Garmin ForeRunner 610 Heart Rate Problems

After hesitating for a while, I got myself a Garmin ForeRunner 610 in December. This watch was one of the best sports equipment investments I’ve done so far. It’s GPS tracking is accurate and fast, perfect for my running and biking exercises. The most brilliant feature is it’s vibration alarm, every kilometer it vibrates and I get an update on my pace, sounds simple but it’s ultra-handy. And finally, its a relief not having the iPhone attached to my biceps anymore.

Everything was fine, until last week - those who follow me on RunKeeper may have noticed my rants about wrong heart rates. I got 230 beats per minute while standing and waiting for GPS reception (^^). My first guess -> bad HR-strap fitting or dry connectors. After the next run I thought it may be the battery, so I changed it and the problem still persisted. I also tried a clue on how to reset the HR transmitter in order to get it working again, no effect. Finally my patience found an end and Garmin support should take care of this issue. (Un)fortunately, their hotline is not reachable on week ends so my journey lead me to a bunch of 1-star Amazon reviews about the Garmin Textil HR strap - tad-da! Many people have the same problem (I should have searched for the problem in German earlier…).

The most important finding: The Garmin transmitter is fine but their textile strap is absolute crap. A lot of people have the same problem after a few weeks! My guess is, the strap gets stretched too much which disturbs the HR recognition after a while. The most funny part of this problem is it’s solution. One of the 1-star reviewers suggested using a Polar WearLink with the Garmin HRM2-SS transmitter and this combination is actually working very well! I took the WearLink of @miripapiri’s Polar and tested it out - 56 bpm, I’m alive again!

I also have to admit, the Polar WearLink strap is much more comfortable than the Garmin Textil strap. I’ve always been a happy Polar user in the past, their products are hight quality! As good as their heart rate products are, there is a big gap in terms of GPS support and open data interfaces compared to Garmin - which was the main reason for my switch.

I will contact Garmin’s support and try to get a new strap asap. Finally, I see myself ending up with this Polar-Garmin combination around my chest anyway, the Polar one feels so much better. Garmin should try to produce higher quality straps, they have to be reliable! Best solution would be throwing money at Polar’s suppliers ;-)