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Garmin Forerunner 405 review




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Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Forerunner 405 Heart Rate Monitor (Automatic - Black)


Our Score:


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.


April 6, 2009, 5:38 pm

I looked at this a few months ago when i was looking for a GPS training aid, but opted for the 305 as it was a bit cheaper and the controls looked considerably less fiddly than the ones on the 405. Also, i hear that the 405 is a pain to operate in the web due to its touch controls, rather than having physical buttons.

I don't use any of Garmin's software solutions, i use SportTracks to log all my runs, its a great piece of software, and it is free.


April 6, 2009, 5:59 pm

Why didn't you review the newer 'CX' version? https://buy.garmin.com/shop... I hope it comes in at the same price.

Brian ONeill

April 6, 2009, 6:17 pm

I got the wife one of these and she hated it. Two points with it:

1:You need to be a geek to use it, the interface is very fiddly. She did not have the patience for it.

2:Coverage can be ropey, she found running on paths/forests etc the gps signal would drop.

She ended up selling it to a friend, he likes it ok because he has the patience to persiverve with it. So bottom line make sure you like your tech before buying it :-)

James Morris

April 6, 2009, 6:37 pm

@Simon The touch controls are okay when you get used to them. You need to use them exactly as Garmin intends, though.

@Lamboy Garmin didn't have the CX yet to send me. It's due Q2, so I expect I'll get one when it arrives in the UK.

@Brian ONeill Totally agree. As I said in my review, all those menus on the watch are not that user friendly - you need to read the PDF manual to understand them. In fact, I submitted this review a few days late because I spent too long scratching my head and thinking WTF? But then it clicked, and I started to find the 405 quite manageable. The point is that once you've set things up you spend most of your time in Training mode, where you're essentially just using the two buttons plus the touch ring to scroll through the views as you run. Not tried it in a forest, though, only roads and parks in London, where I've had no trouble keeping a lock - although it does take a minute or two to fix satellites in the first place.


April 6, 2009, 7:50 pm

If you think the 405 is ropey for GPS reception then try the 305 and see what a massive improvement it is. I got the 405 for my wife and she's fairly hapy with it, but as you say it's just a case of setting it up correctly and then pressing go. She doesn't use preset training sessions or virtual partner, ornly recording her times and HR.

Hers picks up satellites indoors, when we go for a run our mate with a 305 has to leave hers outside for 5 minutes before we go.

James Morris

April 6, 2009, 8:46 pm

The 405 does have an improved satellite receiver over the 305. I did find it took longer to pick up a fix in a conservatory than outside. GPS receivers really need direct, unobstructed line of sight.


April 6, 2009, 9:05 pm

Lovely gadgets but ultimately just pointless novelties swamping you with needless information in my opinion. Most people run the same circuits week in week out and once you've got your mile/km markers set all you need is a stopwatch with lap-counter. HR is nice until you realise you run according to how you feel irrespective of what its reading and the rest is just fluff.


April 6, 2009, 9:18 pm

@ClownShoes I must admit that the 305 does take a bit of an age to lock on to satellites.


April 7, 2009, 12:06 am

How is the battery on this? Does it take a standard watch battery?

I hope its a li-ion :)

Also how long does the battery last?


James Morris

April 7, 2009, 2:15 am

The battery will probably last a couple of weeks on standby/low power - where the thing is acting as just a watch. I left it lying around for about a week and it used up half the battery. But in use it appeared to consume a little over 10 per cent of its battery per hour, so that would be 8-10 hours of use. It has a Lithium-Ion battery you recharge with a clip-on attachment.


April 7, 2009, 2:17 am

I've been using my 405 for 9 months now so feel entitled to weigh in with my tuppence worth.

First gripe: being wireless, there is no way of retrieving the data if the watch decides to play up. It has only done this once, but it was right after the Great North Run so I lost the data that I had trained for 6 months to attain.

Second gripe: when the bezel gets wet, either from rain or a sweaty sleeve, the 405 tends to enter malfunction mode wherein it will not respond or function other than to beep intermittently. This was the cause of Gripe 1, and to be fair you can hit both buttons to lock the bezel, but then you have to unlock it to view your data on the move.

My wife uses a 205 which although chunkier and slower to lock onto GPS, keeps those signals better and exhibits no flakiness in the wet whatsoever.


April 7, 2009, 1:57 pm

Lukeotron - you can set the data to rotate, so it will show you each data item for a set period of time and then move on to the next one. If you do this you can lock the bezel and then run to your heart's content.


June 5, 2009, 2:39 pm

Hi All, my husband got me the 405 to train for an upcoming half marathon. Got it yesterday, charged it and started reading the manual. Seemed easy at first until I tried to turn it off! fairly legitimate thing to do to save the battery and stop it from bipping due to battery getting low, right? Well as you all know by now, there is no power off option other than power save mode. So last night, charged it again, then pressed the 2 right-hand side buttons, which locked the bezel, but did not stop it from using the battery (4% left this morning). What am I missing? Isn't that how I am supposed to put in on sleep mode? Guys, please help. ta.

James Morris

June 9, 2009, 6:38 pm

I would recommend you leave it plugged in and charging when not in use. That way it will always be 100% when you need it.

Sweat and Tears

June 10, 2009, 9:33 pm

Sandrine, I think if you turn off the GPS function (only turn back on when ready to use)it will conserve some battery. I am not sure about this. Search your manual or search the net to confirm.

I really wish Garmin would design a power off function into a future version. I understand not having battery access for the purpose of waterproofing, but just the click of a button (with confirmation) to power it off would be great.


June 27, 2012, 2:16 pm

I bought one for my wife but after less than 18 months it now holds the full charge for about 15 mins then shuts down. Asked garmin about it and they said try a software download(which didn't help)or buy a new battery for around £80. Needless to say I'm not impressed and wont be buying any Garmin in future.

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