Monday, December 17, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 610 vs Edge 500: city run smack-down

Previously I compared the Strava Android app on my HTC Incredible phone to the Garmin Forerunner 610 on a run I did along the Steven's Creek Trail. I thought the phone might have been slightly better, but it was close.

This time I set off for a city ride without my phone, but I had the Garmin Edge 500 mounted with a strap to my right wrist, and I had the Garmin Forerunner 610 mounted to my left wrist with its integrated strap. I had both set to 1-second sampling.

This wasn't a pure run, as I was also Christmas shopping (books for my nieces). So I stopped in several book stores along the way, as well as a two cellular phone shops (thinking of switching from Verizon to T-Mobile), one bike shop (the black-on-black Specialized SL4 with 2012 Red is very slick), and a chocolate shop (disappointed Girardelli's "sea salt" "Intense Dark" doesn't seem so dark at all from the fat:carbohydrate ratio). Anyway, all of these stops meant loss of signal.

Here's a comparison in the form of animated GIF. Shift-reload if the animation stops and you want to re-view (it loops 50 times before stopping):

comparison Forerunner vs Edge
Comparison of Forerunner versus Edge data from a "shopping" run on 16 Dec 2012

The Forerunner is the better of the two. It's a fairly dramatic difference. The Forerunner is newer than the Edge, so that may explain some of the difference. There doesn't seem to be any fundamental reason the Forerunner should have more reliable position detection.


Ned said...

I have noticed a similar thing - although I have the Timex running watch, not the garmin. My own theory (just a guess) is that the running watches are optimized for the additional doppler shift of the swinging arm whereas the cycling ones are not.

djconnel said...

That's an interesting conjecture. It would be interesting to run with 2 Edges, one on wrist, one in hat. Here's a ride I did with the same Edge 500, and there is no evident anomaly, but I didn't ride among the tall buildings.