the build. The electronics were totally shot after 13 years of nearly 18 plus hours of usage almost everyday. But for it to last 13 years shows how good it was and though the wife till today will not tell me how much she paid for it, I'll bet it wasn't any where near as expensive as the Garmin 610.

I'm already making plans on what replacement to get should the 610 die on me, which I hope it won't though. Since it's still under warranty, I'm going to take it back to Garmin in the next week or so and see what they can do about the corrosion and the strap cos I have a feeling it'll come off again. The only good point is that I don't see any battery or charging issues just yet. (Keeping my fingers and toes crossed).

19 comments:

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  2. That's why I skip the running series and go straight to triathlete series (910XT) which built for tougher environment. Hopefully it will last for 2 years, else, I will switch to Polar. The RCX3 pricing is really attractive.

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    1. I'm not too keen on Polar cos the GPS unit isn't built in. Might look at Timex if the Garmin does screw up.

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  3. Hey Nick. My wife and I each have the Forerunner 610 and are each having the same problem with the band pins shifting and the bands falling off. Fortunately, it has not (yet) happened on a run, but it's disconcerting. The design is clearly flawed - these should be spring loaded push pins, like every other watch. I started out with Polar but quickly went to Garmin because the GPS wasn't built in. I have had earlier several Garmin models and they all have had their "quirks", but I LOVE the features on the 610. I sent a customer support email to Garmin and I'll see what they have to say. If you figure out a solution, please let me know (gmail@rocketmail.com). I'm just waiting to be on mile 6 of a marathon and have the thing fall off . . . . .

    Take care - Glenn

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    1. Hey Glen. I totally agree that it should have been the spring load push pins instead of that metal rod. I'm perpetually keeping an eye on my watch when I run these days.

      I love the features on the 610 too and hope that it'll actually last for a long time. Let me know what customer support replied to you.

      Thanks for visiting.

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    2. I completed an online customer service form telling Garmin about the problem. Within hours, I received a reply asking for my address so they could send me a new band. I was a little surprised because my watch is out of warranty by 1 month. My hope is that the new band has some kind of design change (thicker pins, maybe) to prevent a reoccurrence. Otherwise I am going to have the same problem. We'll see . . . .

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    3. Hey Glen, nice to hear that they got back to you. Do let me know if they sent you something better or just the same old stuff. I might even write to them and complain about mine after this :D

      Thanks for the update.

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    4. Hello Glenn, can you advise whether the strap they sent you was the same or a better design?

      Thanks Alex.

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  4. I did a long run today of 18 miles and my Garmin 610 felt out three times plus the times that I stopped to put the pin back in place. This is not acceptable for a high end GPS watch.

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  5. Nick,

    I am on my second 610. First one had problems with strap and corrosion on back of the watch. The problem with the strap was the first I encountered and after contacting Garmin, they sent me a replacement strap. The corrosion on the back of the watch was quite alarming as it caused a reaction with the skin on my wrist. I contacted Garmin again and they replaced the watch. However I am now on my second watch the same thing is happening again. Think I will return it and look for a different model but I love the features on the 610 so would be reluctant to part with it but this corrosion seems to be a real problem which seems to start after about 6 monts wear. By the way I sorted the problem with the pin coming out by putting a tiny drop of loctite on either end and this seems to have sorted it out.

    Regards, John. Dublin Ireland

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    1. Hey John, sorry to hear about your Garmin issues. I know how you feel. But just like you, I love the 610's features and am just learning to put up with it for now. So far, aside from the corrosion and strap issues, it still works fine. But once it dies on me one day, I might seriously consider another brand, maybe a Polar. I've read some good stuff about the brand.

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  6. Hello...I have exactly the same problem, all you hv to do is to return it to Garnin service center (under warranty) I've got my replaced with a new set coz this 1st batch is a screwed up. (that's what the guy said)

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    1. Thanks for the info but mine has passed its warranty by two months or so.

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  7. Hello Nick, I have a Garmin Forerunner 610 and have loved the watch, this is my 3rd Garmin (305 & 310XT earlier). I have had exactly the same corrosion issues & the bubbles developing the back coating etc. but not the strap problem though I do not even take 10% of the care that you mention!

    Now, here is what I really wanted to share: My 610 was about 17 months old. The touchscreen started malfunctioning first and I tried resetting the watch, but no difference. I then tried calibrating the touch screen, the watch went into the calibration mode & acknowledged the tapping of various points but the program kept looping and never came out of the calibration mode. I powered off and retried calibrating but the same problem persisted & I gave up. The watch was functional and only part of the touch screen worked, so I went for a run and the watch was recording my run fine. However after the run was complete, the touch screen stopped working completely. I was unable to power off the watch, none of the on line help material gave me the right solution. Living in a regional city in India, I did not get the access to service, so contacted Garmin customer support who said that I should send the watch to Taiwan. Ultimately I ended up sending the watch to the UK, and guess what, I have been given a free replacement. Clearly, mine is out of warranty... but Garmin chose to replace the watch anyway!!! Am really thrilled as I am a big fan of Garmin and was pissed off that the 610 turned out to be a bit of an ordinary job on some aspects. So, please contact Garmin and give it a try even though your watch may be out of warranty.

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    1. Thanks for the info. I'm kinda lucky cos the watch, save for the corrosion and the strap issues, it still serves me well. But I'm still pissed with the fact that a watch from a reputable company like Garmin, costing so much can be so defective.

      My strap is currently living on the edge and I just dropped the Garmin distributor in Malaysia an email regarding purchasing a new strap, hopefully they have one in stock and I don't have to wait so long for it.

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  8. same problems
    garmin denies - hides behind warranty small print
    there are better watches
    f--k garmin

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  9. I have the same problem with my FR610. I ended up buying a material velcro band for it which is working well, but still having problems with it dropping out and looping on me. Very disappointing from GARMIN. Anyone heard anything of the new FR620!

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