Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Watch Review

Posted: May 14, 2011 in Reviews, Running Gear
Tags: , , ,

MSRP: $249.99

The Garmin 405 offers a sleeker version of the Garmin 305 with additional features, such as a bezel touch-screen and a USB stick for easily transporting your run data to a computer

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pros: The Garmin 405 functions well, contours to the wrist and is less bulky than many Garmin models. It is easy to snyc with your computer with the USB stick — no wires required. The watch offers detailed training information on anything you can think of that pertains to your run — including your running pace, location, lap pace, calories burned and heart rate. The Forerunner 405 comes with a chest strap to take heart rate readings.

Cons: As with many Garmin watches, the 405 has so many options that it can be confusing the navigate the interface.

Runner: Marcel Walker

They say first impressions are everything. After first taking my Garmin Forerunner 405 out of the box, the first thing I thought was “Where are all the buttons?” It seemed strange that a device that promised so much would only have two buttons. But, upon further examination, I realized that the 405’s first impression didn’t reveal the entire picture. I learned more the further I tumbled down the rabbit hole.

Instead of having the device cluttered with tons of buttons, the people at Garmin had the ingenious sense to make the rim of the watch act as a touch-sensitive bezel – much like an iPod. And while this definitely saves a lot of space, it can get complicated with many functions relying on you to “press & hold” here and “click and move” there.

For anyone that’s owned the Forerunner 305, you’d immediately notice how much smaller this new design looks. While it certainly seems smaller, the 305 and 405 both weigh about the same and share the same thickness. It’s only the 405’s circular design that makes it look less bulky. And for me, that’s good enough. One of my biggest apprehensions about getting the 305 was its brick-like look.

Now for the features. There’s plenty to talk about here but I’ll start with the reason that many would want to use the device in the first place: Tracking and logging your runs. Like the previous models, the 405 is equipped with GPS to track your location, speed and distance while you pound the pavement. Locking on to the satellites hasn’t been a problem either; it’s been picking up the signal fairly quick. It also gives you the option to monitor your heart rate if you wear the heart rate strap. One clever new feature is the Virtual Partner function, which allows you to “race” yourself based on information logged from a previous run. This feature is great on those days you want to push yourself a little bit harder.

Another new feature to the 405 unit is its wireless syncing mechanism. Instead of the old plug-in method, the 405 comes with what looks like a small USB storage stick. They call it the ANT+ and all you do is plug it into your computer. You don’t even have to take the watch off, it just needs to remain within range and all your info is synced. Once you register on Garmin’s website (yup, it’s free), you can track your runs on either a desktop or web-based interface.

The Garmin Forerunner 405 isn’t perfect; the operating system could be a little more user-friendly. Also, just like the bezel on an iPod, if you get even a drop of moisture on it, it’ll do its own version of a seizure and become uncontrollable. But the battery life is great and once you’re used to the interface, getting it to perform any of its many functions is a snap. After a week with it, you’ll wonder how you ever ran without it

Related post: Garmin Forerunner 305 Review

  1. denise:) says:

    Thank you! I have been thinking about the Garmin but didn’t want the huge thing on my wrist. I’ve been using RunKeeper and have become addicted to the information it provides- but I’ve come to find out it’s not accurate. 😦 The 405 is now on my radar- thanks!

    • Marnie says:

      Glad this helped! I agree with you, the Garmin 305 is so huge, this 405 is so much sleeker and has all the features, plus some. It’s a great watch!

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