2,323 of 2,346 people found the following review helpful
Great watch for running indoors or outdoors,
Amazon 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 ½ stars if I could, but since there are no ½ 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 ½ 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.
Tracked by 16 customers
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 105 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2009 6:35:24 PM PDT
John D. Hayward says:
If I had to do it over again I would not purchase a Forerunner 405. Regardless of what others had said, I run into trouble with the bevel system. I sweat when I run so either my figures have some sweat on them or it flings off my arm onto the unit or God forbid it's raining - BAM the bevel starts acting up. One night the light was coming on and off light the strobe light of a lighthouse - on - off - on - off for miles. I couldn't get it to stop.
Also, I'm pretty handy with computers but the USB ANT stick makes me want to crush my 405 with a hammer. I can only get the ANT stick to work if I reboot my computer. And then it only stays connected for about 8 minutes.
I can't wait for Garmin to create the 505 or whatever is next so that I can upgrade away from this damn thing. But I will not buy it if it uses either this stupid bevel system or the USB ANT stick.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2009 8:53:20 AM PDT
I have a couple of suggestions:
1. Use Auto Scroll when you run (I have it set to medium). That way you don't have to touch the bevel to change screens, though you still can if you want to.
2. Set the backlight to Manual and Timeout to always on. When I run outdoors at night or in the gym at night I use that setting, and turn the backlight on when I start and never touch the bevel again until I am finished and turn the backlight off. A fully charged battery has more than enough power even if you are using the GPS and have the backlight on for a couple of hours.
3. I carry a paper towel to wipe off the bevel in case something happens (like the time I turned on a water fountain in the park and the water came shooting out all over me).
4. I can't really comment on the ANT stick problem without knowing your computer setup. It sounds like a USB stick recognition problem, which can be caused by lots of different things. At a minimum make sure you have downloaded the latest ANT software, and plug the ANT directly into your computer rather than a USB hub (though mine works fine plugged into a hub). If you want to give me some more details, I may have some further tips.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 6:06:56 AM PST
J. Beall says:
You need a foot pod for this model? I thought the point of the GPS watches was that you didn't need one.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 6:28:30 AM PST
A GPS watch tracks satellites, but cannot do that indoors. Therefore a footpod is necessary if you want to use this watch to run on a treadmill in a gym. However no footpod is necessary with this watch for running outdoors.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2009 11:33:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2009 2:48:40 PM PST
K. lebrun says:
Can you use this as a GPS map say if your in an unfamiliar area and want to plan a course to run?
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2009 8:37:07 PM PST
I am not aware of this capability, though I have never really looked into it.
Posted on Dec 13, 2009 12:07:55 PM PST
Great review, thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2009 5:31:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2009 5:38:12 AM PST
E. Boyer says:
There is no map function on this unit. So you will not be able to use it to get un-lost. There are some compass functions. I haven't used them so I can't report on how they work.
The foot pod is also useful for tracking cadence, which you can't get from a satellite.
Posted on Mar 24, 2010 11:18:31 PM PDT
J. Hassevoort says:
Thank you for updating your review over time, I find it much more useful than the frequent "I got this product yesterday and love it!" style reviews.
Posted on Jun 9, 2010 8:02:22 AM PDT
D to the G says:
"Garmin is not Apple".
Garmin's designers and engineers are on par with or exceed Apple's. When an iPad's interface works flawlessly in the middle of a downhill mountain bike race mounted to a handlebar in 34-degree sleet, we can begin to make a comparison.