Garmin 405 vs Garmin 305 I have the Garmin 305 and am pretty happy with it EXCEPT the actual size of the watch and the wait to find satellites. I am a smallish woman and the 305 is large compared to my wrist and also rubs by wristbone sometimes on long runs. And even though I pretty much use the 305 in the same place all the time (home) it sometimes takes a couple of minutes to find satellites (frustrating for me and my dog when we're both ready to go!)
Has anybody who's used the 405 previously used the 305? If so, how do they compare? I'm thinking of buying myself a little present (I got a bonus at work) and wonder if moving up to the 405 would be worth it. What do you think?
I used the 305 since it came out and was excited to get the 405. Now, several months later, I am back to the 305. A huge disppointment. I can only imagine it was designed by a bunch of engineers who have never actually gone for a run.
The 405 looked great out of the box and playing around with the touch sensitive bezel was cool while I sat at my desk. The three field only display was a bit disappointing and while I could not get the USB wireless connector to work, I figured it was a PC issue (apparently it is a Garmin issue I have since learned).
Here are the key comparisons between the 305 and 405 and why I'd stick with the 305.
(1) GPS Accuracy - For running or walking the accuracy obviously matters a lot. I have seen the 405 off by as much as 15% for a measured mile where the 305 was spot on. My assumption is that to fit the GPS antennas into a smaller form factor they ended up giving away some accuracy. It is incredibly frustrating to be running a 7:30 mile and check your watch to see it shows you at a 10:40 pace.
(2) Information viewing - You are limited to three fields per page and they are harder to see. In order to see your HR you have to tab through a page (by touching the bezel- more on that later). It is not easy to manage while running and if you have to do something like reset your HR monitor you will pretty much need to stop to do it (same goes for any settings adjustment).
(3) Form v function - smaller than the 305, but in reality not by much and a nicer looking watch. Sitting at my desk (or standing in a store) and looking at the watch it will be impressive, and you will enjoy running your finger along the bezeland seeing it change settings, and will also enjoy playing with the touch sensitive bezel. They tried to get fancy as everything is driven by touching the bezel. This works great standing still but is totally unrealistic when you are actually running. Worse yet, the instructions actually warn you that the touch sensitive stuff does not work when it is wet (yes, that includes sweat). I ran with it today (decided to give it one more chance), and could not get the watch to switch to the second screen after a mile. It is insane that this does not work andthat they released the product with this flaw.
My sense is that Garmin rushed this product out the door due to market expectations and a need to get some revenue in the quarter (Garmin stock dropped 18% recently when they delayed their smart phone and I have to imagine they were rushing to get this out the door as well - maybe pulling people off the 405 to try to get the smart phone on track?).
All that said, the Garmin 305 is a great product and if you can get over the fact it is ugly you will find it is not cumbersome to run with. My guess is they will figure out the 405 issues at some point but based on what I have seen, these are HARDWARE issues, so software updates will not fix the problem.
I probably should have been clued into problems with the 405 when I saw some ads for the 305 in magazines this month - they are coming out with new features for the 305 (quick release strap so you can pull it off your wrist and stick it on your bike - funny thing, this is the order that the ad showed - obviously not any triathletes in the Garmin marketing dept....).
CB, I very much can agree and empathize with your experience...I felt that way for the first two runs. And then I read the manual. And then I paid attention to the displays, and customized what I wanted. For example, when viewing the satellites tab accuracy will show as ft. Starts out at 64ft and then quickly settles to 23ft for my last run. Garmin stated that satellite reception running through tree lined streets may be better on the 405. This was proven by my last two runs in Burlingame CA. The virtual partner is a pain to use or understand...if you donot read the manual. If you take the time to adjust and make your settings before your run it works out much easier. For example, I set the VP to 10min pace, set for auto scroll med, etc. The manual is not that thick or difficult to read. I first felt that the 405 was exactly as you wrote, and then I played with it and hit start while I was reading the manual. Did this a couple of times and bingo realized that the workflow of this setup is different but more simple/elegant compared to the 305. My biggest gripe was that Garmin had a buggy install becauuse the original software was only the ANT driver, but you really needed the ANT driver with Training Center combo. The manual was poorly written for this part only. I checked the website and the garmin blog to find the fix. FYI, go to the forum or blog to really find out the latest bugs and fixes. I re-read your post and noticed your bias was fairly stated in the first sentence: you have used the 305 since release. That's a long time and many runs to figure it out and get used to and set in your ways for the 305. The focus on the bezel really makes it a apples and oranges comparison. Im not saying anything bad about your post, maybe just a bit unfair or inaccurate comparison. I was tempted to go for the sweet deal at rei for the 305, and the high$$$ for the 405 may not be worth it for some. However, its nice if you are like me,where sometimes I have to go quickly from my run, quick shower and back to work and still be wearing the same watch. I wont do this all the time, but it saves me time and lightens my gym bag. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I've read several reports from people with small wrists having the wrist rubbing issue with the 305. Most of these people just wear a cheap sweat band under their 305 and the problem goes away. Another benefit of wearing a sweat band is that it keeps the battery/syncing contacts on the bottom of the 305 clean. The electrical contacts on the back of the 305 tend to corrode after repeated contact with sweaty skin. Some people have also noticed that their 305's battery tends to discharge very quickly if they sweat a lot. Wearing a sweat band also prevents this.
D.A. - I am an avowed manual reader and set about customizing the 405 immediately. The reality is that it has some major design flaws that in my view outweigh some of the benefits. My major issue with the 405, other than a surprising range in terms of accuracy (tree lined streets a few miles south of Burlingame), are the inability to use the bezel when wet (or sweating), which makes the use of the HR monitor and virtual TP irrelevant.
That said, with increased use I am finding additional reasons to dislike the device. The most recent one is the "ah ha" moment that while it is great to be able to lock the device by pressing both buttons at once, the issue with having them so pronounced and on the same side is that when you slide it into a bag, sock or shoe for travel, it constantly locks and unlocks with the slightest bit of jostling - best (worst) of all is the reset function - if you hold the buttons down long enough, the device resets itself. Again, try sticking this in a soft pouch in a carry on bag, or stick the watch in your jeans pocket for a while and you will see what I mean. The design aspects of this are great, but clearly when the designers were sitting around the table the aesthetic "form over function" guys won out in the battle against the folks pushing function for a what should be a training device first and a cool gadget second. Contrast this with the 305 where the function guys clearly beat out the form guys (Steve Jobs would go through the roof if someone offered the 305 as an Apple product design), but the net result is a device that does exactly what it is supposed to.
It is interesting that you mentioned the ANT driver because while it was a challenge at first, it was solvable. As such I did not even mention it in my review but there are clearly some hurdles. The good news is those are pure software problems which can be resolved over time. Some of the hardware design issues are not fixable for those of us who bought early.
I shudder to think what the Garmin smart phone will be like. Hopefully the function folks will have some say again because I generally am a huge fan of Garmin and would love to see them dominate both the device market for cycling and running (I have the Edge 305 as well - a fantastic device) as Polar has made zero useful strides in the past few years (other than the soft chest strap) - I finally stopped buying on Polar watch #5 when I picked up the Garmin 305.
Let me start by saying that I have never used the 305 model, so I don't have that reference for comparison. In my opinion this watch is awesome! It does exactly what I need it to do.
Let me respond to some of the issues you raised:
I have absolutely no issues with the USB wireless connector. It worked perfectly from the start.
(1) GPS Accuracy - the accuracy has been dead on for me.
(2) Information Viewing - I have no trouble at all viewing the information while running. You don't have to tab through pages to see your HR, you can set the watch to scroll through the pages automatically. In fact, if you format your pages to show the information most important to you and set the page scanning to fast, you don't need to touch your watch at all during the run - which is great. I've also never had to reset my HR during a run.
(3) Form v Function - The 405 is sleeker and much better looking than the 305. Again, I'm not sure why you need to touch the bezel while running. The only time I use the bezel control during a run is to turn on the night light, otherwise I don't need to touch it. However, when I've had issue with wet fingers, I just wipe them off on a dry part of my body and the bezel works fine the next time I touch it.
I do not see why you have such a negative view of this product. My experience has been nothing but positive.
Please don't let the negative reviews dissuade you from buying this product. I think it's a great watch.
Thanks for your detailed insights. From your post and others I've read, seems like I'll stick with the 305. I am very happy with the accuracy and ease of use, I just need to find some way to make it not rub my wrist so much. And the only other thing, and this is minor, is that it does not calculate calories expended unless you are using the GPS. I would think they could make an estimate when you are using the footpod indoors, but they don't. (The Polar R200sd does do this.)
Maybe they will get the kinks worked out of the 405 sometime and I'll think about it then. Until then, I guess it doesn't pay to be an early adopter.
I initiated this discussion, and so far I am SO glad I didn't buy the 405. From what I've read on this board and on others dealing with the same issue, it seems that those who previously had the 305 or 205 are UNhappy with the 405, whereas those who seem to be happy didn't have the other to compare it to. For many who are happy, it seems like it's their first experience with GPS training watches. So I can see how if you didn't have anything to compare it to, the issues that it has wouldn't be that big a deal compared to the greatness of having a GPS watch.
There is the issue of form over function, which I guess is a matter of preference, but what is really disturbing and why I won't buy the 405 until some improvements are made, is that a good number of people have posted issues around the accuracy of the tracking. I can't remember where I saw the post, but one person had worn both devices at the same time and posted the maps produced by both. There were differences in the locations of the runs! Maybe he had a clunker, but he posted that the 405 more than once started his run at a different place than he had actually started it. That's enough for me -- form is worthless if it's just not accurate.
I have 305 and I decided not to buy the new 405 because: a) I am using the 305 while kayaking (it is waterproof to 1 m) and I fear 405 is not;
b) When running in a new area or city I can use the basic map of the 305 to backtrack (very useful when you are lost! ) and I read a post from the developers that the 405 does not have even the crude maps that 305 has and that basically sealed the deal fore me.
I apologize if this is an ***obvious*** point, but I have found that there is dramatically better performance in finding satellites if you turn on your watch and leave it on the ground/on a rock/on a post that is in relatively clear view of the sky while you stretch or get ready to run/ride. Rather than turn on the watch and put it on, I suggest to all users to try this simple trick. You will have a much better experience using the watch (mine is a 305).
Just for the sake of accuracy and interest, the 405 series is water resistant to the same extent as the 305, i.e. it meets the same IPX7 standard. Also please note that "water resistant" is not the same as "waterproof".