Garmin Forerunner 405 Keeps on Tracking

by Dave Atkins on August 2, 2010

in Technology How-To

As an avid runner and cyclist, I wanted to track my workouts more effectively. So about 3 years ago, I purchased the Garmin Forerunner 405–at that time, a brand new product. Several thousand miles later, it is still the best choice for me.

The Garmin Forerunner looks like a regular digital watch–not an oversized data console. It fits under a long sleeve shirt like a regular watch. But it contains a GPS antenna and wireless data transmitter to accurately and effortlessly records workout data. That data is then automatically uploaded to a website which displays a google map of the workout and graphs displaying the workout data.

I still have not taken advantage of all the features of the watch which include the ability to configure a “virtual training partner,” but I have found the following features useful:

  • Most features are managed through a “touch ring” around the bezel. You tap the bezel to change display screens and scroll through options. The touch ring is not perfect–it does not work through gloves in zero-degree weather, for example–but it is a simpler and less confusing interface than watches with too many buttons.
  • The digital display can be customized. You might choose to show the total distance, average pace, and heart rate on one screen while showing current pace or heart rate in large numbers on another screen. As you run, you can quickly tap the bezel to cycle through these screens.
  • The watch recharges through a simple clip. A full charge contains enough power to record long events like century bike rides and marathons.

The only criticisms I’ve had with the Garmin are:

  • Removing the USB stick abruptly from a computer can sometimes cause a reboot.
  • The watch could be just a little smaller–it still looks big on my scrawny wrists.
  • The menus and navigation of features can be a little intimidating. The simplified interface of two buttons and a touch bezel makes routine tasks easy, but it can take some work to figure out what is in all those menus.
  • The GPS elevation is not very accurate for relatively flat terrain. But I think it is about as accurate as possible and better than anything else I’ve tried.

My strongest recommendation for the Garmin is based on its simple durability and reliability. I tried other products like RunKeeper–a free/upgradable app that turns your iPhone into a tracking device and then posts your workouts to social media sites. However, I found the GPS much less accurate–dropping whole sections of trail runs–and the battery life unacceptable–leaving me lost in the woods with a dead cell phone.

The Garmin just works and works well. After nearly 3 years of running and cycling, it keeps on working and has never lost data or died in the middle of a race. I’m not afraid to take it into the shower with me OR wear it on a job interview.

Disclosure: The hyperlink to the Garmin Product is an Amazon associates referral link–I receive a small commission if visitors follow the link and purchase the product. I have no connection to Garmin.


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