I was originally hesitant to purchase the Garmin Forerunner 405 because of several negative reviews related to the bezel, GPS accuracy and sync issues with a Mac. In the end, my Timex was just not cutting it and I needed an upgrade. After 50 miles, I can say the Forerunner 405 just keeps getting better.
My goals: I'm not a running junkie, but it is my primary method of exercising. I've run 1 marathon and want to run several more in the near future, but I'd like to do much better in my overall times. My specific goal for training is all about improving my average pace over longer distances (I would like to consistently run future marathons under 4 hrs).
My needs: Accurate tracking for distance, total time, current pace, average pace.
My wants: GPS functionality for improved accuracy, logging of actual run, ability to upload data for review and a visual display on the watch that allowed me to track multiple metrics at the same time (time / pace / distance etc).
My concerns: Almost every negative review (1 or 2 star) highlights 3 basic issues:
1) Problems with the bezel
2) Accuracy of GPS
3) Computer Sync (PC or Mac)
Let me address my personal experiences with the above:
1) Bezel: The most common complaint that I noted was people having issues with the bezel during a run. Specifically after they began to perspire, the user was unable to manipulate the bezel. Has this ever happened to me - absolutely - so why is it not an issue... I don't run naked. I simply wipe my finger off on my shirt or shorts and voila, it works! In addition, I don't play with my watch much during my run - I have the training screen set up with 3 panels - current pace in the large panel and distance and time in the 2 smaller panels and that's enough for me. I will occasionally tap the bezel to view my current heart rate, or view the virtual partner, but for the most part, I don't see the need to play with the functions.
2) Accuracy of GPS: I've run under long bridges in Austin, TX, under thick tree canopies in the Florida, and in deep gorges in Colorado Mountains - based on my previous mapping and running with other people with GPS devices, my Garmin has very little variance from what I know to be the correct distance. In addition, I have run on my treadmill at home using the Garmin Foot pod and the treadmill distance and Garmin distance is virtually identical. I have NEVER had a personal experience where the distance was noticeably off.
3) Computer Sync: I have both a Mac and PC at home - the Garmin ANT Agent (sync software) is loaded on both. I have not experienced significant issues syncing to my Mac, but I have experienced annoying things where I am unable to upload a run TO my watch from the Mac. Overall - it's very simple... it works better with a PC - no doubt. It DOES work with a Mac and people that say otherwise should consider the possibility of user error.
The Garmin is not perfect - I am have experienced issues with having a low battery before a run, but now I know to charge my watch frequently (every 3 days) to prevent issues. It recently took several minutes to locate the satellites in clear weather, but that has not been a common occurrence - now I turn my GPS on as I'm getting ready and it will usually pick up satellites before I walk out the door.
The Garmin Connect site is great ([...]) - I upload my runs, review my metrics and monitor my progress. I also look for new runs in familiar locations or locate popular running trials when I'm on the road. You can even upload a course someone else has run to your watch and use the navigation to keep you on the trail.
This watch has helped me significantly increase my pace, track my progress and frankly - I like using it so much, I run more just so I can log another activity. I suspect that people that have serious issues with their Forerunner 405's may have some issues with user error.