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2,343 of 2,366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great watch for running indoors or outdoors
After using the Forerunner 305 for over two years, I decided to replace it with the 405cx and am very happy with my decision. But first let me address the main criticism of the 405cx and its predecessor the 405--the bevel and touch system.

Garmin is not Apple, so the bevel and touch are not on par with the scroll wheel on an Ipod or the touch on an iPod...
Published on July 3, 2009 by Stephen M. Charme

versus
243 of 265 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Device Hindered by Unreliable Software
I've been using the 405CX for about 1 1/2 months and have found it to be a device with loads of potential. Sadly however, the full potential cannot be realized due to both unreliable software for the Mac and an unstable web site provided by Garmin. But before going into further detail on the software and web services, let me describe the GPS sport watch.

This...
Published on September 22, 2009 by J. Budzinski


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2,343 of 2,366 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great watch for running indoors or outdoors, July 3, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After using the Forerunner 305 for over two years, I decided to replace it with the 405cx and am very happy with my decision. But first let me address the main criticism of the 405cx and its predecessor the 405--the bevel and touch system.

Garmin is not Apple, so the bevel and touch are not on par with the scroll wheel on an Ipod or the touch on an iPod Touch--but they still work fine. Granted, if the bevel gets sweaty or I touch it with sweaty fingers (not something unexpected for an exercise watch) it becomes nonresponsive until I wipe off the sweat. But this is not a big deal for me. When I run I simply use auto scroll, which is unaffected by moisture. And if I want to override auto scroll by using a manual touch, it takes only a second to wipe the sweat off the bezel or my fingers. So don't be discouraged from buying this unit based on the bevel and touch.

While the 305 is a great unit, here is why I like the 405cx better. Note: I use this on an Intel powered Macbook running the latest edition of Leopard without any problems.

1. Although the 405cx is as thick as the 305, it is noticeably smaller and lighter.

2. I like the wireless ANT technology that automatically transfers data rather than having to place the unit in a USB cradle as with the 305 (though doing so is not a big deal), and also effortlessly pairs with my heart rate monitor and foot pod (which must be purchased separately).

3. The 305 has no power save mode, and I inadvertently drained the battery a couple of times when I forgot to turn it off after running or put it in the charger. The 405cx not only has an automatic power save mode, but you can turn off the GPS when running indoors to further save power. With the GPS turned off, barely any power is used. Also, this ability to turn the GPS off makes it easier to use the footpod when running indoors (the 305 first has to search for a satellite signal before realizing you are indoors, and that can take several minutes).

4. I find the bevel and touch system on the 405cx much easier to use than the buttons on the 305 in order to change various features. But I like electronic gadgets, and as I said above, the sweat issue is not a big deal for me.

Here are some tips:

1. Rinse the unit, the heart rate monitor and the strap after each use with plain water.

2. Keep the unit in the charging clip after each use to ensure you always have enough power. A simple touch of the bevel will tell you the percentage of power left. The charging clip can be powered via a USB port on your computer or via an electric outlet using an AC adaptor. The included AC adaptor with the 405cx is very clunky; I use the Apple travel charger for the iPod instead. Make sure the charging clip is properly attached to the unit or you will drain the unit instead of charging it (already happened to me).

3. Although the unit lists three training fields, there are actually four if you have the heart rate monitor--by default only the heart rate shows up in the first field, but you can modify that to include two additional data items.

4. Unlike the 305, where you can move forward and backward between data fields, the 405cx lets you move only forward. Therefore, when I run indoors I turn off my "outdoor only" data fields--grade, elevation, etc.--so that I don't waste time looking at them.

5. For a first time purchaser to whom cost is important, I would say get the 305. My reasons for switching to the 305 may not be important to you.

6. Buy the new version of the footpod rather than the old version (I have reviewed both on Amazon) for running indoors.

7. I use a Mac software program called Ascent that I think is far superior to Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center, and unlike the former does not require an internet connection to upload data.

Bottom Line: I have had this unit for three weeks and run over 100 miles both indoors on a treadmill and outdoors in all kinds of weather--light rain, cool nights, and hot humid days. I really like this unit. Due to the bevel and touch issues I would have rated it 4 ˝ stars if I could, but since there are no ˝ star ratings I gave it 5 stars despite those issues because for me they are negligible compared to the rich features on the 405cx. If you are a serious runner, you will love this unit.

Update July 22, 2009: I have now been using this for about six weeks and logged over 200 miles. In that time I have had the bevel lock up due to sweat only twice: once in the gym and once outside. The point is that this is even less of a problem than I thought, and should not discourage you from buying this unit.

A more serious issue is with the ANT technology. Sometimes I will get a message on my laptop that the transfer of data to the laptop from the 405cx was not successful. I then quit the Garmin Ant Agent on my laptop (and sometimes remove and reinsert the ANT USB stick as well), restart it, and have to go through this process three or four times before the data finally transfers to my laptop. The problem began after I updated the ANT software, and I see from Garmin forums that other users have experienced the same problem. Hopefully this is just a bug that Garmin will fix in a later update. While I would not let this discourage you from buying the 405cx, just keep in mind that a wireless transfer of data, while convenient, is not always problem free.

Update August 21, 2009: Garmin released an update for Macs (and I assume for PCs as well) that solved the download problems using the ANT technology. Now the data transfers work perfectly.

The more I use this watch, the better I like it. Here are my latest comments:

1. The backlight is far superior to that on the Forerunner 305. It produces a much brighter light that I appreciate when running at night either outdoors or on the treadmill at my gym (the treadmill area is kind of dim at night).

2. The battery life is excellent. Even with BOTH the backlight AND the GPS on for a couple of hours, battery capacity is still 75% when I am finished running. What this means as a practical matter is that if you forget to hook this watch up to the charger after a long run, you will still be good to go for your next run. The battery life per charge on the Forerunner 305 is not as good, and sometimes when I forgot to charge the 305 between runs, the battery would die during the second run.

3. The "sweat issue"--i.e. the watch becoming non-responsive when the bevel gets sweaty--has become a non-issue for me since I haven't experienced any problem in months. Perhaps that is because I periodically "towel off" the sweat on my wrist and forearm during a long run.

Update January 9, 2010: I continue to recommend this watch as the best GPS watch for serious runners. Using it this winter has been a pleasure. Here is why:

1. I have run in sub-freezing temperatures where the "real feel" with the wind has been as cold as zero. I keep this watch around the outside sleeve of my running jacket so the GPS function is not impeded (as it would be if the watch was covered up). The bitter cold has had no adverse effect of any kind so far.

2. When I take a break during my run at a local convenience store, the watch does not fog up when I go inside, and after I have warmed up, it does not fog up when I go back outside.

3. I have run in light snow, which I just shake off the watch periodically without any adverse effect (and I did not expect any, since I have run in light rain during warmer weather without any problems).

In short, this watch is performing great during a very cold winter in the Northeast.

Update May 24, 2010: I have been using this for almost a year, and it still works great. On a recent vacation to Mexico, the satellite signal was picked up quickly and without any problem, and the same was true when I returned home to New Jersey. Also, I ran outdoors in very hot and humid weather, and was drenched with sweat. It just took a couple of seconds to wipe it off the unit so that it would function properly. Here is a cleaning tip: At the end of each run I stop the timer, then touch the Time/Date at the top of the unit to switch to the time, and then lock the bezel before I rinse the watch off. I found that if I tried to lock the bezel while the unit was still on the exercise screen, sometimes I would accidentally restart the timer. But that doesn't happen if you switch to the Time/Date before locking the bezel.

I still believe that this is the best GPS watch on the market for serious runners.

Update June 27, 2010: The other day after I had finished running and transferring my data, I noticed that the time was wrong on my 405cx. I discovered that the screen had completely frozen, and nothing was responsive. I did some quick internet research and solved the problem as follows: I connected the 405cx to the charging clip, which I plugged directly into my PC instead of into my USB hub. Without touching the bevel, I simultaneously pushed in both buttons for about 30 seconds, after which the screen unfroze and the charging screen appeared. The watch has worked fine ever since. I have no idea what caused the problem, but in case it happens to someone else, I wanted to list what worked for me.

Update November 4, 2010: I have now had this unit for over 16 months, during which I have run about 1600 miles indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather year round, and it still works great. I have a few miscellaneous tips:

1. I have seen some reviews complain about battery life. After a 2 1/2 hour run outdoors I still have 70% of my battery life. However, I start with 100% because whenever my unit is not in use, I have it attached to the battery charger. I think that is a good habit to get into.

2. When traveling, I use the Garmin GPS travel case (which I have reviewed on Amazon). I always start with a unit that is 100% charged, then turn the GPS off, then lock the bevel so that the backlight does not accidentally come on if the unit is jostled in the case. If you take those three steps, then you will not wind up with a "dead" unit when you reach your destination.

3. I bought an extra battery charger and keep it in my carrying case. An extra charger is not expensive (you can buy it on Amazon) and ensures that you will be able to charge the unit while you are away. Sometimes when you are packing at the last minute it is easy to forget things, and I already had one trip where I forgot the charger. That's when I bought an extra one to keep in the case.

4. I have seen a review complain that there is no on/off switch. I agree that might be handy to have sometimes, but it really is unnecessary if you keep your unit in the charger when not in use and take the precautions that I mentioned while traveling.

5. Finally, I have seen a comment that the calories will count up even if you are not wearing the heart rate monitor. True, but the count will not be accurate because the 405cx specifically calculates calories based on heart rate. That means you need to wear the heart rate monitor if you want an accurate calorie count.

6. If you are considering buying this unit but still have some doubts, buy it on Amazon, which has a no questions asked return policy if it does not live up to your expectations in the first 30 days. Also, if you have an Amex card, use it to purchase the unit since Amex at no cost extends the mfrs warranty for one year, and will refund your entire purchase price if an item becomes defective after the mfrs warranty has expired but before the extra one year period from Amex has expired.

Update December 10, 2010: The price on this unit has dropped dramatically on Amazon because Garmin has now introduced a newer model called the Forerunner 410, which is much more expensive, and is also available on Amazon (though as of this date there is not a single review). I have not personally tested the 410, but based on what I have read, I am not prepared to switch. The biggest improvement is supposed to be that the bezel is no longer affected by sweat, but as noted in my review of the 405cx, I have not found that to be a major issue, though I know that some users have experienced problems. Aside from that, I have not read about any refinements that I think are important enough to justify paying substantially more money. Therefore if you are looking for a terrific running watch, I don't think that can currently find a better one than the 405cx, which I have now been using successfully for 1 1/2 years. And the best price is still on Amazon.

Update December 21, 2010: It is important to update the software on the 405cx to the current version to keep the 405cx working at its best. To see what version you currently have, go to Menu, Settings, System, About. Then Google "Garmin Forerunner 405cx software update," which will take you to the Garmin software update site for the 405cx. See what the latest version of the software is. If there is a newer version of the software than on your 405cx, then follow the instructions for updating. I suggest attaching your 405cx to the charger during the update process to ensure that the update is not interrupted due to a low charge.

I recently updated the software for my 405cx, which I had neglected to do for a while, and saw an immediate improvement in my satellite acquisition, which now literally takes just seconds. Doing an update is not difficult, and the directions are easy to follow.

Update March 6, 2011: This is the second winter that I have run outdoors with the 405cx in the Northeast. It has worked great. I have run in temperatures near zero, during the blizzard that we had in December, and in light snow, sleet, freezing rain, and an ice storm. I never had any problem with the 405cx under any of these conditions because at the beginning of each run I had the bezel set to auto scroll (which I always use, regardless of the weather) and locked the bezel.

Using auto scroll and locking the bezel eliminates the sweat and moisture issues that I have seen other reviewers complain about. In addition, when I stop to take a break and want to see the time, it takes me only a second to unlock the bezel, and then lock it again when I am ready to resume my run.

I have now been using this watch for 1 3/4 years and still believe that for the current price on Amazon you cannot get a better value for your running.

Update April 27, 2011: A week ago I noticed that the battery charge on my 405cx would always read 100%, even after I had been running for several hours. Some quick internet research showed that other Garmin owners were having the same problem. Here is how I solved it.

1. Turn the GPS on, press Training, and as soon as satellite acquisition occurs, start the timer just as if you were about to go running.

2. Turn on the backlight

3. Leave the watch like this until the battery drains completely (which happens faster with the backlight on)

4. Put the "dead" watch in the charger and charge it until it says "Complete."

Now the battery percentage should function normally, i.e., decrease with usage instead of always reading 100%.

Update May 23, 2011: The solution that I provided in my last update for the 100% battery issue appears to have been only temporary since the problem has resurfaced. Based on my internet research, it will take a new software update from Garmin to permanently fix the issue. In the meantime, if you keep your 405cx in the charging clip at all times when you are not using it, then your watch should not "die" on you during a run of even several hours.

I note that Garmin has now come out with the 610, which is supposed to be a new and improved version of the 410. Based on my research, I am not prepared to make the switch to the 610 (just as I was not willing to do it for the 410), especially at double the current cost of the 405cx, which I continue to use and enjoy, and for which Amazon still has the best price.

Update April 6, 2012: Last month I purchased another forerunner 405CX to replace the one that I had been using since June 2009 for a few reasons:

1. No matter what I tried, I could not get the battery life percentage to work. That was not a practical problem when I ran on the treadmill at the gym, because I never ran for more than an hour. But it became a big problem when I turned the GPS on and ran outside.

2. More and more frequently while running outside I would get a “battery low” signal despite having had the watch on the charger all the time since my last run, and the watch would “die” after about 75 minutes; yet other times I could run for 2 ˝ hours without a problem.

3. Other times, even before I started an outdoor run, when I switched from GPS off to GPS on, the watch would immediately go from 99% to 0% charge and “die.”

4. I called Garmin about these problems and was told that they indicated a failing battery. But I was able to live with them until their frequency increased to the point where I really needed to buy another watch .

5. I had my original watch about two years before any of these problems started , and ran about 2400 miles with it during that time, so I probably charged and recharged the battery more than the average user.

6. I purchased another forerunner 405cx because I like the watch. It also costs much less than the 410 and 610, neither of which I am sold on based on what I have read, not to mention my own experience in using the 405cx. Of course I purchased my new watch from Amazon, which still has the best price and a great return policy.

Update July 29, 2013: My second Garmin 405cx that I bought from Amazon sixteen months ago in March 2012 is working just fine. I still have not seen anything on the market that I think is a better running watch.
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184 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles ahead of the rest, January 30, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
I really did my homework in choosing a fitness watch with heart rate monitor. I ordered competing models from Garmin, Timex, Polar, and Suunto, to look them over closely and compare. Then I sent them all back but this one.

Someone pointed out that this Garmin watch is a little on the clunky side - that's true. I have a small wrist,and the watch part of it is long and flat and doesn't really fit nicely. They had to pack the GPS receiver inside the band. But no matter - with the band strapped tight, it stays put, and it's not so huge that people would say "What's that thing on her wrist?" It still looks like a watch. A funky sort of a watch maybe, but not a television set or anything.

I think you need to decide if you want GPS or not. I decided that yes, I really wanted GPS to measure my distance, because I run and jog and hike and travel quite a bit, so my routes are always changing. In my ideal world, I'd be able to pop up a map on my PC and see my route, and have a table showing all my workouts and how many miles they total, in running, biking, etc. I could finally answer the folks at the running store when they ask how many miles are on my running shoes.

I ended up with this Garmin, far and away the best choice for just what I wanted. All the other GPS solutions were separate strap-on-the-arm ones that contain AAA batteries that need to be replaced every 12 hours of operation - ouch, costly. Even with rechargables, it would be a hassle to be always taking them out, plugging them into the charger, putting them back in the arm-band-GPS unit. The watch on those other devices was just a receiver for the arm-unit. Granted, it meant that their watches could be a little smaller ... I really liked the design of the Timex the best, and the Polar was small too. But who wants to carry a clunky thing around their arm? That's one more thing to pack or lose, more batteries to buy and fuss with, more parts to break... forget it.

I also was swayed heavily by the Garmin software and tight integration with the PC and mapping software. None of the other brands, as of this writing (January 2010) had anything near as easy. Polar excels at fitness tracking, but not the mapping part. Timex and others require third-party mapping solutions that you have to manually upload and integrate with. Only Garmin had a simple plug-and-play solution. Plug in their little included USB "ANT Stick" (like a little thumb drive), and bring the watch near, and it automatically receives the data the watch stored from your workouts, loads it into your Garmin fitness/mapping program, and you can see all your stats and your routes etc.

I also liked that this unit is one of the few that tracks altitude, so you know not only how many miles, but how much total up and down you went (cumulative). It can display the data on a chart with any paramets you set, for example you can see the actual altitudes of your run along your route. That is so cool!

Other people trashed this unit because the bezel-touch operation is a hassle. One guy made the point that he just locks the screen into a view before his run starts, so he doesn't hassle with the touch thing going haywire. That is the perfect solution, and it's what I did too.

So with this Garmin watch, you only have to remember two pieces: the watch, and the charger. The charger clips right onto the watch to rejuice the battery inside. It ships with conversion plugs for international outlets.

Here's a tip that isn't clear from Garmin's specs: the GPS can be turned on or off. With the GPS on all the time, the watch will run out of juice after about 8 hours and will need to be recharged. With the GPS off, it lasts almost 2 weeks. It works like a normal watch, tells date and time, etc. Heart rate monitor. Etc.

I was worried that this watch wouldn't work if you, say, went out in the morning for a hike, stopped for lunch, continued hiking... 8 hours wouldn't be enough. The simple solution is to turn off GPS when you don't need it, and your battery will last as long as you need it.

So, if you can afford it, this one is the only way to go, if you want GPS. I've had it a month, after handling all the others, reading their manuals, etc., and settling on this one. I'm super happy with it and love Garmin. Next generation will be even better, when they fix the bezel issue and get the watch to be even more watch-looking, but this is miles ahead of the competition as is.

** Update - I've now had this model for almost two years, and still think it is fantastic. A few things I learned - The link to mapping software works great, I have two years' worth of running/biking stats and I can click on any single run to see the route. Since I travel a fair amount, it's a great memory of places. It's also great when I go to the running store for shoes and they ask "how many miles are on the pair you're wearing now?"

It also has a handy feature where you can set a starting point, such as the parking lot of a hiking area, and then once you're completely lost, have it point the way back - you get an actual arrow pointing and a distance indicator of how far away you are from that point. It's kinda buried in all the menus, so not something you'd be able to find quickly unless you did it regularly or had the user guide right there, but I used it twice and found it a comfort knowing that, even if I got lost, I wouldn't be lost.

It is also easy to switch between running and "multisport" modes, which means you can bike and jog and keep those stats separate. (That way, you're not apt to get impressed with yourself for running 20 miles, when in fact that day you were on a bike.) There is also an optional setting (that was delivered through a firmware update a year after I bought it, and probably is pre-installed on newer ones) that will detect if you've stopped moving for a given period, say a minute, and it will put the tracking to sleep till you start moving again. That helps you track your pace better if you have to stop for some reason and don't want that averaged into your overall time.

I have to mention that the wrist band closure is a bit of a hassle, if anyone from Garmin is reading. It has a little lock to keep the end from flapping, but in fact, it's really hard to push the locking end through the little hold-down. Just a wee bit of hassle, hardly worth mentioning. Everything else I said above is still the case. It's a great tool.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great replacement for my Polar HRM, January 23, 2010
By 
J. Flatt (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
I never write these things but I always read them. So for me to write a review means I was either impressed with the product or irritated by it.

In this case I was very impressed. I did a lot of research on several GPS based training watches and I kept coming back to Garmin. I love my nav unit for my car so I gambled on this watch knowing they aren't primarily a manufacturer of training gear.

I must say the watch when set up and calibrated works great for me. If you have issues with the bezel try to recalibrate it. I mainly only use it when I start my runs and it is intuitive and easy way to navigate the menus without a ton of buttons. I set up additional information screens, set it to auto switch the screens in a slow pace, and lock the bezel when I'm running. I'm not super picky about all the information I see, so for me it is generally pace (you have a ton of options to choose from for each item) distance, and HR info.

I've been on several 3-5 mile runs to see if it is accurate, and it works great. I took it recently on a 7 mile run through a dense park area and combined with my foot pod it accurately mapped and recorded the workout. I believe someone stated that you couldn't use the GPS and foot pod together, which is incorrect. I love that I can now see the elevation changes. I had no idea there was a 600 ft elevation change on one of my routes.

Lastly, I must say I find the HRM actually better than my old Polar unit, though the strap itself might be a tad bulky for smaller men and women. The watch itself is pretty small when you consider what is packed into it, and it looks like a watch not a GPS strapped to your forearm.

I run an average of 22 miles a week, and this is one of my favorite purchases yet.

Pros -
It looks and feels like a watch not a GPS strapped to your arm.
It is accurate and has a ton of display options.
I actually like and appreciate the bevel feature.
It's rechargeable, so you don't have to send it in when the battery dies. (Polar suck in that instance.)
You don't have to have a separate GPS unit, and it works well with a foot pod for treadmill or trail running.

Cons -
Price (I'm a cheap person I guess)
Size (however I totally understand considering what they have to pack in a watch)
HRM strap is somewhat bulky compared to Polar straps.

Well I hope some of this helps others if they were on the fence as I was.
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243 of 265 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Device Hindered by Unreliable Software, September 22, 2009
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
I've been using the 405CX for about 1 1/2 months and have found it to be a device with loads of potential. Sadly however, the full potential cannot be realized due to both unreliable software for the Mac and an unstable web site provided by Garmin. But before going into further detail on the software and web services, let me describe the GPS sport watch.

This GPS watch from Garmin is designed to be used while training to track things like route, speed, pace, time, heart rate, and other items of interest (e.g. if you have a bike, then you can track cadence). In this regard, the watch works pretty well for runners, walkers, and cyclists.

The watch utilizes a built-in GPS to track route and speed. GPS acquisition time is very fast -- typically less than 30 seconds. Tracking accuracy is reasonable -- I'd estimate about +/- 30 ft. Note that it is also able to track altitude, which is something I find useful as a cyclist.

Keep in mind that to track some things, you will need to buy additional accessories like a bike cadence sensor (one for each bike) or a foot pod. So the upfront cost may be substantial depending on your situation. But if you are an exercise junkie, then this may not be much of a concern.

General usability of the watch is OK once you get accustomed to the typical quirks most gadgets seem to exhibit these days. Ease-of-use isn't top notch or anywhere close to it. The watch uses a touch-sensitive bezel that can be both over- and under-sensitive. Nonetheless, you can grow accustomed to the menus and functions after a while and the quirks don't get in the way much on a day-to-day basis. The watch also has some nice customization abilities that can be used to arrange what items to display during workouts.

The interesting part of the watch package is the USB stick that allows you to sync the collected data. The stick plugs into a USB port on your computer and, in theory, automatically (and wirelessly) transfers workout information both to the computer and optionally the Garmin web site. But this is where things get very frustrating (on a Mac at least).

In short, Garmin is really struggling (as of 9/2009) to produce reliable and functional software. I have wasted countless hours dealing with their buggy Ant agent. Frequent Garmin software releases have yet to solve the many issues on both Leopard and Snow Leopard (I have tested on multiple Mac OS X versions). At least 50% of the time, the software fails to transfer properly -- even on repeated attempts. When this happens, there are no diagnostics to indicate the reason for failure. Worse still, the USB device sometimes causes kernel panics (the Mac equivalent of Windows' blue screen of death).

Once you are able to successfully transfer your workout data, then it will also be uploaded to the Garmin Connect web site. This Java-based web site is sometimes overloaded and spews copious error messages due to the situation. Furthermore, Garmin takes the web site completely offline for hours at a time (during North American weekday working hours even). When the site is stable and running, then workout summaries, charts, and reports are at your disposal to track your fitness program. The web site services aren't anything fancy, but they are pretty good and getting better over time.

This ability to track workouts over time online is the primary value proposition of the GPS watch. When the whole thing works, it is very cool and a useful tool for exercise junkies. But the sad truth is that most of the time the potential isn't unleashed and instead you feel cheated by Garmin. And until these problems are solved, then the price of the package just isn't justified by the lousy software and service.

P.S. Other things of that may be of interest to potential buyers of the watch...

Battery life: the watch uses a non-user-replaceable battery (the bane of iPhone and Kindle 2 users) and requires a service fee from Garmin to replace. Battery life is good at about 6-8 hours in practice. Lifetime of the battery remains to be seen.

Standalone Software: the watch also comes with a standalone software product, Garmin Training Software, that can be used to view workout information locally instead of using the Garmin Connect web site. This software provides some of the same functionality as the web site, including maps, but isn't all that polished.
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144 of 155 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gadget Geek's Fun New Toy, April 24, 2009
By 
I'm a new runner and after running the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago this year, I think I'm addicted. I even registered for the 2009 Chicago Marathon, I still can't contemplate running a full 26.2 miles. But if I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do this right. Running on nearby trails, I never really knew how far I've run or what my pace was (there aren't any mile markers). I wanted a way to track my distance and pace. I have friends that own both the forerunner 305 and 405, and I was impressed on how accurately they tracked distance and pace. I researched the reviews on both, and even though I like the looks of the 405, I was leaning toward the 305 since it's half the price and the reviews were much more positive. However, I couldn't get over the notion of looking like I'm running with a computer on my wrist.

Along came announcements of the 310xt and 405cx. Initially, I was set on getting the 310xt because of it's large screen and waterproof capability. However, it wouldn't be released till mid May and that model wouldn't even include the HRM. Originally I thought the 405cx wasn't available until mid May also, according to Amazon's 405cx preorder. But to my surprise, I found it available for free overnight shipping from the Clever Training website for 369.99. I got mine for 314.95 with free ground shipping, so do your research and you might land a "premium" deal on this heart rate monitors in USA ;-)

I'm getting side tracked here, I decided on the 405cx because I was hoping Garmin would have ironed out all the flaws of it's previous iteration. I've never owned the 405 or 305, so I can't say how much better the 405cx is. After reading the 405 reviews, a few complaints caught my attention:

- Poor satellite reception
- Clumsy bezel interface
- Locks up when sweated on
- Inaccurate heart rate monitor

1. Satellite reception is excellent. It's able to track satellites indoors! (though accuracy is degraded)
2. The bezel interface, although very sexy, is a pain in my arse to use. It's overly sensitive at times and not in others. Lock it often. It's going to take some time for me to get use to. Oh well, it's the price I have to pay for sexiness...
3. In the 2 days I've had this unit, it's never locked up on me. I want you to know, I sweat profusely to the point where it looks like I just took a shower (I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not...). I don't just sweat when I'm working out either, sometimes I sweat sitting idly in a chilly room. It's so embarrassing during meetings! So trust me, sweating does not cause the 405cx to lock up.
4. The heart rate monitor is superb. This is my first HRM though, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. But it doesn't spike to 200 bpm or drop to 20 bpm like the treadmills in the gym do, so I'm happy. On a side note, the 305 loves the HRM that comes with the 405cx. The one that comes with the 305 is utter garbage, it stays at 65 bpm regardless of what you do. It was probably defective, but it's something to think about for anyone thinking of getting the 305 instead.

This review is getting really long, and I need to get back to work. Garmin Connect is the online software that manages all your running data. Use it, it's hot. Just be aware, at default all your activities are shared with the Garmin Connect online community (think of what you put on your descriptions). I love how you can "play" your run on Google maps. It's hard for me to explain, check out this link for yourself

[...]

Please don't make fun of my slow pace, I'm a new runner! Here's a tip before I end this. You can delete activities. Just click on the red "x" next to the pencil and lock. This was a little frustrating until I figured it out. Good luck deciding on a watch, I hope it makes your runs more enjoyable. It does for a gadget geek like me.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Worry - You'll Love It!!!, January 12, 2010
By 
JDK "JDK" (Philadelphia PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
It took me a while to "push the button" on buying this watch. It wasn't the money. The price is a bit salty and other units out there are reported to perform well. But I wasn't keen on running with a cell-phone-sized monster strapped to my wrist so that I could save a few bucks.

No, my hesitation was because some of the online reviews I'd read were critical of the watches functioning - particularly the bezel interface.

I'm here to tell you - Don't Worry! I've had an opportunity to put this thing through its paces on both ends of the climate spectrum, and it performed flawlessly.

In one week, thanks to a trip to South America, I was able to use the watch in 90 degree weather and 20 degree weather. The watch performed well with sweat, with gloves, with cold fingers and hot - no issues.

You do have to know what you're doing, so as we in high-tech jobs say - "RTFM." (Read the freakin' manual!). I recommend establishing your nine key metrics (three each on three screens), set the watch to auto-scroll and lock the bezel after hitting the start button. You're never more than a second or two from what you want to know, and if there's something you're particularly interested in, set it as a data point on more than one screen.

This watch can't be beat, and if you're even remotely serious about running, it's worth every penny.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS GADGET!, June 7, 2009
Please note that I normally don't write product reviews. I normally take consumer reviews with a grain of salt because most are thumbs up (5 stars), or thumbs down (1 star), rarely with nuanced shades of gray. I'm giving the 405CX 5 stars not because it's perfect (see CONS), but because for me the product experience was revolutionary, and its ease of use makes it easy to integrate it into your daily life rather than being just another gadget with a collection of features.

For me it's been rare experience that a an electronic device functions precisely the way it is advertised to. When I'd seen Garmin ads describing how you need only to leave the 405CX near your computer after a workout and presto your full workout stats- pace, heart rate, elevation, calories burned, etc. including split data, and a map of the GPS captured route you took will be waiting for you when you return, I thought "yeah right". Yet it did exactly that- and more. Not enough room here or time to break down all the features, but I will say that logging onto GarminConnect a few minutes after my workout and seeing my route and stats on a Google Map (which can be shared/exported, by the way) it was one of those moments you rarely experience as a consumer. The ease of use and integration of features is extremely impressive. Unlike most devices (some of which I had been considering as an alternative like Suunto, Polar, etc.) the 405CX seems to be more "you" centric rather than you needing to spend days reading a manual to figure out how to make the gadget do what you want- and then falling short of that in the end. For instance, creating your own custom workouts with the downloadable Garmin software is easy and intuitive, and doesn't suffer from being inflexible as I've come to expect from other products. For these reasons, I have a feeling I'll get lots of regular use from this device, instead of it being forgotten in a closet or drawer somewhere after the novelty and has worn off or I can't remember how to use it without a refresher.

PROS:
* GPS / route recording is superb
* HR monitoring and stat tracking are superb
* Bezel interface is easy to use, intuitive and well integrated

CONS: While the touch operated bezel is one of the features that sets this device apart from its competition, it's too easy to accidentally touch it and change the screen it's on during a workout. It has a screen-lock feature, but during a workout it's somewhat cumbersome to have to switch in and out of it to change a screen. Another minor complaint, but probably specific to me is that alerts are hard to read on the screen during a workout; the ability to configure to change the alert font would be nice.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good COMPACT all in one unit, February 14, 2010
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
I have been using the 405CX for a couple of weeks now and connecting it to my new iMac 27 running Snow Leopard. I'll break this down into 2 sections:

The Watch
I got rid of the plastic strap and use the velcro one instead. I love this strap, very comfy, good for different wrist sizes. The GPS locates very quickly and judging by the google map uploads it tracks extremely accurately, even down to 5 meters in some cases. It found my ANT+ heart rate monitor straight away and works very well. The customization for the scrolling multi pages is great. It's also a nice feature that it beeps AND lights up when you finish/intermediate distance. The pace monitor means you know how fast you're running each kilometer/mile. My wife has the more advanced triathlon watch but for me, the 405cx works perfectly for running and cycling.

The Software
I've read loads of OLD reviews about how flaky the upload software was particularly with a Mac. I can report that as of now, Feb 2010, I have not had any of these issues. The ANT+ stick is permanently in my imac and picks up the watch every time. The upload AND download to/from the ANT agent is perfect. The training center software is OK but nothing special. I don't bother with it anymore. I skip straight to the online Garmin Connect website which is awesome. The Google maps and google earth feature is fantastic. And I love the splits and playback function. The latest drivers fix all the connectivity problems with the mac.

Overall, a great device considering it looks like a normal watch and therefore does not make the owner look like a dork. The fact that it contains a GPS with playback course setting is also amazing. It's a very good product.

And for all the reviews before 2010, I would ignore anything about reliability as it's all been fixed now.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Started Out Great ..... But ........ Wound up Fine!, December 4, 2010
By 
Michael (Columbus, OH USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
I bought this watch in late August. It started out great. Battery life was good, it found Satellites fast, I really loved it.

But now it is a little over 3 months later. The battery only lasts a couple of days, (there is no way to turn this thing completely off) and it takes forever (sometimes as long as 5 minutes) to find satellites.

I'm guessing there is something wrong with the acquisition and so it burns up the battery trying to acquire satellites. I do turn the GPS off when I store it but that doesn't seem to fix the battery life problem.

I have tried contacting Garmin but if you call you will be on hold for 45 minutes before you give up. I'm on my second e-mail and still waiting for a reply. Hopefully I will hear something soon and will update this with my progress if I get any.

UPDATE 12/11/2010: I received an e-mail from Garmin about performing a soft reset and also a reset to factory defaults. You must upload your data before performing either one if you want to keep it. The soft reset did not fix my satellite problem. The hard reset did. For both resets you hold both buttons on the side down until the unit powers off. For the hard reset, release the start button (the top one) while continuing to hold the lap button (the bottom one) after the power off until a pop-up menu appears. At that point you release the lap button and click the start button to reset to factory defaults.

UPDATE 1/16/2011: After performing the resets recommended by Garmin, I haven't had a single problem. I'm upgrading my 3 stars to 4 stars - knocking 1 star off because of the issue. But other than that it has been working great and as advertised.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buy a 305 instead, July 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Blue) (Electronics)
I bought one of these to replace my old 305 which was stolen, and that in turn was a replacement for my original 205. The 205 and the 305 were brilliant devices that worked very intuitively and I was expecting the same standard with the 405.

But no. Unlike its predecessors, the 405 is annoying, hard to use and buggy.

These are my main gripes:

1. There is no "off" button.

Seriously, you cannot turn it off. So if you go for a run then toss it in the drawer the battery will go flat. The only solutions are to leave it on the charger, or plan your exercise long enough in advance to give this time to charge.

2. The screen is too small.

When I run I like to know my distance, time, speed and average speed. The 305, with 4 data fields, was fine for this. The 405 has only got 3 data fields of which only one is big enough to read on the go, which is not enough because;

3. The controls are completely useless.

The touch bezel is incredibly frustrating to use even when you're sitting on the couch. Trying to use it while running is like trying to thread a needle while running. The only way to manage it is to set the screen before you go and then don't touch it. So no scrolling through data fields on the go (and auto-scroll means you have to wait for ages to fleetingly see the data you are looking for). I've also heard that wet fabric will trigger the bezel if it comes in contact. I don't run in long sleeves but if you do it's one more thing to be wary of.

4. The backlight only stays on for 30 seconds. If you run at night or in the mornings with such a small screen you cannot read the display without the light. Turning it on requires touching the bezel which means you're just as likely to stop the clock or turn off the GPS as succesfully turn on the backlight. Doing that every 30 seconds is not practical or fun.

5. The speed readout does not seem to be accurate. Sometimes when I speed up I look at the screen and it says I've slowed down, and vice versa. It usually corrects after a minute or so but that never happened with the 305.

This is one of those rare situations where you can get a much superior product for a much lower price by just getting a 305 instead.

Hopefully the next generation will be better.
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