The Epson Runsense SF-810V: a watch for serious runners

A GPS-equipped training watch from a surprising source

For most people, Epson means one thing only – printers – and it has done since 1968. But Seiko’s daughter company produces other stuff too. Indeed, one of the first modern gadgets I wrote about was an Epson scanning translator that came out nearly 30 years ago. To a reasonable degree of accuracy (at least so far as I could tell), it would read Japanese and translate it to English and vice versa.

So here’s another Epson product you wouldn’t perhaps expect – a utilitarian training watch for serious runners. A hundred smartwatches will quantify your running habit, along with dozens of other features, but this chunky machine concentrates on one field only.  

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Chunky it may be, but it’s light (52g) and hardly noticeable on the wrist. The GPS-equipped device is suitable for running, walking (more my style) and cycling and it’s packed with useful features. There’s a Smart Stride Sensor that gives stride length and pitch readings in real time; there’s an optical heart-rate sensor providing monitoring without the need for a chest strap; and it’s water resistant to 50m (I’ve no idea why). The reason the Runsense is relatively expensive becomes clear the moment you turn it on – it gets a satellite fix within seconds, something plenty of car satnavs can’t achieve.

For more exercise-related watches, see the Withings Activité and TomTom Golfer. To find out about the Apple Watch Sport and its designer, read our interview with Jony Ive

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