I was surfing the web and something caught my eye. I thought I had just seen an advertisement for a GPS watch. While there isn’t anything out of the ordinary seeing ads for running gear on my computer the manufacturer caught my attention. Epson? The people who make printers? Is that right? And the Runsense watches are endorsed by Meb Keflezighi. I was curious.
I looked at the SF-710 and the SF-810 models. Both had similar features. The SF-810 has a more eye-friendly design and wrist-based HR whereas the 710 can only record heartrate with a chest strap accessory (Not included). I looked more closely at the 810
The watch finds GPS signal quickly. The mobile app has a great feature called AGPS or assisted GPS. It takes the location from your cell phone and sends it to the watch so even in an entirely new area you can get signal lock fast. The screens and heart rate zone data are able to be customized through the app and you can set up to 4 screens with 3 lines each for run data. There are a plethora of output options including pace, average pace, lap pace (with customizable lap distances), elevation gain and loss, altitude, time, distance, and many more.
I ran on both roads and trails with the Runsense 810. The pace and distance data was almost identical to the Garmin 920XT. In areas with marked mileage points I found the distance data to be highly accurate. The display is easy to read. When paused the screen goes from a white background to a dark background so you can tell at a glance. The unit was comfortable to wear. All in all the watch performs very well.
What I didn’t like was the app. Both the mobile and desktop version look very generic. That coupled with the fact that upload times are incredibly slow made for the data review after a run more of a pain than sprint hill repeats. I am a scientist and data guy. I love reviewing my data almost as much as I love the run. The counterintuitive nature of the app made reviewing run stats painful.
Also, syncing runs is a slow process involving opening the app, selecting the upload option, starting the watch communication mode, selecting the run from the app, and then finally selecting upload. Uploads for most of my runs takes 10-20 minutes! And that is with a wifi connection!
All told the Epson Runsense is a great watch. The features and data accuracy are top notch. That said , Epson needs to work on their app and upload system. Once this is on par with the watch capabilities Epson can contend with Garmin and Suunto.