One month ago, I got the Garmin Forerunner 405 as a birthday present from my parents. I have since taken it out for a couple of runs and found it right to put together a review now.
The watch is $219.99 according to the website. The Garmin FR 405 is a light watch that I don`t even feel on my wrist when running. It is very accurate, beeps at my predefined splits, lets me transfer data wirelessly to my computer and measures distance, elevation or pace among others. The only downside I found was the size of the watch around my tiny wrists. On the run it doesn`t bother me at all, however.
Facts (according to the Garmin website):
- weight: 60g
- battery life: 2 weeks in power safe, 8 hours in training mode
- water resistant: yes (IPX7)
- Optional accessories: HR monitor (some versions), Footpod (for treadmill running), Bike Cadence Sensor, wrist strap kit (for runners with smaller wrists) and others.
The wristband is a little big for me but my wrists are tiny.
The watch has a rather inflexible band, with a “regular” watch closure (where you pull one end through a metal ring, you get the idea). The band is further secured by a little plastic band that sits in one of the holes along the watch-band. It also features two buttons: a Start/Stop and a Lap/Quit one. The bezel (the ring around the display) is touch sensitive and is scrolled like the wheels on an iPod. It is not very touch sensitive but you can configure this. It comes with a backlight that can be turned on by touching the bezel with two fingers. Also, there are the fields “time/date”, “gps”, “training” and “menu” on the bezel, that you select by lightly pressing your finger on the area.
Ready to charge.
The watch is charged using a clip that holds on to the watch and connects in the back. It is relatively easy to put on but in bad light it might be a little tricky.
Almost like a USB stick – it connects to my mac.
Finally, the watch comes with a sensor that you can connect using USB. It allows you to import data onto your computer (or mac) and export workouts or training plans onto the device.
Other than the AutoLap, AutoStop and automatical scroll, the watch lets you choose between training mode, a simple, invterval or advanced workout. You can enter a goal pace and have a virtual partner racing you, that will show you whether you are ahead or behind. Furthermore there are date and alarm options as well as customizable screens for working out.
You can even choose a type of running workout
For advanced workout you can set specific alarms that will inform you whether you are too fast or too slow. These workouts can only be created using Garmin Connect online or the Garmin Training Center application on your computer.
Interval workouts consist of rest and exercise times that can be configured on the watch and for simple workouts you choose a time or distance you want to cover and the watch informs you at the halfway point and stops at the end.
Some runners have problems with the touch bezel on the run but so far this has not bothered me much. I did find that it can be hard to navigate as it is not extremely sensitive but then again not slightly sensitive. During the run (or whenever else) you can of course lock the bezel. I usually view time, pace and distance on the screen and therefore don`t need to switch between screens.
For accuracy, I would say that the watch is in fact very accurate. I used it on the track as well as in the forrest and on the road. Of course if the course winds a lot, the distance might be less accurate as it does not receive a signal constantly. I had no problems running in the forrest and distances that I used to measure using the gmap-pedometer are very precise in my opinion. I heard of runners struggling with the accuracy however, especially when they measured a course with two watches and the pace or distance was rather far off. I understand that this does really make a difference – when for example the pace is off by half a minute.
For example, the watch measured my 10K race short, but only by a few yards. Normally races are expected to be measured longer as you often don`t run exact tangents.
Finally, you can save your starting position and use a compass to find where you went from, which can be helpful especially for trail runs. It also remembers the satellites it connected to last, making the search for gps signal even faster. On average it takes only a few seconds anyways – outsides.
Easily readable, even in the dark.
Analyzing the data:
I really like to see elevation as well as pace, speed or routes ran on my computer. The numbers really help me with analyzing my runs as I tend to slow down without really noticing it. I also like that I have all of my runs at hand and can see monthly stats as well as subcategorize workouts in folders. I find that transferring data to and from the device only ever works on second attempt.
Over all, I like the Garmin Training Center app as well as the Garmin Connect website. I will write more about the different logging tools (including Dailymile) in the future though!
My final opinion:
The watch is definitely not the cheapest but I am more than happy to use it. I started loving running a lot more now that I don`t have to run on precalculated routes. It takes a lot of the stress out of it. It connects extremely fast to satellites and works precise. You can analyze all of your data on the PC or on the watch (which is however not extremely handy). I like that I can use the watch in the dark, for interval and tempo or speed workouts just as well as for easy runs and have options to run on the treadmill or bike with it, if I get more gear. I do not like the wristband too much but as it does not slide around my arm at all while running and I could always put on a sweatband underneath, I don`t need a thinner one. In conclusion I think watch-to-PC (or vice versa) transferring is fairly easy after you set up both devices (I haven`t tried watch-to-watch yet) and also the charger works well though you have to make sure it is really clipped on. I think the watch is worth its money for beginners as well as advanced runners who care about splits, paces, intervals, warm-ups, cool-downs and what not.
Please leave any comments, experiences or questions below!
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