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Heart Rate Functions
Fitness / Sport Features
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A Deep Dive Into The Epson SF-810
The Epson SF-810 GPS runners watch tested and reviewed by Tristan Haskins of HeartRateMonitor.co.uk. The Epson SF810 is the top of the Epson Runsense range of GPS sports watches.
This one is the only one in the range with the addition of an optical Heart Rate sensor, Heart Rate feedback without the need of a chest strap. Aimed primarily at Runners the SF810 is supported by the Epson Runsense App and RunConnect desktop app.
Dec 2016 > The Epson Runsense range offered an alternative to watches like the Garmin Forerunner 10 and 220, the Polar M400 and other GPS running watches with heart rate.
However, nearly two years later they are NOT as good as similar competitive products at similar or less price. In the market of 2017 I would suggest looking at the Polar M200 or Garmin Forerunner 35 or Forerunner 235 as alternatives.
However, from the Runsense range this model, the SF-810, does still offer good value for money with a wide range of functions.
Who Is It For?
How brave are Epson to come in to a market that already has some great products like the Garmin Forerunner 225 and the TomTom Runner Cardio? I was hoping to find some unique and ground breaking in the Epson range of GPS sports watches. When you are competing with the likes of Garmin, Polar and Suunto you really need a USP to make the products sell. Unfortunately, I am struggling to find anything totally original in this GPS sports watch aimed specifically at Runners.
Full credit to Epson for designing their OWN optical HR sensor. Most manufacturers have opted to OEM the MioGlobal built-in heart rate sensor, but Epson have done it themselves … and it works perfectly well.
UPDATE (June 2015) >> the SF-810 supports smart devices: iOS 6 or later (iPhone 4S, 5, 5S and 5C) and Android 4.3 or later and the Desktop App runs on both Windows and Mac iOs devices. For a full list of compatible devices please click here.
Best Features / Worst Features
We only had enough time to test the SF-810 for 3 x runs and 2 x bike rides, about 6 hours of exercise time in total.
There wasn’t one point during those hours of testing that left us frustrated other than this annoyance changing BACK to PACE from SPEED settings and adding / removing altitude data for rides. The BEST feature of the SF-810 is the optical HR sensor. It worked 99% perfectly for me during all my tests.
The next best feature would have to be the BATTERY LIFE. The SF-810 will work in Heart Rate only mode for 40 hours.
It will give GPS performance monitoring for a highly commendable 24 hours or a combination of GPS and Heart Rate for 20 hours. In practice we used the SF-810 for 2 weeks and 6 hours of exercise all GPS and HR powered. That’s pretty impressive and outperforms many of the competitors.
The connection to the App on my Sony Xperia is also very good. The data recall in the App is detailed but could be improved.
The HR graph in particular is very small. In something like the Polar Flow App for example, you can CLICK ON the HR graph, it then opens (landscape) with a scroll bar to allow the user to retrace specific HR peaks and troughs versus time.
The Runsense App is satisfactory and collects and records all the essential data in enough detail for all but the most technical runners.
Oh… I nearly forgot .. PLEASE add support for iOs devices 🙂
The SF810 is mainly a GPS Runners Watch
It sits between the TomTom Runner Cardio and the Garmin FR225 with regards to functionality.
It’s definitely aimed at the Runners market with features like Auto Lap, Auto Pause, internal stride sensor to give feedback on leg cadence (pitch, strides per minute) and stride length.
With 5 x Heart Rate zones and vibrate / audible HR zone alarms and Target Pace alerts it has all the essential features I’d expect to find in a watch at this price aimed at Runners.
Changing Between Activities…
When training you do have the option of 3 sports modes. Walking – Running or Cycling. Great, I thought, the Epson SF-810 can be easily switched between RUN and BIKE, perfect for my brick sessions (run-bike-run etc) … well not exactly. I can change from RUN to BIKE, but this is the precise button sequence required to make that change (PS, I know you can do it via the APP… but not everyone has their phone on them all the time…)
- Top Right Button (TRB) to enter TRAINING MODE… wait for GPS to Synch (this is reasonably quick)
- Press and HOLD Top Left Button (TLB) to enter settings
- Press Bottom Right Button (BRB) x 1 to get to ACTIVITY
- Press BRB x 2 to move to BIKE
- Press BLB to get back to MENU
- Press TRB to move up to BACK option
- Press BLB to get back to TRAINING MODE
That’s EIGHT button presses to change sport mode. What I’d like to see is enter TRAINING MODE, then choose between Run, Bike or Walk, then start training. There may be a shortcut button I am not aware of. I have asked Epson the question. I will update accordingly.
There’s more to come though I’m afraid. So, I’ve pressed 8 buttons to change from RUN to BIKE and I have got EXACTLY THE SAME screens as I had before… There is no difference in TRAINING SCREENS from one sport to the next.
Maybe I am expecting too much from the SF810, but it would make the watch a lot more appealing to CYCLISTS if the CYCLING activity had a set of default screen relevant for cyclists like SPEED (not pace), altitude ascent / descent data etc.
Is the SF810 a MULTISPORT watch?
I think it is expecting too much from a cyclist to have to move to SCREEN SETTING mode each time they want to go for a ride. There are 3 customisable screens available to the user the problem is those screen choices are used across ALL activities. With this in mind, I have NOT put the SF810 in to the CYCLISTS or MULTISPORT category as I cannot see many customers who want to have to enter SETTINGS each time they change from running to cycling.
HOWEVER, it must be stressed that Epson do NOT pitch the SF810 at cyclists. They clearly brand it as a RUNNERS GPS watch. Toggling the activity from RUN to BIKE really only helps to collate your training sessions by ACTIVITY in the App or online, other than that, it doesn’t really do much
Time to Retrain the Brain
I’ve been testing HRM’s since 1999 and using them since 1996. I can generally pick up any watch, any brand, any model and get to grips with the button pressing sequences in just a few minutes. It’s NOT a criticism, but I had to read a manual and watch a video to get to grips with what button did what and, in particular, how to get back to previous screens. If you have previously used a Garmin or Polar, you will take a couple of days to re-train your brain to operate the SF810.
|Lap||Manual Lap, Automatic Lap Distance, Automatic Lap Time, Programmable Lap|
|Interval||Time, Distance, Heartrate Zone, Programmable|
|Goal Function||Distance, Time|
|Light||Auto Light, Manual Light|
|Alarm||Distance Alarm, Pace Alarm, Heartrate Alarm|
|Time zone adjustment||Auto, Manual|
|Number of measurement screens||Up to 4 screens|
|Number of measurement items per screen||Up to 3 measurements|
|Selectable measurements||Distance, Lap Distance, Guide Distance, Pace, Lap Pace, Average pace, Speed, Split Time, Lap Time, Time, Guide Time, Calories burned, Stride, Pitch, Altitude, Cumulative ascent in altitude, Cumulative descent in altitude, Gradient|
|Width||Max. 44.5 mm|
|Thickness||Max. 14.12 mm|
|Battery life GPS off||20 days|
|Battery Life GPS on||24 Hours|
|Battery life GPS & Heart Rate on||20 Hours|
|Battery life Heart Rate on||40 Hours|
|User interface||4 buttons + tap|
|History capacity||400 laps|
|Smart Stride Sensor||Yes|
|Connection to Computer||USB|
|Connection to Smart phone||Bluetooth 4.0|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Optical|
|LCD size||Diameter 28.2 mm|
|LCD Reverse display mode||Yes|
|Runsense View web app||Yes|
|Supported web browser||Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 9 or later|
|Runsense View smart phone app||Yes|
|Supported smart devices||For the latest compatibility please go to https://www.epson.co.uk/runsense|
|Supported OS||Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1|
|Measurement modes||Run, Walk, Bike|
|What’s in the box||Cradle, Information sheet, Main unit, Quick Start Guide|
Next Model UP
This is the top of the range for Epson’s GPS Runners watch in the Runsense range
Next Model DOWN
The model below is in the Epson Runsense range is the SF-710. The SF-710 has, as far as we can see, identical features and functions but it loses the OPTICAL HR sensor.
If you want to add heart rate monitoring to the SF-710 you would need to purchase the optional HR sensor strap. The SF-710 will work with any Bluetooth 4.0 HR transmitter (so it could work with something like the Mio Fuse … or a Polar H7)
UPDATE > Dec 2016. The Epson SF-810 is still a competent GPS running watch. However, there are many other good alternatives. For runners looking for GPS based speed & distance, heart rate and even built-in activity tracking please also check these alternatives. The Polar M400 (heart rate belt), Polar M200 (wrist based heart rate), Garmin Forerunner 35 (wrist based) or the best technical runners watch on the market the Garmin Forerunner 235 (wrist based HR) or the TomTom Spark 3(wrist based HR) with built in music store