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Epson Runsense SF-810 - review and first aid for mac users!

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Epson Runsense SF-810 review

As this year I decided to go to O-ringen (more about this read here), I started to look for a various training gear for my training and upcomming races. For the very first gear I was looking for a GPS watch with training functions, heart rate monitor etc. On the end my list came down to the 2 potential options: TomTom Runner Cardio and Epson Runsense SF-810. Both have integrated heart rate monitor, which is quite cool as you don't need any additional strap on your chest. Yes, you thinking now, wtf - from when Epson is doing watches. Actually it's Seiko corporation and that tells everything. Seiko name is coming time to time, e.g. on the charger.

It was very hard choice - both watches has a lot of features and at the same time they both different. Check my comparisation below:

  PROS CONS
TomTom Runner Cardio
  • cool apple'ish design - it looks gorgeous
  • easy to use
  • training programmes
  • better price in compare with Epson watch
  • not accurate (I found quite many reviews with results like 0,5 km difference...), and for me accuracy was one of the main part
Epson Runsense SF-810
  • long lasting battery
  • advanced GPS sensor
  • built-in heart rate monitor
  • a lot of measured parameters like (more than 30 overall)
  • light, especially if you consider that there are built-in GPS and heart rate monitor
  • tap function with assignable functions
  • mobile app has basic design, but there is everything you need and coolest thing - you can setup your own multiple screens
  • basic web app - I would like to see there more options for the targets (now you can setup only km in time), lack of training programs (e.g. like on Polar personal training)
  • doesn't come with AC adapter (must be purchased separately) - it means you need a computer with USB to charge watch, but I guess now a lot of device manufacturers do that..
  • no software support for Mac (the only way to upgrade watch firmware is to use PC with Windows, but there is solution for Mac too - see below) - it's a shame
  • doesn't connect to Apple Healthkit

I like new gadgets, so I decided to take risk and go with Epson watch. Even if there was only 2 reviews on the Amazon and one of them is not very positive regarding software. However for everything there is a solution - to mac users - read below.

My biggest concern was support of Windows software only, but I managed to upgrade watch firmware in 30 minutes, which is fine.

My first impresions are positive. It is easy to use (again, there was mentioned review otherwise). I didn't noticed nothing really complicated or so, found all functions I needed etc. There are also a few small nice touches:

  • if watch is in sleep mode, after you move it, it will light up and automatically display screen
  • you can configure your own 4 screens, which are useful during trainign or race
  • really good backlight

One foolish thing I noticed - you can't adjust time manually, only by connecting to GPS... It means you need to go outdoor to setup time for the very first time.... I hope it will come with next firmware updates.

All answers to Mac users

Oficially Mac OS X is not currently supported (but there is iOS app for iPhone), but I have no any problems to use it with Mac OS X Yosemite. I can easily sync watch with my iPhone 5  through Epson Run Connect app. And basically you will need connect to PC/Mac only if you need to upgrade watch firmware. My epson watch came with firmware 1.0 and at the moment there is 1.11 version already released, so I would say you must to update your watch at the very first step. Below is really easy instruction, how to update watch firmware (however it's not official, so you will be doing this on your own risk ;) ).

How to upgrade watch firmware on MAC

  1. Download free software VirtualBox - we will use it to load windows on your Mac. Skip this step, if you already have it.
  2. Install Windows free testing version with pre-installed IE10 - open terminal and run this command:

    curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS="10" bash

  3. Connect your Epson watch to Mac with USB cable.
  4. You will need to do all steps like on this instruction.
  5. Open VirtualBox, select Windows and open settings. Go to ports -> USB and enable USB controllers. Click plus icon to add USB filter - choose Seiko Epson SF Series from the list. Select this USB filter and click edit - delete everything except Name, Vendor ID and Revision. Save it. 
  6. Disconnect watch from Mac.
  7. Now select Windows in VirtualBox and open.
  8. After Windows has been started, download and install Epson Run Connect desktop app from here.
  9. Then connect watch with USB cable - it should automatically recognize watch and install drivers. 
  10. If everything was done correct, when you run app on windows, you will see popup with options to upload data from watch etc.
  11. Finally download watch firmware for SF-810 here and run it, follow on screen instructions.
  12. That's it!

If you have any questions, how to upgrade your epson Watch firmware, leave a comment below.

Further information

I'll hopefully update this review after a few month of use. so, if you interesting, just drop me a message to ms@guruapps.co.uk and I will send you a notification, when here will be some new information.

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