Package reviewed: Garmin Forerunner 405 with Heart Rate Monitor and USB ANT stick (Black)
The Global Positioning System has become an essential ingredient of navigation by land or sea. But the technology has many other uses. It's great for tracking where you have been and how fast you have been travelling, too. This makes it ideal for measuring sports activities. Garmin has been taking advantage of these capabilities for some years now, and its devices have become increasingly sophisticated. Latest in the line is the Forerunner 405, which packs a GPS into a wrist device around the same size as a G-Shock watch.
The last Forerunner we looked at, the 301 was rather like strapping a small mobile phone to your arm. But the 405 doesn't give away its true powers in quite such an obvious fashion. In fact, it looks just like an ordinary sporting timepiece, and comes in a choice of green or black.
The Forerunner 405 package contains more than just a GPS-enabled watch, too. There's a USB dongle called the ANT stick, which looks like a memory key but is in fact for transferring data wirelessly from the watch to your PC for analysis. A curious strap is also included, which is actually a wireless heart-rate monitor (HRM), although you can also buy the watch with just the ANT for about £20 less.
Other accessories are available separately, including a Foot Pod and GSC 10 bike sensor. The Foot Pod costs around £60, and uses the motion of your feet to calculate distance and pace when training indoors, where no GPS signal is available. The GSC 10 tracks your bike's speed and cadence, measuring your pedalling strokes per minute. All of these devices connect to the Forerunner 405 wirelessly.
So the Garmin offers a host of training assistance possibilities. Unlike most sat-nav devices, however, you will need to study the manual quite extensively before getting started with the 405. The paper Quick Start Manual only provides the very basics, such as how to navigate the watch interface; how to charge the device with the supplied adapter; and how to pair with external peripherals. This isn't enough to get you collecting exercise data.
In order to get to grips with this, you will need the full manual on the supplied CD. Strangely, the training tool software doesn't accompany this. There are actually two alternatives here - a standalone desktop app and/or a pure web-based interface, although both need the drivers for the ANT USB stick installed to work. These must be downloaded from Garmin's website, too. This makes sense for the web-based version, Garmin Connect, as it operates online anyway. But it would have been handy to have had Garmin Training Center and the USB drivers on the CD, just in case you don't have an Internet connection handy.