Athletics Magazine

Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)

By Brisdon @shutuprun
Back in the day, I had a printer made by a company called Epson. This machine printed out hundreds of pages of my graduate school research papers. Fast forward to today - who knew that the same company - Epson - would help me log hundreds of miles as I ran on my favorite trails, roads and paths? And, who knew this is the exact same watch Meb wears (the Runsense SF-810)?
Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)
Back in November I was asked to review this watch. I didn't realize that Epson made GPS watches or that they were specifically for runners (although can also be used when cycling). I was curious and truth be told, I am not going to turn down a free GPS in exchange for my honest review. Good enough for Meb, good enough for me.
Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)
For the past almost four months I have been running exclusively with this watch, which has been at least 400 miles. I am not going to lie - this is a watch with lots of options. I am not so good at technology and buttons and bells and whistles (that's why I'm a social worker, duh), so there was a learning curve for me with this watch (as there is with me and anything that plugs in or has a battery).
Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)
Since I started running six years ago, I've worn a Garmin. I was glad to try something new. The reason I was most interested in this particular watch was:
  • Heart rate monitoring: There is no chest strap involved (hello chafing!). The heart rate monitor is built into the inside of the watch and gets your heart rate from your wrist automatically. Now, that is slick.
Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)
  • Long battery life. 20 hours (in active GPS mode). Nice. That's twice what I was getting with my other watch.
  • Tracks elevation gain and loss. I know many watches do this, but I've not had one before that did.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I see how many feet I've climbed on a trail run. And, since I will be doing the 6 day TransRockies run (elevation gain of 20,000+ feet) I really want to track my elevation gain/loss on runs quite precisely.
Once I got the watch, I was impressed by the clear and bright face. It is a rather masculine looking watch, which doesn't bug me (I kind of like it), but it is not nice and dainty if that is what you are looking for.
Things I like about it (pros):
  1. Gets satellites lightening fast. Never takes more than 10 seconds even if I'm in the car.
  2. Tracks not just heart rate, elevation gain/loss, distance, pace, etc but also stride length (interesting - mine averages 39" -not sure what that means) and a multitude of other things (35 data points total).
  3. Vibrates and dings when I hit the mile marker. I like this because you can turn off the sound and just have it vibrate, so if you're listening to music, etc, you still know when you hit certain points.
  4. The strap (plastic) has a lot of holes so it is easy to get the proper fit on your wrist.
  5. Easy to read display, even in sunlight. Has a light that comes on for 10" when it's dark.
  6. Can be worn in the shower/pool
  7. Lightweight
Things I'm not so keen on (cons):
  1. The charging vestibule is bulky and seems kind of old school/antiquated
  2. In full disclosure, I did not use the mobile app (I'm just not an app person, sorry). However, all reviews have said it is slow and not especially user friendly.
  3. Does not automatically sync info to smartphone.

Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)

Maybe you can't see it. But, trust me I am wearing the watch under the layers.

In sum:
The pros on this one much outweigh the cons for me. Not only do I like the look of this watch, but the GPS is accurate and satellites are easily obtainable. I love the fit of the watch - I can get it snug, but it doesn't hit that weird bone on my wrist (the pisiform bone I think?). The optical heart rate sensor, which means no chest strap is a HUGE plus. Overall, a great quality watch for the long distance runner. 
What kind of watch do you wear? Are you satisfied with it? Why or why not?
Epson America sent me this watch to review. All opinions are my own.

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